About 90% of the American population has had their wisdom teeth removed. But why is it important that we get these teeth extracted? Is wisdom teeth surgery really that important? What happens if we don’t have our wisdom teeth taken out? The team at our dental office in Doylestown has the answers.
Wisdom Teeth Basics
Wisdom teeth tend to develop in our teens. This is when your dentist in Doylestown should start to see these third molars on x-rays and when your dental team will start to monitor their development. Occasionally, wisdom teeth develop just fine and there are no reasons for concern. Other times people don’t get their wisdom teeth at all. But more commonly, wisdom teeth need to be removed for a few specific reasons. Let’s take a look at the top reasons why wisdom teeth extraction is usually recommended.
There’s No Room
Most people fall into the category where their mouths don’t have enough space to accommodate four more teeth. This can often be identified early through dental x-rays, and wisdom teeth removal can be incredibly easy. However, if treatment is delayed or avoided, the teeth can get trapped in the bone and become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth can be very painful and put you at increased risk for infection or an abscess. Furthermore, if wisdom teeth aren’t removed and are allowed to force their way into the mouth, other teeth will shift to make room. This will result in overlapping, crooked teeth.
They’re Facing the Wrong Way
Normally wisdom teeth will be facing crown up like all your other teeth. But sometimes wisdom teeth can come in at a weird angle or even sideways. When this happens the wisdom teeth should definitely be extracted. If not, these large teeth can cause permanent damage and severely affect the other teeth in the mouth.
When Wisdom Teeth Can Stay… Maybe
There are times when wisdom teeth come in almost perfectly and there’s no immediate need for extraction. However, wisdom teeth are difficult to care for properly. They’re hard to reach with a toothbrush and flossing requires an almost acrobatic approach. Because of this, your dentist may still recommend having them removed if only to reduce the risk of other problems down the road.
Wisdom teeth removal is incredibly common and most people have theirs removed at some point in their lives. The best way to monitor wisdom teeth development is to maintain regular appointments at our Doylestown dental office. Keeping a close eye on how your wisdom teeth are erupting can mean a quicker treatment plan and easier removal.
Our dental office in Doylestown is not only dedicated to providing compassionate, comfortable dentistry for our patients, we’re also committed to educating our community on the ins and outs of dental care. That’s why we love when our patients ask us questions related to their oral health. Even though we get asked tons of questions every day, we wanted to dedicate our latest blog to some of the more common ones…
How Often Do I Need to See a Dentist?
Most dentists will recommend that you have a checkup at least twice a year, sometimes more if you’re at increased risk of certain problems. These visits allow your dentist in Doylestown to keep a close eye on your oral health and catch any potential concerns early. When dental problems, such as a cavity, are caught early, treatment is typically faster, easier, cheaper, and minimally painful. However, if you don’t maintain regular dental appointments what may have started as a small problem can quickly become serious and result in severe pain.
How Safe Are Dental X-Rays?
We understand that there may be some concerns surrounding the safety of dental x-rays, but thanks to advancements in dental technology, dental x-rays are incredibly safe and have an extremely low risk for any negative side effects. This is in part because dental x-rays use such minimal levels of radiation. Additionally, using protective measures such as a leaded apron lowers the risk even more. Not only are dental x-rays safe, but they’re also a crucial tool. The images produced from x-rays give your dental team the power to see what’s happening below the surface and into the tooth roots. This allows them to diagnose problems before there are even any signs of an issue.
How Often Should I Brush and Floss?
One of the best things you can do to help keep your mouth healthy is to brush and floss regularly. This means brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. But simply doing these things isn’t enough, you have to do them correctly. For example, don’t brush your teeth too hard or you can actually do more harm than good. Also, make sure you use fluoride toothpaste to help fight off decay. If traditional floss is difficult for you to use, consider floss picks or even a water flosser.
From questions about preventive, routine care to more complex questions relating to cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, or restorative treatments, the team at our Doylestown dental office is here to help. Call us today!
As 2018 comes to an end and we’re starting to think about all of the good things waiting for us next year, it’s common to set resolutions in order to help make 2019 the best year ever. Our dental office in Doylestown wants to remind our neighbors and patients that making resolutions for better oral health can be a great place to start. In this blog, we cover five ways you can help improve the health of your smile and your whole body in 2019…
- Quit Smoking. One of the most common New Year’s resolutions made every year is to quit smoking. Smoking, or using any product containing nicotine, is a dangerous habit that’s highly addictive, which makes it really difficult to quit. But we know you can do it. Quitting smoking can reduce your risk for heart disease, cancer, and respiratory problems. It can also help protect your mouth from gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer. Work with your healthcare provider or find support tools online and make 2019 the year you kick the habit.
- Eat Healthier. Another common resolution is to eat healthier. Whether it’s for weight loss, to lower cholesterol, or simply to fuel your body with more nutrients, eating better can benefit your entire body, including your mouth. Fruits and veggies, for example, help to decrease inflammation levels and provide your body with tons of antioxidants. Foods in the fruit and vegetable family also protect your teeth and gums from plaque buildup and dangerous bacteria that can lead to decay.
- Choose Water. Drinking the recommended eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day helps to keep your body functioning as it should. Water also effectively rinses away bacteria and neutralizes acid in the mouth that otherwise would eat away at tooth enamel. Choose to quench your thirst using water as opposed to soda or other sugar-packed drinks and keep yourself hydrated and healthy.
- Improve the Look of Your Smile. Cosmetic dentistry isn’t only about appearance. The truth is, crooked teeth, missing teeth, and other aesthetic concerns can also affect the function and health of your mouth. From dental veneers to dental implants, to orthodontics and dental crowns, there are numerous cosmetic dentistry options available to help resolve any concern you may have. Talk with your dentist and find the best smile makeover treatment for you and your health.
- Schedule an Appointment with Your Dentist in Doylestown. Maintaining regular appointments with your dentist can go a long way in keeping your smile (and whole body) healthy. Research suggests several links to oral health and whole-body problems such as heart disease. Seeing your dentist at least twice a year can help catch any problems, whether related directly to oral health or systemic health, early before they have a chance to cause real trouble.
As we near turning the page on a new calendar year, make resolutions to get your smile the healthiest it’s ever been. Start by calling our Doylestown dental office and scheduling an appointment. We’re here to help you.
Tooth pain is a pain like no other, and when you have it you’re willing to do just about anything to get rid of it. This includes perhaps not thinking twice when your dentist recommends extracting the tooth that’s causing you pain. But our dental office in Doylestown wants you to know that you may have another option that will both get you out of pain and save your tooth.
Let’s Talk About Root Canals
When it comes to severe tooth pain, it’s usually caused by either dental trauma or deep, untreated decay. Many times the pain experienced can be relieved through a root canal instead of an extraction. Now, before we get too far into our discussion on root canals, we want to clear up the common misconception that root canals are incredibly painful and should be avoided. In fact, the opposite is true. Thanks to major advancements in dental technology, root canals are comfortable treatments that can get you out of pain almost immediately.
What is a Root Canal?
Essentially, a root canal is a dental treatment that involves removing infection from inside the pulp of a tooth. We understand that may sound scary, but the treatment is incredibly common and many patients report little to no pain. Your dentist in Doylestown will start by thoroughly numbing the area. After the numbing agent takes effect, a tiny hole is made in the tooth and the infected material causing all your pain is removed. Your tooth may then be capped with a dental crown to keep it protected.
Root Canals Aren’t Always an Option
Preserving natural teeth is always the goal of your dental team. But the truth is, sometimes a tooth can’t be saved. If decay is left untreated for too long and seeps deep into the tooth, or if a break or chip goes under the gum line, the tooth may need to be extracted. If this is the case, the lost tooth should be replaced with a strong dental restoration to preserve look and function. Some common tooth replacement treatments are:
Maintaining regular dental appointments at our Doylestown dental office can help you protect your smile and save your teeth from needing a root canal or an extraction. At these visits, decay can be caught and treated early before it has a chance to affect the roots and cause pain. Call to schedule an appointment today.
By now we all know that things such as sugar and smoking can really damage teeth and oral health. But there are several other things out there that are also bad for your smile… some that may even surprise you. Join our dental office in Doylestown as we cover some of the most surprising ways you may be damaging your teeth.
- Citrus Fruits & Acidic Drinks
Sugar tends to get all of the blame when it comes to cavities and damaged teeth. However, the truth is, acidic foods and drinks like citrus fruit and wine can also lead to oral health problems. Acid erodes enamel and leaves teeth exposed to the bacteria that cause decay. Losing enamel may also cause tooth sensitivity and increase pain when eating or drinking hot or cold treats.
Biting your nails may seem relatively harmless, but this common habit can wreak havoc on teeth. First, the way the jaw moves when we bite our nails is unnatural, and the repeated motion can place too much pressure on the jaw joint. This can result in jaw pain and symptoms of TMJ/TMD. Second, nail biting can lead to chipped, cracked, or broken teeth that would require dental treatment to fix.
It’s not uncommon to want to crunch on the ice floating in your drink. But these frozen cubes are really bad for teeth. Not only can they chip or break teeth, but they can also create tiny cracks where bacteria can easily hide. These bacteria can then increase the chance of decay. Damage caused by eating ice can be so severe that cosmetic dentistry may be the only fix.
- Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard
While brushing your teeth twice a day is recommended by your dentist in Doylestown, it doesn’t mean that just any brushing will do. A proper brushing uses a soft-bristled toothbrush and a gentle scrubbing to whisk away bacteria and plaque. Brushing your teeth too hard can have the opposite effect and actually damage teeth and gums.
Most smile whitening methods, including in-office and take-home whitening products, are safe and effective. But whitening your teeth too much can lead to damage. Using smile whitening products excessively may cause sensitivity, gum irritation, and enamel erosion.
Keeping your smile healthy is a combination of professional teeth cleanings, regular dental checkups, brushing and flossing every day, and limiting your exposure to any environmental or lifestyle factors that can damage teeth.
Our smiles are one of the first things others notice about us, and they can say a lot about who we are. After all, we use our smiles to display friendliness as well as express emotions. But if you’re unhappy with the way your smile looks, it may affect your self-confidence and unfortunately, first impressions made by others. Our dental office in Doylestown has tips for our neighbors on how they can get a better smile.
When it comes to improving the appearance of your smile, the best place to start is by talking with your dentist in Doylestown about cosmetic dentistry. There are many forms of cosmetic dentistry available to fix nearly anything you dislike about your smile. Let’s take a look at some of the most common cosmetic dentistry treatments and how they transform teeth.
The most popular form of cosmetic dentistry is smile whitening. While there are kits available at your local store or online, the best tooth whitening product is found at your dentist’s office. Professional whitening contains more powerful whitening gel than any over-the-counter kit and can dramatically whiten teeth in as little as one visit.
If you have several silver fillings, your smile may appear dark or dull. But thanks to advancements in dental technology, we now have another option that’s more aesthetically pleasing. Tooth-colored fillings, also known as composite fillings, can replace old silver fillings and really brighten your smile.
Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that are bonded to the surface of teeth to cover up imperfections such as deep stains that can’t be removed through whitening alone, gaps, crooked teeth, or broken teeth. Dental veneers are created to match the shape and color of your other teeth so they appear natural.
When it comes to fixing chips or cracks in teeth, dental bonding may be your best solution. Similar to veneers, the dental bonding material is mixed to compliment the tooth’s natural color. It’s then shaped onto the affected area and hardened for a seamless and strong restoration.
Getting a smile you’re proud of can transform your confidence and your life. We welcome you to schedule an appointment at our Doylestown dental office. We will talk with you about what you’d like to change about your smile and discuss the best cosmetic dentistry treatment for you.
This month we’re taking some time to thank our dental hygienists, and with good reason. Every October is recognized as National Dental Hygiene Month. It’s 31 days dedicated to not only recognizing the important role dental hygienists have at our dental office in Doylestown, but also to educate patients on just what our hygiene team does during their appointments.
What Are the Responsibilities of a Dental Hygienist?
Many people know that dental hygienists are responsible for giving each and every patient a thorough, in-depth cleaning at their appointments. But the responsibilities of hygienists go far beyond dental cleanings. These team members also help educate patients on any oral health concerns and proper at-home care, identify any problems early, and are focused on preventing these problems in the first place in order to keep patients healthy. After all, according to the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH), there is a link between oral health and several problems that can affect the entire body such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
What’s Required to Become a Dental Hygienist?
The first step to becoming a dental hygienist is to get an associates degree. As of 2017, there were more than 300 accredited dental hygiene programs available in the United States. These programs can be found at local community colleges, technical schools, and universities. To earn a degree in dental hygiene it takes about three years of schooling, including labs, clinical work, and classroom lectures. An interest in the sciences including biology, chemistry, and anatomy would make the coursework and a dental hygiene career more enjoyable. Once a degree is earned, dental hygienists are usually required to pass a licensing test.
Top Tips for Patients
When you visit your dentist in Doylestown, you will most likely have some time with a dental hygienist. Besides preventing any dental problems from popping up, this hygienist is also responsible for passing along information on how you can keep your teeth healthy in between visits. Some of the most helpful tips are below.
Brush for Two Minutes
Brushing every day is great, but brushing twice a day using correct technique and for the recommended two minutes is even better. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and small, gentle circles instead of scrubbing back and forth.
When you don’t floss regularly, you’re leaving about 35% of each tooth uncleaned. That greatly increases the likelihood that bacteria will wear away enamel and cause decay. Flossing in between every tooth and up under the gum line can minimize this risk.
Use Mouthwash, But Choose Wisely
Many times mouthwash is used as a breath freshener, but if you’re using the wrong mouthwash for you it can actually make bad breath worse. If you choose to use mouthwash, choose one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance or talk with your hygienist about what’s right for you.
This October, and at every visit, we hope that you will thank your dental hygienist for doing their part in keeping your smile healthy. If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental cleaning, we welcome you to call our Doylestown dental office to schedule an appointment today.
Sometimes we dentists just can’t help ourselves. We are enthralled with the technology that becomes available to us. And sometimes our patients have to remind us that the benefits of a 3D, soft and hard tissue scan of the jaw, head, and neck aren’t immediately clear to them. I usually think of myself as a good educator, but when I get my hands on a tool like this, I get so excited, I completely geek out! Let me take a second to remedy that.
The Big Deal
CT scanning has been used in the medical field for years. Instead of the single beam traditional x-rays emit, a CT scanner emits a series of narrow beams. The images produced are far more detailed and actually three-dimensional. This advantage allows doctors to distinguish tissues inside a solid organ. But getting the scan can be inconvenient and cost prohibitive. Here’s what a traditional CT experience was like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tx-0emi4m8s
Now, there is a CT scanner specifically designed for use in dentistry, and that is wonderful news.
The iCat FLEX is the newest and best in x-ray technology. It takes a precise, three-dimensional – and even two dimensional panoramas– for a clear picture of your head, not your entire body.
That’s cool on a number of levels.
First, because it has a smaller footprint, we can keep and use this device right here in our office – you don’t have to go to a hospital to have it done.
Second, you don’t have to lie down or get undressed for us to get a great image. All you have to do is sit on a stool while the machine does its work.
Plus, there are all these other terrific benefits:
Since the images are digital, and getting them is super fast, you’ll be exposed to significantly lower radiation levels than with traditional x-ray technology.
We have increased insight to relieve discomfort associated with TMJ.
We can choose what we look at most closely, so you’ll have results you can trust absolutely.
To find out more about how the iCat CT technology can benefit you, give us a call today, or ask us about it at your next appointment.
Sleep apnea is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition. The trouble is, it’s difficult to identify a possible sleep condition when you’ve been – you guessed it – sleeping through the symptoms. Take the quiz below to assess your risk for sleep apnea!
1. Do you snore?
A. No, I have never been told that I snore.
B. Yes, my roommate or partner complains about it constantly.
C. Absolutely! I snore so loudly, I usually wake myself up!
2. How do you usually feel at bedtime?
A. Snug as a bug! I can’t wait for my head to hit the pillow.
B. I feel okay. Some nights are better than others.
C. I dread going to sleep. I can never get a good night’s rest.
3. Are you a morning person?
A. I thrive in the morning. It’s my most productive time of day!
B. I hit the snooze button a couple times, but I manage.
C. Mornings are torture. There’s not enough coffee in the world….
4. What’s your workday like?
A. I power through 9-5, then I go to the gym after work. I just have so much energy!
B. I usually slow down a little after lunch, but it’s nothing I can’t handle.
C. I have to drink coffee, take naps, or get up from my desk regularly to avoid crashing completely. I have trouble concentrating on my work.
5. Do you ever feel like fatigue is compromising your safety?
A. Nope! I feel great.
B. Sometimes I have trouble remembering small things, but I’ve never made a mistake that could be considered dangerous.
C. I have fallen asleep while driving, or in a public place. I’m worried that I’ll get seriously hurt some day, or hurt somebody else.
How’d you do?
Congratulations! Sounds like you’re getting a great night’s rest.
Be careful! Sleep apnea can present a variety of symptoms, so it can’t hurt to talk with a professional about your sleeping habits. If there are other people around while you’re asleep, ask them if you snore or if they notice changes in your breathing throughout the night. If you have any doubts that you’re breathing perfectly well, consult with your dentist about the alignment of your bite, or ask about the possibility of a sleep study.
Schedule an appointment TODAY. You have some very clear symptoms of sleep apnea that need to be addressed immediately. You may also experience headaches or dry mouth in the mornings, or wake up multiple times in the middle of the night. Sound familiar? Get to a professional as soon as possible for an evaluation and potential treatment with a specialized mouthguard. There’s no need to go through life feeling so exhausted – and there’s certainly no need to continue putting your health and well-being at risk. Book your consultation today; we can help!