Is Removing Wisdom Teeth Necessary?

wisdom teeth modelAbout 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.

3 Commonly Asked Questions About Dentistry

question markOur 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!  

5 Surprising Things That Destroy Teeth

ice cubes with lemonsBy 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

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.

  • Eating Ice

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.

  • Whitening Too Often

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.

All About Dental Hygienists

hygienist with patientThis 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.

Floss Regularly

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.