The importance of healthy teeth and gums is very well known and appreciated but here are some facts that many people miss:
1. Sour Isn’t Good For Your Teeth
People appreciate that what is sweet is bad for you. But you need to know that what is sour is bad as well. Sour and acidic food can put your mouth in an acidic condition that result in tooth wear. Teeth might erode by themselves or due to a mechanical wear that follows. So after you have a fizzy drink, don’t brush your teeth immediately, but try to neutralize the acid, with water, or Xylitol gum.
If you love candy, switch to xylitol-containing gum, which will help restore natural mineral balance in your teeth as well as prevent tooth decay.
2. You can be missing some teeth
We are not talking about losing teeth to decay, but the congenitally missing teeth. Some people never develop wisdom teeth, less common are the upper lateral incisors (the tooth next to the big front tooth), and lower second premolars (second one behind the canine).
3. Your Braces Could Be The Reason For Your Cavities
Braces make it hard to clean your teeth properly. They invite food retention between your teeth, causing inflammation in the gums and tooth decay. If you wear braces, you need to be extra careful when you brush and rinse your teeth. Flossing is probably impossible with braces. You can substitute floss with picksters. Remember, we get braces to have nice teeth, so keep motivating yourself or your children if they have braces.
4. Enamel Is Tough, but can break and chip
Enamel is the hardest tissue in our body. But it is designed and made for eating, not opening bottles. Enamel can break, and will break if exposed to high strength trauma.
The common causes for chipping Enamel are tongue piercing, chewing on ice, popcorn. An american study showed that 41% of people with oral piercing suffered from tooth fracture and wear.
5. Too much Fluoride is not good
Fluoride strengthen teeth and it is placed in drinking water and salt. However don’t try to get too carried away. Too much fluroide can make your teeth brittle. If consumed i large quantities during teeth development, it causes Fluorosis. A condition that causes discoloration and may be even tooth loss. It important to stick to the guidelines and if you know your council water has fluroide in it, then don’t try to take more in other means.
In fact, it’s better to use a fluoride-free toothpaste for kids until they can understand that they need to spit it out and not swallow it.
Use teeth for eating only. look after your teeth when you have braces. Don’t take your teeth for granted.
Going The dental surgery as not a very welcoming atmosphere despite all our efforts to make it improve this, visiting the dentist remains a scary experience for the child. We recommend teaching your child the right steps to good oral hygiene to help overcome the fear of the dentist.
Start with yourself
A 2012 study published in the International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry found out thatparents who dread visiting the dentist should keep their anxiety to themselves to avoid passing their fear on to their children.
It is important to involve parents, especially fathers, in dental care. The parent should set an example for children by visitng the dentist and showing no fear.
Start the care at home
Healthy teeth and gums require less intervention from the dentist. Make sure to encourage proper oral hygiene practice, thus helping your child avoid traumatic experiences at the dental surgery. That way when your child comes in for the regular checkups, things will go smoothly.
Start encouraging good oral hygiene early. You can start cleaning teeth with a cloth. Later on try to introduce brushing slowly. Then take your child to the dentist as early as two years old, to get used to the atmosphere.
Communication is key
Talk to your child about visiting the dentist. A good approach is to read children stories about their beloved cartoon or comic characters visiting the dentist. makes them feel it is the right thing to do.
You can interest your child in brushing by adding music to the experience.
Use brushes that are designed for kids with suitable drawings and colours.
Use toothpaste made for children, having the right concentration of fluoride and more desirable tastes for kids.
Get your older child to help the younger sibling and set a good example.
Avoid talking about dental pain, and don’t threaten bad behaviour with a visit to the dentist to get a needle.
Overcoming the fear of the dentists starts at home. Make sure you give your child the right start.
What is impaction?
Wisdom teeth are not aligned with other teeth all the time. There are different theories as to why they would not just erupt vertically just like other teeth. Even if the widsom tooth is setting vertically, sometimes that is not enough for it to show through and reach occlusion. When a wisdom tooth is not biting against the opposing tooth it is considered impacted.
There are various degrees of that impaction. The tooth might just show through the gums and gets covered partially by the gum, here we say it is partially impacted, or in the other extreme, it might be setting horizontally inside the jaw bone, well buried in the bone.
Problems of Wisdom Tooth
1- When a wisdom tooth is showing though the gums and covered partially by the gums, this flap of gum -called operculum – gets infected repeatedly, because germs keep getting underneath. The condition of the inflamed operculum is called Pericoronitis.The treatment is to keep cleaning underneath, and sometimes give antibiotics. If the condition keeps recurring, then taking out the wisdom tooth is recommended.
2- When a wisdom tooth is fully covered in bone, studies suggest that such tooth might develop a cyst around it which can be precancerous and develop into a tumour. Thus in this extreme, it is recommended to take it out, or at least monitor it with x-rays every year to check for signs of cystic change.
3- The wisdom tooth is just like any other molar can get decayed. Actually the wisdom tooth is more likely to get decayed, due to poor access to brush it. The access is also difficult for the dentist to do any drilling or restorations on a wisdom tooth, hence it is usually the treatment of choice to take it out.
Signs And Symptoms Of An Impacted Wisdom Tooth
The wisdom tooth being impacted in the jaw bone causes no pain as such, but what causes the pain is the associated issues that arise with the impacted tooth:
1- Pain in the molar region. this can be caused by pericoronitis (see above), or by causing damage to the molar tooth in front, where a wisdom tooth might dig a hole in it exposing the nerve.
2- Redness in the gums. The wisdom tooth might be just under the surface, this causes inflammation of the gums, and the become red.
3- Tenderness and bleeding. Just like any inflammation of the gums, the gums around the wisdom tooth gets tender and bleed easily.
4- Swelling in the jaw. An impacted tooth that develops a cyst or gets infected might express itself as a swelling in your jaw
5- Bad breath. The infection around the partially impacted wisdom tooth might not be severe enough to cause pain, but manifest as bad breath – a weird taste in your mouth
6- Headache. An impacted wisdom tooth might be pressing on your jaw and cases headaches.
How and Where To Take It Out:
Wisdom teeth removal is can be done at a dentist’s or oral surgeon’s office using just local anesthesia. A minor surgical procedure might be required at times to cut the gums around the tooth, and sometimes to cut some bone. Sectioning the tooth itself sometimes makes it easier to get it out.
This procedure can be done under local or general anesthesia.
Proper planning for the surgery is the basis for a more comfortable result. An x-ray, or even a CT-Scan is done to assess the condition and plan the procedure.
Challenges with the surgery:
just like any tooth extraction there is always the chance of excessive bleeding, tooth fracture, or breaking an adjacent tooth. However due to its position, the wisdom tooth has a higher risk for the following complications:
1- damaging the nerve that supplies the lip, this damage can be permanent, meaning you lose sensation in the lower lip forever.
2- damaging the nerve that supplies the tongue. This nerve s just under the gum on the inside to your wisdom tooth. During the procedure, it might get severed, meaning you lose sensation on that side of the tongue forever.
3- jaw bone breakage. Sometime the jaw bone is thin, and as we remove the wisdom tooth involving more bone trimming, this might leave the jaw bone thin and can break easily. Although not common, but can happen.
Wisdom tooth is a molar tooth, the procedure of taking it out varies from one person to another. Make sure to investigate your wisdom tooth with adequate examination and x-rays, and talk to us about taking it out. planning is the key.
A patient of mine presented to my surgery for routine check up. I found a decay and explained to him his tooth has a cavity and needs root canal therapy. He decided to leave it because he wants to give it a chance to heal. He said: “Bones heal, I cannot see why teeth won’t”
This argument has merit, I must admit, so I decided to write this article answering the questions, why don’t teeth heal, like bone? why do we need to drill the tooth? why do we sacrifice tooth structure to fill it?
Healing process in any tissue needs two important factors:
1- cells, the cells are needed to make part of the tissue with their bodies, and to produce the other extracellular matrix material where these cells will live in. For example in bone, there are the Osteoblasts that produce the bone around them.
2- Blood supply. Any cell in our body needs nutrients, to function, live a happy life and carry out its role.
So why don’t teeth heal?
The outer layer of our teeth is a tissue called Enamel. This tissue is formed by a layer of cells called Ameloblasts, that disappears as the tooth emerges through the gums – Desmolytic stage of their life cycle. So once your tooth emerges through the gum, the factory that builds the enamel is gone.
The enamel has no blood supply. Blood vessels are found in the pulp of the tooth, which is the core within the body of the tooth. hence the enamel and dentine have no blood supply, so they lose the healing power.
More info on healing process here
Teeth unfortunately don’t heal. Make sure you look after what you have. Every bit of tooth lost, is lost forever.
Articles are written by Dr M Hajarat.
Niagara Park Dental
3 / 16 Washington Avenue
Niagara Park, NSW 2250
Phone: (02) 4329 3003
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Tue 9:00 - 5:30
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Fri 9:00 - 5:30