During election season, you'll often hear celebrities encouraging you to vote. But this year, Kaia Gerber, an up-and-coming model following the career path of her mother Cindy Crawford, made a unique election appeal—while getting her wisdom teeth removed.
With ice packs secured to her jaw, Gerber posted a selfie to social media right after her surgery. The caption read, “We don't need wisdom teeth to vote wisely.”
That's great advice—electing our leaders is one of the most important choices we make as a society. But Gerber's post also highlights another decision that bears careful consideration, whether or not to have your wisdom teeth removed.
Found in the very back of the mouth, wisdom teeth (or “third molars”) are usually the last of the permanent teeth to erupt between ages 17 and 25. But although their name may be a salute to coming of age, in reality wisdom teeth can be a pain. Because they're usually last to the party, they're often erupting in a jaw already crowded with teeth. Such a situation can be a recipe for numerous dental problems.
Crowded wisdom teeth may not erupt properly and remain totally or partially hidden within the gums (impaction). As such, they can impinge on and damage the roots of neighboring teeth, and can make overall hygiene more difficult, increasing the risk of dental disease. They can also help pressure other teeth out of position, resulting in an abnormal bite.
Because of this potential for problems, it's been a common practice in dentistry to remove wisdom teeth preemptively before any problems arise. As a result, wisdom teeth extractions are the top oral surgical procedure performed, with around 10 million of them removed every year.
But that practice is beginning to wane, as many dentists are now adopting more of a “wait and see” approach. If the wisdom teeth show signs of problems—impaction, tooth decay, gum disease or bite influence—removal is usually recommended. If not, though, the wisdom teeth are closely monitored during adolescence and early adulthood. If no problems develop, they may be left intact.
This approach works best if you maintain regular dental cleanings and checkups. During these visits, we'll be able to consistently evaluate the overall health of your mouth, particularly in relation to your wisdom teeth.
Just as getting information on candidates helps you decide your vote, this approach of watchful waiting can help us recommend the best course for your wisdom teeth. Whether you vote your wisdom teeth “in” or “out,” you'll be able to do it wisely.
Bruxism is a catch-all term that encompasses both teeth grinding and teeth clenching. Teeth grinding is rubbing your teeth together and is usually something that happens while you are sleeping. Teeth clenching is pushing your teeth together and can happen at any time of day or night.
Your top teeth and bottom teeth should not touch each other when you’re at rest. They should only touch when you are chewing, swallowing and sometimes when you are talking. The force on your teeth when they come together is 300 lbs. (Imagine a football player standing on your tooth!) Over time, that force can cause some big problems to your teeth!
The earliest sign of bruxism are flattened areas on the chewing surfaces of your teeth. (We call these wear facets.) You may also see indentations on your teeth in places where they shouldn’t be; the most common areas are on the tips of the cusps or at the gumline. Sometimes, you might see a scalloped border on your tongue where it has pushed up against your teeth or bite marks on the inside of your cheeks.
Over time, bruxism can cause teeth and fillings to crack or break. But your teeth aren’t the only part of your mouth affected by bruxism. The bone around your teeth can also be affected. You might also get headaches from the muscles tensing while you brux or have pain in your jaw joint. Your jaw might even lock (open or closed) so that you can’t move it.
So, as you can see, bruxism has the potential to cause many problems. What can you do about it? The three main treatment types are: medications, occlusal nightguards, and behavioral interventions.
There is no medication that can prevent or stop bruxism, but some medications such as muscle relaxers or anti-inflammatories are helpful in treating the symptoms and pain that result.
Occlusal nightguards are a removable appliance that creates a barrier between your teeth to protect them and also maintains the space between your teeth to assist the jaw muscles in not closing all the way. Professionally made ones are the best because they are custom made for your teeth and mouth, but they can be pricey. Over-the-Counter ones are cheaper but may feel bulkier or cause more drooling, both of which may make it less likely that you will wear it. Over-the-Counter ones may also be more likely to fall out overnight, negating their protection.
Behavioral interventions can include exercises (especially for those experiencing jaw joint issues), lifestyle changes (stress reduction etc.), meditation or yoga, biofeedback (to help you learn triggers and how to control muscles that you might not usually think about), physical therapy and/or massage of the jaw joint.
The earlier you start wearing an occlusal nightguard and the more faithful you are to wear it each night, the more protection it will give you and your teeth. If you think you are clenching or grinding your teeth, talk to your dentist. If you do not have a dentist, Dr. Robb is taking new patients. You can contact her office by phone at 440-960-1940 or by using the contact form at her website: www.drjrobb.com
*Note: The information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.
You’ve probably felt like your mouth was on fire if you’ve eaten spicy foods. (Just FYI: dairy products seem especially helpful in taking this type of burning feeling away.) Sensations caused by something like this fade, but imagine having to live with a frequent or constant burning sensation and not knowing why! Dentists and physicians call this condition Burning Mouth Syndrome. Let’s explore what it is and what you can do if you have it.
What is burning mouth syndrome?
Burning mouth syndrome is characterized by a painful feeling in your mouth that lasts for months or years. Some people describe it as a burning sensation, others as a scalding feel, and still others say it is more of a prickly feeling. It can occur anywhere in your mouth, but common areas are your tongue, lips, or roof of your mouth.
The sensations can be constant or occasional. A good many people have reported that their symptoms start in the late morning, peak by evening and subside at night.
Other symptoms include tingling or numbness of your mouth, bitter or metallic changes to your sense of taste, and dry or sore mouth. Because this condition is so long lasting and finding its root cause is difficult or frustrating, you may also experience depression or anxiety.
What causes burning mouth syndrome?
No one knows for sure. Several possible causes have been identified, but it is possible your symptoms could be caused by more than one factor or the cause may not become apparent until later in your treatment.
Possible causes of your burning mouth syndrome include:
- Damage to the nerves that control pain or your sense of taste
- Hormonal changes (which explains why this problem is most common in women of middle age or older)
- Dry mouth (often caused by your medications or by a disorder such as diabetes, thyroid problems or Sjogren’s syndrome)
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Oral fungal infections
- Acid reflux
- Poor fitting dentures (or other oral appliances) or an allergy to materials used in these appliances
- Anxiety or depression
What can I do?
First, discuss what you are feeling with your physician or dentist. He or she will ask for a detailed medical history to help identify possible underlying causes. A thorough oral exam is also needed. If your physician is not comfortable with this, he or she may refer you to your dentist. You may also have blood work (to look for infection, nutritional deficiencies or medical diseases), an oral swab (to check for oral fungal infections) and allergy testing (for dental materials, foods or other suspected allergens).
Because causes are so diverse, it may be necessary for you to see several medical or dental professionals before a diagnosis is made and your treatment can begin. Your professionals understand that this is a frustrating time for you. Sometimes treatment of the symptoms can begin even though an underlying cause has not yet been found.
In the meantime, you can try these self-care tips to help relieve your symptoms:
- Sip water frequently (plain water is best)
- Suck on ice chips
- Avoid irritating substances such as hot or spicy foods, mouthwashes that contain alcohol, and products high in acid like citrus fruits or juices
- Chew sugarless gum
- Brush your teeth or dental appliances with baking soda and water
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco products
What treatments are possible?
Treatments are tailored to your individual needs and depend on the cause of your symptoms. If no underlying cause is immediately found, treatment is often aimed at relieving your symptoms.
Treatments can include any of the following:
- Adjusting or replacing your ill-fitting dental appliances
- Prescribing to relieve your dry mouth, to treat an oral fungal infection, to help control pain from a damaged nerve, or to relieve your anxiety or depression
- Switching your medications to ones that don’t contribute to problems in the mouth (if possible)
- Treating existing disorders or diseases (such as diabetes, thyroid problems or Sjogren’s syndrome)
- Taking supplements for nutritional deficiencies
*Note: The information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals
As you can see, finding the cause of your burning mouth syndrome is not an easy path and may take some time, but if you persevere, it should be possible to ease some of your symptoms. If you are suffering from burning mouth syndrome and do not have a dentist, please contact my office at 440-960-1940. You may also contact us through our website at www.drjrobb.com or on facebook at www.facebook.com/drjenniferrobb
The few teeth your one or two year old has will eventually fall out in a few years—so, why be concerned about tooth decay this early? Actually, you should: Fighting tooth decay should always be a priority, even at this early age.
Even though primary teeth are short-lived, they make a huge impact on future dental health. These early teeth help guide the eruption of permanent teeth—if lost prematurely to decay, the later teeth may come in misaligned and create a poor bite. Preserving them could help you avoid later orthodontic treatment.
Fortunately, you can help prevent decay in your child's primary teeth. Here's how.
Practice oral hygiene even before teeth. You should begin daily oral hygiene, the principal defense against tooth decay, even before their first teeth emerge. You can reduce harmful bacteria in their mouths by wiping their gums with a clean cloth after nursing. When teeth appear, begin brushing with just a smear of toothpaste.
Limit sugar consumption. Because decay-causing bacteria thrive on sugar, reduce your child's intake in snacks and beverages. For example, don't put them down for bed with a bottle filled with a sugary liquid like juice, sweetened drinks or even formula or breast milk. If you do give them a night-time bottle, fill it only with water.
Avoid bacterial transfer. Your child's immature immune system can't handle the same level of bacteria as in your mouth. So, reduce the chances of bacterial transfer that may cause tooth decay by avoiding kissing on the mouth or sharing eating or drinking utensils with your infant.
Begin dental visits early. Even though they may have few teeth by their first birthday, it's still a good time to begin your child's regular dental visits. Your dentist may be able to diagnose decay early (and treat for maximum effectiveness), as well as provide sealants, topical fluoride and other measures for preventing decay.
Tooth decay at an early age could impact your child's future dental health. Taking steps now to reduce it could help ensure they have healthy teeth and gums later in life.
If you would like more information on dental care for children, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Do Babies Get Tooth Decay?”
Are you searching for a perfect-looking smile? Then dental Veneers might be the best treatment option for you. Visit our office at Lorain, OH, to meet your dentist, Dr. Jennifer Robb, and discuss the pros and cons of dental veneers.
What are dental veneers?
Dental Veneers are thin shells that are made out of tooth-colored Porcelain. These shells are used to cover the front surface of your teeth.
What are the dental problems that are treated with veneers?
Dental veneers can treat different teeth conditions. They can also fix one tooth or more, depending on your needs. The following are some conditions that can be fixed with veneers:
- Misaligned, deformed, or broken teeth
- Darkened teeth
- Unevenly spaced teeth
What are the steps of the procedure?
To get your veneers, you will need a consultation, preparation, and application of the veneers. Your Lorain, OH, dentist will use x-rays to examine your oral health. After that, they will decide if you are a good candidate for the veneers. The next step is to discuss the look of your desired smile. Your dentist will then take impressions of your teeth and send them to a dental lab where your desired smile is custom-made.
In the preparation phase, Dr. Robb will reshape your teeth by removing a small layer of enamel. The purpose of this step is to prepare the tooth to receive the veneers. Once the veneers are ready, your dentist will check if they fit your smile. If they do, they will attach them to your teeth' surface, using dental cement.
What are the benefits of dental veneers?
Dental Veneers are made of stain-resistant materials that look exactly like your original teeth. They are also strong and durable. The life span of the veneers ranges between seven and fifteen years. After that, you must replace them with new ones.
If you are interested in dental veneers, don't hesitate to visit your Lorain, OH, dentist, Dr. Robb, to learn more about the procedure. Call (440) 960-1940 to book your appointment.
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