Many people believe that getting your wisdom teeth removed is a necessary rite of passage. Is this true and why do so many people have their wisdom teeth removed?
Wisdom teeth (third molars) usually erupt into the mouth between the ages of 17 and 21. They are called wisdom teeth because they come through at a more mature age. Some people have enough room in their jaws for the wisdom teeth to erupt normally and function properly like their other teeth. However, if there isn't enough space wisdom teeth can lead to problems. If the wisdom teeth are impacted it means they are trapped under the gums or in the bone. If this is the case the following can happen:
Every patient is different, but in general, wisdom teeth may need to be removed if there is evidence of the following changes in the mouth:
Just because 1 wisdom tooth is causing a problem does not mean that all of them need to be removed. Regular dental visits allow your dentist to evaluate your wisdom teeth and overall oral health.
Research from Taiwan has showed that frequent and regular dental scalings (cleanings) are associated with a decreased risk of infection after total knee arthroplasty (TKA). The data analysis showed that patients who received dental scaling had a 20% lower risk for infection than patients who did not get scaling. The more frequently patients got scaling the lower their risk for infection.
Brushing before bed is probably the most important time to brush your teeth. Brushing after daily meals is also recommended. But what happens after daytime snacks when you can't brush? Bacteria in the mouth start consuming the sugar we eat and the acid from our soft drinks and coffee wear our teeth. Utilizing our body's natural defense, saliva, against oral challenges can be magnified by chewing gum.
Chewing sugar-free gum promotes salivary flow, which helps buffer acids, clean the teeth, and potentially even combat some bacteria. Chewing gum containing xylitol is preferred. Chewing gum not only loosens up food in your teeth but it gets the salivary glands working. Chewing the recommended dose of xylitol gum for about 10-20 minutes is a great way to protect your mouth when floss and a toothbrush aren't handy.
Remember, gum is a complement to your normal dental routine, not a substitute.
Myth 1: Sugar is the only thing that causes cavities
In fact the acid produced by bacteria cause cavities. The bacteria digest the sugar we eat. Any carb you eat can contribute to bacteria produced acid such as sugar from fruit, rice, and bread.
Fact 1: Acid causes tooth decay
Consuming acidic foods and drinks can erode the enamel (outer covering of teeth) similar to the way bacterial acid wears the teeth.
Myth 2: Kids get more cavities than adults
While there has been a decrease in childhood cavities since the public health initiative to put fluoride in drinking water, there has been an increase in cavities in the elderly due to medications that dry the mouth. One of saliva’s main benefits is to protect the teeth from acid.
Myth 3: Putting aspirin next to a tooth will help a toothache
Aspirin must get into the bloodstream to exert its effects. The acidity of the aspirin tablet could cause an ulcer on your gums.
Myth 4: You will know when you have a cavity
When the cavity gets so big it reaches the pulp you will probably have intense pain. However, it’s best to get a cavity treated when it is small and before the pain starts so that as much of your natural tooth as possible is still healthy.
Fact 2: Once a tooth is treated the decay stops
Before your dentist puts in a filling he makes sure all of the cavity and diseased tooth is removed so that it is clean before the filling. However, after a filling is placed a new cavity can initiate if diet and home care aren't improved.
Fact 3: Cavities are most likely between your teeth
Bacteria love to hide where the toothbrush can’t reach, especially between your teeth. Use floss, mouthwash, and interdental brushes to get the difficult spots between teeth.
Myth 5: Cavities are the only reason for root canals
Injury to the tooth can also require a root canal
Fact 4: You have to brush and floss to prevent cavities
Definitely! Without excellent home care you won’t be able to remove food, plaque, and bacteria. If you don’t like to floss try an interdental brush or a toothpick.
A new page on our website which will be periodically updated is "Dr. Pearl's Recommended Products." These products include oral hygiene aids, gums, and more which Dr. Pearl personally uses in his everyday life and recommends. The list is not all-inclusive and by its nature a work in progress. New products will be added and older less desirable products will be removed. Enjoy!
Pearl Dental Care is now offering a new treatment option for periodontal disease called Perio Protect. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, which combined with an autoimmune response, destroys the tissues that hold the teeth in the mouth. Perio Protect uses custom mouth trays to apply medication below the gums. Proper use of Perio Protect and excellent home care allow the body’s natural immune system to more effectively fight the bacteria.
Patients find that the Perio Protect trays are very comfortable. When combined with scaling and root planing and improved oral hygiene, patients can see a dramatic improvement in oral health. Studies have shown that with improved periodontal disease comes a reduction in total body inflammation. Improvements in periodontal disease have been associated with improvements in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other conditions.
Perio Protect is not for everyone. For advanced cases of periodontal disease, the LANAP protocol is the recommended treatment option. All of your options can be reviewed at your next check-up at Pearl Dental Care.
According to an article published by WTNH, CT residents are the second best in the country at visiting the dentist.
We all know that we are supposed to floss everyday. But how many of us actually do? The first nationally representative analysis says that about 30% of the population flosses every day. About 32% of people say they never floss and about 37% of people report less than daily flossing.
Flossing removes food and plaque between teeth that toothbrushes cannot get to. Without removal, these entrapments harbor bacteria that cause inflammation.
Interestingly, the study found that males (39%) were more likely to report never flossing than females (27%). Younger people tend to floss more than older people.
Source: US News & World Report
Reader's Digest recently published an article entitled "7 Signs of Disease Your Teeth Can reveal." The article describes how dentists are trained to detect more than just cavities. Disease in the mouth can relate to disease in the rest of the body and vice versa. Systemic conditions that have manifestations in the mouth include type 2 diabetes, acid reflux, stress, osteoporosis, autoimmune disease, eating disorders, celiac disease, and hormonal changes. If you notice any unusual changes in your mouth be sure to let your dentist know. If your dentist asks questions about your overall health this is because a thorough history is important for optimal dental care.
The Tennesseean published an article on 12 simple ways to live a healthier life. The tips are broken down into daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. In the monthly/ twice yearly goals:
"Go to the dentist
Poor oral health is a major risk factor for endocarditis, or inflammation of the inner layer of the heart. Bacteria in the mouth can move into the bloodstream and can also increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Avoid these health problems by brushing and flossing twice a day and visiting your dentist every six months."
What are the symptoms of teething?
As teeth are erupting, babies can become irritable, fussy, drool more, or lose their appetite. A fever or diarrhea is not a symptom of teething so in this case you should see your baby’s pediatrician.
How can you soothe a teething baby?
Soothe the tender gums by gently massaging the gums with your finger, a small cool spoon, or a gauze pad. A pacifier or teething ring may help as well. A topical benzocaine anesthetic should not be used without first talking to your dentist due to potential side effects.
Caring for your baby’s teeth-
A survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found that 74% of Americans believe an unattractive smile can hurt someone's career opportunities. Many Americans also falsely believe that white teeth means healthy teeth. However, even white teeth can have cavities or Periodontal Disease. Before beginning a whitening regimen it is important to have an exam by your dentist. Whitening should only begin once it is certain there is no tooth decay or gum disease.
What is in tooth whitening? Most whiteners contain hydrogen peroxide. The peroxides help remove deep (intrinsic) stains and superficial stains. The most common side effect of peroxide bleaching is sensitivity. The soft tissues of the mouth can also be disturbed. It is important to review the different forms of bleaching with your dentist so that the best method is chosen for you.
A majority of those age 50 to 64 don't realize that Medicare does not cover dental care. Medicare does not cover cleanings, fillings, crowns, dentures, or implants. Many retirees do not plan for the costs associated with maintaining their oral health. Only 10% of seniors have dental care when they retire.
The last thing we want is retirees avoiding going to the dentist because they were unaware of Medicare lack of coverage. Seniors still have the option of enrolling in dental insurance. We recommend investing in routine check-ups to find and treat problems when they are still minor.
A recent study in the British Dental Journal has shown the benefits of chewing sugar-free gum and the potential dental cost savings. The study examined the amount of money that theoretically could be saved if the United Kingdom 12 year old population chewed more sugar-free gum. If this population chewed sugar-free gum twice per day, the potential cost savings over the course of a year were estimated at between 1 and 3 million British pounds. If the population chewed sugar-free gum 3 times per day the savings would be 8 million British pounds each year. The bottom line is that chewing sugar-free gum promotes salivary flow and anti-cavity protection.
Like many NHL players, Brent Burns is missing a few teeth. He has lost three playing hockey and a fourth he says is barely hanging on. "Many casual fans might assume all players are missing a few teeth — not true — but there is far more interest in keeping the originals than there was in the 1980s, a time Kings coach Darryl Sutter recalls seeing players writing their numbers on coffee cups, putting their teeth in the cups and setting them on a shelf before games.
"The joke was switching teeth around," Sutter said with a sly grin."
The only way the NHL is able to prevent more tooth loss is to mandate players to use a full cage face mask. But in the NHL that isn't going to happen any time soon.
"Dental care is one of the progressive moves made by the NHL, according to Predators general manager David Poile. When Poile was an administrative assistant for the Atlanta Flames in the early '70s, he said, he doesn't recall the team even having a dentist.
"An oral surgeon who can also do plastic surgery is ideal," added Pronger. "I had a nice set of teeth. Now, I've got new ones. And, I broke my jaw and you probably can't tell I had 50 stitches here and 27 there."
A few tips in case a tooth gets knocked out- don't wash it in water. Put the tooth in a cup of milk or saliva, or keep it safe under your tongue. Get to your dentist ASAP! If your dentist can see you within 30 min there is a good chance the tooth can be replanted.
5 Super Snacks for the Big GameBy Dr. Sheryl Hunter Griffith, DDS and Dr. Elizabeth Chen, DDS, MS
Kids Healthy Teeth
Are you ready for the Big Game? A championship get-together demands super snacks but not at the expense of your teeth. That’s why we’ve put together a few tasty game day snacking ideas with healthy ingredients. Of course, these are snacks, and none of them are perfect. Regardless of what you eat, don’t forget to brush!
Spicy Jalapeño Dip
What’s in it:
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend thoroughly.
2. Serve the dip with raw vegetables such as carrots and celery.
What makes it tooth friendly:
This dip with a kick will make your veggies disappear. Raw veggies require lots of chewing which stimulates and promotes healthy gums. Carrots contain beta-carotene that your body uses to create vitamin A which works to build strong teeth. The sour cream in this dip gives your teeth a boost of Calcium which also helps to keep your teeth strong.
Hummus with Cucumber
What’s in it:
1. Place all ingredients in a blender in the order listed except for the cucumber.
2. Blend for approximately 1 to 1 and a half minutes, pulsing as necessary.
3. Slice up the cucumber into thick pieces for dipping.
4. Place hummus in serving bowl and drizzle additional olive oil on top with some parsley for garnish.
What makes it tooth friendly:
Protein rich chickpeas don’t contain any saturated fat or cholesterol, making hummus a good choice for your overall health. Chickpeas are also rich in folic acid, which keeps your mouth healthy by promoting cell growth throughout your body. As to the cucumbers, not only are they a healthy alternative to chips, but they are rich in vitamins B and C and have even been shown to help freshen breath and naturally whiten teeth!
The Party Standard: The Meat & Cheese Tray
What’s in it:
This party tray is a cheese buffet with Gouda, White Cheddar, Havarti and Chipotle Jack. Shaped like a football field on a kale turf, it includes red grapes, whole wheat crackers and summer sausage.
What makes it tooth friendly:
The cheese on the sidelines plays quarterback in this party tray. Cheese is a tooth powerhouse with tons of tooth strengthening calcium and a protein called casein which is amazingly effective in protecting the surface of your teeth. One note about the crackers, however. We chose whole wheat crackers for their beneficial fiber, but all crackers can stick to teeth and promote bacteria growth. Again, just be sure to brush after the game!
Baked Cheese Roll
What’s in it:
1. Preheat oven to 350°
2. In a jelly roll pan or small casserole dish, add approximately 1/4 inch of grape or olive oil.
3. Place goat cheese in the pan and cover with pesto, then grape tomatoes.
4. Bake for 20-30 minutes, remove from the oven and drizzle with balsamic glaze.
5. Serve with French bread or your favorite healthy crackers.
What makes it tooth friendly:
If cheese made from cow’s milk is a powerhouse, goat cheese is a touchdown. It contains more protein and calcium than cow’s milk cheese and yet has less fat and calories per serving. The higher calcium of goat cheese means even more protection for your teeth.
Healthy 7-Layer Dip
What’s in it:
1. Mix together all ingredients for the pico de gallo.|
2. In a separate bowl, mix the ingredients for the guacamole layer.
3. The ingredients can be added in the following order (starting at the bottom): beans, yogurt, cheese, olives, guacamole, pico de gallo.
What makes it tooth friendly:
This dish has it all and it’s a great update of what is usually a calorie dense snack. While tomato and citrus juices can be tough on your teeth because of their high acidity, the cheese and Greek yogurt help to balance that out. Plus, this dish is high in vitamins E, A and C, which are all essential for a healthy mouth. Choosing celery or another vegetable over chips would make this an even better choice for your teeth.
Remember, regardless of what you choose to snack on during the Super Bowl, be sure to brush twice a day for two minutes each time!
About the Authors Dr. Sheryl Hunter Griffith (Practice: Kids Healthy Teeth in Katy, Texas)
Dr. Sheryl Hunter Griffith is a native of the Houston area. She attended the University of Houston at Clear Lake City, then, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; obtaining a Doctorate of Dental Surgery in 1982. She practiced General Dentistry; then, returned to UTHSCSA, graduating in 1987 with a Post-Doctoral Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry.
Dr. Griffith is involved in numerous dental organizations which promote research, education, prevention and restoration of dental diseases. Among these are the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, the Houston Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the Greater Houston Dental Society. Dr. Griffith is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and has been an Active Member since 1986.
Dr. Elizabeth Chen (Practice: Kids Healthy Teeth in Katy, Texas)
Dr. Elizabeth Chen was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She attended high school at St. Agnes Academy and went on to play collegiate soccer in Austin, TX, at St. Edward’s University. Following in her parents’ footsteps, Elizabeth returned to Houston and received her Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Texas School of Dentistry where she graduated salutatorian in 2013. Immediately after receiving her Doctorate, Dr. Chen started her residency in Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Texas School of Dentistry in Houston graduating with a Post-Doctoral Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry and a Masters of Science in Dentistry in 2015.
A crown is a commonly used dental term that patients may not actually understand the meaning of. A crown, also known as a "cap", is technically a prosthesis for a natural tooth. Crowns are generally indicated when a tooth is weak and needs protection. After endodontic therapy (root canal) is performed, a crown is usually needed to protect the now weakened tooth.
Crowns are also necessary to "restore" an implant to function. After the implant is integrated into the bone, the crown is the prosthesis that looks and acts like a natural tooth. In addition, when fabricating a bridge to replace one or several missing teeth, crowns are used on the natural teeth to support the fake teeth.
Crowns can be made in-office using Cerec or by an outside professional laboratory technician. The design and craftsmanship that goes into producing a beautiful crown is dental art. Developing the skills of a dental technician to learn how to work with wax, metals, porcelains, and shades to produce a natural looking tooth that fits perfectly takes years to master.
Periodontal disease has been found to be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. According to a new study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association of Cancer research, postmenopausal women with periodontal disease, were more likely to develop breast cancer than women without periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a dental disease characterized by red and bleeding gums and loss of the connective tissue and bone that support teeth. When periodontal disease progresses it results in tooth loss.
The study monitored 73,737 postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study. None of the patients previously had breast cancer. Periodontal disease was reported in 26% of the women. After a 6.7 year follow up, the risk of breast cancer was 14% higher in women who had periodontal disease. Among women who had quit smoking in the past 20 years and had periodontal disease, there was a 36% higher risk of breast cancer.
There are several suspected links between periodontal disease and breast cancer. As with diabetes and cardiovascular disease, there is a level of systemic inflammation from periodontal disease that can cause effects all over the body. Another possibility is that bacteria from the mouth enter the bloodstream and affect the breast tissue. More research is needed to determine the exact links, but this study further raises awareness to the importance of preventing and treating periodontal disease.
Bruxism is the grinding of teeth and/or clenching of the jaw. Bruxism is considered a parafunctional habit because it is not a normal healthy function. Prevalence of bruxism has been estimated to be up to 30% of the population. Some of the consequences of bruxism include excessive wear of teeth, sensitivity of teeth, damage to dental work, jaw pain, and headaches. Bruxism can occur during the day or while sleeping. Here is an interesting article relating bruxism to the stresses of living in New York City.
When patients tell us they have dental phobia, or fear of the dentist, there is often a dental event in their past that was traumatic. Perhaps as a child they had a scary needle encounter or a dentist who wasn't very kind. Some patients have such powerful memories that they can't even book an appointment without fear. It is estimated that 1 in 5 people have fear of the dentist. The good news is that there are ways to manage dental fear and anxiety. The first step is for patients to clearly communicate to the dental staff what it is they are afraid of. Is it the needle? The sound of the dental drill? The more detail the dental team has, the more effectively a plan of action can be made. We try to give patients as much control as possible. Whether that means raising their hand to signal a break is needed or holding onto a suction. Other techniques include:
The Los Angeles Times published an article recently about breaking common daily bad habits. One of the 4 tips was how to prevent harm caused by nail biting. Nail biting is one of the most common nervous habits and can be very difficult to quit. An old remedy is to paint a bitter coating on the nails. A weekly manicure can be a deterrent to nail biting for some people. In addition to nail biting, other teeth related habits include biting cheeks, pencils, or clenching and grinding. Anxiety can usually explain why people have any of these habits. Grinding and clenching sometimes increase when patients take SSRI medications, which are typically given for depression and ADHD.
Grinding, clenching, and biting can have long-term effects on the teeth including excessive wear, fractures, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems. As an alternative to chewing on objects, try chewing sugarless gum. For grinding, a dental appliance made by your dentist can be made that is worn at night to protect your teeth and TMJ.
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is the virus that causes cold sores around the mouth. It is present in more than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Most people catch the virus in childhood and then get recurrent exacerbations. Herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) is most often associated with genital infections.
"We really need to accelerate the development of vaccines against herpes simplex virus, and if a vaccine designed to prevent HSV-2 infection also prevented HSV-1, it would have far-reaching benefits," said Sami Gottlieb, a WHO medical officer.
In North American adults, the seroprevalence of HSV-1 is about 80%, while the seroprevalence for HSV-2 is about 20%. The primary infection of HSV-1 is usually in childhood and the oral findings can affect anywhere in the mouth or lips. The onset is sudden and there can be a fever and painful ulcers. The symptoms usually resolve within 14 days, but it is contagious in the meantime.
In recurrent herpes infections in the mouth, patients can often sense that an outbreak is about to occur. Sometimes they feel a buzz, tingle, or electric sensation. The recurrent outbreaks usually occur on the lips.
What are the treatments? Antiviral therapy helps symptoms if it is prescribed early. If patients present several days into the illness, antivirals will not help much with the symptoms but will help stop the spread of the virus.
Pearl Dental Care
1834 Dixwell Avenue
Hamden, CT 06514
Pearl Dental Care proudly serves all of the Hamden, New Haven, and surrounding areas.