Wisdom Teeth



With age comes wisdom. Specifically, wisdom teeth.

Your mouth goes through many changes in your lifetime. One major dental milestone that usually takes place between the ages of 17 and 21 is the appearance of your third molars. Historically, these teeth have been called wisdom teeth because they come through at a more mature age.

When they come through correctly, healthy wisdom teeth can help you chew. It’s normal to feel a little discomfort when your wisdom teeth appear, but if you have pain, see your dentist immediately.

Room to Grow?

Wisdom teeth can lead to problems if there isn’t enough space for them to surface or they come through in the wrong position. If your dentist says your wisdom teeth are impacted, he or she means they are trapped in your jaw or under your gums.

As your wisdom teeth make their way through your gums, your dentist will be monitoring your mouth for signs of the following:

  • Wisdom teeth that aren’t in the right position can allow food to become trapped. That gives cavity-causing bacteria a place to grow.
  • Wisdom teeth that haven’t come in properly, which can make it difficult to floss between the wisdom teeth and the molars next to them.
  • Wisdom teeth that have partially come through can give bacteria a place to enter the gums and create a place for infection to occur. This may also lead to pain, swelling and stiffness in your jaw.
  • Wisdom teeth that don’t have room to come through are thought by some to crowd or damage neighboring teeth.
  • A wisdom tooth that is impacted can form a cyst on or near the impacted tooth. This could damage the roots of nearby teeth or destroy the bone that supports your teeth.

Why You Might Need to Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Every patient is unique, but in general, wisdom teeth may need to be removed when there is evidence of changes in the mouth such as:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Cysts
  • Tumors
  • Damage to neighboring teeth
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay (if it is not possible or desirable to restore the tooth)

Your dentist may also recommend removal of wisdom teeth as part of treatment for braces or other dental care.

Before making any decisions, your dentist will examine your mouth and take an x-ray. Together, you and your dentist can discuss the best course of treatment.

Keeping Your Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth that are not removed should continue to be monitored because the potential for developing problems later on still exists. As people age, they are at greater risk for health problems—and that includes potential problems with their wisdom teeth. Be sure to, floss around your wisdom teeth and visit your dentist regularly. Regular dental visits allow your dentist to evaluate your wisdom teeth and your overall dental health.

Contact Mayer Family Dental

Root Canals: FAQs About Treatment That Can Save Your Tooth

If you have a severely damaged, decaying tooth or a serious tooth infection (abscess), your dentist may recommend a root canal treatment. Root canals are used to repair and save your tooth instead of removing it.

What’s Involved in Root Canal Repair?
The pulp is soft tissue inside your tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels and provides nourishment for your tooth. It can become infected if you have:

A deep cavity
Repeated dental procedures that disturb this tissue
A cracked or fractured tooth
Injury to the tooth (even if there’s not a visible crack or chip)
If untreated, the tissues around the root of your tooth can become infected. When this happens, you will often feel pain and swelling and an abscess may form inside the tooth and/or in the bone around the end of the root of the tooth. An infection can also put you at risk of losing your tooth completely because bacteria can damage the bone that keeps your tooth connected to your jaw.

Can I Get This Treatment Done During My Regular Check-up Visit?
Your dentist will need to schedule a follow up appointment, or you may be referred to a dentist who specializes in the pulp and tissues surrounding the teeth. This specialist is known as an endodontist.

What Should I Expect?
A root canal treatment usually takes 1 or 2 office visits to complete. There is little to no pain because your dentist will use local anesthesia so you don’t feel the procedure. Once the procedure is complete, you should no longer feel the pain you felt before having it done.

Before treatment begins, your dentist will:

Take X-rays to get a clear view of your tooth and the surrounding bone.
Numb the area around and including your tooth so you are comfortable during the treatment.
Put a thin sheet of latex rubber over your tooth to keep it dry, clean and protected from viruses, bacteria and fungus that are normally in the mouth.
During treatment, your dentist will:

Create an opening in the top of your tooth.
Remove the tooth’s nerve from inside the tooth and in the areas in the root, known the root canal.
Clean inside the tooth and each root canal. Your dentist may treat the tooth with germ-killing medicine.
Fill the root canals with a rubber-like material to seal them against future infection.
Place a temporary filling on the tooth to protect it until a definitive restoration like a permanent filling or crown can be placed at the earliest opportunity.
After root canal treatment:

Your tooth and the area around it may feel sensitive for a few days. You can talk with your dentist about how to relieve any discomfort you may have.
Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics if the infection spread. Use as directed, and follow up with your dentist if you have any problems taking it.
You will need a follow-up visit after the root canal treatment. At this visit, your dentist will remove the temporary filling on the tooth and replace it with a regular filling or a crown to protect your tooth from further damage. A metal or plastic post may also be placed in the root canal to help make sure the filling materials remain in place. This helps support a crown if you need one.

How Long Will a Root Canal Filling Last?
With proper care, your restored tooth can last a lifetime. Make it a point to brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, clean between your teeth once a day and see your dentist regularly to make sure your teeth are strong and healthy.

Contact us with any questions about your dental care or to request an appointment.

Mouthguards

Mouthguard

Imagine what it would be like if you suddenly lost one or two of your front teeth. Smiling, talking, eating—everything would suddenly be affected. Knowing how to prevent injuries to your mouth and face is especially important if you participate in organized sports or other recreational activities.

Mouthguards, also called mouth protectors, help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. They typically cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining. “Your top teeth take the brunt of trauma because they stick out more,” says Dr. Thomas Long, a private practice dentist and team dentist for the Carolina Hurricanes professional hockey team. “Your bottom teeth are a little more protected because they are further back.”

When Should You Wear a Mouthguard?

When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouthguard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age.

While collision and contact sports, such as boxing, are higher-risk sports for the mouth, any athlete may experience a dental injury in non-contact activities too, such as gymnastics and skating.

Types of Mouthguards

The best mouthguard is one that has been custom made for your mouth by your dentist. However, if you can’t afford a custom-made mouthguard, you should still wear a stock mouthguard or a boil-and-bite mouthguard from the drugstore. Learn more about each option:

  • Custom-made: These are made by your dentist for you personally. They are more expensive than the other versions because they are individually created for fit and comfort.
  • Boil and bite: These mouth protectors can be bought at many sporting goods stores and drugstores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They are first softened in water (boiled), then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth. Always follow the manufacturers’ instructions.  CustMbite MVP and CustMbite Pro are a boil and bite mouthguards that have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
  • Stock: These are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.

Protecting Your Braces

A properly fitted mouthguard may be especially important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouthguard also provides a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, which will help you avoid injuries to your gums and cheeks.

Talk to your dentist or orthodontist about selecting a mouthguard that will provide the right protection. Although some mouthguards only cover the upper teeth, your dentist or orthodontist may suggest that you use a mouthguard on the lower teeth if you have braces on these teeth.

If you have a retainer or other removable appliance, do not wear it during any contact sports.

Mouthguard Care and Replacement

Talk to your dentist about when is the right time to replace your mouthguard, but replace it immediately if it shows sign of wear, is damaged or ill fitting. Teens and children may need to replace their mouthguards more often because their mouths are still growing and changing.

  • Between games, it’s important to keep your mouthguard clean and dry. Here are some tips for making sure your mouthguard is always ready to go:
  • Rinse before and after each use or brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Regularly clean the mouthguard in cool, soapy water. Then, rinse it thoroughly.
  • During your regular dental checkups, bring your mouthguard for an evaluation. Your dentist may also be able to give it a thorough cleaning.
  • Store and transport the mouthguard in a sturdy container that has vents so it can dry and keep bacteria from growing.
  • Never leave the mouthguard in the sun or in hot water.
  • Check fit and for signs of wear and tear to see if it needs replacing.
  • Some mouthguards have fallen victim to family pets, who see them as chew toys. Store your mouthguard and case somewhere your pet cannot get to it.

 

If you live in the Lehigh Acres area and would like to contact Mayer Family Dental, click HERE to send your message or request an appointment.

Nail Biting & Other Habits and What to Do About Them

Nail Biting

The habit: This nervous habit can chip teeth and impact your jaw. “Placing your jaw for long periods of time in a protruding position can place pressure on it, which is associated with jaw dysfunction,” says Dr. Ruchi Sahota.

The solution: Bitter-tasting nail polishes, stress reduction and setting small, realistic goals can help. If certain situations are triggers, hold something to keep your fingers busy.

If you are in the Lehigh Acres area, contact us or request an appointment HERE.

Brushing Too Hard

The habit: Brushing for two minutes twice a day is one of the best habits you can get into. Just make sure you’re not trying too hard. “Brushing with a hard toothbrush, or brushing too hard, can damage teeth and irritate gums,” says Dr. Matthew Messina.

The solution: Use a soft toothbrush with the ADA Seal of Acceptance at the proper pressure. “Don’t think ‘scrub.’  Think ‘massage,’” he says. “Save the hard toothbrush for cleaning the grout in the bathroom tile.”

Grinding and Clenching

The habit: “This can cause chipping or cracking of the teeth, as well as muscle tenderness or joint pain,” Dr. Messina says. “You might also feel like you can’t open your mouth wide or chew with pain.”

The solution: “Relaxation exercises and staying aware makes a difference,” he says. A nighttime mouthguard can also help. “You’ll have less tooth damage, less pain and muscle soreness and better sleep.”

Chewing Ice Cubes

The habit: “Tooth enamel is a crystal. Ice is a crystal. When you push two crystals against each other, one will break,” Dr. Messina says. “Most of the time it’s the ice, but sometimes the tooth or a filling will break.”

The solution: Drink chilled beverages without ice, or use a straw so you’re not tempted. “The risk of chewing ice is greater than any pleasure that comes from chewing it,” he says. “Besides, ice is really cold!”

Constant Snacking

The habit: Grazing all day, especially on sugary foods and drinks, puts you at a higher risk for cavities. When you eat, cavity-causing bacteria feast leftover food, producing an acid that attacks the outer shell of your teeth.

The solution: Eat balanced meals to feel fuller, longer. If you need a snack, make sure it’s low in fat and sugar. If you indulge in the occasional sugary treat, follow it with a big glass of water to wash away leftover food.

Using Your Teeth As Tools

The habit: Your teeth were made for eating, not to stand in as a pair of scissors or hold things when your hands are full. When you do this, you put yourself at a higher risk of cracking your teeth, injuring your jaw or accidentally swallowing something you shouldn’t.

The solution: Stop and find something or someone to give you a hand. Your mouth will thank you.

If you are in the Lehigh Acres area, contact us or request an appointment HERE.

Nutrition: What You Eat Affects Your Teeth

Family eating a healthy meal

Your mouth, teeth, and gums are more than just tools for eating. They’re essential for chewing and swallowing—the first steps in the digestion process. Your mouth is your body’s initial point of contact with the nutrients you consume. So what you put in your mouth impacts not only your general health but also that of your teeth and gums. In fact, if your nutrition is poor, the first signs often show up in your mouth. Here are a few helpful things to know about how what you eat can impact your dental health.

About Your Diet and Dental Health

  • Recommended Nutritional Guidelines
  • Diet and Tooth Decay
  • How Snacking Affects Your Dental Health
  • Foods That Harm Your Dental Health
  • Foods That Benefit Dental Health
  • Sugar and Your Dental Health
  • How Sugar Substitutes Affect Your Teeth
  • 4 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Cavities

Toothpaste

Toothpaste is a key part of your daily oral hygiene routine. Along with your toothbrush and floss it helps to remove food debris and plaque from your teeth and gums.

Toothpastes can come in a gel, paste or powder form. While the ingredients differ slightly, all toothpastes contain the same general components:

Mild abrasive. With some help from your toothbrush, these help to remove debris and surface stains.

Humectants. This ingredient helps to prevent water loss, and keeps your toothpaste from drying out or getting gummy.

Flavoring agents. This is what gives your toothpaste a little bit of sweetness, and that minty fresh scent. Since these do not contain sugar, they also do not promote tooth decay.

Thickening agents. Also known as binders, these help to stabilize the toothpaste formula.

Detergent. That foaming action comes from detergent. It also helps to spread the toothpaste through your whole mouth, and helps clean teeth.

They may have all the same basic ingredients, but all toothpastes are not the same. Depending on the toothpaste, other ingredients can also be added for other benefits. Here are some important things to keep in mind when choosing your toothpaste:

Decay prevention. Fluoride is a natural cavity fighter helps to strengthen tooth enamel and fight tooth decay. Not all toothpastes contain fluoride. Be sure to always use toothpaste containing this cavity-fighting mineral.

Plaque and gingivitis. Several toothpaste contain active ingredients that can fight plaque and gingivitis, an early form of gum disease.

Whitening. If you’re looking for a little extra sparkle in your smile, “whitening” toothpastes have special chemical or polishing agents that help remove more surface stains than regular toothpastes.

Desensitizing. If you have sensitive teeth, you may want to consider using a desensitizing toothpaste. These contain compounds which help to reduce tooth sensitivity.

Finally, always look for the ADA Seal when selecting toothpaste. The Seal helps you make sure you are choosing the best toothpaste for your dental needs. It’s also your assurance that the toothpaste has met the ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness, and that it does what it says. Visit the ADA website for more information about the ADA Seal of Acceptance and toothpaste.

Contact Mayer Family Dental today!

Mouthwash

While not a replacement for daily brushing and flossing, use of mouthwash (also called mouthrinse) may be a helpful addition to the daily dental hygiene routine for some people.

Why Use Mouthwash?

Just like dental floss, interdental brushes, and water flossers, mouthwash can get in between teeth.  Reaching areas that your toothbrush can’t get to helps to reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease.  Mouthwash can help:

  • Prevent or control tooth decay
  • Reduce plaque (a thin film of bacteria that forms on teeth)
  • Prevent or reduce gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease)
  • Reduce the speed that tartar (hardened plaque) forms on the teeth or to produce a combination of these effects
  • Freshen breath

Types of Mouthwash

There are two main types of mouthwashes:

  • Therapeutic mouthwashes. These have active ingredients that kill bacteria and can help reduce plaque, gingivitis, cavities and bad breath. Those that contain fluoride help prevent or reduce tooth decay.
  • Cosmetic mouthwashes. These may temporarily control or reduce bad breath and leave your mouth with a pleasant taste, but don’t reduce your risk of cavities or gum disease.

Some therapeutic mouthwashes require a prescription, but many mouthwashes are available over-the-counter. Talk to your dentist about whether you need a mouthwash and what kind of mouthwash to use, depending on your dental health needs.

When selecting an over-the-counter mouthwash, look for products that carry the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance, which means that they have been tested and shown to be safe and effective.

Mouthwash and Children

Mouthwash is not recommended for children younger than 6 years of age. They may accidentally swallow large amounts of the mouthwash, which can cause nausea, vomiting and intoxication (due to the alcohol content in some rinses). Check the label and follow specific precautions, instructions and age recommendations.

We’re here to support the dental health of you and your family.

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Oral Health

Oral health touches every aspect of our lives but is often taken for granted. Your mouth is a window into the health of your body. It can show signs of nutritional deficiencies or general infection. Systemic diseases, those that affect the entire body, may first become apparent because of mouth lesions or other oral problems.

Whether you are 80 or 8, your oral health is important. Most Americans today enjoy excellent oral health and are keeping their natural teeth throughout their lives; however, cavities remain the most prevalent chronic disease of childhood. Some 100 million Americans fail to see a dentist each year, even though regular dental examinations and good oral hygiene can prevent most dental disease. Many people believe that they need to see a dentist only if they are in pain or think something is wrong, but regular dental visits can contribute to a lifetime of good oral health. If you are experiencing dental pain, don’t put off seeing a dentist. With dentistry’s many advances, diagnosis and treatment are more sophisticated and comfortable than ever.

You can practice good oral hygiene by always brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, cleaning between your teeth once a day with floss or another interdental cleaner, replacing your toothbrush every three or four months and by eating a balanced diet and limiting between-meal snacks. Don’t forget to schedule regular dental check-ups to keep your smile, and yourself, healthy.

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Medications and Oral Health

Many medications—both those prescribed by your doctor and the ones you buy on your own—affect your oral health.

A common side effect of medications is dry mouth. Saliva helps keep food from collecting around your teeth and neutralizes the acids produced by plaque. Those acids can damage the hard surfaces of your teeth. Dry mouth increases your risk for tooth decay. Your soft oral tissues—gums, cheek lining, tongue—can be affected by medications as well. For example, people with breathing problems often use inhalers. Inhaling medication through your mouth can cause a fungal infection called oral candidiasis. Sometimes called thrush, this infection appears as white spots in your mouth and can be painful. Rinsing your mouth after using your inhaler may prevent this infection.

Cancer treatments also can affect oral health. If possible, see your dentist before beginning treatment. He or she can ensure that your mouth is healthy and, if necessary, can prescribe treatments to help you maintain good oral health. Your dentist also is interested in the medications you are taking because many can affect your dental treatments. Your dentist may want to speak with your physician when planning your treatment. Rare but serious jaw problems also can occur in people who’ve received bone strengthening drugs to treat cancer and, to a lesser extent, osteoporosis.

These are only a few examples of how medications can affect your oral health. It is important that your dentist knows about the medications you are taking so that he or she can provide the best dental care for you. Tell your dentist about your medication use and your overall health, especially if you have had any recent illnesses or have any chronic conditions. Provide a health history including both prescription and over-the-counter products. Always let your dentist know when there are changes in your health or medication use.

Be sure to talk with your dentist about how to properly secure and dispose of any unused, unwanted or expired medications, especially if there are any children in the household. Also, take the time to talk with your children about the dangers of using prescription drugs for non-medical purposes.

Click or tap here to contact Mayer Family Dental today to send a message to us or schedule an appointment for you or a family member.

Jaw Pain

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Many adults suffer from chronic jaw and facial pain. Some common symptoms include pain in or around the ear, tenderness of the jaw, pain when biting, or headaches. Many things can cause facial pain, which can make it difficult to diagnose and treat. Your dentist will conduct a thorough exam, which may include X-rays, to determine the cause of the pain.

Possible causes of jaw pain or facial pain include:

  • sinus problems
  • toothache
  • infections
  • arthritis
  • injury
  • tooth grinding
  • periodontal disease
  • problems with your jaw or the temporomandibular joint

Your dentist’s plan for treatment will depend on the source of your facial pain, but recommendations may include:

  • mouth protector
  • muscle relaxants
  • exercises
  • anti-inflammatory drugs
  • antibiotics
  • root canal therapy
  • periodontal treatment
  • extraction

If you suffer from jaw pain or facial pain, speak with your dentist or physician for diagnosis and treatment.