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Wisdom Teeth

admin : April 17, 2017 10:43 am : Uncategorized

Heading into the summer months, we have had several parents inquiring about having their teen’s wisdom teeth removed while school is out. Hopefully, this blog will help address some of the questions you may have regarding wisdom teeth.

Third molars, or wisdom teeth, erupt later in life in comparison to the other teeth in mouth. Thus, it is believed the term “wisdom teeth” appeared as they come in when the patient is now older and wiser. Just as your baby cried during the teething stage, your teen may now complain of discomfort with his or her wisdom teeth coming in. So when is the right time to remove the teeth? Is it even necessary to take out the wisdom teeth? We look at a number of factors when determining whether or not to extract the teeth.

Possibly the most important factor is determining if the teeth are healthy and erupting in the proper position. Often times, wisdom teeth can come in at an angle and improperly push on the teeth next to them. They also may never erupt at this angle and stay poorly positioned in your mouth. Impacted wisdom teeth can become infected, form cysts, or cause damage to adjacent teeth. Partially erupted wisdom teeth can also cause problems. They are difficult to clean which often times leads to decay or inflammation in your gums.

In some cases, patients have room for the third molars, and the teeth are erupting properly. In these situations, extracting the teeth may not be necessary. However, just like the rest of your body, your mouth changes over time. Due to the location, wisdom teeth tend to be more difficult to maintain with home oral health care. Routine evaluations by your dentist are important to assess dental disease and help prevent problems with all of your teeth.

Finally, we are often asked why remove them in the teenage years rather than to wait until a problem may arise as an older adult. Typically, during the mid to late teen years, the roots have not fully formed and are not as firmly rooted in the jaw. Also, there is still some flexibility in the jaws and healing tends to be quicker.

As with any case, each patient is unique. If there are any questions or concerns, we are always happy to answer any questions you may have regarding wisdom teeth removal.

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Your Child’s Teeth are Important!

admin : December 16, 2015 3:25 pm : Uncategorized

Occasionally, we are asked at what age a child should be brought to our office for their first dental visit.  Dr. Erika Grimm, Dr. Pete Smidt, and I would like to see children for their first 6 month checkup around the age of three. At that appointment we check their teeth and usually are able to have a dental hygienist introduce the child’s first prophylaxis (tooth cleaning).  We then continue this routine every 6 months, working in x-rays and fluoride treatments.

 

However, there are a few exceptions when a child should be brought in earlier.  First, at any point in your child’s infancy, if you suspect a tooth or gum problem, don’t hesitate to call for an appointment.  Second, as a parent, you must be able to keep your young child’s teeth clean and free of plaque in order to prevent early decay.  When the first tooth comes in, you should clean your child’s teeth with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water.  Parents should use a tiny smear of toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily.  If the child is unable to spit, use infant toothpaste without the fluoride.

 

As a parent, you must be careful not to allow too much sugar to come in contact with your child’s teeth, which means not allowing their teeth to be bathed in fruit juices or even milk in their bedtime bottle.  Baby teeth are very important for many reasons.  Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.  A parent working beside his or her dentist is most important in a child having healthy teeth for a lifetime.

Gary Long DDS

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Tips for Coffee Drinkers

admin : September 23, 2015 6:26 pm : Uncategorized

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It is officially fall here in Morton. Time for bonfires, football, and pumpkin spiced lattes. If you are anything like us, you love your fall coffee. However, you may not love the staining that coffee may cause on your teeth. Here are some helpful tips and tricks so that you can enjoy your coffee while cutting back on the staining.

Use milk or cream in your coffee. Tannins from the coffee can attach to the teeth and cause staining. The dairy proteins in the milk can actually help prevent the tannins from attaching so strongly. Plus, the milk can help neutralize the acidity of the coffee preventing enamel erosion.

Keep it in the mug. Putting the coffee into a to-go cup or thermos allows you to sip on it throughout the day. Coffee can only be so hot for so long in a mug, and you actually take larger swallows than sips. This will prevent the ongoing exposure of the tannins and staining throughout the day, as well as constant acidity on the teeth.

Rinse it out. Rinse with water or use a mouth rinse after you finish your coffee. This will help prevent those staining tannins from seeping into your enamel.

Use a straw. This generally works better with iced coffee. Using a straw helps to bypass your front teeth. To be honest, most people only care about staining on the front teeth. But be careful: straws tend to encourage sipping, and iced coffee usually has additional sugar.

Enjoy those pumpkin spiced coffees this fall. Just don’t forget to visit us so that we can help polish off any remaining unwanted stains at your cleaning.

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Traumatic Dental Emergencies

admin : June 8, 2015 6:05 pm : Uncategorized

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Summertime brings about many outdoor activities.  With the excitement of running around outdoors, traumatic dental emergencies tend to go on the rise.  Here are a few tricks and tips to know in case an emergency happens to a friend, family member, or perhaps yourself.

 

If the tooth has fallen out, immediate attention is required and acting quickly could potentially save the tooth.  First check to see if it is a permanent tooth or primary (baby) tooth.  If the tooth is a baby tooth, leave it alone.  Replanting primary teeth may adversely affect the underlying permanent tooth.  However, still visit us in order to evaluate if space maintenance is needed in order for the permanent tooth to erupt properly.

 

If it is a permanent tooth that has fallen out, pick the tooth up by the white crown and avoid touching the roots.  If the tooth fell onto the ground and is visibly dirty, rinse the tooth for only a few seconds and reposition it back into the socket.  Replanting the tooth needs to be done as soon as possible.  After replanting the tooth back into the socket, bite onto a napkin, t-shirt, etc. to keep the tooth into the correct position.

 

If the tooth came out and is unable to be replanted, store the tooth in a recommended transportation solution.  We recommend using Hank’s Balanced Solution.  Milk is another alternative to store the tooth while bringing it to the office.  If neither are on hand, storing the tooth in the patient’s saliva will also help to prevent the tooth from drying out.  Waiting longer than 5 minutes to either replant or place the tooth into the storage solution may prevent the chance of the cells on the root to regenerate once back in the socket.  Regardless, the tooth needs to be monitored as future root canal therapy is typically necessary.

 

Damage to teeth resulting in mobility and misalignment are also an urgent emergency.  Waiting to see the dentist may result in a weaker prognosis for the tooth.  Often, caregivers may see bleeding and seek out treatment in an emergency room setting rather than calling the dentist.  Although we have standard office hours, never hesitate to call us.  Our dentists can be reached 24-7 and are always happy to help in emergency situations.

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Wisdom Teeth

admin : May 12, 2015 3:45 pm : Uncategorized

      Heading into the summer months, we have had several parents inquiring about having their teen’s wisdom teeth removed while school is out. Hopefully, this blog will help address some of the questions you may have regarding wisdom teeth.

  Third molars, or wisdom teeth, erupt later in life in comparison to the other teeth in mouth. Thus, it is believed the term “wisdom teeth” appeared as they come in when the patient is now older and wiser. Just as your baby cried during the teething stage, your teen may now complain of discomfort with his or her wisdom teeth coming in. So when is the right time to remove the teeth? Is it even necessary to take out the wisdom teeth? We look at a number of factors when determining whether or not to extract the teeth.

  Possibly the most important factor is determining if the teeth are healthy and erupting in the proper position.

Often times, wisdom teeth can come in at an angle and improperly push on the teeth next to them. They also may never erupt at this angle and stay poorly positioned in your mouth. Impacted wisdom teeth can become infected, form cysts, or cause damage to adjacent teeth. Partially erupted wisdom teeth can also cause problems. They are difficult to clean which often times leads to decay or inflammation in your gums.

  In some cases, patients have room for the third molars, and the teeth are erupting properly. In these situations, extracting the teeth may not be necessary. However, just like the rest of your body, your mouth changes over time. Due to the location,

wisdom teeth tend to be more difficult to maintain with home oral health care. Routine evaluations by your dentist are important to assess dental disease and help prevent problems with all of your teeth.

  Finally, we are often asked why remove them in the teenage years rather than to wait until a problem may arise as an older adult. Typically, during the mid to late teen years, the roots have not fully formed and are not as firmly rooted in the jaw. Also, there is still some flexibility in the jaws and healing tends to be quicker.wisdom tooth

  As with any case, each patient is unique. If there are any questions or concerns, we are always happy to answer any questions you may have regarding wisdom teeth removal.

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Oral Cancer Awareness Month

admin : April 14, 2015 4:51 pm : Uncategorized

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.  According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, every single day 125 people in the United States are diagnosed with oral cancer.  That means approximately 45,570 people in this country will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year.

 

Although tobacco use is a major risk factor, individuals that are nonsmokers can still be at risk.  In fact, an increasing number of young, healthy patients have been diagnosed due to the spread of the HPV virus.  This virus is transferred between epithelial cells and is a leading cause in oropharyngeal cancer.

 

Premalignant oral cancer lesions can exist throughout the oral cavity such as inside the cheek or lip, under the tongue, or on the palate. Lesions are typically asymptomatic, so most patients do not realize if a lesion exists in their mouth.  Lesions can also change in size, appearance, or develop a malignant transition so early detection is important.  This is why we screen for oral cancer during every routine clinical exam.

 

Please join us in helping to raise awareness on oral cancer and the importance for routine examinations.  We take the early detection of oral cancer seriously in order to help our patients and potentially save lives.

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