My Dentistry Blog
Posts for: December, 2015
Via a recent Instagram post, pop diva Ariana Grande became the latest young celebrity to publicly acknowledge a dental milestone: having her wisdom teeth removed. The singer of hits such as “Break Free” and “Problem” posted an after-surgery picture of herself (wearing her signature cat-eye eyeliner), with a caption addressed to her teeth: “Peace out, final three wisdom teeth. It’s been real.”
With the post, Grande joined several other celebs (including Lily Allen, Paris Hilton and Emile Hirsch) who have shared their dental surgery experience with fans. Will "wisdom teeth removal" become a new trending topic on social media? We aren’t sure — but we can explain a bit about the procedure, and why many younger adults may need it.
Technically called the “third molars,” wisdom teeth usually begin to emerge from the gums between the ages of 17 and 25 — presumably, around the same time that a certain amount of wisdom emerges. Most people have four of these big molars, which are located all the way in the back of the mouth, on the left and right sides of the upper and lower jaws.
But when wisdom teeth begin to appear, there’s often a problem: Many people don’t have enough space in their jaws to accommodate them. When these molars lack sufficient space to fully erupt (emerge), they are said to be “impacted.” Impacted teeth can cause a number of serious problems: These may include pain, an increased potential for bacterial infections, periodontal disease, and even the formation of cysts (pockets of infection below the gum line), which can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss.
In most cases, the best treatment for impacted wisdom teeth is extraction (removal) of the problem teeth. Wisdom tooth extraction is a routine, in-office procedure that is usually performed under local anesthesia or “conscious sedation,” a type of anesthesia where the patient remains conscious (able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli), but is free from any pain or distress. Anti-anxiety medications may also be given, especially for those who are apprehensive about dental procedures.
So if you find you need your wisdom teeth extracted, don’t be afraid to “Break Free” like Ariana Grande did; whether you post the results on social media is entirely up to you. If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”
There are instances when a general dentist will remove (extract) a problem tooth. At other times, though, the same dentist may refer a patient needing an extraction to an oral surgeon. Why the difference?
The procedure performed by a general dentist is referred to as a “simple tooth extraction.” “Simple” doesn’t mean easy and requiring no skill or expertise — it certainly does. In this case, the term refers to the anatomy of the tooth being extracted, particularly its roots.
Teeth that respond well in a simple extraction have an uncomplicated root system. The path of removal, usually with a single root involved, is fairly straight and without extreme angles. In the hands of a skilled and experienced dentist, it can be removed with little to no discomfort.
Dentists actually must use finesse to remove a tooth from its socket. The tooth is held in place with tiny collagen fibers that extend from a tough, elastic gum tissue known as the periodontal ligament, which lies between the teeth and the bone. With some manipulation, a dentist can loosen these fibers, which then makes removing the tooth much easier. All of this can usually be performed with local anesthesia.
Of course, to determine if a tooth can be removed this way, we must conduct a thorough dental examination first, including x-ray imaging to determine the exact nature and location of the roots. If the exam reveals the root system is more complex, or that there are defects to the bone or the tooth that could make a simple extraction difficult (resulting, for example, in not removing the crown and root in one piece), then the tooth may need to be removed surgically.
Such situations require the skill and resources of an oral surgeon. These specialists perform a number of surgical procedures related to the mouth and face; as procedures go, extraction is among the most routine. Using local anesthesia and post-operative pain management, undergoing a surgical extraction involves only minimal discomfort and a very short recovery time.
After examining your tooth we’ll recommend the best course for extraction, whether simple or surgical. In either case, we’ll see that your problem tooth is extracted as efficiently and painlessly as possible.
If you would like more information on tooth extractions, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Simple Tooth Extraction?”
Find out if those dental issues you’re having are telling you that you need a root canal.
Tooth pain can be a downright nuisance and without seeing your Glenview, IL dentists Dr. David Dooley, Dr. David Lewis and Dr. Alexander Quezada it can be challenging to know why you are experiencing so many issues. Here are some easy ways to figure out if a root canal is in your near future.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is an endodontic procedure performed right here in our Glenview, IL dental office in which we remove the dental pulp, or the soft tissue inside the tooth. A dental pulp will need to be removed if it becomes inflamed or infected by decay, disease or trauma. Fortunately, the pulp is not necessary for the tooth’s survival. A root canal is the best way to preserve as much of the natural tooth as possible so that the patient won’t need to have the tooth removed.
Warning Signs that You May Need a Root Canal
It is sometimes hard to know when you may need a root canal, which is why your general dentist in Glenview can help. Some of these signs aren’t obvious to our patients but they are to us. Unfortunately, by the time some of these symptoms show up it’s during more advanced stages of infection or decay. The best way to catch these problems early on is to come in every six months for routine exams and cleanings.
However, if you don’t come into our office as often as you should, then dental problem will worsen and you may start to notice these warning signs:
- A tooth has become broken or cracked
- There is swelling, pain or redness of the gums surrounding the tooth
- The tooth is sensitive to extreme temperatures
- Pain after biting down on the tooth
- A tooth has developed some discoloration
If any of these symptoms are happening to you then you need to see us right away. Dental pain is considered an emergency, and the sooner you take care of the problem the better.
Don’t let dental pain and other problems ruin your smile. Turn to the dental professionals at Colonial Dental Group to preserve your smile. Call our office right away.