Posts for: April, 2016
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.”
Metal braces used to be the only teeth straightening option. Although these braces do a great job at improving your smile, they require wearing a mouthful of metal for a year or two. Thanks to the introduction of the Invisalign clear brace system, there's another choice. Dr. Tiffany Bolen, your Decatur, GA dentist, explains how Invisalign can help you change your smile on your own terms.
Invisalign provides a clear advantage
Your Decatur dentist will take X-rays, photographs and impressions of your teeth when you choose the Invisalign brace system. Using special software, she'll create a 3-D image of your teeth that will be used to create a series of aligner trays for your top and bottom teeth. The aligner trays fit snugly over your teeth and gently move your teeth into the proper alignment. Because the aligner trays are clear, it won't be obvious that you are wearing braces.
Every two weeks, you'll begin using a new set of trays. Aligner trays are worn for approximately 20 hours per day. Total treatment time usually takes about one year if you're an adult. If you're a teenager, you'll wear the braces for about as long as you would need to wear metal braces.
Invisalign braces offer many benefits
One of the most important advantages of the Invisalign system is the ability to remove the braces any time you want. You'll take the aligner trays out when you eat, attend a special event or play sports. Since you remove the braces to eat, you can continue to eat all the foods you enjoy. Hard foods, gum and popcorn aren't off-limits as they are with metal braces. The Invisalign system is an excellent choice if you want the benefits of braces without the disadvantages of traditional braces.
Invisalign is versatile
Invisalign is used to correct a variety of mild to moderate alignment and bite issues, including:
- Open bites
Interested in learning how Invisalign can perfect your smile? Call Dr. Tiffany Bolen, your Decatur, GA dentist, at (404) 377-1147. Improve your smile with Invisalign!
Although preventable, the occurrences of tooth decay are all too common. Yet decay doesn’t appear out of the blue: certain mouth conditions set the disease in motion.
Here are a few signs of such conditions to watch for — they could be telling you you’re at higher risk for tooth decay.
Visible plaque. Plaque is a thin film of bacteria and food accumulating on tooth surfaces and a prime haven for causing periodontal disease. If you actually see it — a crusty, yellowish film — that means there’s a large, unhealthy amount of it. It’s essential to remove it daily through diligent brushing and flossing and more thorough office cleanings at least twice a year.
Poor saliva flow. One of this bodily fluid’s functions is to neutralize mouth acid, usually thirty minutes to an hour after we eat. If saliva flow is inadequate, though, acid levels may remain high and endanger the enamel. “Dry mouth” can occur from a number of causes, including some medications and chemotherapy treatments. It’s important to alleviate the cause if possible by changing medications or stimulating saliva flow through other means.
Tooth shape and appliances. Largely determined by heredity, your teeth contain unique, tiny grooves known as pits and fissures that could harbor plaque. Certain appliances like retainers, braces or night guards can inhibit saliva flow and cause your teeth to retain more plaque. It’s important then to adjust your hygiene efforts to offset these anatomical or treatment factors.
Acid-producing conditions. Diseases like gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) or eating disorders can introduce stomach acid into the mouth that is highly erosive to tooth enamel. It’s imperative for you or a family member to control these conditions through medication, dietary changes, or — in the case of eating disorders — behavioral therapy.
Eating habits. Sugar and other carbohydrates are a ready food source for bacteria. Likewise, acidic foods and beverages (like coffee, tea, and sports or energy drinks) can cause high acid levels for too long. Cut back on eating and drinking these foods and beverages, especially as snacks, to reduce acid levels that could lead to decay.
If you would like more information on strategies to prevent tooth decay, 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 “Tooth Decay: How to Assess Your Risk.”