Why would anyone call those bothersome third molars "wisdom teeth?" Well, the nickname comes from the time most of us get our four wisdom teeth--that is, in young adulthood, rather than childhood. When pain, infection, or teeth crowding results from retaining these molars, it may be wise to remove them, says. Your Greeley dentist, Dr. Andrew Bagley performs many of these extractions comfortably right at Bagley Family Dental so you can get on with normal oral function and good overall well-being.
Problems are common
Dentists extract millions of wisdom teeth annually, says the American Academy of General Dentistry. While people puzzle about why we even have these late-appearing teeth in the first place, the fact is they cause plenty of trouble for some of Dr. Bagley's patients. Digital X-rays and oral exams often show wisdom teeth that are:
- Impacted, or encased in gum tissue and bone
- Infected because they haven't erupted properly and are hard to clean
- Crowding and shifting neighboring teeth
- In the way of orthodontic correction
- Causing varying degrees of gum disease
- Accompanied by benign cysts
- Responsible for pain and swelling of the jaw
While Dr. Bagley always tries to avoid extraction of natural teeth, he recommends extraction of wisdom teeth when they adversely impact oral health and function.
The extraction process
Your Greeley dentist performs these extractions in his office with the benefit of locally-injected anesthetic (pain shot), and nitrous oxide also known as 'laughing gas' for maximum patient comfort.
If necessary, Dr. Bagley incises the gum tissue around the wisdom tooth. Using various tools, he rocks the tooth from side to side to loosen it, and grasping it with a dental forceps, he pulls it from the socket. Sometimes, the dentist takes to tooth out in pieces, depending on its position.
In addition, the doctor instills antibiotics as needed and sutures the site closed. The patient bites on sterile 4x4 gauze to quell bleeding. He or she may continue this at home for a few hours and to ensure proper clot formation in the empty socket. Some patients take prescription antibiotics depending on the nature of the extraction.
Depending on the number of wisdom tooth extractions (and how involved the process was), the patient should rest a day or two before resuming normal daily activities. Ice to the jaw reduces swelling, and a soft diet works well for two or three days. Patients should avoid smoking or drinking with a straw for two days and should rinse with warm salt water the first day for comfort and to avoid infection. Patients return to Bagley Family Dental in a week for suture removal.
Should you have your wisdom teeth removed?
Dr. Andrew Bagley can tell you if this procedure is necessary. Please call (970) 353-5664 for a one-on-one consultation.
It's no secret that many of Hollywood's brightest stars didn't start out with perfectly aligned, pearly-white teeth. And these days, plenty of celebs are willing to share their stories, showing how dentists help those megawatt smiles shine. In a recent interview with W magazine, Emma Stone, the stunning 28-year-old star of critically-acclaimed films like La La Land and Birdman, explained how orthodontic appliances helped her overcome problems caused by a harmful habit: persistent thumb sucking in childhood.
“I sucked my thumb until I was 11 years old,” she admitted, mischievously adding “It's still so soothing to do it.” Although it may have been comforting, the habit spelled trouble for her bite. “The roof of my mouth is so high-pitched that I had this huge overbite,” she said. “I got this gate when I was in second grade… I had braces, and then they put a gate.”
While her technical terminology isn't quite accurate, Stone is referring to a type of appliance worn in the mouth which dentists call a “tongue crib” or “thumb/finger appliance.” The purpose of these devices is to stop children from engaging in “parafunctional habits” — that is, behaviors like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, which are unrelated to the normal function of the mouth and can cause serious bite problems. (Other parafunctional habits include nail biting, pencil chewing and teeth grinding.)
When kids develop the habit of regularly pushing the tongue against the front teeth (tongue thrusting) or sucking on an object placed inside the mouth (thumb sucking), the behavior can cause the front teeth to be pushed out of alignment. When the top teeth move forward, the condition is commonly referred to as an overbite. In some cases a more serious situation called an “open bite” may develop, which can be difficult to correct. Here, the top and bottom front teeth do not meet or overlap when the mouth is closed; instead, a vertical gap is left in between.
Orthodontic appliances are often recommended to stop harmful oral habits from causing further misalignment. Most appliances are designed with a block (or gate) that prevents the tongue or finger from pushing on the teeth; this is what the actress mentioned. Normally, when the appliance is worn for a period of months it can be expected to modify the child's behavior. Once the habit has been broken, other appliances like traditional braces or clear aligners can be used to bring the teeth into better alignment.
But in Stone's case, things didn't go so smoothly. “I'd take the gate down and suck my thumb underneath the mouth appliance,” she admitted, “because I was totally ignoring the rule to not suck your thumb while you're trying to straighten out your teeth.” That rule-breaking ended up costing the aspiring star lots of time: she spent a total of 7 years wearing braces.
Fortunately, things worked out for the best for Emma Stone: She now has a brilliant smile and a stellar career — plus a shiny new Golden Globe award! Does your child have a thumb sucking problem or another harmful oral habit? For more information about how to correct it, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”
Your tooth is in peril if its innermost layer, the pulp, becomes infected and inflamed. Deep tooth decay, repeated dental procedures or fractures can all expose the pulp and ultimately the roots to infection and lead to tooth loss.
But that scenario isn't inevitable — we can often save the tooth with a root canal treatment. By accessing the tooth's interior through a prepared hole, we're able to clean out the infected tissue in the pulp chamber and root canals, and fill the empty space with a special filling. We then cap the tooth with a custom crown to protect it from a re-infection.
Root canal treatments have a very high success rate — chances are good your tooth will survive for many years afterward. But there's a slight chance the tooth may become re-infected; in that case, a second root canal treatment may be in order.
In a few cases, though, a second root canal may not be advisable, and could even accelerate damage to the tooth. For example, if past dental work resulted in an extensive crown restoration, accessing the root canals the conventional way will require disassembling that restoration. This could weaken the tooth significantly.
We can approach the problem from a different route: instead of accessing the tooth's interior through the crown (the visible part of the tooth), we instead perform a surgical procedure called an apicoectomy, which accesses the tooth at the root end through the gums.
In this procedure we numb the area with local anesthesia and then make a small incision through the gums at the level of the affected root. After access, we remove any diseased tissue around the root and a few millimeters of the root tip itself. We then insert a small filling in its place to seal the canal and prevent further infection. In some cases we may also insert a graft to encourage bone growth and aid in healing.
Over time, the affected area will heal and return to normal function. Even if a traditional root canal treatment can't be used, an apicoectomy could be another option for saving your tooth.
If you would like more information on your options for preserving a problem tooth, 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 “Apicoectomy.”
How many actresses have portrayed a neuroscientist on a wildly successful TV comedy while actually holding an advanced degree in neuroscience? As far as we know, exactly one: Mayim Bialik, who plays the lovably geeky Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS' The Big Bang Theory… and earned her PhD from UCLA.
Acknowledging her nerdy side, Bialik recently told Dear Doctor magazine, “I'm different, and I can't not be different.” Yet when it comes to her family's oral health, she wants the same things we all want: good checkups and great-looking smiles. “We're big on teeth and oral care,” she said. “Flossing is really a pleasure in our house.”
How does she get her two young sons to do it?
Bialik uses convenient pre-loaded floss holders that come complete with floss and a handle. “I just keep them in a little glass right next to the toothbrushes so they're open, no one has to reach, they're just right there,” she said. “It's really become such a routine, I don't even have to ask them anymore.”
As many parents have discovered, establishing healthy routines is one of the best things you can do to maintain your family's oral health. Here are some other oral hygiene tips you can try at home:
Brush to the music — Plenty of pop songs are about two minutes long… and that's the length of time you should brush your teeth. If brushing in silence gets boring, add a soundtrack. When the music's over — you're done!
Flossing can be fun — If standard dental floss doesn't appeal, there are many different styles of floss holders, from functional ones to cartoon characters… even some with a martial-arts theme! Find the one that your kids like best, and encourage them to use it.
The eyes don't lie — To show your kids how well (or not) they are cleaning their teeth, try using an over-the-counter disclosing solution. This harmless product will temporarily stain any plaque or debris that got left behind after brushing, so they can immediately see where they missed, and how to improve their hygiene technique — which will lead to better health.
Have regular dental exams & cleanings — When kids see you're enthusiastic about going to the dental office, it helps them feel the same way… and afterward, you can point out how great it feels to have a clean, sparkling smile.
Now you too can have a smile like those Hollywood stars.
Getting a beautiful smile doesn’t have to be difficult. Sure, you weren’t born with a perfect smile, but this doesn’t mean that a perfect smile isn’t within reach. If you always dreamed of having a whiter, straighter, more symmetrical smile then our Greeley, CO, dentist, Dr. Andrew Bagley, has you covered!
What are dental veneers?
These tooth-colored shells are often made from porcelain, which offers not only a strong restoration but also one that resembles the natural surface of your teeth. This porcelain reflects light in the same way as teeth, so no one will even know that you are sporting veneers. Unlike dental crowns, veneers are only adhered to the front surface of one or more teeth.
How can porcelain veneers help you?
Veneers are a great way to change the overall shape or color of your smile. If you’ve always wanted a straight smile but suffer from minor crooked, misalignments or crowding and don’t like the idea of wearing braces, veneers could get your smile straighter without the need for orthodontic treatment.
Veneers can mask a myriad of cosmetic problems including:
- Discolorations (that teeth whitening can’t tackle)
- Chips and cracks
- Gaps between teeth
- Crooked or crowded teeth
- Worn teeth
- Uneven teeth
- Misshapen or malformed teeth
If you have cosmetic flaws in your smile chances are pretty good that veneers may be able to give you the smile you want.
How are veneers placed?
In order to get veneers, we will need to take impressions of your smile. This is because each veneer is custom-made to fit over your teeth. No two veneers are ever the same. By taking impressions of your mouth we ensure that the veneers that are made actually fit over your teeth. Once impressions are taken our Greeley cosmetic dentist will need to prep your teeth for your new restorations.
Tooth preparation is minor with this treatment. While dental crowns require a tooth to be significantly reshaped and shaved down, veneers are so thin that we only need to remove a very small amount of enamel from the front of your teeth. This process is so minor that often times this can be done without even needing anesthesia.
Once veneers have been made you will come back into the office so we can check the fit and look of your veneers before bonding them into place.
Whether you have questions about getting dental veneers or you are ready to take the plunge, call Bagley Family Dental in Greeley, CO, today to get all of your questions answered and to schedule your cosmetic consultation.
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