Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

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Wisdom Tooth CarttonGetting your wisdom teeth taken out is an expected procedure for many young adults, with an estimated 10 million wisdom teeth removed from 5 million people each year. But many of these surgeries may not be necessary. Here at Pacific Dental Care, we want to make sure you know all the facts before you decide whether or not to have your wisdom teeth removed.

What are wisdom teeth?

Typically coming in during your late teens or early twenties, wisdom teeth are your third and final set of molars. When properly aligned and healthy, these teeth can be a valuable addition to your mouth, but more often than not, they enter your mouth misaligned. That could mean they come in horizontally, angled inward or outward, or tilted toward or away from your second molars. Any of these alignment issues can damage or crowd adjacent teeth, your jawbone, or your nerves in general.

Another potential problem with wisdom teeth is when they come in impacted or enclosed within the jawbone or soft tissue in a way that they only partially break through your gum line. This partial eruption creates an avenue for bacteria to enter into your teeth and cause an infection, and since these teeth become hard to reach and clean, this increases your likelihood of future tooth decay tremendously.

When should you have your wisdom teeth removed?

Dentists choose to remove your wisdom teeth when they are causing problems, or when X-rays show that they may cause problems down the line. They look at your age, the position of your teeth, and the shape of your mouth to project any potential issues. Many dentists remove molars that are seemingly healthy now because there’s a chance of future problems and because the longer you wait, the more difficult teeth get to remove. So even though your wisdom teeth may not be hurting now, removal could be the right option.

Along with the alignment and impaction problems listed above, other symptoms that may lead to wisdom teeth removal include:

  • Jaw damage: Sometimes cysts will form around a new group of wisdom teeth, and if these issues aren’t treated, they can damage nerves and hollow out your jaw.
  • Gum inflammation: Tissue around the wisdom teeth may become sensitive and swell, which could be painful and make the area harder to clean.
  • Sinus issues: Sinus pain, pressure, and congestion can all arise from problems stemming from your wisdom teeth.
  • Cavities: Gum swelling around the wisdom teeth may create pockets between teeth that are difficult to clean and help cavities form and bacteria grow.

With regular checkups, your dental professional will know whether or not you should have your wisdom teeth removed. So make sure to keep to the schedule of a routine check-up every six months. And if you have any questions about your wisdom teeth, don’t hesitate to call Pacific Dental Care and ask.

Deciding if Lumineers are Right For You

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If you have discolored, gapped, chipped, or slightly crooked teeth, porcelain veneers could be a great cosmetic option. Porcelain veneers are wafer-thin shells designed to cover the front surface of teeth. If you’ve ever wondered how Hollywood movie stars and celebrities can achieve such perfect smiles, a veneer was probably the answer. Veneers can fix many cosmetic imperfections and even fix gaps among teeth. For people looking to beautify their smile, porcelain veneers are a great option. However, to be fit with traditional veneers, your dentist must first grind down your existing tooth structure by removing a thin enamel layer from your teeth. While this procedure is standard and perfectly safe, it can lead to pain and tooth sensitivity, and the thought of it can make patients squeamish. Luckily, we at Pacific Dental Care also provide Lumineers, a special kind of porcelain veneer that skips much of the prep work that has turned people off from veneers in the past.

Pacific Dental Cares Lumineers

Lumineers are made ultra-thin (approximately 0.2 millimeters thick), so little to no tooth reduction is needed before they’re fitted. Not only does that preserve the natural structure of your teeth, but it means faster treatment, no need to wear temporaries before fitting, a less invasive procedure, and a much lower risk of pain and tooth sensitivity throughout the process. And unlike with standard veneers, if you’re unsatisfied with the results, our dentists can easily remove the veneers from your teeth. With their highly translucent appearance, Lumineers replicate the natural appearance of your tooth enamel, and they’re durable enough to resist wear and tear for up to 20 years.

Lumineers can be installed in as quickly as two visits. After a consultation to determine if Lumineers are right for you, a Certified Lumineers Dentist, they will take an impression of both your upper and lower teeth and send the mold, along with photos, dental records, and any other pertinent information to ensure a proper fit, to an authorized Lumineers laboratory. Typically after a few weeks, you’ll have your second visit. There, your dentist will place your Lumineers. They’ll test the fit to make sure it’s good and snug, then your teeth are moderately etched to prepare for placement and bonded one by one. Finally, your dentist will check your bite to ensure your points of contact are balanced and will not result in chipping throughout the day.

However, Lumineers may not be the best choice for everyone. Since they are built to be installed with a less invasive procedure, they are not fitted with any pre-sculpting of the tooth. This can result in a less natural look for some, particularly since the lack of drilling means the Lumineers increase the size of the tooth. Additionally, the super thin construction of your Lumineers makes them more susceptible to damage, and when they break, they can be difficult to correct. However, those potential issues are greatly mitigated when you have your Lumineers installed by an experienced cosmetic dental practitioner like the ones we have employed here at Pacific Dental Care.

If you may be interested in Lumineers, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation appointment with us so we can discuss the details further and give you all the information and expertise needed to get a beautiful white smile.

How to take care of your teeth after the enamel has worn

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At Pacific Dental Care we make it a point to practice preventative dentistry, which involves education and instilling good dental health habits that our patients can practice for their entire lives. However, we do realize that sometimes we run into folks who may not have had the guidance that we make sure to bestow upon our valued patients. We do have patients come to us who’ve experienced damage to their teeth, particularly to their enamel. This can result in sensitive teeth and a number of other oral health complications, so we’d like to take some time to advise our patients who suffer from worn down tooth enamel about ways that they can give some extra TLC to their teeth.

Do you get an intense pain when eating foods extreme in temperature? Ice cream and hot tea can be painful undertakings if you’ve experienced enamel erosion. Enamel, a tooth’s outer covering, is a translucent layer of thin (but extremely strong) coating that protects the tooth and dentin, acting as a protective shield. Enamel also works as fortification against temperature, chemicals, and bacteria. Enamel doesn’t contain living cells, so when you lose it, there is no way for your body to regenerate it. Since you may not be able to restore your teeth, there are some steps and precautions that you can take to give your teeth the extra attention they need and deserve.

Stay away from sodas and fruit juices

Get your fruit the old fashioned way. Or, make a smoothie if you have a food processor. It’s good to avoid sodas and fruit juices because they contain many different types of acids that can corrode your enamel. If your enamel is already worn, beverages like these can wreak havoc on your teeth. You wouldn’t think so, but fruit juices actually erode your teeth more than soda will.

If you must, drink fruit juices and sodas with a straw, which will limit tooth exposure. A straw will make sure that the soda and juices have less direct contact with your teeth, directing the liquid to the back of the mouth instead.

Chew sugarless gum

If you eat during the day, especially foods high in starch or sugar, your mouth will become intensely acidic. To offset this effect, chew sugarless gum, which will help even the playing field as your mouth produces more saliva. Minerals in your saliva actually will help strengthen enamel. Make sure that your sugar free gum has xylitol in it, which is an ingredient that has been shown to diminish destructive acids found in food, fruit juices, and sodas.

Chew thoroughly and make sure your saliva production is up to par

Chronic dry mouth (also known as Xerostomia) can cause problems for your mouth, affecting your tooth enamel particularly. Saliva, as mentioned before, actually contains calcium and phosphate, which both protect tooth enamel. When your saliva production is low, your tooth enamel is more susceptible to damage. Chewing thoroughly helps produce saliva. Chewing sugarless gum also helps to produce saliva between meals.

Make sure you schedule and keep your routine checkups with Pacific Dental Care

This is the most important step to take of all. It’s important that you work with a trained professional who can monitor and track progress with your teeth and oral health. We’re in this together, helping you build good habits and increase your knowledge about good oral health, which is being linked more and more to good overall health. Contact Pacific Dental Care to schedule your next visit. If there’s a problem, we’re here to take a look and lend our expertise. Even if there’s nothing wrong as far as you can tell, schedule your next routine checkup today.