Glick & Woods Dentistry

MB2 Dental

Impact of an Impacted Tooth

An impacted wisdom tooth can trap food particles and debris. Bacteria feed on these food particles, which may cause infection of the surrounding tissue. This is called pericoronitis.

Pericoronitis may include any of the following symptoms: pain, swollen gum tissue in the area of the affected tooth, difficulty in biting or opening of the mouth, swelling of the cervical (neck) lymph nodes, foul smell or taste in the mouth, pus from the gum tissue near the tooth or swelling on the affected side of the face.

Patients with pericoronitis are given antibiotics to combat the infection. Additionally, warm saltwater rinses will help with healing. If treated, the infection should resolve within one week. Your dentist may advise you to have the impacted tooth removed. However, the offending tooth can only be removed once the infection is under control.

Taking Care of Your Gums Takes Care of Your Teeth, Too.

Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums, thus aptly called gum disease. Bacteria are the primary culprit in periodontal disease. A bacterium produces sticky, colorless plaque on the teeth. Brushing and flossing will help eliminate plaque. However, plaque that is not removed will form tartar, a harder substance to clean. Tartar harbors bacteria that make it easier to invade your gums, causing gum disease.

Initially, bacteria from tartar will cause inflammation of the gums, or gingivitis. Gingivitis is seen as swelling and reddening of the gums. Gums bleed easily even during brushing the teeth. Gingivitis is easily treated with improving dental hygiene and regular cleaning by a dentist. If left untreated, gingivitis will develop into periodontitis, a more serious type of infection. Gums pull back from the teeth and form shallow pockets of infection.

To protect yourself from gum disease it is important to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth diligently twice daily, avoiding cigarettes and tobacco products, eating a balanced diet and making regular visits to your dentist.

Flossing prevents tooth decay and gum diseases

Cleaning in between tooth spaces is widely accepted as an important part of oral healthiness. Flossing removes plaques and food debris in hard-to-reach areas of the mouth.

However, studies that show the benefits of flossing are sparse. Together with tooth and tongue brushing, dental flossing significantly reduces the number of microbes that cause tooth decay and gum diseases.

A two-week study in the US investigated the abundance of microbial species among 51 pairs of twins between 12 and 21 years old. Since twins have many common genetic and environmental similarities, the only significant difference was the use of dental floss in the study.

One of the twins performed manual tooth and tongue brushing with toothpaste (control). The other twin performed manual tooth and tongue brushing with toothpaste plus flossing (treatment).

After two weeks, it was found that disease-causing germs were abundant in the control group. On the other hand, harmless bacteria proliferate in the treatment group.

The findings suggest that daily use of dental floss should be part of the armamentarium to maintain oral hygiene and to prevent dental caries and gum diseases.

This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

Bruxism: Teeth-Grinding While You Sleep

People’s teeth tell what happens when they sleep. Dentists know if they grind their teeth while sleeping – scientifically known as bruxism – by looking for “abfractions” in the teeth. Abfractions are wear patterns in the teeth near the gumline. These are caused by clenching, gnashing and grinding the teeth during sleep.

The hard outer protective layer of the teeth is called enamel. The enamel is thinnest in the “neck” portion of the tooth where the crown meets the root. In sleep bruxism, the tooth becomes flexed and the hard enamel is sloughed off. With time, it creates a wedge shaped into the tooth. This makes the tooth more sensitive to pain and vulnerable to decay.

Sleep bruxism is not a disease but a sleep disorder, the third-most common behind snooring and sleep talking. The underlying causes are unknown, but physical and psychological causes could range from anxiety, stress, malocclusion and growth and development of kids’ jaws and teeth. Bruxism can cause damage to the teeth and surrounding tissue, and bruxers may wake up with headache and jaw pain.

To prevent further tooth damage, mouth guards can be made by dentists to fit in the mouth.

This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

Your Pearly White Teeth

With consumers’ fondness for pearly white teeth, toothpaste makers created a wide selection of whitening toothpastes to choose from.

The main component of whitening toothpastes is its abrasive system designed to remove surface stains caused by drinking coffee and smoking. Special ingredients – such as citrate, enzyme, peroxide, hexametaphosphate and pyrophosphate — are added that aid the breakdown of stains and prevention of reforming discoloration.

New toothpastes that contain blue covarine create an optical illusion and improve whiteness after teeth-brushing. It usually takes two to four weeks to get the desired whiteness if used twice a day.

Experts say that, in general, whitening toothpastes are safe for everyday use. However, they caution that too much use could harm the teeth’s hard enamel covering. To ensure safety, experts recommend looking for a product that is approved by highly regarded dental associations such as the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. They also recommend talking to a dentist if a person is not satisfied with the effect of whitening toothpaste.

This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.