Wisdom Teeth- To Remove Them or Not?

dental healthFor a large percentage of Americans, wisdom tooth removal is almost a rite of passage. Teenagers in Saratoga and across the country undergo the treatment to extract wisdom teeth every year. Why should you remove your wisdom teeth, and do they always need to be extracted in the first place? Let’s look at some of the reasons why dentists recommend that you have these teeth extracted.

Wisdom Tooth Pain

Most wisdom teeth cause some pain at some period of their growth. For most people pain from the eruption of the teeth (when the teeth break through the gums as they come in) is temporary. Once the teeth have erupted, if they are in a good position and can be kept clean and healthy, then no treatment at all might be recommended. Unfortunately, in many cases, the wisdom teeth continue to cause problems. Most wisdom teeth do not come in straight, and can cause chronic pain or infection. These third molars are also more prone to tooth decay. When problems such as this occur on a regular basis, your dentist will likely recommend that you have the teeth removed in order to prevent continued problems and the potential for damage to your other teeth from decay or infection.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Your jaw might not be large enough for four more teeth to come into position as a teen. For many dental patients, wisdom teeth cannot erupt properly into the arch with the rest of the teeth. As they try to come in, they can turn sideways, or erupt only partially. When this happens, it is a condition called ‘impacted wisdom teeth’. Impacted teeth often become infected, swollen or painful. When the tooth becomes trapped in the bone, it can also form a cyst around it. A cyst is a fluid filled sac that can grow and damage the bone tissue around it. If your wisdom teeth are impacted, or have cysts or other pathology associated with them, your dentist will likely recommend that you have them extracted to avoid further complications.

Dental Crowding From Wisdom Teeth

When the third molars come in, or erupt, they can place a great deal of pressure on the roots of the adjacent teeth, causing them to shift or move out of alignment. In severe cases, the teeth across the jaw can become crooked. This can cause problems with your bite as well as affect the appearance of your smile. When teeth are misaligned, they are harder to keep clean and can develop cavities and gum disease. Wisdom teeth commonly cause orthodontic relapse for patients who have completed orthodontic treatment and braces. This is why so many orthodontists recommend removal of the third molars at the completion of orthodontic treatment.
If you have problems with your wisdom teeth, schedule an appointment to find out if they must be removed in order to preserve your dental health. For most patients, wisdom teeth removal is a simple procedure that requires very little recovery time. Contact your Saratoga dental office for more information about your wisdom teeth.

Dental Implants Replace Missing Teeth

tooth implant
Natural Tooth vs. Implant

Missing teeth are a big concern for millions of Americans.  In fact, 69% of American adults age 35-44 have lost at least one permanent tooth.  More than 25% of Americans over the age of 65 have lost all their permanent teeth.

People with missing teeth often suffer from changes in their bite, difficulties eating and speaking, as well as psychological effects such as decrease in self-confidence and self-consciousness about their appearance.

Dentistry provides a number of solutions that can help replace missing teeth and preserve dental function and aesthetics.  Some solutions are dental bridges, partials and dentures.  One solution stands out above the rest as the ‘gold standard’ for tooth replacement- dental implants.

A dental implant is the most permanent, natural looking and feeling method of tooth replacement.  They are reliable, predictable, and designed to last a lifetime.

An implant replaces the entire tooth structure, from root to crown.  This provides an unsurpassed level of stability, strength and aesthetics.  In addition, an implant will help maintain the jaw bone in an area that would otherwise shrink away from non-use.

The first titanium dental implant was placed in a volunteer patient by Per Ingvar Branemark in 1965.  Since then, dental implants have become the preferred method of tooth replacement.  Dental implants have a success rate of 98%.  This means, if you have one, it will most likely last you the rest of your life.

A dental implant is a root shaped titanium post which is inserted into the prepared jaw.  The titanium metal is biocompatible, meaning that the surrounding bone tissue is attracted to it and will heal right onto the surface of the implant (known as osseointegration), making it extremely stable and solid.  Once osseointegration has occurred, the implant can be completed with a porcelain crown which is made to look and feel just like the rest of your natural teeth.

A dental implant cannot decay, and with proper care and cleaning will remain healthy and stable for life.  It is important to maintain good personal dental hygiene and to see your dentist regularly to ensure the health of your implant.  An implant can still develop gum disease and bone loss from oral bacteria.

To learn more about dental implants as a tooth replacement options, visit Park Saratoga Dental.


*Sources:  American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and CDC.gov

How Going to the Dentist More Often Can Save You Money on Dental Care

save money on dentalAlmost half of Americans only go to the dentist when they know they have a dental problem of a toothache. Dental patients who are motivated by pain, rather than prevention pay significantly more for their dental care, even though they go to the dentist less often.

Brushing and Flossing is Not Enough

Good personal oral hygiene is imperative to prevention of dental disease. Brushing and flossing daily will remove plaque and bacteria from the oral cavity, teeth and gums. This reduces the chances that destructive bacteria will take hold and lead to cavities and gum disease.

Even with good dental habits, plaque and bacteria collect at and below the gum line on tooth surfaces, forming hardened tartar. This substance cannot be removed from the teeth with brushing and flossing, and must be removed with a professional dental cleaning. Tartar will build up over time, leading to decay and periodontal disease.

Skipping Your Preventive Dental Care is Expensive

Your dentist recommends a dental check-up and professional cleaning at least every six months, and more frequently if you are prone to tooth decay or gum (periodontal) disease. This is because your dentist knows that regular dental care makes it possible to prevent major dental problems from developing in the first place. In addition, a regular dental exam will give your dentist the opportunity to detect and diagnose the beginning stages of disease processes such as a small cavity or reddened inflamed gum tissue. When diagnosed in their early stages, reversal of the disease process or removal of the decay is much simpler and far less expensive than waiting until it has progressed into a more serious problem.
Most dental insurance plans know that preventive dental care reduces the risk of developing serious dental problems such as advanced decay, periodontitis and tooth abscess. This is why many dental plans cover the cost of preventive dental care at no cost to the patient. For patients without insurance, the cost of regular dental cleanings and check-ups is still far lower than the cost of seeking dental care only in painful situations.

Early Stage Dental Disease Is Not Painful

Waiting until you have a toothache to go to the dentist usually means that you will require restorative treatment in order to repair and preserve your diseased tooth. Most dental problems start off on the microscopic level, and gradually get worse.  A tiny cavity does not hurt, and you probably cannot see it.  By the time you feel discomfort from the decay, it has likely spread to the vital structures within the tooth. If you feel the pangs of a toothache, it is likely that treatment such as a large filling, dental crown or even root canal treatment is necessary to repair it. These types of treatment are much more costly than a small filling. The treatment to repair it is likely more expensive than your dental check-up and cleaning would be, even with the cost of a small filling included.

Regular Check-Ups Save Money Over Time, But They Also Save Your Teeth

Although saving money is great, it is not the only reason to stay current with your regular dental care. When dental problems are prevented or detected early, your teeth stay healthier. Routine dental care makes it possible to prevent the common causes of tooth loss, which are untreated tooth decay and periodontal disease. When you see your dentist at least every six months, you give yourself the gift of healthier teeth that will last you a lifetime.

Make an Appointment at Park Saratoga Dental

Baby Teeth- A Parent’s Guide


kids dental health month
A Healthy Dental Start is Important

February is Children’s Dental Health Month and the perfect time to discuss the basics for a healthy dental start for your little ones. Taking good care of your child’s baby teeth will help set him up for a lifetime of healthy dental habits. Experts agree that teaching good personal dental hygiene from an early age has a big impact on dental hygiene habits later on. In addition, introducing professional dental care from the start helps alleviate any stress your child may feel about going to the dentist. Here are some common questions and answers about children’s dental health which will help you get on the best dental path for healthy adult teeth.

At What Age Should I Take My Child For His First Check-Up?

According to the American Dental Association, children should have their first professional dental check-up within six months of the arrival of their first tooth, but no later than age one. Starting out in a dental ‘home’ with well-baby dental check-ups sets the stage for dental success, and ensures that your child’s first visits to the dentist occur when no problems exist. Your dentist can provide instruction on proper cleaning and caring for your baby’s teeth. He may also offer important insight on topics such as a healthy diet, fluoride and preventing tooth decay. A clinical examination will detect early signs of cavities or other dental problems that may exist.

How Do I Brush My Baby’s Teeth?

The first teeth will come in around age 6 months to one year. Even before the arrival of the first tooth, you will want to begin daily teeth cleaning. You can use a clean, dampened gauze pad, washcloth or fingertip brush made for this purpose. Clean teeth and gums twice a day. Once there are several baby teeth present, you can use a soft baby toothbrush to gently clean teeth.

Does My Child Need Sealants?

Sealants are designed to fill crevices in tooth surfaces which are likely to harbor bacteria and result in tooth decay. Sealants are often used to prevent cavities in the permanent molars, and are placed as they arrive. In some cases, your dentist may recommend sealants in baby teeth. Children are often not capable of practicing truly effective preventive care. They may not be coordinated enough to brush thoroughly. Sealants can help keep destructive bacteria out of the grooves and crevices in teeth and prevent cavities until your child’s dental habits become well-practiced and effective.
Setting your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth is important. Kids who learn good dental habits early have healthier teeth as adults. To schedule your child’s dental visit now, visit our website.