Posts for: April, 2022

AlthoughRareRootResorptionisaPotentialDangertoYourTeeth

You know the "usual suspects": brown tooth spots, toothache, or reddened, swollen or bleeding gums—common indicators for tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease, two of the biggest threats to your teeth. But there are other conditions that, although rare in comparison, are no less harmful to your teeth. One of these is root resorption, when an adult tooth's root structure dissolves (resorbs).

Root resorption usually starts on the outside of a tooth, near the neck-like or cervical area around the gum line, and is also known as external cervical resorption (ECR). Your dentist may first notice tiny pink spots on the enamel during an exam: these are tiny lesions where the enamel has eroded, and are filled with pink-colored cells that actually help perpetuate resorption.

We're not fully certain about the underlying causes for root resorption, but some factors like excessive orthodontic force or dental trauma (particularly involving periodontal tissues that hold teeth in place), seem to be present with many cases.

Fortunately, most people experiencing these and similar conditions never contend with ECR. Still, it remains a possibility, particularly for older adults, and is best addressed as early as possible. Regular dental checkups are vital to identifying the condition early with prompt treatment following.

If the lesions are small, we may be able to clean out the pink tissue cells and fill the lesion with a tooth-colored material like a composite resin or glass ionomer cement. Even though this is a relatively simple process, we sometimes may need to expose the affected area below the gum tissue with a surgical procedure. And, if the damage has reached the pulp in the center of a tooth, we may also need to perform a root canal treatment.

At some point, though, the level of resorption may have left the tooth too compromised for any reasonable repair. In such cases, it may be best to remove the tooth and replace it with a restoration, most notably a dental implant.

Needless to say, keeping a regular dental visit schedule is your best defense against experiencing ECR this advanced. Early detection remains the best case scenario for this rare but damaging disease.

If you would like more information on root resorption, 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 “Root Resorption: An Unusual Phenomenon.”


WhetherVotingforaCandidateorWisdomTeethYouCanChooseWisely

During election season, you'll often hear celebrities encouraging you to vote. But this year, Kaia Gerber, an up-and-coming model following the career path of her mother Cindy Crawford, made a unique election appeal—while getting her wisdom teeth removed.

With ice packs secured to her jaw, Gerber posted a selfie to social media right after her surgery. The caption read, “We don't need wisdom teeth to vote wisely.”

That's great advice—electing our leaders is one of the most important choices we make as a society. But Gerber's post also highlights another decision that bears careful consideration, whether or not to have your wisdom teeth removed.

Found in the very back of the mouth, wisdom teeth (or “third molars”) are usually the last of the permanent teeth to erupt between ages 17 and 25. But although their name may be a salute to coming of age, in reality wisdom teeth can be a pain. Because they're usually last to the party, they're often erupting in a jaw already crowded with teeth. Such a situation can be a recipe for numerous dental problems.

Crowded wisdom teeth may not erupt properly and remain totally or partially hidden within the gums (impaction). As such, they can impinge on and damage the roots of neighboring teeth, and can make overall hygiene more difficult, increasing the risk of dental disease. They can also help pressure other teeth out of position, resulting in an abnormal bite.

Because of this potential for problems, it's been a common practice in dentistry to remove wisdom teeth preemptively before any problems arise. As a result, wisdom teeth extractions are the top oral surgical procedure performed, with around 10 million of them removed every year.

But that practice is beginning to wane, as many dentists are now adopting more of a “wait and see” approach. If the wisdom teeth show signs of problems—impaction, tooth decay, gum disease or bite influence—removal is usually recommended. If not, though, the wisdom teeth are closely monitored during adolescence and early adulthood. If no problems develop, they may be left intact.

This approach works best if you maintain regular dental cleanings and checkups. During these visits, we'll be able to consistently evaluate the overall health of your mouth, particularly in relation to your wisdom teeth.

Just as getting information on candidates helps you decide your vote, this approach of watchful waiting can help us recommend the best course for your wisdom teeth. Whether you vote your wisdom teeth “in” or “out,” you'll be able to do it wisely.

If you would like more information about what's best to do about wisdom teeth, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Wisdom Teeth.”


LeaveYourKidsaLegacyofGreatDentalHealthWithTheseSimpleTips

Most parents well remember the day they brought their new baby home from the hospital. And then—in what seems like the blink of an eye—that same child is heading out the door to go on their own. "Empty nest" parents can easily regret not having more time to help their children get a solid handle on life.

With what little time you do have, it comes down to priorities—focusing on those things that are most important for their future well-being. Health, of course, is a big part of that—and oral health in particular.

In fact, the state of their teeth and gums could have a big impact on the rest of their health as they get older. That's why it's crucial to foster good dental care and reinforce tooth-friendly habits during their childhood years. Here's how.

Practice daily hygiene. A lifetime of great teeth and gums depends on a continual, daily habit of brushing and flossing. One of the best gifts you can give your child is to teach them how to properly brush and floss.

Start dental visits early. Regular dental visits support daily hygiene, and provide an early warning system for possible dental disease. Starting visits by their first birthday may also help a child avoid anxiety, making it more likely they'll continue the practice in adulthood.

Give their teeth a healthy head start. Losing even a primary tooth to decay could affect their future dental health. And despite diligence about dental care, some children may still be prone to decay. Give your child an added boost with topical fluoride or sealants to help prevent the buildup of dental plaque.

Practice what you preach. Children often do what they see their parents doing. If you're making dental care a priority—brushing and flossing every day and visiting the dentist at least twice a year—and with a positive attitude, your kids are more likely to follow your lead.

There's so much you want to instill in your children to better ensure they'll have a happy and prosperous life. Make sure these dental care tips are on your short list.

If you would like more information on dental care for kids, 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 “Taking the Stress Out of Dentistry for Kids.”