Posts for: June, 2016
A few days before the Oscars, Vanity Fair magazine asked Academy Awards host Neil Patrick Harris to name his most treasured possession. Was it his Tony award statuette for best leading actor in a musical? His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? The stethoscope he wore while playing teenaged doctor Doogie Howser on TV? No, as it turns out, the 41-year-old actor’s most treasured possession is… his wisdom teeth. Yes, you read that correctly. “Oddly, I still have my four wisdom teeth,” Harris said. “I refuse to let them go or I’ll lose my wise parts.”
How odd is it for a 41-year-old to have wisdom teeth? Actually, not that odd at all. While it is true that wisdom teeth are often removed, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this. It all depends on whether they are causing problems now, or are likely to cause problems in the future.
The trouble wisdom teeth cause is related to the fact that they are the last molars to come in, and that molars are large in size. By the time wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 and 21, there often is not enough room for them in the jaw. Sometimes it’s because you may have inherited a jaw size that’s too small for your tooth size; and generally speaking, the size of the human jaw has evolved to become smaller over time.
If room is lacking, the adjacent molar (that came in earlier) can interfere with the path of eruption — causing the wisdom tooth to come in at an odd angle. The wisdom tooth can hit up against that other tooth, possibly causing pain or damaging the adjacent tooth. This is known as “impaction.” Sometimes the wisdom tooth breaks only partway through the gum tissue, leaving a space beneath the gum line that’s almost impossible to clean, causing infection. A serious oral infection can jeopardize the survival of teeth, and even spread to other parts of the body.
If a wisdom tooth is impacted, will you know it? Not necessarily. A tooth can be impacted without causing pain. But we can see the position of your wisdom teeth on a dental x-ray and help you make an informed decision as to whether they should stay or go. If removal is the best course of action, rest assured that this procedure is completely routine and that your comfort and safety is our highest priority. If there is no great risk to keeping them, as Neil Patrick Harris has done, we can simply continue to monitor their condition at your regular dental checkups. It will be particularly important to make sure you are reaching those teeth with your brush and floss, and that you keep to your schedule of regular professional cleanings at the dental office. All healthy teeth are indeed worth treasuring.
If you would like more information about wisdom teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”
Do you wish you could transform your stained or yellowed teeth into a pearly white, Hollywood smile? If so, you could benefit from a professional, in-office teeth whitening session. This procedure could breathe life back into your smile and leave you looking great and feeling even better. Learn more about teeth whitening with help from your Moreno Valley dentists, Megha Joshi, DDS and Achyut Joshi, DDS.
How does teeth whitening work?
In-office professional whitening sessions from your Moreno Valley dentists use bleaching agents to lift the color of your teeth. Chemical reactions between the whitening agents and the stains on your teeth break the bonds which hold the stains together. This breaks up the stain itself, giving your teeth a whiter appearance. At-home whitening kits, while still somewhat effective, cannot be monitored as an in-office session can, meaning their whitening agents are weaker. Most at-home kits take weeks before you begin to see positive results. In-office whitening can lift the color of your teeth up to ten shades in just a single, hour-long session.
An obvious benefit of professional teeth whitening is the dramatic effect you will get in such a short amount of time. These results boost self-confidence, making face-to-face encounters easier and giving you the freedom to put your best face forward during a first impression. Teeth whitening does not work on dental restorations, making someone who has natural teeth free of restorations like dental crowns or bridges the best candidate for a whitening session.
How can I keep my teeth white between sessions?
The best way to prevent stains and discolorations is to avoid the things which cause them. The acids in darkly-colored and highly-pigmented foods and drinks such as coffee, tea, and berries are notorious for causing tooth discoloration. Tobacco use is one of the main causes of tooth yellowing. Since avoiding these things is not feasible for some people, be sure to brush after consuming stain-causing foods or drinks. If you cannot brush, swish with water to wash away any particles which may remain on the teeth.
For more information on professional teeth whitening in the Moreno Valley area, please contact Megha Joshi, DDS and Achyut Joshi, DDS. Call (951)247-2738 to schedule your appointment for teeth whitening today!
If you’re considering a dental implant as a replacement for a lost tooth, you’re looking at a restoration method with an amazing 95% success rate after ten years. But that being said there’s still a risk, albeit quite low, the implant might fail.
And if you smoke, the risk is slightly higher. In a recent study of implant patients, twice as many of the failures occurred in smokers compared to non-smokers. If you’re a smoker, you can increase your chances of a successful outcome if you quit the habit.
Nicotine, a chemical within tobacco, is the primary cause for this higher risk. Besides its effect on the pleasure centers of the brain, nicotine also restricts smaller blood vessels that are abundant in the mouth and skin, causing less blood flow. As a result, the mouth doesn’t have as many antibodies and other substances available to fight infection and help traumatized tissues heal.
Because of this, as well as reduced saliva flow due to the habit, smokers have an increased risk of dental disease and are slower to respond to treatment. This can be especially problematic if the gum tissues around an implant become infected, which could lead to a catastrophic failure. Slower healing also impacts the post-surgery period when bone cells in the jaw are growing and adhering to the implant surface, forming a stronger bond.
To avoid these potential risks you should stop smoking before you undergo implant surgery. If you can’t completely kick the habit, you should at least stop a week before surgery and for two weeks after. It’s also critical that you practice good oral hygiene — both brushing and flossing — to minimize the occurrence of dental disease and see us for regular checkups and maintenance appointments.
Taking these steps will greatly increase your chances of being in the vast majority of people who continue to enjoy success with their implants for many years.
If you would like more information on the impact of smoking on dental health, 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 “Dental Implants & Smoking.”