Three Surprising Ways Smoking Will Ruin Your Smile

Young Woman Smoking CigaretteIt’s not just about bad breath and yellow teeth, although those are two problems that will affect a smoker’s smile. Smoking cigarettes regularly can seriously compromise your oral health, leading to permanent damage and impaired function. Today, we’re touching on three oral health problems that exacerbated by smoking. (more…)

How Do Impacted Third Molars Cause Infection?

Teen girl with a painful third molarAs we discussed in our last post, the threat of impacted third molars leading to overcrowding of the front teeth is low and therefore not a good reason – on its own – to justify an extraction. However, the possibility of infection of the area around the wisdom tooth, a condition known as pericoronitis, is very real and threatens the health of your surrounding teeth and even other parts of the body. (more…)

Do Wisdom Teeth Really Cause Overcrowding?

Mom and Daughter Concerned about Wisdom Teeth ExtractionsWisdom teeth, clinically known as third molars, emerge during the late teen years or early twenties. According to the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, nine out of ten people have at least one impaction, a wisdom tooth that does not fully erupt from the gums or jaw bone. Impacted wisdom teeth are associated with several serious oral health problems, including an increased risk for decay between the second and third molars, gum inflammation and infection, infections or cysts around the root of the tooth, and, as popular wisdom holds, overcrowding of the front teeth. However, some debate exists regarding whether leaving impacted wisdom teeth in place truly leads to overcrowding. (more…)

Who Should Treat Gum Disease?

Man wondering who should treat his gum diseaseGum disease, the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the United States, affects approximately half of the population, report the Centers for Disease Control. In most cases, this inflammatory disorder is preventable if you practice good at-home oral hygiene and don’t smoke. However, many people have risk factors for gum disease that are outside of their control, like hormonal shifts and family history. If you suspect you have gum disease or if you’ve received a formal diagnosis, knowing who to turn to for treatment can cause some confusion (especially if you look for guidance online). (more…)

A Geography of Tooth Decay

Isolated Teeth on Black BackgroundTooth enamel is a fascinating substance. With a 96% mineral content (primarily crystalline calcium phosphate), tooth enamel can withstand up to 200 pounds of pressure. Thanks to your saliva, tooth enamel can heal itself to a degree through remineralization. However, if an area of tooth enamel loses enough mineral content, bacteria can invade and infect it, creating the cavities we associate with tooth decay. Today, we’re looking at the progression of tooth decay and how the location of a tooth can impact its susceptibility to decay. (more…)

Delicious Double Duty: Three Superfoods that Benefit Your Smile and Your Heart

Strawberries and Heart HealthA rapidly growing body of scientific research underscores what many people around the world have always known: what you eat directly impacts your overall health, from your teeth to your toes. In honor of American Heart Month, we’re discussing three superfoods that can benefit your oral health and your heart health. (more…)

A Surprising New Source for Stem Cells: Your Wisdom Teeth

Cells DividingThird molars, also known as wisdom teeth, seem like a significant flaw in an otherwise efficient design. In the rare best case scenario, they grow in normally but serve no real function. More often, however, the wisdom teeth grow in at awkward angles or remain impacted within the gum tissue or the jaw bone, leading to serious problems like crowding, gum disease, and infections that require dental surgery to remove. However, researchers have discovered that these seemingly useless teeth might become a viable source for stem cells in the near future. (more…)

The Who, What, How of Bone Grafting

Older man smiling with oral surgeon in backgroundYour jaw bone is responsible for supporting the teeth, aiding in chewing and speaking, and filling out the normal proportions of your face. If the jaw loses mass or density to resorption (a phenomenon where bone cells break down and are absorbed into the body via the blood) or as the result of a traumatic injury, then you might find yourself having difficulty performing everyday tasks normally. Today, we’re looking at why you might need a bone graft and taking a nuts-and-bolts tour of the procedure. (more…)

Bad Teeth, Lost Teeth, New Teeth, False Teeth: A Look at Dental Implant Restorations

Old man thinking about dental prostheticsAs we’ve learned in our in-depth examination of missing teeth, a number of risk factors – both within and outside of your control – can make you more susceptible to the primary causes of tooth loss. So, if gum disease, decay, or an accident claim one or more of your permanent teeth, what’s your next step? In the past, patients could choose from dental bridges, partial dentures, and full dentures. These days, dental implants are used to provide a longer lasting, more stable anchor for artificial teeth. Today, we’re looking at the two most common dental prosthetics, or replacement teeth, that your dentist might use to restore your smile. (more…)

Are You Unknowingly on the Tooth Loss Fast Track?

Man concerned about tooth lossIn our ongoing exploration of the causes and consequences of tooth loss, we’ve looked at the detrimental effect missing teeth can have on your oral and overall health. We’ve also discussed risk factors for adult tooth loss that you can control through at-home hygiene and lifestyle modification. Today, we’re delving into risk factors for tooth loss that might be beyond your control and offering a few easy-to-follow tips for maintaining a high level of oral health despite the odds. (more…)