An estimated 85% of Americans will have their wisdom teeth extracted in their lifetime. While this procedure usually takes place in the late teens or early twenties, your dentist in Douglasville may recommend it at any time, especially if they’re starting to cause problems. Even though wisdom teeth surgery is incredibly common and doesn’t typically cause problems, there are some things you should avoid after having a wisdom tooth extraction.
Things to Avoid
Although the recovery time from wisdom teeth surgery is usually pretty quick, there are some key things to avoid during this time to help speed up the healing process and avoid complications.
Of course, you need to eat while you’re recovering, but you do need to be careful about what you eat. Your dentist in Douglasville would recommend that you avoid hard, sticky foods during the first 72 hours.
One of the best ways to promote healing is to rest. Avoid doing any strenuous physical activity for three days following surgery. Doing too much too soon can make bleeding, swelling, and pain worse.
Ingredients in cigarettes and cigars are certainly cause for concern, especially after surgery, but the action of dragging on a cigarette can be even more problematic. Pulling in air from a cigarette, or even a straw, can loosen the blood clots protecting and sealing the surgical sites. If those blood clots are dislodged too early, it can lead to a painful condition known as dry socket.
Signs of a Problem
Many wisdom teeth extractions occur without any problems, but the risk for complications doesn’t go away completely. Here are some signs that require a call to your dentist or oral surgeon.
- Excessive pain, bleeding, or swelling after three days
- Pus coming out of the surgical site or nose
- A fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Facial numbness
What Should You Do After Surgery?
We’ve covered some of the things you shouldn’t do while recovering from having your wisdom teeth taken out, now let’s talk about something you should do.
- Ice Often
Ice is one of the best ways to reduce swelling and ease pain. Apply a cold compress to the affected and keep the area cold. However, make sure to have a thin barrier between the ice pack and your skin.
- Clean the Area
Your dentist may provide or recommend that you use a mouthwash during recovery in order to keep the area clean. Use it, but use it gently. Swishing slowly and softly will clean the areas without the risk of damage.
- Take Medications
Antibiotics and pain medication may be prescribed after your treatment. Take these as recommended as they can help with both preventing infection and easing pain during your recovery.
Not everyone will need to have their wisdom teeth removed, but most people will. Make sure to see your dentist in Douglasville regularly and report any symptoms of wisdom tooth pain at that time. If it’s recommended that you have your wisdom teeth extracted, always feel free to ask questions so you feel confident in the procedure and healing time.
Mouth ulcers are small, often painful sores that can develop inside your mouth in various places such as your cheeks, tongue, gums, or lips. While having one can certainly be an inconvenience and cause a few days of discomfort, they’re usually no cause for concern. In fact, most ulcers heal and disappear on their own without treatment from your dentist in Douglasville. However, there are occasions when an ulcer may be a sign of something more serious.
Symptoms of a Mouth Ulcer
The most common symptoms of mouth ulcers are small, painful lesions. These lesions typically have red outside with white, yellow, or gray centers. Ulcers are not contagious, but new ones can show up close to the time when older ones heal. Additionally, it’s common to have a few ulcers at one time. Sometimes, ulcers will also go hand-in-hand with a fever.
Causes of Ulcers
Several different things can cause an ulcer to develop, and these causes can vary from person to person and even from ulcer to ulcer. What we do know is that ulcers can be hereditary, and those with a family history of mouth ulcers are more likely to develop them as well. Other factors that can cause ulcers include:
- Injuries to the mouth such as biting your cheek or tongue
- Spicy, salty, or acidic foods
- Devices such as braces, dentures, or a mouthguard that rub
- Stress and anxiety
- Hormonal changes
People with certain medical conditions are also more likely to develop ulcers.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease such as Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis
- Celiac disease
Treating an ulcer can often be done at home through remedies such as rinsing with warm salt water a few times a day, using an over-the-counter anesthetic, and avoiding trigger foods. Occasionally, your dentist in Douglasville will recommend corticosteroids or antiseptic treatments.
It’s important to note that most ulcers will go away on their own within 10-14 days. If it doesn’t, it’s time to see your dentist.
The Link Between Ulcers & Oral Cancer
Sometimes an ulcer could indicate a bigger problem such as oral cancer. Ulcers that do not heal on their own, such as those that don’t go away within 10-14 days, may be a sign of oral cancer. Schedule an appointment with your dentist in Douglasville immediately if you notice:
- An area that looks like it could be an ulcer but doesn’t have any pain
- Rough or hard patches in the mouth
- Oral cancer is most likely to have ulcer-like sores under or on the tongue
Ulcers can absolutely be a pain, both literally and figuratively. But they should go away on their own within two weeks. If you do have an ulcer or suspect oral cancer, get to your dentist quickly. Oral cancer is often treatable and treatment is more successful in the early stages.
Cold and flu season usually spikes between December and February, which means we are just entering peak season for these illnesses. Along with the typical symptoms of fever, cough, and body aches, there can occasionally be signs that affect oral health, too. Thankfully, your dentist in Douglasville is here to ease your concerns about why your teeth may hurt when you’re sick.
Tooth Pain May Not Equate to an Oral Health Problem
Your dentist in Douglasville will usually say that any tooth pain is typically a sign of an oral health problem and that you should schedule a visit sooner rather than later. While that may be true most of the time, there are some exceptions, especially when you’re sick. You see, when you have the flu or a cold and have pain in multiple teeth, the discomfort may actually be a side effect of the illness itself rather than a problem with the teeth. How does this happen? Well, it comes back to anatomy and how close our teeth are to other areas of the body.
Sinusitis & Tooth Pain
Tooth pain that comes along with an illness may be a side effect of something called acute sinusitis. Acute sinusitis is when the spaces in your nose become inflamed or swollen. While this can happen for any number of reasons, it’s most commonly a result of the common cold or the flu. Pressure in these areas can cause pain in the top back teeth. Other symptoms of sinusitis include:
- Facial pain
- Ear pressure
- Bad breath
- Green or yellow mucus
One of the most common ailments that go along with any cold or the flu is congestion, which is particularly concerning for your dentist in Douglasville. The discomfort of not being able to breathe through your nose goes further than simply being annoying. When we can’t breathe out of our noses, we need to breathe out of our mouths. Mouth breathing can cause an uncomfortable feeling of dry mouth. But dry mouth is more concerning than simply being uncomfortable. Dry mouth has been linked to oral health problems such as decay, tooth sensitivity, and infections.
However, mouth breathing isn’t the only thing that can cause dry mouth. In fact, many medications can also dry out saliva production and create an arid environment. When there isn’t enough saliva, bacteria can flourish and lead to the formation of gum disease.
To help counteract dry mouth, make sure to drink plenty of water, especially when you’re sick. Not only can water help you stay hydrated, but it can also help protect teeth against dangerous bacteria and germs.
Anytime your teeth hurt can certainly be concerning. However, if your tooth pain comes along with feeling sick, it may not be necessary to see a dentist as long as you are drinking plenty of water and use sugar-free medicine whenever possible. Now, if tooth pain persists after you feel better, consider scheduling a checkup with your dentist in Douglasville to evaluate your teeth and overall oral health.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common infection that affects the gum tissue. It’s so common, in fact, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly half of Americans over the age of 30 have some form of the disease. In the early stages, gum disease can often be treated successfully by your dentist in Douglasville. However, if the disease progresses, it could mean serious trouble.
Stage 1: Gingivitis
The least severe stage of gum disease is gingivitis. During this stage, the infection only affects the gum tissue, and treatment can help reverse the disease.
Stage 2: Early Periodontitis
If gingivitis isn’t treated it can progress into the initial stages of periodontitis. When this happens, the infection starts to spread into the areas where tissues connect teeth to bone.
Stage 3: Mild Periodontitis
Following early periodontitis is mild or moderate periodontitis. It’s during this stage when a patient can experience significant bone loss.
Stage 4: Advanced Periodontitis
The most severe case of gum disease is advanced periodontitis where there is more than 50% bone loss.
Signs of Gum Disease
Signs and symptoms of gum disease can vary depending on the stage of infection and can range from:
- Bleeding gums
- Red, swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Tooth sensitivity
- Loose teeth
How is Gum Disease Treated?
There are a number of ways that your dentist can treat gum disease. Again, it depends on each individual situation. Some of the common treatments for gum disease include:
- Deep Cleaning – A deep cleaning will clean up under the gum line and not just above it like a traditional dental cleaning. This can help remove the infection at the source.
- Antibiotics – Just like when you’re sick, taking antibiotics for gum disease can help fight off bacteria and the infection.
- Surgery – In more serious cases, your dentist may recommend gum surgery such as a gum graft.
How to Lower Your Risk of Gum Disease
The best way to ensure your gums stay healthy is to brush and floss twice daily. Getting into this habit will help remove plaque buildup. Allowing plaque to accumulate on the teeth is what ultimately leads to gum disease in the first place. There are also other ways you can lower your risk of gum disease.
- Stop smoking or using tobacco products
- Replace your toothbrush often – no toothbrush should be used for longer than 3 months
- See your dentist in Douglasville at least twice a year
Don’t let gum disease affect your oral health or your teeth. Keep your biannual dental appointments for regular preventive care so your dentist can detect and treat any problems early.
Sinusitis, also known as a sinus infection, can have similar symptoms to a toothache, and you may be wondering which may be affecting you. The good news is that your dentist in Douglasville knows the difference between the tell-tale signs of a toothache versus those of a sinus infection. Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences.
Symptoms of Both a Sinus Infection & a Toothache
Sinus infections can cause tooth pain, although a tooth may not be the underlying problem. Knowing the difference between a sinus infection and a toothache can help you get the proper help you need to relieve discomfort. First, the common signs that are apparent in both a sinus infection and a toothache include:
- Bad Breath
- Tooth Pain
It may be difficult to understand where these symptoms are originating from, so now let’s look at the difference between a toothache that’s caused by a sinus problem and one caused by a dental problem.
The Difference Between a Toothache & Sinus Pain
Any type of pain is uncomfortable, but your dentist in Douglasville knows that tooth pain has a unique feeling and can cause alarm. It’s incredibly common for patients to not know the difference between actual tooth pain and tooth pain that’s caused by a sinus infection.
Sinus Infection Symptoms
- Pain in the top molars
- Tooth pain that gets worse when bending over
- Pain that spreads to several teeth
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Postnasal drip
While toothaches can have some of the symptoms of a sinus infection, there are some key differences:
- Sensitivity to hot and cold
- Painful or swollen gums
- Pain when chewing
- Isolated pain in certain teeth
The Sinus Cavity
Why can a sinus infection cause tooth pain in the first place? Well, it all comes back to anatomy. The sinus cavity is located around the forehead behind the eyes as well as on the sides of the nose, and tooth roots of some teeth are really close to the area. This is why when the sinus cavity becomes inflamed as a result of infection it can be felt in the teeth.
Can a Sinus Infection Cause Pain in Other Teeth Other Than the Molars?
It’s unlikely that a sinus infection will cause pain in other teeth other than the top back molars. Since the roots of the top back teeth are close to the sinus cavity, pain during a sinus infection is most likely to occur in this area. A toothache in the front teeth or lower teeth may be a clear sign of a dental problem and should be checked by your dentist in Douglasville. If you’re experiencing jaw pain, it’s also wise to see your dentist. This discomfort can be attributed to many things, including a sinus infection, tooth troubles, or a misaligned bite.
Long story short, any type of tooth pain should be looked at by your dentist. If they determine the cause isn’t related to something happening in your mouth, they may refer you to another type of doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.
We’ve heard the saying that sugar rots your teeth. This adage exists for a good reason, as too much sugar can absolutely increase the risk of decay. So it’s no surprise that your dentist in Douglasville will encourage you to enjoy sugary snacks and drinks in moderation. But what if there was a way where you could enjoy sweet treats and not put your teeth at risk for cavities? Good news! Thanks to xylitol, there is.
All About Xylitol
Xylitol is a sugar substitute that’s naturally found in many fruits and vegetables. Its naturally sweet flavor can give you everything you want from sweets without the risks of traditional sugar. How so? Well, xylitol is digested differently in the body than sugar, so it’s less dangerous for overall health. Sugar can raise blood glucose levels, slow down metabolism, and cause issues with weight. Xylitol on the other hand has about 40% fewer calories than sugar and has a low glycemic index, meaning blood glucose levels won’t be nearly as affected by xylitol as it is by sugar. But that’s not all. Your dentist in Douglasville wants you to know that xylitol may also protect oral health.
Oral Health Benefits of Xylitol
Besides being a better alternative to sugar for overall health, xylitol can also benefit oral health. There are tons of bacteria in our mouths. Some of the bacteria are good, and some are bad. One of the most common types of bad bacteria is Streptococcus mutans. These bad bacteria love sugar as it gives them fuel to replicate and create more and more bacteria. Essentially, the more sugar we eat, the more the bacteria feed, and the more bacteria they produce. Streptococcus mutans are also the main contributor to plaque buildup which also means an increased risk of decay. However, xylitol is different.
While the Streptococcus mutans bacteria will still feed on xylitol, it won’t allow the bacteria to reproduce. In fact, quite the opposite. Xylitol will starve Streptococcus mutans and actually reduce the amount of bad bacteria in the mouth. This gives the bacteria less of a chance to create plaque buildup and cavities.
Some of the oral benefits of xylitol include:
- Prevention of tooth decay
- Starving bacteria
- Prevention of oral inflammation
- Reducing the risk of gum disease
- Remineralizing teeth
- Increasing saliva production
- Reducing the acidity of your saliva
- Helping with calcium absorption
Gum that contains xylitol as opposed to sugar can be a great way to protect teeth. Chewing gum on its own produces saliva that washes away bacteria and neutralizes acids. But chewing gum with xylitol can continuously kill bad bacteria. You can also find xylitol in the baking aisle at most grocery stores and use it as a sugar replacement in many recipes.
Replacing sugar with xylitol can go a long way in protecting teeth. But it is not a replacement for good old-fashioned oral hygiene. You still need to brush and floss your teeth every day and see your dentist in Douglasville every six months for checkups.
Your dentist in Douglasville strives to make every dental appointment fun and stress-free for all of our patients. But we do understand that some of our patients may be nervous, anxious, or scared of their visit. While we will certainly use all our techniques to help you relax, there are some times when we need to consider using a form of sedation dentistry such as nitrous oxide. But what is nitrous oxide? Is it safe? Don’t worry, we are here to help answer your questions.
What is Nitrous Oxide?
Nitrous oxide is a gas that has no smell and no color but can help relax patients while in the dental chair. It simply helps soothe the mind and makes getting dental care easier, more comfortable, and more enjoyable. This is important, especially for kids, because a kid’s experience with a dentist in their earlier years can affect their attitude about dentistry throughout their life. In fact, a study published in the National Library of Medicine found that many adults who are scared of the dentist can trace their fear back to a negative experience that occurred during childhood, and those adults are less likely to have regular dental and more likely to have dental problems.
Is Nitrous Oxide Safe?
Yes! The American Dental Association considers nitrous oxide safe for patients to use during their dental appointments with proper moderation. Now, it shouldn’t necessarily be used on every patient in every situation, but it can be beneficial for patients who:
- Will be having a longer procedure
- Have trouble sitting still
- Have a strong gag reflex
- Experience fear
- Are special needs patients
If your dentist in Douglasville recommends nitrous oxide for you, know that it is safe and the effects wear off quickly.
How Is Nitrous Oxide Administered?
One of the great things about nitrous oxide is that there are no needles involved, and it can be administered directly through a small nose mask. This mask only covers your nose and delivers nitrous oxide, along with oxygen, simply through breathing. It takes about five minutes for the nitrous oxide to take effect. After treatment is done, you will breathe just oxygen for a little bit to clean out any gas and will have no lingering drowsiness from the nitrous oxide. Sometimes, nitrous oxide can cause nausea so we may encourage only a small meal or snack before any nitrous appointment.
If you need dental treatment that may take a while or if you’re scared of the dentist, talk with your dentist in Douglasville about how we can help. We’re always accepting new patients and would be happy to help!
The internet is full of great information, but it can be difficult to tell the difference between wise advice and dangerous trends. This is particularly true when it comes to health tips and dental tricks. However, your dentist in Douglasville wants to warn you that there has been a rise in social media trends that can directly damage dental health.
DIY Dentistry Dangers
Taking a do-it-yourself approach to anything involving your oral health is concerning. But when thousands of social media stars showcase their at-home dental care to millions of people, some patients are bound to try these techniques. Here are five of the most damaging DIY dental trends on social media.
We understand that having a bright, white smile is desirable, and there are many ways your dentist in Douglasville can help whiten your teeth. However, some trends online claim that different concoctions of household products can whiten teeth quickly. The problem is that these mixtures usually contain very acidic ingredients that can easily weaken tooth enamel, make it easy for cavities to form, and can even cause teeth to appear darker. The other problem? They don’t work.
Even before the days of social media, teenagers would put items in their mouths to mimic the look of braces. This still happens, but it’s been taken one step further. Social media influencers are often seen using everyday items to try and close gaps in their teeth or straighten overlapping teeth. Not only can moving teeth on your own cause major alignment problems and issues with your bite, but some of the materials used can also restrict blood flow, causing teeth to die and potentially fall out.
One of the most widespread trends currently shows users filing down their teeth into tiny points, also known as the “veneers check” trend. The idea is that filing the teeth down will prepare them for veneers. Not only does this trend make us cringe, but it’s also incredibly dangerous. First, veneer prep from your dentist in Douglasville does not require filing down teeth this way. Second, filing healthy, natural teeth can cause permanent damage and require professional treatment such as dentures.
If you’re missing a tooth and decide to have it replaced with a dental implant, your dentist will also custom-create a crown (the white part of the tooth) to complete your smile. However, social media trends showcase very popular videos of patients creating their own prosthetic teeth or sometimes even partial dentures using arts and crafts supplies.
With Halloween right around the corner, it won’t be surprising to see a few ghosts, goblins, ghouls, and vampires around. But usually, these are found in decorations or costumes. Yet there is a concerning trend of using very strong, permanent (and toxic!) glue to attach vampire fangs to teeth.
We can’t stress enough how dangerous these trends are. If you’re unhappy with your smile and want to change something about the way your teeth look, always start by talking with your dentist in Douglasville about your options.
Dentures are one of the ways your dentist in Douglasville can replace an entire set of teeth. These removable replacements for missing teeth are a great way to restore your smile and allow you to smile and eat with confidence. However, just because denture-wearers no longer have natural teeth doesn’t mean they should stop going to the dentist. In fact, there are very good reasons to see a dentist even if you have dentures.
Make Your Dentures Last
Dentures aren’t a permanent solution to missing teeth, and normal wear and tear can occur over time. Visiting your dentist in Douglasville regularly can help your dentures last longer. During your appointments, your dentist will examine your denture and make sure there are no signs of damage. If there are, it allows your dentist to fix them, making them last longer.
Check The Fit
Our bodies change over time, and this includes our mouths and jaws. Changes in your mouth can cause changes to your bite and make a once good-fitting denture feel uncomfortable. But the problems don’t stop with discomfort. Ill-fitting dentures can increase the risk of certain oral health problems such as sores, TMJ, and gum disease. If you notice that your denture feels a bit off or is slipping or clicking, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Douglasville.
Protect Your Mouth
Even though you may not have natural teeth anymore, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other oral health problems that can occur. One of the most common and most concerning oral health issues that can occur no matter how many teeth you have is gum disease. Gum disease is a serious condition that can actually lead to other health problems throughout the body. Denture-wearers may be at increased risk since food, plaque, and bacteria can build up on the denture and affect your gum health.
High-Quality Dentures Make a Difference
Finding the best dentist in Douglasville to make your dentures may seem easy, but not all dentists use the same materials. Do your research and ask your dental team about their denture process and materials. Then, make sure to take proper care of your denture. Good dentures that are well-cared for at home and examined and adjusted by a dentist regularly can last between 7 and 10 years.
It’s a myth that everyone will lose their teeth as they grow older and need a tooth replacement solution such as a denture or dental implant. Some ways to avoid tooth loss are to see your dentist every six months and take excellent care of your oral health at home. However, if you find yourself missing teeth and need a solution, talk with your dentist about the best option for you.
Your smile is a valuable asset. But if you’re unhappy or self-conscious about the way your smile looks, you may hide it from people around you. Unfortunately, this can have unwanted effects. In fact, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, more than 99% of adults see a smile as an important social asset, and more than 70% believe that an unattractive smile can have negative effects on someone’s success. Thankfully, your dentist in Douglasville can help with various forms of cosmetic dentistry.
Smile whitening, also known as teeth whitening or teeth bleaching, is the most popular form of cosmetic dentistry available. Some of the reasons why are because it’s typically quick and affordable. While the results aren’t permanent, they can give a temporary boost in the brightness and whiteness of teeth. Depending on the treatment, bleaching your teeth can whiten smiles by up to two to nine shades. Whitening products can be purchased over the counter, but the best way to make sure you’re getting the results you want is to first see your dentist in Douglasville for a consultation. The truth is that not all tooth discoloration can be bleached by whitening products.
If your dentist tells you that smile whitening won’t give you the results you’re looking for, there may be another option in the form of porcelain veneers. Dental veneers are super-thin pieces of porcelain that are custom-designed to blend into your smile naturally. Treatment for this procedure does require removing a small layer of the natural tooth to make room for the veneer, but the result is permanent. Veneers can fix more than discoloration and can help transform the size, shape, or length of individual teeth.
Even if someone has had braces in the past, teeth can continue to shift over time and become crooked or overlapped. In many cases, clear aligners can be used to gently move teeth around for a super-straight smile without the need for brackets and wires. Although this treatment can be very successful, it’s important to consult your dentist first. Invisible braces aren’t appropriate for everyone, and the over-the-counter options may cause more harm than good. Always check with your dentist before beginning any type of dental procedure.
A simple form of cosmetic dentistry, dental bonding is non-invasive and pretty quick. The treatment involves bonding resin to natural teeth through the use of UV light. It may be one of the best ways to repair chipped or cracked teeth and may even be right for someone looking to fill small gaps in their smile.
We feel that everyone should have a smile that they’re proud to show off and that improves their self-confidence. Start your cosmetic dentistry journey by scheduling a cosmetic dentistry consultation with your dentist in Douglasville.