Do Wisdom Teeth Need To Be Removed?

wisdom teethWisdom teeth can be a pesky problem, whether they need to be removed or not. While there are times when your dentist in Sacramento may suggest keeping wisdom teeth around, it’s most common to have wisdom teeth removed. In fact, over 90% of Americans have their wisdom teeth removed. So when can they stay and when do they have to go?  

Reasons Wisdom Teeth Need to be Extracted

 

  • There’s No Room For Them

 

The top reason wisdom teeth need to be removed is that there’s no more room in your mouth for four more teeth. If this is happening, your dental team will be able to identify it early through dental x-rays. When there’s simply not enough room for your wisdom teeth, extraction will be recommended. If treatment is not completed and the teeth start to erupt, a whole host of issues can occur including overcrowding, crookedness, and jaw pain. Your wisdom teeth may also become impacted, which is just a way to say that the teeth become stuck. Once wisdom teeth are impacted, the surgery is a bit more complicated but still fairly easy.

 

  • Proper Care Becomes Difficult

 

If you’re one of the rare cases where your wisdom teeth grow in straight and healthy, your Sacramento dentist may still recommend having them removed. This is to prevent additional problems such as cavities and gum disease in the future. You see, wisdom teeth are way in the back of the mouth and are very difficult to brush and floss properly. This can cause bacteria and plaque build-up, which will put you at an increased risk of decay.

When Don’t Wisdom Teeth Need to be Removed?

Even though 90% of Americans need to have their wisdom teeth out, there are a few cases when wisdom teeth grow in just fine. If your wisdom teeth have enough room to fully erupt without disrupting the neighboring teeth and you’re not having trouble taking care of them, you may just be able to keep them. Remember, your dental team will continue to monitor their health to make sure they’re still ok where they are, and that your mouth and smile are staying healthy.

Seeing your dentist regularly is the best way to determine whether or not you should have your wisdom teeth removed. If you think you may need to have your wisdom teeth checked out, give our Sacramento dental office a call to schedule an appointment today.

Your Guide to Understanding Cosmetic Dentistry

beautiful smiling womanAny dentist, along with everyone at our Sacramento dental office, will tell you that one of the most gratifying, tear-jerking moments we have doing what we do is when someone’s smile and life is improved, and they become more confident. One of the areas of dental care that allow us the tools and treatments to complete this kind of transformation is cosmetic dentistry. There are so many special ways it can be used to fix or enhance your teeth. Let’s learn a little more about cosmetic dentistry and all it has to offer you.

Can Any Dentist Do Cosmetic Dentistry?

The answer to this question is generally, yes. However, some dentists are more qualified and trained to handle cosmetic cases compared to their dental peers. If you’re considering any cosmetic change to your smile, it’s always a good idea to check out your options if you don’t have a dentist in Sacramento.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry says you’ll want to check out these three things while you’re researching a dentist or an office that’s the right fit for you:

1) Before & After Shots – Any dentist who’s proud of their cosmetic cases should have some good before and after photos for you to see so that you can compare results. They’re usually available on most dental office websites and will tell you what kind of work a patient has had done so you can decide if you’d like to learn more about a specific procedure.

2) Continuing Education – You can always find out if a dentist or dental team you’re considering is up-to-date with the latest treatment techniques and technology. There are so many innovations and changes that occur within cosmetic dentistry as the years’ progress, so it’s important to know what’s available and how to put it to good use.

3) References – Checking patient testimonials or reading online reviews can be helpful if you’re looking to find a cosmetic dentist that provides the services you need with office hours that work for you.

Common Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures

Some cosmetic dentists offer a wider variety of services than others, so it’s best to know what you’re considering having done. These are just a few of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments available today, across the country:

  • Veneers – Most people know of or have at least heard about dental veneers. They can take your teeth from drab to Hollywood-worthy in just a short amount of time. Veneers are usually made of porcelain or plastic and are very thin. Your dentist places them over the front of your teeth for an immediate upgrade to the shape and color of your smile. Veneers can help you say goodbye to unevenly spaced, chipped, broken, or discolored teeth.
  • Crowns – You also might know these cosmetic dentistry solutions by another name called caps. We can use crowns to help fix deteriorating teeth by covering your tooth for better appearance and function. They tend to have the longest life expectancy compared to other popular cosmetic restorations.
  • Bonding – This tooth-colored material is expertly placed on teeth to help them be more uniform and free from gaps or discolorations. Slightly decayed or chipped teeth can often be fixed with bonding because it can cover the entire surface of your tooth for a change in shape and color.
  • WhiteningTeeth whitening is probably the most widely recognized cosmetic dental treatment because it’s something we can do in the dentist’s office or the comfort of our own home. This can help lighten and brighten your smile for any big occasion.

We hope you’ve learned a little something about cosmetic dentistry today. If you’re considering making a change to your smile, please don’t hesitate to talk to your Sacramento dentist to find out what treatments would work for you. Maybe it’s time to boost your smile and your confidence?

I’m Pregnant and Nervous About Seeing the Dentist. Help!

pregnant woman brushes teethThere are so many new questions and complications that can arise when you find out you’re expecting a little one. It’s such a beautiful time and moment in an expectant mother’s life, and we want you to be able to relax and enjoy all of the positive sides of pregnancy. Your Sacramento dentist doesn’t want you to worry about taking care of your smile, no matter if you’re an existing patient or someone new who is looking for a dental family they can trust.

Let’s explore some of the dental-related questions or concerns some pregnant women seem to struggle with. We’ll show you how everything is going to be alright, no matter what your smile needs to stay healthy during pregnancy.

Helpful Tip #1 – Blame Your Hormones

One of the first things that happens when a pregnancy begins to develop is your hormones get all out of whack thanks to rising and falling levels of both estrogen and progesterone. In about half of all pregnant women, there’s a risk of developing something referred to as “pregnancy-related gingivitis”, according to the American Dental Association. It causes pain, swelling, tenderness, and excessive bleeding in your gums. Your dentist in Sacramento can always take a look at your gums and bleeding to determine a plan of action. Sometimes we recommend more frequent cleanings, and sometimes the issue clears up on its own.

Helpful Tip #2 – Take Additional Steps to Protect Your Teeth from Acid Erosion

Sickness and vomiting during pregnancy are one of the most common side effects that most women tend to experience early on in their pregnancy. When you get sick, excess stomach acid can eat away at your tooth enamel leading to decay. Remember these helpful tips you can use at home to help protect your teeth from acid:

  1. Rinse with water – Swish some water around in your mouth following a bout of morning sickness to remove some of the acid from your teeth.
  2. Wait an hour – Wait at least an hour before brushing after you’re sick. Rinse with water in the meantime. The acid may weaken enamel, and brushing can scratch the enamel and lead to decay.  
  3. Keep drinking water – The more water you drink, the lower the acidity level in your mouth will be.
  4. Smear on toothpaste – Putting a dollop of toothpaste on your finger and rubbing it on your teeth can further protect them against acid.
  5. Use a tongue scraper – After you get sick, if you take a tongue scraper across your tongue, you can successfully remove some of the acid that may stick around on the tongue and then transfer to the teeth.

Helpful Tip #3 – Don’t Ignore Your Oral and Overall Health Connection

You might have heard at our Sacramento dental office about how closely your mouth is connected to the rest of your body. It can act as a mirror for underlying medical conditions present elsewhere in your body. This is why not one but three of some of the country’s most respected dental/medical organizations (the American Dental Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics) encourage every mother to see the dentist, especially during the earlier phases and stages of your pregnancy. It’s important to address any issues early for improved health for you and your baby.

By now, you probably know how crucial it is to see your Sacramento dentist throughout your pregnancy along with maintaining your brushing and flossing routine at home. No matter where you are in the course of your pregnancy, we hope you’ll give us a call to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about your smile health. We’ll be here to help you every step of the way on your beautiful pregnancy journey!

What is a Tooth Abscess?

dentist analyzes x-rayAn abscessed tooth isn’t a very fun topic to talk about, but it is necessary. Many people will experience an abscess in their life as well as the pain that often comes with it. At our dental office in Sacramento, we’re here to share some important information about tooth abscess, so you’re able to recognize the signs and get treatment quickly.

What is an Abscess?

A tooth abscess is a painful collection of pus that’s brought on by a deep tooth infection that has spread into the tooth’s root and even the bone. If treatment is not sought early, the infection can lead to serious problems and perhaps require a tooth extraction.

Signs & Symptoms

Tooth pain is a common sign of an abscess. Other signs and symptoms of an abscess include:

  • Face or jaw swelling
  • Sensitivity with increased pressure
  • A bad taste in your mouth that may taste salty
  • Pain in the jaw, neck, or ear

It’s worth noting that, occasionally, an abscess won’t show any symptoms at all. When this happens, your dentist in Sacramento is usually the one to diagnose an abscess at one of your dental checkups through the use of a dental x-ray.

Causes of an Abscessed Tooth

Often untreated decay is the main cause of an abscess. But there are other things can lead to a painful abscess, including an injury to the mouth, certain dental treatments (such as a root canal), crown, or filling, or from clenching or grinding.

Risk Factors

There are several things that can increase your risk of getting an abscess including:

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Eating too much sugar
  • Dry mouth
  • Not seeing your dentist in Sacramento every six months

All of these factors increase your risk of decay, and in turn an abscessed tooth.

Prevention

Since many abscesses are caused by untreated decay, the best thing you can do to prevent an abscess is to follow a good oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing every day. It’s also recommended that you visit our dental office in Sacramento at least twice a year for preventative care, professional dental cleanings, and x-rays.

If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental appointment or you’re experiencing any pain or discomfort, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today.

Recognizing the Signs of Oral Cancer

oral cancer awarenessOral cancer is a scary disease that takes the lives of over 8,500 Americans every year. It’s a widespread problem that can be treated, often very successfully, if caught early. The problem is, many people don’t know the signs of oral cancer and may never realize there’s a problem until it’s too late. So in honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, our dental office in Sacramento is here to help spread awareness of not only the common signs of oral cancer, but also several risk factors.

Oral Cancer Signs & Symptoms

Being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of oral cancer can be crucial in catching and diagnosing the disease early when treatment is most successful. Some of the more common signs of oral cancer include:

  • A chronic sore that doesn’t go away
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • A lump on the cheek or tongue
  • Change in voice

If you notice any of these symptoms, see your dentist in Sacramento as soon as possible.

Risk Factors

It’s important to note that anyone can get oral cancer. However, there are some things that can put us at more risk of the disease including:

Gender: Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women.

Age: People over 50 are the most affected by oral cancer.

Tobacco Use: Nearly 80% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are smokers or use smokeless tobacco. Smoking often leads to throat or mouth cancer, and smokeless tobacco usually results in gum, cheek, or lip cancer.

Alcohol: Approximately 70% of all those diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers.

Limiting your alcohol consumption and avoiding tobacco products are great ways to reduce your risk of getting oral cancer. But perhaps one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from the dangers of oral cancer is to see your dentist every six months. These visits can help catch any problems early while the chance for successful treatment is greatest.

Every year, over 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer. Of those, 40% won’t survive more than five years. Early detection greatly increases the chance of successful treatment and survival. Schedule a visit with your dentist in Sacramento today.

The Honest Truth About Your Missing Tooth

man missing toothMaybe it’s been a long time since you last visited our dental office in Sacramento for a comprehensive cleaning and checkup. That’s OK! But maybe now you find yourself with a missing tooth, or in danger of having a tooth (or multiple teeth) fall out due to deterioration over time. We’re here to help you understand some possible effective ways dentists choose to fix a missing tooth or teeth.

The Benefits of Fixing Your Missing Tooth

We know it can be embarrassing or even nerve-wracking to see the dentist when your smile is damaged. But doing nothing can make the problem worse and put your remaining healthy teeth in jeopardy. When you fix a missing tooth or multiple teeth, you’re going to:

  • Restore your smile and your confidence
  • Fix any issues with chewing or speaking
  • Help keep the natural shape to your face
  • Help fix your bite’s form and function
  • Keep remaining teeth from moving or shifting over time

You see? The results are just too good to pass up! Isn’t it time you talked to your dentist in Sacramento?

Common Tooth Replacement Options

Depending on your individual needs, there are numerous treatment options delivered with some of dentistry’s most state-of-the-art dental technology for patients of all ages who might be missing a tooth or teeth. We think modern dental care is truly amazing!

  1. Single Dental Implant

A dental implant is a life-changing restoration that actually acts like your missing tooth’s natural roots to help keep your jaw bone stimulated and healthy. You’ll get a custom, tooth-colored crown that will help you be able to finally eat the foods you love, but have been avoiding because of your missing tooth. If taken care of properly, dental implants can last many years if not a lifetime.

  1. Bridge

Just like the name implies, a dental bridge can bridge the gap that’s created when you end up missing a tooth or even multiple teeth. Your dental bridge is usually constructed of two or more crowns that are adjacent to the gap created by a missing tooth. Think of these teeth as anchoring teeth and then you’ll have a customized false tooth or teeth to fill the gap. Sometimes bridges are supported by dental implants; it depends on your oral health goals.

  1. Dentures

When you’re missing multiple teeth, it might be time to talk to us about the amazing ways dentures can give you back a confident, healthy smile. Dentures can be used to replace both upper and lower missing teeth. They’re created to be aesthetically and naturally pleasing, so no one will even know they’re not your real teeth.

Please don’t hesitate to call your Sacramento dentist to schedule a consultation. Together, we can look at your missing tooth or teeth and create a plan for your treatment that works for your budget, your schedule, and your smile.

Why It’s Important Not to Ignore Your Snoring

couple snoringThink back to the last time you woke up feeling refreshed and ready to take on your daily demands. It’s so nice to have the energy and mindful clarity to help you be productive and make the most of your day. Has it been a while since you felt like this? Does your bed partner complain because your snoring keeps them up at night?

Your Sacramento dentist will tell you that if snoring is disrupting your life (and your family’s sleep), it might be time to consider learning more about something called sleep apnea. It could be the annoying (and dangerous) condition that’s keeping you and the ones you love from enjoying a peaceful, rejuvenating night’s sleep. Let’s take learn more about sleep apnea, its symptoms, and side effects.

What is Sleep Apnea?

If you think snoring while sleeping isn’t that common, think again! The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates nearly 90 million Americans are snoring away while trying to achieve a healthy night’s sleep. Sometimes snoring is just that, and people who have this condition are called “simple snorer’s” or primary snorers. This generally true for about half of the 90 million people sawing logs at night.

But for the other half, there’s a good chance they’re struggling with a more serious sleep disorder known as sleep apnea without even knowing it. Sleep apnea is dangerous because you can wake up as many as 100 times during the night, stop breathing, snore loudly, and struggle to regain a normal breathing pattern – and you don’t even know it!

Are There Different Kinds of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is usually classified in two distinctively different ways:

1) Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – This is, by far, the most common form of sleep apnea being diagnosed across the country today. If you or someone in your household is diagnosed with sleep apnea, it’s usually caused by a blocked airflow during sleep due to your soft tissue collapsing in the back of your throat. At our dental office in Sacramento, we’ll always tell you to seek help if you or someone in your family continues to have issues with snoring.

2) Central Sleep Apnea – This type of sleep apnea is more difficult to diagnose because it involves a specific problem with how your brain signals your breathing muscles to respond. Unlike OSA, your airway isn’t blocked. In this case your brain fails to signal your muscles to breathe. Brain tumors, brain infections, and strokes are often to blame.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Even though snoring can be a big indicator of sleep apnea, it also wreaks havoc on your oral health due to dry mouth because everyone needs saliva in their mouth to help:

  • Rinse and cleanse your teeth to help reduce plaque build-up
  • Wash away food particles leftover from brushing and flossing
  • Remove dead cells that can lead to sore, infections, and bad breath
  • Neutralize acids that cause plaque and erode your tooth enamel

Our Sacramento dental office will always go out of our way to keep you and your smile healthy. If you think snoring is affecting your teeth, don’t hesitate to talk to us. We’re always happy to help and answer any questions you may have.

What to Do About Sensitive Teeth

sensitive toothIf thinking about indulging in a cold bowl of ice cream or sipping on a cup of hot tea makes you wince in pain, you may be suffering from sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity is nothing to take lightly. It can keep you from enjoying some of your favorite foods or drinks, and it can certainly cause some severe pain. Our dental office in Sacramento understands how frustrating and uncomfortable sensitive tooth pain can be, and we’re here to help.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

There are several typical causes of sensitive teeth including:

  • Decay or cavities
  • Chipped or fractured teeth
  • Gum disease

All of these causes result in the tooth’s roots becoming exposed, and that’s where all the pain stems from. Healthy, decay-free teeth have a hard protective shell of enamel that shields the roots and inner nerves from being exposed. However, if this enamel is compromised by either decay or injury, the roots and nerves are left wide open to the elements. Similarly, gum disease often goes hand-in-hand with gum recession and can also expose roots and cause pain. However, there are things you can do to help ease this pain and get some relief.

At-Home Remedies to Sensitive Teeth

The best thing you can do at home to protect your teeth against sensitivity is to follow a proper oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing daily. This reduces the risk of decay and, in turn, sensitivity. Additionally, make sure you’re using the right tools to further protect your teeth. Select a toothbrush with soft bristles to get a thorough clean while also taking it easy on your enamel, and consider a toothpaste specifically formulated for sensitive teeth. Lastly, don’t scrub your teeth too hard. Using too much pressure while brushing could lead to gum recession as well as enamel erosion, both of which greatly increase the risk of sensitivity.

When to See Your Dentist in Sacramento

There are times when professional intervention is appropriate to relieve tooth sensitivity. Your dental team will be able to make the best recommendation for you based on what’s causing the pain in the first place. Some treatment options may include:

Living with sensitive teeth isn’t something that you need to continue to suffer through. There are ways that you can relieve your pain once and for all so you can start enjoying your favorite foods again. Call our Sacramento dental office to schedule an appointment with us today.

Can Dental Problems Be Linked to Vitamin Deficiencies?

vitamins in palmWe are well into winter, and that typically means we spend less time soaking up the sun, and in turn, our bodies get less vitamin D. While there’s a well-known link between overall health and even happiness and vitamin D, it may surprise you learn that there’s also a strong correlation between a lack of vitamin D and oral health problems. Our dental office in Sacramento wants to help our patients not only understand why vitamin D is so important for oral health but also learn other ways (besides sunshine) to get it.

Why is Vitamin D Important?

Getting a healthy dose of vitamin D daily not only helps boost our immune systems, but it can also help keep us healthier. Vitamin D keeps blood pressure low, aids the pancreas in producing insulin, and lowers the risk for infections including, but not limited to, gum disease. However, when we aren’t getting enough vitamin D, our bodies and teeth are at risk.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to osteoporosis, increased risk for type 1 diabetes, and even breast, colon, or prostate cancer. But the dangers don’t end there. Numerous studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency also increases the risk of dental decay. This is because vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphate — both of which are crucial for building and keeping strong tooth enamel. Without an adequate intake of vitamin D, our teeth are at risk for weakening and developing cavities.

Where to Get Vitamin D

The sun is a great way to fuel our bodies with vitamin D. But during winter months it becomes difficult to spend time outside enjoying the sun’s rays. To compensate, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D from somewhere else. Some great ways to keep up with your vitamin D intake is by:

  • Eating Eggs and Fatty Fish
  • Drinking Milk
  • Taking Supplements

Don’t Forget the Calcium

Perhaps vitamin D’s most important job is helping us absorb calcium. The truth is, without vitamin D our bodies don’t absorb nearly enough calcium to protect our bones (and our teeth!) from deterioration. Make sure to pair foods high in vitamin D with those containing a lot of calcium such as:

  • Dairy products
  • Leafy green veggies
  • Nuts

Providing your body with the right amount of vitamin D is important not only for your body but also for your oral health. Make sure your diet is packed with enough vitamin D and calcium to protect your smile. As always, our dental office in Sacramento is here to help get and keep your smile healthy for life.

Stress & Oral Health

woman and stressEven though the craziness of the holidays is behind us, it doesn’t necessarily mean our stress levels have decreased. Everyday life can certainly cause anxiety and contribute to more stress. As many people know, stress can impact our health and overall well-being, but did you know stress can also contribute to oral health problems? Today, the team at our Sacramento dental office will cover some ways your oral health may be affected by stress.

Increased Jaw Pain

When we’re overly stressed, our bodies respond in different ways. Sometimes we aren’t even aware of how our bodies are reacting. One common side effect of high stress that can go unnoticed is tooth clenching and grinding. When we continuously grind or clench, we place unnatural, increased force on our teeth and our jaw joints. Not only can this cause teeth to break or chip, but it can also increase jaw pain. If left untreated and clenching and grinding continues, you could develop TMD (also known as TMJ).

Gum Disease

Gum disease is often caused by poor dental hygiene, but there are other factors that can put you more at risk for developing it. Stress just so happens to be one of those things. Studies show a positive link between prolonged exposure to high levels of stress and a greater risk for gum disease. If not treated promptly by your dentist in Sacramento, gum disease can contribute to concerns throughout the body such as heart disease and tooth loss.

Canker Sores

These annoying and often painful sores can seem to pop up out of nowhere, and the truth is nobody truly knows what causes them. However, research has concluded that canker sores seem to have some sort of correlation with both certain foods and also high stress. Unlike cold sores, canker sores aren’t contagious, just annoying, and should go away on their own.

Relax & Protect

The best way to protect your oral health against the damaging effects of stress is to find ways to relax and lower stress levels. Some healthy relaxation methods include:

 

  • Eating. Giving your body the nutrients it needs to function properly can help fight off stress. Balance your diet with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Sleeping. Many Americans don’t get enough sleep regularly, and when we’re tired our bodies aren’t able to adapt and overcome stressful situations as easily. Try to get the recommended 7-9 hours of shut-eye every night.
  • Moving. Exercising helps our bodies release more endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and testosterone, all of which help make us feel happy and good and lower stress. Go for a walk, hop on a treadmill, or take a yoga class.

 

As you embark on a new year, make a commitment to yourself to keep stress low. Your body and your mouth will thank you.