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Dr. Athar Butt is a leading dentist in Langley, BC with a modern, state-of-the-art dental clinic. Highly experienced in the dental field, Dr. Butt offers friendly, convenient and hassle-free treatment for all your dental needs. If you are looking for a dentist in Langley, then give Langley Village Dental a call today!
How to Prevent Bad Breath
Teeth Sensitivity and How Your Dentist Can Help
Ways of Reducing Pain When Getting Anesthetic at the Dentist
Are Dental X-rays Taken by Your Dentist Safe?
Dental Amalgam in Your Teeth – What Should I Know?
When Should Children Start Using Fluoride Toothpaste?
Cracked Tooth Syndrome
Temporomandibular Joint – TMJ
How Your Dentist Can Help with Bruxism
Have you ever woken up in the morning with sore jaw muscles or a headache? Has someone sleeping next to you told you about the horrible grinding sound of your teeth at night? This condition is known as bruxism and this is an unconscious habit that many people suffer knowingly and unknowingly. This can be a temporary problem for some, but for others, this a chronic issue. If left untreated, then this constant grinding can lead to painful or loose teeth, wearing-down of your teeth, and pain or discomfort in your jaw joint (TMJ). With this continued pressure on the teeth, tooth fracture is also quite common.
The first step in treating bruxism is the proper diagnosis. This is where your dentist comes into play and can make an accurate determination of this. Then a proper and customized treatment plan can be made for you. Common methods of treatment for bruxism include fabricating a night guard, stress reduction or adjusting your bite.
A night guard is a type of mouth guard you wear at night. It’s different than a sports guard most athletes wear due to the materials that are used and the shape or size. This guard is custom made for your teeth and is usually worn at night or whenever you notice yourself grinding/clenching. This isn’t a cure for bruxism, but it protects your teeth from wearing down and puts less stress on your muscles and joints.
The major cause of bruxism is stress. Therefore, by reducing stress in your life can lead to a reduction in bruxism. Some easy ways of doing this are listening to music, reading a book, going for a walk or taking a nice warm bath. Stress counseling may be another route you may want to take for not only the health of your teeth but also for your overall health.
Changing the way your teeth fit together may also reduce your level of bruxism. Whenever there is a change in the way you bite, people tend to grind a lot more. This is why young children also grind their teeth frequently because their adult teeth are coming in and their bite is also changing. For children, this is a temporary issue and usually resolves once their teeth position stabilizes. But for adults, changing their bite might be necessary. This can successfully be done by reducing high spots on certain teeth, new fillings, crowns or braces.
As always, it’s is best to sit down with your dentist to discuss which option is best for you. If you are looking for a Langley dentist, then give Langley Village Dental a call today!
Gum Disease and How Your Dentist Can Help
A lot of times, patients are told they have periodontitis or gingivitis but a good explanation of each is not given. This can leave the patient confused and frustrated because they are told they have a disease but don’t understand its cause or remedy. Therefore, this article with an attempt to shine some light on what is known as gum disease.
Gum disease is a localized infection of the gums. This infection does not usually spread to any other part of the body but can still affect the overall health of the patient. The infection is caused by the growth and accumulation of bacteria on the teeth and this causes your body to react with inflammation of the gums. The bacteria growing on your teeth form what is called “plaque” which is the filmy feeling you have on your teeth before brushing. If plaque is not removed daily by brushing and flossing, it grows and becomes harder. Once it hardens, it is now known as calculus or tartar, which can no longer be removed with brushing and flossing but instead needs to be professionally cleaned. Calculus not only causes inflammation in your gums but also begins to affect the fibres and bone surrounding your teeth. This can lead to them becoming loose, forming an abscess, falling out or having them removed by your dentist.
There are three stages of gum disease. The first stage is called gingivitis. This stage usually includes redness in your gums, bleeding when brushing and round or bulbous gums. This is all caused by the accumulation of plaque on your teeth. This stage is completely reversible if the plaque is removed and proper oral hygiene is maintained.
The next stage is referred to as periodontitis. In this stage, the surrounding bone and fibres are damaged. Signs of periodontitis include the formation of calculus, pocketing around your teeth and loosing or shifting of teeth. The damage caused by this stage is irreversible. However, the progression of periodontitis can be reduced and even eliminated by visiting your hygienist on a regular basis for thorough cleanings. It might not be reversible, but the bone levels around your teeth can at least be maintained.
The third stage of gum disease is Advanced Periodontitis. In this stage, there has been a tremendous amount of bone loss around the teeth and teeth are loose or shifted out of alignment. This can lead to trouble biting and chewing which in turn can lead to the removal of these infected teeth. Periodontal abscesses can also form at this stage. At this point, aggressive treatment is needed to save the teeth which may include gum surgery.
By scheduling regular checkups with your dentist and hygienist, gum disease can be treated before it progresses to the more serious stages. Also, vigilant home care is needed by daily brushing and flossing. If your condition has reached the advanced stages, then it’s best to sit down with your dentist and discuss your treatment options. If you are looking for a dentist in Langley, BC, then Langley Village Dental would be more than happy to assist!
How to Prevent Bad Breath
Bad breath is a problem a lot of us face. Usually, it’s a temporary situation that passes quickly, but for others, it can be a long, often embarrassing battle. There are many factors that can contribute to bad breath and some those will be discussed here.
The technical term for bad breath is halitosis, which can be defined as unpleasant odours exhaled during breathing. The easiest way to prevent bad breath is to brush your teeth after every meal and floss regularly. Many people claim to brush 2-3 times a day and still suffer from halitosis. However, if you are not brushing properly, then it defeats the purpose. Sitting down with your dentist or hygienist and discussing your brushing technique can be very useful. An area of the mouth most people forget to brush is the tongue. The tongue has many hair-like fibres on it that can trap unpleasant odours so it is essential to keep it clean. Flossing is also important in not only preventing bad breath but also in maintaining gum health. Many people overlook flossing as a way of preventing bad breath. However, the next time you floss, smell the floss when you’re done and you’ll realize what the floss is removing. Finally, once you are finished brushing and flossing, rinse thoroughly with water or non-alcohol mouthwash.
If your oral care has been lacking for a while, then brushing and flossing might not be enough to cure your halitosis. There are certain areas of your mouth that your toothbrush and floss cannot simply reach and therefore, it is necessary to have a professional cleaning done by your dentist or hygienist. These are recommended to completed every 6 months. At these hygiene appointments, your dentist can also check to see if there are other issues causing your bad breath. Some of these issues can be tooth decay (cavities), gum disease and tooth abscesses. Your dentist can sit down and discuss any of these issues with you and the best treatment for them.
Other ways of preventing bad odours from your mouth are to eliminate substances that are known for causing bad breath. Smoking is one such cause that not only causes halitosis but can also lead to periodontal disease. Foods that could be avoided include garlic, onions, cabbage, certain spices and coffee. Foods high in alkaline are also known to lead to unpleasant odours.
Empty stomachs and dry mouths are other causes of bad breath. If you go without eating for long periods of time then you might want to consider snacking on some healthy foods in between. Chewing on sugarless gum stimulates salivary glands and helps prevent dry mouth and the subsequent odours that come with it.
Finally, if all the above-mentioned techniques have not worked, then there could be an underlying, untreated medical condition. Certain diseases can present as halitosis and these include respiratory tract infections, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes and gastrointestinal disorders. If your dentist determines that your mouth and gums are healthy, then you might be referred to your physician to determine the source of the odour.
Teeth Sensitivity and How Your Dentist Can Help
Over half the population will suffer sensitivity in their teeth at some point in their lives. For some, it will be transient but for others, it can occur on a more chronic basis. In order to treat sensitive teeth, first, it is important to understand what causes it. Teeth have two layers in their crowns: dentin and enamel. Enamel is the outer layer that gives teeth their strength and appearance. In the inner layer, dentin is a layer that surrounds the pulp chamber which houses the nerves and blood vessels that supply the tooth. Within dentin, there are thousands of tiny tubes that run from the nerves to the outer surface of the dentin layer. Within these tubes are fluid that react to hot and cold and send signals to the nerves. The enamel layer covers these tubules and helps reduce the stimulation of these tubes.
However, enamel can wear away over time due to trauma, wear or other reasons. With exposed dentin, there’s not much inhibiting the transmission of hot and cold down the tubes and therefore, increases the amount of sensitivity your tooth feels. Gum recession is another cause of sensitivity as well. As gums recede, they expose the roots of the teeth. The roots of teeth do not have the protective layer of enamel, and therefore the tubes are easily exposed.
In order to determine the best treatment for tooth sensitivity, it is important to see your local dentist to discuss the proper route of action. Some gum recession can be reversed by attaching tissue the exposed roots and thus, covering up the problem. In other cases, if there is a large dentin exposure, then your dentist might recommend covering it up with a restorative material, therefore providing a protective layer. For smaller exposures of dentin, your dentist might suggest using a specialized toothpaste that contains desensitizing components. These components bind to the tubes and thus, block them and inhibit the movement of the fluid. These toothpastes also contain fluoride which is helpful in combating tooth decay. Your dentist might also suggest a paint on varnish that can be applied either at the office or at home, therefore covering up the exposed dentin.
Each case needs to be judged individually by your dentist in order to determine which treatment is best for you. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, then contact your dentist and book in an appointment regarding your options.
Ways of Reducing Pain When Getting Anesthetic at the Dentist
The biggest fear most people have when visiting their dentist is the pain from the anesthetic (also known as freezing) needle. Getting needles, in general, can be tough, but the fact that the mouth is one of the more sensitive areas of your body compounds that problem. Bad experiences in the past also increase the fear most people have. I hear many stories about childhood experiences where the dentist shoved the needle in and would get upset if the patient complained.
Techniques in dentistry have changed, and even the anesthetic we use is different than years past. The anesthetics used today have a more profound effect than previous forms and last much longer as well. This is comforting in the fact that most patients won’t feel anything once the freezing is in. However, getting to that point leaves much to be desired for.
Different procedures and instrument have emerged to help reduce the pain involved with delivering anesthetic. First, the needle diameter has been reduced significantly. This allows for a smaller area to be punctured which causes less pain. Second, many dentists will use topical anesthetics to numb the area a little before injecting. In theory, this is supposed to freeze the superficial area of the injection site, so that when the needle punctures the gums, there is decreased pain. There are varying testimonies of is efficacy but there is also evidence of a placebo effect so it doesn’t hurt to try it out. Warming the anesthetic before delivery also has been shown to lower pain.
Now everyone knows the old adage, “do it quick, it hurts less”. However, in dentistry, this is not the case. Injecting slowly has been shown to cause much less pain than injecting quickly. This can be done manually or through a computerized delivery system such as the Dental Wand.
Another effective method of decreasing pain is stimulating the nerves around the area of injection before the anesthetic is delivered. This can be done by rubbing the area with a cotton tip applicator or gently vibrating the area with your fingers. This masks the stimulus of the needle when it is inserted. A new instrument has been developed to create such a stimulus, known as the DentalVibe.
These are just some ways your dentist can help reduce pain and anxiety in your dental visit. It is important for the dentist to make your appointment as comfortable as possible, it not only puts the patient at ease, but it reduces one of the bigger stresses the dentist feels also. These techniques and instruments can be discussed at your next appointment with your dentist.
Are Dental X-Rays Taken by Your Dentist Safe?
Recent articles and studies have stated their concerns about dental x-rays and their effects on patients. Some have gone as far as stating a link between dental x-rays and certain tumours. But experts agree that these studies are deeply flawed in not only their conclusions but also in their methods.
So are dental x-rays taken by your dentist safe? Simply put, the answer is: yes they are. Out of the different types of x-rays used in medicine, dental x-rays have the lowest radiation dose of them all. To give you an example of how low this dose is, they can be compared to the amount of radiation a person receives from background radiation (radiation from air, water, food, soil, space, etc). The average person is exposed to approximately 3,600 microsieverts of radiation in a year from background radiation. Typically, on a routine examination, your dentist will take 2-4 bitewing x-rays to look for cavities between your teeth, if needed. These x-rays emit 2-3 microsieverts of radiation. That works out to almost 0.08% of radiation from dental x-rays when compared to radiation from the environment.
Furthermore, dental x-rays taken by your dentist are restricted to the area they are being used. Because of filters and the focus of the x-ray beam, the radiation is confined to the teeth that are being examined. Therefore, there should be no worries about the x-rays affecting other areas of your body. In fact, the use of lead aprons is no longer necessary to cover the remainder of the body. It has been found that there is little to no measurable difference in radiation when wearing a lead apron compared to not wearing one.
Nowadays, more and more dentists are using digital dental x-rays instead of the standard film x-rays. This also is leading to a decrease in the amount of radiation a patients experiences in the dentist’s chair. Some digital manufacturers recommend using 20% of the dose used for film x-rays. So if your dentist is using digital x-rays, then you are also receiving less dose of x-rays than you have in the past. And as technology continues to advance, this will only get better over time.
Now just because dental x-rays are safe does not mean that your dentist should take x-rays whenever they feel like it. Even though the radiation from dental x-rays is minimal, the amount of radiation a person is exposed to should always be minimized. Therefore, it is important for the dentist to determine if x-rays are necessary and should only take them when they are. But as always, if you have any concerns or questions, then it is best to sit down with your local dentist to discuss them.
Dental Amalgam in Your Teeth – What Should I Know?
One of the most frequent questions we receive at our dental clinic is about dental amalgams and health issues they might cause. I have heard many different concerns ranging from the way they look to someone saying the fillings interfere with their radio while driving! Therefore, it is important to clear up some of this misinformation so that patients can make a more informed decision.
Amalgam has been used in dentistry for over 150 years but has gone through several changes. Currently, amalgam is an alloy of different metals which usually consists of mercury, silver, tin, copper and other trace metals. Amalgam has been a reliable restorative material in dental fillings and is still known today for its strength, low cost and durability. Recently, however, the popularity of amalgam has diminished due to aesthetics, environmental concerns, health, and the availability of improved, reliable, composite (white) fillings..
Health-wise, the main concern is the mercury content of amalgam and how much is released from them. Mercury, when exposed in large amounts, is a poisonous metal. However, we are all exposed to it every day through air, water, soil and food. On average, an adult absorbs approximately nine-millionths of a gram per day of mercury. Mercury absorbed from these sources accumulates in body organs, such as the kidneys, brain, lungs, liver and GI tract. Dental amalgams do contribute to this level due to a minute amount of mercury vapour being released, especially during chewing. It is estimated that amalgam restorations release about three-millionths of a gram per day of mercury. However, it should be stressed that no harmful effects are known to be caused by this amount of mercury release from amalgams. So there’s no need to panic and to run out to have all your amalgam fillings removed. Fillings should only be replaced if they are failing or need replacing.
Now if there are such concerns over the use of amalgams, how come dentists still continue to use them? That’s because there has not been any scientific evidence submitted that shows significant risks with continued use. And because of the fact that amalgam is a strong, durable and cost-effective material, many dentists (and insurance companies) insist on using it in posterior teeth. Of course, if you have an allergy to certain metals in the amalgam then they should be avoided completely. However, if you do have concerns, alternatives such as composite (white) fillings have come a long way and are quite predictable. They offer very good strength, durability and amazing aesthetics, and eliminate any concerns a patient might have about mercury exposure. As always it is best to sit down with your local dentist and discuss your concerns and opinions and develop a dental plan which is right for you.
When Should Children Start Using Fluoride Toothpaste?
Over the last several years, there have been several studies and reports on the effects of fluoride in the body. Reading through these reports, there are obvious benefits to fluoride but also some health concerns as well. Therefore, it’s natural to feel a little apprehensive towards fluoride.
Now whether you are pro-fluoride or against fluoride, that’s a choice you can make but it’s essential to have all the facts and research before you make that decision. We get many patients coming to our office inquiring about it and we are more than happy to sit down and discuss it. One of the common questions we get is about toothpaste and when is it safe for children to use fluoridated toothpaste. It is important to stress that fluoride in toothpaste has been approved by both the FDA and the Canadian Dental Association/American Dental Association based upon a great deal of research.
Before answering the question of what age it is safe to use fluoridated toothpaste, it is important to understand why it is present in your toothpaste. Fluoride has been shown to strengthen teeth by incorporating itself into the teeth and thus, making them more resistant to cavities. Now, by drinking fluoridated water, you are bringing the fluoride into your body and therefore, it is a “systemic” dose. The fluoride has to travel through your bodily system to reach the teeth. The fluoride you receive from toothpaste is meant to be placed on your teeth and then removed afterwards by rinsing and spitting. In this form, fluoride is considered to be a “topical” dose and it is applied directly at the source (i.e. the teeth).
However, if the toothpaste is swallowed, then it goes from being a topical application to a systemic dose. Therefore, to answer the question as to when it is safe to use fluoridated toothpaste, the simple answer is when your child is able to spit and rinse. If they are unable to, then most likely they will swallow it. And swallowing toothpaste can lead to some unnecessary and unwanted results such as fluorosis (white spots on teeth).
There are several alternatives to fluoridated toothpastes that can be used while your child learns to brush properly. These toothpastes contain no fluoride and therefore are safe to swallow if your child is unable to spit. In addition, some contain certain ingredients that assist in combating tooth decay but are still safe to use while your child is learning the ins and outs of brushing. But as always, it is best to sit down with your local dentist and go over what’s best for you particular situation.
Children’s Dentist in Langley BC
At Langley Village Dental, we pride ourselves in taking care of our littlest patients. Children can be a challenge for any kind of activity, whether it’s a haircut or bath, and dental care is no exception. In fact, it can be the most challenging thing for a child. To sit still, with their mouth open for an adult they don’t know can be a scary and intimidating experience. Our mission at LVD is to make the visit as comfortable and fun as possible.
All our dental chairs are equipped with televisions so your child can watch their favourite TV program while they have their treatment completed. If they need to wait before or after their appointment, then we have a toy chest full of toys for all ages. For older children, there is an Xbox with several games to keep them entertained and challenged. After a successful appointment, your child will get to choose a toy from our large treasure chest. Our staff are well trained with children and love interacting with them. Patience is a virtue when working with children and we have it in leaps and bounds.
Unfortunately, there are some children who cannot tolerate dental procedures due to a variety of factors. This is common and should not be a place of concern for the parent. Eventually, most children outgrow this phase. However, until they do, your child may require sedation to have treatment completed. Children can be very unpredictable when it comes to sedation and therefore, should only be sedated by a professionally trained specialist in a properly equipped facility. If it comes to the point where a child needs sedation, then we work in conjunction with some the best pedodontists that can take care of all your children’s needs. Your child will be referred to them for a complete assessment and treatment. Unfortunately, this does mean that there will be additional costs and many specialists do not accept payments directly from insurance companies.
Cracked Tooth Syndrome
Over time, people develop cracks in their teeth from normal wear and tear and usually remain superficial without causing any problems (called craze lines). However, if these the cracks run deeper, they can cause mild to intense pain especially when biting down on those teeth. This is known as Cracked Tooth Syndrome. This most often occurs in the back teeth because they absorb the most forces during chewing. People who tend to clench or grind are also more prone to Cracked Tooth Syndrome. Teeth with large fillings or root canals also have a high chance of cracking.
The most common symptom associated with Crack Tooth Syndrome is pain when chewing food. When a person bites with no food in their mouth, usually there is no pain. However, if they bite on certain foods or bite in a certain way, there is a shooting pain that usually goes through the tooth. This pain could be brief or last a long time. The tooth can also be more sensitive to cold foods or temperature.
In order to determine if you are suffering from Cracked Tooth Syndrome, your dentist will perform certain tests. The most common test is the bite test using an instrument called a Tooth Sleuth. The dentist will ask you to bite down on a specialized biting stick on different parts of your teeth. From there the point of origin of the pain can be determined. When biting on the tooth with Cracked Tooth Syndrome, you will experience the same shooting pain, but it will be more intense when you release from the stick than when you bite down. The dentist will also take an x-ray of the tooth and rule out any other problems, such as infections or damaged nerves.
Treating Cracked Tooth Syndrome can be tricky. It depends on where the crack is, how deep it is and how large it is. If the cracks are present in the visible part of the tooth (called the crown) then the cracks can be fixed by making an artificial crown (also known as a cap) that covers the entire tooth and covers all cracks.
If the crack has spread to the center of the tooth (known as the pulp) then a root canal may be needed to resolve it. During a root canal, the nerves and blood vessels from within the tooth are removed. The tooth will not respond to temperature anymore, but may still react to pressure. These teeth usually need to be crowned afterwards in order to restore full function.
In certain cases, the crack may lead all the way down to the root of the tooth. If this is the case, then there’s no way to fix this and the tooth will most likely need to be removed.
If you are experiencing pain when you bite or chew, then it is best to visit your local dental clinic and have your teeth thoroughly checked. If you are looking for a Langley dentist, then give us a call today!
Everyone’s mouth can feel dry from time to time but this feeling usually passes. However, if the condition remains long-term and becomes a chronic issue, then this can be a concern. This article will discuss some common causes of dry mouth and what can be done for it.
Dry mouth occurs when you are not producing enough saliva (spit) in your mouth to keep it moist. Temporary conditions that can cause this are nervousness when you are upset or stressed out. Strenuous workouts can also cause dry mouth and a little hydration reverses this. But if the condition persists, then this can lead to an uncomfortable situation for the person affected and can lead to other health issues.
The common symptoms of dry mouth include:
There are several reasons a person can develop dry mouth and why your salivary glands produce less saliva:
Fluorosis is a common condition that not many people know about. It’s not a serious health or physical problem in most cases, but it can be quite the esthetic issue for many people. Fluorosis occurs when too much fluoride is consumed during the developmental stages of teeth. Teeth affected by fluorosis can show a variance of signs from no visual changes to pitted and discoloured spots. This article will shed some light on how fluorosis occurs and what can be done for it.
The permanent teeth form in the jaw bones during the early childhood stages. Usually, by the age of eight, all the crowns (the part of the tooth you can see in the mouth) of the teeth are fully formed, even though they might not erupt for some time. While they are developing during these stages, a large amount of fluoride consumption can allow fluoride to enter the tooth structure. Small amounts of fluoride can be beneficial to teeth by adding strength, but too much fluoride can lead to fluorosis.
For most people fluorosis leads to white spots or lines on the teeth. There’s no easy way to get rid of these spots such as bleaching because that only causes them to become more prominent. Therefore, usually, no treatment is recommended because as mentioned before, fluorosis is not insidious. However, in more severe cases where the spots can be brown, gray or black, then they can be masked with either bonding, crowns or veneers.
In order to prevent or reduce the chances of fluorosis, it is recommended not to use fluoridated toothpaste until your child is able to spit on their own. There are many products on the market today that offer non-fluoridated toothpastes for children that can be used until they are able to spit out the toothpaste. Avoid using flavoured toothpastes with children, because this may encourage them to swallow.
Fluoride is also found in drinking water in many places. Make sure to check if your local water is fluoridated and find out how much it contains. Adding fluoride to water has been one the best treatments in combating tooth decay, but it must also be carefully monitored. Sometimes children can be prescribed fluoride supplements from their dentist or doctor, once again it’s important to determine the level of intake. Some foods and drinks such as fruit juices and bottled water also contain fluoride and should also be carefully examined.
Unfortunately, fluorosis is a permanent condition and cannot be reversed. However, it is not a disease and does not make your teeth more prone to cavities or other dental issues. If you do notice white spots or other coloured spots on your teeth, then it would be a good idea to sit down with your local dentist and discuss any potential concerns or issues. If you are in the Langley, BC area, then call us today or visit us at our website today!
A baby goes through many changes as it grows but one of the toughest on them is the teething stage. For any parent who has ever had to suffer through a night or week of their child teething, they will tell how difficult it can be on not only the child but also the parents’ abilities to cope. This article will address this stage of development for a child and what can be done to help ease the troubles that are associated with it.
A baby first usually starts teething between 5 and 7 months. Of course, this is the average time so if it occurs earlier or later, it’s not a sign of any developmental issues. Some babies are born with teeth already present and some babies don’t start teething until later in their first year. The first teeth to erupt in a baby are the 2 front lower teeth. This is then followed a few months later by the front upper teeth and then later the teeth on either side of the upper front teeth. By the time the child is about 2 and a half years, all 20 teeth should be out. Once again, there’s no need to panic if this hasn’t happened by then, your dentist will be able to give you more info on why.
Teething is the natural process by which the teeth move through the bone and gums, and erupt into the mouth. This process is usually accompanied by some signs and symptoms that can be seen in the developing child. Although there is a wide variance in what each individual child goes through, these are some of the common signs of teething:
Do all wisdom teeth need to be removed? This is a very common question dentists are asked on a regular basis and a lot of patients are confused about. The simple answer is that no, not all wisdom teeth have to be removed. A careful assessment is made for each patient and their situation, in hopes of preventing any dental emergencies. Through the use of clinical exams, patient history and complete intra-oral x-rays, your dentist can determine if it is in your best interest to keep your wisdom teeth or have them removed. This article will try to explain the case in which your wisdom teeth should be removed and when they can be left as is.
First, let’s talk about what wisdom teeth are. Most people have 32 adult teeth. Of these teeth, there are 12 teeth that are known as “molars”. These teeth are located at the back of each jaw with 3 molars per quadrant (ie. 3 molars in the upper left, 3 molars in the lower left, etc). The last of these molars (furthest back) are called your third molars. These teeth usually erupt into the mouth in your late teens or early 20’s, and since this the time most people arrive at the age of wisdom, they earned the nickname of wisdom teeth. Some people are born without some or all of their wisdom teeth. For many people, these teeth can get stuck in the bone or under the gums and this is known as being “impacted”. If the teeth poke out of the gums but do not fully come out, then this is known as “partial eruption”.
For those people whose wisdom teeth fully erupt into their mouths, have no pain or discomfort associated with the teeth, can easily clean and maintain them, have no cavities in them and aren’t causing any detrimental effects on the other teeth, then there is no need to have them removed. They can be checked at your regular dental appointments and monitored for any change.
Reasons to have them removed are the following:
Temporomandibular Joint – TMJ
The temporomandibular joint, otherwise known as TMJ, can often be a source of pain for patients and frequently is misunderstood for the disease – temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Simply put, the difference between the two is that the TMJ is the joint that connects the upper jaw (maxilla) to the lower jaw (mandible), and TMD is the malfunction of the TMJ.
The TMJ is connected with a complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bone. Like any other joint in the body, the TMJ can undergo degenerative processes that lead to it working incorrectly. TMD can have several different signs or symptoms. The most common of these are headaches, earaches, popping or clicking sounds when opening or closing your mouth, jaws getting locked in the open position, sore jaw muscles, pain during yawning or opening your mouth wide or a sudden change in the way your teeth bite together. However, having these signs or symptoms does not necessarily mean that you a disorder of the TMJ. Your dentist can help you assess whether or not you any issues or concerns with your TMJ by taking a thorough medical and dental history, carrying out a clinical exam and taking the appropriate x-rays.
Treating TMD is not a simple task and there is no single or clear answer to curing it. However, there are recommended methods for reducing the symptoms significantly, thus bringing relief and slowing down the degenerative pathway. Your dentist can help you decide which course of treatment is best for you and which one will bring about the best relief. One such treatment is trying to eliminate muscle spasms of the joint. This can be accomplished through the application of moist heat, muscle relaxants and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications.
Another method of reducing stress on your TMJ is to reduce the harmful effects of nighttime grinding or clenching of your teeth. This usually occurs during stressful moments in a person’s life and can be harmful not only to your TMJ but also your teeth. Although clenching or grinding cannot be eliminated by any known remedies, the effects from them can be significantly reduced by wearing a bite plane or splint which is known as a night-guard. This a specialized mouth guard worn by patients at night that is custom made to their teeth. This gives the patient something softer to grind against which not only reduces the stress on the TMJ but also the stress on the teeth.
Stress reduction, jaw relaxation techniques and physiotherapy are other methods that can help with TMD. If none of these methods produce any significant change, then jaw joint surgery may be suggested. However, this is a last resort and has limited benefit.
As always, it’s best to sit down and speak with your own dentist. If you are looking for a Langley dentist, then give Langley Village Dental a call today at 604-510-5300.
Tooth discoloration is a problem many patients come to our office about and since your smile is the first thing people see, tooth discoloration can be a big problem for some people. There are mainly 3 types of tooth discoloration that occur in the mouth.
The first type of tooth discoloration is called extrinsic discoloration. This occurs on the outside of the tooth and is usually caused by food stains such as coffee, wine and similar coloured foods and beverages. These types of discolorations can be prevented with good home care by brushing, flossing and rinsing after meals. They can also be removed by your hygienist during your cleanings.
The second type of tooth discoloration is known as intrinsic discoloration. This type occurs on the inside of your tooth and affects the dentin layer. This can be caused by a number of reasons of which include too much fluoride as a child, tetracycline (antibiotic) staining, trauma to the tooth or hereditary conditions such as dentinogenesis imperfecta. These types of tooth discoloration are a little more difficult to eliminate. Some of these minor discolorations can be removed with bleaching products, however deeper tooth discolorations might need more drastic treatment. This can be done through dental bonding, veneers or crowns, depending on the amount of discoloration and the financial circumstances.
The third type of tooth discoloration is age-related discoloration. This is usually a combination of both extrinsic and intrinsic staining and therefore a combination of the above-mentioned treatments may be needed.
Tooth discoloration is usually a cosmetic problem and therefore is not considered to be dental emergencies. However, it is best to see your local dentist if you are concerned about the colour of your teeth and discuss your options. For a dentist in Langley give us a call today!
Dental Emergencies at Home
Dental emergencies occur all the time and most of the time there isn’t a dentist around to help or it occurs outside your dental clinics working hours. Therefore, it is important to understand common dental emergencies and how to deal with them at home until you are able to see your dentist and visit a dental clinic close by.
The most common dental emergency that almost everyone experiences is a toothache. Most toothaches are transient and usually do not cause too much discomfort. However, if you are experiencing what you feel like is more than a passing toothache then you may want to the following advice. First, rinse your mouth with warm water with a small pinch of salt in it. Use floss to clean in between your teeth in order to remove any possible debris caught there and then rinse again with the salt water. If there is any kind of swelling, then apply a cold pack to your face in that area for 20 minutes and then remove for 20 minutes. Keep repeating until either the swelling goes down or you are able to seek dental care. Take Ibuprofen or an Ibuprofen substitute according to the directions on the bottle. Do not place any medications such as Aspirin directly on the area because this can cause a burn. Make sure to see your dentist as soon as possible.
Another dental emergency you may run into is a canker sore. A canker sore is a white lesion that can appear on the tongue, cheeks or gums. It is usually surrounded by red tissue and is very painful to touch, especially when brushing or eating. The cause of canker sores is not completely understood but it is believed to be an autoimmune reaction. An oxygenating cleanser can help clean out any food particles stuck in the area and Oragard-13 can be used to seal in the sore, therefore providing enough relief for you to eat and brush. A canker sore will heal up on its own in 7-10 days and will not leave behind any scars.
Another one of the dental emergencies is a knocked out tooth. If it is a baby tooth, then the chances of it being replaced are very slim. However, place it in milk or the patient’s saliva and bring it to the dentist right away in order to determine its fate. If it is an adult tooth, make sure you don’t touch the root. If the tooth has fallen out and has accumulated dirt, then gently rinse it off with water, while making sure you do not disturb the fibres on the root. Try to replace the tooth back into the socket it came out of and seek dental treatment immediately. If it cannot be replaced in the mouth, then again store it in milk or the patient’s saliva.
Hopefully, these tips will help you with the most common dental emergencies that you might face. As always, any dental emergency should be seen by your dentist as soon as possible in order to improve the prognosis of your dental issue. If you are in the Langley area, then visit us here or call us today!