Wisdom Teeth: Extracting The Problem

Why Most Wisdom Teeth Have To Go

Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars in the back of your mouth, last to emerge in the dental arch, around the ages 17 to 21 years, making their appearance in the later teen years to early adulthood. With enough space left in the arch, assuming the jaws have reached their full growth, there should be no problem for wisdom teeth coming in. But wisdom teeth are known to create problems for a lot of young people.

Why do most people, including their dentists, want wisdom teeth out of the picture?

In many instances, wisdom teeth grow in impacted. They’re so far back in the mouth, they usually may not come in normally. They can be trapped in your jawbone or gums, which can be painful and lead to infection. Even if they are partially trapped, they can weaken the jaw bone and do future damage.

They come in at a wrong angle, pressing against other teeth causing crowding. As a result, you may not be able to reach your wisdom teeth with your toothbrush or dental floss. Without proper cleaning, they are usually the first teeth to develop cavities leading to decay, including gum disease. Their crooked appearance may only mean there is no longer enough room in your jaw bone for the third molar.

In addition, if you feel pain and there is infection during eruption of your third molar, there is gingivitis, or this tooth is going to compromise your normal bite or your normal alignment – the tooth has to come off. Some experts say that even if wisdom teeth do not cause problems in the youth, there is no evidence to show that they won’t be problematic in adulthood.

Wisdom teeth extraction is not a painful procedure, though there is some discomfort after the surgery. Your dentist will administer local or general anesthesia, or use IV sedation, in which case you are asleep throughout the procedure. In 45 minutes or less, it can be over, even if it involves two wisdom teeth with relative ease of removal. Just follow your dentist’s instructions for home care and you’ll be back to normal routine in a few days. There is no need for follow-ups, stitches will resolve on their own, swelling will subside. Complications are not common, but if they happen, just let your dentist know right away.

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Wisdom Tooth Extraction? See our Bellingham Dentist

You might be experiencing the pain of wisdom teeth growing in and may or may not have complaints at all. Nonetheless, see us at Tetrick Family Dentistry for a consultation. Learn more if you need to need your wisdom teeth extracted.

When Your Gums Change Color

More Than Just A Color Change

Can you tell the health of your gums merely by their color?

Healthy gums should be somewhat a shade of pink. Gums may look lighter pink around the teeth and a bit darker pink in other areas. All healthy gums won’t look the same and may differ from person to person. Some have paler and some have darker gums. When your gum color starts to change, it may be time to see your dentist, especially if you notice any other symptoms.

What might be the underlying causes of gums changing color?

Anemia is one cause, when lack of oxygen causes tissues to become pale. Aside from pale gums, the anemic person suffers from general weakness, shortness of breath, yellowish skin and eyes, headaches and palpitations.

There may be some vitamin deficiency also, like iron, folate acid and vitamin B12 in an anemic person. These medical conditions can also lead to anemia: heavy menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, hypothyroidism, stomach ulcers, colitis, and certain liver, spleen, or kidney conditions. Chemotherapy can increase a person’s risk of developing anemia.

Another cause for anemia is oral leukoplakia which form uniform, thin, white patches on the gums that alternate with regular gum or mucous tissues. They can be raised, with red specks, or appear as white nodules; appearing anywhere in the mouth, they cannot be rubbed or scrubbed off. Alcoholics, smokers or those with poor oral hygiene can have them. Generally harmless, leukoplakia can be cancerous. They can be surgically removed if indicated.

Oral lichen planus are web-like, slightly raised white threads throughout the gums. They can be erosive involving ulcers or open sores, treatable using topical corticosteroids or systemic steroids. Though a biopsy may be necessary to rule out other medical issues, there is no cure for the condition. Symptoms can only be decreased as well as eating healthy and quitting smoking.

When do you seek medical or dental advice?

If you notice your gums are pale and they are accompanied by any or some of the following symptoms, you must seek consultation: bleeding, receding painful, tender or swollen gums, gum abscesses, bad breath, pain or discomfort when swallowing, loose teeth, a metallic taste in the mouth, pain in the jaw, or a fever.

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Questions about gum health? Contact our Bellingham dentists.

If you are interested to know about the health state of your gums, make a visit to Tetrick Family Dentistry in Bellingham soon. Even if you don’t see symptoms, it’s always better to maintain and keep your gums healthy than later seek treatment.

Don’t Put It Off: A Trip to the Dentist

Signs Your Teeth are Not Healthy

Dental experts say that there are some signs you may not be too aware of and they’re telling you that your teeth are not healthy as you thought they were. Here are some of those signs you need to pay attention to.

Bad Breath

Sign #1: You have bad breath all the time. Occasionally you’d experience a not-so-fresh breath especially when you’ve eaten strong flavored foods, or you’ve had coffee or wine, or just smoked a cigarette. However, a persistently odorous breath is a sign of gum disease. Among other things, poor oral hygiene can lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria on teeth and gums causing inflammation and bleeding of the gums. If your oral hygiene is good, then you might consider sinus problems or even stomach issues. A trip to the dentist is about time.

Color of Your Tongue

Sign #2: A healthy tongue should be light pink. And yours is white. If you notice that your tongue is coated and persistently of white color, then your mouth is not in a healthy state. That might be because you don’t brush your tongue while you’re brushing your teeth. The accumulation of bacteria on your tongue gives it that white coating and which also contributes to bad breath and overall unhealthy mouth. Hence, the tongue should also be brushed as teeth are brushed; brushing and flossing is also a good way to decrease the harmful bacteria in your mouth.

Bleeding Gums

Sign #3: Your gums bleed when you brush or floss. If after brushing or flossing, you find a bit of blood in your toothbrush or saliva, it’s a sign of distressed gums. While inflamed gums bleed with the lightest touch, even with a toothbrush, healthy gums do not. Gum disease presents with redness and swelling, and if your gums are painful and bleed easily without cause, do see your dentist.

Teeth Sensitivity

Sign #4: Your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold drinks. Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages can mean a cavity is present in your teeth. Extreme temperatures do not usually cause sensitivity to healthy teeth. However, the longer the sensitivity lasts, the more severe is the problem. Apart from cavities, sensitivity might also indicate an uneven bite that is causing some teeth to wear down.

White or Dark Patches

Sign #5: You have white patches on your teeth or you have dark areas. White spots could indicate early tooth decay with porosity and weakening of the enamel, in other words, an impending cavity underneath the surface. A tooth that starts to look darker than the others might indicate a nerve problem. This might be the result of a traumatic injury to the tooth where the nerve inside is struck, the tooth becomes necrotic and darken over time.

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Contact our Bellingham Dentists

If you see any of these signs and symptoms, please feel free to contact Tetrick Family Dentistry with any questions and concerns. It’s important to get treatment as soon as possible and also to learn how to manage your oral health well.