of third molars can protect the overall health of the mouth. It is generally
recommended when the following conditions occur:
teeth only partially erupt. This leaves an opening for bacteria to enter around
the tooth and cause an infection. Pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, and general
illness can result.
wisdom teeth may continue growing without enough room, damaging adjacent teeth.
fluid-filled sac (cyst) or tumor forms, destroying surrounding structures such
as bone or tooth roots.
When to Remove Wisdom
between the ages of 16 and 19 should have their wisdom teeth evaluated. If they
need to be removed, it should be considered before age 20 when generally fewer
complications occur. At a younger age, tooth roots are not fully developed, the
surrounding bone is softer, and there is less chance of damaging nearby nerves
or other structures. There is also less surgical risk and healing is generally
of wisdom teeth may be performed by a general dentist. If your dentist
anticipates any special care will be needed, he or she may refer you to an oral
or maxillofacial surgeon. An oral or maxillofacial surgeon is a dentist who
specializes in surgery and the removal of wisdom teeth.
What to Expect?
Before surgery, your dentist will explain what to expect, have you
sign a consent form and give you personalized instructions to follow. Keep in
mind these general items in order to help your surgery go smoothly.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing and arrange to have someone be with
you after surgery. Extraction can be performed under local conscious sedation
or general anesthesia. Following surgery, you may experience some swelling and
mild discomfort, which is part of the normal healing process. Cold compresses
can help decrease the swelling and medication prescribed by your dentist can
help decrease the pain. You may be instructed to drink only clear liquids
following surgery and later progress to soft foods.
Some patients experience numbness or tingling following surgery.
Normal sensation usually returns in a short period of time. Occasionally, a dry
socket occurs when the blood clot breaks down earlier than normal. A dressing
placed in the socket protects it until the socket heals.
Talk with your dentist about any questions that you have. It is
especially important to let your dentist know, before surgery, of any illness
that you have and medications that you are taking. If your general dentist has
referred you to a specialist, they will both work together to provide you with
the best and most efficient care. Keeping your teeth healthy – to a wise old
age – is your dentist’s primary concern.
don’t have to be a football player to benefit from wearing a mouth protector.
Any adult or child involved in a recreational activity that poses a risk of
injury to the mouth can obtain smile protection with this important safety
are basically two types of mouth protectors:
A pre-fabricated mouth guard can be purchased at stores, these mouth guards are
often only offered in a general size offerings.
Mouth guards can also be fabricated by your dentist using an exact model
(impression) of your mouth. This type of mouth guard provides superior fit and
dentist can create a special mouth protector just for you – one that will
provide comfort and proper fit. A custom-made mouth protector is individually
designed and constructed in the dental office or according to your dentist’s
specifications in a professional dental laboratory.
the dentist makes an impression of the patient’s teeth. Using a special
material, the dentist constructs the mouth protectors over a model of the
custom-made mouth protectors are somewhat more expensive than stock mouth
protectors purchased in stores, their exceptionally good fit, comfort, and
overall quality make them worth it. A custom-made mouth protector is easily
retained in the mouth and does not interfere with speech or breathing. For
these reason, custom-made devices are often preferred by sports enthusiasts and
recommended by dentists. So give your smile a sporting chance – ask you dentist
about mouth protectors.
you have dental appliances such as orthodontic braces or bridgework, you should
wear a mouth protector that has been fitted by a dentist.
mouth protector should be worn at all times during contact sports, in practice
as well as during games.
on the playing field, the basketball court, and while riding a bicycle or
skateboard often involve blows to the head, face, and mouth.
creating a painful emergency, injuries to the mouth can result in chipped or
fractured teeth, nerve damage, and tooth loss. Wearing a mouth protector is a
simple way to prevent many of these painful and costly injuries.
sealant is a clear shaded plastic material that is applied to the chewing
surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars), where decay occurs most
often. This sealant acts as a barrier, protecting the decay prone areas of the
tooth from plaque and acid.
How Sealants are Applied
tooth only takes a few minutes to seal. First, the teeth that will be sealed
will be cleaned. The chewing surfaces are then etched (roughened) with a weak
acidic solution to help the sealant adhere to the teeth. Finally, the sealant
is placed onto the tooth enamel and hardened. Some sealants need a special
curing light to help them harden, while others do not.
Who Should Have Sealants
children receive significant benefits from sealants, adults can also be at risk
for pit and fissure decay and thus be candidates for sealants. Your dentist can
advise you about the need for sealants. Sealants are also recommended even for
those who receive topical applications of fluoride and who live in communities
with fluoridated water. Fluoride helps fight decay on the smooth surfaces of
the teeth but is least effective in pits and fissures.
How Long Do Sealants Last
the sealant is applied, finger-like strands penetrate the pits and fissures of
the tooth enamel. Although the sealant cannot be seen with the naked eye, the
protective effect of these strands continues. As a result, it may be several
years before another application of sealant is needed. Reapplication of the
sealants will continue the protection against decay and may save the time and
expense of having a tooth restored. Sealants will be checked during regular
dental visits to determine if reapplication is necessary.