What to Expect From Your Wisdom Tooth Extraction

What to Expect From Your Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Wisdom tooth extraction — no one looks forward to it. Though a dental surgery can seem scary, it’s an experience most young people go through to prevent discomfort and protect their smile. Understanding what will happen and knowing what to expect can help you feel better about the procedure in general. Here’s everything you need to know about what wisdom tooth extraction is, why it’s important, and what you can expect to experience before, during, and after the procedure.

What are Wisdom Teeth? 

Wisdom teeth are molars that grow in the back of your mouth on the top and bottom jaws. They don’t typically develop until you’re between 17-24 years old, hence the name “wisdom teeth,” because they take time to mature. By the time you’re a teenager or young adult, your mouth is already full of mature teeth, so there isn’t much space for new ones to grow in. Problems with wisdom teeth occur when they push their way into your mouth anyway. 

If you start to have symptoms from your wisdom teeth coming in, dentists will likely recommend wisdom tooth extraction. They may suggest removal even before symptoms appear if they notice them in dental X rays and predict future discomfort.

Why Wisdom Tooth Extraction is Necessary

When wisdom teeth push their way in they can erupt fully or partially and crowd your other teeth, pushing them around in uncomfortable ways. If you’ve already had orthodontic work done, wisdom teeth can threaten expensive and time-consuming progress. 

Sometimes, the tooth can get stuck without appearing above the gums at all, or come out partially at an angle. This is called an impacted or partially impacted wisdom tooth. Both can cause extreme discomfort and lead to other dental problems if food or bacteria gets trapped around the impacted tooth, causing decay. An erupting tooth can damage the jawbone or other teeth, or cysts can form which swell and make it painful to eat or open your mouth.

To avoid all of these potential issues, the best and easiest solution is often to have the wisdom tooth extracted before it becomes a problem.

Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedure 

If you experience gum pain or swelling, or pain when you open your mouth, it could be because your wisdom teeth are coming in. Your dentist might recommend wisdom tooth extraction to alleviate your pain, or advise extraction before any symptoms are present if the teeth appear threatening.

What You’ll Experience

The wisdom tooth extraction procedure is simple and pain-free using local or general anaesthesia. The whole process only takes a few hours and then you’re onto recovery — a cinch compared to the potential pain if you were to let the wisdom teeth grow in. When you wake up, you might feel disoriented and groggy, so you’ll want to bring someone with you to help you home to rest.

What’s Happening

When the wisdom tooth extraction is underway, the surgeon will make an incision into the gum tissue to expose the bone. If necessary, they may cut into the bone to reach the full tooth, and then remove the tooth and root, as well as any debris in the area. Once the tooth is out, they will clean the area and stitch it closed to allow for faster healing, and place gauze to help blood clot naturally.

After Your Wisdom Tooth Extraction

After your appointment, you’ll need a little time to rest up at home. The recovery process is different for everyone. Some people experience little swelling and are back to normal activities in a day or two, while others take longer to get back to their routine. Most can expect from a few days up to a week of discomfort  with some pain and swelling around the cheeks. 

For at least a few days, it’s best to eat soft foods like soups, fruit smoothies, yogurt, and ice cream. It’s important to drink plenty of water and stay away from hot liquids and drinks like coffee, alcohol, and carbonated sodas for at least 24 hours. You should also avoid spicy foods and anything crunchy or chewy for a little while. 

Every few hours and after all meals, use a warm saltwater rinse to gently clean the mouth. You won’t brush your teeth right after the procedure, but can begin gently brushing again after 24 hours. You might experience swelling and bruising of the cheeks, which you can manage with ice packs. For pain, take medication as prescribed by your surgeon or manage with over-the-counter medications like Tylenol or Aspirin. Your pain level will vary depending on the severity of the procedure and your individual pain tolerance. 

Post-Surgical Care

During recovery, it’s very important to protect the wisdom tooth extraction area. You should avoid spitting, using a straw, heavy exercise or sport, and smoking for a few days to a week. This is because the area where the extraction occurred will be very sensitive and protected by a blood clot where the bone was exposed. If this area is damaged, and the blood clot removed, the area will be open to bacteria and infection. To prevent this, be sure to follow your dentist’s recommendations for care after surgery.

If you experience more pain, excessive bleeding, excessive or long-lasting numbness, fever, or swelling that gets worse contact your dentist or surgeon.

Why a Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedure is Worth It

After about a week, you’ll be back to your normal diet and routine. Your stitches will dissolve on their own or you’ll have an appointment to have them removed once the area is healed. While you should still take care of the sensitive area, you can add back in chewy foods as you’re ready. Recovery from wisdom tooth extraction is not always fun — despite all the ice cream you have an excuse to eat — but it’s worth it to save yourself from the potential discomfort and pain if the teeth had been allowed to come in and cause problems. 

All in all, the wisdom tooth extraction procedure is a short moment in your life that could save you a lot of pain in the future. You can think about having your wisdom teeth taken out as a rite of passage, a story you can share well into adulthood. By enduring the procedure, you will protect your teeth and your health, and have a bonus anecdote to tell your friends.

Time to have those wisdom teeth looked at? Schedule your appointment with Creason, Weber & Mountford today. We can take a look, identify which teeth might be causing you pain, and recommend the best maxillofacial surgeon for you. Give us a call at 616-842-0822 or reach out to us online today.

How to Find the Right Dentist for Your Child

How to Find the Right Dentist for Your Child

Whether you’re looking for your child’s first dentist or wanting to find a new dentist for your child, it can be difficult to know where to begin your search. The dentist you currently visit might not be the best choice for your child. You might be looking for a dentistry that can accommodate your entire family. How do you find the right dentist that will meet your and your child’s dental needs?

Different dentists and dental offices will have a variety of specialties. To find the right dentist for your child, you’ll want to look for a dentistry that has experience with children. In your search, it might be a practical idea to switch to a family dentistry that can care for everyone in your household.

Look for a Family Dentistry

A family dentistry is equipped to handle the dental needs of the whole family, including your child. It will likely employ pediatric dentists who have undergone special training after dental school to specialize in kids teeth. Pediatric dentists not only have the skills to work on your child’s teeth, but they also understand kids’ behavior and how to work with children in a way that is educational and fun.

It’s hard enough to sell kids on why they should go to the dentist, but working with the right dentist for your child will help them develop the habit of attending regular dental visits. A pediatric dentist can show your child why dental hygiene is so important and make the process less scary and stressful — even entertaining! 

A family dentistry will have all the necessary tools and experience to deal with dental problems children often have, and can create a safe and welcoming environment where your child can have a pain-free first experience.

Visit a Dentist for Your Child While They’re Young

It’s recommended that your child visit a dentist before their first birthday. Start bringing your child to the dentist regularly when they’re very young, and make it a part of your biannual routine to establish healthy habits early. If you wait too long, your child may already have some tooth decay. It will be hard for them to have a good first experience at the dentist if they’re starting off with an uncomfortable procedure.

How you talk about dental health and visits to the dentist will help your child have a good experience. Do you dread your dental cleanings? If they hear you grumbling about having to go to the dentist, it’s likely they won’t feel like going either. Your kids can pick up on a lot. Going to a dentist for kids should be a fun experience, and the way you talk about it will have a great impact on your child’s first impression.

Why Choose a Dentist for Kids

Finding the right dentist for your kids is important for their future. Your child’s dentist can teach them important lessons about preventative dental care — the most important part of dental health. A pediatric dentist knows how to get kids engaged with their health and demonstrate the importance of dental hygiene. 

Family dentists practice a method of teaching that helps lower apprehension and makes kids feel safe and supported in the office. They explain what they’re doing, then show the child how it’s done before doing it. This gets kids involved in their own appointments. Feeling involved helps limit fear and puts their minds to work on other things.

How to Know You’ve Found the Right Dentist For Your Child

Before you commit to a dentist for your child, try a first visit consultation. This is a chance for you and your child to meet with your dentist and assess the environment to see if it’s a good fit for your family. You can see how your child responds to the office and the staff, and get them familiar with their dentist when there’s nothing at stake. This first visit also gives the dentist a chance to meet with your child, so they can anticipate their apprehensions before treatment and start building rapport.

Finding a great dentist for kids takes a bit of research, but it’s worth the effort. Your family dentistry could be with you for a long time, helping you care for your kids as they grow up. It’s important to find the right dentist for your child who will make them feel comfortable and help teach them healthy habits. 

Whether you’re planning for the future, or looking to make a switch to a family dentistry who can accommodate you and your child, give Creason, Weber & Mountford a call! We perform pediatric dentistry daily, and we’d love to be your go-to dentistry for the whole family. Request an appointment today!

What’s the Deal With Tongue Scraping? Should I Be Doing it?

What’s the Deal With Tongue Scraping? Should I Be Doing it?

Tongue scraping is a dental hygiene technique that’s gaining popularity across social media channels. It claims extreme benefits such as defeating bad breath, eliminating bacterial buildup, preventing cavities and improving dental health. If you’ve heard mentions of it you might be wondering — what is tongue scraping exactly and is it worth the hype? We’ll discuss what tongue scraping is and what studies actually prove about the practice, whether you should stick to traditional routines or add something new to your brushing regiment.

What is tongue scraping?

Tongue scraping is a hygiene practice that involves using a rounded plastic or metal tool to remove extra food particles, dead cells, and bacteria from the surface of the tongue. It is intended to remove the bacteria responsible for tooth decay and bad breath. 

Many people have added tongue scraping as an extra step in their dental hygiene routine, others do it after meals instead of brushing, and still others say it improves the appearance of their tongue — but is it actually working? And could it be a replacement for other forms of cleaning?

What Dentists Say About Tongue Scraping

Dentists say that while tongue scraping probably won’t have adverse effects on your health, most studies show inconclusive or insignificant results of regular tongue scraping for reducing odor or bacteria. There isn’t a clear trend that demonstrates incorporating daily tongue scraping will lower your chance of getting a cavity or that it removes particles responsible for bad breath.

Dentists agree that a greater focus on cleaning all areas of the mouth is beneficial for your health and that taking good care of your tongue is important. For tongue scraping to really remove enough particles it would have to be performed many times per day, but should never replace regular brushing and flossing. 

Still, since there are few side effects, dentists don’t discourage patients from trying it out and seeing if it works for them. If you do experiment with tongue scraping, take care to sanitize the scraper before and after use and make sure there are no sharp points that could cut or abrase the tongue. Of course, remember to keep up with your regular dental hygiene routine.

What You Need to Defeat Bad Breath

While some claim tongue scraping to be an excellent way to get rid of odorous or unwanted particles, there are more effective methods for keeping your mouth clean and healthy. 

Twice Daily Brushing

Regular and thorough brushing of all teeth is the first defense against bacteria and tooth decay. You should brush at least twice per day for a minimum of two minutes. Use a toothbrush that allows you to reach all areas of the teeth, carefully around the gums, and even over the surface of your tongue.  

Regular Flossing

Flossing is a great way to get at particles that hide between teeth. You should floss daily, but it’s easier to make it a second step to brushing in the morning and evening. Flossing removes dangerous plaque before it turns into tartar and can help keep your teeth cavity-free. If you don’t want to use floss, there are alternative methods like using a water flosser which can be gentler on sensitive gums while also easier to navigate around permanent retainers or braces. 

Drinking Water

Drinking recommended amounts of water throughout the day can also relieve bad breath. Regular intake of fluids is not only good for the rest of your body but is also excellent for dental hygiene. Drinking water pushes food particles out of the mouth and cleanses the tongue’s surface. It works to maintain a balance of healthy bacteria in the mouth while driving out the bad.

Dental Cleanings

Of course, the best way to make sure your mouth is as healthy as it can be is by visiting your dentist regularly. Your dentist can remove dangerous plaque buildup and tartar before it threatens your teeth and gums with cavities or disease. Cleanings and annual fluoride treatments defeat lingering bacteria that brushing and flossing didn’t remove. If you’re concerned that an underlying issue might be causing a persistent problem with bad breath, your dentist will be able to help investigate and provide solutions.

While tongue scraping won’t necessarily give you better breath, a regular dental checkup will! Give us a call at (616) 842-0822 or schedule your next appointment online with Creason, Weber & Mountford today to make sure your dental health is in check.

6 Of Your Most Common Dental Hygiene Questions Answered

6 Of Your Most Common Dental Hygiene Questions Answered

As dental professionals, we get asked a lot of questions. There are a lot of answers out there, but also a lot of contradicting opinions, misinformation, and new technology that has changed the way we understand dental hygiene. We’ve collected the most common dental hygiene questions we receive and answered a few of them here. If your question isn’t listed below, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We love your questions, and more than that, we love talking about dental hygiene!

 

How often should I really floss?

The American Dental Association recommends flossing once per day. Flossing gets after extra bacteria that hide between your teeth that brushing can’t reach. If this bacteria is left for too long, it becomes plaque and then can harden into tartar which can only be removed by your dentist. Flossing every day will also prevent sensitivity at your next cleaning appointment. Your gums will strengthen over time so flossing won’t be painful or cause bleeding.

A good way to incorporate flossing into your daily routine is to pick a time each day you can stick to. Some people prefer to floss right before bed so they can sleep with a completely clean mouth. 

If you don’t like using dental floss, there are dentist-recommended alternatives that work just as well. A Waterpik, for example, uses a thin stream of pressurized water to clean in between teeth. It’s especially useful for people with braces or permanent retainers, as it can be difficult to thread dental floss around the wires.

 

How can I avoid long-term tooth stains?

Stains can form from the repeated consumption of certain foods and beverages. Coffee, wine, black tea, chocolate, and berries are common offenders. If you can, eat or drink these things in moderation. Otherwise, consider brushing your teeth after consuming them. Dentists also recommend drinking with a reusable straw whenever possible if you’re concerned about staining your teeth.

Most stains on teeth only affect the enamel, or the surface of your teeth. This type is stain is called an extrinsic stain. Extrinsic stains can be corrected with whitening procedures in your dentist’s office or at home through the use of whitening toothpastes or strips. If you’re concerned about a stain you can’t get rid of, talk to your dentist.

 

How do I convince my kids to brush their teeth?

The best way to convince your child to brush their teeth is to make it part of your routine together — and to make it fun. Come up with a song to sing with your toothbrushes in your mouths that lasts a few minutes while you thoroughly clean your teeth. Use a fun toothbrush or flavored toothpaste to make your child look forward to using it. 

Most importantly, make sure that brushing your teeth is a part of your routine. If it seems important to you, it will be important to them. Try to set an example early in your child’s life that dental hygiene is a priority. We recommend having your child visit a dentist for the first time at least 6 months after they get their first tooth, or before their first birthday. 

If you need more ideas for making brushing fun, talk with your child’s dentist! More than likely, they’ve had to talk a kid or two into a dental cleaning they were less-than-excited about. They’ve definitely learned a few tricks for making dental hygiene exciting.

 

Which is better: manual vs. electric toothbrush?

Electric toothbrushes are consistent and easy to use. Some dentists say that electric brushes are more effective at cleaning because they are gentle on teeth and have features like built-in timers that make sure people are brushing for a sufficient time. Electric brushes are more expensive, however, and not as convenient if you’re traveling. 

Manual toothbrushes can be found at almost any drugstore for a low cost. If you have a good brushing technique, manual toothbrushes are just as effective as electric ones. Your dentist may warn against overbrushing, as it’s easy to brush too roughly with a manual brush. Ultimately, as long as you’re brushing thoroughly every day, either is fine.

 

How can I prevent cavities?

Another common dental hygiene question is about avoiding the dreaded cavity. Cavities form when plaque is left to its own devices and eats away at the protective enamel on your teeth. If not removed by regular brushing or a dentist’s tools, the bacteria will eat its way through your tooth until it causes severe damage, pain, and possibly infection or tooth loss. 

The best way to prevent cavities is regular, twice-daily brushing and once-daily flossing. Brush your teeth for two or three minutes, being careful to clean around every tooth — even the ones in the very back. Limit the amount of sugary foods or drinks you consume, or at least limit when you have them — i.e. once per day. After having sugary foods, brush your teeth as soon as you can to prevent plaque from forming. Be sure to visit your dentist regularly each year to remove plaque and tartar. 

If you do get a cavity, it’s okay. Cavities are one of the most common health problems in the world and they happen to a lot of people. The most important thing you can do is address it right away. Call your dentist’s attention to any tooth pain you might be experiencing before it gets worse.

 

Why do I need to visit my dentist regularly?

Rather than waiting until you have a toothache or pain in your mouth, visiting your dentist is preventative care. By taking care of your teeth and mouth now, you can prevent decay, tooth problems and pain down the road. Dentists recommend at least two cleaning visits per year, and x-rays to be taken at one of those visits as well as the annual application of fluoride. 

If you’re unsure if you’re due for your next dental appointment, give your dentist a call! It’s better to take care of your teeth now, than wait and be sorry!

Now that you’ve got the scoop on some of our most common dental hygiene questions, make sure your next cleaning is on the calendar! There’s no better way to avoid cavities and keep your teeth healthy than by scheduling biannual dental cleanings.

Permanent vs Plastic Retainers: What to Know

Permanent vs Plastic Retainers: What to Know

If you’ve spent months or even years working to align your teeth through orthodonture, you know how important it is to maintain your straightened smile. It’s likely your dentist has recommended the use of a permanent or plastic retainer to help keep your teeth in their proper place. Which should you choose? Let’s talk about the advantages of both, as well as some of their drawbacks.

 

Permanent Retainers

Permanent retainers are bonded to the back of your teeth and are a great idea if you don’t want to have to think about your retainer again. If you are one of those people who have a hard time remembering to do certain daily tasks like take vitamins or find your keys, remembering to put your retainer in every day might prove a challenge. 

Advantages of Permanent Retainers

The biggest advantage of permanent retainers is that you’ll never forget to put it in your mouth because it’s already there. Permanent retainers give better long term results for this reason. It’s always working behind the scenes to keep your teeth from roaming around. You might even forget it’s there. 

 

Drawbacks of Permanent Retainers

The main drawback with a permanent retainer from a dentist’s perspective is that they are more difficult for the patient to clean around when brushing at home. This can lead to plaque buildup and long term consequences if you aren’t diligent about flossing and attending regularly scheduled dental cleanings. 

If you have a permanent retainer, your dentist might recommend flossing “threads” that help you get the floss to those easily neglected areas, or that you start using a Waterpik — a machine that shoots a small, lightly pressurized stream of water around teeth to reach areas flossing can’t. 

If you decide a permanent retainer is the right choice for you, discuss with your dentist some cleaning options that will help you keep your teeth healthy as well as straight.

 

Plastic Retainers

If you’re not ready to commit to a permanent retainer, it’s possible that a plastic and removable retainer would be a better option. Plastic retainers are shaped to fit over your teeth or against the roof of your mouth with wires that hold the retainer and your teeth in place. It might be uncomfortable at first, but with regular use you can build the habit of wearing it. 

 

Advantages of Plastic Retainers

Plastic retainers usually don’t have to be worn all the time. Some just have to be worn overnight or during the day except when eating or exercising. Retainers that are clear are very subtle and practically unnoticeable when worn. Eventually, the plastic will wear out and can age and discolor, so plastic retainers need to be replaced every so often. 

 

Drawbacks of Plastic Retainers

The biggest problem with removable retainers is that patients will forget to use them frequently, or misplace them altogether. If you don’t establish a regular habit of putting in your retainer, your teeth may start to move. If they move enough your retainer may no longer fit comfortably and you will have to be fitted for a new one by your dentist. 

Fortunately, if lost or ill-fitting, they can be replaced. Unlike permanent retainers, plastic ones don’t prohibit brushing and flossing so it’s easier to keep teeth clean. Retainers can also be freshened with a thorough soak and scrub. 

 

Permanent vs. Plastic Retainers

The choice between permanent or plastic depends on you. Will you remember to wear your retainer on a regular basis? Or would it be easier to have it attached and not worry about it? Are you committed to keeping your teeth clean and flossing around a wire or would you rather be able to remove a retainer to brush your teeth? 

Some dentists may recommend a combination of a plastic and a permanent retainer. Permanent retainers are often attached behind the bottom front teeth because they are the most likely to move. At the same time, an upper removable retainer might be used overnight, to help make sure teeth stay in alignment.

Whichever option you and your dentist choose, you will likely need to change some habits to keep your smile clean and healthy. After you worked so hard to achieve a beautiful smile, you need to protect it. 

If you have concerns that your retainer isn’t working for you, stop into Creason, Weber & Mountford to make sure your teeth get the proper care you need, and to ask the dentists if it’s time to update or replace your retainer. Request an appointment or call 616-842-0822 today.