4 Signs You Might Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

4 Signs You Might Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Everyone’s experience with wisdom teeth is a little different. While most people’s wisdom teeth come in between ages 17 to 21, that can vary quite a bit. You may never get wisdom teeth, you may only need to get one or two removed, or you may need to get all four removed. 

Regardless, in order to prevent dental issues and discomfort, it’s important to keep an eye out for them. Below are some key indicators that you may need your wisdom teeth removed, along with some tips for what to expect during the extraction process. 

4 Signs You Might Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Sometimes your dentist can catch your wisdom teeth coming in before you feel any related symptoms — but sometimes they come in quickly between appointments and can’t be caught ahead of time. In those cases, here are some things to watch out for:

1. They’re Impacted

“Impacted” wisdom teeth do not have space to push through your gums and come in correctly. The symptoms related to impacted wisdom teeth usually include:

  • Swollen or bleeding gums
  • Pain and swelling in the jaw
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Bad breath

In rare cases, impacted wisdom teeth don’t cause any symptoms. However, dentists usually catch them on X-rays and recommend removing them in order to prevent them from becoming a problem in the future. 

2. Your Other Teeth Are Growing Incorrectly

Before wisdom teeth grow in, most people have 28 teeth in their mouths. After wisdom teeth, this number can grow to 32 teeth, making your mouth overcrowded. 

When your mouth is overcrowded, it’s difficult to ensure your teeth develop properly and are straight. It can also cause you some pain and discomfort as your teeth shift.

3. You Have Pain In Your Mouth

When wisdom teeth come in, they can cause pain, discomfort, and swelling in your mouth. As a general rule, you should always schedule an appointment with your dentist if you’re experiencing pain. They’ll be able to determine if the cause of your pain is due to wisdom teeth or a different dental issue, and they’ll inform you of the best steps to take.

4. You Have Sinus Issues

Believe it or not, wisdom teeth can cause sinus problems. This occurs when wisdom teeth grow in the upper jaw because the roots develop and push up against your sinuses. If you experience chronic sinus pain, pressure, congestion, and/or headaches, your wisdom teeth could be the culprit. 

What To Do If You Think You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned and suspect you may need to get your wisdom teeth removed, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Getting the issue diagnosed and cared for early will minimize your pain and discomfort.

What To Expect At and After Your Wisdom Teeth Procedure

Although they’re often dreaded, wisdom teeth extractions are actually pretty quick and pain-free using local or general anesthesia. The whole process only takes a maximum of a few hours, including the initial consultation appointment and the actual wisdom teeth procedure. When you wake up from your anesthesia, you’ll feel a bit tired (and possibly a little loopy!), so you should have a family member or friend accompany you to drive you home. 

After your extraction, you’ll spend a few days to a week resting and recovering at home. The recovery process is different for everyone. You may experience a little pain and swelling, but most are back to normal activities in a day or two. Others might need up to a week to recover. Either way, having your wisdom teeth removed includes a little bit of discomfort, but saves you a lot of discomfort in the long run. 

Some more tips for a successful wisdom teeth extraction recovery include:

    • Eat soft foods. Yogurt and ice cream are your friends! Avoid spicy, chewy, and crunchy foods.
    • Drink lots of water. This will help keep your mouth clean and free of infection. Avoid consuming hot or carbonated drinks. 
    • Rinse your mouth with a warm saltwater solution. Do this every few hours and after you eat. Some dentists may give you a syringe to help you get the solution to the extraction site. 
    • Avoid any activity that could damage the extraction site. Things like using a straw, exercising, and smoking could cause damage, delay healing, and open your wound up to infection. 
    • Manage your pain with medication prescribed by your dentist, over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol, and ice packs.
    • If you experience extreme pain, swelling, bleeding, or fever, contact your dentist right away. 

Experiencing any of these symptoms? It might be time to see your dentist about getting your wisdom teeth removed. Give Weber, Mountford, and Ruszkowski a call to book your appointment today.

Are Traditional Braces More Effective Than Clear Aligners?

Are Traditional Braces More Effective Than Clear Aligners?

Traditional braces have been the smile-straightening go-to for years. However, recent orthodontic technologies have provided patients with a new option: clear aligners.  Clear aligners have gained popularity due to their subtle appearance, but you may be wondering if they are as effective as traditional braces. Our short answer? It depends.  Traditional braces and clear aligners are both proven effective, but one may work better for you, depending on various factors. Let’s dive into some advantages and disadvantages of each to see how they may (or may not!) be the right treatment option for you.

Which Is Best For You: Traditional Braces or Clear Aligners?

Before you start the decision-making process, you should schedule a consultation with your dentist. They will do x-rays and make molds to see what specific orthodontic concerns you might have. After that, you can decide between traditional braces or clear aligners based on three factors: how much dental work you need done, your lifestyle, and your budget.  Below, we’ll break down the differences between each treatment method in terms of those three considerations:

Traditional Braces

Traditional braces are the classic orthodontic method of straightening teeth. The brackets can either be metal or tooth-colored ceramic and are glued to your teeth and strung to an arched wire for a fixed amount of time. Your dentist will bring you back in for monthly visits to make adjustments that will result in a straighter smile. 

What are the Pros of Traditional Braces?

Traditional braces are the most effective option if you need a lot of orthodontic work done. They’re also the most affordable option, with metal brackets being even a little less expensive than ceramic brackets. And one of the most convenient aspects of traditional braces is that there is no chance of losing or misplacing them because they are attached to your teeth. 

What are the Cons of Traditional Braces?

Traditional braces do have some disadvantages in terms of cleaning and appearance. First, they can make brushing and flossing difficult, since there are a bunch of brackets and wires in the way. Second, they’re highly visible. If the invisibility of your treatment is a top priority for you, traditional braces may not be the best option.

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners are two plastic trays that fit over your top and bottom teeth. This treatment method involves a series of aligners that are formed differently in order to move your teeth in the correct places over time. The aligners can be removed but should be kept in at all times you’re not eating or brushing your teeth. 

What are the Pros of Clear Aligners?

Clear aligners work great for mild to moderate orthodontic issues. If you wear them properly and for the correct amount of time, you may notice that they work even faster than traditional braces. They also offer a nearly invisible appearance, so your smile can look great even during treatment.

What are the Cons of Clear Aligners?

The biggest disadvantage of clear aligners is that, since they’re easy to take out, they’re easy to leave out and misplace. Having the clear aligners out of your mouth for an extended period of time can dramatically set your progress back. Or, if you lose them completely, you’ll end up paying for another set — which is difficult, especially because clear aligners are a little more expensive than traditional braces.

Which Treatment Option Does West Michigan Dentistry Recommend?

At West Michigan Dentistry, we recommend whichever treatment works best for you. Before deciding a course of action, we always ask our patients these questions about lifestyle and budget. Our main goal is to get your teeth straightened, so whichever way we can accomplish that quickly and conveniently is great.  If you’re looking for the most effective teeth straightening treatment, schedule an appointment with us! Whether you’re interested in traditional braces, or another option better suited to your lifestyle, our knowledgeable staff can work with you to find the best solution.

Dental X-Rays: What Are They & How Often Do You Need Them?

Dental X-Rays: What Are They & How Often Do You Need Them?

If you feel like your dentist is asking you to do X-rays almost every time you go in for a cleaning, you’re probably right. That’s because getting regular dental X-rays is just as important for your oral health as getting regular teeth cleanings. But why?

Here’s some more information about what dental X-rays are, what they’re used for, and how frequently you should get them.

What Are Dental X-Rays?

Dental X-rays (also called radiographs) use low levels of radiation to capture images of the teeth, jaw, and surrounding tissues in your mouth. They reveal dental problems that can’t be seen during a normal dental exam. 

Dental X-rays can be intraoral with X-ray film put inside the mouth, or extraoral with X-ray film kept outside of the mouth. There are many types of X-rays that serve unique purposes. Some of the most common types of X-rays include:

  • Bitewing – This method requires you to bite down on special X-ray paper. It’s used to help your dentist see how well the crowns of your teeth match up, and to check for cavities between your teeth.
  • Occlusal – This method is done while your jaw is closed. It captures your entire tooth arch in one image and helps your dentist see how your upper and lower teeth line up.
  • Panoramic – This method is done via an X-ray machine that rotates around your head. It helps your dentist check for impacted wisdom teeth and jaw problems. 
  • Periapical – This method captures an image focused on just one or two full teeth, from root to crown. It helps your dentist detect any unusual changes in your root and surrounding bone structures. 

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

The levels of radiation used for dental X-rays are very low, which means dental X-rays are safe for adults and children. The only exception is pregnant women, who should avoid getting dental X-rays until they are no longer pregnant.

To add another level of protection, your dentist will place a lead bib over your chest, abdomen, and pelvis. This helps protect your vital organs from any radiation exposure. 

What Are Dental X-Rays Used For?

Dental X-rays are used to detect any problems that your dentist may not be able to find during a regular dental exam. Dentists also use them to figure out the best plan of action for any dental or orthodontic treatments. Here’s a list of the five most common uses of dental X-rays:

  • Detecting tooth decay – Some cavities are hidden in between teeth, which makes them difficult to spot during a regular exam. X-rays make them visible and show your dentist how deep they are, helping them determine whether a filling or root canal is needed.
  • Detecting wisdom teeth – Many wisdom teeth are impacted, and are therefore not seen during a regular exam. In fact, they’re usually spotted first on a dental X-ray. This gives you the opportunity to get them removed before you start feeling any symptoms or pain. 
  • Detecting bone loss – Gum disease, or gingivitis, can cause your jaw bone to deteriorate. If any bone loss is detected on a dental X-ray, it’s a red flag for your dentist to do further testing.
  • Detecting irregular masses – Whether they’re malignant or benign, oral tumors and cysts can cause discomfort and further complications. Dental X-rays help spot them early on so they can be taken care of promptly. 
  • Planning orthodontic treatments – Only a third of your tooth is actually visible, so dental X-rays are important before undergoing any orthodontic treatments. They help your dentist evaluate the position of the root, which determines which orthodontic plan would have the best outcome for your smile.

How Often Should I Get Dental X-Rays?

Most dentists agree that you should get dental X-rays once every 1-2 years. However, this number can change based on your individual dental needs. For example, your dentist may recommend getting X-rays every six months if they need to track the progression of a dental problem or treatment. Some other factors that influence the frequency of dental X-rays include:

  • Your age
  • Your current oral health
  • Your history of gum disease
  • Your history of cavities
  • Your dental insurance plan

If it’s time to schedule your dental X-rays, give Weber, Mountford, and Ruszkowski a call! We’re here to help patients maintain their healthy, happy smiles.

I Have A Chipped Tooth. How Do I Fix It?

I Have A Chipped Tooth. How Do I Fix It?

Your teeth are the hardest substance in your body — even more so than your bones! However, they can still be chipped and broken. Teeth can chip from biting down on hard foods like ice or candies, face-first falls, contact sports, grinding teeth, and more. 

A chipped tooth can surely affect the look of your previously perfect smile, but it’s also important to understand there are other dental conditions that can arise from them if they’re not taken care of properly. Here’s a look at what happens when you chip a tooth, how to triage the injury at home, and what your dental treatment options are. 

What Happens When You Chip A Tooth?

When you chip a tooth, your tooth enamel breaks off and exposes the inner parts of your tooth. If your chip is small, it likely won’t affect much of the inner tooth pulp, so you won’t feel much pain or sensitivity. However, the chipped tooth may be sharp. The sharp edges could cut your tongue, cheeks, and gums. Small chips could also lead to bigger chips and breaks further on if they are left untreated. 

If your chip is big, the inner pulp will be exposed, and the nerves may be exposed or damaged as well. This may cause some pain and sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks. Big chips could also result in bacterial infections and abscesses without proper treatment.

How to Triage Your Chipped Tooth At Home

All chipped teeth require a dental appointment. However, you may have to wait a few days before you can get an appointment scheduled. In the meantime, here are some things you can do to minimize the pain and damage:

  • Minimize bleeding. Apply sterile gauze to the area for 10 minutes, or until the bleeding stops.
  • Rinse with saltwater. Mix ½ teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water, then swish each sip around in your mouth for a few seconds before spitting it out.
  • Cover your chipped tooth. In order to prevent it from cutting your tongue, cheeks, or gums, cover the tooth with dental wax or sugar-free gum.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medications, like aspirin. These can reduce swelling and inflammation around your tooth. 
  • Ice the area. Wrap a bag of ice in a towel and apply for 20 minutes, repeating every few hours.
  • Take caution while eating. Stick to soft foods, and avoid hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods that your tooth may be extra sensitive to. 

5 Ways Your Dentist Can Fix Your Chipped Tooth

Treatment for a chipped tooth depends on the severity of the injury. Here are a few procedures dentists may recommend to repair the damage:

Cosmetic Contouring

If your chip is minor and there is no interior damage to the tooth, your dentist may just do some cosmetic contouring. Cosmetic contouring involves using a grinding tool to smooth the chip and reshape your tooth. 

Filling or Bonding

If your chip is minor and you’ve only damaged a small piece of enamel, your dentist may apply a filling similar to what is used to fill a cavity. If the chip is in a noticeable part of your smile, your dentist may apply a tooth-colored composite resin to it, which is called bonding. After applying the filling or resin, your dentist will grind it down and shape it to your tooth. Your tooth will look as good as new in just one visit!

Dental Veneer

Dental veneers are thin, tooth-colored shells that look just like natural teeth. They cover just the front of your tooth, and are made of either porcelain or resin composite material. They are bonded to the surface of your tooth to cover the chip. These veneers are custom-made to match the shape, color, and size of your natural tooth. The application process is usually done in two to three visits. 

Dental Crown

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that covers your chipped tooth. Similar to veneers, dentists use crowns to fix bigger chips that can’t be fixed with a small filling. They are also made from either porcelain or resin composite material. However, crowns cover your entire tooth. Usually, your dentist will decide which type of crown is best for you depending on the amount of damage and the location of the tooth. The procedure is usually done in one or two visits.

Dental Implants

If your tooth is a bit beyond repair, your dentist may recommend extracting the tooth and replacing it with an implant. During this procedure, a metal post that replaces the root portion of the missing tooth and an artificial tooth is placed at the end of it. This process is more extensive than the others and usually requires a number of visits, but the implanted tooth should last your lifetime.

See A Dentist ASAP

If you have a chipped tooth, schedule an appointment with West Michigan Dentistry right away. We’ll repair the damage fast and see which cosmetic fix looks and feels the most natural for your smile.