Posts

Wisdom teeth are the cause of many problems in adults. But what are they, what causes the pain and when should you get them removed? Here’s everything you need to know about wisdom teeth and how we can help you at Whistler Dental.

What are they?

Wisdom teeth, (or third molars) usually appear in adults between the age of 17 and 25. Early humans needed stronger teeth due to a coarse diet of nuts, leaves and meat. These days, our softer diet and access to tools makes them unnecessary – however we are yet to evolve away from them.

Problems and complications

Completing your full set of 32 adult teeth, wisdom teeth have been known to be the cause of much discomfort in adults. Pain can be caused when they grow side ways or only emerge partly, leading to infection and other serious issues.

What problems can be caused?

When teeth become trapped in gums they become ‘impacted.’ This leads to problems including misalignment of teeth, pain or infection. Symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth can include: pain, damage to adjacent teeth, headache or jaw ache, gum injection and even bad breath.

Why you should get a check up

Regular dental check ups are vital to keep an eye on what the teeth are doing. Dentists can check for signs of infections such as tenderness, swelling and inflamed gums. X-rays will show where the teeth are positioned, check for signs of crowding and ensure the right removal strategy can be implemented.

What happens if they are not removed?

While you might think you can manage with a bit of discomfort, there are many reasons why they should be removed. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause cysts. Not only are these painful but they can also damage the adjacent teeth and even the jaw bone. The longer you put off removing these teeth, the more chance of damage to your teeth, gums and bones can occur. Infections can lead to other health problems as well, so it is important they are addressed.

Crowding

Sometimes wisdom teeth can cause overcrowding and as a result it is still necessary to remove them. Even if they are not a cause of pain, they can make you susceptible to cavities. Too many teeth in a small space makes them less easy to clean which can result in further problems.

Not all wisdom teeth cause problems and some pain while they are growing can be managed easily. It is important to make sure you floss and use fluoride mouthwash to make sure your teeth are kept in good condition. Book an appointment with Whistler Dental to get the best advise about how to care for your wisdom teeth.

April is Oral Health Month in Canada. Oral Health Month serves as a reminder of the importance of good oral hygiene. This includes but is not limited to brushing at least twice daily, flossing and regular visits to the dentist not only keep your mouth healthy but also contribute to better health overall.

We often ignore many of the symptoms of poor oral health and potential problems. Bleeding or tender gums, bad breath, sores and so much more take a back seat whereas an irritation or pain elsewhere in the body would mean a trip to the doctor.

Poor oral health can affect a person’s quality of life. Oral pain, missing teeth or oral infections can influence the way a person speaks, eats and socializes. These oral health problems can reduce a person’s quality of life by affecting their physical, mental and social well-being. Not to mention correcting a serious oral health issue can be expensive.

The reality is that oral health problems could be a sign of something serious such as oral cancer. Every year approximately 3,200 Canadians are diagnosed with oral cancer and 1,050 deaths from oral cancer occur. This devastating disease has a low survival rate because it is often diagnosed very late. With early detection, the survival rate of oral cancer can be greatly improved. This means going to your dentist for regular dental exams. Your dentist has the training and experience to detect oral cancer early.

In addition to seeing your dentist regularly, here are 4 great ways to keep your teeth healthy from the Canadian Dental Association:

  1. Brush at least twice a day and floss at least once daily between dental office visits. Choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride and is approved by the Canadian Dental Association.
  2. Make healthy food choices, and try to limit sugary and highly acidic foods, which can promote tooth decay and acid erosion.
  3. Check your own mouth for signs of gum disease, tooth decay or oral cancer. Symptoms of gum disease include sore, sensitive and red gums that may bleed during brushing. Sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet food or drink or pressure could suggest the presence of tooth decay. Symptoms of oral cancer include: sores in the mouth that persist for more than 7 to 10 days, unexplained bleeding, patchy white or red areas on the tongue or in the mouth-tingling or numbness or small lumps or thickening on the sides or bottom of the tongue or in other areas of the mouth. If you feel that you have any of these symptoms present in your mouth, contact your Victoria dentist, as he/she is specially trained to recognize gum disease, tooth decay and oral cancer and can provide early treatment.
  4. Don’t smoke or use tobacco products. The use of these products causes gum damage, tooth staining, tooth loss, persistent bad breath and can lead to oral cancer.

Only your dentist has the training, skills, and expertise to properly address all your oral health care needs. Book an appointment today to take care of your own oral health!

Pregnancy is a joyous time but also one full of to-do lists. You have your doctor appointments, hospital visits, and not to mention setting up the nursery. Throughout it all, it can be hard to justify the importance of prioritizing a dental appointment. However, getting an oral checkup during pregnancy is safe and important for your overall health as well as the babies. You see, carrying a child can cause hormonal changes that increase the risk of developing gum disease which, in turn, can affect the health of your developing baby. Below are some tips to help you maintain your oral health while pregnant.

  • A common myth is that dental care cannot be conducted during pregnancy. This is untrue. Routine dental care and urgent procedures can be done anytime during the gestational period. However, all elective dental procedures should wait until after the delivery. Before you have your dental appointment, check with your doctor to see if she has any special precautions/instructions for you.
  • Make sure to let your dentist know that you are pregnant. If medications for pain or infection are needed, your dentist can prescribe ones that are safe for you and your baby.
  • Continue brushing and flossing to maintain your oral health.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to reduce the chance of irritating your gums.
  • Don’t skip an x-ray. Advances in technology have made X-rays much safer and able to be carried out while carrying a baby. Your dentist will use extreme caution to safeguard both of you, such as shielding your abdomen and thyroid.
  • Hormonal changes can put you at increased risk for periodontal disease and for tender gums that easily bleed – a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. This is all the more reason to schedule a dental examination. Pay particular attention to any changes in your gums during pregnancy. If tenderness, bleeding or gum swelling occurs at any time, make an appointment a priority.
  • If you have morning sickness, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing to avoid damaging softened enamel surface.
  • Make sure to rinse your mouth out after having morning sickness. The acid from your stomach can be strong enough to contribute to tooth erosion.
  • Some women also develop what are called “pregnancy tumors” due to hormonal changes that are associated with pregnancy. Don’t let the name scare you; pregnancy tumors are not malignant. The growths most often appear during the second trimester and look like little raspberries that form between the teeth. They usually disappear after pregnancy but can be removed if they are irritating.
  • Avoid sugary snacks. Cravings are common during pregnancy but try to opt for healthier options with less sugar.

Maintaining your oral health is key to your overall health. Consequently, it is very important to continue taking care of your teeth while going through pregnancy. This means scheduling regular check-ups with your dentist and not delaying treatment if it is a requirement. If you have any further questions about your oral health and pregnancy, speak to a professional at Whistler Dental.

Teeth grinding, also known as Bruxism, is a very common condition experienced by one in every three people. The severity of bruxism varies, but on the more extreme end of the scale it can result in aching jaw, headaches, tooth pain, loosening of teeth from the gums, losing and fracturing teeth, receding gums and developing jaw joint disordered like TMJ. Teeth grinding wears away enamel and can be a cause for serious dental treatments down the road. Preventing bruxism is important to avoid painful symptoms and costly dental treatments. Here are five tips to stop grinding your teeth and maintaining healthy pearly whites.

1. REDUCE STRESS AND ANXIETY

Many people clench or grind their teeth due to stress. If you suspect this could be the cause of your grinding, taking time to relax before bed could help ease teeth grinding and enable a better night’s rest all together. Spend ten minutes before bed doing a meditation or some breathing exercises, try and shut off your thoughts, or allow yourself to zone out with a bit of television before bed. Transitioning from stressful activities like work right into sleep can increase stress levels when heading into slumber. Take the time to de-stress before bed, and save your teeth from wear and tear caused by grinding.

2. BE MINDFUL OF CLENCHING

Make a conscious effort to check in throughout the day about clenching of the teeth and jaw. You may be surprised when you tune into this to find that you are subtly clenching throughout the day or that you are resting your teeth together. There should always be slight gap between the top and bottom teeth, being aware of this and consciously tuning into the position of your jaw and teeth can reduce the impact of bruxism.

3. USE A MOUTHGAURD

Many people continue to grind their teeth even after conscious awareness and action has been taken to stop. In these cases, a mouthgaurd is highly recommend to prevent further damage to the tooth enamel and structure of the tooth. Here at Whistler Dental we fit patients with comfortable and protective mouthgaurd custom to the bite, to protect their teeth while they sleep. These mouthgaurds work wonders in maintaining the health of the tooth, preventing more serious dental problems down the road, and the related expenses incurred.

4. OPT FOR SOFTER FOODS

In an attempt to break the habit of teeth grinding, a diet with softer foods will often give your jaw muscles a break from repeated clenching and grinding. The jaw muscle is one of the strongest muscles in the entire body with researchers saying it has 600 pounds of force per square inch! This relaxing of the jaw by eating softer foods can be a good practice to re-set, and will give your jaw some temporary relief from being overworked.

5. DRINK MORE WATER

Drinking more water is the easiest cure for many health ailments, and has been proven to help relieve Bruxism. By staying hydrated before you go to bed, you are more likely to have a sound sleep, and reduce the occurrences of teeth grinding. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol and substituting with water instead is a good practice for those wishing to maintain oral health at night.

If you are aware that you grind your teeth, or suspect that you may due to waking up with headaches or a sore jaw, book in with your family dentist for an assessment. Here at Whistler Dental we will examine the surface of the tooth, and assess any symptoms to make an assessment of grinding. We will then recommend strategies to reduce grinding, including the tips listed above. For more information about teeth grinding, contact us today.

Sugar has had a bad wrap over the last several years and for good reason, sugar has no essential nutrients, is bad for your health AND destroys your teeth. If that’s not enough sugar can cause liver disease, insulin resistance causing diabetes, cancer, hormone irregularities, heart disease and it will make you fat. Sugar is in nearly all processed foods and the worst part is it’s very addictive. So although as dentists we have a justifiable anti-sugar platform since it is one of the biggest culprits of the dental problems we see on a daily basis, there are loads of other reasons aside from oral health that you should be avoiding this substance.

Read more