Yearly Archives: 2019

The Worst Foods for Your Teeth

Certain foods can be detrimental to your oral health. Any food or drinks that break down enamel can leave you vulnerable to tooth decay. Cut down of these foods or just be sure to rinse or floss after eating them to maintain good oral health.

Dried Fruits

Dried fruits are usually gummy and sugary. Their consistency makes it easy for them to get caught in between your teeth and in the groove of your molars. If left there, the sugar can eat away at your enamel and lead to tooth decay. Whenever possible, switch out dried fruit for fresh fruit for the benefit of your teeth.

Gummy Candies

Gummy candies are similar to dried fruit—gummy and sugary. The sticky consistency of gummy candies can be dangerous. When there are bits of your treat left behind in your mouth, they can be difficult to reach or even see. The candy left behind in between your teeth can harm them and lead to cavities.

Soda Pop

Carbonated drinks and sugary drinks are a double whammy. Soda coats your teeth in sugar, which means tooth decay. Even if you avoid the sugar with a diet soda, that still has its own kind of acid which can be just as dangerous for your teeth’s enamel. You don’t need to cut soda out of your diet entirely but limit your intake. It can also be helpful to rinse out your mouth with water after drinking soda—this will help to remove some of the residual acids.

Alcohol

It’s no surprise that alcohol isn’t good for your health. Alcohol is bad for your oral health because it dries out your mouth and reduces saliva production. Salvia is very good for your teeth—it prevents food from sticking in between your teeth, washes away food particles, and prevents dry mouth. If you are going to consume alcohol, be sure to increase your water intake to maintain hydration.

Bread

Breads and other starchy, chewy foods can be bad news for your teeth. When you chomp down on bread, the saliva in your mouth breaks down starches into sugar. Bread can leave behind a gummy paste that sticks in between the crevices of your teeth—leading to tooth decay. You don’t need to skip the bread altogether, but next time you’re craving crabs, maybe go for some less-refined carbs like whole wheat or multigrain. These options contain less sugar and are better for your oral health and overall health.

Acidic Foods

Certain acidic foods can erode enamel and cause damage to teeth. These acidic foods include citrus fruits and tomatoes. Eating these foods with other foods and in moderation can help to reduce their impact on your teeth.

No matter what food you’re eating, be sure to practice good oral health habits. Brushing twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and using non-alcoholic mouth wash can help you to maintain your oral health. 

Wisdom Teeth Complications

When it comes to wisdom teeth removal, there can be some complications. Though they are not all too common, patients may experience things such as a dry socket, infections, swelling, numbness, and other complications. Learn what could be in store for you and how to avoid it below.

Dry Socket

Dry socket is the most common complication when it comes to wisdom teeth removal. This occurs when the tooth socket has not formed a blood clot or the blood clot that was formed was dislodged. A blood clot is necessary for healing. When a dry socket occurs, it can delay healing. You will usually know 3-4 days after the extraction is dry socket is a problem. Symptoms include moderate to severe pain and a bad odor. If you think you may have a dry socket, contact your dentist or oral surgeon for some medication.

Paresthesia

Paresthesia is a complication that occurs when wisdom teeth extraction causes nearby nerves to be bruised or damaged, resulting in loss of feeling in the tongue, lip, or chin. This numbness can last days, weeks, months, or permanently. Paresthesia is a rare complication. It is more common with impacted wisdom teeth but can happen with non-impacted as well.

Infection

Because wisdom tooth extraction leaves a few gaping holes in your mouth, an infection can occur. It’s important to form blood clots to cover the sockets and be gentle on your mouth while it heals. Signs of infection include yellow or white discharge from the extraction site, persistent pain, swelling, and a warm feeling near the extraction site. Infections usually accompany dry socket but can be caused by other sources too.

Other Side Effects

Wisdom teeth removal can have its drawbacks. Most surgeries go off without a hitch, but recovery may seem some struggles. Other side effects of wisdom teeth extraction include:

  • Teeth root fragments left behind after extraction
  • A fracture in the jaw if a portion of bone needed to be removed to access impacted teeth.
  • Damage to adjacent teeth—especially if the wisdom teeth are extracted.
  • General risks of anesthesia, including stroke and heart attack.
  • Numbness or pins and needles sensation in cheek, tongue, or lip.  
  • Need for stitches of potential infections in the extraction area.
  • Delayed healing if the extraction site is aggravated, this is especially common if the patent smokes.

With proper care and a good oral surgeon, most of these complications are very rare. Contact us are Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah for a consultation! Our experienced surgeons and staff are dedicated to ensuring that your wisdom tooth removal process is as comfortable as possible. 

What To Expect During a Dental Implant Procedure

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are the most natural-looking and feeling replacement for teeth. Implants replace tooth roots and provide a solid foundation for permanent or removable teeth. Dental implants are essentially artificial roots shaped like screws. A custom-made crown that looks similar to your natural teeth, is then made and attached to the artificial root.

When Do You Need Dental Implants?

Dental implants are a great option for anyone missing teeth who is healthy enough to undergo oral surgery. Dental implant patients need to have healthy gums and a jawbone that can hold the implants. Implants can last a lifetime if they are properly cared for. Those who are interested in getting dental implants should be committed to a life of good oral hygiene.

What Does the Procedure Look Like

When it comes to the actual procedure, it starts with a tooth root implant. This implant is like a small titanium post, placed in the bone socket. The jawbone will then need time to heal and grow around the implanted post—this takes about 6-12 weeks. Next, an abutment—or small connector post is attached to the titanium post to hold the artificial tooth securely. A new tooth is made based on impressions of your teeth—this tooth will match your teeth, bite, and coloring. The crown, or replacement tooth, is then attached to the implant.  

Life After Dental Implants

After dental implant surgery, you can expect to go back to regular life. Dental implants are just like regular teeth—they need brushing, flossing, and cleanings. As long as you practice good oral care, you can expect to have your dental implants be a long term solution. Eating, drinking, speaking, and other everyday activities will feel totally normal.

Advantages of Dental Implants

Dental implants are not the only option for tooth replacement, but if you’re looking for long-lasting and natural-looking and feeling replacements, they are the best option. Because they are custom made to match the look and feel of your natural teeth, dental implants are very realistic looking. They are also very comfortable. Once placed, they feel like natural teeth. Implants are as durable as natural teeth are—with good oral hygiene, they can last just as long. Because they feel so similar to natural teeth, they make everyday activities like eating and speaking, much easier than other tooth replacement options. Because dental implants look so natural, they can greatly improve your smile and thereby your self-esteem. The list of advantages for dental implants is a long one. 

What You Need to Know About Root Canals

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a straightforward treatment that removes the infected pulp of a tooth and relieves dental pain. When there is inflammation or infection in the roots of the tooth, a root canal is usually the best solution. During a root canal procedure, the tooth’s root canal is cleaned, disinfects, and sealed with a filling to avoid future infection. 

So, what can you expect when getting a root canal procedure? It’ll start with numbing. The area will need to be numbed to prevent tooth pain during the procedure. Next, your dentist will drill a hole to access the decay. They will then use tools to remove the infection. Once the decay is clean out entirely, the tooth will be filled and sealed.  The sealing is like a rubber compound that goes around the tooth to protect it from future damage. 

Root canals are known for being painful, but they don’t have to be. In fact, putting off getting a root canal done when you need one is going to be much more painful in the end. When properly done, root canals do not need to be painful. 

Causes of Root Canals

Root canals are usually necessary when there is some sort of trauma or tooth decay. When tooth decay has reached the inner layers of the tooth, the infection needs to be removed with a root canal. Trauma such as cracks, chips, and other trauma can cause serious decay or infection that will also lead to the need for a root canal. 

How to Prevent Root Canals

Root canals can be prevented by taking care of your teeth. Practicing oral hygiene habits such as brushing twice daily with a toothpaste that contains fluoride, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist regularly for cleanings will ensure better oral health. 

Signs You Need a Root Canal 

Experiencing pain in your teeth does not necessarily mean that you need to have a root canal. But some of the signs of root canals include:

  • Pimple-like bumps on the gums near the infected area
  • Swelling in the gums
  • Extreme teeth pain when chewing
  • Darkening around the infected area
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold

If you think you may need a root canal, come see us at Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah. Our experienced surgeons will work to ensure your speedy recovery and total comfort. If you’re experiencing serious tooth pain, come see us for a consultation to determine if you would benefit from a root canal. 

How Pregnancy Affects Your Oral Health

Gum Disease

Pregnant women are more prone to gum disease. Certain hormones that are associated with pregnancy contribute to gingivitis or periodontal disease and even pregnancy equalize or pyogenic granuloma. These afflictions can lead to swollen, easily bleeding gums. 

Gum disease can lead to premature births and low birthweight. According to Colgate, 18% of premature births could have been triggered by periodontal disease. Children are born prematurely are at a higher risk for a wide range of health conditions. 

To prevent gum disease during pregnancy, be sure to floss regularly. It can also be helpful to switch to a softer toothbrush and brush around your teeth at least twice a day. Using toothpaste with fluoride is also very helpful. 

Dental Health Problems 

If you are planning on conceiving in the near future, have any dental procedures you may need to be done before you start trying. Once you are pregnant, you should tell your dentist before any visits. They will likely want to avoid taking any x-rays and take other precautions. For example, using general anesthesia or other medications can be dangerous when you’re pregnant. Any non-urgent procedures are usually done after the first trimester. 

Pregnancy can impact your teeth in a few ways. Often in the early trimesters, there is a lot of vomiting involved in a pregnancy. The acid in vomiting can eat away at your teeth and cause tooth decay. 

In addition to the toll morning sickness can take on your teeth, pregnancy can pull calcium from your teeth which can also lead to tooth decay. 

Dry mouth is also a common symptom of pregnancy that can impact your oral health. Dry mouth can put women at greater risk for tooth decay and other infections. If you are concerned you are dealing with dry mouth, try sucking on some sugarless candy or chewing gum to increase saliva production. 

Prevention 

To prevent oral issues during your pregnancy, there are a few things you can do. You should, of course, practice good oral hygiene habits. These include brushing twice daily with a toothpaste that contains fluoride, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. If you are experiencing morning sickness, do your best to brush your teeth and rinse your mouth as often as possible to avoid enamel erosion. 

It can also be helpful to increase your calcium and vitamin D intake during pregnancy. Vitamin D will help your body to utilize calcium. Calcium will help to protect your bone mass and meet the nutritional needs of your body and your developing baby. Consult with your doctor about which foods will help you get the nutrients you need. Things like milk, non-fat yogurt, and certain cheese can be helpful sources of vitamin D. No matter what, be sure that you are staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water. 

Flossing Versus Water Picking

Water picking is a relatively new oral health practice that can effectively improve oral health. But how does it compare to flossing? Water picking is similar to flossing but with high-powered water.

Today, we’re comparing the benefits of water picking with traditional floss. Learn about the benefits of both below.

Water Picking

Water picking is also known as water flossing. This practice uses a special machine that directs a high-pressure stream of water into the mouth. The pressure of the water will massage the gums and dislodge food caught between the teeth. Because water picking uses water, it is much more flexible than traditional flossing and is able to reach more places. Depending on which water pick machine you have, each water picking machine works a little differently. But generally, they have the same effect.

A water pick machine can be expensive to purchase. Because it requires a machine, it can really only be done in your home bathroom, making it not as accessible as traditional floss.

According to the Journal of Clinical Dentistry, a water pick machine can reduce plaque up to 74.4% which is 16.7% more than traditional string floss. Water picking is very effective, but it should not replace traditional flossing. However, it is a great companion to it.

Traditional Flossing

Flossing is an effective way to remove plaque from the surface of teeth and remove food caught between teeth. Dentists encourage daily flossing. A lack of flossing can lead to gum disease. Flossing regularly can prevent and even treat certain gum disease. Flossing is cheap, quick, easy, and accessible. Because traditional flossing requires a string of floss, it is easy to do anywhere, anytime. Dental floss is also available at so many accessible locations, it is an easy thing to acquire.  

There are plenty of other good dental practices out there that can be a great addition to your oral health practices, but none of them can replace flossing. The benefits of flossing cannot be found with any other practice—including water picking.

Oral Health

For the best oral health practices, you should be brushing your teeth at least twice daily and flossing every day. In addition to these practices, water picking can also help to prevent cavities and gum disease. Using a mouth wash will also help to improve oral health. As an added bonus, it will also help you to have fresher breath. It is also important to regularly visit the dentist for professional cleanings, x-rays, and check-ups.

If you’re thinking of upping your oral health game and investing in a water pick, it is a great investment, but it should not replace traditional flossing. Combine the two to combat tooth decay and gum disease and keep your teeth and gums in good health. 

What You Need To Know About Dry Mouth

What is Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth is a condition that occurs when salivary glands don’t create enough saliva to keep the mouth moist. This condition is commonly a side effect of medications, aging, or radiation therapy. Less commonly, dry mouth can be caused by a condition that is directly impacting the salivary glands. 

Experiencing dry mouth is very uncomfortable and it can lead to other problems. A lack of saliva production can lead to tooth decay, bacteria growth, bad breath, and even gum disease. Saliva helps to wash away food particles, neutralizing acids, limits bacterial growth, and enhances your ability to chew, swallow, digest, and taste. 

What Causes Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth is often a side effect of something else. Certain diseases, infections, and medications can lead to a lack of saliva production. Many prescription and over the counter drugs can cause dry mouth—some of these include medications for depression, anxiety, allergies, the common cold, acne and more. Other medical treatments can damage the salivary glands and lead to dry mouth—usually, these treatments are due to cancer. Radiation and chemotherapy treatments lead to dry mouth. Similar to medications, certain diseases and infections can also lead to a dry mouth. Some of these include AIDS, diabetes, stroke, mumps, fibrosis, and more. 

Other causes to dry mouth include nerve damage, dehydration, smoking, and tobacco use. 

Symptoms of Dry Mouth 

The obvious symptom of dry mouth is dryness—in the mouth, throat, and nasal passages. Other symptoms include a sticky feeling in your mouth, thick and stringy salvia, frequent thirst, cracked lips, sores in the mouth, hoarseness, sore throat, bad breath, and a burning and tingling sensation. 

How To Treat Dry Mouth 

Treating your dry mouth will differ based on what is causing it. For example, if a certain medication causing your dry mouth, reducing or cutting out that medication can solve the problem. If your dry mouth is being caused by a certain illness or infection, treating that can also help your dry mouth.

However, if you are unable to some taking certain medications or treat your illness or infection, there are a few other options. To treat dry mouth, you can try:

  • Sucking on a mint or candy or chewing gum. This will increase saliva production.
  • Increase water intake—drink as much water as possible. Stay hydrated.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste.
  • Use a room humidifier to increase moisture in the air. 
  • Whenever possible, breath through your nose and avoid breathing through your mouth.
  • Take over the counter artificial saliva substitute.  

If you suspect that your dry mouth is due to a condition with your salivary glands, surgery may be an option. Contact the pros at Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah to find out what your options are and find a permanent solution to your dry mouth. 

What is a Dead Tooth?

A tooth is considered dead when there is no longer any blood flow reaching the tooth. A tooth is made up of layers—enamel, dentin, and pulp. There are blood vessels and nerves in the pulp when these nerves die, it leads to a dead tooth. This is usually due to tooth decay or injury. A dead tooth is often referred to as a non-vital tooth, a pulpless tooth, or a tooth with necrotic pulp.

Once a tooth is considered a dead tooth, the process is not reversible, and the tooth will need to be removed. With time it will eventually fall out by itself, but this can be dangerous to wait for as infection can spread to other teeth or even the jaw.

Symptoms of a Dead Tooth

There a few tells that a tooth may be dead or dying. In most cases, a dead tooth will be painful—but not always. It can range some no pain to intense pain. In most cases, if a tooth is dying the pain will increase until the nerves die. This pain occurs when the very sensitive nerve endings around the outside of the tooth—the periodontal membrane are infected.

If the infection from a dead tooth spreads, it can turn into an abscess or produce a bad taste, bad smell, swelling, or pimples on the gums. A dead tooth will usually change in color as well. It often becomes darker and will turn yellow, gray, or black. This is caused by the death of the red blood cells—it’s a similar effect to bruising the body. If the dead tooth is left untreated, discoloration will only get worse.

What Causes a Dead Tooth?

A dead tooth is caused by either physical trauma or tooth decay. Tooth decay starts on the outermost layer of the tooth, but eventually works it way in and becomes a cavity. As it penetrates deeper into layers of the tooth, it will eventually reach the pulp and infect it. When it happens, nerves die, blood flow is cut off, and a tooth is considered dead.

Tooth decay is very preventable, but physical trauma isn’t always. This trauma may include a sports injury, fall, or accident. When there is a sudden impact, blood vessels can burst—similar to a bruise, but if blood supply is then cut off to the tooth, it will die.

How Do You Treat a Dead Tooth?

A dead tooth should be extracted as soon as possible. If it is left for too long, the infection will start to spread and infect surrounding areas. This could lead to other tooth decay or problems in the jaw. In some cases, a root canal may be necessary.

The best way to deal with a dead tooth is to prevent it. Practice good oral hygiene and take care of cavities as soon as they arise to prevent further damage to your teeth. 

Is Snoring a Sign of Sleep Apnea?

Have you been told that you snore? It’s important to learn just how serious your snoring really is.

It could be more than an annoyance to your partner. Snoring could be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA usually causes loud and consistent snoring.

If you have woken up in the middle of the night struggle for breath or gasping for air or are often sleeping with your mouth open, your snoring could be a sign of sleep apnea.

What Causes Snoring?

Snoring occurs when a sleeping person cannot freely breath through the nose and throat. Often, those people that snore have excessive throat and nasal tissue or floppy tissue that is more likely to vibrate. When you are snoring, there is a vibration of respiratory structure which leads to the snoring sound because of the obstructed air movement. Snoring can be a result of your sleeping position, sleep deprivation, nasal problems, or alcohol consumption.

Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, but regular snoring usually will not wake you up. Sometimes snoring is just a sign that you need to change your sleeping position or have some nasal congestion. Other times snoring can be a sign of an underlying health issue. It is a common symptom of sleep apnea.  

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleeping condition that occurs when breathing is obstructed during sleep. Usually, your body will wake you up in order to resume unobstructed breath. Depending on the severity of sleep apnea, it can be a serious condition. Sleep apnea is more common than many people realize—about 90 million American adults deal with this condition.

Sleep apnea can be treated in several ways. The best treatment route may be determined based on the cause of the condition. For example, if your sleep apnea has been caused by alcohol consumption, smoking, or obesity treating that condition will impact your sleep apnea. However, sleep apnea can also be caused by things that are harder to treat—like a small upper airway. Treatment options for sleep apnea include wearing a CPAP mask during sleep to ensure continuous positive airway pressure or surgery to open up airways.

Signs of Sleep Apnea

Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea. But just because you snore, that does not necessarily mean that you have sleep apnea. There are certain things that will put you more at risk. Some of these things include your age—as you get older sleep apnea is more common, gender—sleep apnea is much more common in males than females, sinus and nasal congestion—this can cause difficulty breathing and cause problems, smoking and alcohol use—put you are higher risk for respiratory issues, body structure—sleep apnea is more common in those with small airways, and obesity—being overweight also puts you at a higher risk. 

5 Ways To Improve Your Oral Health

You may have good oral hygiene habits, but you can always do more. Incorporating these habits into your daily routine can help you to keep tooth decay at bay. Even if you have good oral hygiene, you can be susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems.

1. Floss Daily

No other dental practice can replace diligent flossing. A natural survey conducted by Colgate discovered that about 1 in 4 adults do not floss daily. Flossing effective removes food from between teeth cannot be reached in any other way. Be sure that you are flossing at least once a day to remove food residue and plaque. It may be a good idea to get into the habit of flossing at night before bed to remove any food particles that have built up throughout the day. Flossing daily will help you to avoid tooth decay and gum disease.

2. Try Antibacterial Mouthwash

Bacteria can easily build up in your mouth throughout the day, leading to bad bread, tooth decay, or gum disease. Mouthwash can help to reach crevices and clean germs away that brushing cannot. Mouthwash can give you fresher breath while also fighting cavities and gum disease. When choosing your mouthwash, be sure that you go with antibacterial. It is also important to avoid mouthwash with high amounts of alcohol—alcohol can cause dry mouth and cancel out the benefits of mouthwash.

3. Get a Better Toothbrush

Even if you are brushing twice a day, it may not be very effective if you’re are using an old and soft-bristled toothbrush. You don’t necessarily need a fancy electric brush or tough bristles; these things can actually harm your oral health if you’re not careful. With use, toothbrushes wear down over time and become less effective. You should be replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months to ensure that you are effectively removing plaque.

4. Eat More Fruits and Veggies

There are many foods out there that can help your oral health, mainly crispy fruits and vegetables. Limiting other certain foods can also improve your oral health. Foods that are high in sugar or excessively chewing can easily get caught in your teeth and lead to decay. Crispy fruits and vegetables can dislodge food particle caught in teeth, and certain antioxidants and other attributes to these foods can greatly benefit your mouth, even fighting unwanted bacteria.

5. Drink More Water

Staying hydrated benefits your health in numerous ways. Drinking water can help you avoid overeating. Plus, most tap water these days has fluoride in it, which is great for your oral health. Drinking water can also help to dislodge any food particles stuck in your mouth and encourage saliva production. You can avoid dry mouth with some hydration—dry mouth can lead to bad breath and bacteria growth.