Why It Is Wise To Remove Your Wisdom Teeth…

Wisdom TeethYou’ve heard it all before, wisdom teeth, those lovely extra teeth that 65% of us have been anatomically cursed with. Have you ever asked yourself, dentist, or dental professional why it is necessary to have your wisdom teeth removed?  To start with, there is a bit of irony involved with the coined phrase “wisdom teeth“, because having them doesn’t necessarily make you any wiser and it certainly doesn’t always give you superhuman chewing power either.

Wisdom teeth are dental phenomenons which are characteristically unusable because of how the body has allowed them to erupt or not erupt for that matter.  Wisdom teeth usually “grow in” sideways which makes them invisible to the human eye that is until they decide to shove on your existing teeth or partially erupt through the gums occasionally resulting in complications large or small. So let’s discuss the different scenarios for wisdom teeth andwhy these necessitate removal.

Impacted/Partially Impacted

Impacted Wisdom Teeth are exactly just that, (ie. wedged, compressed, crammed).  Which means when these teeth are growing in the jawbone they are literally growing under the gums and are hooked into the mandible/jawbone, and most times are invisible to the human eye.  It isn’t until the wisdom teeth begin to push on your existing teeth creating pockets where bacteria begins to live and breed.  What does this mean exactly? Well, because of the peculiar station of the impacted teeth, a pocket can form behind the normal tooth and in front of the impacted wisdom tooth. As a result, bacteria nests in this small pocket and eventually creates decay and issues with the normal tooth, which we call the innocent bystander,  this tooth is unrelated to the wisdom tooth. Destroying existing healthy teeth is never an option and there is nothing that can stop this from occurring other than removing the source of insult, which is the wisdom tooth itself. There is no home-care that will keep this area free and clear of bacteria as this seeps into the sub gingiva region, below the gums and wreaks havoc.  In some rare cases, where the wisdom teeth are so vastly impacted, and there is no threat of a bacteria pocket forming, removing them can actually create more harm than good, and because of that severe impaction, the pocket is incapable of forming.  7 times out of 10, the best option is to remove these impacted wisdom teeth before they begin to do harm to the existing erupted “innocent bystanding” teeth.

Erupted

Erupted wisdom teeth are wisdom teeth that have fully grown out of the jaw bone and through the gums like normal teeth, which makes these this situation a double edged sword. These particular teeth in general can be fully functional or dysfunctional, depending on the state. What makes these teeth dysfunctional? Erupted wisdom teeth have a higher likelihood of getting decay and caries due to their position and because they are so far back in the mouth they become more difficult to treat and access with a toothbrush and/or floss.  The functional aspect is this, if you have erupted wisdom teeth and are able to brush and floss 2-3 x’s daily then you are highly more capable of a successful situation in keeping your wisdom, which means, more chewing power! However, these occurrences are rare. In addition to this, the older we are the harder our bone becomes which can also create issues for us down the road for removal. We always suggest to have these removed when patients are young given that the jawbone hasn’t fully grown which makes the removal easier at this time and easier on the patient.

The bottom line with wisdom teeth is this, if you have them and can use them then clean them, more than you normally would! Always consult with your dentist with advice about what is the best possible solution and situation for the removal of your wisdom teeth.  As I mentioned, sometimes you can keep your wisdom teeth without ever having to remove them, but it takes a special condition for this to happen.  Sometimes, removing your wisdom teeth is the best long term solution overall, due to the inability to keep these teeth clean and free of bacteria in addition to the difficulty of treating these teeth with fillings, crowns and/or root canals because of their location. It is never advised in any situation, to never wait until it hurts, because this will only prolong the inevitability of the removal and removal of wisdom teeth without infection are far easier in the long run than with infection.

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The Importance of Dental X-Rays

Westgate Family Dental

x-rayHave you ever wondered why we take dental x-rays once a year? Sometimes the response from patients is they think that it isn’t pertinent or do not want to get exposed to radiation. At Westgate Family Dental we want to set up our patients with success and manageable oral health that doesn’t turn into expensive dentistry. This all starts with frequency. And with frequency we mean, cleanings every 6 months, exam 2 x’s a year and x-rays 1 x year. This sometimes seems like a lot, but look at as an investment into your oral health. And here’s why…

For starters we use digital sensor x-ray technology which is proven to be the safest and smallest form of radiation. Meaning, there is a 70% decrease in exposure to radiation than tradition x-ray films. On top of that, you receive more exposure to radiation from the being in the sun for…

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Flossing Makes My Gums Bleed, Why?

flossIf you are not a daily flosser, you may notice when you do floss, that your gums bleed. Some people come to the conclusion that floss is making them bleed and some avoid flossing because of it! Actually, not flossing is what makes gums bleed.

Gums that bleed easily when touched are a sign of gingivitis. Other signs include redness, swelling, and tenderness. Plaque bacteria create toxins that cause these reactions by your gums, a condition known as gingivitis. But it’s not just a condition; because it is caused by bacteria, it is essentially an infection. If any other part of your body bled when you touched it, you would rush straight to the doctor!

It only takes the bacteria in your mouth 24 hours to settle in and start causing the toxins in great enough quantities to cause the signs of gingivitis. That’s why you should floss every day! Swishing with antibacterial rinses can help, but plaque is sticky, so it best removed with floss. So if you are not a flosser, at first your gums may bleed, but you have to keep the bacteria away long enough to give your gums a chance to heal. If they still bleed, get a check-up from your dentist. You may be overdue for a cleaning!

Finance Your Dentistry With 0% Interest?!

vecto-toothWe know that insurance companies can occasionally make reimbursement challenging, and even though we do our utmost to assist you in obtaining your maximum benefit from your insurance company we know however, that dental treatment can sometimes exceed your benefits. Because your dental health is our highest priority, we reassure our patients by offering several affordable financial alternatives. Completing dental treatment at the time of need not only saves you time but also saves you money. We want to provide you with every opportunity to pay for your dental treatment without the concern of not having dental insurance coverage or the burden of whether or not your dental insurance will pay their portion.

As a result, we offer our patients’ third party financing choices to help assist in affordably financing dental treatment over 6, 12 and sometimes 18 months at 0%. To do this, we work with two very reputable companies that allow us outstanding financing opportunities for our patients. Credit standards for these companies are different than Visa and MasterCard and approval ratings even with less than good credit, can still qualify. Let us take the worry and concern out your dental treatment! Apply now, by clicking one of the buttons below!

care creditCiti Health Card

The Importance of Dental X-Rays

x-rayHave you ever wondered why we take dental x-rays once a year? Sometimes the response from patients is they think that it isn’t pertinent or do not want to get exposed to radiation. At Westgate Family Dental we want to set up our patients with success and manageable oral health that doesn’t turn into expensive dentistry. This all starts with frequency. And with frequency we mean, cleanings every 6 months, exam 2 x’s a year and x-rays 1 x year. This sometimes seems like a lot, but look at as an investment into your oral health. And here’s why…

For starters we use digital sensor x-ray technology which is proven to be the safest and smallest form of radiation. Meaning, there is a 70% decrease in exposure to radiation than tradition x-ray films. On top of that, you receive more exposure to radiation from the being in the sun for 20 minutes than you would in a lifetime of dental x-rays once a year. For example, according to recent statistics, “a full series of 18 dental X-rays has 27 times less radiation than a lower gastrointestinal (GI) series and 20 times less radiation than one year of normal background radiation from the environment. The 4 bitewing X-rays taken during dental checkups have 79 times less radiation than a year of normal background radiation.” Digital x-rays are safer, clearer, and instantaneous; they also give us better diagnostic information than traditional films. We are able to diagnose better as clinicians and see things we were unable to measure and see before.

Frequency and Reason

Why do I even need x-rays and why do I need them so often?

First of all, without x-rays it is impossible to complete a full examination of the mouth. X-rays show us teeth, bone, tissues and cavities which better help us diagnose as they show us hidden dental artifacts and structures such as impacted wisdom teeth, bone loss and decay, all things that sometimes cannot be seen during a visual examination as these can be hidden either under tooth structure or tissue. Using x-rays during our examination allows comprehensive diagnosis and allows us to take care of smaller issues before they grow into larger, progressed lesions (cavities), abscesses, cysts, growths, bone loss or deterioration of tissues. If these things are caught early, they are more likely easier to treat and less inexpensive. Without x-rays, it is like driving blind and likely that decay in between the teeth can be missed in its early stages.

What are the different types of x-rays?

In our office we take different types of x-rays, for different types of reasons…

Bitewing X-Ray
bwxThese are called cavity detection x-rays. These are the x-rays we take once a year during one of your two cleaning appointments. These pictures show cavities between the teeth, bone loss and tissue recession. These x-rays are so vital to a complete examination; it is like getting your oil changed without putting oil in your car. You could probably start up your car and drive for a while but over time things will self-destruct. We do not take x-rays to make money; we simply do it because that is standard ADA protocol and it is to better help and serve our patients dental needs long term. By taking these x-rays once a year we are able to diagnose early on and avoid expensive treatment in the future.

Full Series of X-Rays or FMX
We take a full series of x-rays every 3-5 years. This series of x-rays shows us everything; we are able to see teeth, tissues, bone, hidden tooth structures and the roots of your teeth. These x-rays show us the entire crown down to the rip of the root; they also assist us in diagnosing any abnormalities in the root and bone structures in addition to abscesses, these are called periapical x-rays.

Panoramic or Pano
If there are issues with the development of wisdom teeth and possible impaction, we will take a panoramic x-ray. The reason for this x-ray is it is a full x-rays showing us the entire mandible, mandibular nerve structure and where the wisdom teeth are in relation to this nerve. panoIt also shows the magnitude of impactions, and also assists us in implant placement by allowing us to measure the depth of bone. This can also assist in the discovery of tumors in the jaw bone as well.

When it comes to your oral health, x-rays are our best defense to the potential threatening oral diagnosis. X-rays allow us to see what we can’t see with the naked eye and in return create a more accurate treatment plan that represents the patients without guesswork. In the end, we are able to keep your dental costs down, by taking dental x-rays by catching things early on instead of allowing decay, bone loss, tissue recession, and abscesses to go without diagnosing. In the end, we want what is best for our patients, more importantly we want our patients to know and understand why we do what we do. Our patient’s best interest is always our highest priority!

Don’t Just Brush, Brush Well!

Tooth and ToothbrushEveryone understands the importance of brushing their teeth twice a day, but I find that many people underestimate the emphasis of brushing their gums as well. Although you cannot get cavities in your gums, they can harbor and accumulate plaque, thus creating bacteria that cause bad breath and gingivitis.

The most vital part of your gums that need to be brushed is around your teeth. The reason for this specifically is because this is where bacteria have direct access to your bloodstream. When brushing your teeth, point the bristles at a 45° angle towards the gum-line and use small circular motions, while focusing on feeling the bristles on the teeth AND the gums. This will sweep the bristles up underneath the gum-line to effectively remove more plaque. Your gums are living tissues that hold your teeth in place, so don’t forget to brush them well!

Same Day Crowns…What is CEREC?

imagesCEREC® is a revolutionary technology we use to fabricate our crowns “in house”. CEREC® affords us the ability to make your crown the same day you are here or in a shorter amount of time in comparison to sending it to a lab. If you are willing to have a longer appointment time, we can save you a trip and seat your crown the same day.

CEREC® crowns, require a precise tooth preparation technique and Dr. Yarbrough and his clinical staff are highly trained and skilled with CEREC® technology. There is a certain level of expertise and precision that is involved when designing a CEREC® crown. From start to finish we measure, design, stain and glaze and make sure that your crown/shade matches and fits your existing teeth.

CerecPicsBy using a special camera that is attached to a computer, we are able to take a picture of the tooth previous to the preparation. From there we prepare the tooth to receive the restoration and take another picture for the design phase. We have the capability to design your crown to look like the existing teeth around it, from the thickness and stain to the tiny little fissure anatomies.

The material, lithium disilicate, used to make these restorations is more durable than regular porcelain and combines “high strength and high aesthetics” to achieve a natural looking tooth and product. This material has been extremely tested for it’s resilience and the failure rate is astoundingly low.