Posts for: April, 2016
Via a recent Instagram post, pop diva Ariana Grande became the latest young celebrity to publicly acknowledge a dental milestone: having her wisdom teeth removed. The singer of hits such as “Break Free” and “Problem” posted an after-surgery picture of herself (wearing her signature cat-eye eyeliner), with a caption addressed to her teeth: “Peace out, final three wisdom teeth. It’s been real.”
With the post, Grande joined several other celebs (including Lily Allen, Paris Hilton and Emile Hirsch) who have shared their dental surgery experience with fans. Will "wisdom teeth removal" become a new trending topic on social media? We aren’t sure — but we can explain a bit about the procedure, and why many younger adults may need it.
Technically called the “third molars,” wisdom teeth usually begin to emerge from the gums between the ages of 17 and 25 — presumably, around the same time that a certain amount of wisdom emerges. Most people have four of these big molars, which are located all the way in the back of the mouth, on the left and right sides of the upper and lower jaws.
But when wisdom teeth begin to appear, there’s often a problem: Many people don’t have enough space in their jaws to accommodate them. When these molars lack sufficient space to fully erupt (emerge), they are said to be “impacted.” Impacted teeth can cause a number of serious problems: These may include pain, an increased potential for bacterial infections, periodontal disease, and even the formation of cysts (pockets of infection below the gum line), which can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss.
In most cases, the best treatment for impacted wisdom teeth is extraction (removal) of the problem teeth. Wisdom tooth extraction is a routine, in-office procedure that is usually performed under local anesthesia or “conscious sedation,” a type of anesthesia where the patient remains conscious (able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli), but is free from any pain or distress. Anti-anxiety medications may also be given, especially for those who are apprehensive about dental procedures.
So if you find you need your wisdom teeth extracted, don’t be afraid to “Break Free” like Ariana Grande did; whether you post the results on social media is entirely up to you. If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”
Would you like your teeth to be whiter but aren't sure you're a good candidate for professional teeth whitening? Your Anchorage, AK dentists--Dr. Robert Morehead, Dr. Max Swenson and Dr. Frank Cavaness at Anchorage Dental Arts share several reasons you may benefit from teeth whitening.
The color of your teeth makes you reluctant to smile
Society places great value on a white, bright smile. When your teeth are dull or yellow, your self-esteem can suffer. Teeth whitening not only lightens your smile, but also improves your self-confidence. After your professional teeth whitening treatment from your Anchorage dentist, you'll no longer feel the need to hide your beautiful smile.
Your teeth are stained
Smoking or eating brightly colored foods and beverages can stain your teeth. Wine, cola, coffee, tea, sports drinks, berries and popsicles are the chief staining culprits, although any brightly colored food can dull your smile. Toothpaste helps remove surface stains but can't touch the stains that penetrate your enamel. Professional teeth whitening agents penetrate your enamel to remove the stains caused by years of smoking or consuming stain-causing foods and beverages.
Over-the-counter products aren't as effective as you would like
Over-the-counter whitening products may not produce the results you would like, or it may take weeks or months to lighten your teeth with store-bought kits. Professional teeth whitening agents are not only stronger, but also gentler. In just one visit, your teeth may be three- to eight-shades whiter. Professional whitening also offers longer-lasting results. If you avoid the foods and beverages that stain teeth, you can expect your results to last for several years.
Teeth whitening agents can't whiten crowns or bridges. Although whiteners don't penetrate these dental appliances, you can replace them to match the shade of your whitened teeth.
Are you interested in learning if you are a good candidate for teeth whitening treatment? If you live in the Anchorage, AK area, call (907) 276-1712 (middle Anchorage) and schedule an appointment. Transform your smile with teeth whitening!
Your regular dental checkups should periodically include an important screening for oral cancer, especially as you grow older. Although oral cancers make up less than 3% of all other types, they’re among the most deadly with a 58% survival rate after five years.
Besides hereditary factors, oral cancer is strongly linked to tobacco use, alcohol abuse or diets low in fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s also a greater concern as we age: 90% of new cases of oral cancer occur in people over the age of 40, heightening the need for regular screenings. These screenings become all the more important because many early sores or lesions can mimic other conditions like canker sores — without early detection, the disease could already be in advanced stages when it’s diagnosed.
An oral screening for cancer involves both sight and touch. We’ll first look for any suspicious lesions and red or white patches in the soft tissues of the face, neck, lips and mouth. We’ll then feel for any abnormal lumps on the mouth floor, the sides of the neck and in gland locations. We’ll also examine all sides of the tongue including underneath, as well as the tissues lining the back of your throat.
If we notice anything that’s concerning we may then perform a biopsy by removing a small bit of the suspicious tissue and have it examined microscopically for the presence of cancer cells. We may also remove any lesions deemed pre-cancerous as an added precaution against possible cancer development.
The American Cancer Society recommends an oral cancer screening annually for people forty years or older and every three years for people between the ages of 20 and 39. Even better, we recommend all adults undergo a screening every year. This, along with ending tobacco use and other lifestyle and dietary changes, will greatly improve your chances of remaining free of oral cancer.
If you would like more information on detecting and treating oral cancer, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Cancer.”