Tag Archives: dental care san marcos ca

Wisdom Teeth

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Wisdom teeth, or third molars, usually appear in adults between the ages of 17 and 25 and are the final set of molars that most people get.  While most will eventually have their wisdom teeth removed, not everyone needs to do so.  Most dental professionals will recommend having your wisdom teeth removed if you experience any of the following scenarios:

1. Your wisdom teeth do not fit in your mouth.  Most people have 28 teeth before wisdom teeth erupt.  Many do not have enough room in their jaw for 32 teeth and this may cause teeth to become impacted.  Impacted means the wisdom teeth cannot fully erupt or they may become misaligned.  Removing the wisdom teeth can prevent impaction and overcrowding in your jaw.

2. You experience chronic pain in your gums around your wisdom teeth.  Pain in your gums can be an indication of infection.  Infections are common around partially erupted wisdom teeth because food and bacteria get trapped in these areas.  Having your wisdom teeth removed can prevent further infection.

3. Your wisdom teeth do not come in straight.  Often, wisdom teeth will not grow in straight and can cause your teeth to shift and move over time.  To prevent your teeth from moving, removing your wisdom teeth is often recommended.

4. Your wisdom teeth are causing tooth decay to adjacent teeth.  Wisdom teeth can be difficult to keep clean because of their location in the mouth.  Flossing and brushing can be challenging and without good oral care, gum disease and tooth decay can develop.  Removing your wisdom teeth can prevent tooth decay issues in surrounding teeth as well as the wisdom teeth.

What happens during surgery?

Prior to the surgery date, your doctor will discuss the procedure with you and let you know what to expect before, during, and after the extraction. On the day of your wisdom tooth extraction, you will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area.  You may also be given a general anesthetic especially if all of your wisdom teeth will be removed at one time.  The general anesthetic will prevent pain and will give you the illusion of having slept through the entire procedure.

To remove the wisdom teeth, your doctor will open the gum tissue over the tooth and remove any bone that is over the tooth.  The whole tooth is then either extracted or cut into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove.  After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches.

There are several factors that will affect how easy it is to remove the wisdom teeth.  If the tooth has fully erupted, it is a similar procedure to a typical tooth extraction.  However, if the tooth is fully impacted or if the teeth have not erupted through the gums the surgery may be more complicated.

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Tooth Extraction

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Dental extractions are performed for a variety of reasons including tooth decay, injury, and for orthodontic treatment.  Extractions are a relatively common procedure in most dental offices.  The difficulty of the procedure varies depending on the case and the patient, however anesthesia is used to numb the area and prevent pain during the procedure.

Types of Extractions

There are two forms of extraction: simple and surgical extractions.

Simple extractions are performed on teeth that can be seen in the mouth.  They are removed due to decay or injury and are usually performed under a local anesthetic.  During this procedure, the doctor will grasp the tooth with forceps and loosen it by moving the forceps back and forth.  The loosened tooth will then easily come out.

Surgical extractions are performed on teeth that have broken off at the gum line or that have not yet come in (ie: wisdom teeth).  To remove the tooth, the doctor will have to cut and pull back the gums, which allows access to the area.  This is necessary so that they can see the tooth that needs to be removed.  Surgical extractions are usually done with local anesthesia but a general anesthesia is sometimes preferred.

TMJ

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Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) occurs as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint, and surrounding facial muscles that control movement of the jaw. The temporomandibular joint is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw to the bone of the skull. This joint is located immediately in front of the ear on each side of the head. The muscles attached to the jaw allow the jaw an incredible amount of movement: front side to side and up and down. This flexibility allows us to chew, talk, and yawn.

What is TMJ?

Those who suffer from TMJ experience severe pain and discomfort.  This pain can last for as many as several years or a few months.  More women experience TMJ pain than men and the disorder is seen in people between 20-40 years of age.

Some symptoms of TMJ include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or yawn
  • Limited ability to open the mouth wide
  • Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open-or closed-mouth position
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the joint when the mouth is opened or closed
  • Tired feeling in the face or neck
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Sudden uncomfortable feeling when biting
  • Swelling on the side of the face
  • Toothaches
  • Headaches or neck aches
  • Dizziness
  • Earaches
  • Hearing problems
  • Upper shoulder pain
  • Ringing in the ears

Sleep Apnea

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Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by interruption of breathing that occurs while a person sleeps. A person with undiagnosed sleep apnea may stop breathing hundreds of times a night. This disorder is very serious due to the threat of oxygen starvation, which can be extremely hazardous if the person does not seek treatment. Sleep apnea dentistry is sometimes employed in situations where the person cannot tolerate continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), a common remedy that keeps airways open using mild pressure. At Adriatic Dental in San Marcos, Dr. Valentina Obradovic offers sleep apnea dentistry and can help patients understand what causes sleep apnea.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea affects people of all ages, but several factors can increase your risk, including:

Sex. Males are more prone to develop sleep apnea.
Age. The risk increases for people over the age of 40.
Weight. Overweight people are at a greater risk.
Family history. Genetics play a role in sleep apnea.
Jaw Bone and Tongue/Tonsils Size. People with smaller than average jaw bone or larger than average tongue and/or tonsils are at a greater risk.
Neck Girth. A bulkier neck, measuring 17 or more inches in men and 16 or more inches in women, increases the risk.
Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). People with GERD or more prone to sleep apnea.
Nasal Blockage. People with nasal blockage caused by allergies, sinus problems, or a deviated septum are more likely to develop sleep apnea.

Common Sleep Apnea Dentistry Appliances

Many different sleep apnea dentistry devices are available, and Dr. Obradovic can help you determine the best one for your needs. Two devices commonly used in cases where patients cannot CPAP include:

• Mandibular advancement device (MAD), which resemble a sports mouth guard. This keeps the airways open by pushing the lower jaw forward and slightly downward.

• Tongue retraining device (TRD) is a splint that keeps the airways open by holding the tongue in place.

If you would like to learn more about what causes sleep apnea and sleep apnea dentistry, please call and schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Valentina Obradovic.

Scaling and Root Planing

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If plaque and tartar is left on the teeth, as we mentioned before, it provides the right conditions for bacteria to thrive. The bacteria irritate the gums which can cause them to bleed more easily. You may notice this if you are brushing your teeth or eating, and your gums bleed a bit. This is the early stage of gum disease called gingivitis.

If you have gingivitis, your dentist or hygienist will clean your teeth by scaling and polishing them. They may also recommend an antiseptic mouthwash containing chlorhexidine and show you how to brush and floss your teeth effectively. Most adults have some degree of gum disease.

Root Canal

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Root canals are necessary when the pulp layer of a tooth becomes infected.  Infection can lead to the loss of a tooth so it is necessary to remove the infection with root canal therapy.  The procedure is generally comfortable and saves the natural tooth, prevents the spread of infection, and returns the smile to complete health.

The Procedure

Before the procedure begins, the area is completely numbed using a local anesthetic.  Once the area is numbed, a rubber dam is placed around the infected tooth to protect the mouth and to prevent anything from falling into the back of the throat.

In order to access the infected tooth pulp, an opening is made through the top of the tooth to get down into the pulp chamber.  A tiny instrument, called a dental file, is then carefully used to clean out the infected tissue and to shape the root canals to receive a filling.  X-rays may be done to ensure that all of the infected pulp is removed before the filling is placed.

After the infected pulp is removed, the restoration is placed.  In most cases a crown is placed to protect and strengthen the tooth.  However, if the tooth is severely broken down, it may be necessary to start by building up the tooth with a post and core.

Frequently Asked Questions

How did my tooth become infected?

There are two common causes of infection: cavities and fractured/broken teeth.  Both expose the pulp area to bacteria that live in saliva.  These bacteria can cause an infection that can kill the pulp.

Do I really need treatment?

Without treatment, pus from the infected tooth can spread to the root tip and eventually pass to the jaw bone.  This can cause an abscess (a pus pocket) that can damage the bone that surrounds the tooth.  The pressure this causes can cause excruciating pain and, left untreated, can be life threatening.  An infected tooth can not heal on its own and will only get worse.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms tend to vary from patient to patient.  Infected teeth may be sensitive to hot or cold, the area may be swollen or painful, or there may be a bad taste in the mouth.  Occasionally there will be no symptoms at all.

Preventive Dentistry

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Here at Adriatic Dental we help our San Marcos patients with preventive dentistry. If you have ever heard the old saying ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’, it definitely applies to oral health. A few minutes per day spent cleaning teeth at home can contribute to years of excellent oral health. Preventive dentistry is the best way to avoid painful, expensive dental procedures as it stresses at-home dental care that will help prevent decay or disease. Preventive, or at-home, dental care is important because it results in healthy teeth and gums throughout one’s life.

Avoid or Delay the Need for Costly and Painful Dental Treatments

We Can Teach You How to Care for Your Teeth

Many at-home treatments can help prevent disease or decay including brushing your teeth at least twice daily, flossing, and using mouthwash. However, it’s important to know how to floss and brush properly. Proper brushing techniques include using a soft, nylon toothbrush with round-ended bristles. Place the toothbrush at the gum line at a 45-degree angle to cover the tooth surface and the gum line. Move the brush back and forth, gently brushing away any plaque or tartar from the surface of the tooth and the gum line. Patients should be sure to brush the insides and outsides of all teeth, including the hard to reach back teeth. Floss should be used to clean in between teeth. Proper flossing techniques include using an 18-inch strip of un-waxed floss wrapped around the middle fingers of both hands. Insert the remaining 2 inches of floss between each tooth, using your thumbs to direct the movements. Gently scrape the plaque out from between each tooth. You should always floss below the gumline to remove any harmful plaque that is found under the gumline.

When you visit our San Marcos dental office we will be able to assess your current state of oral health. We can then recommend treatments, if needed, and provide maintenance advice so your smile stays perfect for a lifetime. You can set up an appointment now by calling us at (760) 621-8830 or fill out the form on this page.