Posts for: April, 2018
Once upon a time, celebrities tried hard to maintain the appearance of red-carpet glamour at all times. That meant keeping the more mundane aspects of their lives out of the spotlight: things like shopping, walking the dog and having oral surgery, for example.
That was then. Today, you can find plenty of celebs posting pictures from the dentist on social media. Take Julianne Hough, for example: In 2011 and 2013, she tweeted from the dental office. Then, not long ago, she shared a video taken after her wisdom teeth were removed in December 2016. In it, the 28-year-old actress and dancer cracked jokes and sang a loopy rendition of a Christmas carol, her mouth filled with gauze. Clearly, she was feeling relaxed and comfortable!
Lots of us enjoy seeing the human side of celebrities. But as dentists, we’re also glad when posts such as these help demystify a procedure that could be scary for some people.
Like having a root canal, the thought of extracting wisdom teeth (also called third molars) makes some folks shudder. Yet this routine procedure is performed more often than any other type of oral surgery. Why? Because wisdom teeth, which usually begin to erupt (emerge from beneath the gums) around age 17-25, have the potential to cause serious problems in the mouth. When these molars lack enough space to fully erupt in their normal positions, they are said to be “impacted.”
One potential problem with impacted wisdom teeth is crowding. Many people don’t have enough space in the jaw to accommodate another set of molars; when their wisdom teeth come in, other teeth can be damaged. Impacted wisdom teeth may also have an increased potential to cause periodontal disease, bacterial infection, and other issues.
Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed; after a complete examination, including x-rays and/or other diagnostic imaging, a recommendation will be made based on each individual’s situation. It may involve continued monitoring of the situation, orthodontics or extraction.
Wisdom tooth extraction is usually done right in the office, often with a type of anesthesia called “conscious sedation.”Â Here, the patient is able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli (such as verbal directions), but remains free from pain. For people who are especially apprehensive about dental procedures, anti-anxiety mediation may also be given. After the procedure, prescription or over-the-counter pain medication may be used for a few days. If you feel like singing a few bars, as Julianne did, it’s up to you.
If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”
Would you like to replace one or more missing teeth? Bridges and dentures aren't the only options anymore. Our Morrisville, NC, dentist, Dr. Geetha Sripathi, explains how dental implants can restore your smile.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are the only restoration option that restores teeth completely. The titanium implant serves as a synthetic root and provides a secure base for the crown that replaces the tooth above the gums. Your new dental implant becomes firmly rooted in your mouth when it bonds to the bone during a process called osseointegration. Although the length of the osseointegration may vary from person to person, it's usually complete about three to six months after your implant is placed in your jawbone during minor oral surgery.
An impression of your mouth is made in our Morrisville office after your implant bonds to your bone. Thanks to the impression, your new crown will not only fit the gap in your smile perfectly but also feel comfortable. The crown is created in a dental laboratory, then attached to your implant with an abutment, a screw-like connector.
Who can benefit from dental implants?
Most people who have lost teeth are good candidates for dental implants. You must be in good health and have no conditions or diseases that affect healing, such as immune system disorders or diabetes. Because smoking may also slow healing, implants may not be the best choice if you plan to continue smoking after implant surgery.
If you need implants due to tooth loss caused by gum disease, your disease must be successfully treated before you can receive dental implants. Adequate jawbone depth is also important. If your jawbone isn't deep enough, your implant may fail. Fortunately, the problem can often be solved by placing bone grafts in your jawbone before the implant process begins.
How will dental implants feel?
Dental implants feel more like natural teeth than any other restoration option. Because they're securely connected to your jawbone, they won't cause gum irritation or affect your ability to eat hard, sticky or tough foods. If you're switching from full dentures to implant-supported dentures, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the increase in biting power that implants offer.
Restore your smile with dental implants! Call our Morrisville, NC, dentist, Dr. Sripathi, at (919) 388-0137 to schedule an appointment.
Because the mouth is one of the most sensitive areas of the body, we go to great lengths to eliminate pain and discomfort associated with dental work. Anesthesia, both local and general, can achieve this during the actual procedure—but what about afterward while you’re recuperating?
While a few procedures may require prescription opioids or steroids to manage discomfort after a procedure, most patients need only a mild over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever. There are several brands available from a group of medicines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs like aspirin or ibuprofen work by blocking the release of prostaglandins into the body, which cause inflammation in tissues that have been damaged or injured.
Unlike their stronger counterparts, NSAIDs have fewer side-effects, cost less and aren’t addictive. And unlike opioids NSAIDs don’t impair consciousness, meaning patients can usually resume normal activities more quickly.
But although they’re less dangerous than opioids or steroids, NSAIDs can cause problems if taken at too strong a dose for too long. Its major side effect is interference with the blood’s clotting mechanism, known as “thinning the blood.” If a NSAID is used over a period of weeks, this effect could trigger excessive external and internal bleeding, as well as damage the stomach lining leading to ulcers. Ibuprofen in particular can damage the kidneys over a period of time.
To minimize this risk, adults should take no more than 2400 milligrams of a NSAID daily (less for children) and only for a short period of time unless directed otherwise by a physician. For most patients, a single, 400 milligram dose of ibuprofen can safely and effectively relieve moderate to severe discomfort for about 5 hours.
Some patients should avoid taking a NSAID: pregnant women, those with a history of stomach or intestinal bleeding, or heart disease (especially if following a daily low dose aspirin regimen). If you have any of these conditions or similar concerns, be sure you discuss this with your dentist before your procedure for an alternative method for pain management.
If you would like more information on managing discomfort after dental procedures, 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 “Treating Pain with Ibuprofen.”