Apex Oral Surgeon Explains Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Cracked Teeth

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Have you ever had dental pain or discomfort when biting into food or after eating/drinking something that is hot or cold?  This pain or discomfort might not be constant like it is with a cavity, but intermittent.  If so, it is possible you may have a cracked tooth.

There are several reasons that patients develop cracked teeth.  Some situations that can result in fractured teeth are:

  • teeth with large fillings

  • teeth with root canals

  • clenching or grinding teeth

  • chewing ice or other hard foods

  • trauma to the tooth from an accident

  • too much pressure on one tooth as a result of the patient’s occlusion (the way the teeth come together in the mouth)

If the crack in the tooth does not extend further than the enamel, your dentist may not recommend any treatment.   These cracks, known as craze lines, are common in adult teeth.  Think of a teacup with a crack in it but that is still able to hold water without it leaking.

However, if the fracture extends beyond the enamel, it is very important to have the tooth treated. In this situation we have a leaky teacup! It can be difficult for patients to distinguish between the different types of cracks, so it is important to visit your Apex dentist so the fracture can be properly evaluated.  Try to pay attention to exactly where the pain is coming from so that you can tell your dentist.

Molar are more vulnerable to cracks because they absorb most of the impact when chewing food.  Front teeth are more commonly fractured due to trauma.

Your Apex dentist will determine a treatment plan based on the severity of the fracture. Treatment typically includes placing a dental crown on the cracked tooth.  If the fracture effects the pulp chamber a root canal may also be necessary.  If the tooth is split beyond repair, an extraction is likely necessary.  In this situation tooth replacement is possible with implants or bridges.

Postponing treatment can lead to more serious complications such as an infection or a deeper fracture.  That is why it is important not to ignore warning signs or dental pain and sensitivity.  By seeking treatment early, there is a typically better prognosis for the tooth. which also usually results in a lower financial cost of treatment.

Do Wisdom Teeth Need to be Extracted? Ask an Apex Oral Surgeon

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We have found that while many of our patients with wisdom teeth know that they should be extracted, very few of them understand why.

So here you go…A Little Wisdom about Wisdom Teeth.

There are several reasons your Apex Dentist might recommend having your third molars, also known as Wisdom teeth, extracted.   Very few people have adequate space in their dental arch for wisdom teeth.  If you are one of the lucky ones that does have enough room, be sure your toothbrush is reaching all the way back to those teeth, as they are often very difficult to keep clean.  If/when 3rd molars develop cavities (as they often do), it is usually better to put financial resources towards having these teeth extracted rather than filled as they usually only cause more problems down the road.

dental-arch

For patients who do not have enough room in their dental arch, the 3rd molars are often unable to properly erupt, making it difficult or even impossible to keep clean.  The improper eruption can cause a variety of problems including but not limited to, periodontal infections, dental decay, and dental abcesses.

The first radiograph was of a patient for whom Dr. Hansen had to perform an extraction not only the partially erupted  wisdom tooth but the 2nd (more important) molar as well due to the decay caused by the wisdom tooth.

radiograph

The second radiograph demonstrates another reason that 3rd molars often need to be extracted:  dental abcesses.  This particular abcess was so large that this patient was a risk of her lower jaw breaking. The radiograph also demonstrates the importance of routine dental check ups, as this patient did not have any pain associated with the dental abcess.   She literally would not have ever known that it was there except that she was consistent with her dental examinations, including dental radiographs.

Understanding dental problems that can arise from  wisdom teeth is important so patients are able to take necessary steps to seek treatment. Typically, your Apex dentist will recommend having wisdom extracted between ages 15 and 25 because healing and recovery is much easier for younger patients.

If only our wisdom teeth made us all-knowing and wise…that would make for a good case in keeping them!

Our Apex Dentist Explains The Importance of Replacing Missing Teeth

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Everyday we see patients that have missing teeth. Sometimes they are teeth that have been recently extracted.  Other times they have been missing for years.  The reasons for why the teeth are missing vary.  But the answers about why to replace them are usually the same.  So we wanted to share these answers with you!

In the US, about 70% of the population is missing one or more teeth.  Tooth loss can lead to reduced self confidence because of gaps in a person’s smile.  Unfortunately, effects on physical appearance are not the only result.

 

Teeth are lost or missing for several reasons such as trauma, decay, periodontal disease, or even genetics.  It is important to replace missing teeth because when a tooth is missing there is no contact with the opposing arch.  This can cause opposing teeth to gradually extrude which leads to other problem, such as fractures, mobility, tooth loss, shifting in surrounding teeth, and gum problems.

There is more than one option available to patients for replacing missing teeth.  Like most choices, each option has pros and cons.  The 3 most common options are replacing the missing teeth with implants, crowns and bridges or dentures. Sometimes a combination of two of these options can be used, such as a denture that is supported by implants, or a bridge that is supported by implants.  We will cover more about what the pros and cons of each of these treatments are in upcoming blog posts.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, so whenever possible try to avoid loosing the tooth in the first place.  The financial cost of saving a tooth with a crown or even a crown and a root canal is substantially less than the cost of an implant and crown or a bridge.  Not to mention that by saving one tooth, you are also helping keep the surrounding ones healthy as well.

The loss of a tooth is not always preventable, such as in the case of trauma or when a tooth is congenitally missing.  But no matter the cause, it is important to understand the effects of missing teeth so that you can take the necessary steps to prevent further problems. Your Apex dentist can answer questions you have about what treatment best fits your needs and your smile.  And check back here when we explain more about each treatment in the upcoming weeks!