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.
It’s that time of year! Back to school!!! The time of year that Moms and Dads are found scratching their heads at Target trying to figure out whether the 3 prong, plastic, 2 pocket folders comes in 5 different colors so they can check it off the school supply list (There is always one item that makes buying the whole list in one trip impossible). We have been there!
Along with school supply shopping, it is also time to start thinking about what to pack in your child’s lunch. Among the seemingly endless options there are prepackaged lunches and individual serving sizes of chips and cookies. These foods are usually high in sugar, sodium, and fat and, while easy to grab at the last minute before you miss the bus, do not make the best choices for school lunches. Sticky foods, such as fruit roll ups and fruit snacks, get stuck in the grooves of your child’s teeth and will likely stay there until they brush later that evening…giving bacteria an abundant supply of sugar.
The good news is that there are other choices that are convenient and far healthier for your child’s teeth and body.
Here are a few ideas the are both convenient and healthy (and please feel free to share your ideas in the comment section below…we believe in the “it takes a village” philosophy).
Cheese- Cheese is actually one of the best foods for your teeth because it neutralizes acids caused by bacteria and contains calcium, which can help the teeth remineralize. Cheese sticks are convenient because they offer single portion servings.
Hard boiled eggs-another healthy and convenient option that provides protein which is helpful for tissue development.
Nuts-especially raw nuts, the rough texture can help clean acid off the teeth and the provide protein.
Vegetable cups- vegetables are much lower in sugar than fruits and also tend to provide more fiber. Carrots and cucumbers are popular, but try sugar snap peas or sweet bell peppers to keep kids from getting bored as this often makes them crave quick and often unhealthy alternatives.
Water-Opt out of sending juice boxes and sport drinks to school and just send water, which neutralizes the acids in the mouth and cleanses your teeth.
Another important part of helping keep your child’s smile healthy is by keeping them up to date with their dental exams, cleanings, and fluoride treatments. In 2015, the CDC reported that almost 20% of school age children have untreated dental decay. Taking your child to visit their Apex Dentist helps keep their teeth healthy and helps them have positive dental experiences from a young age.
If your child is old enough to play sports requiring mouthguards, ask your Apex Dentist if they can provide you with a custom mouthguard. It is important for your child to protect their teeth by wearing a mouthguard. One thing we know is that a better fitting mouthguard is one your child is more likely to actually wear.
Good luck to all our beautiful kids on their first day back at school, whether its the first day of kindergarten or their senior year of high school. They grow up so fast, so remember to cherish every moment and every (healthy) smile!
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.
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.
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!
What is a sealant?
A sealant is a tooth-colored resin material that is placed on chewing surfaces of teeth to help them stay cavity-free.
Why do teeth need sealants?
Molar and premolar teeth often have very deep pits and fissures. While bacteria can easily enters these groves, toothbrush bristles are often too large and therefore ineffective. As a result, these areas become the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to multiply which can lead to dental decay. A sealant does just what its name suggests…it seals off the grooves so that bacteria can’t enter. After a sealant is placed these areas can no longer harbor bacteria and your tooth brushing once again becomes effective.
What teeth need sealants?
Any teeth that have deep groves or pits can benefit from sealants. These are most often found on molar and premolar (teeth right in front of the molars) permanent teeth, but varies from one individual to another. One person might benefit from sealants on all molars and premolars (16 teeth), while another may only need their molars (8 teeth) sealed.
Once a tooth has a dental filling in it, it no longer benefits from a sealant.
People often think that only children benefit from sealants. That is because sealants are typically placed on a child’s molars when they first erupt. The reality is that any teeth with deep pits and fissures (that do not already have fillings) can benefit from sealants because they will help prevent future cavities.
How is a sealant applied?
No tooth structure is removed in order to place a sealant. Instead it is kind of like painting your fingernails: resin material is only added, nothing is taken away. The tooth is thoroughly cleaned with a pumice and etch. The tooth is then washed thoroughly. Finally, the sealant material is applied and then cured with a light in order to harden it.
How long do sealants lasts?
Sealants typically last two to five years. Although, it is not uncommon to see sealants in adults that were placed in childhood and are still intact.
Avoiding sticky, chewy, and hard foods can potentially prolong the life of a sealant.
If a sealant is no longer fully intact then it is no longer effective and should be replaced by your dentist. If it has been less than two years since the sealant was placed, ask if your Apex family dentist offers a warranty for sealants.
Are you new in town or looking for a different dental experience? There are many dentists to choose from in the Apex Cary area and so sometimes it can be overwhelming as you try to find a good fit for you and your family. It is important to choose a dentist who you feel you can trust. Look for a dentist who…
1) Is an Active Listener
You should feel like your dentist gives you a customized dental experience. Not a one size fits all appointment. This can only be done if the dentist takes time to not only look in your mouth, but to listen to you. The dentist might be an expert on what is going on in your mouth, but you are the expert on why. What’s is going on in your life and how is that effecting your overall and dental health? Are you a mom who is busy doing a fabulous job taking care of your children but tend to put yourself on the back burner? Are you a bride preparing for your wedding and want the best smile of your life? Did you just get your first job, have dental insurance for the first time since before college and want to get back on track? How do you feel about your smile? If there is something you could change about your smile, what would it be?
Your dentist should be interested in you. Not just your mouth.
2) Respects Your Time and Your Resources
A dentist should not keep you in the waiting room too long and should be punctual for appointments. Scheduling coordinators should give you options for appointments that are convenient for you. If taking off work is difficult, find a dental office that offers appointments on Saturdays or late weekday hours.
A dentist should also offer different billing options so that your financial resources can be optimized. For example, hopefully they file your insurance, have financing options, and/or offer a cash discount if you are a cash paying patient.
3) Educates You about all aspects of your appointment
The entire dental team should be good educators.
The dentist will educate you on all matters related to your oral health and how it effects your overall health and well being. This includes performing oral cancer screenings as a part of a head and neck exam.
The dental hygienist should educate you on what you can do daily to keep your teeth healthy and maintain your smile.
Insurance can get confusing. What you will pay, what insurance will pay? Do you pay up front? Or only the difference? The financial coordinator’s job is to help you understand all aspects of your financial arrangement.
4) Stays Current with Technology and Continuing Education
You wouldn’t use a phone from 15 years ago. So why go to a dentist who does not stay up to date with current technology? Advancements in technology in the dental field offer many of the same benefits as those outside the field. More comfort, less time, better results. For example, same day CEREC crowns mean less wait time for patients. They also mean no annoying temporary crown while you wait for the permanent one to come back from the lab.
Continuing education allows dentists to stay current with technology and procedures. It gives them an opportunity to brush up on procedures they are already comfortable with and expand their scope of practice.
Not sure what your dentist does to stay up to date? Just ask! If your dentist is already doing this, he/she would most likely love the opportunity to share this information with you!
Overall, just remember to trust your gut. Taking some time to find a dental practice that meets your specific needs is worth the effort. Perhaps that means calling to ask for an office tour and to meet the dentist and staff before scheduling your first appointment. Once you find the right fit, you will be glad you did!
What an exciting Month at Hansen Dentistry!
I enjoyed meeting everyone who came to the office during the last week of May and the month of June. Building relationships is the best part of my job as a leading dentist in Apex. I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to be your dentist. After years of looking for the right practice to join, I know I have made the right choice coming to Hansen Dentistry.
Several patients have asked how we came to find out that the Simpsons were selling their practice. My family and I go to church with the Simpsons. They actually approached us when they heard that were looking for practice purchase opportunities. So we kind of feel like they hand picked us! As you might imagine, because Apex is such an amazing, incredible place to live, opportunities in this area are not too easy to come by. But it was when I saw how Dr. Simpson’s attention to detail mirrored my own, that I knew it was a good fit.
There have been some exciting changes too! We have a new website, and a new logo.
You will probably also notice we have made some cosmetic
changes around the office. A little paint and new lighting…did you know I was an electrician before I went to dental school? We are also now in-network with most insurance companies. More on this to come.
One of the changes that is the most exciting to me is that we now have the ability to do in-office same day CEREC crowns, root canals, and implants. Less referrals means less cost for our patients. Plus
it is just more convenient.
And I guess another change is this blog! This is just the first blog post so I will keep it short and sweet. We will be updating regularly with educational posts and fun posts to share about what we are doing at the office.
We would love any feedback from you. If there are topics that we can cover here to help you better understand your dental health, feel free to comment or call us!
Thanks for a great first month!
Happy Independence Day to you! How blessed we are!