Posts for: June, 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.”
Life can get stressful from time to time, and everyone experiences periods of anxiety where the mind continues to race and worry even after the body has fallen asleep. The occasional bout of nighttime tooth grinding can usually be felt the next day by way of pain and tension in the jaw. However, when jaw stiffness and pain becomes a regular occurrence, accompanied by other symptoms like "clicking" and trouble opening or closing the mouth (locking), it can be a sign of a condition known as Temporomandibular disorders (TMD).
Is TMD the same thing as TMJ?
Many people use the two interchangeably, but TMJ is the abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint, which is the set of hinge-like joints that attach the jaw to the skull, and allow us to open and close our mouths for all of the essential functions in life like eating and talking. TMD (Temporomandibular disorders) is the joint disorder that is commonly misidentified as TMJ.
TMD Treatment in Raleigh
Joints are supported by connective tissue (muscles, ligaments, and tendons) that are also subject to strain and wear and tear over time. Persistent pain and tenderness in the jaw, or near the temples or ears could be a sign of a problem with the temporomandibular joint. Diagnosing and treating TMD is usually not as straightforward as a common dental problem like a cavity or missing tooth. Dr. Ashley Lloyd, a Raleigh, NC-based dentist, begins by looking for the source of the pain, which commonly results from a problem with the joint or surrounding muscle, such as:
- muscle or tendon strain
- damage or deterioration in the joint
- underlying health condition that causes chronic pain throughout the body, like fibromyalgia or arthritis
In most cases, TMD symptoms resolve on their own with conservative treatment like pain management, heating or ice application, and behavior modification to help ease additional pressure and tension on the jaw until the joint heals. If conservative treatment is insufficient or fails to relieve the symptoms, a dentist may suggest treatments like orthodontics to fix alignment issues or medications like a steroid injection to alleviate inflammation in the joint.
Are you suffering from jaw pain or other symptoms of TMD? For more information on the condition and to discuss your treatment options, contact the office of Dr. Ashley Lloyd by calling 919-828-1001 to schedule an appointment today.
In an ideal situation, you would transition from a missing tooth to a permanent replacement with as little time in between as possible. Unfortunately, reality can intrude on the best of intentions.
For example, dental implants are one of the best ways to regain the form and function of a lost tooth. They are, however, initially expensive, especially if you’re replacing multiple teeth. Your financial ability may force you to wait — which means you need a solution now, if only temporarily.
Fortunately, a removable partial denture (RPD) could be the temporary solution you’re looking for. There are various kinds and all quite affordable; one of the more versatile is a flexible version made of a form of nylon. Due to its thermoplasticity, the nylon is quite pliable when heated and can be easily molded into a denture base with attaching prosthetic teeth. They’re comfortable to wear and attach to the remaining teeth at the gum line with flexible, finger-like clasps.
Â RPDs are designed as a transitional replacement between tooth loss and a permanent restoration such as implants, bridges or permanent dentures. Their light weight, comfort and affordability also make them tempting to consider as a permanent replacement.
They do, however, have some drawbacks that make them less desirable for long-term use. They weren’t designed for relining or repair, so such efforts can be difficult. The clasp holding them in place may also trap food and bacteria that increase the risk of dental disease to the gums and remaining teeth. You can minimize some of these weaknesses by properly cleaning and maintaining the RPD, and taking them out at night to inhibit the growth of bacteria while you sleep.
Mainly, though, you should primarily consider a RPD as a temporary bridge between lost teeth and a permanent restoration. To that end, we’ll work with you to develop a treatment and finance plan that will help you achieve a more permanent and satisfying restoration.
If you would like more information on teeth replacement options, 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 “Flexible Partial Dentures.”