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Palo Alto, CA
2290 Birch St, Ste A, Palo Alto, CA 94306.
(650) 503-6777
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Redwood City, CA
81 Birch Street, Redwood City, CA 94062.
(650)-345-5300
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Santa Clara, CA
1394 Franklin St, Santa Clara, CA 95050.
(408)-246-6030
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Signs and Symptoms You Need your Wisdom Teeth Removed

The dental development journey is marked by milestones that evoke excitement for many, such as the shedding of baby teeth to make way for the emergence of adult ones. However, for teenagers and young adults, the narrative takes a different turn as they encounter the phenomenon of wisdom teeth

Unlike the joy of earlier dental transitions, the emergence of these third molars often brings challenges. Overcrowding and misaligned growth angles frequently lead to discomfort and potential dental complications. This predicament has driven many individuals to undergo wisdom tooth extraction in Redwood City each year.  

What are Wisdom Teeth? 

Wisdom teeth, scientifically known as third molars, are an additional set of large grinding teeth that emerge at the back of the mouth, both on the upper and lower jaw. This typically occurs during a person’s late teenage years or early twenties (15 – 20 years), a phase that coincides with a greater level of maturity – hence the term “wisdom teeth.” 

These teeth have garnered attention due to the potential oral health issues they can introduce. Given their location at the back of the mouth and the relatively limited space available, they often struggle to emerge fully and properly align with the existing teeth. This misalignment can lead to problems such as overcrowding, impaction (when a tooth doesn’t fully emerge), and even pain. As a result, many dentists in Redwood City advocate for their removal during the early stages of adulthood.

Signs Your Wisdom Teeth Needs Removal 

Pain

If you find yourself grappling with discomfort in the back of your mouth, the cause could be your wisdom teeth. Occasionally, this discomfort arises from the gradual eruption of your wisdom tooth. The pain might be intermittent, waxing and waning until the tooth is fully exposed above the gumline.

Additionally, wisdom teeth often present a notable challenge when it comes to maintenance. Positioned at the back of the mouth, they are considerably more difficult to clean, rendering them vulnerable to potential infection and the development of cavities. 

Bleeding and Inflammation 

The eruption of wisdom teeth can also lead to inflammation and mild bleeding. You might observe that your gums take on a slightly redder tone and exhibit a hint of swelling, potentially causing discomfort during brushing or eating. Should you notice a faintly pinkish tint to your saliva, this often serves as an indicator of minor bleeding, and you should see a top dentist in Redwood City immediately. 

Jaw Issues 

Due to their location near the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) at the back of the mouth, wisdom teeth can also trigger discomfort beyond the oral cavity. It’s relatively common to experience headaches, earaches, and sensations of stiffness or discomfort in the jaw, particularly while speaking or chewing. If you encounter these symptoms, schedule a dental appointment with your dentist. The root cause could be your wisdom teeth exerting excessive pressure on your jaw, warranting timely attention.

Tooth Alignment Issues

An often observed sign of the emergence of wisdom teeth is overcrowding. Even if there isn’t sufficient space within the mouth for wisdom teeth to surface, they persist in attempting to break through the jaw. This determination can lead to adjacent teeth being pushed closer together, ultimately causing alignment issues.

Obviously, some discomfort will arise as your teeth try to adjust and accommodate the incoming wisdom teeth. The most effective solution to prevent this misalignment is removing troublesome wisdom teeth.

In certain scenarios, your Redwood City dentist can predict potential alignment problems even before the wisdom teeth start emerging and can extract them as a preventative measure. 

Unexplained Sinus Problems

While it might seem odd, the connection between your teeth and sinus function is noteworthy. When wisdom teeth develop in the upper jaw, they can cause irritation to the sinuses. This occurs when the upper wisdom teeth exert pressure and friction against the sensitive sinus areas, giving rise to recurrent sinus issues.

Common symptoms include sinus headaches, sinus congestion, and a sensation of sinus pressure. If sinus issues persist, get your mouth examined by your Redwood City dentist. 

Oral Cysts

The concept of cysts might be puzzling. Essentially, they are small sacs containing fluid that can develop on the jawbone or along the gum line. When wisdom teeth emerge, their impaction can trigger the formation of oral cysts surrounding them.

Pain along the jaw or gum line is a telltale indicator of these cysts. They might not be easily detectable or visible, often growing beneath the skin or occasionally becoming visible at the back of the mouth.

Timely attention to any form of mouth discomfort is crucial, as an untreated oral cyst can potentially escalate into an infection affecting the jawbone or gum line.

Halitosis Concerns

Irrespective of your perfect oral hygiene practices, the emergence of wisdom teeth can give rise to episodes of bad breath. The reason behind this phenomenon lies in the challenging-to-reach locations at the back of the mouth where these teeth grow. As a consequence, bacteria tend to accumulate and thrive in these regions, leading to the onset of bad breath.

While your efforts to thoroughly clean the back of your mouth are commendable, eliminating all bacteria that accumulate when wisdom teeth come in is often impractical.

Need Wisdom Teeth Extraction in Redwood City?

Should you recognize any of the above signs, it might be time to consider wisdom tooth extraction. Reach out to your dentist in Redwood City at your earliest convenience. They will assess whether you need wisdom teeth removal and gladly address any questions or concerns you might have. Wisdom tooth extraction is an outpatient procedure conducted under local anesthesia, and patients usually recover within a few days. 

Emergency Dental Care: What to do if Your Tooth Falls Out

Accidents are unavoidable and can occur anywhere. Take the case of a college setting, for example. With a bustling student population biking, riding scooters, rushing to classes with heavy backpacks, and participating in contact sports, maxillofacial trauma, and dental emergencies are bound to occur. Thus, it’s good to be aware of what to do in such situations. Acting swiftly and contacting your emergency dentist in Palo Alto increases the chances of saving the tooth and minimizing potential long-term damage.

My tooth fell out: What should I do?

Losing a tooth is a common occurrence. The American College of Prosthodontists (ACP) estimates that roughly 178 million Americans are missing at least one permanent tooth. With such a large number of people in this situation, it’s critical to learn what to do if you lose a tooth.

  1. Handle the tooth with care: Handle the fallen tooth delicately and avoid any contact with the root area. The periodontal ligaments (tiny fibers attached to the root) play a vital role in successful reattachment. Touching or damaging these fibers can significantly decrease the chances of successful re-implantation.
  2. Rinse away debris: Use lukewarm water or milk to rinse any visible dirt or debris from the fallen tooth. Don’t scrub or use any cleaning agents, as they can harm the delicate tissues on the tooth’s surface.
  3. Reinsert the tooth if possible: If the fallen tooth is clean, attempt to place it back into its socket. However, avoid forcing it into place. Use your fingers or bite down softly to push the tooth into the socket and hold it in position.
  4. Store the tooth properly: If reinsertion is not possible, store the tooth appropriately until you can get to a dentist. Place the tooth in a sealed container and fully submerge it in milk or a saline solution. Both milk and saline help preserve the tooth and maintain its viability until professional assistance is available. Alternatively, if these options are not accessible, you may carefully tuck the tooth under your tongue, making sure not to swallow it.
  5. Contact Your Stanford emergency dentist immediately: Time plays a critical role in the successful preservation or reattachment of the tooth. Thus, it is advisable to visit a Stanford emergency dental office near you as soon as possible, ideally within the first 1-2 hours following the incident.
  6. Dentist intervention: The dentist will make every effort to reinsert the tooth into its socket or bond any broken fragments back into place. They will assess the condition of the tooth and surrounding tissues to determine the most suitable course of action. In cases involving nerve damage, endodontic treatment (root canal therapy) might be necessary to save the tooth.
  7. Tooth knocked out of position: If a tooth has been forcefully moved from its original position but is not fully dislodged, it is crucial to seek dental attention within 24 hours. The longer the tooth remains out of position, the more difficult it becomes to reposition it successfully.

What will Palo Alto dentists do if a tooth falls out?

If re-implantation of the fallen tooth is impossible, there are other potential tooth replacement options that Palo Alto dentists may recommend:

Removable partial denture

A removable partial denture (RPD) is a prosthetic device that can be easily taken in and out of your mouth. It serves to replace a missing tooth and is often the most cost-effective solution. This denture is custom-made to fit your mouth and restore your ability to speak or chew properly.

Bridge

A dental bridge is a suitable option when a tooth is missing. The dentist can bridge the gap by placing a false tooth, made typically of porcelain, in an empty space. The bridge is supported by abutment teeth, which are adjacent natural teeth or dental implants. Dental bridges are designed to blend flawlessly with your natural teeth, providing a natural appearance.

Temporary denture

A temporary denture is commonly used when a patient plans to undergo a dental implant procedure in the future. Dental implant procedures can take several months and involve multiple surgical steps. During this waiting period, a temporary denture, sometimes accompanied by a flipper tooth, can be utilized. The flipper tooth is a removable retainer that sits on the roof of the mouth and has a prosthetic tooth attached to it.

Dental implant

Dental implants are among the most common and effective methods of tooth replacement. They are designed to mimic the look and function of natural teeth. They usually consist of a titanium post surgically placed in the jawbone to serve as an artificial tooth root. This post fuses with the bone over time, providing a solid foundation for a prosthetic tooth (crown) to be attached. Dental implants offer an effective and permanent solution for replacing one or multiple missing teeth.

Fallen Tooth? Contact your Palo Alto dentist right away.

When faced with a dental emergency or traumatic injury, schedule an appointment with your Stanford emergency dentist as soon as possible. Dentists are equipped to handle emergencies and provide the necessary treatment. By seeking prompt dental care, you increase the chances of saving your tooth, minimizing complications, and restoring a healthy smile.

5 Benefits of Dental Sealants for Children

Children are the most susceptible to developing tooth decay; this is often due to the types of foods they consume and the absence of a dental regimen. Therefore, as parents, we have a responsibility to guide them right on how to practice good dental hygiene and ensure they receive the best dental care in Palo Alto, CA

In addition to maintaining good dental practices at home, there are plenty of treatments that your youngsters can undergo to help their teeth remain in tip-top shape. Dental sealants are one of them, and your pediatric dentist in Palo Alto will certainly be able to add this preventative measure to your child’s dental cleanup appointment.

What are dental sealants? 

Dental sealants are a non-invasive preventive measure that forms a barrier against cavities. They are usually a plastic material applied on the tooth’s surface, particularly the molars and premolars, filling in some of the deeper crevices that are difficult to clean while maintaining the tooth’s capability. 

Why are dental sealants helpful?

  1. Protection from decay – One of the key benefits of dental sealants for children is their capacity to protect hard-to-reach parts of the mouth. For example, the premolars and molars at the back of the mouth are especially prone to the buildup of food particles and bacteria that causes cavities. By applying dental sealants to these areas, a barrier is created that prevents debris and bacteria from reaching the tooth enamel; hence causing decay.

In fact, research comparing school-aged kids (6–11 years old) with and without dental sealants found that kids without sealants had a higher likelihood of developing cavities than their counterparts who did.

2. Safe and non-toxic – Some parents are hesitant to use dental sealants on their children. However, dental sealants are made from a non-toxic plastic material entirely devoid of harmful chemicals. This makes them safe for children and even pregnant women. 

Remember, tooth decay and other gum diseases often begin early in life; thus, applying sealants is an ideal option for young ones who might not have adopted a comprehensive oral care routine yet. 

3. Quick and easy application process – For most kids, the thought of visiting the dentist’s office could be uncomfortable. Fortunately, the sealant procedure is easy, quick, and painless, so your child should not be afraid. The dentist will meticulously clean and dry the teeth before applying a specific solution to roughen the teeth’s surface in order to increase adhesion. After cleaning and drying again, the sealant is applied onto the molar and premolars and hardened with a light. 

The entire sealant application procedure will take a few minutes, and your child can return to their regular activities immediately. Actually, the process is quick and simple enough to be finished during a routine dental examination, saving both you and your child a lot of time and worry.

4. Dental sealants are quite long-lasting – The sealants the dentist will apply to your children’s teeth will provide them with protection for up to ten years. That said, the best Palo Alto dentists recommend replacing your children’s sealants at least every two to four years. Also, how long sealants last depend on various factors, such as your kid’s diet, oral hygiene, and overall care. 

To lengthen the lifespan of your kid’s sealants, you can encourage healthy oral habits like brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Most importantly, ensure your child does not chew on things such as ice cubes or hard candy. These can make the dental sealants wear down faster.   

5. Helps reduce your children’s dental costs – As we mentioned, sealants prevent cavities and tooth decay. This lessens the need for dental treatment, which can, at times, be expensive. 

Picture this; at least 3 million cavities can be avoided if 7 million children have dental sealants, saving around $300 million in dental care expenses. Again, when you take into account the money required for tooth repair, it’s evident that the cost-saving advantages of dental sealants can only get greater over time.

Not having to lose sleep over the future of your children’s dental health situation is priceless. It can ease your financial stress and other miseries that come with a sick child.  

Seal it up! Schedule an appointment today

Children’s dental sealants can be a powerful cavity-prevention tool. If you are concerned about your child’s oral health, you will find sealants to be a cost-effective alternative to frequent tooth repairs and fillings. The fact that they last longer and are also non-invasive and painless cannot make them a no-brainer! So, by scheduling regular dental checkups and considering using sealants, you can work with your Palo Alto dentist to maintain your child’s optimal dental health and minimize future dental problems.

Common Dental Allergies and Their Importance

There are several dental allergies you may experience when you go for a dental procedure. These allergies are related to the dental materials and instruments your dentists may use, like latex. 

In this article, we look at some common dental allergies, their symptoms, and the significance of letting your Redwood City dentist know about them on time.

Common Dental Allergies 

Dental allergens mostly arise from metals (such as nickel or chromium), local anesthetics, latex, and other compounds present in dental materials like composites. 

Latex Allergy

Latex is extensively used in dental offices, especially in gloves and some dental instruments. However, some individuals are allergic to latex proteins. However, some people are allergic to latex proteins. Common latex allergy symptoms include 

  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Difficulty breathing.

Redwood City dentists know about the allergic symptoms caused by latex and take proper measures, such as using latex-free gloves during procedures and treatments.

Anesthetic Allergies

To enjoy a pain-free experience during a dental procedure, local anesthetics are generally used. Unfortunately, some people may have allergic reactions to specific anesthetics products like lidocaine or novocaine. Some of the symptoms related to anesthetic allergies include: 

  • Swelling
  • Hives
  • Itching 
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Anaphylaxis

Adhesive Allergies

The use of dental adhesives is common in dental settings. They add to the retention of the prosthetic. They also prevent the accumulation of food particles beneath the dentures. In other words, they boost the patient’s sense of satisfaction and security.

While it is rare to be allergic to adhesives, you may experience mild irritation. Some ingredients in adhesives, such as zinc, may cause allergic reactions. 

Other warning signs, though rare, include:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Localized skin rashes in the mouth

Your best dentist in Redwood City can go for alternative adhesives or perform a patch test to establish the most appropriate material for your dental restorations.

Toothpaste 

The toothpaste itself may not cause allergic reactions; however, it contains various potential allergens

Some of these allergens include: 

  • Fluoride: Although fluoride is a common ingredient in toothpaste and helps prevent tooth decay, some individuals may be hypersensitive to it. Warning signs may include oral discomfort, skin rashes, or itching.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS): SLS is a foaming agent in many toothpaste brands. It may lead to canker sores, irritation, or allergic reactions in some people.
  • Mint or other flavoring agents: Some people may be sensitive to the flavorings used in toothpaste, such as mint or cinnamon. They may experience symptoms like tongue swelling and mouth ulcers because of these flavorings.
  • Other additives: Toothpaste may contain additional ingredients like preservatives, artificial sweeteners, or dyes that can potentially trigger allergic reactions in susceptible individuals.

Importance of Addressing Dental Allergies

Comfort and Oral Health

Ignoring dental allergies can lead to discomfort, oral inflammation, and potential complications such as gum disease or implant failure. In severe cases, it may cause difficulty in breathing or swallowing.  

By addressing these allergies promptly, patients can maintain oral health, prevent discomfort, and ensure successful dental treatments.

Safety during Dental Procedures

Dental allergies can pose challenges during routine dental procedures. For instance, patients with latex allergies may react to latex gloves or rubber dam isolation materials used during treatment. 

Allergies to local anesthetics can make it difficult to administer pain relief during dental surgeries or procedures. Furthermore, individuals with allergies to certain dental materials may experience adverse reactions when receiving fillings, crowns, bridges, or other restorative treatments. These complications can lead to delays in treatment and compromised oral health outcomes.

Informing your dentist about any allergies before dental procedures allows them to take necessary precautions and choose suitable materials or alternative treatments to avoid allergic reactions or complications during the treatment.

Psychological and Emotional Impact

The consequences of dental allergies extend beyond physical discomfort. Chronic oral discomfort or the fear of experiencing an allergic reaction during dental visits can lead to dental anxiety or phobia. 

Dental anxiety can prevent individuals from seeking regular dental care, ultimately affecting their oral health. Additionally, the impact of dental allergies on a person’s appearance, speech, and ability to eat comfortably may result in decreased self-esteem and social confidence.

Conclusion: Allergy Awareness and Prevention is Crucial

It is good to inform your dentist about any symptoms that arise after a dental visit, as they are often indicative of an allergic reaction. Notably, disclosing any known allergies will ensure the use of appropriate materials and prevent any adverse reactions. All said and done, don’t let allergies stop you from attending your routine visit to the best dental clinic in Redwood City

Can Clear Aligners Fix Overbites and Other Bite Problems?

Clear aligners have revolutionized the field of orthodontics, offering an innovative and discreet way to straighten teeth without using traditional metal braces. But can clear aligners fix overbites and other bite problems? 

Overbite Explained

An overbite is usually a condition in which the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth vertically. In other words, when a person with an overbite closes their mouth, the upper front teeth cover a significant portion of the lower front teeth. This can cause the lower teeth to bite into the roof of the mouth and sometimes result in the lower teeth hitting the back of the upper teeth.

An overbite can result from many factors, including genetics, thumb-sucking during childhood, or a mismatch in the size of the upper and lower jawbones. Some people may also develop an overbite due to habits such as nail-biting or chewing on pens, which can cause the upper front teeth to move forward and the lower front teeth to move backward.

In some cases, an overbite may not cause any issues, and the individual may not even be aware that they have one. However, if the overbite is severe, it can lead to several dental problems. For example, it may cause excessive wear on the teeth, gum irritation, and even difficulty speaking and eating. Overbites can also cause aesthetic concerns, as the upper teeth may appear excessively prominent, while the lower teeth may appear small or recessed.

Can Clear Aligners Correct Overbites?

Clear aligners are an effective treatment alternative for correcting overbites, as they can gradually shift the position of the teeth and jaws to achieve a more harmonious bite. 

During treatment, the clear aligners will apply gentle pressure to the teeth, gradually moving them into the desired position. The aligners must be changed every two weeks or so to ensure that the teeth continue moving in the right direction.

In some cases, additional appliances such as rubber bands may be required to correct more severe overbites. Your orthodontist will be able to assess your individual needs and determine the best course of treatment for your specific case.

What Other Bite Problems Can Clear Aligners Fix?

In addition to overbites, clear aligners can also correct a range of other bite issues, including:

Underbites

An underbite usually occurs when the lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper jaw, causing the lower teeth to overlap the upper teeth. Clear aligners can help to systematically shift the position of the teeth and jaws to correct this bite issue.

Crossbites 

A crossbite occurs when the upper and lower teeth do not align correctly. This can cause uneven wear on the teeth and lead to jaw pain and discomfort. Clear aligners can help to align the teeth and jaws and achieve a more balanced bite.

Open bites

An open bite occurs when the upper and lower teeth do not meet when the mouth is closed. This can cause difficulty chewing and speaking, as well as aesthetic concerns. Clear aligners can help to close the open bite and achieve a more functional and attractive smile.

Crowded teeth

Crowded teeth occur when there’s insufficient space in the mouth for all the teeth to fit comfortably. This can cause the teeth to overlap and become crooked, leading to difficulty cleaning the teeth and an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Clear aligners can gradually shift the position of the teeth and create more space in the mouth.

Benefits of Clear Aligners for Bite Problems

As your orthodontist in Redwood City will tell you, clear aligners offer several benefits for correcting bite issues, including:

  • Improved Oral Hygiene. Traditional braces are notoriously difficult to clean and maintain, making it challenging to maintain good oral hygiene. On the other hand, clear aligners are removable, making it easy to brush and floss as you normally would. With clear aligners, you can maintain good oral hygiene, reducing the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems.
  • Increased Comfort. Traditional braces use brackets and wires, which can irritate the mouth and cause discomfort. On the contrary, clear aligners are made of smooth, comfortable plastic, making them much more comfortable to wear.
  • Effective Treatment. Clear aligners are just as effective as traditional braces when it comes to correcting bite problems. They are particularly effective for mild to moderate cases of misaligned teeth and bite problems. However, severe cases may require traditional braces or other orthodontic treatments.
  • Aesthetically Pleasing. Clear aligners are discreet, making them an excellent option for anyone concerned about the appearance of traditional braces. This is particularly important for adults and teenagers who may feel self-conscious about wearing braces.
  • Convenience. Clear aligners are removable, making them much more convenient than traditional braces. You can remove them when eating, brushing, and flossing and put them back in when you’re done. This makes it easy to maintain good oral hygiene and enjoy your favorite foods without worrying about damaging your braces.
  • Fewer office visits – Clear aligners typically require fewer office visits than traditional braces, as no wires or brackets need to be adjusted.

Final Thoughts

Clear aligners can be an effective alternative for fixing overbites and other bite problems, but it’s important to consult the best dentist in Redwood City to determine if they’re the best option for your specific case. You should also be prepared to commit to the treatment plan and follow all instructions carefully for the best results. Remember, you must wear the aligners for at least 22 hours a day and be diligent about switching out each tray every two weeks.

Five Oral Health Care Tips you Should Keep in Mind during Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting time for expecting mothers, but it also comes with a lot of responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is dental care, which is often overlooked. However, as your Palo Alto dentist will tell you, dental care during pregnancy is crucial for you and the baby. In this article, we will discuss five dental care tips that you should keep in mind when expecting.

1. Brush and floss daily 

Pregnancy can increase your risk of developing dental health issues like gingivitis (a form of gum disease). Actually, almost 60 to 75% of pregnant women have gingivitis. Usually, this condition is known as pregnancy gingivitis. 

With this condition, the germs that attack your gums might enter your bloodstream and put the pregnancy at risk. Some of the early warning signs of gingivitis include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Sensitive gums and teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Redness and swelling
  • Loose teeth

What can you do to prevent gingivitis? Regular brushing and flossing are always encouraged for good oral health; however, it is even more crucial when pregnant. 

Brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day gets rid of the food particles and germs between your teeth and prevents them from turning into plaque – a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth.

If you suspect you have gingivitis, visit the best oral dentist in Palo Alto sooner rather than later. If left unattended, this gum disease can turn into periodontitis, a more serious issue that damages the soft tissue around your teeth. 

2. Pay Attention to Your Diet

What you eat when expecting can affect your oral health as well. A balanced diet that includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein can help keep your teeth and gums healthy. Also, increase your daily intake of calcium. Adequate calcium intake minimizes your risk of osteoporosis, ensures your teeth remain healthy, and helps your baby grow strong teeth and bones too. 

It is also essential to stay hydrated during pregnancy. Drinking plenty of water can help keep your mouth moist and prevent dry mouth, which can lead to tooth decay and other oral health problems.

On the other hand, foods high in sugar and starch can cause tooth decay and should be limited or avoided. When you eat sugary foods, the bacteria in your mouth break down the sugars and produce acids that can damage the enamel. Over time, this can lead to cavities and other oral health problems. It’s important to remember that sugar is not just found in sweets and desserts. It’s also present in many processed foods like sodas, sports drinks, and even some types of bread.

3. Protect your Teeth from Morning Sickness. 

A lot of women go through morning sickness in the first trimester of their pregnancy, and in some cases, it can persist into the second trimester as well, albeit less commonly. Morning sickness results from significant hormonal changes and often causes frequent vomiting. The acid in vomit can harm teeth and lead to tooth decay if not dealt with promptly. To counteract this, rinse your mouth with warm water mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda a couple of times daily. This will neutralize the acid and protect your teeth from damage. Moreover, baking soda can also eliminate the sour taste that often accompanies vomiting.

4. Honor Dentist Appointments

There is no better way to maintain oral health than visiting the best family dentist in Palo Alto. Your dentist can detect problems early and recommend the best treatment. So never hesitate to visit a dental clinic just because you are expecting. In fact, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), it is completely safe to get dental check-ups and treatment when pregnant. 

That said, it is advisable to inform your dentist about your pregnancy before any procedures are performed. If possible, it is best to schedule any elective dental procedures during the second trimester when the risk of pregnancy complications is low.

5. Avoid Smoking 

Smoking can have a negative effect on your dental health, and it is especially harmful during pregnancy. Smoking can increase the risk of gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer.

If you smoke, it is essential to quit during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider for guidance and support on this.

Conclusion 

By following these five tips, you are sure to have healthy teeth and gums and prevent any potential complications during pregnancy. But the most important advice you can take during this time is this – always honor your dental appointments. Preventive care appointments are more crucial now than ever.

What is Lateral Periodontal Cyst, and How to get rid of it?

When talking about teeth-related issues or diseases, people usually lament about tooth sensitivity, cavities, gum disease, and cracked teeth. However, there are a lot of other problems a person can encounter when it comes to oral health. 

One of those rare or “obscure” conditions is Lateral Periodontal Cyst (LPC). In this post, we explore what an LPC is, its causes, and how to get rid of it. 

What is Lateral Periodontal Cyst? 

LPCs are non-inflammatory and non-keratinized cysts of developmental origin found lateral to the root of a vital tooth. Usually, it is asymptomatic and might be spotted on a routine radiographic examination. 

Standish and Shafer reported the first case of Lateral Periodontal Cyst in 1958, and later in the same years, Holder and Kunkel followed suit. Since then, there have been hundreds of well-documented LPC cases in the dental literature. 

Causes of LPC

So why do they arise? The exact cause of the lateral periodontal cyst is still unknown. However, some theories suggest that it may develop as a result of an inflammatory process or an odontogenic epithelial rest that is present in the periodontal ligament.

Here are some other possible causes or factors that may contribute to the development of LPC:

  • Trauma: Trauma to the affected area may cause a focal inflammatory response that could lead to the development of the cyst.
  • Infection: An infection in the periodontal ligament may also trigger the formation of an LPC.
  • Developmental defect: LPCs may also result from a developmental defect in the dental tissues. LPC can occur accidentally as a tooth erupts due to flaws in tooth formation.
  • Accumulation of pus: LPC can also develop due to the buildup of pus in the gums. 
  • Genetic factors: Some genetic factors may make some people more susceptible to developing LPCs.
  • Age: LPCs tend to occur more frequently in adults over the age of 52.

Signs and symptoms of LPC

LPCs are usually painless but can cause tenderness and swelling in the affected area. 

Observable clinical signs of a lateral periodontal cyst include soft-tissue swelling within or just below the interdental papilla

On radiographs, the LPC comes out as a well-defined oval, round, or somewhat tear-drop shape. In rare instances, possible implications include loss of lamina dura, loss of enamel and dentine of bordering teeth, and enlargement of the periodontal ligament space. 

Under the microscope, the Lateral Periodontal Cyst appears as a cystic activity with an extremely thin layer of epithelium around its margin and supported by connective tissue. Mostly, no inflammatory cells are present; however, in some rare cases, the fibrous capsule may exhibit slight inflammation. Lastly, numerous transparent cells rich in glycogen might be present in plaques or the epithelium layers. 

Diagnosis of LPC

The diagnosis of an LPC is necessary when the cyst location is confined to the anterior maxillary tooth roots, the periodontal segment of the tooth, or around mandibular premolar roots. 

The diagnosis is predominantly based on radiographic findings. Histopathological studies and analysis are employed to differentiate between LPC and other cysts resulting from inflammatory causes or potential keratocystic odontogenic tumours. Once a confirmed diagnosis is established, treatment is carefully planned and administered to prevent the recurrence of the lesion.

Treatment: Getting rid of it

Fortunately, in most cases, LPC is relatively harmless. However, if the cyst grows to the extent that it makes life uncomfortable for you or begins threatening the adjacent tissues, then treatment is necessary. 

This is where oral surgeons in Palo Alto come in handy as the cyst is removed surgically.

The surgical removal of a lateral periodontal cyst (LPC) involves the following steps:

  1. Anesthesia: The first step is to administer local anesthesia to numb the area around the cyst and the affected tooth. 
  2. Incision: Once the area is numb, your oral surgeon will make an incision in the gum tissue overlying the cyst. The size and shape of the incision will depend on the size and location of the cyst.
  3. Accessing the cyst: The surgeon will then use a small surgical instrument to carefully separate the surrounding gum tissue from the cyst to gain access. 
  4. Removal of the cyst: Your surgeon will use a surgical instrument to remove the entire LPC and any associated inflamed tissue. The cyst will be sent for histopathological examination to confirm the diagnosis and rule out any malignancy.
  5. Closure: Once the cyst has been removed, the surgeon will carefully clean the area and close the incision using sutures. Sometimes, a small drain may be placed to allow any excess fluid to drain from the surgical site.
  6. Post-operative care: You will be given instructions on how to care for the surgical site, including how to keep the area clean and avoid irritating the incision. Antibiotics and pain medication may also be prescribed as needed.

Follow-up: Lastly, you will be scheduled for follow-up appointments to monitor healing and ensure that the cyst does not recur. The follow-up frequency may vary depending on the individual case.

Prevention of LPC

Observing oral hygiene and seeing the best periodontists in Palo Alto at least bi-annually are significant steps in preventing LPC and other common dental diseases. Teeth that remain healthy rarely ever have cysts developing near or around them. 

Top 5 Dental X-Ray Myths Busted With Scientifically Proven Facts

Dental X-rays offer important details about a patient’s oral health, including the condition of their teeth and gums. We can identify tooth issues early on thanks to X-rays, which will spare you time, pain, and money. Although diagnostic radiology is proven to be safe and effective, many patients still have anxiety when they hear the word “radiation.” Sadly, false information persists despite the wealth of evidence showing the safety of x-rays.

We’ll explore dental X-rays and dispel the most prevalent myths about them with scientific facts to prevent misinformation and bring you clarity and peace of mind.

What Are Dental X-Rays?

Dental x-rays are nothing but a form of energy that is passed through an object (the patient’s mouth in this case) to provide a complete image of your oral structures, including your upper and lower jaws, temporomandibular joints, teeth, sinus cavities, and nasal area. 

  • Cephalometric x-rays show us the entire side of your head so we can view the jaw and teeth in relation to your profile.
  • Panoramic x-rays show the entire mouth and oral tissues in one x-ray.

Digital dental x-rays are an improvement over conventional x-rays that have been used at dental offices for decades. In digital x-rays, we project a low dosage of ionizing radiation through you and onto the electronic sensor in both forms of x-rays. Your head is placed between a mechanical arm and an electronic sensor. The image appears on the screen shortly after the sensor is linked to a computer. This is a significant advantage over conventional x-rays that require developing film that takes a longer time to develop and exposes patients to much higher levels of radiation. 

Dentists who perform digital intraoral x-rays can now implant tiny electronic sensors in your mouth in place of the painful, drool-inducing bitewings.

For identifying specific issues with the mouth, teeth, and jaw bone region, dental X-rays are crucial. Even a comprehensive physical examination cannot find problems that an X-ray can.

Myths And Facts About Dental X-Rays

Without diagnostic radiography, commonly known as X-rays, your dentist may not be able to accurately diagnose your dental condition. Your dentist uses the panoramic or 3D images from your intra-oral basic radiography to help them decide on the right treatment for you.

However, some patients believe that dental x-rays are harmful because of some misconceptions. I’ll debunk the common myths and false beliefs about dental x-rays. 

 Myth 1: Dental X-Rays Are Unnecessary And An Excuse For Dentists To Charge More 

I come across patients who believe dental x-rays are unnecessary. Some even believe that it’s a ploy by dentists to charge more. But they do not know the importance of dental x-Rays.

Some people think dental x-rays are unnecessary because your teeth are visible in your mouth. However, they are crucial for viewing your jawbone and the roots of your teeth which are not visible to the naked eye. As a result, your dentist might not detect a potential dental problem without the use of x-rays.

Dental x-rays are essential for identifying bone abnormalities, tooth positions beneath the gum line, gum disease, and tooth decay. Besides identifying the position of the teeth beneath the gums, it also looks for dental decay, gum disease, and jawbone problems. 

Myth 2: Dental X-Rays Cause Brain Tumors 

Dental x-rays are an ultra-targeted form of x-ray that digitally captures a very small part of your body as opposed to a larger area such as a chest or stomach X-ray. Moreover, dental x-rays emit less radiation compared to other types of x-rays. While all types of x-rays are considered safe, dental x-rays would be among the safest. 

The American College of Radiation has an x-ray radiation comparison chart where you can see how the x-ray of your chest emits hundreds of times more radiation than dental x-rays using film. Digital x-rays are even safer than film x-rays with significantly lowered radiation exposure than traditional film.

Additionally, with the dental x-rays orthodontists take, the machine is in constant motion, so no one area of your head receives a steady, continuous, and concentrated stream. Any cancer risk associated with radiation is based on your cumulative exposure and not necessarily on what body part is being x-rayed.

There is no danger in dental x-rays being in close proximity to the brain. Dental x-rays can not harm the brain. It’s crucial to only get an x-ray when it’s really required and the dentist has advised you to.

Myth 3: Dental X-Rays Cause Cancer

Another misconception is that the radiation from dental x-rays might cause cancer.

This is just not true.

Dental x-rays emit so little radiation that their potential to cause cancer is virtually nonexistent. The danger of developing cancer from dental x-rays is minimal. As previously stated, excessive radiation exposure can cause cancer, but a brief flight exposes passengers to more radiation than a dental x-ray.

The only way dental x-rays might put you at risk is if you were exposed to them for hours at a time, which would never happen. No patient will be exposed for hours at a time to x-rays. X-rays are taken with 0.08-0.16 of a second! Additionally, dental offices adhere to the necessary regulations and safety protocols such as adhering to the ALARA principles and employing shielding.

Myth 4: Digital X-Rays Are Dangerous For Children, Pregnant Women, And Nursing Mothers

There are certain groups that are discouraged from receiving dental x-rays such as pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children. One of the numerous myths surrounding dental X-rays is that they can expose pregnant women, nursing mothers, or children to radiation. 

In reality, dental X-rays emit a negligible quantity of radiation, and the exposure duration for pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children is minimal. 

Mammograms and X-rays are frequently used to determine the health of nursing moms, among other diagnostic procedures. Obtaining a dental X-ray at the dentist is not very different from these other procedures. 

However, you still need to inform your dentist if you’re a woman who’s pregnant or nursing and wait for their advice before taking a dental x-ray exam. 

Myth 5: Dental X-Rays Are Necessary Every Year

Most people need an exam every six months, but your dentist will recommend X-rays and visits based on your dental needs and hygiene. Dental checkups and exams find hidden problems early. Dental x-rays are the best way to catch any latent oral and health conditions early and treat them promptly.

If you have good dental health, you don’t need dental x-rays every year.

Conclusion

Dental X-rays are the best way to detect cavities, gum disease, and other conditions. Radiographs can detect cancers and infections early, letting your dentist provide the best therapy. Our Redwood City dentist community strives to provide you with safe and comfortable dental care. 

Disclaimer: We routinely draw upon public health resources to inform our write-ups. Information in this article may be drawn up from multiple public health sources, including:

American Dental Association’s MouthHealthy.org

California Dental Association

American Dental Association’s Action for Dental Health

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Webmd 

Healthline

Laser Dentistry

How The Flu Hurts Your Mouth And How You Can Care For It

Are you waking up with an itchy throat and feeling out of sorts even when it’s fabulous winter weather outside?

Well, flu season is upon us too. Getting a flu shot, washing your hands often, and avoiding ill people are common-sense precautions. But there’s one overlooked aspect of flu prevention and recovery: good oral health.

As if the cold and other symptoms of the flu weren’t bad enough, it can also affect your oral health.

Let’s explore the mysterious connection between the flu and your dental health. 

How Does The Flu Affect Your Dental Health?

Dental health isn’t a priority when you have the flu. Perhaps you’ll think:

What does the flu have to do with my teeth?

But it can affect your dental health. Your oral health can be a strong indication of your immune system.

Flu or influenza is a contagious respiratory virus that affects millions annually. If you have the flu, some symptoms that you might experience are fever, sore throat, cough, nasal congestion, aches, fatigue, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Flu can be deadly for those with immature or compromised Immune systems. Flu can cause further complications such as pneumonia, brain, heart, and muscle inflammation, organ shutdown, and even a life-threatening emergency such as sepsis. Flu can cause death, but many are still unaware of its connection to the mouth. This disease causes havoc to the body and your mouth simultaneously.

With a healthy immune system, influenza can be cleared from your body in as little as two days. But for most, and those with weakened immune systems, the virus can remain for up to 14 days or two weeks.

Influenza is spread by the contamination of respiratory droplets that originate from your nasal passages. So, your mouth is the first carrier of the flu and any contact with it will spread the virus. 

Because the flu affects all body systems, here are some flu-related dental problems.

Dry Mouth 

Nasal congestion is a common flu symptom during the winter. The change in your voice or speech patterns makes it “sound like you have a pretty awful cold.” 

Congestion can affect oral health. First, nasal congestion can cause dry mouth, especially while sleeping. When blocked, you must breathe through your mouth. Congestion can block nasal passages, causing snoring. Snoring dries out the mouth, which promotes bacterial growth and cavities.

Also, the drier your mouth, the less saliva you have to help break down food and wash away particles that could cause cavities and gum disease. Second, decongestants and antihistamines can cause dry mouth according to the Mayo Clinic

So, dry mouth increases the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. It also makes chewing and swallowing harder.

Sinusitis 

A cold virus increases the risk of sinusitis, an infection that can put pressure on your sinus cavities above your back teeth, making it seem like a tooth infection. If the symptoms persist, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.

Toothache

A toothache can be painful. What most people don’t realize is that a sinus virus may cause sudden, unexpected tooth pain. If it’s the flu, things get miserable fast.

Upper tooth pain, especially if it affects multiple teeth, and tenderness around your sinuses may be signs of the cold virus or bacterial infection. 

When you breathe through your mouth while you’re awake or asleep, you increase your risk of cavities. This is because saliva is crucial to control the bacteria in your mouth. Congestion can also cause post-nasal drip, allowing the mucus to drip down the back of your throat. This causes bacteria deposits in your throat, causing inflammation and pain. The nasal and sinus congestion cause swelling, which can put pressure on the nerves causing tooth or jaw pain.

Our Top Dental Health Tips For The Flu Season

Your oral health may not be on your mind during the cold and flu season. But the flu can affect your mouth adversely. Here are our simple but effective tips that can keep your teeth healthy while you’re sick with the flu.

  1. Brush And Floss Daily

The best flu prevention starts with your mouth. Good oral hygiene involves flossing after meals and brushing twice daily.

Leaving food in your mouth and under your gums allows harmful bacteria to enter your bloodstream. Your body must fight this bacterium once it enters your bloodstream. This can tire the immune system and reduce its ability to fight off infections like the flu.

However, even if you’re weak and exhausted because of the flu, it’s crucial to brush and floss daily. This helps control mouth bacteria and reduces congestion-related bad breath and dry mouth.

People usually brush for 30 seconds. Brush your teeth for 2 to 3 minutes daily, including your tongue. 

  1. Discard Your Toothbrush

The flu virus lives in your mucus, so it contacts your mouth every day you’re infected. People with the flu don’t stop brushing their teeth if they’re vomiting frequently. 

Your toothbrush becomes a harbor of infection. The flu virus can live on toothbrushes for 48 hours, according to the CDC. If you’re sick, don’t share your toothbrush to avoid spreading the virus.

If you brush your teeth twice a day or more, the virus can live on your toothbrush and harm your health each time of used. After the flu or another illness, toss your old toothbrush immediately and replace it with a new toothbrush. Reinfection is possible, especially if your immune system is weak.

Here are some infection-fighting toothbrush tips for preventing the flu this winter:

  • After brushing, rinse the toothbrush and let it air-dry in an upright position.
  • Wash your hands before and after brushing and flossing to avoid bacteria from entering the mouth.
  • Never share toothbrushes with anyone. Keep all household members’ toothbrushes separate from one another to prevent cross-contamination and the spreading of germs.
  • Sterilize your toothbrush once a week by placing it in a few inches of water in a microwave-safe container and heating it for 2-3 minutes.
  • Don’t share toothbrushes with others in the household. Keep each member’s toothbrushes separate from each other to prevent cross-contamination and germ spread. 
  • The ADA suggests replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months. Toss any used toothbrush after an illness like the flu infection. Even after being rinsed, toothbrushes can harbor pathogens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In weakened immune systems, a flu strain can reinfect. This is more common with bacterial infections like strep throat. To avoid reinfection, discard a toothbrush used during illness. 
  1. Hydrate Your Body

When sick, your body needs extra fluid to fight infection. A dry mouth is common when breathing through the nose is difficult. A dry mouth can cause cavities and gum disease because saliva controls cavity-causing bacteria. 

We have always recommended hydration to those suffering from the cold and flu. Cold and flu medications can dry the mouth and throat. Plaque and cavity bacteria love dry mouths. Increasing your fluid intake helps your healing process while combating dry mouth. Drinking water, soup, and juice will help during flu infection.

Fever can cause dehydration, which worsens fatigue and aches, including tooth pain. Sip from a water bottle often throughout the day. This is especially important at night, so you can immediately rehydrate if you wake up with a dry mouth. Drinking water often helps keep your mouth moist while also hydrating your body.

  1. Do The Salt-Water Gargle And Rinse Your Mouth Often

Dissolve salt water in warm water and gargle. This helps reduce bad breath and plaque by reducing harmful bacteria in your mouth and throat. It can also reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Vomiting is a nasty flu side effect. Vomiting causes tooth decay as it exposes teeth to stomach acid, which erodes the enamel. Rinse and spit with water and baking soda to dilute the acids.

  1. Opt For Sugar-Free Medications

Many cold and flu medications are loaded with sugar to “help the medicine go down.” Sugar can cause tooth decay and gum damage, even with medication.

It’s worth it to find medication with alternative sweeteners or to brush and rinse afterward. 

Buy medications that are sugar-free or sweetened with xylitol or sucralose. If you can’t find sugar-free or low-sugar alternatives for your medications, brush or rinse after taking them. If your medicine is acidic, wait for at least 30 minutes before brushing to allow your enamel to harden.

Continue to take your medications. Sugar-free cough drops or vitamin lozenges help in salivation production. Nasal decongestants help keep airways open and reduce dry mouth symptoms because of medication. 

Good Oral Hygiene Can Prevent The Flu

Flu prevention starts with good oral hygiene. It should be part of a comprehensive health-preservation plan.

It’s empowering to know how oral hygiene can help or hinder your healing while fighting this illness.

You may want to lie in bed and rest during the flu season. But dental routines are important during this time. Don’t give the bacteria a chance to build up. Get your dental checkups and cleanings.

Disclaimer: We routinely draw upon public health resources to inform our write-ups. Information in this article may be drawn up from multiple public health sources, including:

American Dental Association’s MouthHealthy.org

California Dental Association

American Dental Association’s Action for Dental Health

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Webmd 

Healthline

Laser Dentistry

Can I Use Retainers and Night Guards Interchangeably?

Various devices can boost your dental health – braces and aligners for straight teeth, dental implants for bone and gum preservations, and even mouthguards for sports protection. And with countless options on the market, it can be overwhelming to keep things straight. 

Two appliances people usually confuse for one another- night guards and retainers. However, this article explores what they are in detail and if they can be interchanged so that you can make informed decisions the next time you visit your Palo Alto dentist.  

Night guards vs. retainers: what’s the difference? 

Although we admit that retainers and night guards are nearly identical, the differences become apparent when you explore their functions. Below are key ways night guards and retainers differ:

Retainers keep the teeth aligned

According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), the function of retainers is to keep the teeth in their original position after orthodontic treatment. In other words, it prevents teeth and bones from shifting following an orthodontic procedure. One main distinction between a night guard and a retainer is that the latter is used in orthodontics, whereas the former is not. The retention phase is vital to the success of orthodontic treatment. 

Before getting retainers in Palo Alto, it is good to know the difference between fixed and removable ones. Removable retainers can be worn and taken out by the patient, and they are often made of translucent plastic-like material and wire. On the other hand, a fixed retainer is one that the dentist places on the side of the teeth that faces the tongue, so it’s not visible to others.

Night guards protect the teeth from grinding 

Night guards are used for patients who grind their teeth (bruxism), and they protect the teeth during sleep. Palo Alto dentists may recommend a night guard if they spot any of the following issues in relation to teeth grinding. 

  • Sore jaw muscles 
  • Broken, chipped, or fractured teeth
  • Damage to the underlying bone

You can either buy night guards over the counter or have your dentist custom-make them for you. An over-the-counter night guard must be shaped to the teeth by boiling it, then letting it cool for some time before gently biting into it. If you get your night guard from a dentist, the added quality and comfort will be worth it in all aspects. These night guards are created in a lab from an impression of your teeth. 

At Blue Turtle Dental, we have a digital Scanner to help us create an impression of your teeth fast while making less of an imprint on the environment and it’s virtually painless!

One key distinction between a night guard and a retainer is when and how they are worn. Usually, night guards are worn only at night during sleep, whereas retainers can be worn in the daytime or fixed permanently in the mouth. 

Akin to retainers, night guards also come in different types. They include: 

  • Soft night guards -These are designed for less severe teeth grinding and clenching. 
  • Hard night guards – These are designed for severe or heavy grinding. They are around three millimeters thick and are made from a dense and strong material, which is tough to bite through, but still flexible and gentle enough on teeth and joints. 
  • Hybrid night guards – These are designed for moderate to severe teeth grinding. 

Are retainers and night guards interchangeable? 

For people with bruxism and who also have undergone orthodontic treatment, the idea of employing one appliance for both conditions may seem appealing. But is it possible? 

While certain retainers can double as night guards, the opposite is not always true. If you have an aligner-style retainer, it can be used to eliminate or reduce bruxism as they fit over the entire arch of the teeth. However, fixed and Hawley retainers don’t cover the teeth and thus cannot double as night guards. 

On the other hand, night guards cannot replace retainers. Night guards don’t fit snugly enough as retainers, so teeth retention isn’t a feature they offer. 

Can I wear a retainer with a night guard? 

Your dentist may suggest you wear your retainer and night guard on alternating schedules. However, these two appliances shouldn’t be worn together. Typically, night guards are a bit tougher and can be worn every night. That said, you shouldn’t disregard your retainer in favor of your night guard. Your Palo Alto dentist can help you decide the ideal schedule and advise on the best course of action. 

Final thoughts 

Night guards and retainers may have similar designs, but that doesn’t mean they serve the same purpose. Failure to utilize each appliance as directed can result in your device malfunctioning and even possible injury to your teeth or jaw.

Before using a night guard or retainer for anything other than what they were designed for, consult your dentist.