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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.

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. 

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. 

Top 5 Ways To Practice Good Dental Hygiene For Life

Everyone loves a clean mouth. At Blue Turtle Dental, we are all about promoting healthy mouths. In our article, we discuss how you can have dental hygiene and keep it squeaky clean.

Why Is Dental Hygiene Important For Your Health? 

Your oral health is the window to your overall health

Poor dental hygiene can lead to inflamed and infected gums and eventually tooth decay and loss. According to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA), around 75% of Americans have periodontal disease, which is linked to more serious illnesses.

Without proper dental hygiene, you are at risk of developing several oral and health conditions such as heart diseases, pregnancy complications, pneumonia, etc. On the reverse side, some health conditions such as diabetes and osteoporosis can cause dental problems, which makes practicing dental hygiene even more crucial to reduce the risks. 

Dental Hygiene Tips For A Healthy Mouth  

Practicing oral hygiene and keeping it on track helps keep harmful bacteria at bay. At Blue Turtle Dental, we advocate a simple oral hygiene routine that you can include easily in your busy lifestyle. 

We only ask you to stay committed and consistent with our suggested dental hygiene regimen. It should take only a few minutes of your time each day. 

Here are our simple and effective dental hygiene tips. 

  1. Brush Twice Daily For Two Minutes 

Brushing your teeth is the most important prevention method for cavities, plaque, and gingivitis. 

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing your teeth twice daily for two minutes, each using a soft-bristled toothbrush. 

Fluoride toothpaste is recommended for adults as well as for babies and toddlers by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, and the American Dental Association.

If you’re using a manual toothbrush, tilt it at a 45-degree angle and brush gently to avoid damage to your enamel. Brush in soft circles inside, outside, top, bottom, and in between your teeth to remove bacteria and plaque. Also, brush your tongue to remove the harmful bacteria that can live there and cause bad breath. 

Electric brushes are better than manual brushes, as studies have proven. Electric brushes have indicators to help you know if you’re brushing too hard and for how long.

  1. Floss Daily 

Flossing is ideal to clean the ‘hard to reach’ places in your mouth, like in-between your teeth and up under your gum line. It removes the food particles and plaque buildup in those areas and prevents tooth decay, gum disease and formation of tartar

If you’re new to flossing or not regular with it, then you might notice that your gums may bleed. People think that it’s because they hurt themselves with flossing. This is a wrong assumption, as the bleeding results from inflammation and early gum disease. Continue to floss daily carefully and the bleeding should stop as your gum becomes less inflamed with time. But first, inform your dentist about your teeth bleeding after flossing for their advice to rule out the possibility of an underlying condition. 

The order of brushing and flossing doesn’t matter. The advantage of flossing first is that it allows the fluoride in your toothpaste to get in between your teeth better and keeps the enamel strong and free from decay. 

  1. Use A Mouthwash

Most people think using mouthwash is optional. But if you’re serious about your dental hygiene, then mouthwash is a must. 

Brushing and flossing help clean less than half of your mouth. Rinsing your mouth with an effective mouthwash can help eliminate harmful germs, plaque, and prevent gum disease. 

However, not all mouthwashes are the same. There are two distinct types

  • Cosmetic mouthwash:  This helps control bad breath but only temporarily. See a dentist for a permanent solution to bad breath.
  • Therapeutic mouthwash: This controls a variety of dental issues, such as bad breath, infection, decay, plaque, and gingivitis. This has a more lasting effect, compared to cosmetic mouthwash.

Depending on your condition, you can opt for any of the two kinds of mouthwash. We suggest using any good antimicrobial, non-alcohol-based mouthwash with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

  1. Chew Sugar-free Gum 

Brushing more than twice a day can hurt your delicate enamel. To keep your teeth clean all day, a good idea is to chew sugar-free gum with the ADA Seal of Acceptance for around 20 minutes, preferably after a meal. 

Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates the secretion of more saliva that helps rinse away bacteria from your mouth. It also spreads disease-fighting substances in your mouth.

However, be cautious, as excessive gum chewing can strain and damage your teeth and jaw. Those with alignment issues can be prone to muscular tension and pain.

  1. Get A Professional Dental Cleaning Done 

Using the above four hygiene steps daily can help keep your mouth healthy. But that isn’t enough.

Professional dental cleanup is a step up from your home dental hygiene regimen. There will still be areas in your mouth that are not effectively cleaned with brushing and flossing. 

A regular dental checkup starts with an examination that can detect an underlying dental issue. Regular checkups can lead to early diagnosis and treatment for any dental issue. It’s also an opportunity for you to discuss and clear any queries about your dental hygiene and any other underlying condition. Based on your responses, your dentist can help you with the right care for your teeth and gums. 

Visiting your oral dentist in Palo Alto is a mandatory step in your dental hygiene regimen.

Keep It Clean, Keep It Healthy

We need to take dental care and hygiene seriously by taking action daily. It doesn’t take much of your time daily. Also, it’s just 2 dental checkups in 365 days. 

That’s the least we can do for our health. If you’re due for your dental checkup, call us now to schedule an appointment.

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

Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis: What You Need to Know about Gum Health

You have probably heard the terms “Periodontitis” and “Gingivitis” before. They both refer to dental problems, but what precisely do they mean? In simple terms, they are stages of the same condition: gum disease. This post highlights the differences between gingivitis and periodontitis, their key symptoms, and how a Redwood City dentist can help address these oral conditions. 

Gingivitis: The first stage of gum disease

Gum disease is highly prevalent in the US. According to the CDC, 50% of adults age 30+ suffer from some level of gum disease. Most of these people likely have gingivitis, a typical and mild form of gum disease that leads to gum irritation, redness, and swelling. 

Gingivitis symptoms can be so subtle that many people are unaware they have them. But just because the symptoms you are experiencing are mild, it doesn’t mean you are safe. If not addressed early, gingivitis can turn out to be a serious form of oral disease.

The most prevalent cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. Taking steps to keep your gums and teeth clean is the best prevention there is. Plaque can build up fast if you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly, as advised by your dentist. In simple terms, plaque is usually a buildup of bacteria, food particles, and mucus on your teeth. When left unchecked for long, it will turn into tartar. Tartar is virtually impossible to remove without professional teeth cleaning and might cause tooth decay when left untreated.  

Besides poor oral health, several other things can lead to gingivitis. Medications, diabetes, tobacco use, poor nutrition, and hormonal changes are among the prevalent causes. 

Periodontitis: Advanced gum disease

Periodontitis is a severe gum infection that harms the soft tissue and may even tear down the bone that anchors your teeth. Periodontitis can easily cause tooth loss and has been associated with an increased risk of stroke or heart attack.  

Fortunately, periodontitis is preventable. Like gingivitis, it is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene. Thus, brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and visiting the best dentist in Redwood City bi-annually can help you avert the onset of periodontitis.

Symptoms of periodontitis may include loose teeth, bad breath, gums that pull away from your teeth, pus between teeth and gums, and swollen teeth. If you discern any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is advisable to see your Redwood City dentist immediately. There are measures that your dentist can take to prevent the spread of the disease. Therefore, the sooner you act, the better. 

The causes and risk factors of periodontitis are akin to those of gingivitis. But the results can be more serious. As we mentioned, asthma, poorly controlled diabetes, stroke, cancer, tooth loss, and other illnesses have been linked to periodontitis. Research has shown that the bacteria that cause periodontitis can enter your bloodstream, affecting the heart, lungs, and other body parts. 

Obviously, neither form of gum disease is better, but periodontitis is, without a doubt, worse than gingivitis. Prevention is encouraged when it comes to gum disease, and proper oral hygiene is the best bet. 

Treatment for gingivitis

You must pay attention to your oral care routine if gingivitis is detected. At least brush your teeth twice a day with a dentist-recommended toothpaste and floss at least once a day to get rid of debris and plaque from your teeth’s surfaces.

Also, avoid using tobacco, which can not only lead to gum disease but aggravate its symptoms. Compared to non-smokers, smokers have a twofold increased risk of developing gum disease. Lastly, the importance of a professional cleaning conducted by the best dentist in Redwood City cannot go unmentioned. 

Treatment for periodontitis

Treating periodontitis usually takes more time and expertise. For instance, you will want to consult a periodontist as they are better positioned to offer treatments linked to periodontitis. Some of the common treatments for periodontitis include: 

  • Scaling and root planing – A type of deep cleaning that gets rid of plaque and tartar developing above and below the gum line
  • Antibiotic therapy – Non-surgical procedure for healing oral infections following a deep cleaning
  • Gum grafting – Surgical procedure that entails replacing dead tissue via donated material.

The sooner your gum disease symptoms are addressed, the better!

Gum disease doesn’t just fade away with time, particularly in the case of periodontitis. Note that even a mild case of gingivitis must be carefully monitored by the dentist to stop it from aggravating into a severe issue. As for periodontitis, advanced dental care is necessary, as permanent damage can occur if the infection isn’t controlled on time. 

Remember, if you notice anything unusual with your teeth or gums, that’s enough reason to give your family dentist in Redwood City a call.