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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. 

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

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

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.