What Happens if You Don’t Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?

wisdom teeth on x-ray

Wisdom teeth are often a topic of concern for many patients, and we get asked a lot of questions about these sometimes pesky teeth. How do you know if you need to have your wisdom teeth removed? What happens if you don’t extract wisdom teeth? Does the procedure hurt? We understand that wisdom teeth can be confusing and perhaps even scary, but don’t worry, our dental office in West Chester is here to help.

Wisdom teeth are usually first seen on dental x-rays during routine appointments with your dentist in West Chester. Typically your dental team can see them before you even know that they’re starting to work their way to surface. This is also when we can most likely tell if they’re going to need to be removed. Most of the time, they will need to come out. In fact, 90% of Americans have their wisdom teeth removed. But what happens if you don’t have your wisdom teeth extracted?

Overcrowding

The top reason why most wisdom teeth need to be removed is that there’s simply not enough room in the mouth for these new teeth. Your dental x-rays will show your dentist whether or not there will be enough space for your wisdom teeth. However, if your mouth doesn’t have adequate room and you do not have your wisdom teeth removed, it can lead to overcrowding, crooked teeth, or even an impaction. Having impacted wisdom teeth essentially means that the teeth are stuck in your bone below the gum line. This can be very painful and increases the risk of infection.

Coming in Sideways

Wisdom teeth also have a funny way of working themselves sideways and start to come through horizontally rather than vertically through the gums. If this occurs, nearby healthy teeth can be seriously damaged and your bite can be affected, causing larger, more serious, and painful problems.

The Dangers of Bacteria

Let’s say your wisdom teeth develop perfectly and there’s room for them in your mouth. While rare, it does happen. If you’re one of the few that can keep their wisdom teeth, problems may still find you in the future. Wisdom teeth are way in the back of the mouth which makes them very difficult to properly care for. If proper oral hygiene isn’t maintained, teeth can decay and the risk for gum disease increases.

Maintaining regular visits to our West Chester dental office not only helps protect your existing teeth from decay, but these appointments can also help us identify whether your wisdom teeth should be removed before any problems arise. If your wisdom teeth do need to be removed, don’t worry. The procedure is incredibly common and your dental team will do everything they can to keep you comfortable during and after treatment.

We have three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

4 FAQs About Dentistry

FAQ's

If you have questions about dentistry, you’re not alone. At our dental office in Middletown, we love answering questions from our patients and neighbors in order to help them get a strong, healthy smile. Let’s take a look at four of the most common questions we get asked.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Dental x-rays are extremely safe, but they do still require radiation. However, the radiation exposure from dental x-rays is super small and so are the potential side effects. The use of protective equipment such as a leaded apron farther minimizes risk. Dental x-rays are incredibly helpful when looking at teeth as they allow us to see things that may not yet be visible to the naked eye as well as into the jaw bone. The images produced from x-rays help us catch decay or other problems early when treatment is easier.  

Do I Really Need to See the Dentist Twice a Year?

It’s usually recommended that patients get a dental checkup every six months. But unfortunately, many people only go to the dentist when they have a problem. The truth is, your dentist in Middletown suggests visiting regularly to prevent just that. Bi-annual dental checkups can prevent potentially painful problems from ever occurring, and if there does happen to be a concern, catching it early often means easier and cheaper treatment.

Is Flossing Necessary?

Even if you brush your teeth twice a day every day you’re still missing out on thorough cleaning. While brushing does a good job at removing plaque and bacteria from your teeth and mouth, most toothbrushes just can’t get in between the tiny spaces between each tooth. This is where bacteria, plaque, and food particles love to hang out. If not removed regularly the chances for decay greatly increases. But cavities aren’t your only concern. Failing to remove buildup from around and under the gum line can also put you at risk for gum disease.

What’s the Best Way to Whiten Teeth?

There are many smile whitening options available to us today. From over-the-counter strips to whitening toothpaste, professional in-office whitening to take-home trays from your dentist, how do you know which whitening option is best for you? Each whitening method has its own set of pros and cons. The fastest way to get whiter teeth is usually a professional in-office whitening treatment. But it’s not the right choice for everyone. If you’re looking to get a whiter smile, start by talking with your dentist to find the solution that fits your needs.

As always, if you have questions about dentistry, the team at our Middletown dental office is here to help. Simply call and talk with us today!  

We have three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

Top 5 Most Common Dental Misconceptions

frustrated woman

Caring for your smile may seem as simple as brushing and flossing every day and visiting our dental office in West Chester twice a year. While those things are certainly important for oral health, there are some common misconceptions out there that, if followed, can either damage your smile or make your oral hygiene routine less effective. Let’s take a look at the top five…

  • Sugar is the Main Cause of Cavities

This misconception isn’t entirely false as eating or drinking things with a lot of sugar can definitely increase your risk for cavities. But it’s not necessarily the sugar itself that causes decay. When we eat sugar, the bacteria in our mouths feed on it and produce an acidic byproduct. It is actually this bacteria and acid combo that contribute the most to cavities.

  • Brushing Harder is Better

When you have a dirty dish or sink, you scrub… and scrub… and scrub in order to make it squeaky clean. This vigorous cleaning method is good for most household items, but not so great when it comes to your teeth. Brushing your teeth too hard can actually do more harm than good. A rough brushing can damage tooth enamel, irritate gums, and cause several oral health problems such as sensitivity and an increased chance for cavities.   

  • You Should Rinse After Brushing

After brushing our teeth, it’s incredibly common practice to spit, rinse, spit, and perhaps rinse again. But in order to get the best cleaning and keep the protective fluoride doing its thing for as long as possible, it’s best to pass on the rinse. Instead, spit out any excess toothpaste. This will allow the fluoride to continue to protect teeth over time.

  • You Shouldn’t Brush Bleeding Gums

If gums are bleeding, it may make you think that you shouldn’t brush them so that you don’t further irritate them. However, bleeding gums are usually an early sign of gum disease. The best thing you can do is continue to brush your teeth and gums, but make sure to do so gently. Brushing helps remove bacteria that can make gum disease worse. If you notice bleeding when you brush or floss, you should also schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can.

  • If You Don’t Have a Problem, You Don’t Need to See Your Dentist

We often hear of patients who don’t go to the dentist unless they have a problem. In fact, when it comes to dental care, the best way to prevent a problem from occurring in the first place is to visit your dentist in West Chester at least twice a year. This can save you from experiencing the pain of many dental problems, as well as the cost of extensive treatment.

Maintaining a good oral health routine of brushing and flossing daily is only half of what it takes to keep your smile healthy for life. Make sure you’re using proper brushing and flossing techniques, eating a well-balanced diet packed with vegetables and fruits, and seeing your dentist every six months. We’re always welcoming new patients at our West Chester dental office. Call to schedule an appointment today.

We have three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester to best serve our patients.

How to Get Rid of a Canker Sore

canker sore

It all started with a slight tingling sensation in your mouth. Then all of a sudden, up pops a canker sore. Now you’re stuck with this uncomfortable and painful blister-like sore. What can you do to get rid of it? Even though there’s no official cure for canker sores, there are some things you can do to help reduce discomfort. Join our dental office in Kettering as we cover some common canker sore treatments and talk about how you may be able to prevent one in the future.

Canker Sore Treatment

While there isn’t any cure that will quickly and easily get rid of canker sores, you don’t have to stay feeling uncomfortable while the sore runs its course. Your first go-to treatment option can be buying one of the several over-the-counter products designed to numb and ease the pain associated with canker sores. If that doesn’t quite cut it, you can schedule an appointment with your Kettering dentist. They may be able to use a laser to speed up healing time or may even suggest a corticosteroid or prescription-strength antimicrobial rinse.

Symptoms of a Canker Sore?

Canker sores can start with that weird tingly or itchy sensation before you can even see any signs of a sore at all. Other signs of a canker sore can include a blister-type sore inside the mouth. Canker sores are typically small, red and can have a white or gray middle. They’re usually found on the tongue, cheeks, or roof of the mouth. Sometimes canker sores can also cause a fever.

Causes

Unfortunately, there isn’t a known or proven cause of canker sores. But many people can identify triggers to what caused one to develop. Some common explanations behind canker sores include:

If you can find out what seems to be causing canker sores, do your best to avoid them. Doing so can help prevent canker sores or limit how often you get one.

Unlike cold sores, which are very similar to canker sores but affect the outside of the mouth, canker sores are not contagious. They’re mostly just annoying. But if you’ve been dealing with a canker sore for longer than three weeks or you notice any other changes to your mouth, don’t hesitate to call our Kettering dental office today.

Garland & Johnson Dental has three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

To Pull or Not to Pull: Is a Tooth Extraction Your Only Option?

young man with toothache

Tooth pain is a pain like no other, and when you have it you’re willing to do just about anything to get rid of it. This includes perhaps not thinking twice when your dentist recommends extracting the tooth that’s causing you pain. But our dental office in Middletown wants you to know that you may have another option that will both get you out of pain and save your tooth.

Let’s Talk About Root Canals

When it comes to severe tooth pain, it’s usually caused by either dental trauma or deep, untreated decay. Many times the pain experienced can be relieved through a root canal instead of an extraction. Now, before we get too far into our discussion on root canals, we want to clear up the common misconception that root canals are incredibly painful and should be avoided. In fact, the opposite is true. Thanks to major advancements in dental technology, root canals are comfortable treatments that can get you out of pain almost immediately.

What is a Root Canal?

Essentially, a root canal is a dental treatment that involves removing infection from inside the pulp of a tooth. We understand that may sound scary, but the treatment is incredibly common and many patients report little to no pain. Your dentist in Middletown will start by thoroughly numbing the area. After the numbing agent takes effect, a tiny hole is made in the tooth and the infected material causing all your pain is removed. Your tooth may then be capped with a dental crown to keep it protected.

Root Canals Aren’t Always an Option

Preserving natural teeth is always the goal of your dental team. But the truth is, sometimes a tooth can’t be saved. If decay is left untreated for too long and seeps deep into the tooth, or if a break or chip goes under the gum line, the tooth may need to be extracted. If this is the case, the lost tooth should be replaced with a strong dental restoration to preserve look and function. Some common tooth replacement treatments are:

Maintaining regular dental appointments at our Middletown dental office can help you protect your smile and save your teeth from needing a root canal or an extraction. At these visits, decay can be caught and treated early before it has a chance to affect the roots and cause pain. Call to schedule an appointment today.

Garland & Johnson Dental has three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

Acid Reflux & Dental Health

man wondering

Even though acid reflux is a condition that originates in the stomach, it can affect other areas of the body, including the mouth. The truth is, people who suffer from acid reflux can be at greater risk for oral health concerns than those who don’t. Our dental office in West Chester is here to help anyone dealing with acid reflux understand how it can negatively affect dental health and what you can do to reduce your risk.  

How Acid Reflux Affects the Mouth

A natural and important part of proper digestion includes the production of stomach acids. These acids help break down food so the body can digest what we eat. But these acids don’t always stay in the stomach. They can creep up the throat and into the mouth. Normally saliva in the mouth helps neutralize the acid and wash it away before it has a chance to cause damage. But when someone has acid reflux, which may also be referred to as GERD, stomach acids make their way up into mouth repeatedly. This leaves the mouth and teeth exposed to the acid. It’s this consistent exposure to the acid that causes damage to teeth.

Acid Leads to Tooth Damage

Acid is one of the worst things for teeth as it eats away at the protective enamel and leaves teeth at increased risk for decay, cavities, and other problems. As this erosion occurs and teeth are damaged, the need for dental treatment such as fillings, a root canal, or a dental crown may be required to help restore the tooth’s structure. Some signs that your teeth may have some level of acid erosion include:

  • Increased sensitivity
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Painful abscess

Reduce Your Risk

Many times acid reflux can be treated or the symptoms can be minimized through the use of a doctor-recommended medication. Additionally, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of damage caused by acid reflux including:

  • Chewing sugar-free gum to help promote saliva production to rinse away acid
  • Using a fluoride toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth to strengthen enamel
  • Quitting smoking and drinking alcohol to reduce acid reflux episodes
  • Seeing your dentist in West Chester every six months to catch any problems early.

If you suffer from acid reflux and are worried about your dental health, we welcome you to call our West Chester dental office to schedule an appointment today. We will take a close look at your overall oral health and talk with you about the best way to protect your teeth against the dangers of acid reflux.

Garland and Johnson Dental has three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

How Diabetes Affects Oral Health

diabetic testing

When it comes to all of the health complications that can go hand-in-hand with diabetes, oral health is often overlooked. At our Kettering dental office, we want our patients and neighbors to know just how drastically diabetes can affect oral health, and precautions that those with diabetes should take to keep their mouths healthy.

The Diabetic and Oral Health Connection

All diabetics know that diabetes directly affects blood sugar, also known as glucose. Glucose is important for our bodies as it fuels our brains and provides muscles with energy. But when someone has diabetes, their body is unable to properly regulate insulin, causing glucose levels to rise. If left untreated or if blood glucose levels aren’t managed properly, diabetes can raise the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and other whole body health problems. Diabetes can also increase the likelihood of developing gum disease, infections, and dry mouth.  To help reduce the risk of these additional health problems, follow the tips below.

  • Keep Blood Sugar Numbers Stable

Even though diabetics are at more risk for serious health problems, proper management of glucose levels can minimize that risk. Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes, and they all need to work hard to keep their blood sugar numbers within a healthy range. In fact, it’s one of the best ways that diabetics can lower their chances of developing other health complications as a result of diabetes.

  • Eat Well

Everyone, whether diabetic or not, should do everything they can to eat a well-balanced diet. Fueling your body with fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and proteins can do wonders in protecting overall health and keeping glucose levels in check. Limiting sugary foods and drinks is great for managing your diabetes and is something your dentist in Kettering recommends.

  • Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day not only helps protect teeth, but can also help protect against increased blood sugar. Without a good hygiene routine, oral health is put at risk for decay, tooth loss, and gum disease. This is concerning for anyone but particularly for diabetics. Gum disease is an infection that affects the gums, and like any type of infection, it can cause blood sugar to rise and make diabetes difficult to manage.

At our dental office in Kettering, we’re here to help our community get healthy and stay healthy, even when patients have health concerns that may not appear at first to have any effect on oral health. The truth is that many diseases, including diabetes, have a connection to the mouth. If you have diabetes and notice anything unusual about your oral health, do not hesitate to give us a call. We’re always happy to help or answer any questions you may have.

We have three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

Surprising Cavity-Causing Snacks That Are Worse Than Candy

girl with jack-o-lantern

With Halloween right around the corner, our dental office in West Chester wants to share a secret with our patients and neighbors. Did you know that there are snacks out there that are worse for your teeth than candy? You heard us right. Candy may not be the scariest thing for your oral health. It’s no trick. Just the truth.

A Note on Sugary Sweets

While we’re here to talk about surprising snacks that are dangerous to oral health, it is worth mentioning that candy is still a concern for your dentist in West Chester. But it’s not really the sugar itself that’s the problem. It’s what happens to the sugar when you eat it. Bacteria that live in the mouth love sugar and will feed on it every chance they get. This keeps the bacteria full and healthy. But what’s more concerning is what happens when these bacteria digest sugars. Like all living things, bacteria have to release waste. They just so happen to release an acid that wears away tooth enamel and increases the likelihood of cavities. Because of this, it’s still important to enjoy sugary foods in moderation.

It’s Not Only About Sugar

Even though sugar gets a bad reputation when talking about keeping teeth healthy, there are other treats that can be just as damaging, if not more so.

Crackers & Chips

The high starch content found in crackers and chips can be more of a concern than sugar. While these snacks don’t necessarily taste sweet, the starches can affect the body very much the same way sugar does. This is because chips and crackers have a high glycemic index. Foods with a high glycemic index are known to increase blood glucose levels as the body digests them. This means that even though there’s low sugar listed in the ingredients, the starches will feed mouth bacteria the same way sugar does. This also means that bacteria will release more of the acidic byproduct and leave teeth at risk for decay. But that’s not all.

When chewed, chips and crackers form into almost a paste-like consistency. This makes them very sticky and they can easily get stuck in between teeth and in tooth grooves. The longer the starches are left in the mouth like this, the more they’re feeding the bacteria and the more acid is getting released.

Keeping Your Teeth Safe

Just like we recommend limiting the amount of sugary foods you eat, we also suggest snacking on starchy foods such as chips and crackers in moderation. But no matter what you choose to treat yourself to this Halloween, be sure to pair eating with drinking water. This will help wash away food particles, bacteria, and neutralize acid.

Happy Halloween from our West Chester, Kettering, and Middletown dental offices!

The Oral Health Benefits of Chewing Gum

woman chewing gum

It may come as a surprise to hear our dental office in Middletown supporting something found in the candy aisle. But when it comes to gum, we actually recommend that our patients consider chewing it occasionally. However, not just any gum will get our seal of approval. Gum containing sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or saccharine just won’t do. Instead, look for a gum containing Xylitol and your mouth may thank you.

All About Xylitol

Xylitol is a natural sweetener that gives you the satisfaction of sweet without the damaging effects of regular sugar or many sugar substitutes. Traditional sugar can not only spike blood glucose levels throughout the body, but puts your teeth at increased risk for decay too. Xylitol is different and can actually boost oral health by:

  • Protecting teeth against decay
  • Preventing inflammation
  • Reducing the risk of gum disease
  • Building strong teeth

Why is Xylitol Good for Teeth?  

Unlike traditional sugar that feeds the bacteria in our mouths, Xylitol technically starves it. You see, when regular sugar is ingested it provides the bacteria a feast of nutrients. But just like any living thing, what goes in must come out. It just so happens that the byproduct of feeding bacteria is a dangerous acid that can eat away at tooth enamel leaving them at risk for decay. Xylitol is different. While bacteria may still feed on Xylitol, it doesn’t provide bacteria with any nutrients and essentially starves it. In fact, chewing Xylitol gum can decrease oral bacteria levels, sometimes by up to 75%. This also means there is no acid production from feeding bacteria and teeth are more protected.

Chewing Xylitol gum does even more for your oral health than decreasing bacteria and acid. The act of chewing in general produces more saliva. This saliva neutralizes acid and rinses away harmful bacteria in the mouth. It also helps keep teeth strong by helping remineralize them with phosphate and calcium.

Gum can be a great way to protect teeth when you don’t have an opportunity to brush or floss your teeth, but it shouldn’t be a replacement to proper oral hygiene. We recommend continuing to brush and floss everyday and maintain visits to your dentist in Middletown every six months.

At our Middletown dental office we’re always accepting new patients and welcome you to call us to schedule an appointment today. We’re here to help our neighbors smile!

Serving patients from Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

Can Whole Grains Keep Smiles Healthy?

whole grains

Eating a healthy dose of whole grains every day can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and even cancer. But there’s another lesser known benefit of whole grains that our dental office in Middletown wants you to know about. Research has shown that a diet rich in whole grains can reduce the risk of gum disease and protect overall oral health.

Whole Grains and Oral Health

More research continues to show that oral health is directly affected by what we eat, and whole grains are no exception. Whole grain foods are packed with antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals. It’s these vitamins and minerals that help keep teeth and gums healthy. For example, magnesium works to keep the protective layer of tooth enamel strong and vitamin E can reduce inflammation and, in turn, lower the likelihood of developing gum disease.

Recommended Daily Whole Grain Servings  

According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the recommended daily intake for whole grains varies depending on age and gender. Check out the table below to see how many whole grains you should work into your diet for optimal benefits.

Age Female Male
1-3 2 2
4-8 2.5 2.5
9-13 3 3.5
14-18 3.5 4
19-30 3.5 4.5
31+ 3 4

Great Sources of Whole Grain

When some people think of whole grains, they may imagine dry, gritty, and tasteless foods. However, whole grains are found in more places than we realize including:

  • Cereals
  • Popcorn
  • Bread or Wraps
  • Crackers
  • Pasta

The next time you’re planning dinner for your family consider adding in a few more servings of whole grains by replacing potatoes with brown rice, trying a whole grain pasta, or swapping white flour for whole wheat to help keep overall health and oral health in top shape. In fact, finding foods high in whole grains has recently become a lot easier. Look for the Whole Grain Stamp featuring a gold background and black border.

Of course, good oral health goes beyond what we eat (although that does play an important role). Make sure you’re visiting your dentist in Middletown at least every six months and brush and floss regularly.

We’re always welcoming new patients at our Middletown dental office. Call to schedule your appointment today.

Garland and Johnson Dental has three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.