Dealing with Impacted Third Molars in Seattle

Impacted Third Molars: When They Should Go

Impacted teeth are those teeth that fail to erupt within their expected development time. An impacted tooth is prevented from reaching its normal position in the dental arch by the soft tissue, bone, or another tooth.

Wisdom Teeth

The third molars, also commonly known as wisdom teeth, are the teeth most notorious for impaction, the most widely studied in dental literature. There are several theories that claim the rationale for third molar impaction. Why do these teeth almost always get impacted? Most accepted is the lack of space, being the last teeth to erupt in the dental arch.

Genetics also plays a role, though unpredictable. Another is the mismatch between the size of the teeth to the size of the jaw. Evolution is also cited as an influence as modern man’s diet is softer and finer than of our prehistoric ancestors, their jaws being larger and their third molars accustomed to coarse diets.

Usually erupting between the ages of 17 to 21, some third molars emerge without problems while many others get stuck. Some are partially erupted, tilted sideways. Others totally do not erupt. While an impaction can be painless, in some cases the gum tissue above an emerging tooth can be swollen and infected, causing pain.

You might feel it in the nearby tooth, or in your ear, or on that side of your face. Pericoronitis is an infection of the impacted teeth. Left unchecked, it can involve the throat or the neck. There can be difficulty opening and closing your jaw, pain while biting or chewing, a bad taste in the mouth, or bad breath.

Third molars can get cavities that lead to decay. Their very posterior location in the mouth makes it difficult for brushing and flossing adequately. If they are decayed, third molars can infect nearby teeth leading to a larger area of gum disease. The molars can become wobbly and even alter your occlusion, the way your upper and lower teeth come together.

While you can’t prevent impaction, your dentist will nonetheless advise you to stick to your oral hygiene, thus preventing the buildup of plaque. For minor irritation, pain killers can help or you can rinse with warm salt water. But should the pain be bothersome, or the tooth is already infected and is also affecting its adjacent neighbor, the best option is extraction. Procedure is not complicated and recovery time is brief.

Contact Dr. Jaime Lee at Smile Art

Consult with your Downtown Seattle dentist if your third molars are bothering you. Know more how to live with them or deal with them with our options. Dr. Jaime Lee has got special training where problematic third molars are concerned.

Children Who Have High Risk for Dental Caries

Early Childhood Caries Risk Factors

The most common chronic condition affecting children in the US from ages 2 to 5 years old is dental caries. They manifest first as white spots, small areas of demineralization under the enamel. At this stage it is reversible. But if oral conditions do not improve, those spots will become cavities destroying tooth contour. If they progress, pulp death and tooth loss can ensue. Severe cases can lead to systemic infections.

Caries in early childhood is associated with impaired growth, decreased weight and poor quality of life. There is failure to thrive. Appearance, speech, self-esteem and school performance are affected. Their permanent dentition will face higher risk as well. On top of these, repairs or pulling out of damaged teeth can be traumatic experiences for the young.

Children who are susceptible to early dental caries share the following risk factors: high levels of caries-causing bacterial colonies, frequent intake of sugar and carbohydrates-rich foods, low saliva flow rates, developmental defects in the enamel, high levels of caries in the mother, poor oral hygiene of the mother, and inappropriate bottle feeding.

There are other risk factors worth noting: insufficient access to dental care, low water fluoride levels in the community, inadequate use of fluoride toothpaste, and parent’s insufficient knowledge on oral health.

This goes to show that America’s number one chronic disease in children is a national concern that should involve multiple sectors – local communities, schools, private sector and government. Efforts like screening and other screening strategies prior to school entry can catch caries at their initial stages. Primary care clinicians, who see children routinely after they are born, are pivotal in identifying and tracking young children’s dental health.

However, two-thirds of children don’t see any dentist until they get older. Once children enter school, there are more opportunities for screening and treatment.

Fluoridation of the community’s water system is another intervention effort that is government initiated, an achievement in public health. Organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) make recommendations that become policies impacting the practise of health-givers to do screening and recommend proper fluoride use.

Screening for Dental Caries in Seattle

Know from your Downtown Seattle dentist if your child is at high risk for dental caries. Know what you can do to improve his or her chances at better oral health. Feel free to ask our Seattle dentist, Dr. Jaime Lee about it.

Downtown Seattle Dentist: Watch What Your Child Eats

Tying Nutrition To Your Child’s Teeth

If you notice your youngster’s teeth lately – some dark spots here and there, a cracked or a chipped tooth, a tooth growing in crooked, or some complaints about swelling or pain – you must have missed out on a dental visit. Your family dentist may be your savior, addressing your child’s issues with indicated treatments. Dentists will also tell you, though, that as a parent, you can do a lot to check the development of caries and their attendant headaches. It’s actually in your turf.

Prevention is key. While you see to it that your youngster is faithful to his oral hygiene rituals, it is essential that you look into his diet, too. What you are feeding him and what he likes to eat and drink play an important role in the daily grind of keeping tooth decay at bay.

Do you feed him too many carbohydrates, sugar and starches? These choices have their own benefits for growing children, apart from being comfort foods that can easily fill hunger and keep tantrums down, they are so accessible and convenient. But they pose dangers if you don’t watch carefully.

Cake, cookies, candies, milk, and other sweet treats can be notorious harbingers of tooth decay when consumed frequently or heavily. Carbohydrates from pretzels and potato chips remain on teeth and can initiate caries. Sticky, chewy foods like raisins, granola bars, oatmeal or peanut butter cookies, jelly beans, caramel, honey, molasses, and syrup stick to teeth that saliva cannot wash away. Snacks like lollipops, hard candies, cough drops, and mints are in contact with teeth for extended periods and leave sugar behind.

You can limit this type of food and drink intake of your children, telling them about their potential damage. You can serve these foods together with their meal, not as snacks alone. Water can wash their remnants down. Instruct the child to brush his teeth right away after a sweet or starch indulgence.

Choose the foods your child eats. Serve more vegetables and fruits for their fiber and water content, respectively. Buy and stock on unsweetened or sugar-free snacks and put some in your child’s lunchbox. Look into your child’s lunch program at school; it should include healthy choices. Be aware what growing children need for stronger teeth and gums found in food and drink – minerals like calcium, phosphorus, zinc and fluoride are essential.

Dietary Advice from Downtown Seattle

Dr. Jaime Lee can best advise you about the dangers of too much childhood indulgence on sweets and carbohydrates. Know how you can start young children in taking care of their oral health.