175 South State Street
Manhattan, IL 60442
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Posts for: July, 2010
Cavities. You know you want to avoid them. Maybe you've even had one or two in your lifetime. But do you really know everything you need to know about cavities, including how to detect and prevent them?
At Manhattan Dental Care, we believe educated patients are better equipped to care for their teeth and gums. That's why we focus on preventative care for each of our patients in order to avoid dental problems that are often caused by cavities and decay.
What is a Cavity?
To put it simply, cavities are decayed areas of your teeth that develop into small openings or holes- a process that occurs over time. Also called tooth decay, cavities are caused by a combination of factors, including poor oral hygiene and the frequent snacking of sugary foods. When bacteria, acid, food particles and saliva combine to form plaque, it clings to the teeth, and when not removed by regular brushing, begins to dissolve the enamel surface of the teeth. Inside your teeth, decay can gradually destroy the inner layer, or pulp, which contains blood vessels, nerves and other tissues. Left untreated, the long-term decay process can lead to infections in your gums and can eat away at the bone structures under the teeth.
You might have a cavity if...
The signs and symptoms of cavities vary depending on the extent of decay and the location of the cavity. In its early stages, a cavity may not present any symptoms. As the decay progresses, the following symptoms may indicate a cavity:
- Tooth sensitivity to sweet, hot or cold drinks
- Pain when chewing or biting
- Visible pits or holes in the teeth
- Pus surrounding a tooth
Red, tender and swollen gums; unexplained bad breath; loose teeth; and changes in your bite are also signs of serious dental problems and should be examined by our Manhattan, IL office.
How can I prevent cavities from developing?
Manhattan Dental Care recommends the following steps to help prevent tooth decay:
- Brush at least twice a day to keep teeth clean, especially after eating and drinking
- Floss at least once a day to remove food particles and plaque in hard to reach areas
- Avoid frequent snacking and sipping of sugary foods and drinks
- Visit our Manhattan, IL office for routine cleanings and check ups. Professional cleanings can remove plaque and tartar build up that a regular toothbrush cannot
Cavities are very serious. Left untreated, a cavity can destroy your tooth and kill the delicate nerves at its center. Once an abscess forms, it can only be treated with a root canal, surgery or by extracting the tooth. The best way to detect and prevent cavities is by visiting Manhattan Dental Care regularly, as we can detect a cavity in its earliest stages. By practicing good dental care at home and visiting our Manhattan, IL office regularly, you'll help your teeth stay cavity free!
Wisdom teeth, also known as the third molars, generally erupt between the ages of 17 and 25 according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Some people go their entire lives without ever getting their wisdom teeth, while others can develop up to four, one at each end of the upper and lower gums.
Why is Extraction Necessary?
- When the mouth isn't large enough to accommodate the third molars, they can become impacted (trapped within the jaw)
- Partially erupted wisdom teeth are very susceptible to tooth decay, infections and even gum disease
- Misaligned wisdom teeth can shift or damage adjacent teeth
- Cysts can form and destroy bone, nerves or tooth roots
Early Removal for a Quick Recovery
A patient's age and the position of the wisdom teeth will determine the relative ease in which they can be extracted. Removal before the third molars have a chance to emerge is generally recommended in order to maintain proper alignment of the teeth. When wisdom teeth are impacted, extraction becomes more difficult and may require a more involved surgical procedure.
Younger patients typically have an easier time with wisdom teeth removal because the tooth roots are not fully developed and the bone is less dense, making extraction less complicated. As a result, recovery time is generally shorter.
Not everyone's wisdom teeth need to be extracted. If the third molars are aligned, healthy and functional, dentists may let the teeth remain, but continue to monitor their movement. Patients experiencing jaw pain or inflammation should have their wisdom teeth evaluated by a dentist.
If you haven't already, visit our Manhattan, IL office to learn more about your wisdom teeth. At Manhattan Dental Care, routine check ups can help us monitor the development of your third molars and recommend an appropriate time for removal, should it be necessary.