Facial & Oral Surgery Associates
Oral Health: Get Your Oral Cancer Screening
Did you know that mouth cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide? The sad truth is that oral cancers are more than twice as common in men as in women, and the fastest growing group of oral cancer patients are young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals. Now is the time to be proactive and get yourself checked for oral cancer.
Remember—early detection saves lives! It is more important than ever for young adults, as well as older men and women, to get regular screenings whether they think they’re at risk or not.
What are the risks?
Knowing the risks can help you make educated decisions about your health. There are several risks that increase your chances of developing oral cancer:
• Smoking and using tobacco products are a known long-term historic cause of oral cancer.
• Heavy alcohol usage also makes you more susceptible to develop oral cancer.
• The HPV virus, a sexually-transmitted disease, is the leading cause of oropharyngeal (the back part of the mouth) cancer.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The mouth is one of the body’s most crucial early warning signs in the fight against oral cancer. In between regular dental visits, it’s important to be aware of the mouth’s signs and symptoms. Remember, if you see any of these signs or symptoms, schedule an appointment at the office if you don’t see improvement within two-three weeks:
• Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice
• The development of white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth
• Lumps, thickening tissues, rough spots, crusty or eroded areas
• Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
• A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together when you close your mouth
• Dramatic weight loss
• Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
• Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
Don’t wait any longer. Be proactive about your oral health, and get checked today!
History of Wisdom Teeth
Most people need their wisdom teeth removed, so why do we have them in the first place? Here’s a quick history lesson of wisdom teeth and the important role they once played!
Wisdom teeth were once an extremely valuable asset to our ancestors. When a typical diet consisted of chewy plants and uncooked meat, third molars (wisdom teeth), which fit easily into our ancestors’ larger jaws, were absolutely necessary. Wisdom teeth were the evolutionary answer to the need for chewing power to combat excessive wear.
Today, our diets are not as rough as those of our ancestors. With modern marvels like forks, spoons, and knives, as well as softer food, the need for wisdom teeth is virtually nonexistent. And yet, on average, about 65% of the human population is born with wisdom teeth which usually erupt between the ages 17 and 25.
Although wisdom teeth were incredibly advantageous for our ancestors, they pose a bit of a problem for the modern mouth. Humans have evolved to have smaller jaws, and so wisdom teeth are often either too big for the jaw or the jaws themselves are just too small. Either way, third molars crowd the mouth. Because of this lack of space, molars often grow sideways, only partially emerging from the gums, or actually get trapped inside the gums and jawbone.
These impacted wisdom teeth can be chronically contaminated with bacteria associated with infection, tooth decay, inflammation, and gum disease. And because they’re so far back in the mouth or trapped underneath gums, it’s difficult and sometimes impossible to keep them clean. Even when wisdom teeth come in fully, they are so far back in the mouth that it’s just too easy for food to get trapped, leading to plaque, cavities, and gum disease.
Although wisdom teeth were very important to our ancestors, nowadays, they pose a serious problem to oral health. Are you worried that your child may need wisdom teeth removal? Call our office at Fort Worth Office Phone Number 817-702-1325 to find out more.
After Care: Dental Implants
Are you considering dental implants but are worried about the recovery time?
Don’t worry, we’re here to give you the facts!
Typically, you will have the fastest recovery time if you had a standard, single dental implant placed with no bone grafting. With a simple procedure like this one, there is very little discomfort or pain after the surgery. Mild bruising and soreness can occur, but this can typically be managed with over the counter pain relievers. In more severe implant cases, such as those where multiple teeth are implanted or severe bone grafts are needed in order to accomplish the implant, the recovery time tends to be longer and the discomfort can be more intense.
It is important to keep your mouth clean after surgery, which can be done by rinsing your mouth gently with saltwater beginning the day after surgery. You may begin brushing your teeth the night after the surgery, but make sure to be extremely gentle around the surgery area as to not disrupt the healing process. Remember that in the week following your surgery, there should be no smoking and no sucking through a straw, as this can seriously inhibit your healing process. Stick to a diet primarily consisting of soft foods for the first 7-10 days following your surgery before beginning to return to your normal diet.
As you can see, the recovery process after receiving a dental implant is fairly predictable and comfortable. It is important to follow the instructions that we give you, and always remember that if you have any questions or concerns regarding a procedure or following your surgery, you can always give us a call.
Wisdom Teeth Aftercare
Having your impacted wisdom teeth removed is a serious surgical procedure, and post-operative care is extremely important! Read on for instructions on how to care for your sore mouth, and how to minimize unnecessary pain and complications.
Immediately Following Surgery:
Keep a firm, yet gentle, bite on the gauze packs that have been placed in your mouth to keep them in place. You can remove them after an hour if the bleeding is controlled. If the surgical area continues to bleed, place new gauze for another 30 to 45 minutes.
• Rinse vigorously
• Probe the area
• Smoke (hopefully you don’t!!)
• Participate in strenuous activities
• Brush gently (but not the area)
• Begin saltwater rinses 24 hours after surgery (mix 1 tbs of salt with 1 cup of water).
• Make sure to swish gently. These rinses should be done 2-3 times a day, especially after eating.
Enjoy some down-time! Keep activity level to a minimum! Enjoy a day of couch or bed-rest, as being active could result in increased bleeding. Avoid exercise for 3-4 days, and when you do begin exercising again, keep in mind your caloric intake has been reduced so you may feel weaker. There are also some diet restrictions to keep in mind!
Eat nourishing food that takes little effort.
• Extremely hot foods
• Straws (for the first few days)
• Chewing (until tongue sensation has returned)
• Smaller foods that can become stuck in the socket area
• Skipping meals—while eating may seem like a lot of work, you need your nourishment to be able to heal and feel better!
Swelling is a completely normal occurrence. Keep in mind, swelling will usually be at it’s worst in the 2-3 days after surgery. You can minimize swelling by applying a cold compress (covered with a towel) firmly to the cheek next to the surgical area. Apply the pack with 20 minutes on, and 20 minutes off for the first 24-48 hours.
Since no two mouths are alike, do not take advice from friends (even well-intended advice could cause a healing set-back). The advice given to you from your doctor and team are tailored to fit your needs. Please call us if you have any questions or concerns about your recovery. Happy healing!
How to Take Care of Your Dental Implant
Cleaning and taking care of your implant is just as important as cleaning your natural teeth. Here are some things you should know about caring for your implant.
Your implant and your natural teeth are similar because they both rely on healthy tissue for support! Just like with real teeth, plaque buildup can be harmful. It’s important to remove that plaque because it can develop into an infection. If the infection isn’t properly treated, it can result in a loss of bone around the implant which could progress to the loss of the implant itself.
It’s important to get your teeth cleaned on a regular basis so your dental hygienist can get biofilm off your teeth and keep your teeth infection-free. As always, you should be brushing your teeth and flossing twice a day.
Dental implants are the closest thing you can get to real and natural teeth. They don’t require any special products or treatment, just a simple brush and floss will do the job! If they are properly cared for, they can last a lifetime, avoiding any further dental work down the road.
With a dental implant, you can still enjoy all your favorite foods. It will not loosen or fall out if you are chewing something hard.
Overall, dental implants are meant to make life better and easier! You don’t have to go out of your way to take care of them – a simple brush and floss will ensure that they improve your overall quality of life for many years to come.
If you think a dental implant may be right for you, call Facial & Oral Surgery Associates at 817-702-1325 to schedule a consultation!
Flossing: Absolutely Necessary!
Yes, You Still Have to Floss. No, the dance move “flossing” does not count. The AP recently released an article making the claim that “there’s little proof that flossing works”. Their review cited a series of studies that found flossing does little or nothing to improve oral health. Here’s the problem: the studies were flawed. The AP concluded that floss does little for oral health, but it’s important to note that the evidence they cited was very weak at best. In fact, they said so themselves.
As acknowledged by the AP, many of these studies were extremely short. “Some lasted only two weeks, far too brief for a cavity or dental disease to develop” (Associated Press). They also say that “One tested 25 people after only a single use of floss” (Associated Press).
Of course, the evidence is unreliable. You don’t simply develop gum disease because you forgot to floss yesterday. Cavities and gum disease do not happen overnight. Gum disease is preventable by maintain great oral health habits for a long period of time. Lets put it this way: If a study claims drinking milk does nothing for bone health, but draws conclusions after only three glasses of milk, is it a reliable study?
The fact of the matter is floss removes gunk from teeth. You can see it. Gunk feeds bacteria which leads to plaque, cavities, poor gum health, and eventually gum disease. Floss has the ability to reach the food particles that your brush can’t get to. Using a sawing motion instead of moving up and around the teeth to clean the cracks. Positive results come from correct use and it’s critical that people learn to use a tool properly before discarding it as useless.
That’s just what floss is: a tool. Just like your toothbrush, it is designed to keep your mouth clean, and therefore keep your body safe from infection. Both your toothbrush and floss are designed to do what the other can’t, and both successfully remove bacteria from your mouth. Just like proper brushing technique, it is important that you know how to use floss properly, so that you can reap the long-term health benefits of good oral hygiene.
Oral hygiene is a long-term process and requires long term observations to make worthwhile conclusions. In the meantime, it’s obvious that you should continue to do everything you can to protect your well-being, and floss is one of many tools that can help you do that. If you would like a refresher on the best, most efficient techniques for floss use feel free to call our office today.
Wisdom Teeth: Questions Answered
If you or your child are getting your wisdom teeth removed, you must have questions! We are here to make you feel as comfortable as possible. As always, if you have other questions feel free to contact us. We are more than happy to help you understand more on your upcoming procedure. Read on for some frequently asked questions:
1. Why do we have Wisdom Teeth?
Centuries ago our human ancestors used wisdom teeth to help them grind up tough food, like leaves and roots. Their jaws were larger and had more room for extra molars. As we evolved, our diets changed to include softer foods. The third molars became unnecessary as our jaws became smaller.
2. Why do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?
There are several reasons why you would need your wisdom teeth extracted, as they can cause a variety of complications.
• Impaction: If there is not enough room in your mouth, your wisdom teeth will become impacted and grow at an angle. This can cause problems such as pain and discomfort while eating.
• Damage to other teeth: Your impacted tooth can begin pushing against your second molars, causing potential tooth decay.
• Disease: Spaces between the impacted tooth and your molars allows room for bacteria to grow, putting you at risk for inflammation, cysts, and periodontal (gum) disease.
3. When should I get my wisdom teeth removed?
Wisdom teeth usually come out between the ages of 17- 25, and are typically removed during your high school years. The longer you wait, the more complications that may arise. The root will continue growing and can cause potential permanent nerve damage.
4. When are wisdom teeth okay to keep?
If there is enough room for them to erupt correctly without causing any damage, then they are safe to keep. It is also important to note that not everyone is born with all four wisdom teeth, as evolution has been removing them for generations.
We hope this article has helped you, and if you have any other questions please contact us. Everyone’s teeth are different, and we want to make sure we take the right course of action for your wisdom teeth.
When Should You Consider Dental Implants?
Dental implants typically consist of three components: the post, the abutment, and the restoration. The post is a screw which is inserted into the bone. The abutment is attached to the post and the restoration is placed on top, giving the finished product a beautiful, realistic look.
Dental implants are an effective way to replace missing or damaged teeth, but when is getting a dental implant the best option for you? There are a few circumstances where receiving an implant might be the best option for improving your smile.
To restore and preserve your appearance
One of the main functions of dental implants is to restore a smile back to its original glory. They are built to last a lifetime, and last much longer than dental bridges. If you are looking for a permanent solution to damaged or missing teeth, dental implants are your best option.
To protect and preserve a healthy jawbone
Missing spaces in your smile can lead your jawbone to deterioration. Dental implants are the only option which will protect and save your natural bone. Waiting to get a dental implant can continue to increase the chances of your jawbone not being able to support dental implants in the future.
To stop your teeth from shifting
Losing a tooth can cause the surrounding teeth to shift and look unnatural. These teeth can become crowded or can be shifted unevenly. This can cause your teeth to become harder to clean and can also cause your face to sag and appear sunken.
These are just a few of the instances in which you should consider getting dental implants. Dental implants are one of the most useful and successful restoration options available today. For more information on how we can restore your smile with dental implants, contact our practice today at Fort Worth Office Phone Number 817-702-1325!
3 Tips to Keep Your Gums Healthy and Happy
Keeping your gums healthy is vital to ensuring that your mouth stays clean and your teeth stay intact and in pristine condition. Incorporating a few simple steps into your daily oral hygiene routine will keep your teeth and gums healthy, happy and your smile shining bright for years to come.
Floss Like a Boss
Flossing is one of the easiest and most effective steps you can take to fight against gum disease and keep your gums healthy. Flossing once to twice a day helps to clean the hard to reach areas in-between your teeth that your toothbrush cannot reach.
Keep ‘em Clean
Brushing twice a day is the most commonly preached method of keeping your mouth clean and cavities at bay. Be sure to brush with a fluoride based toothpaste to help to give you the best results when brushing. Next time you are shopping for toothpaste, look for the ADA seal of acceptance in order to ensure your toothpaste is backed by experts!
It is also beneficial to rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash twice a day in order to protect your gums. Rinsing with mouthwash is a great way to finish off thoroughly cleaning your mouth, because it reaches areas that your toothbrush and floss can’t reach.
Visiting your dentist twice a year is extremely important in preventing oral diseases and guaranteeing that your teeth stay in tip top shape.
Your dentist will perform a thorough cleaning and will show you the proper way to brush and floss if you need a bit of help!
These three steps can help you significantly improve the health of your gums and reduce your risk of developing gum disease. If you have any questions about how to keep your gums healthy and happy, give our office a call, today!
The Dos and Don’ts of Good Dental Hygiene
Dental Hygiene is important. Those who practice good oral habits reap the benefits, while the latter… not so much. Most of us have a great deal of control over whether or not we keep our teeth as we age. Those who don’t follow a proper routine, end up losing their teeth, thus requiring the need of tooth replacement (such as dentures, dental implants, etc.). If you want to achieve an optimal level of oral hygiene, all you have to do is follow these do’s and don’ts!
• Brush your teeth twice a day! Use a soft-bristled brush with a fluoride tooth paste and be sure to brush all surfaces of the teeth, even the hard to reach places.
• Floss your teeth every day! Floss removes food trapped between your teeth and the film of bacteria that forms before it turns into plaque.
• Visit your dentist every 6 months! Regular visits allow your dentist to discover early signs of cavities and gum disease.
• Eat a mouth healthy diet! Indulge yourself in foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and of course, water!
• Forget to replace your toothbrush! Tooth brushes should be replaced every 3 month—or after you recover from being sick. If you have an electric toothbrush, replace the head rather than purchasing a whole new one.
• Brush too soon after eating! Brushing immediately after eating acidic food can cause tiny particles of enamel to be brushed away. To be safe, wait at least 1 hour.
• Go overboard with bleaching! Over-bleaching your teeth can make them very sensitive to hot and cold foods, thus causing a variety of other problems.
• Ignore pain or abnormalities! Toothaches can be a sign of a more serious dental issue. See your dentist as soon as you discover changes in your dental health.
• Consume lots of soft drinks and sugary foods! These foods are highly acidic, which wears away your enamel overtime. Frequent consumption of sugary substances allow plaque to grow more rapidly—thus the likelihood of cavities will increase substantially.
When it comes to your dental hygiene—you have the option between keeping your teeth or not. By starting to practice these dental do’s and don’ts, you will be on the right track to a long-lasting smile. Give us a call today Fort Worth Office Phone Number 817-702-1325!