Airport Road Dental Associates - 3465 Airport Road, Portage, Indiana 46368 - (219) 763-2727




Posts for: December, 2018

No one wants to get a tooth extracted, but in some cases, doing so can be the best way to improve the overall health of your smile. While many procedures can save teeth or strengthen them, if these procedures don't work or if you aren't a good candidate for them, extraction may be necessary. Check out these five common reasons a tooth may need to be pulled.

1. It's Severely Damaged

The most obvious reason to extract a tooth is severe damage. If the tooth has a few cracks or chips, a crown may be enough to protect and strengthen it (in some cases, you may also need root canal therapy, depending on the extent of the damage). Sometimes, even if a large portion of tooth has been lost, the dentist may be able to rebuild the tooth, but this may be best for incisors only.

If the tooth has major damage — for example, if it broke off at the gum line — rebuilding the tooth may be impossible or a waste of time and money. The immense pressure your teeth experience when chewing will destroy the rebuilt tooth. In this case, your best choice is to remove the tooth and choose a replacement option.

2. It Didn't Fully Erupt

The term erupting refers to when teeth break through the gum line. Healthy teeth should completely erupt so that the entire tooth's crown is visible. Many teeth, however, don't fully erupt for various reasons. One common reason is there simply isn't enough room. This is common with wisdom teeth, which is why most patients have them removed.

Another reason a tooth may not fully erupt is that it is growing at an angle. These teeth are known as impacted teeth. Another problem with impacted teeth is they may grow into other teeth. Any tooth that doesn’t fully erupt is at greater risk of infection.

3. It's Underdeveloped

In some cases, your tooth doesn't fully develop, resulting in a small partial tooth or a tooth with minimal enamel. Underdeveloped teeth usually need to be removed because they are in the way. Plus, many underdeveloped teeth cannot fully erupt, making them more likely to become infected or develop a cyst.

Underdeveloped teeth can happen with normal primary and secondary teeth, and they can also happen if you have supernumerary teeth. Supernumerary teeth are extra teeth which start growing after your permanent teeth have developed, which can cause damage.

4. It Prevents a Straight Smile

Sometimes, a completely healthy tooth needs to be removed in order to improve the overall appearance of the smile. This is more common in adults because the palate is already fixed into position. Therefore, the only way to make more room for teeth to straighten is to remove some teeth. For children, expanders can be used to widen the palate.

If you don't have some teeth extracted before getting braces and you have limited space in your mouth, your smile may still not look great after treatment. Teeth may be rotated or overcrowded because of the limited space. Simply removing a few teeth actually makes your finished smile look more natural and beautiful.

5. It Keeps Getting Infected

Ideally, if you get a tooth infection, you get root canal therapy because it eliminates the infection without destroying the tooth. However, some people can't afford root canal therapy, especially if it isn't covered by their dental insurance or if they don't have dental insurance. In this case, an extraction may be necessary to treat the infection.

Even if you choose root canal treatment, however, the tooth can get infected again. If this happens, the tooth roots may have underlying damage, and if the dentist can't correct the problem, extraction may be the only way to prevent future infection and complications.

At Airport Road Dental Associations, we'll do everything we can to protect, strengthen, and improve your smile, including performing an extraction. While extractions aren't ideal, they can be the best way to save your smile. For more information about extraction, contact us today.

Although temporary, your child's baby teeth are always important to take care of. For example, baby teeth can get cavities just like adult teeth. Cavities in baby teeth can cause a host of problems, so parents should be proactive in caring for the cavities. One of the main sources of cavities in small children's baby teeth actually comes from baby bottles.

Also known as baby bottle tooth decay, these cavities that form from bottle overuse can damage the teeth and prevent adult teeth from properly forming. If you have a baby or young child who still drinks from a bottle, know about the risk of decay and learn what you can do to prevent this from happening.

What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Baby bottle tooth decay is a dental disease that affects young children. You generally find this decay on the top front teeth. This decay also often affects other teeth. The decay occurs in this primary area because of consistent formula, juice, or another substance containing sugar on the teeth. The decay is especially prevalent in children who go to bed with a bottle as a soothing mechanism.

When a child goes to sleep with a bottle, parents do not have an opportunity to clean the teeth before the child is asleep. The liquid then sits on the teeth for a long time. Over time, decay can occur on the teeth where the liquid primarily touches.

How Can You Tell If the Teeth Have Decay?

If you notice any spots or discoloration of the teeth and the color does not come off the teeth during brushing, chances are the child has decay. Early indicators are light or white spots on the teeth. As time goes on, the discoloration will become darker brown or black if the decay does not receive attention.

Other symptoms include swollen or bleeding gums, poor breath, and fever from the infection. If any of the more severe symptoms occur, get your child to the dentist as soon as possible. Without treatment, your child could need significant restoration work or could lose the teeth altogether.

How Can You Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

The best way to prevent baby bottle tooth decay is to avoid using a bottle for long periods. If your child needs to eat before bedtime, feed and then immediately brush the teeth. If the bottle at bedtime is a source of comfort for your child, consider implementing new soothing techniques so you can take the bottle away.

Another easy way to prevent the decay is good oral hygiene. Brush your child's teeth after every meal and after each bottle. Use a child's toothpaste and a small toothbrush, or you can simply wipe the teeth with a clean wet cloth.

Also, only use bottles for formula or breast milk. If your child drinks milk, juice, or water, offer these liquids in a sippy cup. Not only will a cup prevent the liquid sitting on the teeth, but cup use will also help get your child away from the bottle once they no longer need it for feeding.

How Do You Treat Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

To treating the decay, this will depend on how severe the problem is. Treatment will also depend on your child's age. The dentist may want to fill the cavities or pull the tooth if the decay is severe. Other dentists may leave the affected teeth alone if the decay is not severe and the tooth will soon fall out. You and your dentist will need to work together to figure out what is best for your child.

Prevention is the best medicine when dealing with decay. If you have concerns your child may have baby bottle tooth decay, please contact us at Airport Road Dental Associates, PC, for an appointment.

Candies such as chocolate, gummies, and other sweets aren't the only culprits behind dental decay and other oral issues. Along with what your child eats, what they drink can also impact their overall mouth health. Take a look at the beverages that they should consider avoiding and the ones to try.

Drinks to Avoid

From sugar-heavy beverages that lead to cavities to highly acidic drinks that erode dental enamel, remove the risks by banning specific beverages and increase your child's overall oral health. Never give a bottle at nap time or bed time with anything other than water.  The drink will lay on the teeth during sleep and promote decay development.  If you're not sure what your child should or shouldn't drink, these are options to avoid:

  • Fruit juices. Fruit juices impact your child's teeth in two different ways. The high sugar content can lead to cavities (especially if your child drinks the juice from a bottle or a sippy cup). Acidic juices, such as orange or cranberry, can also erode enamel and leave your child with yellow, sensitive teeth.
  • Sodas. Like fruit juices, soda presents two primary challenges to your child's dental health. They also contain cavity-causing sugars and tend to be acidic. This combination can result in serious dental decay and discoloration.
  • Sports drinks. These beverages may seem healthy, but they're packed with sugars that can damage your child's teeth. Even though hydration is necessary (especially during or after an illness or sports play), sports drinks are not the way to go.
  • Iced tea. Ice tea products can be unhealthy on several different levels. The caffeine in these beverages can negatively affect your child's health. From a dental perspective, these dark drinks contain tannins that can stain your child's teeth. Iced tea often comes in the sweetened form. This can add to the cavity-causing potential.

Even though these beverages can cause serious issues for your child's dental health, a sip on special occasions or a one-time treat shouldn't be out of the question. Damage from these types of drinks takes time and consistency.

Drinks to Try

While avoiding sugary, acidic, and staining drinks can help your child's healthy mouth, you should add in other beverages that have proven to be beneficial. What should your child drink? Some of the top choices include:

  • Milk. For most children, milk is the drink of choice. Along with providing bone (and teeth) building calcium, the protein in milk can protect your child's dental enamel. The protective aspect of dairy is helpful in combatting acid-related enamel erosion.
  • Tap water. Even though bottled water isn't inherently bad for your child's teeth, it won't provide the added bonus of fluoride. The fluoride content of tap water makes it a superior drinking choice. Not only is it sugar- and acid-free, but the fluoride can strengthen your child's teeth and combat cavity formation.
  • Drinkable yogurt. Whether it comes pre-packaged or in a smoothie, yogurt provides milk-like dairy benefits. The key to choosing the right yogurt product is selecting one that is completely sugar-free. This means opting for a blend that has no added sugars, no fruit mixed in, and no added juice.
  • Breast milk. Your infant can get the majority of their nutritional needs met with this made-by-mom beverage. It can boost your baby's immune system (making dental infections less likely), help them to develop a better bite, and reduce the risks of bottle tooth decay.

Choose a healthy beverage for your child to maintain their dental health. Along with your drink selection strategy, your child should brush their teeth for two minutes at least two times a day (and after meals and drinks) and visit the dentist regularly.

Does your child need a dental check-up? Contact Airport Road Dental Associates, PC, for more information.