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

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November 21, 2022
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Wisdom teeth are your last teeth to erupt, usually in your late teens or early twenties. However, wisdom teeth are not necessary for speech or chewing. So your dentist or oral surgeon may suggest removing them if they affect your oral health.

If you are wondering whether to keep your wisdom teeth, learn about four signs that indicate you should remove them.

1. Painful Gums

Gums that hurt are a common sign your wisdom teeth have broken through or started to cause problems. You may experience mild pain when brushing your teeth, eating, or resting. Although this discomfort can subside, severe pain may need medical treatment or oral surgery.

Wisdom teeth are hard to floss and can increase the risk of infections, tooth decay, or cysts by enabling bacteria buildup in and around the gums. In addition, if you experience stiffness or swelling in your jaw, this can be due to shifting teeth. 

So, visit your dentist to determine what has caused your painful gums. They may recommend removing your wisdom teeth for long-term relief.

2. Impacted Teeth

Sometimes, wisdom teeth erupt partially  when one has a small jaw or mouth. These teeth are referred to as impacted wisdom teeth.

Unfortunately, impacted wisdom teeth are more prone to dental problems and disease. Wisdom teeth cause pain and damage to neighboring molars when they come out sideways or partially. Also, your wisdom teeth can become susceptible to decay and infection because they can be hard to clean.

Other issues of an impacted wisdom tooth include damaged adjacent teeth, earaches, headaches, strange tastes, bleeding gums, pressure, and discomfort. More severe infections include gingivitis (gum disease due to toxins from plaque) and cellulitis in the tongue, cheek, or throat. 

Additionally, impacted teeth can cause crowding by pushing against other teeth. Seek medical attention when you develop an impacted tooth.

3. Sinus Problems

Sinuses are air passages behind the nose, inside cheekbones, and forehead; they make breathing easy. As the roots of the upper wisdom teeth develop, they can push and put pressure on the sinuses, causing sinus pain, headaches, and congestion.

Moreover, wisdom teeth can cause a sinus infection. If the pain is limited to your lower teeth, you might have an oral issue and not a problem with your sinuses.

But if the tooth pain is in your upper jaw in the back of your mouth and you have nasal discharge or even bad breath, you likely have a sinus infection. In this case, your dentist might advise removing wisdom teeth to reduce or remove the pressure on the sinuses and alleviate jaw pain and headaches.

4. Tooth Decay

If you have cavities in your wisdom teeth, an extraction might be good. Tooth decay can affect anyone. When starches and sugars from food remain on one's teeth, bacteria can build up and damage the enamel, creating small holes called cavities. When left untreated, cavities can threaten a tooth's health. 

Unfortunately, wisdom teeth can easily decay since you can't effectively clean them, as they are in the back of your mouth. Also, some people do not spend enough time brushing their molars or do not floss at all.

Oral hygiene also suffers when your teeth are crowded or crooked since bacteria can easily accumulate. Before long, you often have cavities, as well as pain and discomfort.

Contact Airport Road Dental Associates, PC, today if you need advice about wisdom teeth removal. Our team will be happy to help you develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your concerns. We look forward to helping you with all your dental care needs and concerns.

According to Healthline, almost half of the general population has bad breath issues, also known as halitosis. Typically, the culprits are certain elements in your throat or mouth. In other cases, a more serious medical issue may be to blame.

Let's dive into the causes of bad breath in detail.

1. Pungent Foods

Some types of foods have strong smells that can lead to bad breath. The digestion of these foods begins in the mouth when the food starts to break down in the mouth. The resulting food particles may produce bad odors.

Some foods that can cause a foul smell are onions, garlic, and other sulfur-containing foods. The sulfur will remain in the mouth and may find its way into the bloodstream. Whenever you breathe out, the sulfur compounds will generate compounds with a bad smell. Teeth brushing won't solve the issue. Luckily, this short-term problem will go away after several hours.

2. Poor Oral Hygiene

Frequent flossing and brushing remove food particles from your teeth. The food particles may produce bad smells if you don't clean your teeth properly. 

Food leftovers in the mouth can lead to the formation of plaque. The plaque buildup can cause sores, gum diseases, and cavities.

The cavities and sores can produce an unpleasant scent that may be difficult to eliminate. Consequently, you should regularly brush your teeth and schedule regular oral health check-ups.

3. Dry Mouth

Saliva is a natural mouth cleaner that eliminates food debris from your mouth. Unfortunately, you may develop a medical condition that reduces the amount of saliva in your mouth. The condition is called xerostomia and affects saliva production in the glands. 

More generally, your mouth may also become dry when you are asleep. The bad breath will become apparent when you wake up in the morning. The scent can be particularly unpleasant if your mouth remains open while asleep.

4. Bacteria

The environment in your mouth is ideal for the survival of bacteria. More than 500 bacteria strains can thrive in your mouth's wet and warm conditions. Many of these bacteria will reside on the tongue's surface and in the spaces between the teeth.

The bacteria can lead to the generation of sulfuric particles in the mouth. Again, most sulfuric compounds have a sour smell. 

5. Smoking

About 80 percent of smokers have halitosis. The act of smoking itself may leave an unpleasant smell in the mouth. In some cases, smoking leads to gum complications that lead to bad breath.

6. Health Problems

Some diseases and infections can lead to bad breath. Here are some of these diseases.

  • Sinus infections 
  • Diabetes 
  • Bronchitis 
  • Pneumonia

An unpleasant smell can also occur in the aftermath of mouth surgery, since the surgery may cause wounds. 

Small stones are another condition that can cause a foul smell in the mouth. The small stones typically appear in the tonsils and may attract bacteria. The bacteria will then generate a bad smell.

Other conditions that can cause bad breath include nose inflammation and postnasal drip.

7. Foreign Objects

If your child's breath smells unpleasant, the problem might be foreign objects in the nasal passages. Children are typically curious and may put any object in their nostrils. For instance, the child can put toy accessories, beans, and beads in the nostrils.

Foreign objects in the nostrils may attract infections. These infections typically smell nasty and can endanger your child's health. If you think foreign objects are to blame for your kid's unpleasant breath, visit a doctor to get help. 

Bad breath sometimes heralds issues that can destroy your dental health. A good approach is to schedule visits to a qualified dentist, like Airport Road Dental Associates, PC. We provide dental health services to people of all ages. Contact us to boost your dental health.

6-Step Guide to a Professional Dental Cleaning Procedure

Having a professional dental cleaning isn't always a pleasant experience. Nevertheless, teeth cleaning is vital for preventing a wide range of dental problems.

A clear understanding of the cleaning process can ensure a stress-free experience. Outlined below are all the stages of a professional dental cleaning service.

1. Physical Examination

A dental hygienist performs teeth cleaning procedures. Before the cleaning starts, the dental hygienist will physically examine your mouth. This preliminary inspection allows the hygienist to spot any significant issues a dentist may need to address.

The hygienist will check your teeth and gums for gingivitis or other oral concerns. Your dentist will examine your mouth to ensure your jaw and lymph nodes are healthy. The dentist may also check your mouth for cavities, cracked teeth, or broken filings.

An X-ray helps the dentist see your mouth from different angles. Your dentist may take an x-ray of your mouth to see the bone beneath the teeth and your jaw's position. X-rays have minimal risk to anyone. But pregnant mothers should inform their dentist beforehand.

2. Plaque and Tartar Removal

Using special tools, your hygienist will eliminate the plaque and tartar around your gumline and between your teeth. Your hygienist uses a mirror to see into the corners of your mouth.

Plaque hardens into tartar calculus, and a dental professional can help remove it using a scaler. If you have more calculus buildup in your mouth, your hygienist may spend some time in removing it and may use additional types of instruments to remove it.

4. Teeth Polishing

Once your teeth are tartar-free, your hygienist will brush each tooth individually with a handpiece that has a rubber polishing cup. You may hear some different noises during the procedure. You may also experience a vibrating or tickling sensation on your teeth and noises from the handpiece.

Your hygienist will use polishing paste with fine particle size. The polishing paste is more abrasive than your home toothpaste.

Teeth polishing is an essential part of the deep cleaning process since it:

  • Prevents cavities
  • Prevents tooth loss
  • Freshens the breath

However, over-polishing is bad for your teeth, Most dentists recommend polishing every six months.

5. Expert Flossing

The professional flossing stage allows your dental hygienist to get between your teeth. The flossing serves to remove plaque or debris left from the previous steps. Having the hygienist floss on your behalf adds the advantage of seeing areas you wouldn't have spotted flossing on your own.

The flossing session allows the hygienist to find potential trouble areas and offer tips around these concerns while you are at home.

6. Mouth Rinse

The following step you should expect is rinsing your mouth to remove any debris. The rinsing step removes any residual tooth polish.

7. Fluoride Treatment

In the final step of the cleaning process, your hygienist will usually apply a protective layer of fluoride to your teeth. A high fluoride concentration typically goes on a patient's teeth to reduce the risk of cavities.

The hygienist may use a mouthpiece and fluoride gel for the treatment. The hygienist applies fluoride gel into a mouthpiece that you briefly fit onto your teeth. Your hygienist may also apply varnish to specific areas if needed for more protection.

Dental cleanings can remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and leave them whiter, brighter, and cleaner. However, professional dental cleanings cannot replace proper oral hygiene habits. 

If you require more information on the process or want to schedule an appointment, feel free to contact us.

Why It's Important to Start Dental Care Early for Children

Children should visit a dentist within the first six months after their first tooth erupts, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Many parents don't realize the importance of taking their children to the dentist at such an early age. They may think that as long as their child brushes and flosses regularly, they don't need to see a dentist. However, there are many benefits to taking your child to the dentist early on.

Instill Healthy Habits

The first tooth in your child is prone to cavities. Once your child has a cavity, it's more likely that they will get cavities in their other teeth. Therefore, you need to take your child to the dentist early to learn how to care for their teeth properly. Some of the things your child will learn include:

  • How to properly brush their teeth
  • How to floss correctly
  • What foods can damage their teeth
  • How to make dental habits fun

Once your child learns these healthy habits, they're more likely to continue them into adulthood.

Ease Dental Anxiety

According to a study in the Journal of Dental Hygiene, 50% to 80% of adult Americans have some form of dental anxiety. Up to 15% of these Americans avoid going to the dentist entirely because of this anxiety. This fear of the dentist often starts in childhood. If your child has a negative experience at the dentist, they're more likely to be afraid of going to the dentist as an adult.

However, if you take your child to the dentist early and often, they'll become more comfortable with the idea of going to the dentist. Some techniques that can help ease your child's dental anxiety include:

  • Choosing a pediatric dentist. A pediatric dentist is a dentist who has gone through extra training to work with children. They're more likely to be patient and understanding of your child's fear.
  • Using positive reinforcement. Try to praise your child when they cooperate with the dentist. You can also give them a small reward after their appointment.
  • Distracting your child. Bring a toy or book for your child to focus on during their appointment. You can also ask the dentist to explain what they're doing as they do it.

These techniques will decrease the chance that your child develops a lasting fear of the dentist.

Detect Oral Health Issues Early

Oral health problems often don't show any symptoms in their early stages. As a result, it may be hard to tell if your child has a problem.

However, if you take your child to the dentist regularly, the dentist can detect these problems early. Early detection allows for early treatment, which is often more effective than treating the problem later on. Some common oral health issues in children include:

  • Tooth decay. The cause of tooth decay is bacteria in the mouth. It can lead to pain, infections, and tooth loss.
  • Gum disease. Gum disease develops due to an infection of the gums. Its symptoms are redness, swelling, and bleeding. If not treated in good time, gum disease can damage the bones that support the teeth.
  • Oral thrush. Oral thrush is a fungal infection of the mouth. It can cause white patches on the tongue and inside of the cheeks.
  • Cavities. Cavities are holes in the teeth that result from excessive tooth decay. They can cause pain, infections, and tooth loss.
  • Thumb sucking. Thumb sucking can cause misaligned teeth and an overbite.

All of these issues can have a negative impact on your child’s future oral health if you do not address them promptly.

Take Your Child to the Dentist Today

If you haven't started taking your child to the dentist yet, now is a great time to begin. Your child will grow up with perfect teeth and a healthy smile.

Look no further than Airport Road Dental Associates if you need a child's dentist in Valparaiso and Chesterton. We've been providing personalized care to our patients since 1972. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your child.

You may have heard or read many warnings over the years about the potential dangers of excessive alcohol consumption, including heightened risks for liver disease, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. However, you might not realize that alcohol can also have some negative impacts on your dental and oral wellness.

Once you've gained a basic understanding of alcohol's effects on your teeth, gums, and mouth, you'll most likely want to keep your drinking habits under relatively firm control. Take a look at four sound dental reasons you might want to limit your consumption of beer, wine, distilled spirits, and cocktails.

1. Alcohol Dries Teeth and Gums

If you've ever suffered from an unpleasantly dry mouth after a night of drinking, you've had firsthand experience with one potential dental complication related to alcohol consumption. As a diuretic, alcohol reduces the body's water stores. At the same time, it inhibits the production of saliva.

Because saliva helps to protect tooth enamel against plaque buildup and bacterial infiltration, a chronically dry mouth increases your risk for tooth decay. The plaque accumulation may also lead to gingivitis and other gum diseases. You may even develop an oral yeast infection known as thrush.

2. Alcohol Alters Your Bacterial Balance

A healthy mouth actually does contain its share of bacteria, with the healthy strains helping to limit the progress of the destructive ones. Research has shown that the mouths of heavy drinkers contain smaller numbers of these healthy bacteria, as well as larger numbers of the more harmful strains.

Scientists haven't yet determined exactly why this imbalance occurs, although it may involve the production of acids in the mouth or the production of toxins by the overgrowing harmful bacteria. In any case, minimizing your drinking would seem a sensible strategy for maintaining a healthier oral ecosystem.

3. Alcohol Can Promote Oral Cancer

People who abuse alcohol increase their risk for oral cancer. In fact, the Oral Cancer Foundation names alcohol abuse the second leading cause of this potentially deadly disease. Alcohol plus tobacco use raises the risk for oral cancer exponentially, but either substance also raises the risk on its own.

Alcohol may also have a less direct effect on your oral cancer risk. Researchers have noted that people who have cirrhosis of the liver (a disease often from excessive drinking) also develop changes in their throat and mouth tissues that make those tissues more vulnerable to cancer.

4. Alcohol Can Make You Careless

Alcohol can impair your physical coordination as well as your mental judgment. This combination of impairments can make you more vulnerable to accidents such as tripping over curbs or getting into automotive collisions. The impacts from these kinds of injuries can result in cracked, broken, or even lost teeth.

Even if you don't injure yourself after a few too many drinks, the mental fuzziness common after heavy drinking could cause you to neglect your dental hygiene. Inconsistent brushing, flossing, and dental checkups can leave you with cavities and gum disease that may call for extensive treatment.

Alcohol also interferes with the body's absorption of nutrients. If your body doesn't receive and absorb critical nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin A, you can suffer from tooth damage or gum disease. Insufficient levels of vitamin C can weaken the connective tissues that hold your teeth in place.

Airport Road Dental Associates, PC, can provide you with ongoing dental evaluations and guidance, including dietary and lifestyle advice, to help you keep your mouth in optimal condition for decades to come. Contact our office to schedule a consultation or any treatment you might require.