Posts for: April, 2014

By Oral and Facial Surgery Center of Tallahassee
April 18, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Dentist  
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that erupt in the back corners of the upper and lower normal adult mouth.  While wisdom teeth do grow in straight for some people, in most cases people experience problems with their wisdom teeth.  Problems may arise because the teeth erupt too close to existing permanent teeth, causing crowding, improper bites, and other issues. 
Because most mouths are too small to accommodate four additional molars, wisdom teeth removal is often necessary to prevent other dental problems, including impaction or the shifting of neighboring teeth.  Impacted wisdom teeth are prevented from erupting, cause infection, gum disease and even the formation of a cyst.  By visiting us at Oral & Facial Surgery Center of Tallahassee, your wisdom teeth can be properly checked.  We will work with you to determine if your wisdom teeth require removal, or if they will be healthy when they erupt. In the meantime, lets take a look at how you will know if you need wisdom teeth removal in Tallahassee.
Do I Need My Wisdom Teeth Extracted?
As a resident of Tallahassee, if your wisdom teeth are causing you problems and are not extracted, they can become impacted.  Impacted wisdom teeth can be extremely painful, as well as harmful to your oral health.  Symptoms are often easy to spot, including pain, inflammation, and infection.  Many people will need their wisdom teeth extracted to avoid future problems. 
More than ever before, there are severe consequences of not extracting impacted wisdom teeth.  If your wisdom teeth are impacted and not extracted, the following may occur:
  • Teeth shifting
  • Bone loss and jaw expansion
  • Congestion
  • Cysts and tumors
  • Gum tissue irritation
  • Periodontal pockets, cavities and bone loss
  • Changes in orthodontia and dentures
Partially or fully erupted wisdom teeth may also need to be removed, as they are often nonfunctional, susceptible to tooth decay and interfere with the alignment of adjacent, healthy teeth.  In general, the lack of wisdom teeth does not impede one’s ability to properly bite down, speak or eat.
At Oral & Facial Surgery Center of Tallahassee our oral surgeons are available to help you determine if you need your wisdom teeth removed. With a  proper consultation, we can help you maintain your oral health—even if that means removing your wisdom teeth.

By Oral and Facial Surgery Center of Tallahassee
April 17, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures

She received an academy award for best supporting actress in Chicago (2002); she regularly stars in big Hollywood films like Oceans Twelve and Side Effects. And she’s been named one of People magazine’s “most beautiful people” of the year… a total of five times so far. According to big-screen heartthrob Antonio Banderas, “She has one of the most beautiful close-ups in cinematography today.”

So would it surprise you to learn that Catherine Zeta-Jones had a little help from cosmetic dentistry along the way? In her childhood, the actress said, “I was teased because I had a really flat-looking nose, and before I got braces, my teeth used to stick out a bit.” According to press reports, she has also had various dental treatments to make her teeth look whiter and more even.

Because she’s been in the spotlight since a young age, Zeta-Jones had her cosmetic dental treatments performed over a number of years. But if you’re unhappy with your smile right now, there’s no need to wait: Getting a complete “smile makeover” starts with a consultation at our office. How does it work?

We begin with a thorough dental exam to check for any underlying issues, and some basic questions, including: What do you (and don’t you) like about your smile? Are your teeth as even and as white as you’d like them to be? Is your smile too “gummy”, or do the teeth seem too large or small in proportion to your facial features? Do gaps, chips or cracked teeth detract from your appearance?

Next, working together with you, we can develop a plan to correct any perceived problems in your smile. We’ve already mentioned two of the most common ways to enhance a smile that’s less than perfect: orthodontics for straightening crooked teeth, and whitening treatments for a more brilliant smile. If your teeth are otherwise healthy, both treatments can be performed at any time — in fact, more and more of today’s orthodontic patients are adults.

Other treatments that are often used include cosmetic bonding to repair small to moderate chips or cracks in teeth; crowns (caps) to restore teeth with more extensive structural damage; and veneers to remedy a number of defects — including discoloration, small irregularities in tooth spacing, and even teeth that appear too long or too short. Plus, we have even more procedures designed to remedy specific dental issues.

Will having a better smile get you on the “most beautiful people” list? We can’t say for sure. But we think you’ll feel better about yourself… and people will notice.

If you would like more information on smile makeovers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor articles “The Impact of a Smile Makeover” and “Great Expectations — Perceptions in Smile Design.”

By Oral and Facial Surgery Center of Tallahassee
April 02, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   xylitol  

Refined table sugar (sucrose) has been in the health spotlight for some time now. While its effects on nutrition and general health are just now gaining attention, its effect on dental health, particularly as a food source for bacteria that cause tooth decay, has been known for decades.

In recent years, though, a different kind of natural sugar known as xylitol has come into popularity. Mutans Streptococci, the main bacteria responsible for tooth decay, is unable to break down and consume this alcohol-based sugar as it can with sucrose. What’s more, there’s evidence that xylitol can actually “starve” the offending bacteria and reduce its levels in the mouth. Xylitol also helps to reduce the level of acid in saliva and supports this vital fluid in its role of balancing the mouth’s pH level. By helping maintain a more pH neutral environment, xylitol can help prevent decay from even starting and promote the production of bacteria that doesn’t produce acid.

One of the most prevalent ways to include xylitol in your diet is through chewing gum. Researchers have found xylitol chewing gum can significantly reduce the risk of tooth decay, especially by inhibiting the decay process. Its reaction with saliva also contributes to the process of hardening the mineral content of enamel, a further inhibition to tooth decay.

Depending on your risk factors for dental disease, we might direct you to chew two pieces of xylitol gum for five minutes after meals and snacks, up to four times a day. Our target dose is about one to two teaspoons spread out during the day. If chewing gum is problematic or undesirable, it’s also possible to receive the recommended dosage of xylitol through hard candy, mints and oral products like toothpaste, mouthwash or sprays that contain the sugar.

Depending on your risk factors, a daily dosage of xylitol in chewing gum and other products can change the environment in your mouth for the better. A few minutes of gum chewing after meals and snacks might provide you the winning edge in the battle against tooth decay.

If you would like more information on the benefits and uses of xylitol, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Xylitol in Chewing Gum.”