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    Dental braces and wisdom teeth extraction: What do I need to know?

    Last updated 5 days ago

    My son just had his wisdom teeth removed. Lots of pre-surgery angst (How long is the surgery? Will it hurt? How long will it take to heal?) and stress (What to eat? How much missed school?). No worries…I got through it.

    As a parent, I’m done with my son’s dental braces (√) and wisdom teeth extraction (√).  As an adolescent medicine physician, I’m not done.  I often see teens who have unresolved orthodontic issues or who are experiencing mouth pain or headaches due to wisdom teeth impaction. 

    Dental braces. Orthodontists use dental braces to correct the position of teeth. Many people who need dental braces get them during their early teenage years. The goal of dental braces is to properly align the teeth and improve not only the appearance of the teeth, but also the way a person bites, chews and speaks.

    Dental braces offer corrective treatment for:

    • Overcrowded or crooked teeth
    • Too much space between teeth
    • Upper front teeth that overlap the lower teeth too much
    • Upper front teeth that bite behind the lower ones

    Dental braces usually remain on for six months to two years. After the braces are taken off, removable retainers are worn according to a prescribed schedule. Wearing braces is generally very safe. However, as with any procedure, there are potential risks including gum disease and cavities due to bacteria that gather in spaces caused by the braces.

    Wisdom teeth extraction. Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are located in the back of the mouth and usually start to emerge between ages 17-25.  They are the last adult teeth to erupt. Most people have four wisdom teeth — two on the top and two on the bottom. A panoramic X-ray done during adolescence assesses the presence, development and position of the wisdom teeth.

    Wisdom teeth become impacted when they don't have enough room to emerge or grow normally. The following signs or symptoms may develop with impaction: 

    • Painful, swollen or bleeding gums
    • Swelling around the jaw
    • Halitosis (bad breath)
    • Unpleasant taste
    • Headache

    Dentists recommend removing a teenager’s wisdom teeth if they are impacted. In addition, because the third molars are in the back of the mouth and may be difficult to clean, some dentists suggest removing them if they are at risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Most wisdom teeth extractions are uneventful. Rarely, however, problems may occur, such as:

    • Dry socket, or exposure of bone when the post-surgical blood clot is dislodged from the site of the surgical wound (socket)
    • Infection in the socket from bacteria or trapped food particles

    Bottom line: Teenagers need to have regular dental check-ups not only to have their teeth cleaned and to be checked for cavities and gum disease but also to evaluate for orthodontic issues and wisdom teeth impaction. These common dental issues may be bumps in the road for teens (and their parents!) but it’s all good when you see their beautiful smiles. 


    The Story of My Teeth

    Last updated 7 days ago

     - is a lovely and lightly fictionalised account where teeth are the true windows on to the soul.

    | Valeria Luiselli

    Valeria Luiselli’s extraordinary The Story of My Teeth recounts the life of Gustavo “Highway” Sanchez and his quest for a mouth full of straight and gleaming bone. When we meet him at the beginning of the novel he is, he tells us, “the best auctioneer in the world”. He also hints that he might be speaking posthumously, that by the time he has reached the end of his tale “it will no longer be my place to say any­thing in the first person. I will be a dead man, a happy, enviable man.”

    read more: Here's the link to the articel:

    Yellow teeth? Six ways to get a Brighter, Whiter Smile...

    Last updated 21 days ago

    Toothpastes are a dime a dozen, but for a prettier, pearlier smile, sometimes it takes more than a standard toothbrush to do the trick. Lights, veneers, and even coconut oil can eradicate stains and give you more satisfactory enamel. Though some routes require professional support (a visit to the dentist’s office), many brightening techniques can be accomplished without assistance. Here are some doc-approved methods to achieve that million-watt smile. Now, smile like you mean it.

    Shine your light over here. Cosmetic dentist Dr. Marc Lowenberg, of Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor in New York City, uses ZOOM to whiten patients’ teeth. Oxygen molecules are released, breaking up deeply embedded stains, when light is used as a catalyst. The only preparation required is brushing teeth before having the treatment done. Three or four 15-minute rounds should be completed to see full results: 1-2 shades lighter teeth, which last up to three months. Each treatment costs $1,200.

    Show me your teeth. Porcelain veneers cost a pretty penny ($1,600 to $2,700 per tooth) but are perfect for patients looking to change the shape, size, and broadness of the smile, in addition to color. “Find a dentist who has a niche in cosmetic dentistry and experience with porcelain restorations,” says Dr. Victoria Veytsman, DDS in New York City. “Find photos of smiles that you like, and bring them to your consultation.” There’s a bit of planning and many in-office visits before completion, but most take two to six weeks. The wait is well worth it – they last about 15 years.

    Don’t forget to floss. Flossing is necessary, and now it’s twice as nice. Flossing out food and plaque is an essential part of a healthy dental regimen. With a built in tongue cleaner, DenTek Fresh & White Silky Whitening Floss Picks use whitening micro-crystals to create a whiter smile when done for three minutes daily. Recommended by Dr. Laura Ruof, DDS in New York City, the medicine cabinet staple will only sent you back $3.

    Coconut oil isn’t just for cooking. Rinsing your mouth with coconut oil 10 minutes per day, twice a day, yields whiter teeth in two weeks and lasts as long as the routine is maintained. Dr. Adam Salm, DMD of Madison Dental Spa in New York City recommends this to patients with gingival disease and heavy plaque build up. To prep, the oil must be heated to liquid form (at 76 degrees). Though this is a holistic remedy for the treatment of gum disease, the American Dental Association has not yet approved it.

    Charge, spin, and smile. GO SMiLE Sonic Blue Teeth Whitening System is the first rechargeable LED sonic toothbrush that works to kill bacteria, reduce plaque, and whiten. Dr. Maryann Lehmann, DDS of Darien, CT recommends the brush which uses combines brushing and whitening into on step using blue light wavelengths and gel. It takes only two days to achieve teeth that are two shades whiter. In 30 days, a seven-shade difference is seen. The device comes with a toothbrush, whitening gel, blue light, a charging station and two brush head replacements.

    Bleach your smile, not your hair. Take-home bleach trays with Opalescence Whitening Gel start with a visit to your dentist and are a favorite of Dr. Robin Ford, DDS at Ford Family Dental. In order for a custom tray, teeth impressions taken to specifically fit the individual’s teeth. Once at home, whitening gel is applied in the trays for certain amount of time (this depends of the gel concentration, which varies per patient). The trays are worn for as little as an hour or as long as overnight. Greater long-term results (even with a low concentration) are seen over the course of several weeks. Before bleaching, it’s recommended to have and exam and a cleaning to determine if the client is clear of decay. To maintain your pearly whites, it’s best to avoid coffee, teas, cigarettes and red wine.

    The top worst food for your teeth:

    Last updated 2 months ago

    The American Dental Association named the top worst food for your teeth:

    Hard Candies

    They may seem harmless, but eat too many and the constant exposure to sugar can be harmful to your teeth. Hard candies also put your teeth at risk because, in addition to being full of sugar, they can also trigger a dental emergency such as a broken or chipped tooth. Better alternative? Chew sugarless gum that carries the ADA Seal.
    Use it for chilling, not chewing.  You'd be surprised at how many people think ice is good for their teeth. It's made of water, after all, and doesn't contain any sugar or other additives. But chewing on hard substances can leave your teeth vulnerable to a dental emergency and damage enamel. Advice: Break the habit and enjoy water in its liquid form.
    The truth is that frequent exposures to acidic foods can erode enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay over time.  So, even though a squeeze of lemon or lime can turn a simple glass of water into a fun beverage, it's not always the best choice for your mouth.  Citric fruits and juices can also irritate mouth sores.  Make sure to drink plenty of plain water. 
    In their natural form, coffee and tea can be healthy beverage choices. Unfortunately too many people can't resist adding sugar. Caffeinated coffee and tea can also dry out your mouth. Frequent drinks of coffee and tea may also stain your teeth. If you do consume, make sure to drink plenty of water and try to keep the add-ons to a minimum.
    Sticky foods
    When it comes to picking healthy snacks, many people put dried fruit at the top of the list. But many dried fruits are sticky. Sticky foods can damage your teeth since they tend to stay on the teeth longer than other types of food. If you find yourself eating dried fruits or trail mix often, make sure to rinse with water after and to brush and floss carefully.
    Things That Go "Crunch"
    Who doesn't love the nice, satisfying crunch of a potato chip? Unfortunately, potato chips are filled with starch, which tends to get trapped in your teeth. If you choose to indulge in snacks like these, take extra care when you floss that day to remove all the food particles that can lead to plaque build-up.
    When you eat sugary foods or sip sugary drinks for long periods of time, plaque bacteria use that sugar to produce acids that attack your enamel, the hard surface of your tooth. Most carbonated soft drinks, including diet soda, are acidic and, therefore, bad for your teeth. Caffeinated beverages, such as colas can also dry out your mouth. If you do consume soft drinks, try to drink alongside a cup of water.
    Alcohol causes dehydration and dry mouth. People who drink excessively may find their saliva flow is reduced over time, which can lead to tooth decay and other oral infections such as gum disease. Heavy alcohol use also increases your risk of mouth cancer.
    Sports Drinks 
    They sound healthy, don't they? But for many sports and energy drinks, sugar is a top ingredient. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, while sports drinks can be helpful for young athletes engaged in prolonged, vigorous physical activities, in most cases they are unnecessary. Before your next sip, check the label to make sure your drink of choice is low in sugar. Not sure? Drink water instead!




    A terrifying 'prehistoric' frilled shark with 300 teeth captured in Australia

    Last updated 2 months ago

    Speaking of having too many teeth...
      What has 300 teeth, lives 1,300 feet below sea level and has ancestors that date back 80 million years?  The answer is the frilled shark. And this “living fossil” was caught last month in waters off Victoria, Australia.  “I’ve been at sea for 30 years and I’ve never seen a shark look like that,” skipper David Guillot told Fairfax Radio on Wednesday.
      The Sydney Morning Herald reported Guillot found the creature while fishing near Lakes Entrance in southeastern Victoria. Guillot continued: “The head on it was like something out of a horror movie. It was quite horrific looking. … It was quite scary actually.”
      At about 6 feet in length, it’s not among the largest sharks in the seas. It looks more like an eel. But it’s got many more teeth than most sharks, 25 rows of them for a total of 300. By contrast, the great white shark has 50 teeth.
      The shark was offered to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, but was declined because they already had a specimen. Simon Boag, from the South East Trawl Fishing Association told ABC: “We couldn’t find a fisherman who had ever seen one before. … It looks prehistoric, it looks like it’s from another time.”
      So it's probably just best to stay clear of Australia's SE Victoria area.

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