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wisdom teethWisdom teeth tend to begin to develop and show on x-rays in our early teens. And that’s the best time to start monitoring their growth to see if your wisdom teeth can stay, or if it’s better for them to be removed. While all wisdom teeth don’t necessarily have to be removed, and some people don’t ever get them, all of us at our dental office in Erdenheim want our patients to know that if wisdom teeth removal is recommended, it’s for a good reason.

Sometimes, wisdom teeth are growing in just fine and there is no reason to discuss or consider removing them. In most cases, if your wisdom teeth are healthy, completely grown in, positioned correctly so as to not inhibit proper bite or neighboring teeth, and are able to be cleaned properly, they can stay right where they are. However, it’s more common that they will need to be removed, sometimes before they’re fully erupted, or even after.

Even if your wisdom teeth came in without a hitch, you may not necessarily get to keep them. In fact, one of the main reasons wisdom teeth need to come out even after they are fully erupted is that they are difficult to care for. Your wisdom teeth, which are typically the four molars way back in your mouth, are hard to reach with a toothbrush, and even harder to floss. This tends to cause an increase in the chance of gum disease and cavities in those “third molars.” If during your routine checkups with your Erdenheim dentist any issues are noticed, removal may be recommended to reduce the risk of more cavities and infection later.

Another reason – the most common reason – why wisdom teeth need to be removed is because there isn’t enough room in your mouth. This can often be handled with an easy wisdom teeth removal before any teeth begin to erupt through the gums. However, if the procedure is delayed or avoided, the teeth can get trapped in the bone and become impacted. Once wisdom teeth are impacted, the surgery is a bit more complicated, but still fairly easy.

Keeping up with your regularly scheduled appointments at our Erdenheim dental office is an important step in monitoring your wisdom teeth and making sure that everything in your mouth is healthy, functioning correctly, and looking great. If you need someone to check out your wisdom teeth, or your smile as a whole, give us a call today.

Serving patients in Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.

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damaging snacksSummer is a time for soaking up the rays and getting a healthy dose of vitamin D (don’t forget the sunscreen!). But while you’re relaxing poolside in the summer sun, be careful of some heat-busting snacks that can cause smile-damaging results. At our dental office in Erdenheim, we’re all about enjoying your time in the sun, but we want to make sure that you’re aware of some dangerous summer snacks and suggest some healthier alternatives.

As we’ve talked about in previous blogs, foods that are sticky or chewy are never a good choice for your teeth. Some more commonly eaten sticky foods are dried fruit or fruit snacks. These chewy snacks are not only high in sugar, their sticky nature also causes the sugar to linger around in the mouth longer, potentially causing some unwanted tooth damage. Sticky foods in general are also guilty of damaging tooth restorations or fillings. When you can, it’s best to stay away.

Another common summer treat that your Erdenheim dentist suggests avoiding, or at least enjoying in moderation, is barbeque. Barbecue sauces often contain a lot of sugar, vinegar, and sometimes even dye. The dye that’s typically used in barbeque sauce can contribute to staining or discoloration of your smile, and while we already know that sugar is bad for your smile, acids, like vinegar, are also dangerous for your grin.

Citrus fruits including oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are also highly acidic and can lead to damage of the enamel and can promote tooth decay. Since these fruits are high in vitamin C and so thirst quenching, we don’t expect you to avoid them. Just remember that after you enjoy some orange slices, you should rinse your mouth with water to neutralize the acid.

When it comes to quenching your thirst, always choose water over any sugary beverage like soda, sweet tea, or sports drinks. Since people are often more active in the summer, they’re more likely to turn to a sports drink like Gatorade. If you need an extra boost of electrolytes, drink these types of beverages sparingly and avoid swishing them around in your mouth.

So what snacks are all right to eat? Veggies like celery or carrots are excellent foods for your body and your smile;, try some proteins like nuts and turkey; and don’t forget to swing by the dairy aisle to pick up some calcium rich cheese or yogurt that are not only good for your bones, they’re also good for your teeth.

This summer, while you’re enjoying the sun, make sure you’re also enjoying some smile-friendly foods. Next time you’re shopping for food, all of us at our Erdenheim dental office urge you to make sure to add some smile-friendly items to your list. They’ll not only be delicious to eat, they’ll also keep your mouth healthy all summer (and year) long.

Serving patients in Erdenheim, Flourtown and Chestnut Hill.

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sleep apneaSleep apnea is a dangerous disorder that affects individuals during the night, causing the sufferer to stop breathing numerous times during sleep. Breathing can stop for as long as several minutes before the brain triggers the body to wake up and resume breathing. Often considered a disorder that plagues the overweight, sleep apnea can affect even the most fit individual and can cause serious health concerns, and sometimes, even death. At our dental office in Erdenheim, we’d like to educate you on a few signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, explain its dangers, and talk about the importance of getting treated.

One of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea is chronic snoring. While snoring has been long labeled as simply a nuisance, it can actual indicate that something is seriously wrong. Snoring typically occurs when the soft tissues in the back of the throat collapse, making it difficult for air to pass through and reducing the amount of oxygen delivered to your organs. Individuals who have sleep apnea may snore loudly, and then actually stop breathing for periods of time. The body will then wake the person and breathing resumes. This can happen hundreds of times a night.

People with untreated sleep apnea often report:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness and even unintentionally falling asleep during the day
  • Waking up feeling unrefreshed
  • Insomnia
  • Waking up choking or gasping for breath
  • Chronic fatigue

If you or a snorer you know have experienced any of these signs, it’s important to get checked for sleep apnea to stay healthy.

Sleep apnea has been linked to several serious health conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, increased risk for car accidents caused by drowsy driving, diabetes, depression, and several other concerning problems.

At our dental office in Erdenheim, we strongly encourage anyone who may be experiencing sleep apnea to get checked as soon as possible. Once an official diagnosis is complete, suggestions for your treatment may include a CPAP, a mask that’s worn during the night and forces air into your nose or mouth; a mouthpiece that’s designed to keep your airway open; or a combination of the two. Whatever treatment is right for you, it’s important to follow through on getting treated appropriately. It just might save your life.

Serving patients in Erdenheim, Flourtown and Chestnut Hill.

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dental urban legendsWhile some urban legends are meant to scare and haunt us in our sleep, other legends can actually affect your health. Some of these legends revolve around the world of dentistry and at my dental office in Erdenheim, we want to set the record straight on some common misconceptions to let all of our patients know the truth and to relieve any potential fears.

Dental Cleanings Cause Tooth Sensitivity

One of the most bothersome legends is that dental cleanings cause tooth sensitivity because the “scraping” is too hard and it’s done too often. The team at my Erdenheim dental office not only wants to make sure that this myth is debunked, we also want to explain the importance of regular cleanings and how sensitivity actually happens.

Regular cleanings with your dentist in Erdenheim are extremely important to your oral health. They make sure dangerous plaque is removed, that your gums and smile are healthy, and that there are no problems lurking in your mouth. They most definitely do not cause sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity is most commonly caused by gum disease (which can be avoided and treated with regular cleanings), brushing too hard, or eating too many acidic foods.

Root Canals are Extremely Painful

In fact, root canals often relieve extreme pain, not cause it. Root canals are needed when a tooth becomes infected or badly decayed – two things that can cause a whole lot of pain. The truth is, many people who have had a root canal experience little or no pain. The discomfort that’s often experienced with a root canal is the pain before the procedure is actually done, not the root canal itself.

Coca-Cola Dissolves Teeth

This legend states that a cup of Cola will dissolve a tooth overnight. While coca-cola can be bad for your teeth due to its acidity, it won’t completely dissolve a tooth overnight. Coca-Cola and other sodas are full of sugars and acid and can absolutely cause damage and discoloration to the tooth enamel. For this reason, at my dental office in Erdenheim, we always encourage our patients to drink more water.

With so many urban legends out there, the best thing we can do is research what we hear before jumping to any conclusions. There are plenty more dental urban legends than we have talked about here, so if you hear anything that doesn’t sound quite right, just call my Erdenheim dental office. We’ll be sure to explain the truth to you and get you smiling again.

Serving patients in Erdenheim, Flourtown and Chestnut Hill.

 

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dental emergency while on vacationDental problems can happen anytime, anywhere. Even when you’re on vacation. Whether it’s a broken tooth, a lost filling or crown, or even a knocked out tooth, there are things you can do to keep your dental problem from ruining your vacation. At our Erdenheim dental office, we’re full of tips and tricks that can help.

If you’re planning a vacation out of town, the first step you can take to help avoid dental problems is to schedule a visit with your Erdenheim dentist before you leave. A pre-vacation checkup will make sure your mouth is healthy and no potential problems are lingering, just waiting to explode when you embark on your relaxation getaway. Even if you do schedule a checkup before your trip, there is still a chance a dental problem will occur.

One of the best ways to deter a dental emergency while on vacation is to be careful what you eat. Popcorn, sticky sweets, and ice cubes are all dangerous for your smile and can cause some unwanted problems. You should also avoid using your teeth to rip open packaging or to hold objects when your hands are full.

If a dental emergency does happen, following the tips below can help keep your vacation intact.

Dental Emergency Tips:

  • Chipped or Broken Tooth – First rinse the mouth and any broken pieces with warm water. Relieve any bleeding by applying gauze and a little bit of pressure to the area. Swelling and pain can be reduced with a cold compress.
  • Knocked Out Tooth – Act fast. If you can find the tooth, only handle it by the tooth crown, not the roots. Try to replace the tooth into the socket. If you can’t, place the tooth in milk and get to a dentist. Your tooth has the best chance of survival if it’s returned to the socket within an hour.
  • Object Stuck Between Teeth – Whatever you do, don’t use anything sharp when attempting to remove the pesky piece. Simply use some floss to gently wiggle between your teeth and dislodge the particle.
  • Lost Filling – Dental cement found over-the-counter, or sugarless gum (it has to be sugarless or it can cause pain!), can temporarily fill a cavity.
  • Soft-Tissue Injury – These types of injuries tend to bleed easily and for awhile. Try rinsing your mouth with warm salt water to clean the wound, then hold a damp piece of gauze to the site of injury while applying some pressure. Pair that with a cold compress on the side of the mouth.

Planning your summer vacation? Give my Erdenheim dental office call to schedule a visit before you leave! We’ll make sure your smile is vacation ready, healthy, and ready for the getaway. We can also talk about more dental emergency tips at your appointment.

Serving patients in Erdenheim, Flourtown and Chestnut Hill.

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tips for soothing a toothacheYou can’t schedule a toothache. When it happens, it happens. And it hurts. Sometimes, toothaches occur at a convenient time, when you can just call our Erdenheim dental office and we can take care of you. Other times, toothaches can happen at night or on weekends when our Erdenheim dental office isn’t open. Then what can you do to help relieve the pain?

Anyone who has had a toothache knows that the pain can linger and make you not want to do anything until it goes away. And if you’re unfortunate enough to get a toothache late Friday night, you may need to wait until Monday to see the dentist. Fortunately, there are a few tips and tricks you can try to ease the pain.

Some at-home remedies you can try include:

  • Salt Water: Swishing with warm salt water for as long as you can may help ease the pain of a toothache. Do not swallow the mixture. Repeat as needed.
  • Onion: Some people have claimed that a piece of raw onion placed on the affected area has eased the pain. However, this will probably cause you to have onion breath.
  • Oil of Cloves: Also known as Eugenol, Oil of Cloves has antimicrobial properties as well as pain relieving properties that can help lessen pain of a toothache. Mix 2-3 drops with either olive oil or cooking oil and place on a piece of cotton. Put the cotton on the bothersome area and bite down.

A common and often-tried remedy for a toothache is Aspirin applied directly on the painful area. Don’t try this! Aspirin is an acid and can cause greater damage to your mouth. Simply swallow the Aspirin.

While these tips and tricks can help ease the pain of a toothache, it’s still important to call our dental office in Erdenheim as soon as possible. A toothache is a sign that something isn’t right, and it’s best to get it seen and taken care of. If you continue to simply treat the pain of a toothache, and don’t determine its underlying problem, something that could be small and easy to treat can turn into something much more dangerous. If you’re experiencing a toothache, don’t hesitate to call our Erdenheim dental office.

We can always help you determine and fix the cause of a toothache. But the best way to avoid one altogether is to follow good oral hygiene recommendations and see your Erdenheim dentist at least twice a year. This way, we can work together to keep your mouth healthy and toothache-free.

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why we grind our teethTooth grinding, also known as bruxism, affects around 30 million children and adults. And most of the time, those individuals don’t even realize that they’re doing it! Sometimes it happens only at night. Other times, subconsciously throughout the day. While grinding or clenching your teeth may not seem like a big problem, it can actually cause damage to your smile and makes visiting our dental office in Erdenheim even more important.

While bruxism is often viewed as a habit, or a result of stress, it can be caused by other things as well. For example, your teeth grinding can be a result of having a bad bite, or when your teeth do not line up or come together properly. Bruxism can also break restorations, cause damage to teeth, and wear away enamel. That’s why if you’re a grinder, it’s important to see your dentist in Erdenheim.

Chronic teeth grinding or clenching can not only cause damage to teeth and lead to tooth sensitivity, it can also be the reason for jaw pain, TMD (temporomandibular disorder), headaches, and facial pain. But if a lot of people who are chronic clenchers or grinders don’t realize they are doing it, how can they tell if some of their pain is a result of bruxism?

You may be suffering from bruxism if you experience any of the following:

  • Unexplained contractions of the jaw muscles
  • A grinding noise at night as described by someone you share a bedroom with
  • Morning headaches
  • Tight or painful jaw muscles
  • Pain in the face
  • Damaged teeth or injured gums

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to schedule a visit to our Erdenheim dental office as soon as you can. We will examine your mouth and check your bite. We may also take x-rays of your jaw and mouth to determine what the cause of your bruxism is. We will then make the best recommendation to fix the problem. Several treatment options are available and can include using onlays or crowns to reshape the bite surfaces of your teeth, and making a mouth guard that fits over your smile and prevents further damage.

Don’t live with the pain of being a tooth grinder. Our dental office in Erdenheim can help protect your smile and ease your pain. Give us a call today!

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diet soda is as bad as methMany people walk to the fridge, pull out a can, and pop open the tab of a quenching can of diet soda when they’re thirsty. It’s better for you because it’s diet and there is no sugar in it, right? While you’re correct in the fact that there’s no sugar, it’s not necessarily better for you. At our dental office in Erdenheim, we want everyone to be aware that diet soda can be detrimental to your teeth.

In fact, excessive consumption of diet soda can cause damage to your smile similar to the damage caused methamphetamine or cocaine. All of them have high levels of acid, and acid can cause damage to tooth enamel. With the loss of tooth enamel, smiles are at greater risk for developing cavities, discoloration, sensitivity, and other damage like cracked or broken teeth. By keeping up on regular appointments with your Erdenheim dentist, you’re able to better protect your smile from the damaging effects of dangerous acid.

Even if you do maintain a healthy at-home hygiene routine and keep up with visits to our Erdenheim dental office, you’re still at risk for an unhealthy smile if you drink a lot of soda or use illegal drugs.

The similarity between diet soda drinkers and illegal drug abusers was found in a study published in a 2013 edition of the Academy of General Dentistry journal, General Dentistry. The study took three volunteers with different backgrounds and examined the damage of their teeth. One individual was a former cocaine user, another was a current methamphetamine addict, and the last was an excessive diet soda drinker. The results of the study showed strong similarities in the oral health of all three.

If you’re overdue for a dental checkup, or if you’re addicted to soda, already have damage caused by soda, or even damage caused by a past drug use, call our dental office in Erdenheim. We’ll conduct an in-depth exam, get to know you, and work with you to get your smile healthy and looking great.

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cancer diagnosis? see your dentist before you start chemo

Cancer is a scary word and a diagnosis none of us want to hear. But if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, seeing your dentist in Erdenheim before starting chemotherapy is a crucial step toward a successful treatment.

While chemotherapy helps treat cancer, it also causes several side effects to the rest of your body, including your mouth. In fact, some of the oral health problems associated with chemotherapy can actually cause a delay or stop in treatment. Clearly, when you’re dealing with something as serious as cancer, it’s never ideal to stop treatment. This is why we recommend visiting our dental office in Erdenheim at least one month prior to beginning chemotherapy.

How Does Chemotherapy Affect Your Mouth?

Since chemotherapy kills cancer cells, it’s often the treatment of choice. However, it can also cause harm to normal cells in the body and mouth. Side effects in the mouth can be serious and can include pain; difficulty talking, eating, and swallowing; dry mouth; or burning and swelling of the tongue. You’re also more likely to get an infection in your gums or in the moist lining of your mouth. When undergoing cancer treatment, any infection can be extremely dangerous.

How Does Seeing a Dentist Help?

Your dentist in Erdenheim is an important part of your cancer treatment and can help keep dangerous side effects away. Often times, the oral side effects from cancer treatment occur in unhealthy mouths, and while not all side effects can be avoided, the healthier your mouth is the more likely the side effects can be avoided and treatment can continue as planned. Ideally, it’s best to schedule an appointment at our Erdenheim dental office one month before cancer treatment begins.

When you visit, we will perform an in-depth exam, clean your teeth, and take care of any mouth problems we may find. We’ll also discuss the best way for you to care for your mouth at home to prevent side effects.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer please give our dental office in Erdenheim a call as soon as you can. Our mission is to provide compassionate, quality care to allow for the most successful treatment possible.

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dental care during pregnancyPregnancy is such a joyous time in life. Your family is growing, you’re going to be parents, and you’ve never been more excited. You always make sure to schedule and keep your doctor appointments for the care and health of both yourself and your baby. Are you scheduling and keeping your dental appointments as well?

Keeping up with your oral health at our Erdenheim dental office during your pregnancy is not only beneficial for your health, it’s also beneficial for your baby. The American Academy of Periodontology encourages moms to see their dentist as early in pregnancy as possible. And I have to agree.

If you are experiencing vomiting with morning sickness, it is important that you brush your teeth more frequently to prevent stomach acid from damaging your tooth enamel. But that’s not all.

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, changes during pregnancy, especially hormonal changes, can exacerbate oral health issues. For example, almost half of all pregnancies are plagued by the dangers of pregnancy gingivitis. Concerns about this oral health issue are greatly lessened when monitored by your Erdenheim dentist, and the gingivitis usually subsides shortly after giving birth. However, if visits to our Erdenheim dental office are avoided, and treatment is not received when needed, pregnancy gingivitis can progress into a more serious problem and even a potentially scary situation for the baby.

If pregnancy gingivitis is left untreated and progresses into periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease, it could lead to preterm labor and a low birth-weight baby– both serious pregnancy complications. In fact, mothers who have periodontal disease are seven times more likely to have preterm labor.

Regular dental care is important all the time, and even more so during pregnancy. Maintaining visits at our dental office in Erdenheim is not only safe for expecting moms, it’s encouraged for the oral health of moms-to-be, the health of the baby, and a safe pregnancy.