Do I Need to Extract my Wisdom Teeth?

The last thing any dental patient wants to hear is that they need to lose a natural tooth. But in some cases, an extraction will save your healthy smile. Wisdom teeth are the ones most often in need of removal. Sometimes, these third molars can erupt without incident. But most people’s jaws are not able to accommodate this last set of teeth without wreaking havoc on the rest.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

The third molars are more commonly called wisdom teeth. Molars are the back teeth used for chewing food. Wisdom teeth are the last to show up, typically in the late adolescent years and early twenties. These large chewing and grinding surfaces were once needed by our ancestors to consume their coarse diet which leads to early tooth loss. In modern times, with advanced dental care and more easily edible food, most people have all their teeth in place by the time wisdom teeth emerge.

Why Do We Recommend Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

Since third molars emerge later and people are not losing teeth regularly like our ancient ancestors, sometimes wisdom teeth must be removed. Space limitations can lead to many dental health problems, such as:

  • Impaction: When teeth are trapped below the gum line and cannot erupt properly, this can lead to pain, decay and other oral health issues.
  • Crowding: Sometimes the jaw isn’t wide enough to fit the third set of molars. This crowding condition causes teeth to shift closer together or overlap, making it hard to brush and floss effectively.
  • Dental Drift: If the last molars move existing teeth while attempting to erupt, the shift can alter a patient’s bite.

Is the Wisdom Tooth Removal Process Difficult?

The complicatedness of the extraction depends on the severity of the impaction, the number of affected teeth, position, and location. Since wisdom teeth are located far back on the jawline, there are additional problems that can arise. In addition, third molars are more likely than any other teeth to become impacted. Therefore, they need to be surgically extracted. Since third molars are large teeth, they tend to be difficult to remove. But a skilled and experienced dentist can make even the most complex tooth extractions comfortable and safe.

Can Sleep Apnea Cause Brain Damage?

Does your partner complain about your loud snoring? Feel fatigued and like you haven’t slept every day? You may be suffering from a common condition known as sleep apnea.

About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common breathing disorder that affects patients while they sleep. During an episode, the airway into the lungs becomes restricted and may even collapse. When the airway is affected, oxygen stops going to the lungs and also stops being transported throughout the body, including your brain.

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Wondering if you may have sleep apnea? The most common symptoms patients experience when suffering from sleep apnea include:

  • Daytime Sleepiness/Fatigue
  • Insonia
  • Loud Snoring
  • Loud Breathing
  • Loss of Breath
  • Depression
  • Dry Mouth
  • Sore/Dry Throat
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Mood Swings
  • Weight Gain

How Does Sleep Apnea Cause Brain Damage?

  • Blood-Brain Barrier – Research has shown that sleep apnea can cause the blood-brain barrier to become permeable, allowing damaging substances to enter the brain. These substances may increase a patient’s risk of epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and even stroke.
  • Brain Chemicals – Patients that suffer from sleep apnea have also been known to have changes in the brain chemicals GABA and glutamate. These brain chemical changes can affect memory, learning, mood and even nerves and neurons within the brain.
  • Memory Loss – Damage to the white matter areas of the brain caused by sleep apnea have shown an increase in mood regulation problems along with memory loss.
  • Stroke – Research has also shown that sleep apnea can have a direct effect on the arteries located in the brain, increasing a patient’s risk of strokes.

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Houston, TX

At Sonrisa Dental Care, we are dedicated to not only our patient’s oral health but also their overall health and well-being. We are proud to offer various Houston sleep apnea treatment options for our patients interested in improving their sleep apnea and symptoms associated with the condition.

  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) – During a UPPP procedure, excess tissue located in the mouth and throat are removed, allowing the patient to breathe better while sleeping by reducing obstruction of the airway.
  • Maxillomandibular Advancement – During the maxillomandibular advancement procedure, the jaw is moved away from the other facial bones, providing more room behind the soft palate, reducing obstruction of the patient’s airway.
  • Tracheostomy – In extremely severe sleep apnea cases where other treatment options have failed, a Tracheostomy may be recommended. This procedure involved inserting a tube into the throat which aids in breathing.