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.

Craniofacial Orthodontics

Craniofacial orthodontics is a subspecialty of the field of orthodontics. It focuses on the treatment of birth defects, most commonly cleft lip and cleft palate. To treat craniofacial issues, a coordinated effort from many disciplines is needed, including medical, surgical, and dental/orthodontics. Patients may be treated from birth into their late teens.

What is cleft lip and palate, and how does it occur?

A cleft lip, or orofacial cleft, occurs when a baby is born with an opening in the lip or roof of the mouth (the palate). This happens when, during the beginning of pregnancy (usually in the first six to 10 weeks) when the bones and tissues of the upper jaw, nose, and mouth are fusing together to form the mouth, palate, and upper lip, these pieces do not fuse properly, leaving an opening.

A cleft lip can look like a small opening at the corner of the lip. It can also extend into the nose and into the gums. Cleft palates can vary in size, affecting either only the soft palate near the back of the throat or could create an opening in the hard palate near the front of the mouth.

The exact cause of cleft lip and palate may not always be clear, but some common factors include genetics (from either the mother or father), medications taken during pregnancy, vitamin deficiencies, or smoking, doing drugs, or drinking during pregnancy.

How are clefts treated?

Cleft lip surgery takes place in a hospital under general anesthesia. A team of doctors is usually needed to treat a cleft lip or palate, including a pediatrician, plastic surgeon, oral surgeon, ear, nose, and throat specialist, orthodontist or craniofacial orthopedic specialist, dentist, and other specialties as needed.

Surgery for cleft lip can be performed on a child when they are three to six months old; it should be performed initially before they turn one. The goal of the surgery is both function and appearance. A surgeon will close the separation in the lip by making incisions on both sides of the cleft. These incisions create flaps of tissue that can then be stitched together to create a more “normal”-looking lip. It will also be able to function properly.

Surgery for cleft palate can occur a little later, typically between nine and 12 months, but definitely before 18 months of age. Different procedures may be used, depending on what type of cleft palate the child has. As with cleft lip surgery, incisions will be made on both sides of the cleft. The tissue and muscles will then be repositioned before the incision is stitched closed.

Follow-up surgeries may be necessary to help improve facial appearance or the child’s speech. These surgeries take place later on, as the child grows and his or her facial structure changes.

The Importance of Dental Cleanings

Dentists commonly recommend that you get a professional cleaning twice a year (every six months). But why, exactly, are they such an important part – along with regular brushing and flossing – in maintaining good oral health? Not only does getting a regular cleaning protect your dental health and keep your smile bright, but it can also guard your overall health and even save you money in the long run.

Cavity Prevention

The whitish film that constantly develops on your teeth is called plaque, and it is the number one cause of cavities. The bacteria in plaque are fueled by the sugars in foods that we eat and produce acids that eat away at the teeth enamel. If left untreated, damaged tooth enamel can result in cavities.

Gum Disease Prevention

Plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) can also cause an infection in the gums, known as gum disease. If this is left untreated, the bacteria can burrow deeper into the gums, threatening the underlying bone. This can lead to loose teeth and even tooth loss.

Save Money

Compared to more invasive or more complex dental procedures, routine cleanings are much more affordable. That is why it’s a good idea to get regular cleanings and exams to avoid the need for these more advanced treatments, such as periodontal therapy or the need for dental prosthetics like crowns.

Protect Overall Health

Research has shown that there is a link between dental health and overall health. Conditions such as diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular disease can be related to poor oral hygiene, so these conditions could possibly be prevented (or at least have their risk lowered) by taking good care of the teeth. Cleanings include exams and possibly oral cancer screenings. Like with other forms of cancer, early detection is very important to receiving a good prognosis. It is advisable, then, to see the dentist regularly so that he or she can catch the disease in its early stages when it’s easier to treat.

What Are Porcelain Veneers?

Dental veneers are a widely common dentistry treatment that is also widely available. Veneers allow a patient to completely transform their smile with just a couple of visits to a dentist. Porcelain veneers are very attractive to patients who want to improve the look of their teeth quickly and easily.

What are veneers?

Essentially, a dental veneer is an extremely thin shell that is attached to the front of your teeth to change their shape, color, or size permanently. Typically, the shell will be made of porcelain, or ceramic, because this material closely imitates the strength and feel of real teeth. Veneers are typically applied to people who can’t seem to achieve the color of teeth that they want or people who dislike the shape or size of their teeth.

What else are veneers used for?

While porcelain veneers are typically used for cosmetic reasons, to change the appearance of your teeth, they can also be used to correct some other dental issues.

  • Stains that can’t be whitened using other procedures
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Worn down teeth
  • Misaligned or irregularly shaped teeth
  • Gapped teeth

How are veneers applied?

The application of veneers typically takes just two visits to your dentist. In the first visit, they will examine your mouth and take measurements as well as provide you with a consultation to make sure that veneers are the perfect fit for your unique situation. Then, your dentist will prepare your teeth by removing a thin layer of enamel from the front of your teeth to make room for the new permanent veneers. A mold is then taken of your teeth and sent into a lab where your veneers will be uniquely designed and created for you. While you wait, your dentist will provide you with temporary veneers made from the same mold until your beautiful new professional veneers arrive.

Building a Dental Bridge

They are important in nature, in cities, and in your mouth! What are we talking about? We’re talking about bridges. They connect roads, cities, and now: teeth. Are you a candidate for dental bridges? What exactly is a dental bridge? In this article we are going to discuss this essential procedure to having a healthy mouth.

Why Get Dental Bridges?

In this case, bridges are important for connecting teeth, which is a great option for those patients that may be missing one or more teeth. With support on either side of the tooth by means of two crowns, a gap can bridged to facilitate the introduction of a new tooth where one may be missing. Specifically, this bridge consists of crowns on either side of the gap, along with the replacement tooth called a pontic.

It is imperative to have gaps filled for the betterment of your oral health, and in turn, your general overall health. Gaps can lead to a plethora of other problems in the mouth. Gaps allow for the remaining teeth in the mouth to shift, causing gaps, crooked teeth, and even jawbone misalignment. Furthermore, the cleaning of the teeth becomes harder to accomplish, leading to possible gum disease, tooth decay or even bacterial infections.

Types of Dental Bridges

You do have options when it comes to the type of dental bridge you could opt to have.

  1. Maryland Bonded Bridge – This type is adhered to the bridge for the strongest support possible, usually made of porcelain or metal.
  2. Traditional Bridge – On either side of the gap, a crown is prepared over the tooth with a crown cemented in the middle.

Of course, each patient should discuss with their dentist the best option for them and their teeth. If you want a healthier mouth, call Dr. Tutu at Sonrisa Dental today to make an appointment and get your dental bridge procedure as soon as possible!

Financing Dental Implants

Dental care may be the last place you want to invest in. However, if you have broken or missing teeth, you may not have an option. Permanently fixing your tooth/teeth will improve your overall health and boost your confidence. No more hiding your smile from the world. Sonrisa Dental Care in Houston, TX offers affordable dental implants for patients. Read on to learn the different costs of dental implant pricing.

Dental Implants at Sonrisa Dental Care

Obviously, dental implant pricing varies from office to office, but at Sonrisa Dental Care there is no hiding the price. After your assessment, we will show you the affordable price for your dental implants. Dental implants also vary patient to patient depending on each patient’s needs. Does this mean that higher costs = higher quality of care? Unfortunately, not all dentists and oral surgeons can be recommended or are good at what they do. This means everyone needs to do their research to determine which option and dental office are best for them. We urge you to read our many testimonies and see why Sonrisa Dental Care is the best option for you. We even have had patients travel to see us due to regional price differences.

The danger of bargain shopping is risking your well-being for a cheaper procedure, possibly done by an amateur. Give yourself the absolute best, because you deserve to feel confident in your smile! There are multiple versions of full dental implants. Our office offers full and mini implants.

Are you looking for dental implants in the Houston area? Sonrisa Dental Care provides the very best and affordable care. Talk to our dentist to see which type of dental implant is best for you. Book an evaluation today!

The Best Teeth Straightening Method for You

When it comes to straightening or aligning your teeth, there are many different options. Depending on your needs, some options may be more beneficial than others.

Traditional Metal Braces

These are the standard braces that are most often used for straightening teeth. They consist of metal brackets that attach to the teeth with wires connecting the teeth while moving them into the desired position. The largest downside of metal braces is their bulky metallic look, but for most people, it isn’t an issue. The short-term of dealing with the braces seems a fair exchange for straightening your teeth. They can also be highlighted with colored rubber bands to match outfits, highlight holidays and just have fun!

Ceramic Braces

Instead of the attention-grabbing metal, ceramic is used to create the brackets. While not invisible, they are much closer to the natural color of the teeth, making them blend better.

Clear Braces

Instead of brackets attached to the teeth, clear braces use aligner trays to move the teeth into their position. They are also removable, making eating a much easier and less messy task. As the aligners move the teeth into position, the tray is swapped out to continue the process until finally, the teeth are in their intended position.

Dental Bonding

While not a viable option for everyone that wants to straighten their teeth, dental bonding can help some people with small issues. For small gaps between teeth, braces can obviously help, but dental bonding is also a quick and easy way to cover the gap. Bonding can also work well for issues like asymmetrical teeth or misaligned teeth.

No matter what method works best for you, the most important thing is for you to get the smile of your dreams. We can’t wait to help you achieve that!

Damaged Teeth and Dental Bonding

For anyone suffering from chipped or fractured teeth, it can often keep them from smiling as much as they should. Luckily, dental bonding can be an ideal solution for many patients that do not want to fully commit to more invasive veneers. The process of dental bonding is a quick and convenient process that is typically performed by your dentist in just one visit.

Why Dental Bonding?

Dental bonding is one of the best cosmetic dentistry options since it can easily help you restore your natural smile and is ideal for correcting a variety of smaller problems. Some of the many dental issues that dental bonding can restore:

  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Teeth with gaps
  • Discolored teeth
  • Fractured teeth
  • Filling a cavity
  • Asymmetrical teeth

Dental Bonding Process

The process of dental bonding involves using a high-quality bonding material referred to as resin. It is extremely durable and natural looking. The color of the resin can also be perfectly matched to the color of your teeth, meaning they will blend in a near-seamless fashion with the natural tooth. After a small amount of surface material is removed, the bonding material is applied. Your dentist will masterfully mold the resin to match the look of the tooth and then harden it using a high powered light. Once the bonding material has hardened, it can be polished and buffed to bring out a lovely polish and shine.

Many people incorrectly assume that damaged teeth can only be corrected with invasive and expensive procedures that take several visits. While veneers, braces and other procedures may be necessary for more damaged or extremely crooked teeth, dental bonding is a smart way to repair your smile in a cost-effective way. Do you have dental problems that are preventing you from smiling as much as you should? Call us to book an appointment so we can discuss the options available!

Myths About Baby Teeth—Busted

Many people are under the impression that the health of baby teeth really don’t matter because they eventually fall out. However, this is far from the truth. There are quite a few myths regarding pediatric dentistry and baby teeth, so Sonrisa Dental Care in Houston is here to clear up any confusion and bust these baby teeth myths!

Baby Teeth Are Not Important

Even though baby teeth will eventually fall out, they are still extremely important for the development of oral health. Baby teeth hold the space for permanent teeth to grow in without crooked, misaligned and/or crowded teeth. They help the facial structure develop properly, and they also ensure our children can properly eat and receive nutrition.

Decay in Baby Teeth Does Not Matter

We’ve heard it all, that cavities in baby teeth can be ignored or even that “babies can’t get cavities” unfortunately these rumors are not true. Children with cavities in their primary teeth are actually three times more likely to have cavities as an adult. Cavities in baby teeth can also cause inflammation and infection which can be uncomfortable and cause further complications.

Routine Dental Care Is Not Important for Baby Teeth

We also often hear parents disregard routine dental care for their children’s baby teeth, not only should you be brushing your kid’s baby teeth but you should also be brushing their gums before the first tooth even erupts. Once teeth have erupted, you should also be flossing at least once a day with your child.

Babies Don’t Need to See a Dentist

We’ve heard all sorts of ages when a child should first see a dentist, some say 3, others say 5 and some even think you don’t need to see a dentist until you have all of your teeth. However, at our Houston pediatric dental office, we recommend children see us by the time they receive their first tooth or age one. Routine dental visits can reduce dental anxiety and allow your pediatric dentist to spot any complications before they become serious.

Think your child may have a cavity? Contact our Houston pediatric dentist today! We’d be happy to evaluate your child’s teeth, gums and overall oral health to determine if any treatments are recommended.