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Posts Tagged ‘Wisdom Teeth’

Four Teeth Myths Debunked

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Myth or truth? It’s been said that George Washington wore wooden teeth!

Myth #1: If you have great oral hygiene habits, you don’t have to visit the dentist regularly. 

You may consistently floss. You may brush your teeth twice daily. Maybe you even take into account your eating habits and how that can affect your teeth.

Even if you have excellent dental hygiene, and believe you have no issues, it isn’t a good idea to skip a dentist visit. At a regular visit, your dentist doesn’t just look for tooth decay. Dentists will also be looking at your face, neck, lymph nodes, tongue and your jaw. Dr. Hagen is trained to examine your gums to see how they’ve changed, to look for any signs of gum disease, and of course to check on your fillings! We can’t stress enough the importance of early detection when it comes to preventing tooth loss or oral cancer.

Not only is there an examination phase, but most of us are a bit more aware of the dental cleaning phase. The importance of this phase is that it allows your dentist to remove long-term plaque and tartar that even great daily habits can’t totally diminish.

Myth #2: If your gums bleed when you floss, you shouldn’t do it anymore. 

Let’s first start with a refresher on why our gums are so important…it may seem simple enough, but our gum tissue is vital since it holds our teeth in place. Flossing, in turn, helps stimulate our gums.

When you notice that you have bleeding associated with your flossing, it could be a signal of several things. First, it could mean the gum is sensitive (perhaps because it hasn’t been flossed in a while). Or, it may be the first signs of gum disease. The good news is that your teeth will get conditioned to the stimulation of floss… And of course, there’s always floss made to be more sensitive on your gum tissue. We don’t mean to suggest you shouldn’t take bleeding as a serious sign–if you do have excessive and/or abnormal bleeding, it’s a good idea to call your dentist.

Myth #3: Mouthwash can replace flossing.

You see it shown in commercials, and it seems valid enough: mouthwash can get to the places that your toothbrush can’t…so it must be able to replace flossing, right? Wrong!

Sure, the fact that it’s an antibacterial liquid does mean it can kill bacteria around and between your teeth, but recall that flossing not only stimulates your gum, but it acts as a scraper, taking off food, and leftover plaque that is on your teeth. This simply can’t be replaced by using mouthwash.

Myth #4: Root canals have to be a high-anxiety, painful experience.

Let’s define the term that we’ve been taught should make us cringe: a root canal is the procedure done when there is no other way to save a tooth that might be very decayed or infected. Your pulp and nerve are removed from the center chamber of the tooth (the root canal), and then the tooth is cleaned and sealed.

The surprising truth is that most people do not report pain during a root canal procedure! The source of the excessive pain usually comes from the tooth that needs the root canal because it is suffering from an irreversible condition, such as tooth decay, not the procedure itself. So if there is any cringing, it would be before your procedure! Some people compare it to having a filling placed, and most people are back to performing their normal activities just the next day. Remember: the purpose of a root canal is to alleviate pain and salvage your tooth.

Have any other topics you believe could be a dental myth? Let us know on our Facebook page.

Dental Stem Cells 101

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Heard of stem cell research? Well, have you heard of dental stem cells? Today’s blog gives an introduction to what you should know about dental stem cells!

What’s the difference between stem cells and dental stem cells?

Stem cells, which you may have heard of in the news, are the so-called master cells of your body. They can make different kinds of cells, and they can divide more times than the regular cells in your body can…needless to say, these qualities make them quite special.

There are two sub-categories of stem cells (in mammals at least!): embryonic and adult stem cells–and adult stem cells is where dental stem cells come into play!

Photo courtesy of

Dental stem cells (also sometimes called dental pulp stem cells) are not embryonic stem cells. This has implications for many people because dental stem cells aren’t subject to the ethical concerns some have when it comes to embryonic stem cells.

Instead they fall under the heading of adult stem cells. Sometimes adult stem cells become a popular news topic when it comes to veterinary medicine, as well as in treatments for leukemia and for bone and blood cancers when bone marrow transplants take place. Since they have the ability to differentiate into bone, dental tissue, and even cartilage and muscle, they are currently being studied for many different uses in the future!

Where are dental stem cells found?

Dental stem cells are actually found in your baby teeth and your wisdom teeth. These stem cells are easy to collect as a result. In fact, there’s no invasive surgery here–dental stem cells are simply collected from those baby teeth or your wisdom teeth.

What’s more: they can be easily stored, meaning if you suffer from certain injuries or ailments in the future, you would not have to have a donor in those situations. For those who are interested, the process of “banking” your dental stem cells is a reasonable and simple process.

Want to read more about dental stem cells? Here are a few links where you can find out more information:

All About…Wisdom Teeth!

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

First, let’s answer a few basic questions.

Photo taken from Thirty2 Advanced Dentistry:

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are your third set of molars.

When do wisdom teeth grow in?

Usually, wisdom teeth grow in your late teens or early twenties, though they can grow in at a much older age as well. Molars are much easier to remove when the patient is younger; older patients also take a longer time to heal because their wisdom teeth are more dense and the roots are more developed.

Why should I remove them?

Depending on the positioning of your wisdom teeth’s growth, Dr. Hagen may suggest to extract wisdom teeth before they have grown in. Wisdom teeth that grow in at an angle propose many problems to your oral health, due to factors such as your mouth not having room for them, and potential for decay, pain, and gum disease.

What happens after they’re removed?

Let’s assume that the oral surgery is done with light sedation to ease your anxiety and ensure that you don’t feel any pain. (Though in some cases wisdom teeth are removed with Novacaine.) Your recovery depends on the complicated nature of the extraction. You should expect initial bleeding and swelling, and you should limit yourself to a liquid diet until the numbness wears off.

You can be prescribed pain medication if necessary. (If an infection would occur, you will also be prescribed antibiotics!) For relief and cleansing of the wound, rinse your mouth with warm salt water. Additionally, if you require stitches, the specialist uses dissolvable stitches so you don’t need to make another trip back in to see the doctor.

Keep in mind that most patients are up and about the next day conducting their normal everyday activities.


  1. Regular check ups are vital for monitoring wisdom teeth
  2. Wisdom teeth that are fine now can be a problem later because your mouth is constantly changing conditions as you age
  3. Particular indicators for removal – or at least a check-up – include:
  • Pain
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay
  • Movement of teeth
  • Infection
  • Cysts

Check out our blog next week for information and tips on impacted wisdom teeth!

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