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June 2022

Teeth Whitening

What is Teeth Whitening? Where Can I Do This?

By Orthodontics

It’s not uncommon for anyone, in their search to get their best smile possible, to turn to teeth whitening treatments at some point in their life. Although in-office treatments have better results, it’s completely normal to look for more economic solutions. So whether you decide to go to your dentist’s office or have treatment at home here are a few whitening options for you. 

At-Home Teeth Whitening Options

Whitening your teeth at home can be a great option if you are looking to save money and don’t want to deal with having to go to appointments every few days while your whitening treatment lasts. Fortunately, now-a-day there is a great variety of fast, easy-to-use, products that you can try to whiten your teeth.

Remember that the results of at-home teeth whitening products will not be as good as in-office ones and won’t last that long either.

Whitening Strips and Gels

Whitening strips and gels work with a solution based on peroxide, which is the chemical that will whiten your teeth. Patients will apply the strips or the gel to their teeth and let them absorb the gel for a few minutes. This process will go on for a couple of weeks but you will start seeing some progress after just a few days. Results from this treatment can last up to four months. It is important to remember that any product with whitening agents can cause some sensitivity to your teeth.

Whitening Toothpaste

Regular toothpaste by itself will mostly only eliminate stains at a surface level given that most of them don’t have the whitening agent in them. Although some kinds of toothpaste are able to whiten your entire tooth, because those do contain some type of peroxide in them, the whitening agent itself can’t do too much work as it doesn’t have enough time to act. Even considering that results aren’t as noticeable as an in-office treatment, toothpaste whitening is a good option for those who want to avoid any possible teeth sensitivity.

Whitening Trays

As the name implies, patients place trays with whitening gel applied to them on their teeth for a few hours at a time. The amount of time per day and how many days a week someone may use it will depend on the result desired and on your teeth’s reaction to the peroxide in the gel. Whitening trays can cause some irritation in the gums or sensitivity on the teeth so be careful to not overdo it. 

In-Office Teeth Whitening Options

In-office teeth whitening is the fastest way to see actual whiter teeth in as little as 1 session. In-office treatments use a much higher concentration of peroxide in their solutions used to whiten your teeth and they usually have other tools at their disposals like UV lights. The combination of both of these and multiple 30 to 60-minute visits is what gets you a much better result, although you can see a big difference since your first session. According to WebMD, in-office treatments can whiten your teeth for up to 8 shades.

Can You Whiten Your Teeth if You Have Tooth Sensitivity?

If you are sensitive in your teeth or gums or have any type of irritation in your mouth, the best thing to do is to ask your dentist first, this goes for both in-office and at-home treatments. If you’re already using any type of whitening method at home and feel strong discomfort or pain stop using the product immediately. For discomfort during in-office procedures just keep your dental care specialist informed about it.

Can You Use Teeth Whitening With Braces

Every dentist will usually recommend you to start any teeth whitening procedure after your braces treatment is over. If you try to use any whitening product with braces you could end up with two different shades of color on the same teeth due to the brackets blocking an important area of each tooth. Another reason to avoid this kind of treatment while you have braces is the possibility of sensitive teeth given that the last thing any patient would want is another source of discomfort in their mouth.

On the other hand, lingual and removable aligners don’t cover the front area of the teeth so you can have whitening treatments done if you are going under treatment with them. 

How to Keep Your Teeth White During Orthodontics

Keeping your teeth white during any orthodontic treatment is not as hard as it may appear.  The most important thing to do is to maintain a good cleaning schedule. Brush your teeth at least two times a day, floss after every meal, and use mouthwash and toothpaste that have fluoride in them. Appliances do make the cleaning process harder but there are a variety of tools to help you get to the most difficult places such as floss threaders and floss hooks.

Avoid dark-colored drinks and food that may stain your teeth. Coffee, tea, red wine, and sodas can all change the color of your teeth if consumed on a regular basis.

Wisdom Teeth

Are Wisdom Teeth A Concern? A Brief Guide on How to Deal With Third Molars

By Blog, Orthodontics

Several misunderstandings and concerns relate to Wisdom Teeth and how to deal with them. Most preoccupations correlate significantly with their incidence of developing oral problems, how they affect orthodontic treatment, or if they produce other teeth misalignments.

So, here we bring a short Guide, starting with a description of Third Molars, also named Wisdom Teeth. Then continue answering what is an impacted Wisdom Tooth? and include some relatable problems. As we move forward, we will address a fundamental question. When do Wisdom Teeth need to be extracted? and the phases of the extraction procedure in detail. Finally, we will discuss some dietary tips after teeth extraction.  

As we continue this article, we will address some questions expecting to clear many of the most common doubts. 

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom Teeth is a colloquial name for Third Molars that erupt anytime between ages 17 to 25. Third molars are located in the rear extreme of the upper and lower teeth arches. However, sometimes a person might not have any Third Molars to develop; in other cases, Third Molars simply don’t erupt, or only some of them might burst, and there are cases in which they partially sprout or do so at an angle.   

Teeth that do not erupt or do not erupt completely, which only appear partially above the gums, are also known as impacted teeth. These teeth don’t have enough space to sprout or do so partially at an angle. There are several possibilities for Wisdom Teeth position shifting. Here we include some of the likely angles in which Wisdom Teeth can grow: 

  • Toward the second molar (next tooth in sequence to the front);
  • Toward the back of the mouth;
  • At a right angle related to other teeth and sprouts straightly within the jawbone and;
  • Grow straight but stays trapped within the jawbone.

So far, we have defined and pictured the different potential angles of impacted Wisdom Teeth. Next, we continue explaining the dangers of impacted wisdom teeth.  

Impacted Wisdom Teeth Problems

“I have gotten an X-ray and have impacted Wisdom Teeth, but I don’t feel any discomfort or soreness.” So, we understand that impacted teeth sometimes don’t bother a patient and might never do. 

However, even if they don’t cause discomfort, there is always a chance of infection as with other teeth. Also, an impacted teeth angled position can produce damage to other teeth. 

A genuine concern arises when Wisdom Teeth get infected due to tooth decay or other oral diseases. If so, a dentist might recommend removing a piece or several denture pieces (Wisdom Teeth). Unfortunately, impacted teeth do not sprout normally or simply don’t sprout, getting trapped either in the jawbone or the gums.  So, removing these teeth might require surgery.

Also, the angle and position of an impacted tooth might touch a Second Molar. Finally, the strain of an impacted tooth might erode the straight tooth (Second Molar) to the point that it can reach the pulp, causing discomfort and pain, but most importantly, affecting a perfectly functional dental piece, a second molar.

Consequently, there is no surprise there is a debate about removing Wisdom Teeth to prevent potential damage, especially considering that an impacted tooth is not functional. So, when should Wisdom Teeth be extracted? Generally speaking, a considerable number of dentists coincide that extraction of an impacted Wisdom Tooth should occur in one or more of the following circumstances:

  • Food and debris get trapped in intricate places around the Wisdom Tooth; 
  • Increasing discomfort and pain in the tooth area;
  • Periodontitis (gum disease);
  • Tooth decay in partially sprouting Wisdom Tooth;
  • Damage to a second molar or bone;
  • Growth of a cyst around the Wisdom Tooth that can damage the jaw or a nerve;
  • Sinus pain due to pressure causing congestion and;
  • Incidence in orthodontic treatment.

In summary, the occurrence of complications before a Wisdom Tooth extraction requires a case-by-case analysis. However, it is crucial to note that there might be some post-surgical complications that, even though they have a minimum possibility of occurring, need to be addressed as well:

Painful Dry Socket

The bone gets exposed once the post-surgical blood clot disappears. The site of the wound gets exposed, causing pain.  

Socket Infection 

A socket might form a space that can eventually get infected due to residue accumulation, welcoming bacteria to grow.

Non-intended Damage 

It is essential to make clear that, in many cases, Wisdom Tooth removal requires surgical intervention. Any surgery might have complications, and non-intentional damage to other teeth, nerves, jawbones, or sinuses might occur. 

Can Impacted Wisdom Teeth Cause an Overbite?

Wisdom Teeth are commonly associated with other teeth misalignments. However, the commonness of other teeth shifting caused by Wisdom Teeth is unperceivable and almost null. 

Among parents’ concerns, one is about a child requiring orthodontic treatment and Wisdom Teeth that have not yet sprouted. The answer is, Wisdom Teeth have no incidence in orthodontic treatment whatsoever. 

The late development of third molars exerts no impact on the success of orthodontic treatment. Concurrently, Wisdom Teeth’s appearance does not relate to developing an overbite.   

Graciously, Wisdom Teeth only sprout if there is enough space, and partially erupted teeth do so only on the little space available. So, strain exertion caused by Wisdom Teeth is minimal to generate a sequential reaction on a set of teeth. 

However, in rare cases, Wisdom Teeth have led to other teeth misalignments. In fact, concerns should be directed to an impacted and angled Wisdom Tooth that might erode the lower part of a second molar damaging it. 

Concurrently, a common question patients have in mind is, can I have my wisdom teeth taken out while I have braces? If you choose, your dentist can remove your Wisdom Teeth anytime during orthodontic treatment.

However, if you are considering wearing braces or already have them in that case, we recommend first consulting your orthodontist for a specific case evaluation. Your dentist can also cement braces on Wisdom Teeth. 

Finally, teeth shifting might occur as we age. This process is normal and does not relate to Wisdom Teeth. 

What Is the Process to Remove Wisdom Teeth?

Depending on the severity of the case, a dentist might require the support of an Oral Surgeon to proceed with Wisdom Teeth extraction. In most cases, a dentist performs the extraction of Wisdom Teeth, but a tooth might be impacted and nested in the bone in such a form that surgical intervention might be needed. 

Also, a determinant element that conduces to surgery is the evaluation of X-rays, showing future oral problems associated with Wisdom Teeth permanence. If surgery is needed or you have taken a decision to get your Wisdom Teeth extracted, make a short checklist including these details:

Short List of Dos Before a Wisdom Teeth Extraction Surgery

Talk to Your Dentist or Oral Surgeon

A comprehensive talking and questioning include short but crucial questions about the surgery. Feel free to ask any questions, including the type of anesthesia used.  

Be Open to Describe and Respond to Questions

Be open to describing any health-related problems you might have. Also, consider any medicine or drugs you might be taking and acquiescently tell them all.

Plan Ahead

A surgery sometimes requires taking some time off. Plan how to take care of routine activities like taking kids from school and find a safe ride back home as you might be numb after the surgery.

What Happens During a Wisdom Teeth Extraction Surgery?

A typical Wisdom Teeth surgery is ambulatory, meaning it does not require a patient overnight stay. This type of surgery lasts an average of 45 minutes. However, depending on the case, you might need to be aware of the type of anesthesia used. Here we include the three possible anesthetic scenarios:

Local Anesthesia

Local anesthesia, as its name implies, numbs the nerves in the mouth that connect to Wisdom Teeth. So, you have a broader knowledge about local anesthetics; you might get a shot of any of the following:

  • Novocaine;
  • Lidocaine or; 
  • Mepivacaine. 

To help you pass alleviate the discomfort, you might also breathe nitrous oxide named laughing gas. Nitrous oxide helps patients relax during surgery.

Intravenous Sedation (IV sedation)

In addition to mouth-numbing, you might also get a sedative drug injected through your arms vein. This will help you get sleepy and feel no pain.

General Anesthetics

Your surgeon will tell you to relax and count to ten. You will be asleep before you reach that number and continue for over an hour. Then, a general anesthetic might be applied intravenously or through a gas mask.

About The Surgical Process

The Oral Surgeon makes an incision in the patient’s gum around the third molar. For example, the Surgeon might remove a Wisdom Tooth in one piece or might need to break the tooth into fragments before extracting them. After extracting the tooth, the Oral Surgeon stitches the wounds to accelerate recovery. The good part is that recovery usually takes a couple of days and stitches dissolve in a few days. 

Post-Surgery Notes

Response to Anesthetics

Not every person responds similarly to anesthetics, so we recommend you to prepare in advance. If everything goes as planned and you react favorably to anesthesia, you might return to work the same day. However, if your response to anesthesia is not that favorable, the best thing to do is get someone to drive you home, and rest is the best thing to do.

Discomfort 

Patients feel discomfort in the next three days following the surgery. However, it takes around three weeks for your mouth to fully recover. So, first things first, you need to follow your Oral Surgeon’s recommendations to avoid any problems and heal quickly.

Recommendations for the next three days after the surgery

  • Get a pack of ice and put it on your face near the swollen area; 
  • Little by little, try to open your mouth;
  • On the following day after the surgery, brush your teeth, avoiding touching blood cloths;
  • Take the drugs prescribed by your doctor;
  • Immediately call your doctor if swelling and pain continue after the first three days;
  • Avoid drinking beverages through a straw. Sucking forces muscles and tissue that are healing;
  • Use salt water to rinse your mouth gently and; 
  • By all means, avoid smoking as it delays recovery.

Can an Orthodontist Remove Wisdom Teeth?

An Orthodontist has the training and professional experience to determine the need to get Wisdom Teeth extracted. However, dentists usually extract Wisdom Teeth at their offices. In some cases, a profoundly impacted Wisdom Tooth might require referencing a  patient to an Oral Surgeon who will perform an ambulatory surgery at a hospital. 

What Can I Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

A dentist or Oral Surgeons’ dietary recommendations are minimal and usually adequate for a short period. Also, patients respond differently to soreness and discomfort, and they might feel the need to avoid some foods for a few days. Here we include a short list of foods that you can cross off your diet temporarily:

Hard Foods

  • Nuts and seeds;
  • Hard tacos;
  • Hard candy; 
  • Hard fruits (apples) or vegetables (carrots); 
  • Pretzels;
  • Popcorn unpopped kernels and;
  • Corn on the cob.

Crunchy foods 

  • Chips; 
  • Nachos;
  • Roasted chickpeas;
  • Cereal and;
  • Trail mix.

Also, we recommend patients avoid Alcohol for at least a couple of days after surgery. Fortunately, diet doesn’t last forever; by the fourth day, you might slowly return to your regular diet. Meanwhile, you can eat soups, pasta, or rice, and remember to hydrate with plenty of water properly.

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