(972) 960-1111

February 22, 2015

Wisdom Tooth Problems

Dr. Chilcoat @ 3:15 pm
wisdom tooth problems

Decayed second molar caused by impacted wisdom tooth

Most adults have had wisdom tooth problems at some point in their life.  How do you know if you need to have the teeth removed or not?  The answer is not always dependent on whether or not you are experiencing tooth pain.  While these teeth, clinically referred to as third molars, do not always need to be removed, there are quite a few reasons why your dentist might recommend wisdom teeth removal.

Wisdom Tooth Pain

Your third molars often cause pain when they erupt (come in to the dental arch).  If the teeth are impacted, meaning they are trapped beneath gum tissue or bone, they can be chronically painful as the gums get inflamed or infected  A tooth impacted only partially can become a food trap and harbor bacteria and plaque which cause tooth decay.  Problems such as chronic infection, inflammation or cavities are indicators that wisdom teeth should be removed.

Cysts and Other Pathology

Sometimes, an impacted tooth forms a cyst around it.  A cyst is a fluid filled sac that can grow to be quite large.  As the cyst grows, it destroys healthy bone tissue in the jaw, which can cause a variety of dental problems.  Most cysts that form around the third molars are benign, but can be destructive. Over time, the cyst can damage the molars adjacent to it, leading to tooth loss. If your dentist sees a cyst growing around a wisdom tooth, he will likely recommend that you have it along with the tooth removed in order to prevent damage to healthy teeth later on.  A cyst around a tooth is often not painful or symptomatic, and is usually diagnosed using a panoramic x-ray.

Damage to Adjacent Teeth

When a tooth is impacted, it can be positioned in such a way that it tried to erupt directly into the roots of the tooth in front of it.  When this happens, the roots of the adjacent teeth can become damaged to the point that they cannot be repaired.  In a situation like this, the second molars are placed under a lot of pressure.  The pressure causes the teeth to move out of alignment.  Many people with impacted wisdom teeth find that their molars have shifted, causing them to frequently bite their cheeks when eating or talking.

Orthodontics and Wisdom Teeth

Many orthodontists recommend that their patients have their third molars extracted upon completion of their orthodontic treatment.  This is advised in order to prevent shifting of the teeth caused by pressure from the wisdom teeth.  After spending a year or two in braces, nobody wants their teeth to get crooked again!  Extracting the third molars can often help prevent some orthodontic relapse.

Does Everyone Need Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Not everybody needs to have their third molars extracted.  Some teeth come into the dental arch fully and in line with the other teeth.  If they are not difficult to keep clean and healthy, and show no signs of pathology, your dentist may tell you to leave them alone.  If your dentist recommends that you remove the teeth, it is a good idea to take care of the problem before major problems occur.

For more information about your wisdom teeth, or to schedule an appointment, visit Texas Wisdom Teeth and Dental Implants.



February 4, 2015

World Cancer Day – Oral Cancer Awareness

Dr. Chilcoat @ 12:03 pm

healthy smiling familyWorld Cancer Day is February 4, 2015. The team at Texas Wisdom Teeth and Dental Implants wants you to know that early detection and prevention is the key when it comes to oral and pharyngeal cancer.

What is Oral Cancer?

Many other cancers are more well-known than oral/pharyngeal cancer, but the truth is, oral cancer is very common.  Oral cancer is diagnosed more frequently than cervical and ovarian cancer combined. Oral/Pharyngeal cancer affects the oral cavity, throat, tongue and mouth. 85% of head/neck cancers (excluding brain cancer) are oral cancers.
Oral/pharyngeal cancer has a high mortality rate due to the fact that so many cases go undiagnosed and undetected until the disease has progressed significantly. Sadly, 57% of patients diagnosed will lose their battle within 5 years. Early detection reduces the mortality rate of this cancer significantly, making complete remission and even curing the disease possible.


Why Oral Cancer Goes Undetected                         oral cancer detection

Early detection of oral cancer and pre-cancer is the key to surviving the disease. Most people do not realize that they are at risk for developing this type of cancer. In the past, it was believed that risk factors were largely limited to lifestyle habits such as alcohol and tobacco use.

In recent years, research has shown that age as well as the presence of the HPV-16 virus are important risk factors for developing oral cancer. 25% of all oral cancers are diagnosed in patients with no lifestyle risk factors. What this means is that every American adult should be carefully screened for oral cancer on an annual basis.

The most qualified person to perform an oral cancer screening exam is your dentist or oral surgeon.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

You should ask your dentist or oral surgeon to perform an oral-cancer screening on an annual basis. In addition, a monthly self-exam is a great idea. You can find instructions on performing a monthly self-exam here.

Signs and Symptoms to Look For:

• A sore or lesion which does not heal on it’s own within 2 weeks.
• A lump or thickening in the cheek
• White or red patches on oral soft tissues
• A sore throat or a feeling of something caught in your throat
• Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue
• Numbness or unexplained swelling in the jaw
• Chronic hoarseness

Help us raise awareness for oral and pharyngeal cancer by sharing this information. Support World Cancer Day by posting a “kiss” picture to your social profiles with the hashtag #KissCancerGoodbye, then schedule an appointment for a check-up and oral cancer screening exam.

Source: cancer.org; oral cancer foundation statistics

14856 Preston Rd., Suite 104, Dallas, TX 75254 USA
Charles Chilcoat, DDS Dallas TX Dentist (972) 960-1111 care@texaswisdom.com