February 28th, 2024
When you think of a dental emergency, you may picture teeth that have fallen out or severe tooth pain. But it is not uncommon for wisdom teeth to develop conditions or problems that require urgent care from Dr. Rick Johns and our team at Rick Johns Dental. Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that erupt in the late teen years to early 20s. Spacing and crowding problems often cause impaction and infections, which is why many people elect to have their wisdom teeth removed. If you are experiencing discomfort or pain related to your wisdom teeth, call our office to schedule a wisdom teeth consultation.
Perisoronitis and Infections
You may develop perisoronitis if you have a partially-erupted wisdom tooth that has become inflamed. Often, inflammation is caused by food lodged beneath the gum. Here at Rick Johns Dental, we can gently search for and remove food debris, as well as clean the affected area and treat it with antibiotics. Do not avoid treatment, however, as untreated perisoronitis can lead to infection, which ultimately places your health at risk.
Crowding and Impaction
When your wisdom teeth erupt, they may cause overcrowding of your teeth, which can have a negative effect on their alignment. This can make it harder for you to clean your teeth properly, and it also increases the chances for developing tooth decay and other oral health problems in the future. For some people, the wisdom teeth never erupt, becoming impacted beneath the gum and causing problems with the neighboring teeth.
If you have an impaction or wisdom tooth crowding, make an appointment with our office soon. We will be happy to evaluate the progress of your wisdom teeth, as well as their effect on the rest of your jaw. Depending on our analysis, we will then discuss your options for treatment and whether extraction might be right for you.
Complications from Wisdom Tooth Extraction
If you have recently had your wisdom teeth extracted, blood clots will have formed in the open sockets the teeth previously occupied. In most cases, the gums heal normally, assuming you follow post-surgical care instructions. However, a small percentage of wisdom tooth extractions do not heal according to plan. If you continue to experience pain or other unusual symptoms following a wisdom tooth extraction, please give us a call. We’ll do everything we can to minimize discomfort and help you heal safely and quickly.
Remember, our team is here to support your dental health in every capacity. We are dedicated to providing excellent service before, during, and after all wisdom tooth procedures, so you can rest assured that your oral health is in good hands.
February 21st, 2024
Nearly 40,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer annually in the United States, with more than 8,000 dying every year from the disease. Oral cancer has a higher death rate than many other common cancers, including cervical cancer, testicular cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and thyroid or skin cancers. The high death rate results from the fact that most oral cancers go undiagnosed until the disease is well advanced and has spread to another part of the body, most often, the lymph nodes in the neck.
Dr. Rick Johns and our team want you to know that cancers of the mouth and throat, which account for about three percent of all cancers in the United States, are largely preventable. However, we want you to know about certain risk factors that affect the likelihood of developing the disease.
- Use of tobacco products including smoking cigarettes, cigars or a pipe, or chewing tobacco all elevate risk for developing oral cancer. Tobacco use especially, is a serious risk factor because it contains substances called carcinogens, which harm cells in your mouth.
- Consumption of alcohol in excess can also increase your risk. If you drink alcohol regularly, you have an elevated risk of getting oral cancer. Alcohol abuse (more than 21 drinks in one week) is the second largest risk factor for the development of oral cancer, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.
- Excessive sun exposure. People who spend lots of time outdoors and do not use proper amounts of sunscreen or lip balm have a greater risk for developing lip cancer. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight may also cause melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.
If you notice unusual lumps, bumps, or red or white patches in your mouth that don’t go away, sores that won’t seem to heal, persistent soreness, or pain or difficulty swallowing please consult Dr. Rick Johns and our team immediately.
Other factors that may influence your risk for developing oral cancer include:
- Age: Oral cancer is typically a disease that affects older people, usually because of their longer exposure to other risk factors. Most patients diagnosed with oral cancer are over the age of 40.
- Gender: Oral cancer strikes men twice as often as it does women.
- A history with viral infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV)
- A diet low in fruits and vegetables
During your next visit, Dr. Rick Johns will examine your mouth for signs of oral cancer. If you have been putting off a visit to our Highland, IN office for your regular checkup, now is an excellent time to schedule one. Regular visits can be the first line of defense against oral cancer because we can identify early warning signs of the disease. Give us a call today!
February 14th, 2024
The wisdom teeth are the last of the permanent molars to emerge from the gums. This can occur as early as age 17 or as late as 21. Though some teens and young adults experience a completely normal tooth eruption with ideally aligned molars that pose no health threat, this is not the case for everyone.
According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), wisdom teeth must meet specific criteria to avoid a required extraction. These guidelines include:
- Completely erupted and non-impacted
- Completely functional
- Free of decay
- Capable of being properly cleaned
If one or more of your child’s wisdom teeth do not meet these conditions, we recommend scheduling an appointment with Dr. Rick Johns; an extraction may be necessary.
Impacted wisdom teeth
One of the most common reasons for extracting a wisdom tooth is due to impaction. An impacted wisdom tooth is one that has not erupted and will not fully erupt from the gums. Usually this occurs because there is not enough room for the tooth to emerge. Impaction can be painful and can also lead to infection if left untreated. According to the AAOMS, roughly 90 percent of the teen and adult population has at least one impacted tooth. Extracting an impacted wisdom tooth early can help prevent future complications, such as periodontal disease, infections, and damage to neighboring teeth.
Extracting fully erupted wisdom teeth
Even if your child’s wisdom teeth are fully erupted, Dr. Rick Johns and our team at Rick Johns Dental may recommend removing them as a preventive measure. Fully-erupted third molars often interfere with a healthy bite. This can lead to problems with tooth and jaw alignment and may also contribute to the development of headaches. Your child’s wisdom teeth may also be more prone to tooth decay and gum disease, because their location in the back of the mouth makes them more difficult to reach for brushing and flossing.
To learn more about wisdom teeth, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rick Johns, please give us a call at our convenient Highland, IN office!
February 7th, 2024
Outside activities? You slather your kids with sunscreen. Biking? You don’t let your child leave the house without a helmet. Youth sports? You provide mouthguards and padding and headgear and all the other tools designed to keep your child safe. Protecting your child is a fundamental part of parenthood, and you take your job seriously.
Protecting your child’s dental health is fundamental, too! Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children, and children’s premolars and molars are far more vulnerable to decay than any of their other teeth. You can help protect your child’s molars and premolars with a simple and effective treatment—dental sealants.
- How Do Sealants Work?
The bacteria in plaque use food particles to create acids. These acids erode the minerals in tooth enamel, creating weak spots that become cavities over time. Molars and premolars are especially vulnerable to cavities because of their uneven chewing surfaces. The dips and grooves on top of the teeth—technically known as “pits and fissures”—collect food particles and bacteria, and can be difficult for children to clean completely when brushing. That’s why cavities are so common in newly erupted molars.
Dental sealants protect your child’s molars and premolars by creating a barrier that covers and smooths out the chewing surface of the tooth, preventing bacteria and food particles from getting stuck inside those uneven pits and fissures.
- What Kind of Sealants Are Available?
The two most common dental sealants are composite resin coatings and glass ionomer sealants.
With resin sealants, after each tooth is cleaned and dried, an etching solution will be brushed onto the top surface of the molar. This etching slightly roughens the surface so that the sealant will stick to the tooth more effectively. A thin coat of the sealant is then painted on and hardened under a special curing light.
Glass ionomer sealants use a flexible paste that bonds to the tooth and hardens within minutes. While they generally don’t last as long as resin sealants, they are designed to absorb and release fluoride for extra cavity-fighting protection.
- Do Sealants Work?
They certainly do! According to the Centers for Disease Control, sealants can prevent 80% of the cavities in molars and premolars, which is where 90% of children’s cavities appear. Dental sealants can last from three to five years, or even longer. Dr. Rick Johns will check the condition of any sealants at each dental exam, and let you know if it’s time for a reapplication.
- When’s the Best Time to Get Sealants?
Tooth enamel gets harder as we get older, so children’s newly erupted teeth are more at risk for cavities. First adult molars usually arrive when a child is six to seven years old, and second adult molars come in around the age of 12. The first and second premolars can erupt between the ages of ten to 12. As soon as the first permanent molars begin to erupt, it’s a good time to talk to Dr. Rick Johns about the best time to apply sealants.
And what about baby teeth? Even though baby teeth are meant to be replaced, they shouldn’t be lost to tooth decay before they are ready to fall out. Primary teeth help young children learn to speak and eat properly and hold the place for adult teeth so these permanent teeth come in where they should. Baby teeth have thinner enamel, and so cavities can progress more quickly. Dr. Rick Johns can let you know if sealant protection for your child’s baby molars is indicated.
Applying sealants at our Highland, IN office is a safe, simple, cost-effective, and painless process. Dental sealants are one more tool you can use to make protecting your child’s dental health a little easier and a lot more effective. That gets a well-deserved parents’ seal of approval!