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Posts for: August, 2015


A few days before the Oscars, Vanity Fair magazine asked Academy Awards host Neil Patrick Harris to name his most treasured possession. Was it his Tony award statuette for best leading actor in a musical? His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? The stethoscope he wore while playing teenaged doctor Doogie Howser on TV? No, as it turns out, the 41-year-old actor’s most treasured possession is… his wisdom teeth. Yes, you read that correctly. “Oddly, I still have my four wisdom teeth,” Harris said. “I refuse to let them go or I’ll lose my wise parts.”

How odd is it for a 41-year-old to have wisdom teeth? Actually, not that odd at all. While it is true that wisdom teeth are often removed, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this. It all depends on whether they are causing problems now, or are likely to cause problems in the future.

The trouble wisdom teeth cause is related to the fact that they are the last molars to come in, and that molars are large in size. By the time wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 and 21, there often is not enough room for them in the jaw. Sometimes it’s because you may have inherited a jaw size that’s too small for your tooth size; and generally speaking, the size of the human jaw has evolved to become smaller over time.

If room is lacking, the adjacent molar (that came in earlier) can interfere with the path of eruption — causing the wisdom tooth to come in at an odd angle. The wisdom tooth can hit up against that other tooth, possibly causing pain or damaging the adjacent tooth. This is known as “impaction.” Sometimes the wisdom tooth breaks only partway through the gum tissue, leaving a space beneath the gum line that’s almost impossible to clean, causing infection. A serious oral infection can jeopardize the survival of teeth, and even spread to other parts of the body.

If a wisdom tooth is impacted, will you know it? Not necessarily. A tooth can be impacted without causing pain. But we can see the position of your wisdom teeth on a dental x-ray and help you make an informed decision as to whether they should stay or go. If removal is the best course of action, rest assured that this procedure is completely routine and that your comfort and safety is our highest priority. If there is no great risk to keeping them, as Neil Patrick Harris has done, we can simply continue to monitor their condition at your regular dental checkups. It will be particularly important to make sure you are reaching those teeth with your brush and floss, and that you keep to your schedule of regular professional cleanings at the dental office. All healthy teeth are indeed worth treasuring.

If you would like more information about wisdom teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”

By Countryside Dental
August 06, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: teeth whitening  

Teeth WhiteningArm yourself with useful tips for keeping your smile looking it’s best after professional teeth whitening.

Whether you decided to brighten your smile before your wedding day or you were just sick and tired of dental stains, professional teeth whitening from your Chatham cosmetic dentists Dr. Domenic Riccobono and Dr. Vicki Cohn was the answer you were looking for. You said goodbye to dull, yellowing teeth and now have a brilliant smile that you can’t help but show off. But if you want to keep your smile looking its best then you need to take the necessary steps to ensure that your results last. Find out how:

Eat for Your Smile

Have you ever bitten into a juicy strawberry just to stain your white t-shirt? Just as a white t-shirt can easily show stains caused by food, so too can your teeth. Even the healthiest enamel can absorb color from certain foods and drinks, which can take a toll on the color of your smile. If you want your whitening results to last then remove these items from your diet:

  • Wine
  • Tea and coffee
  • Sports drinks
  • Dark sodas
  • Berries and jams
  • Tomato sauce, soy sauce, and other dark condiments

Improve your oral care regime

Skimping out on proper oral hygiene is like expecting to shed weight by eating pizza and dessert. If you already put in the time and money to get in-office teeth whitening then you’ll want to make sure you are getting the most of our treatment. This means brushing at least twice a day, or preferably after each meal. Also, don’t forget that flossing is a crucial part of any good oral regime. Floss at least once a day before brushing to keep your smile looking its best.

Use at-home whitening products

Sure these commercial products might not have given you the actual results you wanted for your smile in the beginning, but if you already have the whiter results you want from professional teeth whitening from your Chatham dentist then using these products will only serve to fight new surface stains and prevent other stains from forming.

While all of these steps will certainly go a long way to promoting a whiter smile longer, nothing is as important as seeing your Chatham dentists every six months for a professional cleaning and exam. Our deep cleanings can help to remove plaque, tartar and minor surface stains, so call Countryside Dental today to schedule your next appointment.

By Countryside Dental
August 05, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

Long-term dental health is built on a foundation of good hygiene habits instilled at an early age. Consistent, daily hygiene not only makes for healthy teeth and gums but an attractive smile too.

Here are 4 tips for encouraging your child to develop effective oral hygiene habits.

Begin teaching them to brush and floss on their own around age 6. Brushing and flossing are the primary ways to remove bacterial plaque from teeth, the main cause for dental disease. You should begin brushing your child’s teeth when they first appear; around age 6 you can begin encouraging them to brush for themselves and learn to floss.

Promote healthy eating and snacking habits. A nutritious diet is also important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Make sure your child is eating a varied, balanced diet of whole foods in appropriate portions. You should limit sugar and other carbohydrates (which accelerate growth of decay-causing bacteria) to mealtimes; offer limited, non-sugary snacks between meals.

Warn older children and teens about practices that are unhealthy for the mouth. As children enter their teen years, they’re under increased pressure from peers to try unhealthy practices. Oral piercings like tongue and lip bolts can increase tooth damage — chipping and wear — and gum recession, infection and bone loss. Tobacco use, both smoke and smokeless, can also cause tooth staining, increase the risk of decay, gum disease and oral cancer. Begin stressing the dangers these practices pose to their general and oral health before they reach puberty.

Practice what you teach. ├é┬áModeling healthy behavior you want your child to learn is just as important as instructing them how to do it. When they’re very young, brushing teeth should be a family affair — allow them to see how you brush your teeth as you help them brush theirs. And, if you’re not sure if your hygiene techniques are worthy of emulation, we’ll be glad to help you improve your effectiveness to pass on to the next generation.

If you would like more information on developing life-long dental habits with your child, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health.”