FAMILY DENTISTRY

Common Concerns
Tooth Decay
Periodontal Disease
Bad Breath

Life Stages

Pregnancy
Infants & Toddlers
Children
Teenagers
Twenties & Thirties
Forties & Fifties
The Golden Years

(989) 872-3870

6240 Hill Street
Cass City, MI 48726

E-mail us for more
information

Copyright © 2003
James D. Thomas, DDS, PC
All Rights Reserved

During the twenties the wisdom teeth often make their presence known and many end up being removed. Gingivitis (gum disease) may begin in the early stages, and you may not even notice.

During the thirties gingivitis often progresses to the advanced form, periodontitis, affecting the tissue surrounding the teeth and the underlying bone structure. Gingivitis eventually leads to tooth loss.

Many of our patients are interested in enhancing their smile and specific dental concerns for Men and Women are addressed on this page.

Wisdom Teeth (The Third Molars)

Most people develop the third set of molars, known as the wisdom teeth, which may have already erupted or are beginning to erupt during this time. These teeth grow on both sides of the mouth, uppers and lowers. Some people do not have all four wisdom teeth, or have none.

The wisdom teeth begin to form around age 9 and fully mature by the late teens to early twenties. By this time the jawbone has nearly reached it's adult size, but may not be large enough to hold the wisdom teeth. When that happens these teeth become trapped in the bone (impacted), and then grow wherever they can. Some things that are commonly seen with these teeth:

  • The tooth's crown may only partially break through the gum, or the tooth may remain completely in the bone, with roots that grow haphazardly.
  • One problem sometimes seen is when the roots grow too close to a sinus cavity, leading to sinus or ear problems.
  • A wisdom tooth may also grow into an adjacent tooth, leading to crowding of the other teeth.

Normally, during the late teenage years or early twenties, we will take a panographic radiograph of the lower facial region, like the figure shown here. These X-rays give us an overview of the condition of all of your teeth and clearly show the position of the wisdom teeth.

Even when the wisdom teeth erupt normally, gingivitis or gum problems can occur and often times do. The wisdom teeth are so far back in our mouths that it is very difficult to properly clean them. Plaque and bacteria get trapped around the gums and under the gums causing very inflamed, bleedy and even infectious problems.

We cannot always predict if or when your wisdom teeth will give you trouble, but regular X-rays give us some indication. Since wisdom teeth that are impacted or infected can cause damage to your mouth, their removal at a younger age, before complications develop, may be recommended by your dentist. This means easier extractions and a faster recovery time.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal (gum) disease is the number one reason for early, unnecessary tooth loss. Gum disease affects 75% of adults in North America at some point in their lives. The earliest form of periodontal disease, gingivitis, can be treated simply and effectively. Gingivitis is sometimes observed as early as the teen years. Two of the signs of gingivitis are red, swollen gums and gums that bleed when brushed or flossed.

As periodontal disease progresses further the infection in the gums spreads to the underlying bone structure, resulting in the loss of supporting bone and gum structure. If left untreated tooth loss can occur.

Links have been established between periodontal disease and a number of other medical conditions, such as heart disease, low weight pre-term births and osteoporosis. There is much debate and ongoing research into the cause and effect of these links. It is known that bacteria and toxins present in infected gums can enter the blood stream and travel to the various body tissues.

Click here to read more about periodontal disease.

Enhance Your Smile

Many of our patients are interested in cosmetically enhancing their smiles. We can help if you are not satisfied with your smile.

  • If you have stained, discolored or dull looking teeth we can professionally whiten your smile in just a little over an hour or with a professional at-home treatment.
  • If you have chipped, cracked or worn teeth, bonding, tooth-colored crowns or veneers may be the solution for you.
  • Gaps between the teeth can be filled using bonding, crowns or veneers or through orthodontics.
  • Missing teeth can be replaced with fixed bridges or dental implants using materials that look just like your other teeth.
  • When restorations are needed, or to replace existing metal restorations, you may choose tooth-colored fillings, or all-porcelain inlays or onlays.

Be sure to discuss your options to cosmetically enhance your smile with your dentist.

Click here to read more about our cosmetic services.

To read articles about enhancing your smile through cosmetic dentistry from our newsletter archive click on the title you are interested in:

Men and The Dentist

Did you know that most men change the oil in their cars more often than they visit their dentist? Read tips to pursuade the men in your life to come in and see us in our newsletter archive. Dad! Get A Dentist!

Women and Dental Care

Hormones can effect your oral health and cause dental problems. Women are particularly susceptible to periodontal disease during puberty, menopause and menstration. Special care may be needed during pregnancy, after the birth of a child, and while using oral contaceptives. And many people, especially women during child-bearing years, suffer from pain or tenderness in the jaw.

Pregnancy. It is not a mistake to visit your dentist during pregnancy. This is a time when gingivitis is common and professional cleanings are important. Be sure to maintain good oral hygiene and your regular hygiene visits. Please inform us that you are pregnant, so that we adjust our treatment accordingly.

Read more about oral health during pregnancy.

After Giving Birth. An increase in progesterone after the birth of a child can cause your gums to bleed during brushing or flossing. Be carefule about bacterial infections.

Oral Contraceptives. During the use of oral contraceptives, which contain synthetic hormones, existing oral problems can be highlighted, gingivitis may occur or you may notice a reduction in the amount of saliva produced in the mouth. Please be sure to discuss any concerns you may have with your dentist.

TMJ. Millions of women of childbearing age (and some men) have a tenderness in their jaw joint called Tempromandibular (Jaw) Mandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ). A link has been established between female hormones and TMJ.

Read more about women's oral health in our newsletter archive. Women's Oral Health