The average adult has thirty-two teeth by age eighteen: sixteen teeth on the top and sixteen teeth on the bottom. However, the average mouth is made to hold only 28 teeth. It can be painful when 32 teeth try to fit in this space. These four other teeth are your third molars, also known as "wisdom teeth".
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come in – and the ones least needed for good oral health. When they align properly, and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not usually happen. Most often, wisdom teeth are impacted, or trapped in the jawbone and gums. Impacted wisdom teeth can take many positions and cause many problems as they attempt to emerge from your gums. When they partially emerge, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to grow and can eventually cause an infection with swelling, stiffness, pain and illness. The pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth may move your other teeth and disrupt their natural alignment. The most serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in the destruction of the jaw bone and healthy teeth. Removal of the offending impacted tooth or teeth usually resolves these problems. Early removal is recommended to avoid such future problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure.
With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, we can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there may be present or future problems. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient. Generally, patients should be evaluated first in their mid-teenage years.
Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth which look, feel, and function like natural teeth. People who have lost teeth regain the ability to eat virtually anything and can smile with confidence knowing that their teeth appear natural and that their facial contours will be preserved.
Dental implants are tiny, titanium posts placed in the jawbone under the gums to support artificial teeth where natural teeth are missing. Over a period of time, the jawbone actually attaches itself to these posts, providing a strong foundation for the artificial teeth attached to them.
Anyone who is missing teeth and can benefit from increased chewing efficiency, and improved appearance or speech, is a candidate for dental implants. Implants can be the solution when it has become difficult or impossible to wear removable dentures. Portions of the jaw that are missing due to a facial trauma, disease, or birth defect can often be reconstructed using implants.
Drs. Darab, Richardson & Hill determine if the patient is a candidate for dental implants. As a rule, age is not a barrier to implant treatment if he/she is in good health. In fact, many people of all ages are choosing dental implants over other procedures, because the result is a natural appearance that is intended to be permanent.
Over a period of time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth atrophies or is reabsorbed. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for placement of dental implants.
To overcome this condition, Drs. Darab, Richardson & Hill perform bone grafting. Bone grafting is a surgical procedure to help your body regrow bone. It allows the doctors to build a suitable foundation for dental implants that restore functionality and esthetic appearance.
In this procedure, the doctor takes a small piece of bone, usually from another area of the jaw or chin, and grafts it onto the jawbone where the dental implant is needed. Over a period of time, the body grows new bone over the graft, making it suitable for a the implant.
This procedure is performed at a local hospital under IV sedation or general anesthesia.
The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer.
The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:
These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face, and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology and, curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer.
While we recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly, the best method for detection is to have semi-annual check-ups by your dentist. Should there be an area of concern, he or she will refer you to our office for evaluation and possible biopsy. Biopsy is a quick office procedure which allows our doctor to take a sample of the tissue in the area of concern for examination under a microscope. Remember: your mouth is one of your body's most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores.
There are a number of possible causes of facial trauma including motor vehicle accidents, accidental falls, sports injuries, interpersonal violence and work related injuries. Types of facial trauma can range from injuries of the skin to severe injuries of the teeth and facial bones. Drs. Darab, Richardson & Hill are trained to manage and treat facial trauma to the teeth, the facial bones, and the jaws, including: