My Blog

Posts for: September, 2017

By Michael J. Tisdelle DDS
September 26, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Via a recent Instagram post, pop diva Ariana Grande became the latest young celebrity to publicly acknowledge a dental milestone: having her wisdom teeth removed. The singer of hits such as “Break Free” and “Problem” posted an after-surgery picture of herself (wearing her signature cat-eye eyeliner), with a caption addressed to her teeth: “Peace out, final three wisdom teeth. It’s been real.”

With the post, Grande joined several other celebs (including Lily Allen, Paris Hilton and Emile Hirsch) who have shared their dental surgery experience with fans. Will "wisdom teeth removal" become a new trending topic on social media? We aren’t sure — but we can explain a bit about the procedure, and why many younger adults may need it.

Technically called the “third molars,” wisdom teeth usually begin to emerge from the gums between the ages of 17 and 25 — presumably, around the same time that a certain amount of wisdom emerges. Most people have four of these big molars, which are located all the way in the back of the mouth, on the left and right sides of the upper and lower jaws.

But when wisdom teeth begin to appear, there’s often a problem: Many people don’t have enough space in their jaws to accommodate them. When these molars lack sufficient space to fully erupt (emerge), they are said to be “impacted.” Impacted teeth can cause a number of serious problems: These may include pain, an increased potential for bacterial infections, periodontal disease, and even the formation of cysts (pockets of infection below the gum line), which can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss.

In most cases, the best treatment for impacted wisdom teeth is extraction (removal) of the problem teeth. Wisdom tooth extraction is a routine, in-office procedure that is usually performed under local anesthesia or “conscious sedation,” a type of anesthesia where the patient remains conscious (able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli), but is free from any pain or distress. Anti-anxiety medications may also be given, especially for those who are apprehensive about dental procedures.

So if you find you need your wisdom teeth extracted, don’t be afraid to “Break Free” like Ariana Grande did; whether you post the results on social media is entirely up to you. If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”

By Michael J. Tisdelle DDS
September 19, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

If you're like most people, you've probably looked around at all of the perfect smiles around you and wondered if some people have just dental procedureswon some magical dental lottery that rewards some people with perfect teeth. But the truth is that while genetics do play a role in the health and aesthetic quality of your smile, most Americans will undergo some form of cosmetic and restorative dentistry in their lifetime. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), over 90% of all adults experience some form of tooth decay, and close to half are living with some form of tooth loss. But the good news is that anyone can get a healthy and attractive smile. Dr. Michael Tisdelle, a dentist in Charlottesville, VA, offers a range of dental treatments and services to treat everything from cosmetic imperfections to periodontal (gum) disease.

Get a Smile Makeover with Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry in Charlottesville, VA

The cornerstone of good oral health and an attractive smile is preventive dental care. The ADA recommends visiting a dentist every six months to a year for a check up and professional dental cleaning to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Practicing good oral hygiene at home and eating a healthy diet are also easy steps that you can take to improve your smile. Even if you have neglected your oral hygiene and health in the past, it's never too late to start. But even with the best of care, accidents and cosmetic damage and wear and tear can still affect your smile.

Some of the most common cosmetic and restorative dental procedures available include:

Professional teeth whitening - Significantly whitens stains and discolorations caused by diet and smoking

Porcelain veneers - Veneers are one of the most versatile cosmetic dental treatments available and can change the size, shape and color of your teeth

Dental crowns - Crowns (also known as caps) literally cover a damaged or decayed tooth to restore cosmetic appearance and function after tooth decay or a severe break or crack. Crowns can also replace missing teeth as part of a dental bridge.

Root Canal Therapy - Don't let the hype fool you - root canals may get a bad rap as an excruciatingly painful and traumatic procedure, but the truth is quite different. A root canal is actually very similar to getting a filling and is used to relieve the pain caused by a severely decayed or infected tooth by clearing bacteria and damaged tissue from the pulp (soft tissue and nerves) inside the tooth.

Find a Dentist in Charlottesville, VA

You don't have to settle for an average or less than perfect smile. For more information on the dental procedure that is best for you, contact our office by calling (434) 977-4101 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tisdelle today.

By Michael J. Tisdelle DDS
September 11, 2017
Category: Oral Health

The next time you visit your dentist you might see an item quite different from the other dental instruments and equipment in the office: a blood pressure cuff. Checking blood pressure is becoming a more common occurrence in dental offices across the country.

Abnormal blood pressure and some of the medications used to treat it are often a factor in some dental procedures, particularly if anesthesia is involved. But your dentist may also check your blood pressure for another reason: dental visits represent another avenue to screen for this condition that increases the risk of serious health problems.

Undiagnosed high blood pressure is a prevalent but often “silent” problem because the early stages of the condition may not display any symptoms. Many people first become aware they have an issue only after a blood pressure check at their family doctor, pharmacy or a health fair, for example. Otherwise, they could go months, even years without this vital knowledge about their health.

But while people may only visit their doctor once a year (or less) many see their dentist much more often, even twice a year, for routine cleanings and checkups. Including blood pressure screenings as a routine part of dental treatment could alert patients to a potential issue much earlier than their next doctor’s visit.

In fact, one study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association looked at a group of dental patients with no reported heart disease risk and who had not seen a doctor in the twelve months before their dental visit. During their visit their blood pressure was checked. Of those then referred to a physician for an abnormal reading, 17% learned for the first time they had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

It’s estimated about 80 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease and many don’t even know it. Diagnosing and controlling high blood pressure is a key factor in treating these life-threatening conditions. And many dentists are joining the fight by making this simple screening method a part of their dental care services.

If you would like more information on blood pressure screening, 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 “Monitoring Blood Pressure: What you don't know can hurt you.”

By Michael J. Tisdelle DDS
September 03, 2017
Category: Oral Health

Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.

“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into cavities. How did this happen?

Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.

While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods.  Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.

This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”

Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:

  • Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
  • Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
  • Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.

Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.

“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”

If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”