BLOG > Genetic Dental Issues You Want to Speak to Your Dentist About

Genetic Dental Issues You Want to Speak to Your Dentist About

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Basically, everything about you is based off genetics. The way you look, the depth of your voice, and even the way your natural smile looks can all be traced back in your lineage.

Some dental issues run in the family and should be discussed with your dentist. Anything that can be strongly linked to your genetic history through either parent can put you more at risk to develop or have already. Here is a list of genetic oral concerns your dentist should know about if they occur in your family.

Supernumerary Teeth

A supernumerary tooth is an extra permanent tooth that either stays under the skin and never erupts or actually emerges and becomes part of the row of existing teeth. Often a smaller tooth, a supernumerary tooth can be relatively harmless but may cause crowding in surrounding teeth if you have a smaller mouth or a narrow jawbone.

Your dentist will likely discover the extra tooth or teeth in a standard X-ray. If the tooth is already erupted and not causing any harm, your dentist will likely not recommend pulling the tooth.

If the tooth causes your smile to be uneven or you are embarrassed by it, your dentist can provide a few solutions. You can have the additional tooth pulled or get braces to help even out your teeth and give you the smile you desire.

Gum Disease

A large enough concern on its own (half the adult population in the United States suffers from it at one point in their lives), gum disease is a genetic trait in up to 30 percent of people. Gum disease causes tooth decay and loss, bad breath, bleeding gums, and other oral issues.

If you are predisposed to gum disease due to your genetics, then your dentist may recommend a prescription mouthwash or other dental cleaning tools to help prevent the issue. Brushing and flossing regularly, avoiding smoking and other tobacco use, and seeing your dentist regularly for checkups can help lower your risk of gum disease.

Enlarged Gums

Large gums can overwhelm your smile and make you feel self-conscious about your grin. Luckily, treatments are available to help reduce the size of your gums in comparison to your teeth. You can have veneers placed on your teeth to make them more proportionate to your prominent gums, or you can have your gums treated to reduce their size.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is largely caused by lifestyle choices, such as alcohol use or tobacco use, but it can be a genetic condition as well. Always alert your dentist to oral concerns that seem strange to you, such as:

  • Pain in your tongue
  • White spots in your mouth
  • Coughing without illness
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Swollen lymph nodes without illness

If you do smoke or drink alcohol, let your dentist know, especially if you have a family history of oral cancer. Your dentist will take extra care when giving you regular exams, checking for early signs of oral cancer.

While you cannot entirely prevent genetic oral conditions, you can do your part to keep your mouth healthy by brushing regularly, using mouthwash, rinsing your mouth with water after eating or drinking, and visiting your dentist twice a year for checkups. Your dentist can give you a customized oral care plan based on genetic dental concerns you have.

Taking care of your teeth means understanding what conditions you may be predisposed to. While not all genetic traits you carry will manifest themselves, it's wise to know what conditions you need to watch out for concerning your dental health. See our team of dental experts at Kenneth M. Schweizer, DDS, PA for all your dental needs.

BLOG > How Dental Sealants Benefit Your Tooth Health

How Dental Sealants Benefit Your Tooth Health

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The American Dental Association reports that dental sealants can reduce the risk of tooth decay in molars by almost 80%. So when it comes to dental health, individuals should consider dental sealants in addition to routine exams and cleanings. Usually, dental sealants are an excellent way to prevent cavities in children and teens’ teeth, but adults can also take advantage of this painless procedure. 

What Are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are applied in liquid form over both molars and pre-molars. Dental sealants are made up of a thin, clear plastic, and once they harden, patients never even know they are there. All you will feel is the clean, smooth surface of your tooth. 

Even though you can’t tell that the sealants are there, the special coating provides a barrier that stops food and bacteria from getting stuck in the crevices of teeth and causing cavities. Even with faithful brushing and flossing, it isn't possible to clean out every nook and cranny, which is why dental sealants are still beneficial to those who follow the best oral hygiene practices. 

When Is the Best Time to Get Sealants?

Children should get sealants as soon as their molars erupt, generally around the age of six and again around age 12. It is also a good idea to return to the dentist once your wisdom teeth arrive, as these teeth are especially hard to reach and clean properly. 

Adults who've never had sealants can request them at any time, so long as the teeth in question do not already have cavities or fillings. Dental sealants typically last around 10 years, so have your dentist keep an eye on your teeth to determine when a new set of sealants is needed.

How Are Sealants Applied?

Since the dental sealant procedure is painless, there is no need for novocaine or any type of anesthetic. The dentist or their hygienist will thoroughly clean the molars to prepare them for the sealants. Next, an acidic gel is applied to the teeth for a few minutes before being rinsed off. This gel will help the sealants bond to your teeth by roughing up the surface of each tooth.

After the dentist dries your teeth, he or she will paint on the sealant and use a special blue light to harden the plastic surrounding your teeth. The entire procedure only takes a few minutes, so you won't even have to hold your mouth open that long. 

How Do I Care for the Sealants?

Once the sealants are properly placed, patients can eat and drink as they normally would immediately after leaving the dentist's office. Of course, there are a few things patients can do to keep their sealants intact.

Avoid any sticky sweets, such as gummy candies, caramels, Fruit Roll-Ups, and chewing gum. Patients will also benefit by staying away from hard-to-chew items, like ice chips, jawbreakers, peanut brittle, and other hard candies. 

Your dentist should also check your sealants for any chipping at your regular check-ups and replace them as needed.

Will My Insurance Cover Sealants?

Most insurances cover the cost of sealants for children. Adults, on the other hand, may have to pay out of pocket depending on the type of dental plan they carry. You'll need to check with your provider before making an appointment with the dentist. If the procedure is not covered, you can expect to pay anywhere from $35 to $60 per tooth. 

If you'd like more information on dental sealants, contactus at the dental office of Kenneth M. Schweizer, DDS, PA. Our team is fluent in multiple languages and our office is designed to promote a relaxing atmosphere for your ultimate comfort.