X-Ray of impacted wisdom tooth with text: Wisdom toot, not that wise

Why Are Wisdom Teeth Called Wisdom Teeth?

If you get your wisdom teeth out, don’t worry! The dentist won’t be removing your good sense. The name for your third molars, a.k.a. your wisdom teeth, comes from when they show up in your mouth. Wisdom teeth typically appear around age 17 to 25, right about the time people become adults and begin to gain some – you guessed it! – wisdom. Wisdom teeth have been called that for hundreds of years, replacing an even earlier (and clunkier) name, teeth of wisdom.

The pesky thing about wisdom teeth? 9 out of 10 of people have at least one impacted. This happens when the tooth cannot grow in fully, often because of a lack of space. If impacted teeth are left in the mouth, they can harm the teeth next to them, become infected, or attract bacteria due to the difficulty of cleaning them well. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons recommends that you have wisdom teeth evaluated early on in their growth, when you’re a young adult. Best bet? Talk to your family dentist about it.

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Of course you could get lucky… Not everyone has wisdom teeth! One estimate says that about 35% of the population is born without them.

 

 

photo of tired looking woman at work, eyes closed

Not Sleeping Well? Two Ways Your Dentist Can Help

Do you often feel like you don’t get a good night’s sleep? When your sleep is disrupted, it’s not only unpleasant, it can be bad for your overall health. There are lots of reasons you might be sleeping poorly, and your dentist can be your ally in discovering or ruling out certain causes.

1. Oral Appliances for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder in which your upper airways close off and interrupt your breathing while you sleep. Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:

  • Routine loud snoring
  • Waking gasping for air
  • Feeling overly fatigued during the day
  • Falling asleep unintentionally in the daytime

If you think you may have OSA, talk to your doctor. To properly diagnose OSA, you will have to do an overnight sleep study. Many people diagnosed with OSA can be treated using an oral appliance, a small, plastic device that you place in your mouth while sleeping that helps keep your airways open. Your dentist can help to fit you with an oral appliance made specifically for your unique needs.

2. Mouthguards for Teeth Grinding

Grinding your teeth, also known as bruxism, can also cause you to sleep poorly. If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw at night, your sleep might be disrupted by the sound of the grinding, hard clenching, or associated pain. Some signs that you might be grinding your teeth include:

  • Pain in your teeth, mouth or jaw
  • A clicking or popping sound in your jaw
  • Visibly worn down teeth
  • Sensitive teeth

If you’re thinking these sound like you, talk to your dentist. Your dentist will be able to examine your teeth and mouth to help determine if you are grinding your teeth. Often, teeth grinding can be treated with a mouthguard, which your dentist can custom-make for you.

Don’t neglect your sleep. Talk to someone.

Your sleep is important to your health, so don’t ignore signs that you’re not getting adequate sleep. Give us a call, we’d be happy to schedule an appointment to see you. 502-244-9595 You are also welcome to use our online appointment request form by clicking the button below.

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illustration of skyline inside a smiles with tag #BestLouSmiles

#BestLouSmiles Parade Contest: Win a Balloon Ride and Whitening!

Louisville, show off your smiles during the 2015 Pegasus Parade on April 30th for a chance to win a free balloon ride and teeth whitening*! We love to see our community smile, so Mortenson Family Dental, Braces Braces Braces and Kid’s Dentistree have teamed up to offer this prize to one lucky winner.

Entering our #BestLouSmiles contest is easy:

  • During the 2015 Pegasus Parade, snap a selfie of your smile, you and your friends or family, or you with one of our mascots who will be in the parade.
  • Post your photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag it #BestLouSmiles. Extra cool points if you tag our accounts as well!
  • You must be 18 or over to win.

We’ll choose a winner at random and announce the winner on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter during the following week. Good luck, and keep smiling!

How to find us on social media:

Mortenson Family Dental:

Kid’s Dentistree:

Braces Braces Braces

* This prize has no cash value and cannot be redeemed for dental care. The balloon ride is subject to weather conditions and all applicable regulations. Must be 18 or older to win.

UPDATE:

Congratulations to Alycia W. on winning the #BestLouSmiles contest!

Photo of Alycia W. smiling

Young woman with brilliant smile

Whitening Your Teeth: Three Common Questions

A brighter smile can be a great confidence booster for lots of people! We are often asked how to prevent tooth discoloration and how we whiten teeth, so we’ve rounded up the answers here for you.

What causes teeth to change color?

Teeth can appear discolored on the outside when there is a build-up of plaque, or the tooth enamel becomes stained. Common contributors to stains are dark colored beverages, like coffee and cola, and smoking. Teeth can also change color on the inside due to too much fluoride exposure or use of tetracycline during childhood, trauma to a tooth, or a rare medical condition. (Find more details here: causes of tooth discoloration.)

What can I do to prevent tooth discoloration?

  • Don’t smoke / quit smoking.
  • Avoid or consume sparingly foods and drinks that stain your teeth, including red wine, coffee, tea and cola, and foods that change the color of your tongue.
  • Rinse with water after meals, especially when you enjoy a food or drink that may cause stains.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.

 

How can I whiten my teeth?

If you decide you’d like to whiten your teeth, your best first step is to consult your dentist. Depending on the cause of discoloration and other health factors, you may or may not be a good candidate for whitening treatments or products. Your dentist will be able to tell you if you will benefit from whitening treatment.

The most common whitening solutions are in-office whitening treatments, and over-the-counter products.

In-office treatments:

  • Are performed at your dentist’s office
  • Can yield immediate results
  • Can whiten teeth as much as 10 shades

 

At-home products:

  • Are used in the comfort of your home
  • Come in both dentist-supervised and non-dentist-supervised varieties
  • Can take about two weeks to see results

 

How long whitening results last is varied for both methods, depending on a patient’s unique oral health, diet, genetics and other factors. A ballpark idea would be around six months to two years.

If you have more questions about teeth whitening, you can call any Mortenson Family Dental location and we’d be happy to talk with you. And don’t forget about our Smiles for Life whitening promotion, March through June!

 

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