Wisdom Teeth

August 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

tufail 8-3-11Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties. Sometimes these teeth can be a valuable asset to the mouth when healthy and properly aligned, but more often, they are misaligned and require removal.

Wisdom teeth present potential problems when they are misaligned – they can position themselves horizontally, be angled toward or away from the second molars or be angled inward or outward. Poor alignment of wisdom teeth can crowd or damage adjacent teeth, the jawbone, or nerves. Wisdom teeth that lean toward the second molars make those teeth more vulnerable to decay by entrapping plaque and debris. In addition, wisdom teeth can be entrapped completely within the soft tissue and/or the jawbone or only partially break through or erupt through the gum. Teeth that remain partially or completely entrapped within the soft tissue and /or the jawbone are termed “impacted.” Wisdom teeth that only partially erupt allows for an opening for bacteria to enter around the tooth and cause an infection, which results in pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, and general illness. Partially erupted teeth are also more prone to tooth decay and gum disease because their hard-to-reach location and awkward positioning makes brushing and flossing difficult.

Your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend that your wisdom teeth be extracted even before problems develop. This is done to avoid a more painful or more complicated extraction that might have to be done a few years later. Removal is easier in young people, when the wisdom teeth roots are not yet fully developed and the bone is less dense. In older people, recovery and healing time tend to be longer.

The relative ease at which your dentist or oral surgeon can extract your wisdom teeth depends on their position. Your oral health care provider will be able to give you an idea of what to expect during your pre-extraction exam. A wisdom tooth that is fully erupted through the gum can be extracted as easily as any other tooth.

For many people, wisdom teeth emerge from the jaw between the ages of 17 and 25 years, and they don’t cause problems. In other people, the wisdom teeth become impacted, which means that they are trapped within the jaw and unable to emerge. But that’s not always a bad thing. Impacted wisdom teeth often cause no symptoms or pain and stay within the jaw for life.

But in some cases, the impacted wisdom tooth does cause problems. You may experience redness and swelling around the area where the tooth is impacted as well as jaw pain, headaches, and a strange taste when you bite near the area of the impacted tooth.

Wisdom teeth are a holdover from the earlier days of humans, when we ate a more primitive diet and needed more teeth. Humans today have smaller jaws and many of us are unable to accommodate these late-emerging teeth. As wisdom teeth try to emerge, they can push other teeth out of the way and interfere with orthodontic work. Also, partially emerged wisdom teeth can provide a breeding ground for bacteria, and bacterial buildup can lead to severe gum disease.

Even if impacted wisdom teeth are causing no symptoms, some dentists recommend removing them surgically to prevent the possibility of future problems. Fortunately, wisdom tooth extraction is a common outpatient procedure, performed under local anesthesia. As with any surgery, expect some residual bleeding, swelling and bruising in the first few days, and limit your activities. But most people recover quickly and easily.

Impacted wisdom teeth fall into one of several categories. Mesioangular impaction is the most common form (44%), and means the tooth is angled forward, towards the front of the mouth. Vertical impaction (38%) occurs when the formed tooth does not erupt fully through the gum line. Distoangular impaction (6%) means the tooth is angled backward, towards the rear of the mouth. And finally, Horizontal impaction (3%) is the least common form, which occurs when the tooth is angled fully ninety degrees forward, growing into the roots of the second molar.

Typically distoangular impactions are the easiest to extract in the maxilla and most difficult to extract in the mandible, while mesioangular impactions are the most difficult to extract in the maxilla and easiest to extract in the mandible.

Impacted wisdom teeth may also be categorized on whether they are still completely encased in the jawbone. If wisdom teeth are completely encased in the jawbone, it is a bony impaction. If the wisdom teeth have erupted out of the jawbone but not through the gumline, it is called a soft tissue impaction.

Sometimes the wisdom tooth fails to erupt completely through the gum bed and the gum at the back of the wisdom tooth extends over the biting surface, forming a soft tissue flap or lid around the tooth called an operculum. Teeth covered by an operculum can be difficult to clean with a toothbrush. Additional cleaning techniques can include using a needle-less plastic syringe to vigorously wash the tooth with moderately pressured water or to softly wash it with hydrogen peroxide.

However, debris and bacteria can easily accumulate under an operculum, which may cause pericoronitis, a common infection problem in young adults with partial impactions that is often exacerbated by occlusion with opposing 3rd or 2nd molars. Common symptoms include a swelling and redness of the gum around the eruption site, difficulty in opening the mouth, a bad odor or taste in the mouth, and pain in the general area which may also run down the entire lower jaw or possibly the neck. Untreated pericoronitis can progress to a much more severe infection.

If the operculum does not disappear, recommended treatment is extraction of the wisdom tooth. An alternative treatment involving removal of the operculum, called operculectomy, has been advocated. There is a high risk of permanent or temporary numbness of the tongue due to damage of the nerve with this treatment and it is no longer recommended as a standard treatment in oral surgery.

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Community News (V13-I24)

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Sarrah Shahawy, Valedictorian at USC

shahawyLOS ANGELES,CA– Sarrah Shahawy  graduated at the top her class from University of Southern California obtaining the coveted valedictorian status.

Shahawy is a graduating senior in USC’s honors general education program, Thematic Option, majoring in biological sciences and French in USC Dornsife. She is president of USC’s Student Interfaith Council and was instrumental in getting the Dalai Lama to speak in May at USC for the first time.

Shahawy was born in Orange and raised in Pasadena and is first generation Egyptian American. Fluent in Arabic and French, she will attend Harvard Medical School in the fall.

In her recent commencement baccalaureate ceremony speech, she said that interfaith work, while celebrating differences, reminds us of our common goals, such as working to eradicate hunger, poverty, disease and corruption.

Nabeel Rahman: top ten of Spelling Bee

Nabeel Rahman, 13-year-old spelling superstar made it to the second round of the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee finals last weekt. Rahman was done in by “dockmacky” after incorrectly spelling the word “dockmackie. ”  Rahman ended up tied for ninth place out of 275 competitors and only 13 who made it to the finals. The winner of the spelling bee, Sukyana Roy, received more than $40,000 in cash and prizes in the annual contest by correctly spelling the world “cymotrichous,” which means to have wavy hair.

Dr. Ali Shirani Donates Dental Care to Antioch Children in Need

ANTIOCH,CA–Many of California’s children today are suffering from dental problems because their family is uninsured and they are undereducated about proper dental care. Dr. Ali Shirani, a general dentist practicing in Antioch, California, is doing his part to help by volunteering his time to treat local children who don’t have insurance. Most of the children have never visited a dentist, so Dr. Shirani uses humor and rewards to calm them down. He hopes his generosity will inspire other dentists to volunteer their services to kids in need.

Dr. Shirani has been volunteering his services since he was in dental school at USC, including trips to treat needy patients in Tijuana. He made this service part of his Antioch practice because he wanted to help local children whose families lack the means to bring them to a dentist. He recently told the Contra Costa Times that for a lot of the families, the choice is, “Do I feed my kids or take them to the dentist?” Now these kids have access to his state-of-the-art facilities, and receive the highest level of care.

The kids who visit his practice are in need of serious dental care; root canals, extractions, fillings, or multiple procedures. He is friendly and gentle as he talks the kids through the process, and he rewards kids who keep their mouth open with toys and stickers. He also teaches them about the importance of brushing and flossing. Dr. Shirani usually treats eight to ten needy children each month. The children are referred to Dr. Shirani by Contra Costa Health Services.

The Contra Costa Times noted the dire state of pediatric oral hygiene in California, stating that “one out of four children in the state’s elementary schools have untreated tooth decay, according to a recent study. Four percent of elementary school students are afflicted with pain from rotting teeth, abscesses and infections.”

Dr. Shirani is fighting to change those numbers, but he knows how big the problem is. “The most frustrating part is no matter how much I do, it’s not enough,” he stated. He hopes other dentists will view his practice as a model.

Amena Ali appointed as CMO of Earth Networks

Earth Networks™, the owner of the WeatherBug® brand and operator of the largest weather observing and lightning network, announces the hiring of Amena Ali as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). In this role, Amena will oversee the development and implementation of worldwide marketing and product initiatives, and will be responsible for advancing strategic programs involving the company’s enterprise solutions for commercial and public-sector markets and the popular WeatherBug consumer brand. She will also drive Earth Networks’ expansion into new markets and support the company’s mission to “Take the Pulse of the Planet” by deploying environmental networks – including the largest and first privately funded global greenhouse gas (GHG) observation network – that provide weather and climate intelligence through precise observation, actionable information and advanced alerting.

A skilled leader, Amena brings to Earth Networks more than 20 years of management experience with innovative high-tech firms ranging in size from $10 million to $30 billion. Prior to joining Earth Networks, she served as CMO at Bethesda, Md.-based Arxan Technologies, a leading developer of application security solutions. Amena’s experience includes senior marketing positions at Softek Storage Solutions (now a part of IBM) and EMC Corporation. Prior, Amena held similar positions at Legato Systems and OTG Software, both of which were acquired by EMC. She also held executive-level consumer marketing and finance positions at MCI, and was a management consultant with Bain & Company. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and an MBA from Yale University.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Amena Ali to Earth Networks,” says Earth Networks CEO Bob Marshall. “Her depth and breadth of experience in both consumer and enterprise marketing, with notable accomplishments in market expansion, product positioning and partner relationships, as well as branding and go-to-market strategies, will be invaluable as we increase our business globally. Her insight, creativity, and leadership will be essential as we rapidly grow our business to provide global weather, climate and GHG intelligence to businesses, governments and consumers on a scale that has never been done before.”

Cultural awareness overcomes lies and misconceptions

BOSTON,MA–Many Americans have adopted false impressions of Muslims, said Muhammad Ali-Salaam, the former deputy director of special projects for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, who converted to Islam in 1975.

Speaking at the Arab, Muslim and Sikh Cultural Awareness Program in the Behrakis Health Sciences Center on Tuesday, Ali-Salaam told some two-dozen members of the Northeastern University community, “People thought all Muslims wore turbans, had brown skin and were most likely associated with Afghanistan or the Middle East.

“The stereotype of what a Muslim is,” he said, “doesn’t hold water.”

The event provided insight into the cultural, religious and historical traditions of Arabs, Muslims and Sikhs, said Naomi Thompson Hall, the associate director of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, which sponsored the program.

“The presentation,” she said, “is part of an on-going discussion about diversity, religion and being respectful.”

Sara Rivera, an administrative assistant for the Latino Student Cultural Center, learned that Islamic women are allowed to vote and required to pursue an education.

“Now, when someone makes a false statement,” she said, “I’ll be able to say, ‘that’s not true.’”

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