OST Blog

Don't brush after EVERY meal!

November 16th, 2022

This may come as a surprise, but brushing your teeth right after a meal can be one of the worst things you can do for your healthy teeth. A toothbrush can be considered an assault weapon against your smile if used immediately after eating certain foods.

Enamel is like the tooth’s shield. It is a hard mineral exterior on each of your teeth. In reality, enamel is the hardest part of the human body—even stronger than bone! I like to regard it as a “super-structure.” But every superhero has a weakness, and enamel’s kryptonite is acid.

A healthy tooth lives in a mouth that has a proper pH balance. When that balance tips from alkaline to acidic, a harmful process called demineralization begins. Demineralization occurs when acids attack and soften the tooth surface. Pores and fissures form and harmful bacteria move in.

With each bite of food or drink, our mouth pH fluctuates. Highly acidic foods tip the balance of your mouth from a healthy alkaline to a dangerous acid. Here are some examples of those sources of acid: citrus fruits, soda, and sugary foods. There are certainly many others, but these are the most common.

So how does brushing your teeth immediately after a meal make this process even worse?

After eating highly acidic foods, your teeth are susceptible to damage. When you brush your teeth in this weakened state you are actually damaging your enamel. The abrasive bristles of the brush wear away the protective surface of the teeth. You should avoid brushing for at least an hour, or take other, simple preventive measures immediately following a meal.

First, rinse with or drink clear water. Then chew some sugarless gum. Both of these practices will produce saliva, restore a healthy pH level in your mouth, and coat your teeth with nourishing minerals. Out of all the sugarless gums available, the best of the best are those that list xylitol as the first ingredient. Another option is to consume cheese, milk, or another non-acidic food or drink to conclude your meal.

After you have given your mouth time to return to a healthy pH, feel free to brush your teeth. Just keep in mind that any time you eat acidic foods, you weaken your teeth. Make sure not to worsen the problem by brushing immediately after dining and damaging your teeth even more. Questions? Call us at Oral Surgery of Tidewater.

Discovering Your Roots

November 9th, 2022

Getting to the Root of the Problem

While our roots are well protected, they’re not indestructible! Several conditions can damage them. But we’re not just about problems—we also have some suggestions to keep your roots solid and intact for a lifetime.

  • Traumatic Injury

A blow, a fall from a bike, a sports injury—any trauma which can hurt your visible tooth can hurt your roots as well. And it’s not just accidents that cause harm. Cracks in the tooth caused by oral habits like chewing on ice, pencils, or other hard objects can lead to root fractures.

You can help prevent root injuries by wearing a mouth guard whenever you are engaged in contact sports or any physical activity that might cause damage to your face or mouth. If you have harmful oral habits, talk to Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter about how to break them. And if you do suffer a dental injury, see us as soon as possible to avoid more serious complications.

  • Bruxism

Bruxism, or tooth grinding, is most often an unconscious habit that takes place while you sleep. Grinding puts enormous pressure on teeth and their roots. The damage can be obvious, with cracked and worn crowns, but your roots can be affected, too. The strain of this constant pressure can stretch the periodontal ligament, causing loose teeth.

Night guards are one of the easiest ways to relieve pressure on individual teeth and roots. Your dentist can fabricate a night guard which will provide comfortable, effective protection for your teeth and jaw.

  • Infected or Injured Roots

Any infection or trauma which injures the pulp of the tooth will affect the roots as well. Most of us are familiar with root canal treatment, where infected or damaged pulp is removed, and the insides of the pulp chamber and canals are cleaned, shaped, and filled. A crown is usually placed afterward to cap and protect the tooth. 

Sometimes, however, an infection can persist after root canal treatment. An oral surgeon is a specialist in treating complex medical conditions of the face, mouth, and jaw. We may have been recommend to you if a surgical procedure is needed to treat infection around or in the root.

When infections persist near the tip of a root, an apicoectomy is a common surgical treatment. In this procedure, Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter will carefully remove a few millimeters from the tip of the tooth, then clean the infected parts of the root and the tissues around it before sealing the root tip.

Other surgical options are available to help prevent extractions when there’s a root problem. A healthy molar with only one root seriously damaged by infection, trauma, or decay can be treated with a root amputation. Here the injured root is surgically removed, preserving the remaining roots and crown. If part of the crown is damaged as well, Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter can perform a hemisection, dividing the tooth to save as much of the undamaged root and crown as possible.

  • Gum Recession

Taking care of your gums is one of the best ways to protect your roots.

Gums often recede as we age, leaving part of the root exposed. Gum disease, failure to brush and floss regularly, and heavy-handed brushing can also lead to gum recession. The newly revealed cementum is now exposed to the plaque and acids that cause cavities in our enamel, and, since it’s not as strong as enamel, cementum is more vulnerable to erosion and cavities progress more quickly.

When more severe recession takes place, the gums pull away from the teeth, creating pockets which become home to plaque and bacteria. Left untreated, infection and inflammation can develop, attacking teeth, connective tissue, and bone.

Scaling and planing procedures which clean the root surface can help. If you could benefit from soft-tissue grafting to replace lost gum tissue, schedule a visit to our Virginia Beach, VA office to discover your options.

Healthy roots help you keep your teeth for a lifetime, so it’s important to see Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter as soon as possible if you have any symptoms of potential problems:

  • Constant pain in tooth, gums, or jaw
  • Pain when biting down
  • Loose teeth
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Swelling or pain in the gums around a tooth

Do your part by keeping up with daily brushing and flossing, visiting Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter for exams as recommended, and making an appointment if you are feeling any pain or discomfort. If you could benefit from surgical treatment, talk to your oral surgeon about the most effective treatment options for your individual needs. Strong roots are essential to our oral health, and a lifetime of healthy smiles is something we’re all rooting for!

Oral Piercing: What you should know

November 2nd, 2022

If you have been thinking about getting a piercing, or if you already have one or more, there are some health risks our team at Oral Surgery of Tidewater wants you to know about. It's important to know the risks involved with oral piercing, including infection, chipped teeth, gum damage, nerve damage, loss of taste, or tooth loss that could occur as a result.

Your mouth contains millions of bacteria, and infection is a common complication of oral piercing. Many people who have piercings tend to regularly touch them, paving the way for bacteria to enter piercing sites. Also, food particles that collect around piercing sites can lead to infection.

Besides hindering your ability to talk and eat, oral piercing also leads people to develop a habit of biting or playing with their piercings, which can lead to cracked or fractured teeth. While the fracture can be confined to the enamel of the tooth and require a simple filling, you also run the risk of the fracture going deep into the tooth, which may require a root canal, tooth extraction, and additional dental treatment.

If you still decide to get an oral piercing, you should realize that it will take some time to heal (anywhere between four to six weeks) and it may be very uncomfortable. Also please keep in mind that it will be an added responsibility to your life, as it will require regular upkeep. We want you to make sure that you’re committed to the task of taking care of it for the full healing period and beyond.

We encourage you to clean the piercing with antiseptic mouthwash after eating, and brush the jewelry each time you brush your teeth. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to give us a call!

Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

October 26th, 2022

Sometime around the late teens or early twenties, people’s wisdom teeth start to erupt. These are the third and final set of molars. When wisdom teeth come in properly — meaning they are correctly aligned — they offer more chewing power. Unfortunately, more often than not, wisdom teeth are misaligned, crowd other teeth, and need to be removed.

Why do we have wisdom teeth?

It is thought that we have wisdom teeth because — back in the day — we ate a diet that consisted of more rough foods, like roots, leaves, and meat, all of which required more heavy-duty chewing power.

Reasons Wisdom Teeth Need to be Removed

While there is no clear-cut rule that says every single person needs to have their wisdom teeth removed, there are certain situations where one or more wisdom teeth are causing a problem or have a strong likelihood that problems will eventually arise in the future that warrant their removal.

1. Fully Impacted Wisdom Teeth

When a wisdom tooth is “impacted”, it means that the tooth is covered by gum tissue, thereby preventing it from erupting through the gum. This often occurs when the mouth is too small to allow enough room for the tooth to emerge. Because bacteria, food, or other mouth substances can be lodged under the gum that covers the wisdom tooth, it can lead to an acute abscess, known as pericoronitis.

2. Partially Impacted Wisdom Teeth

When a wisdom tooth is partially impacted, meaning the tooth is partially emerged from the gums, it almost always is advised to be removed. Because of its location in the very back of the mouth, a partially erupted wisdom tooth is more susceptible to not only decay and cavities, but also gum disease.

3. Other Reasons to Have Wisdom Teeth Removed

If you experience any of the below dental issues or changes in your dental health, removal of your wisdom tooth (teeth) may be necessary:

  • Pain at or surrounding the wisdom tooth site, including the jaw or cheek area
  • Repetitive infections
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay (extensive)
  • Tumors
  • Cysts
  • Damage to surrounding teeth

It is important to know that the decision to have a wisdom tooth removed isn’t always cut and dry. It is essential to talk to Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter about the alignment of your wisdom teeth if they have already erupted, health of your wisdom teeth if impacted or partially impacted, and your overall dental health to determine what is best for your situation. Contact our Virginia Beach, VA office to schedule an appointment today!

2875 Sabre St #260
Virginia Beach, VA 23452
(757) 499-6886

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