Happy October, everyone! It’s one of the spookiest seasons of the year, and one of the scariest things we can think of is having problems with our teeth and gums. Since October is National Dental Hygiene Month, we want to promote a healthy mouth for everyone by acknowledging the importance of your daily hygiene efforts. Healthy teeth and gums are the foundation of a healthy, beautiful smile!
The mouth is full of living bacteria, some of which feed and thrive on carbohydrates and sugary drinks. These can release acids mixed with saliva and food particles to create a sticky bacterial film (plaque). As plaque builds up, it attacks and weakens tooth enamel, working its way through the softer dentin and tooth pulp below it to create decay and cavities.
Teeth with extensive decay often require a root canal treatment to save the tooth from the severe infection that has taken root. A root canal removes the bad bacteria and dead tissue that might otherwise require extracting the tooth.
Signs You Might Need a Root Canal
– Tooth pain or pain when chewing
– Sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks
– Sensitive gums
– Gum infection
– Darkened or chipped teeth
– Swollen lymph nodes
– Oral trauma
What You Can Do
Did you know that the first known bristle toothbrush was invented in China in 1948? Unlike the smooth nylon-bristled brushes we use today, the original toothbrush used boar hairs attached to bamboo or bone handles. We don’t know about you, but we’re grateful for today’s toothbrushes!
To prevent damaged teeth, you’ll want to start by protecting your mouth from plaque. For example, drinks like soda, fruit juices, sports drinks, carbonated water and other acidic and sweetened beverages are pretty much a lifeline for oral bacteria that attach your teeth. To lessen plaque, limit these beverages, and when you drink them, use a straw to reduce contact on tooth enamel. Better choices include water, milk, low-sugar vegetable juice, and unsweetened green and black tea.
This year’s National Dental Hygiene Awareness Month focuses on four habits you need to practice daily:
Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each session with a soft-bristled toothbrush (no boars hair!). You want to gently clean them without harming the enamel or soft gum tissues. Make sure the head and shape of the brush fit comfortable in your mouth so you can get to the back areas to remove bacteria and food particles. Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. Using short strokes, move your toothbrush back and forth to clean all tooth surfaces – outside, inside and the top of the molars – where the food is chewed. Make sure to clean those grooves and crevices. Use up-and-down-strokes to clean the inside of your front teeth.
Tip: Don’t forget to brush your tongue to get rid of plaque and freshen your breath.
Clean between your teeth once a day using a flossing tool of choice (one that makes you want to floss every day) to get rid of dental plaque your toothbrush can’t reach. Plaque buildup will cause it to harden into tartar or calculus, which has to be removed by a dental hygienist using special tools.
Some areas of the mouth can’t get rid of plaque by brushing and flossing alone. Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash daily destroys bacteria to prevent tooth decay and gum disease (infection of the oral tissue) from gaining hold. Your dentist can recommend a non-alcoholic antimicrobial rinse that is right for your needs.
Speaking of dry mouth, did you know that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after you eat lessens the chances of tooth decay? That’s because chewing stimulates saliva glands to promote healthy saliva flow. Your saliva plays a vital role by rinsing away food particles and bacterial debris and neutralizes the acids from oral bacteria.
This month is a good time to toss out your old worn-out toothbrush and find a flossing method you will enjoy using every day. You’ll also want to thank your dental hygienist the next time you see them for all their efforts to make your smile the best it can be!
September brings the month of National Gum Care, a time to raise awareness for healthy gums everywhere. No matter your age, you should always be striving for great oral care, and this doesn’t just mean your teeth. Your gums are just as important when it comes to maintaining a great smile.
As new research develops, we see a rise in medical conditions related to infected gums – such as heart disease, diabetes, pregnancy complications and more – and how preventing gum (periodontal) disease is vital for both your oral and overall health. It is believed that the inflammation caused by bacteria can destroy gum tissue and then invade the bloodstream, eventually affecting other parts of your body. You can help prevent this invasion by taking excellent care of your teeth and gums.
Healthy Gums vs. Diseased Gums
Do you know what healthy gums look like? Gums should be firm and pink with no bleeding and no discomfort. Signs of bad gums include loose or shifting teeth, chronic bad breath, a bad taste in your mouth, bleeding gums, redness, swelling, pus around teeth and gums, receding gums, and gum tenderness. If you have dentures, they may not fit correctly.
If your gums become paler than they usually are, contact your dentist right away. It is important to get treatment at the first sign of gum disease.
Preventing Gum Disease
You can help take care of your gums by following these guidelines:
– Healthy Brushing: Be sure to brush at least twice a day, waiting to brush for at least 30 minutes after your meal (brushing right away can cause corrosion from leftover food).
– Flossing Correctly: Floss at least once a day to remove debris between the teeth and near the gums. It is recommended you floss before brushing so your toothbrush can wipe away leftover bacteria and debris. Gently floss between each tooth, using clean sections of floss each time. Avoid snapping the floss down onto the gums.
– Seeing Your Dentist: You should receive a dental exam and cleaning every six months if not more often. Notify your dentist if you have concerns about your teeth and gums or you are experiencing pain or discomfort.
– Healthy Diet: Consume a regular diet of healthy foods and liquids. More sugar in your diet tends to lead to more lingering and sticky bacteria. Rinse your mouth with water after eating and drinking other beverages.
– Avoiding Substances: A great way to help your teeth and gums stay healthy is avoiding tobacco and limiting your alcohol intake. This includes smoking and vaping. Try to avoid drinking too much soda and energy beverages, candies, sugary snacks, and fast food.
– Other Tips: Replace your toothbrush every two to three months, depending on the wear. Exercise regularly to increase blood flow and encourage saliva flow. Choose a toothpaste that is best for your dental needs.
Treatments for Healthier Gums
Even if you haven’t had a cavity in your life, you are still vulnerable to gum disease. If your home dental care isn’t enough, there are alternative treatments to help rid your mouth of infection. These include the following options:
– Professional dental cleaning
– Scaling and root planing
– Pocket reduction
– Gum graft
– Soft tissue graft
– Prescribed medication, toothpaste or mouthwash
– Root canal therapy (if needed)
These options can help keep you and your smile in optimal health. Your gums are important in keeping your teeth in place. We invite you to consult with our team about what treatment may be best for you.
If you have questions or concerns about your gum health, feel free to give our experienced team a call. We will be happy to help you get the gum care you deserve, so reach out today and get your dental health where it deserves to be!
We learn at a young age that brushing and flossing are vital to keeping your smile healthy. We need to continue these daily habits in our ongoing quest to maintain healthy smiles for strong teeth and gums. Seeing your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups at least twice a year is another habit you should incorporate. Together with our dental team, you are creating an optimal oral environment for a lifetime of smiles in great condition.
Professional dental cleanings are typically recommended twice a year, but if you are in treatment for dental illnesses or are at high risk for disease – such as gum disease – you may need to come in more frequently. Of course, dental cleanings are just one aspect of these visits. Our dentist will also conduct an oral exam, which may include taking dental X-rays to assess the condition of your teeth, jaw and gums.
We will be looking for signs of tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer. If this is your first visit, we will want to know about your health history, what medications you take, current allergies or adverse reactions you have had to medications in the past. And if you have dental anxiety that kept you from seeing your dentist before, please let us know so we can discuss ways to minimize your discomfort and help you feel more relaxed and comfortable during your time with us. We are happy to work with you to make your experience safe, relaxing and convenient for you.
Professional Dental Cleanings
Regular professional dental cleanings remove calcified plaque, known as tartar, that accumulates in the hard-to-clean areas of the mouth. These are not easily accessible by your daily brushing and flossing efforts. To do this, our dentist or hygienist may use a special dental instrument – either a hand scaler or ultrasonic dental instrument – to remove tartar from around and below the gum line. Once this calcified plaque has been removed, your teeth will be polished with a mildly abrasive paste to clear away leftover plaque and tooth stains. After a final floss and evaluation from our experienced team, we will send you on your way.
If you run your tongue along your tooth surfaces, you should be able to feel the clean, smooth surface of the enamel. When the surface is smooth, it is harder for plaque to attach. We will also be happy to review whatever hygiene issues you may be experiencing as well as go over brushing and flossing techniques to help you better care for your teeth at home. We will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have concerning your oral care.
If you would like to know more about how dental checkups can help your oral health, feel free to give us a call or schedule to come into our office for your next exam! Our goal is to help you attain your best smile and have a great dental experience, so call us today to set up an appointment.
If you have recently learned that you have a badly broken, damaged, or infected tooth, our dentist may recommend having a dental crown placed. A crown or tooth-shaped “cap” is a fixed prosthetic cemented onto a tooth to restore its appearance, form and function as well as strengthen the tooth. Dental crowns cover a tooth’s entire surface, and when treatment is completed, it will look like your surrounding teeth.
When Crowns are Used
While dental veneers are used to correct small chips or cracks in the teeth and a dental implant is used to replace a missing tooth, dental crowns are used for fixing teeth with severe decay or a dental filling that is compromised and doesn’t protect the tooth anymore.
Crowns are also placed after a root canal, wisdom tooth extraction or to secure a dental bridge restoration by anchoring the adjacent natural teeth. When a dental crown is used after a root canal, it gives extra support to the tooth and lessens the risk of retreatment. There are various types of dental crown materials. The sealing ability is dependent on the filling materials used and the quality of the tooth that is used.
– Ceramic crowns: These are popular as they blend in with the surrounding natural teeth and are highly resistant to wear.
– Crowns made from porcelain fused to metal: These are highly durable and offer a strong seal because of their attachment to the metal.
– Crown made of gold alloys: These are made of a blend of gold, copper and other metals, ensuring a strong bond to the tooth that cannot fracture or wear away the tooth.
– Crowns made of base metal alloys: These are strongly resistant to corrosion and are very strong in general. They require the least amount of healthy tooth removal before placement.
The Making of Your Crown
Unless you are having a crown made on the same day, the making of a dental crown typically requires two visits. The tooth will need to be reduced in size so the crown will fit correctly, and then an impression will be made of the crown. While waiting for your crown to be made, a temporary crown is put in place. When the dental crown is ready, at your followup visit the crown will be cemented onto the affected tooth.
Caring For Your Crown
Since your crown is created to blend into your smile naturally, people around you will likely not even notice you have had a tooth replacement done. If you take good care of your crown by practicing consistent, daily oral hygiene habits, you can avoid the crown becoming loose or falling out. Brushing and flossing twice a day along with regular professional dental cleanings and checkups can keep your teeth (particularly the back molars) healthy and strong so your crown can last a lifetime!
If you would like to know if a crown is right for you, we invite you to give us a call and schedule a consultation with our dentist. We will be happy to help you and your smile today!
Our team strongly encourages everyone to floss daily, but do you ever wonder why? Well, flossing is vital for top-notch oral health and smiles. It can help you and your oral health in more ways than you might realize. This means that if you forget to floss, your smile can also suffer. Forgetting to floss can:
– Leave your smile vulnerable to developing cavities: If you don’t remove food particles, plaque, bacteria and other harmful substances from between teeth, they can attack the tooth enamel and create a hole in the surface, creating what is known as a cavity. The cavity can affect one or more teeth and can spread, infecting multiple layers of the teeth. If you’re not careful, it can affect the tooth nerve, tooth pulp and even the root canal.
– Make you fall victim to gum disease: If you don’t remove plaque from the surfaces of the teeth as well as from the gumline, it can severely affect the gums. In fact, it can irritate and infect the gums to make them swell and bleed. It can also turn into tartar and make the gums recede from the base of the teeth. As time passes, that tartar can spread to the jawbone and deteriorate it, causing loose and even lost teeth. It’s very important to remove plaque daily before it affects the gums.
– Compromise the entire health of your body: If you don’t treat your gum disease quickly, it can contribute to serious health issues like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, respiratory disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
When it comes to proper flossing, some tips we have include the following:
– Use about 16-18 inches of floss and wind most of it around your middle fingers
– Using your thumbs and index fingers, gently use back-and-forth motions to slide the floss between your teeth (avoid snapping the floss onto your gums)
– Following the curves of your teeth, gently floss between each tooth and along the gums
– As you move between each tooth, use a clean area of the floss
– Keep floss or travel floss picks on hand for when you get food particles stuck during the day
Proper flossing helps you not only achieve better oral and overall health but can help avoid costly treatments. If you do need a specific treatment, our team will help you find the most cost-effective solution.
Make sure to floss regularly and at least once a day! That way, you can have the top-notch smile and oral health you deserve. To learn more about flossing, please reach out and talk to a member of our team. We will be more than happy to give you and your family the answers and information that you need for a great smile!
This is the month where we recognize our mothers for all their efforts and take the opportunity to thank them for all they have done, which may also include them teaching us how to brush and floss. As a mother, your oral health is important to both you and your family. When your teeth are strong and your gums healthy, you’ll feel better and be able to take care of your family. Mother’s Day is a reminder your smile is just as important, so now is the time to focus on your dental care needs.
Women face some unique oral health concerns that require routine oral care with the help of the dentist and at your own hand. Some of these circumstances include the following:
– Menstrual cycle: During the course of your menstrual cycle, your hormones can fluctuate and result in red, swollen and bleeding gums, as well as canker sores and cold sores.
– Hormonal birth control: If you use a pill, shot, UID or vaginal ring, your body may have increased levels of estrogen and progesterone, which can make your gums red and sensitive. Furthermore, changes in hormones can complicate tooth extraction by resulting in clotting failure. If you need to have a tooth removed, we encourage you to notify our dentist of your birth control method as well as any other medicine you take.
– Pregnancy gingivitis: Whether you are just starting a family or adding a wonderful little addition, pregnancy makes proper oral care more important than ever. During this time, many women develop pregnancy gingivitis, which can increase dental plaque due to hormonal changes as well as inflame and irritate the gums, even causing them to bleed.
– Menopause: Menopause causes estrogen levels to plummet, and this causes some women to experience a burning sensation in their mouths, a decreased saliva flow that causes dry mouth and an increased risk of osteoporosis that can lead to gum disease.
To prevent and manage these conditions so that you can have the healthy and beautiful smile you deserve, we encourage you to brush for two minutes twice a day as well as floss daily and reduce your intake of sugary snacks. It’s also important to visit your dentist every six months for dental checkups, or sooner if you feel something is not right in your mouth. If you are pregnant, we recommend getting a dental exam and cleaning more often.
Be sure to celebrate your mothers and grandmothers this month, and encourage them to take the time to attend to their own needs, especially their dental health. Our team welcomes the hardworking and loving mothers of our community to contact our dental office and schedule a consultation today!
Spring has sprung, and summer is almost here! The sun shouldn’t be the only thing shining bright this season. Your smile is a great feature to show off to friends, family, coworkers, social media, a date and everyone else! Need help to show off your smile confidently? Our team can help you achieve the look you desire.
The American Dental Association (ADA) found in a study that 28-29% of the people they surveyed said the appearance of their mouth and teeth affected their abilities to effectively interview for a job. In the same study, one in four adults (and 35% of young adults) said they avoid smiling because they are unhappy with their mouth and teeth, and one in five adults (and 33% of young adults) said they experience anxiety when it comes to showing off their smile.
A few insecurities people typically feel about their teeth include gaps, crookedness, discoloration (yellowing) and chips in the teeth. With modern technology and encouragement from all of us here, you have options to create a smile to be proud of and show off to the world. Some treatment options include the following:
– Teeth Whitening: Do you have yellowing teeth or want your teeth to have a brighter shine? Professional teeth whitening can help you achieve the desired whiteness that will last longer than an over-the-counter option.
– Chip Repair: Dental veneers and dental crowns are both options to repair that chip or crack in your tooth.
– Orthodontic Treatment: Orthodontics not only improve your look by straightening your teeth but can benefit you healthwise. The better alignment of your teeth allows more secure gums and correct jaw alignment as well as better speech and chewing. A popular option is clear aligners for those who don’t want to wear metal braces.
– Dental Implant: Missing tooth? You can fill in the space with an implant, which not only helps your smile aesthetically but also improves your oral health.
Be sure to take care of your smile as well with the following tips:
– Dental Care: Brush twice a day, floss once a day, use mouthwash to get rid of bacteria and avoid smoking or using tobacco.
– Eat Healthy and Drink Lots of Water: By eating right and drinking water, you can help your teeth get the needed nutrients they need to be strong. Drinking water throughout the day helps flush out food particles that lead to unwanted bacteria.
– Visit the Dentist: Be sure to visit your dentist twice a year to get a dental cleaning and exam. We check for cavities and any signs of oral cancer.
– Mouthguards: If you are playing a contact sport or doing something that may cause a fall, be sure to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from chips or losing a tooth.
If you’re having trouble being confident with your teeth and mouth, give our office a call. Our team will be happy to help you find the answers to a better smile and the look you want. It’s time to be confident in your healthy smile! Schedule a consultation today, so we can answer any questions you may have about treatments. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Although we are turning back the clock for daylight savings, you can’t turn back time on your teeth. Studies have shown that one in five Americans has untreated cavities, which is decay that has damaged a tooth’s hard, outer enamel layer and created small holes. Cavities can arise in people of all ages, including children and infants. Factors can include how well you take care of your teeth each day, what foods and beverages you regularly consume, and your family’s dental history. These can all play a role in developing cavities.
Dry mouth, or insufficient saliva production, is a common oral condition that places you at higher risk of cavity formation and is often accompanied by bad breath. Tobacco and alcohol users are prone to dry mouth as are those taking certain medications, aging, or undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
Cavities form when sugary, starchy foods feed the oral bacteria that thrive in the sticky bacterial film you know as plaque. The bacteria produce acids that wear down the tooth enamel until they reach the softer dentin layer underneath protecting the tooth pulp. Cavities tend to form in the back of the mouth within the grooves of the molars, between the teeth and around the gum line, which are also areas that are harder to clean and get rid of plaque.
Signs You May Have a Cavity:
– Experience tenderness in the gums
– Tooth sensitivity when consuming hot or cold items
– Painful sensitivity in or around your teeth
– Having tooth pain that interferes with your sleep
– Dark stains
– Small holes
– Pain when you bite down
– Soft areas on your teeth
What You Can Do
The good news is, preventing cavities is very simple if you follow some of these basic rules:
– Limit your intake of sweets and sodas
– Brush at least twice a day
– Floss at least once daily
– Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash
– See your dentist for routine dental cleanings at least twice a year
– If you are cavity-prone, use products with fluoride that protect tooth enamel or consider having dental sealants placed.
Detecting cavities in the earliest stage – when they can be treated easily and less invasively – can save you pain, time and money. For example, cavities found early on can be treated with a simple dental filling. For bigger or deeper cavities, a root canal treatment may be necessary to remove damaged pulp or treat an abscessed tooth. A badly broken tooth may be fixed with a crown at the gum line. If a tooth is lost, a dental crown, bridge or implant may be needed to keep the surrounding teeth from shifting into the gap left behind.
The best way to prevent cavities is to take daily care of your pearly whites and to visit your dentist twice a year to support those daily efforts. To find out if you have any cavities or need to treat an existing one, please give our team a call, and we will be happy to set up an exam with our skilled team. We look forward to helping you keep your smile healthy, beautiful and cavity-free!
February brings National Children’s Dental Health Month! This is brought to you by the American Dental Association to create child awareness of the benefits of good oral health. This year’s month-long campaign is, “Brush and clean in between to build a healthy smile.”
First Dental Visit
Around their first birthday, or within six months after their first tooth emerges, visit our dentist to make sure the teeth of your child are developing properly. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, over 50 percent of children will have some kind of tooth decay before they turn five, so it is important for your child to attend early dental visits. We can address any oral hygiene questions you have and let you know when it is time to start using a toothbrush.
Let them see you brushing and flossing, and help them brush and floss their teeth. By following the 2-2-2 Rule (seeing the dentist twice a year and brushing and flossing twice a day for two minutes), you will develop healthy oral hygiene habits.
-Hold the toothbrush at a 45° angle and brush along the gum line.
-Brush each tooth in a back and forth, up and down motion.
-Clean the inside, outside, back and top surfaces of each tooth.
-Gently wipe the tongue to remove bacteria.
Brush twice a day for two minutes each, giving the molars some extra attention. If your little one wants to help, you can take turns brushing or let them start and you finish. Don not let them share their toothbrush, and replace it when the bristles start to fray.
When your child’s teeth touch, it is time to start flossing the areas that the toothbrush can’t clean. Whether it is dental floss, floss sticks/picks or oral irrigators, find a flossing tool that works best and use it!
-Using about 18 inches of floss, you can wrap an end around each of your middle fingers.
-Slide the floss between two teeth gently
-At the gum line, create a C-shape around each tooth
-Pull the floss tight to scrape against each tooth and repeat until all have been cleaned.
When your child’s manual dexterity and coordination is developed around six or seven years old, you can let them start brushing on their own. At this time, our dentist can also speak with you about fluoride and dental sealants to prevent cavities. Your child can usually floss by themselves by the time they are nine or ten.
High schoolers are often busy with school, sports and extracurricular activities, work and socializing, so you want to help them stick to their daily oral hygiene habits. They may be wearing braces, having wisdom teeth removed and feeling self-conscious about their smile (and their breath), so good oral hygiene habits can support their goals.
-Encourage them to use a timer, listen to their favorite song while brushing and flossing for two minutes, or switch to an electric toothbrush with a timer.
-Keep plenty of dental hygiene supplies in stock such as soft toothbrushes, flavored flosses, toothpaste and a toothbrush for their backpack when they are on the go.
-Keep fruits and vegetables handy instead of junk food for healthier snacking.
-If they are active in sports, supply them with an athletic guard to protect teeth from being chipped, cracked or lost.
-Talk to your teen about peer-pressure activities that can damage his or her smile like smoking, drinking or getting an oral piercing.
Your teens want to look and feel their best, so support their efforts for maintaining those oral habits instilled in their childhood. This month is a good time to reinforce good habits and provide your children and teens with the tools and support they need for a lifetime of healthy smiles!
Have you been waiting for the right time to get teeth whitening treatment? There’s no better time than the New Year! In 2019, you are setting all kinds of new goals, and one goal you can shoot for is a whiter and brighter smile. Teeth whitening lightens teeth, helping remove discoloration and stains that have taken place over time.
The primary target of a teeth whitening is the tooth enamel, which results from the natural color combined with the color of the dentin underneath. The reflecting light off the dentin gives you the overall color of your smile. Other defining factors are the smoothness and thickness of the enamel, which is usually the result of inherited genes as well as the overall wear of the enamel over time. Some reasons your smile might not be not so bright may include:
– Poor dental care (not brushing and flossing every single day or not attending your biannual dental visits)
– Natural aging (wear and tear; dentin starts to yellow over time)
– Smoking or tobacco stains
– Dark-colored liquids (coffee, tea, soda, wine)
– Dental trauma (if the dentin is damaged, it can create a darker layer underneath the enamel)
– Medications (certain medications or medical care can cause discoloration or dental damage)
If these sound like reasons you have yellowing teeth, then we can help find the solution to give you a whiter smile. The teeth whitening process is simple; whitening products contain a safe tooth bleach that breaks up stains and targets your tooth enamel. There are three common options:
– Stain Removal Toothpastes: These usually contain mild abrasives and polishing agents, which remove stains on the enamel surface.
– At-Home Teeth Whitening: Our team can provide you with trays for at-home teeth whitening with instructions on how to whiten, for how long and how much solution to place in the trays. You can also purchase an over-the-counter bleaching product, but be sure to discuss options with our team.
– In-Office Teeth Whitening: Typically only requiring one to two visits, chairside bleaching is quickly done. A protective gel or rubber shield protects your gums, and then the bleaching treatment is applied to your teeth.
Before you get teeth whitening, there are a few factors to consider:
– If you have sensitive teeth
– White spots
– Tooth decay
– Infected gums
– Dental work (dental bridges, crowns, veneers, etc.)
– Previous tooth injuries
– Current medications
We invite you to speak to our team about whether you’re a good candidate for teeth whitening. We will work with you to figure out your best options. Of course, one of the best and simplest ways to keep your smile white and bright is to maintain excellent dental care. This includes brushing at least twice a day, flossing once a day and seeing your dentist at least twice a year (preferably every 6 months). Also, you should consume healthy, non-staining foods and drinks as much as possible.
To find which teeth whitening option is best for you or to schedule your next dental appointment, please give us a call. We will be happy to schedule a time for you and help you achieve your best smile today!