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Change Your Diet for a Healthier Smile

June 7th, 2019

Have you ever heard of the smile diet? It’s the concept that by making simple changes to what we eat and drink, we can significantly improve the health of our mouth.

Most of us already know that too much sugar causes dental decay and acidity results in loss of tooth enamel. The latest piece of research by the Oral Health Foundation and GSK supports this. Findings show that almost nine in ten (88%) of us believe that healthy eating is important for maintaining good oral health.

This is terrific news. It shows that our knowledge about nutrition and its relationship with oral health is improving. The difficulties for many of us now are around the practicalities of changing what we eat and drink to match those behaviours that we know are right.

We are still a nation of grazers and snackers, continuing to consume sugar and other unhealthy food types, in vast quantities. This is having a negative impact on our oral health as a population. Rotten teeth are being routinely removed across all ages. The challenges are there for us all to see. These foods and drinks are all convenient, readily-available, cheap, easy and quick to consume. They are also decisions made as a result of habit and emotion.

It all means that if we want to improve the health of our mouth and truly adopt the smile diet, we are going to have to tackle the above barriers head on.

Say no to unhealthy snacking, sugar and sweets

Seven in ten (70%) of us believe that snacking has an impact on our oral health. And we are absolutely right. Sadly, there is enough evidence to believe that our snacking habits are harmful to our oral health. Sugary snacks and confectionary still manage to attract us. It appears our sweet-tooth is hard to ignore.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation says: “While chocolate, sweets, fruit juices and artificial milkshakes give us a short burst of energy and satisfy our taste-buds, they are packed with unhealthy ingredients that spell bad news for our mouth. Consuming too much sugar too often can lead to long-term problems like gum disease, tooth loss and tooth decay, as well as wider health problems such as diabetes and obesity.

“The good news is that snacking doesn’t have to be a bad thing – it all depends on the choices we make.”

Further findings from the nationwide study shows that most of us (87%) know that choosing lower sugar snacks is better for the health of our mouth.

“While snacking on the wrong things can be damaging to our health, the opposite can be said of healthier snacks,” adds Dr Carter. “Raw nuts, vegetables, cheese and even breadsticks are tooth-friendly choices that can do wonders, not only for our mouth, but our body too.”

Water and milk are best for oral health

While sugar is the cause of tooth decay, there is another diet nasty that is playing havoc with our smile.

Acids are commonly found across many widely-consumed drinks, including fruit juices, fizzy pops and alcohol. Acidic drinks can soften the enamel surrounding our teeth, leaving them vulnerable to wear, which can expose the sensitive dentine underneath. This is called dental erosion. Without our enamel, our teeth become more sensitive and can lead to pain and discomfort.

Dr Soha Dattani, Director Scientific & Professional Affairs at GSK Consumer Healthcare says: “Acidic foods and drinks can be very common. As consumers, this makes it incredibly difficult for us to avoid them. Even ‘diet’ and ‘sugar free’ drinks, that are being sold as healthier alternatives have remarkably low pH levels – making them especially acidic.

“For our oral health, even these are a no-go.

“While special toothpastes like Sensodyne Pronamel can help strengthen our enamel and make our teeth less sensitive, the best scenario is to avoid these drinks altogether. Milk and still water remain the best choices for healthy teeth.”

Although sugary and acidic may appear affordable and appealing, the consequences to our health may be both costly and unpleasant in the long run. This year’s National Smile Month is the perfect opportunity to focus on achieving our perfect smile. By removing unhealthier options and replacing them with deliciously nutritious alternatives, our physical health, mental wellbeing and our smile, will all feel the benefits.

Say no more to the potential damage caused by sugar and acid and give our mouth, teeth and gums the best chance to flourish. For National Smile Month, it’s time for all of us to truly embrace the smile diet.

Dental Hygiene for Kids

April 26th, 2019

We need help from parents and caregivers to continue the good habits our dentists recommend. Here are a few good dental hygiene tips for kids and easy ways you can help us help them:

Watch Those Drinks

While fruit juices and sports drinks can be a healthy alternative to soda and other artificial drinks, drinking too much can end up doing more harm than good in the long run.

The sugar in these drinks can quickly eat away the enamel on your child’s teeth, especially if he or she is consuming them all day long from a sippy cup or a refillable bottle. These drinks taste good and might be one of the only sources of sugar your kids have so weeding them out will not be easy, but it’s the best thing for their teeth in the long run.

Begin the balancing process by moving toward a 50/50 juice or sports drink to water ratio. The water will help wash out some of the sugar left over from the other drinks and help move your child’s palate away from sweet tastes. And, drinking more water is a great thing for all of us!

Lead by Example

When it comes to brushing and caring for your teeth, your children take more cues from you than you might think. This is one area where you really do need to practice what you preach.

Make brushing and flossing a family activity each morning and evening, or maybe only in the evening if your mornings are hectic. Either way, this will allow you to make sure that your child isn’t cutting corners and allow him or her to see that you are doing the same thing.

Brushing should last for at least two minutes and cover all surfaces of the teeth and tongue. Flossing should include every tooth every time, no matter how tempting it is to cut corners.

Remember that if your child is under age 2, then you should be brushing and flossing for them.

Again, this is an opportunity for you to establish a routine that your child will continue when it’s time for them to brush and floss on their own.

You can even make a game out of brushing and flossing each day. Create a chart to track progress and reward good behavior along the way. Eventually, the habits will become so routine that the rewards are no longer needed as an incentive.

Don’t Skip Dentist Visits

If you have anxiety about going to the dentist, you may be passing down those fears to your children without realizing it. Starting dental appointments as soon as the first teeth appear (around age 1) will help establish going to the dentist as a positive experience, rather than one that’s plagued with fear about cavities or other problems.

The more your child sees a dentist, the more we’ll be able to help reinforce the dental hygiene maintenance you are doing at home. We can catch problem areas before they become serious and create a plan for addressing them.

Identifying and Treating a Dead Tooth

March 22nd, 2019

 

Overview

Teeth are made up of a combination of hard and soft tissue. You may not think of teeth as living, but healthy teeth are alive. When the nerves in the pulp of the tooth, which is the inner layer, become damaged, such as by injury or decay, they can stop providing blood to the tooth. That can cause an infection and cause the nerve to die. This is also sometimes known as a non-vital tooth.

Read on to learn how to identify a dead tooth and what you should do if you see signs that your tooth is injured.

What are the signs of a dead tooth?

A dead tooth is a tooth that’s no longer receiving a fresh supply of blood. For many people, discoloration may be one of the first signs of a dying tooth. You may also experience pain in the tooth or gums.

Healthy teeth are usually a shade of white, though the color can vary depending on your diet and oral hygiene. For example, if you regularly consume foods that are staining, like coffee, blueberries, or red wine, or smoke, your smile may appear off-white or light yellow. This discoloration will likely be uniform, however.

If you have a tooth that’s discolored because it’s dying, it will be a different color than the rest of your teeth. A dying tooth may appear yellow, light brown, gray, or even black. It may look almost as if the tooth is bruised. The discoloration will increase over time as the tooth continues to decay and the nerve dies.

Pain is another possible symptom. Some people don’t feel any pain. Others feel mild pain, and still other people will feel intense pain. The pain is often caused by the dying nerve. It can also be caused by infection. Other signs of infection may include:
bad breath
bad taste in your mouth
swelling around your gum line

If you experience any symptoms of a dying tooth, it’s important to see your dentist right away.

What causes a tooth to die?

Trauma or injury to your tooth is one possible cause for a tooth to die. For example, getting hit in the mouth with a soccer ball or tripping and hitting your mouth against something can cause your tooth to die. A tooth may die quickly, in a matter of days, or slowly, over several months or years.

A tooth can also die as the result of poor dental hygiene. That can lead to cavities, which when left untreated can slowly destroy your tooth. Cavities begin on the enamel, which is the outer protective layer of your tooth. Left untreated, they can slowly eat away at the enamel and eventually reach the pulp. That causes the pulp to become infected, which cuts off blood to the pulp and, eventually, causes it to die. You’ll likely experience intense pain once the decay has reached the pulp.

Diagnosis

A dying tooth may be identified during a routine dental appointment that includes X-rays. It may also be identified if you see your dentist because of pain or concerns over discoloration.

You should always see your dentist following any tooth injury, or if you have any signs of a dying tooth. That way your dentist can begin treatment as soon as possible.

Treatment

It’s important to treat a dying or dead tooth as soon as possible. That’s because left untreated, the bacteria from the dead tooth can spread and lead to the loss of additional teeth. It could also affect your jawbone and gums.

Your dentist may treat a dead or dying tooth with a procedure known as a root canal. Alternatively, they may remove the entire tooth.

Root canal

With a root canal, you may be able to keep your tooth intact. During the procedure, the dentist makes an opening into the tooth and then uses small instruments to remove the pulp and clean out the infection. Once all of the infection has been removed, your dentist will fill and seal the roots and place a permanent filling in the small opening.

In many cases, you may need to have a crown following a root canal. This may be a good option if the enamel was damaged or if the tooth had a large filling. With time, a tooth that had a root canal can become brittle. That’s why crowns are usually recommended for posterior teeth (due to grinding and chewing). A crown is a covering that’s specifically molded to your tooth. Your dentist will file away part of your existing tooth and then permanently fit the crown over the tooth. A crown can be made to match the color of your surrounding teeth so that it’s not noticeable.

If your doctor determines that you don’t need a crown, you may be able to use tooth bleaching to treat any discoloration to the affected tooth. This is usually seen on anterior teeth only. Alternatively, your dentist may recommend covering the tooth with a porcelain veneer. Talk to your doctor about the different aesthetic treatments available.

Removal or extraction

If your tooth is severely damaged and unable to be restored, your dentist may recommend completely removing the dead tooth. During the procedure, the dentist will completely remove the tooth. Following the extraction, you can replace the tooth with an implant, denture, or bridge. Talk to your dentist about your options. Some questions you should ask are:
Will it need to be replaced over time?
How much will it cost? Will my dental insurance cover it?
What’s recovery like?
Will I need to do anything different to take care of the replacement tooth?

Pain management

If your tooth is causing lot of pain, there are somethings you can do at home while you wait for treatment:
Avoid hot beverages. They can increase inflammation, which can make your pain worse.
Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).
Avoid eating hard things. The force of biting down on them may aggravate the damaged nerves.

It’s important to see your dentist right away. Home treatment should not be used in place of professional medical treatment. Instead, you should use these methods while you wait for your appointment.

5 Facts About Cavities

March 8th, 2019

 

 

1.Cavities are a form of tooth decay

Tooth decay is a scary term. It brings up images of rotting, yellowing and crooked teeth that most of us don’t like to think about.

While it takes a lot of decay for teeth to end up like that, tooth decay does have adverse effects on our overall health. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 26 percent of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have some form of tooth decay that has been untreated.

When left like this, the decay can spread and cause a much bigger problem than a cavity and simple filling.

2.There are no age limits to cavities

Cavities can form as early as your first tooth and as late as your last tooth. For infant children who are first starting out with teeth, it is important to get them to the dentist within 6 months of their first tooth sprouting. A dentist will keep an eye on their tooth development and help teach you how to care for your infant’s teeth as they progress.

On the other hand, more mature patients are seeing an increase in the number of cavities in their teeth. This is oftentimes because of medicines that dry out the saliva in their mouth – and saliva protects the teeth from damaging bacteria.

3.Sugar (sort of) rots your teeth

Sugar and other carbohydrates often kick-start acid production from bacteria in your mouth. This acid is what wears down your teeth and their resistance to cavities. Surprisingly, carbohydrates can be found in almost anything but protein – so just take care of your teeth after you eat.

4.Prevention is your best defense against cavities

Once you have a cavity, the decay can be stopped and the tooth patched – but the decay cannot be reversed. That is why it is so important for you to maintain a good oral hygiene routine.

Brushing, flossing and using a mouth rinse will help ensure you are cleaning as much bad bacteria off of your teeth as possible. Regular check-ups at the dentist will help clean any areas you missed (and keep you adjusting your brushing and flossing to account for those missed spaces).

5.You cannot always tell when you have a cavity

In fact, if you wait until you think you have a cavity to sit in the dentist’s chair for a check-up, the decay has oftentimes done more damage than if it was caught when it started at a regular check-up. Dentists have years of training and practice looking for signs of tooth decay in your mouth. Plus, they can really examine every surface of your teeth up close.

Experts recommend you visit your dentist at least once every six months for a thorough cleaning and just to be sure there’s nothing that needs to be fixed.

Tooth decay can be scary – but it is controllable. With a proper oral hygiene routine practiced regularly, bi-annual check-ups at the dentists and treating cavities right away, your adult teeth can last you a long time without giving you any major problems. If you’re behind on your check-ups, give our office a call today!

Beating Bad Breath

February 16th, 2019

 

Bad breath is very common. In fact, about 45% of people have some form of bad breath, according to The Bad Breath Insitute. Medically known as halitosis or malodor, bad breath is not a painful condition but it can have severe outcomes.

What Causes Bad Breath?

According to most dentists, bad breath can be the result of plaque on your teeth or tongue, stomach problems, tooth decay, and several other conditions.

The best way to solve this problem is, of course, to visit a dentist, who will inspect your condition and find the cause. This is important because you can’t get rid of bad breath until you know the real reason for it.

Sometimes it’s only due to poor dental hygiene, like not brushing or flossing regularly. Food particles left in the mouth can begin to rot, which causes bad breath and can lead to other serious dental issues as well.

Causes of Bad Breath Include:
•Throat or mouth infections
•Cavities
•Gum disease
•Tonsils
•Throat or mouth cancers
•Sinus infections
•Nasal polyps
•Diabetes
•Digestive system disorders
•Lung problems
•Liver disease

According to Statistics from the Journal of Natural Science, Biology, and Medicine, about 90% of the people who have bad breath have it as a result of an oral source, mostly cavities or gum disease, tonsils, and cracked filling.

Eating certain foods, such as garlic or onion, can also cause you to have bad breath, but the outcome is usually temporary and nothing to worry about. Other habits, such as smoking and chewing tobacco, can also cause you to have bad breath. The results of those habits can be long-term and you’ll have to quit them to have good breath again.

Why You Should Worry about Bad Breath

Bad breath can be tough on the people around you. You can’t always be sure if your breath smells good or not because you are used to it. However, people around you can always smell it.

Moreover, it can also often be a sign of something more serious. Bad breath can be an indicator of gum issues and other dental problems including cavities. So it’s important that you visit a dentist and get yourself checked to make sure there are no underlying causes.

How Can I Tell if My Breath Stinks?

As mentioned earlier, you can’t always tell if you have a bad breath. Remember that it is normal to have bad breath in the morning. It usually disappears once you brush. However, if it continues throughout the day then it may be a sign of something serious.

If you do not know how your breath smells, but you want to find out, you can ask a trusted friend or your family members for help. It may sound a little disgusting but it’s the best way to know how your breath truly smells.

In case you don’t want to ask someone to smell your breath, you can also opt for a self-test. Lick your hand, and then take a whiff. What you smell is your true breath. Blowing air and smelling it will not give you true results.

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath?

If your breath smells bad, it can be very hard for you to find the cause of it. So, we recommended that you visit a dentist and ask for a professional opinion.

We can help you not only find the cause of bad breath but also fight it. We’ll analyze your condition and give you the right tips to help get rid of bad breath.

In most cases, improving dental hygiene, changing toothpaste, and using a decent mouthwash can do the trick. However, if your bad breath is due to something serious then another treatment may be recommended.

Making Brushing Fun

January 23rd, 2019

 

Parents wait with great anticipation for their child’s first tooth, but few think about the proper care that tooth may require even before it makes its first exciting appearance. Teaching your children about proper dental hygiene from an early age can make it a fun and regular part of their daily schedule.

Cleaning Gums and Teeth

Even before your child has teeth, you will want to use dental wipes or a warm cloth to wipe their gums and mouth after nursing or bottle-feeding. This will prevent breast milk or formula (both of which contain sugars) from pooling on their gums and causing decay.
Once your child has sprouted teeth regular cleaning after meals with a soft toothbrush will help keep them strong and healthy.

Teaching children to rinse their mouth after a meal when they cannot brush is also a good way to instill good dental habits.

Proper Brushing Techniques

Since children can often be over zealous with brushing, you should guide them in proper techniques. Using up and down or circular motion is much more effective than vigorous side-to-side motions, which can cause gums to become sore and inflamed. Children should also brush for at least two minutes. If your child has trouble with this task, there are several timers or apps available, which can make it more fun and help them brush for the right amount of time.

Flossing Early and Often

Flossing can take some dexterity and children will not be ready to do it on their own until they have the fine motor skills to accomplish the task. However, you should introduce flossing as soon as children have teeth that are touching. This will not only help keep food and debris from building up between teeth but it will make flossing something that is familiar and expected.

Proper and Reliable Equipment

Starting with the soft cloth or wipes that are used for infants to the high-end electronic toothbrushes available for tweens and teens there is a variety of equipment for every stage of your child’s dental development. Musical toothbrushes or those that light up can help the child who is reluctant to brush and flavored floss is a wonderful way to introduce floss to a child who might be hesitant to try it.

Early and Regular Dental Appointments

Another important component is early and consistent dental care. Some dentists will see infants prior to their first tooth but in most cases, you should schedule an appointment within six months of the first tooth breaking through the gums. Appointments at this age will be short and ensure that teeth are developing properly. As children grow, you can expect to see cleanings and x-rays added in, but with early dental exposure, children should feel less anxious and see their dentist as a friend and not someone to be feared.
Remember, you are your child’s first teacher and it is up to you to set the standard and create a positive and healthy dental hygiene routine that will carry your child from first baby tooth to final permanent molar

How To Prevent Dental Problems

January 9th, 2019

 

They say, “nothing you wear is more important than your smile.” A great smile is worth a thousand words. It shows confidence, happiness, and fun. However, it does take a little work to keep it that way. Luckily, we provide some daily tips to help keep your teeth healthy and help you prevent dental problems.

Brushing your teeth is important. It helps to wash away germs and bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. The American Dental Association recommends you should brush your teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes each time. Use a soft bristle toothbrush, and brush both your teeth and tongue. For added germ-fighting protection, use a toothpaste with fluoride.

Make sure you brush every morning. Plaque builds up overnight causing bacteria that leads to bad breath. If you have a cup of coffee in the morning, wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth. Because of how acidic coffee is, it could cause a lot of damage to your teeth if you brush too soon.

You should also add flossing to your daily routine. Flossing helps remove food and buildup between the teeth and along the gum line that brushing misses.

Can Certain Foods Cause Dental Problems?

Certain foods you eat, whether or not you are a daily brusher/flosser, can break down the enamel, cause tooth decay, and other serious dental problems. Sugary beverages like soda cause acid in your mouth that break down your teeth’s enamel. When the enamel begins to break down, your teeth are more prone to decay. It is best to avoid soda, even diet soda.

Candy also isn’t the best choice if your goal is a healthy mouth. We aren’t saying to avoid it at all costs, but if you want to indulge once in a while, choose your candy wisely. Sticky and chewy candy like gummies, dried fruit, and suckers. Because it takes a while to eat these candies, they tend to stick to your teeth much longer, giving the acid and bacteria from the sugar more time to do its damage.

Can You Take Too Good of Care of Your Teeth?

Yes! It may sound silly but, you actually can overbrush your teeth. Brushing too many times a day or for longer than 4 minutes at a time, could begin to wear down the enamel of your teeth. As mentioned earlier, this makes your teeth more prone to tooth decay and other problems.

In addition to brushing too much, you also want to avoid brushing too hard. You can damage the enamel of your teeth or your gums. If you damage your gums, the tissue around your teeth can become weak, allowing bacteria to get into your teeth.

Taking good care of your teeth can help avoid future dental problems. Brushing twice a day, flossing, and avoiding high sugar foods and beverages can also help keep your teeth healthy.

All About Implants

November 30th, 2018

Dental Implant Procedure Steps: What to Expect?

Assuming you have already booked or completed your consultation, let’s get started with the dental implant procedure steps.

Step 1: Implant Placement

Your tooth has been removed and you are ready to get it replaced. The first step is the placement of the implant.

The dentist will be surgically placing the implant in the upper or lower jaw. This does require some drilling as the implant must fit snuggly into the jawbone, acting like the root of your newest tooth.

When the implant is placed, a “healing cap” is placed over it to protect it during step 2.

It’s important to note that bone grafting may be required either before or during the implant placement. If this will be needed the doctor will discuss this with you beforehand.

Step 2: Healing and Osseointegration

Once the implant is in place it is now time to heal. This is critical during the dental implant procedure steps. You have to let the bone in your jaw grow around the implant. This takes some time but is what makes a dental implant so strong and why implants are highly recommended as the best longterm tooth replacement option.

Osseointegration is big word for the implant “fusing” to the jaw bone. The bone locks the implant in place and grows around it to reinforce it, just like your other teeth. This process usually takes a few months. Your healing will be monitored by the dentist.

Step 3: Tooth Replacement

This is the step you’ve been waiting for! The dentist will create a custom crown for you that will look, feel, and act as your new tooth. If you are replacing more than one tooth then a bridge or denture may be needed instead of a crown.

What is most important about this step is that you will leave the dentist’s office with your new tooth. No one will be able to tell that you had a missing tooth in the first place. The process and procedure is complete. Congratulations!

7 Habits That are Ruining Your Teeth

November 12th, 2018

 

Healthy teeth might be something you don’t think about until they are (for whatever reason) no longer healthy. While some people are more susceptible to tooth decay than others, you can take some basic steps to keep your teeth healthy, such as brushing regularly and attending dental appointments every six months. But certain pitfalls also exist that can be damaging to your teeth, and they aren’t all that uncommon, either.

Read through these seven tooth-health hazards to see what you might need to change in your dental care routine.

Biting nonfood items

Although your teeth may be sharp, they aren’t meant for tasks like tearing open plastic packaging or chewing on fingernails. Incidentally, biting nails can also even lead to gingivitis and tooth loss, according to oralanswers.com. While sharp, the tip of each tooth is the thinnest and weakest part, so it's subject to chipping or even breakage if you’re chewing and tearing things that aren’t food.

Ice is another hazard to teeth. Although it’s made of water (no sugar!) it still has a very hard surface that can harm tooth enamel or even cause a broken or chipped tooth. Remember, ice is for chilling, not chewing!

Acidic and sticky foods

We all know candy is sticky and sugary and increases the risk of cavities, but other healthier foods might be just as damaging. Fruit smoothies and juicing are two health fads that are increasingly popular. While these concoctions are high in vitamins and minerals, their sugar and acid content is also high, which can be a problem for teeth, according to a BBC news report.

It’s best to sip these drinks through a straw, along with plenty of plain water to rinse your mouth afterward. And, as always, keep your intake moderate.

Dried fruit and gummy vitamins may seem healthy, if not harmless, but they too can mean bad news for your teeth. Sticky substances that remain on the tooth break down to form acids that start the decaying process. Rinse well after eating dried fruits, and stick with sugar-free or pill-form vitamins.

Caffeine and alcohol

It’s fairly common knowledge that soda is bad for your teeth due to the high amount of sweeteners, carbonation (which erodes enamel) and caffeine, which can dry out the mouth. Dentalhealth.org explains that a dry mouth is one that’s especially vulnerable to decay because your saliva acts as a rinsing agent that helps clear off harmful bacteria. But are there other drinks that dry out your mouth?

Coffee and tea aren't all bad, but they can become a problem when consumed with too much sugar. Sugary add-ons and the drying effects of caffeine to your mouth mean additional risks of cavities. Again, limit added sugars, drink through straws and drink water to rinse your mouth afterward as much as possible.

Consistent alcohol use without extra care can also damage your smile. Much like caffeinated beverages, alcohol reduces the flow of saliva in your mouth. Heavy drinking also increases the risk of oral cancers. This happens when nutritional deficiencies associated with heavy drinking can lower the body’s ability to use antioxidants in preventing cancers, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.

Overdoing it on brushing and flossing

Just as a lack of dental hygiene can be harmful to your teeth, becoming overzealous in your routine can also be damaging. Those who use a tough-bristled brush and repetitive back-and-forward motions, described at oralwellness.com, may be wearing away enamel and even contributing to receding gums.
Instead, learn to use a soft-bristled brush with a small lateral brushing pattern at a 45-degree angle to the tooth and gumline. Make sure to be careful when flossing so you don't damage your gums, too.

Grinding or clenching teeth

In a stressful and fast-paced society, it’s easy to store your stress in undesirable places. It’s for this reason that more and more people are experiencing problems caused by grinding or clenching their teeth at night. You may not even be aware you are doing it, but facial and jaw soreness in the morning is a telltale sign, according to the Mayo Clinic’s article on bruxism. Waking up with clenched teeth is also a clue.

Grinding and clenching your teeth (whether during the day or night) can result in significant enamel erosion and even cracking or chipping of your teeth over time. If you think you might have this problem, talk to your dentist about getting a specially made mouthguard to prevent further damage.

Drug abuse

Add tooth loss and tooth decay to the long list of reasons abusing drugs is bad for your health.

"You may have noticed that many drug addicts have bad teeth," WebMD reports. "That's because drugs such as methamphetamine (meth), heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, and even marijuana can cause problems for your teeth and gums."

One study cited showed 96 percent of meth users had cavities and the term "meth mouth" is used to refer to the condition of stained and damaged teeth.

Poor dental hygiene and ignoring problems

Usually, tooth pain is enough to get people in to see their dentist, but not always. Some people might have a swollen gum here or a sensitive tooth there that they might deem to be “not a problem.” But as with anything in dental health, it’s always better safe than sorry. Problems from decay, hygienic neglect or some other issue will worsen and cause more damage if left unchecked.

What starts as a small cavity can spread to the tooth’s root and result in a root canal or even total tooth loss. Gum infections and gum disease are also left to continue all too often, with devastating results.

As always, Please contact our office with any and all questions and concerns you may have regarding your oral health.

Caring for Aging Teeth

October 26th, 2018

One common misconception is that losing your teeth is inevitable. … If cared for properly, your teeth can last a lifetime. Your mouth changes as you age. The nerves in your teeth can become smaller, making your teeth less sensitive to cavities or other problems. Saliva helps clean teeth and protects your mouth from decay. But as you get older, your mouth gets drier and your odds of tooth decay go up.

Medications: More than 1800 medications, both prescription and over-the-counter list dry mouth as a side effect. Many are common medications, such as antihistamines and antidepressants. XyliMelts may be helpful.

Transportation: Patients who no longer drive may find getting a ride to the dentist difficult. There are many senior services that can help with transportation and your support of getting to the dentist. Consider asking friends and family to volunteer-or pay them to provide rides. Sometimes senior organizations, churches, and synagogues have volunteer drivers.

Health Issues: Health issues may cause getting to the dentist a difficult task. Having treatments or being tired may make you put the dentist on the back burner, however, keeping up with oral health is important to your overall wellbeing.

We constantly hear patients say that it is so important for them to keep as many of their teeth as possible.

What else can you do?

Cut those sugars and snacks!! Limiting your snacks and removing sweets from your diet is very important. Try cut up fruit as a substitute.

Water, not juice. A glass of 100% juice a day is fine, but try to find one that does not have added sugar. Water should make up the rest of your day.

See your dentist for regular check-ups, don’t put off anything that is painful and see your dental hygienist twice a year for cleanings.

Are Your Teeth Sensitive?

October 12th, 2018

Sensitive teeth can be caused by any of the following: worn tooth enamel from using a hard toothbrush and using a hard grip while brushing aggressively; tooth erosion due to highly acidic foods and beverages; tooth decay; worn leaky fillings and broken teeth that expose the dentin of your tooth. Have you ever had a cold drink that caused your teeth discomfort? Tooth sensitivity is quite a broad term that can mean tenderness anywhere on or near the tooth — the surface, the dentin, the root, and along the gum line.

If you experience tooth sensitivity, it isn't something that you should have to suffer through. There are even home remedies and, if necessary, dental procedures that can help tooth sensitivity and can lessen pain and discomfort.

Have you had a procedure done lately? That could actually play a role in increased tooth sensitivity. Dental procedures can often involve pressure, drilling, vibration, and even heat that will cause your teeth to become sensitive, more so than you experience in your day to day dealings.

Your tooth could also be cracked or damaged, which can certainly lead to increased sensitivity. In some cases, you might not even be aware that your tooth is damaged. Structural integrity of our teeth is something we all take for granted. But the reality is that eating something as simple and healthy as an almond can actually leave you with a cracked, chipped, or even broken tooth.

Decay around the edges of your fillings could be causing discomfort or increased tooth sensitivity. As your fillings age, they can weaken, fracture, even start to leak around the edges. This is fertile ground for bacteria to grow and flourish, increasing in number and accumulating in tiny nooks, crannies, and crevices. This leads to acid buildup which breaks down tooth enamel.

You might also be using harsh mouthwashes or even whitening toothpaste which can be contributing to tooth sensitivity. Many types of mouthwash and toothpaste manufacturers add whitening chemicals to their products which can make your teeth more sensitive, especially if dentin in the middle layer of the tooth are exposed (this is due to enamel wearing down from acids and everyday irritants).

The toothbrush you choose and use every day might also be contributing to your increased tooth sensitivity. The way you brush can also play a role. If you use too much force and a back-and-forth movement instead of a circular movement, this can wear down the protective layers of your teeth, exposing microscopic canals, tubes, and fissures, triggering your dental nerves. When nerves are left exposed, foods extreme in temperature, acidity, or stickiness can be increasingly uncomfortable to eat. Switching to a softer toothbrush, perhaps an electronic model where force can be even and consistently measured will ultimately be better for your teeth.

If you suffer from TMJ or grind your teeth with any sort of regularity, then you are especially susceptible to having sensitive teeth. This also wears down protective coating on your teeth, exposing your nerves. Your dentist can custom shape appliances for patients to wear in order to minimize damage from tooth grinding. These can also be worn during sleep for those who grind at night.

The cause sensitive teeth is a mystery you can solve with some input from your dentist. So if you've been suffering with painful sensitivity that keeps you from eating the foods you love, make an appointment with your dentist today – and you may be eating ice cream tomorrow.

To Whiten or Not To Whiten?

September 28th, 2018

 

Just look around and you’ll see that stained teeth are everywhere. Several factors of our modern lifestyles actively work against our ability to maintain white teeth.

Here are a few of the common daily habits that can stain teeth:
Drinking coffee, tea, or other dark liquids that can leave stains
Smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products that contain tar
Not brushing your teeth often enough, or not brushing thoroughly enough when you do
Tooth trauma or injury

Staining can also occur from dental fluorosis, as well as from taking tetracycline antibiotics at a young age.

Regardless of why your teeth are stained, at some point you will likely wonder whether to look into teeth whitening treatment in order to brighten up your smile. Keep in mind, as long as the teeth are free of cavities and your gums are healthy, there is little medical harm in stained teeth.

So, the decision really rests on your personal preference and the how you feel about your smile. We can’t make this decision for you, but we can assure you that professional teeth whitening methods are safe should you choose to do it.

Evaluating Treatment Options

Once you’ve decided to move forward with teeth whitening treatment, the next step is to decide whether to visit the dentist’s office or try an at-home solution. The main difference between these options is the amount of bleaching agent used.

As you might imagine, professionally trained dentists are able to use higher concentrations of peroxide for whitening treatments versus what is available for at-home use. However, with the higher dose comes the expertise of a trained professional so you can rest easy knowing that the treatment is being administered properly.

If you decide to go the at-home whitening route, there are several different products on the market to choose from. Each has its own requirements for how often you should apply whitener and how long it should stay on your teeth.

No matter which product you choose, make sure that you follow the directions on the package very carefully. This will ensure that you are staying safe while getting the most out of the at-home whitening product.

Other Considerations

While the American Dental Association considers teething whitening safe, it is generally not recommended for pregnant women or nursing mothers. Consult your doctor and ask for safe alternatives.

Teeth whiteners, either at home or when professionally applied, can increase the sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. This can usually be managed by using toothpaste for sensitive teeth or with over-the-counter pain relievers. If you already have sensitive teeth, ask your dentist about alternative whitening options.

If you are uncertain about whether something in your dental or medical history would be affected by teeth whitening, the best thing to do is ask your dentist. No question is too silly or trivial; any good dentist or hygienist should answer all of your questions thoroughly and professionally.

Signs Your Wisdom Teeth Should be Removed

September 12th, 2018

 

Wisdom teeth are our third set of molars that usually come in during your late teens to early twenties. Over time our jaws have shrunk, leaving little room for the extra row of teeth, which is why they can cause pain and need to be extracted. Besides pain, what are some of the common signs you need your wisdom teeth taken out?

Signs You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Taken Out:

Not every patient experiences pain associated with their wisdom teeth. Sometimes a dentist will recommend pulling them based on your x-rays if the wisdom teeth will cause overcrowding or put excess pressure on the other teeth as they move.

How to know when to get your wisdom teeth pulled?

When overcrowding occurs, teeth that were once straight begin to shift. Shifted teeth can cause problems such as one tooth moving in front of another, gum issues, and even result in infections caused by trapped food.

Pain is usually the first sign that your wisdom teeth are causing problems and will need to be pulled (extracted). The pain is typically a dull, aching pain in the jaw. Certain foods that require more chewing like meats and root vegetables can make the pain worse when chewing.

Hot/cold sensitivity can be another indicator.

When there isn’t enough room in the mouth the teeth will commonly grow in on an angle and sometimes not in the same direction as the rest of your teeth. This usually results in tenderness, swelling, gum infections, and damage to surrounding teeth. When wisdom teeth are impacted, it is highly recommended to remove them as soon as possible. Impacted teeth are more likely to cause jaw issues and can cause other serious problems.

What Can I Expect With Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery?

Wisdom tooth removal is a routine procedure at this point. If the teeth are impacted or require any cutting into the gums then an oral surgeon will usually perform the procedure.

Does Recovering From Surgery Take Long?

Healing from any tooth removal can take some time. A diet consisting of soft foods or even liquids will be required for a couple days to avoid chewing on the area and to help with pain. You will need to ice the area for the first 48 hours or as needed for pain.

It will be important to follow the cleaning instructions during recovery.

Caring for your Dentures and Dental Appliances

August 24th, 2018

 

If you’re one of the many Americans who use dentures (also known as a dental appliance), you probably know that it’s important to care for them.

But if you’re uncertain about how to keep your dental appliance clean and comfortable, you’re not alone. Follow the tips in this article to keep your dentures – and your mouth – healthy and clean.

Dental appliances include full and partial dentures that can be made of metal, acrylic, or hard or soft resin, and will fill in the gaps where there has been tooth loss.

Cleaning Your Appliance

No matter what type of denture you’re using, you should use a soft toothbrush (or denture brush) and water to remove food debris, plaque and stains each day. Do not use toothpaste on your dental appliance, as it may cause the denture to deteriorate over time. Rinse your appliance first, then brush to clean.

For devices with metal frames, you will also want to brush the sides of the frame and rinse again in warm water.

There are many different types of over-the-counter cleaners that may help keep your appliance clean. To pick the best one for your appliance, look at what it is made from (acrylic, metal, etc.) and carefully check the product labels to find a good match.

Storing Your Appliance

For proper storage of your device, remember:
•Store your appliance in fresh, clean water whenever you aren’t wearing it
•Always rinse the appliance before wearing it again
•Keep your storage container empty, wiped dry and open when not in use

Back to School Dental Tips

August 8th, 2018

 

Poor oral health affects a child’s abilities in school, play and everyday life. Moreover dental problems cause low self-esteem, difficulty sleeping, speech, articulation, and hindered academic performance. The good news is that there are several ways you can go back to school with a healthy mouth.

Dental Examination

Tooth decay is the leading #1 childhood chronic disease affecting 42% of children between the ages of 2 and 11 and 59% of adolescents between 12 and 19. We recommend that you make a trip to the dentist before this school year begins. A dental examination is as important as immunizations and booster shots for back to school according to the American Dental Association.

Limit Sugary Drinks

Sugar is the #1 cause of tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth use sugars from the drinks you consume to produce acids that dissolve and damage the teeth, causing tooth decay. A great alternative to sugary drinks is water since it strengthens your teeth and help wash away food debris.

Pack a healthy lunch

Foods high in calcium like cheese, milk, and yogurt help keep your teeth healthy and strong. Cheese has enzymes that aid in neutralizing the harmful bacteria in your mouth after a meal. Also, research shows that whole grains are less likely to promote tooth decay. Packing a lunch with these options is a great start to a healthier mouth.

Brush and Floss

Plaque is a transparent layer of bacteria that coats our teeth and gum line. Plaque contains millions of harmful bacteria, but regular brushing and flossing can help remove the plaque. The best method to brush is to follow the two by two rule which consist of brushing twice a day for two minutes. Moreover, flossing every day helps remove the plaque between your teeth. Add a fluoridated rinse to finish you child's routine.

Protect your mouth playing sports

It is important to protect your kids’ healthy smile from injury. Many high contact sports like football require their athlete to wear a mouth guard. For superior protection we recommend that you get a custom mouth guard made by your dentist. If you are unsure of what safety precautions to take for your child’s sport, talk to their trainer in regards to what safety equipment is required and recommended.

A new school year means new healthy habits. Stress the importance of good dental hygiene and make sure that your child visits the dentist before the school year begins.

Are Dental X-rays Safe During Pregnancy?

July 25th, 2018

Pregnancy is an exciting time and, while your body is undergoing massive amounts of change, it does not mean that you should abandon your dental care routine. In fact, it is important that you take extra-great care of your teeth in order to avoid things like pregnancy gingivitis, and if you stick to your regular dental visit schedule during pregnancy, chances are you will need to have dental X-rays at some point. One question we often hear in the office is: are dental X-rays safe during pregnancy?

The short answer is…. Yes! Dental X-rays are safe to have during pregnancy, but there are some other factors you may want to consider as you are planning your dental care during this time.

The amount of radiation used in a dental X-ray is very low and, according to both the American Dental Association and the American Pregnancy Association, is not enough to cause any harm to a pregnant woman or her baby.

Beyond that, there’s an extra layer of protection — literally — used to make the process even safer for everyone who needs to have a dental X-ray.

If you’ve had dental X-rays in the past, you probably remember the dentist or hygienist placing a heavy apron over you before turning on the X-ray machine. This is a leaded apron that is designed to minimize exposure to radiation during the X-ray process.

The apron is long enough to cover the abdomen, which means a baby is protected during the X-ray process. It might seem like a nuisance or more trouble than it’s worth to wear it for such a short amount of time, but this is definitely one of those situations where it’s better to be safe than sorry.

The apron will feel heavy when your dentist or hygienist puts it on, but it is safe to use at all stages of pregnancy. If all goes well, it will only be on you for a few minutes at most.

Making the Best Choices

Even though the dental X-ray process is safe to undertake throughout pregnancy, some women make proactive choices to limit their exposure to X-rays and other procedures during this time.

You should notify your dentist as soon as possible after you become pregnant. You can work with your dentist to develop a treatment plan that will work for you and your baby.

Some women choose to postpone X-rays until after the end of the first trimester because this is the time that is most crucial for the baby’s development. This is not medically necessary but may help provide peace of mind.

Routine dental X-rays can also be postponed until after the baby is born, but this is not something that is recommended. X-rays are critical to detecting dental issues that could become serious if they are not detected and treated.

The last thing you want is to have a newborn baby and a dental emergency on your hands because of something that could have been addressed during pregnancy.

Speaking of emergencies, if you have a dental emergency while you are pregnant, you will need to have X-rays. This is not usually something that can be postponed until after birth.

The Affects of Soda and Juice in Toddlers

July 11th, 2018

How Does Sugar Decay Teeth?

Before you completely ditch all forms of sugar, it is important to understand how sugar affects tooth enamel. Sugar alone is not the issue. What does cause the damage is acid.

When bacteria in your toddler’s mouth use sugar as their food source to break down into energy, acids are released. This acid then begins to break down the enamel and remove important minerals from your toddler’s teeth. The end result… tooth decay, rot, cavities, toothaches, and tooth sensitivity.

How Can My Toddler Avoid Tooth Decay?

The obvious answer is to avoid sugary substances. However, the occasional sugary treat is okay. But, when it comes to beverages, choose those with low to no sugar. One of the best beverages for a child is water. Water helps to wash away bacteria in the mouth and on the teeth. It also keeps the tongue moist, which helps with saliva production.

A fun way to get your toddler to drink more water is by adding fruit. Fruit infused water provides a delicious flavor without adding refined sugars and other harmful ingredients.

Milk is another excellent beverage choice. Milk contains calcium and vitamin d, both are nutrients that are essential for building strong bones and teeth. Opt for plain milk vs chocolate milk. Also look for milk with no added sugars or flavors.

Does Brushing Teeth After Drinking Soda Help Avoid Tooth Decay?

Brushing your toddler’s teeth after consuming soda or juice can help to rid the mouth of the acid causing bacteria. However, doctors recommend to wait at least 30 to 60 minutes after consuming sugary drinks. The teeth are sensitive immediately after consuming sugar. The friction caused by brushing the teeth can actually spread the bacteria. It is recommended to swish the mouth out with water. This can be done immediately after consuming a sugary drink.

Other Tips for Avoiding Tooth Decay

Additional measures can prevent tooth decay. It is always recommended to practice good dental hygiene and avoid sugary beverages altogether. However, these tips can help your toddler when they have an occasional soda or juice.
Water Flavored with FruitDrink in moderation. Don’t allow your toddler to have more than one soft drink or juice each day. Just one will do damage enough.
Dilute Juice Drinks. Diluting juice drinks with water reduced the amount of pure juice your toddler drinks, therefore, reducing the amount of sugar.
Use a straw. Drinking through a straw will keep acids and sugars away from the teeth.
Avoid soft drinks before bedtime. Even with regular brushing, it is recommended to avoid giving your toddler juice or soda before bed.
Get regular dental cleanings. Regular checkups and exams will identify problems before they worsen.

Are You Harming Your Teeth While You Sleep?

June 22nd, 2018

No matter how diligently you care for your teeth during the day, you might be harming them overnight or in other situations without even realizing you are doing it. Many people experience teeth grinding and jaw clenching, or a condition known as bruxism, while they sleep or in stressful situations.

Over time, these actions can wear on your mouth and cause permanent damage if they are not addressed. This post will help you identify if you suffer from bruxism, learn more about what triggers it, and provide some short-term and long-term treatment options.

Causes and Symptoms of Bruxism

The most common reasons for teeth grinding and jaw clenching are stress and anxiety. This can occur during the day or while you are sleeping. Even if you are wide awake, you might not even realize that you are doing it.

Bruxism is one of many ways that our body physically manifests stress even if our minds aren’t aware of it. The next time you are in a high-stress situation, pay attention to what’s happening in your mouth. Are you clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth around? If you’re one of 8 percent of Americans who suffer from bruxism, then you probably are.

Other risk factors for bruxism include substance abuse (drugs, alcohol, caffeine), sleep apnea, and bite and alignment issues.

One telltale way to know if you suffer from bruxism is waking up with a sore mouth or a tight jaw. You might also notice that your teeth begin to wear down in odd patterns over time. These changes might not be obvious at first since many people grind their molars, which are not always very visible.

If you share a bed with someone, that person may also be able to determine whether you are grinding your teeth at night. The sound might not be loud enough to wake you up, but it could be loud enough for your partner to notice.

Long-term jaw clenching can lead to earaches and headaches. You might think that you have an ear infection or a migraine, but the cause is actually the jaw because of how closely it’s related to the other parts of your face.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Bruxism

The best way to confirm whether or not you suffer from bruxism is to mention your symptoms to your dentist at your next appointment. Your dentist can review the wear patterns on your teeth and examine your jaw to determine whether you’ve been grinding or clenching without realizing it.

From there, your dentist will likely prescribe a mouth guard, which will prevent your teeth from touching while you sleep and give you something to bite into if you clench your jaw. It won’t take long before you are waking up pain-free and more refreshed as a result of better sleep.

The mouth guard will probably take some getting used to, but it’s important that you stick with it and continue wearing it. Your mouth will adjust over time and you’ll soon be wondering how you ever slept without one.

While this approach will stop the symptoms of bruxism, it is not a cure for the underlying issues that are causing it in the first place.

To address those deeper issues, your dentist may recommend a visit to a sleep specialist, who can more thoroughly test for issues like sleep apnea. If bruxism is caused by stress or anxiety, working with a therapist might help to resolve those issues and create long-term change.

Why do I get Cavities?

May 30th, 2018

 

You brush and floss daily and don't snack on sugary treats, yet you've had your fair share of cavities. Your friend, on the other hand, is lax with the dental hygiene and lives on energy drinks and junk food, yet rarely has a cavity. What gives?

Cavities, which result from a disease process called dental caries, are areas of decay caused by certain oral bacteria. As the decay progresses, the bacteria can eventually invade the living portion of the tooth (dentin and pulp) and is considered a bacterial infection. At that point professional dental treatment is required to remove the infection, stop the disease process and seal the tooth.

This disease process requires certain combinations of conditions in order to progress. So it's likely that you have more of those conditions, or risk factors, than your friend does. Don't beat yourself up; while there are lots of things you can do to minimize risks, there are also factors that aren't so easily controlled.

Tooth Decay Risk Factors

Let's take a look at those risk factors:

•Oral Bacteria — Cavities start with bacteria that build up on tooth surfaces in a sticky film called plaque where they feed on sugars and carbohydrates from the foods/beverages we consume, creating acids in the process. Acids dissolve the mineral bonds in the protective layer of tooth enamel, which makes it easier for bacteria to penetrate what is otherwise the hardest substance in the human body and infect the tooth. Your unique oral "microbiome" make-up could have more or less of the microbe species implicated in dental caries, and some strains of the same bugs are more aggressive than others.

•Dental hygiene — Brushing and flossing correctly and regularly helps dislodge bacterial plaque and trapped food particles. Regular checkups and professional cleanings are also important to remove plaque that has hardened into "tartar."

•Diet — Minimizing your intake of sugary foods and carbohydrates reduces the availability of fuel for cavity-causing bacteria. Meanwhile, acidic foods and beverages can erode enamel, and the more frequently they are consumed, the less opportunity saliva has to restore the mouth to its normal pH.

•Dry mouth — Saliva contains minerals that help neutralize acids and rebuild tooth enamel. Without a healthy flow, your ability to prevent decay is compromised. Certain medications, chemotherapy and some diseases can cause dry mouth. Drinking lots of water and using enamel-fortifying mouth rinses can help counter the effects.

•Tooth shape — Tooth decay is most likely to develop in back teeth — molars and bicuspids (premolars) — where the tiny fissures on their biting surface tend to trap food and bacteria. Genetics determines how deep your fissures are.

•Gum recession — Receding gums expose the tooth root, which isn't protected by enamel and therefore more susceptible to decay.

•Other factors — Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and vomiting can create highly acidic conditions in the mouth. Retainers, orthodontic appliances and bite or night guards tend to restrict saliva flow over teeth, promoting plaque formation; fixed appliances like braces can make it more difficult to brush and floss effectively.

How Does Smoking Affect Your Teeth?

May 21st, 2018

 

There are 36 million smokers in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, amounting to about 15 percent of the population. While this number has declined over the years, it’s still a large number of people who are at risk for dental issues that come with smoking.

What does smoking do to your teeth? Tobacco hurts your teeth in many ways. Cigarettes limit your mouth’s ability to fight off infection, which leaves you defenseless against the bacteria produced by smoking. When your mouth can’t fight back, plaque and bacteria fester.

Increased plaque and bacteria cause a wide range of oral health issues:

Tooth Discoloration

Yellowed or stained teeth is one of the most obvious signs that someone is a smoker. The chemicals in tobacco cling to the enamel in your teeth, causing them to stain over time. Teeth whitening treatments can help slow down this process, but if you continue smoking it’s impossible to stop or reverse it entirely.

Bad Breath

The old saying “your breath smells like an ashtray” definitely holds true with smokers today. Cigarette particles remain in the mouth long after a cigarette is finished, which cause the breath to take on the characteristics of a cigarette.

Beyond that, the longer-term effects of smoking also contribute to bad breath. The overgrowth of bacteria in the smoker’s mouth leads to horrible breath. Unfortunately, amount of brushing or gargling with mouthwash will get rid of the smell because it is coming from gum disease, oral sores, and decay. The only real way to turn things around is to stop smoking entirely and work with a dentist to address the underlying issues it caused.

Prolonged smoking can also lead to inflammation of the salivary glands, which results in painful swelling in the face and could require surgery if salivary gland stones develop.

Gum Disease

According to the CDC, smokers are twice as prone to gum disease as nonsmokers. The risk increases with every cigarette you smoke, and gum disease treatments do not work as well on smokers.

Why is this? Smoking decreases your mouth’s ability to fight off bacteria, which allows it to build up on teeth and eventually make its way to the gums. If left untreated, gums can pull away from teeth and cause the underlying bone structures to weaken. The most severe form of this is periodontitis, where the bone and tissue holding teeth in place break down, causing teeth to fall out or be extracted.

Losing teeth is an outcome for heavy smokers because their mouths don’t get a break long enough to heal. Smoking also counteracts the effects of gum disease treatments like brushing, flossing, prescription mouth rinses, and tartar removal treatments.

Delayed Healing

Unfortunately, the bad news does not end there for smokers.

Not only does smoking increase your risk of things like tooth extraction and oral surgery, it also slows down your body’s ability to recover from these procedures. It also lowers the rate of successful dental implant procedures.

The more time your mouth spends in a vulnerable state, the more prone you are to developing further complications. A dentist can help mitigate this as much as possible, but treatment plans are only so effective if the patient continues to smoke.

Oral Cancer

The most severe form of smoking-related mouth issues is oral cancer. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, about 50,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with oral cancer each year and an estimated 80 percent of them are smokers. The risk of developing oral cancer increases when smoking is combined with heavy drinking.

Oral cancer begins as a white or red patch in the mouth accompanied by difficulty chewing or swallowing, numbness in the jaw, and even pain in the ear. While there are certainly other causes for these symptoms, the National Institutes of Health recommends that anyone who has these symptoms for more than two weeks should see a doctor. The earlier cancer is detected, the more effective treatment will be.

The Best Solution

Again, a dentist can put together a treatment plan to help mitigate the issues associated with smoking, but the only way to make them go away completely is to stop smoking. Dental issues are just one of the many parts of your body that can be affected by smoking; quitting will ensure a healthier life for years to come.

Dental Care for Millennials

May 4th, 2018

Millennials—loosely defined as the group of people who are reaching adulthood in the early 21st Century—have a lot going for them. Soon to surpass baby boomers as the largest living adult generation, they're poised to have an immense effect on our economy…and a big hand in shaping our future. But there's one thing that's not so great about this generation: their oral hygiene habits.

A recent survey of 2,000 millennials found that three in ten brush their teeth only once a day. Not only that, but many go without brushing for over two days at a time. And despite that fact that 56 % are concerned about losing their teeth, the survey showed that over half were afraid of going to see the dentist.

What's wrong with this picture? First of all, let's point out that the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and flossing once a day, to keep your oral health in good shape. Proper brushing and flossing is the most effective way to rid your teeth of plaque: the buildup of food particles and harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing and flossing are the two most important things you can do at home to maintain good oral hygiene—and having good oral hygiene is the best way you can help keep your natural teeth healthy and sound for your whole life.

But even if you're careful to brush and floss as recommended, you still need to see your dentist for regular checkups. That's because it's almost impossible to completely remove harmful plaque from all tooth surfaces—especially in between teeth and under the gums. Left alone, sticky plaque hardens into tartar, a mineralized deposit that can't be removed at home. A dental professional, however, can effectively remove stubborn plaque during a routine office visit.

What's more, at a regular dental checkup you'll get a full teeth cleaning and a complete evaluation of your oral health, including screening for oral cancer and other potentially serious diseases. These conditions are uncommon…but untreated tooth decay is prevalent among millennials, affecting one in three people ages 18 to 34. When decay bacteria are left alone they can cause further problems in teeth and gums, and eventually lead to tooth loss.

Missing teeth and other dental issues can cause problems that aren't just "skin deep." A 2017 survey by the ADA found that 28% of young adults say the appearance of their teeth and mouth hurts their job prospects, and 38% find their lives are "less satisfying" due to oral problems. That's two more reasons not to put off a routine visit to your dentist!

April is National Facial Protection Month

April 20th, 2018

This month we're spreading the word to remind both children and adults: as you suit up for outdoor activities this spring, don't forget to protect your face and head. Spring often brings a flood of patients suffering with head, mouth and facial injuries resulting from sports-related accidents to doctors' offices and emergency rooms. Many oral and facial injuries can be easily prevented with the use of sports safety equipment like helmets and mouth guards.

National Facial Protection Month is sponsored by the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the American Association of Orthodontists. Together we encourage children and adults to enjoy the pleasures of the season by using common sense and taking the necessary precautions to prevent sports injuries.

For more information about the prevention and treatment of facial injury, visit MyOMS.org.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April 4th, 2018

 

April is #OralCancerAwarenessMonth. Early detection is critical, and dental hygienists are the prevention experts who have the ability to have a positive impact in their patients lives. Raise awareness!

Do I Need to Replace a Missing Tooth?

March 23rd, 2018

If you’ve lost a tooth, especially one that’s not visible to others when you speak or smile, you may be thinking that you can slide by without replacing it. Sure, it will feel weird for a while, but you’ll get used it — or will you? Not replacing a missing tooth can have serious physical and mental consequences. The replacement process is not as difficult as you might think and will pay off in the long run.

Physical Consequences of Not Replacing a Missing Tooth

Having a missing tooth can lead to long-term problems inside and outside your mouth.

Over time, the teeth next to the missing tooth will shift toward each other in an attempt to fill in the gap. This leads to a condition called malocclusion, which means the teeth are not aligned properly.

Malocclusion can cause serious problems like an overbite or crossbite that result in extra strain on the jaw, difficulty chewing, and even an increased risk for tooth decay. The treatment for this larger issue is braces or even surgery, which will likely end up being more expensive than a single tooth replacement would be.

The increase in tooth decay will also lead to problems with other teeth.

Missing teeth can result in not chewing your food properly (consciously or unconsciously). Not chewing your food properly can lead to digestive issues like acid reflux and malnutrition from nutrients not being absorbed properly in the digestive tract. While it may seem like a back molar hidden from view that does not need to be replaced, remember that those teeth are essential for proper chewing and digestion.

Missing teeth can also cause bone loss along the jawline, which leads to a sagging appearance around the mouth. The bone tissue no longer receives support from the tooth, so it weakens over time. Sagging faces are common among people who wear dentures. While it may be inevitable for some, you can do something about it before the sagging begins.

Mental Consequences of Not Replacing a Missing Tooth

Beyond the physical effects, having a missing tooth can have negative mental consequences in the short and long term.

For better or worse, society casts a negative light on people with missing teeth. Look closely at characters on TV or in movies who are supposed to be poor and/or unintelligent — chances are they have at least one missing tooth.

Those perceptions from pop culture spill over into reality, especially in an age when just about anything can be said on social media. Even the toughest skin will weaken over time, just like the spot in your mouth where your tooth is missing.

As life expectancies continue to rise, you could be living with the stigma and difficulty speaking or eating for decades, even if you lose a tooth at age 50 or 60.

Don’t open yourself up to that type of criticism and self-doubt if you have the power to change your appearance.

Restoring Your Smile

Replacing a missing tooth is no longer the ordeal it was in your parents’ generation.

The most common treatment is a dental implant. Implants consist of a titanium screw covered by a crown or denture.

The process typically takes about three months from start to finish, which includes plenty of time for your mouth to adjust to the implant and heal before the crown or denture is applied. The implant and temporary crown can be applied on the same day, allowing you to return to normal activities while the permanent crown is made.

Your Options for a Better Smile

March 9th, 2018

Do your teeth need a tune-up? Are your teeth chipped, broken, cracked, or stained? If so, we can use bonding, veneers, and crowns to fix a range of dental problems.

Bonding

With dental bonding, tooth-colored material (composite resin) is attached, or bonded, with an adhesive to your teeth to repair defects and reshape them. The procedure can be done in a single visit. Aside from fixing chipped, cracked, or stained teeth, bonding can also be used to close spaces in teeth and cover the surface of teeth to change their color or shape. Bonding lasts for several years, but it’s more vulnerable to chipping or staining.

Veneers

Veneers are thin, custom-made shells designed to cover the front of your teeth. They are used to fix spaces between teeth and teeth that are chipped or worn, permanently stained, poorly shaped, or slightly crooked. Made of porcelain or plastic, they are usually used for the front teeth—particularly the upper front teeth—that are most visible when you smile. If you have a wide smile, some of the posterior teeth may be covered as well.

Crowns

If one of your teeth has a large amount of decay, number of fillings, or is cracked, we might recommend a crown. This restores your entire tooth, not just its front surface. To prepare your tooth for a crown, we will reduce the tooth to a stable foundation so that the crown can fit over it.

Crowns are made of materials such as ceramics (porcelain being one type); or metal (alloys of gold, copper, or other so-called noble metals or base metal alloys with a silver appearance) or a combination of ceramics and metal.

Is Dental Insurance Worth It?

February 16th, 2018

Yes. According to the American Dental Association, cost of dental treatments and lack of dental insurance are the main reasons adults aged 18 to 64 don’t seek needed dental care. It’s not surprising. The average out-of-pocket cost for a preventive dental visit (exam, cleaning, x-rays and fluoride) for an uninsured adult in New Jersey is $250-$300.

That’s where dental benefits coverage comes in.

Dental “insurance” doesn’t work the same way as your auto or home owner’s insurance. A dental benefits plan is actually a prepaid service that promotes healthy habits while creating cost savings opportunities.

Here’s how:

Dental plans make it easy to get preventive care. Many employer-sponsored and all of our individual dental plans cover Class I benefits at 100%. Class I benefits include routine exams, cleanings and x-rays. Coverage at 100% means there’s no out-of-pocket costs to you when you see a network dentist.

Dental plans offer savings opportunities for other dental treatments. For example, let’s say you need a crown which is a Class III benefit. Your plan covers them at 50% and you don’t have a deductible. Your dentist is in-network and their negotiated fee for a crown is $1,000. In this case, your dental plan pays your dentist $500 and you pay your dentist $500.

Most major dental plans and support services are designed to make it as easy and affordable as possible for our members to get the dental care they need.

1Wall, T. et al. “Most Important Barriers to Dental Care are Financial, not Supply Related.” American Dental Association Health Policy Institute. Oct 2014.

Is Chocolate Bad for your Teeth?

February 5th, 2018

 

Around Valentine’s Day, Easter, and other holidays, most of us end up consuming more chocolate than we would on a normal basis and asking ourselves, "is chocolate bad for our teeth?"

Is Chocolate Bad for Your Teeth? Let’s Find Out

Just as studies have shown that a glass of red wine daily can improve circulation and overall heart health in normal adults, results released just last year from the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study have indicated that eating chocolate on a daily basis over years can actually improve overall brain cognition. The study was conducted observing 968 participants over an 18-year period and the results indicated higher scores on various cognition tests in participants who consumed chocolate on a daily basis.

Is Milk Chocolate Bad for Your Teeth?

Milk chocolate is probably one of the most popular and widely consumed types of chocolate. Unfortunately, it is not so great for your teeth. Why you may be asking? The answer is simple. Milk chocolate contains more sugar than its dark chocolate counterparts and much more than raw and unprocessed chocolate.

Milk chocolate is a chocolate made from a combination of cocoa, powdered milk, and sugar. The breakdown is usually 20-30% real cocoa, with the balance consisting of sugar and powdered milk. The higher sugar content that is contained in milk chocolate can cause cavities and tooth decay more so than dark, raw, or organic chocolate.

 

Is Dark Chocolate Bad for Your Teeth?

Dark chocolate is by far the better choice when it comes to keeping your teeth healthy and cavity free. There are some studies that even suggest that dark chocolate can be a cavity fighter. Chocolate is made up of over 300 compounds and is a highly complex substance.

Dark chocolate contains polyphenols. These chemicals can help fight the overgrowth of bacteria and other organisms in the mouth. They can neutralize organisms that cause bad breath and they can prevent some sugars form turning into acid, which can break down the enamel of your teeth and cause tooth decay and cavities.

Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which have been shown to slow tooth decay.

Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants. Antioxidants are beneficial to overall health in many ways but when it comes to oral health, having higher levels of antioxidants in your saliva has been shown to help fight gum disease.

Dark chocolate, otherwise known as “real chocolate”, is made up of around 70% cocoa and only 30% powdered milk and sugar. This drastically reduces the detrimental effect that it could have on tooth enamel when compared to milk chocolate.

Sugar Content at a Glance

Here is the breakdown of sugar content, per the USDA, for some of your favorite chocolate types:
White Chocolate: 17 grams per ounce
Milk Chocolate: 15 grams per ounce
Dark Chocolate: 14 grams per ounce

The numbers are not that different but over time the differences can pay a toll on your teeth, resulting in tooth decay, cavities, and more.

How Tooth Decay Occurs & How You Can Prevent It

Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth turn sugar into acids. Those acids eat away at surface of your teeth, causing decay and cavities.

Tooth decay occurs over time. However, it can be mostly prevented by cutting down on your sugar intake, watching what types of foods you eat, both sweet and savory, and ensuring that you are brushing and flossing your teeth on a daily basis. It also helps to visit your dentist two times per year to identify oral problems early and remove plaque and tartar buildup.

For this year’s holidays, go ahead and indulge. Just remember that, as with most things, moderation is the key.

Happy New Year

January 12th, 2018

We at Berlin Dental Arts are excited to start 2018 with our patients and team! It's that time of year when we start to think about making ourselves better. Do you set financial, spiritual, educational, social, career, personal, health, and dental goals? We are here to help! Make it a point to keep your preventative exam and preventative cleaning appointments so proper periodontal disease screenings and the oral cancer screenings can be completed.

Some dental health goals for you to consider adding to your New Year’s Resolutions

  • Brush 2x/day
  • Brush for a full 2 minutes each time
  • Brush your tongue
  • Brush your sulcus (the area between your gums and your teeth – your tooth socket)
  • Look in the mirror when you brush to make sure you are brushing every part of your teeth and mouth
  • Floss 1x/day
  • Tell one friend/family member about our office especially if they need a better dentist
  • Schedule and keep your exam appointments
  • Schedule and keep your cleaning appointments (at least 2x/year)
  • Drink lots of water. Water should be your main beverage or at least have a glass with your other beverages. Try to replace one other drink with water/day.
  • Ask about your treatment plan and schedule your next appointment
  • Call our office AS SOON AS you have any pain or soreness or redness or dental question

 

The Cavity After Christmas

December 8th, 2017

The Cavity After Christmas

Click for activity book!
Click for activity book!


‘Twas the day after Christmas, elves and reindeer relaxed;
They worked hard this 25th, and the days before that.
While the North Pole snoozed, Santa sat wide-awake;
But why wasn’t St. Nick taking his much-needed break?

Mrs. Claus was nestled and snug in her bed,
While dreams of next Christmas danced in her head;
When out from Santa’s mouth screamed such a clatter,
Mrs. Claus sprang from bed to see what was the matter.

“What’s wrong my dear, do you need a candy cane?”
To which Santa replied, “No, my teeth are in pain!”
Mrs. Claus knew what to do, dialed the dentist in a flash;
She scheduled a visit and they were off in a dash.

“Now, Dancer! Now, Dasher! Now, Rudolph! Let’s go!
Get Santa to the dentist, so his tooth pain can slow!”
The sleigh got there quickly, with minutes to spare;
The dentist greeted Santa and rushed him to his chair.

With tools and his gloves, he could find St. Nick’s flaw
So the dentist told Santa, “Open wide and say, Ahhhh”
After using the mirror for careful inspection,
The dentist detected the site of infection.

On Santa’s back tooth sat a spot that was shocking;
Black as the coal in a naughty list stocking!
He took a deep breath and told St. Nick unhappily,
“I’m sorry to say that your tooth pain’s a cavity.”

Santa’s eyes lit up like a tree full of tinsel;
His smile went from jolly to a face full of wrinkles
“What did I do to deserve such a fate?
Could it be Christmas cookies left out on those plates?

“You have to cut down on the cookies and sweets
Sugar causes cavities and Ho, ho holes in your teeth!
Make sure to make time for your teeth in a rush
The holidays are busy, but remember to brush!”

Santa smiled at the dentist, it was clear he agreed
“I’ll cut down on sugar and brush to succeed!”
St. Nick was relieved the dentist had the answer
Good dental health is a sure smile enhancer.

The dentist filled the cavity and sent Santa on his way
Mr. Claus grabbed his Mrs. and they headed to the sleigh
With his cavity fixed, Santa echoed for miles,
“Happy brushing to all, and to all a strong smile!”

Article property of  Delta Dental of CO

Use it or Lose it

November 8th, 2017

The end of 2017 is fast approaching, and we at Berlin Dental Arts are amazed at how time flies. We are sure it’s the same for you! Suddenly fall is in the air, the leaves are changing, and before we know it, December 31st will be upon us. Unfortunately, for the dental benefits you have, if you don’t use them before the end of the year you will lose them! Let’s not let those valuable dollars go to waste, especially when you pay the premiums every month. For those of you that have treatment that needs to be completed, let’s work together to help get it done.

 In addition to your dental benefits remaining, you may have flexible spending dollars available for you to use. The same thing applies… if you don’t use this, you will sadly lose it after the year’s end. Those hard earned dollars that you set aside (tax free!) will disappear. Even something as simple as a new sonicare or oral-b professional toothbrush can be paid for with that flex money. What a great holiday gift idea!

 Our end-of-the-year appointment slots fill quickly, as everyone tries to make the most of what remaining benefit they have. We urge you to call and make your appointment. If you still have questions about how many dollars you have left to utilize before the end of the year please call us! We love to help our patients make the best use of their benefits.

Please note our office will be closed the week of November 20,2017 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

 

Tips from your Family Dentist for Back to School Dental Care

August 31st, 2017

Posted by Berlin Dental Arts
Heading back to school with the latest jeans, hoodie and backpack, is likely high on your child’s list of “cares”, but as a parent you likely also want to ensure your child is well prepared for school mentally and physically. That is why having a dental checkup and cleaning is a great idea when you’re making your “back to school” plans.

A healthy mouth and a bright white smile is perhaps one of the most important features your child can arrive to school with. Just as your child is immunized for a variety of illnesses to prevent disease, so too does healthy oral habits aid in maintaining optimal health. In fact, tooth decay affects children far more than any other chronic infectious disease, yet nearly 20% of children have untreated dental concerns.

The back to school dental visits include the examination of the whole mouth, teeth, gums and jaws. We monitor jaw growth and development and make orthodontic recommendations as needed.
It is also the right time to review your family’s nutrition and diet. Decay is on the rise due to the high consumption of sticky food, gummy vitamins, starchy snacks, juice, sports and soft drinks. Good snacks and lunches should include fruits, vegetables, milk, yogurt, cheese, nuts… If kids eat in the school cafeteria, we should talk about making smart eating choices and reducing the consumption of sugar.

Preventive measures are discussed at these dental visits. We recommend sealants to protect newly erupted teeth, the use of fluoride to strengthen enamel and restorative procedures when indicated. We also discuss mouth protection and the importance of wearing well fitted sports guards during PE and organized sports to prevent mouth trauma.

When buying school supplies, it is a good idea to stock up on tooth brushes, floss and fluoride rinses. It is recommended to change brushes every 3 months and after an illness. As a reminder, change brushes after each report card.
• Back pack, check
• Booster shots, check
• Back to school dental visit, check
A healthy and cavity free child is happy and confident. We wish all students and parents a wonderful, productive and healthy new school year!!!

Summer Dental Care

August 1st, 2017

Summer is finally here! Great news!

You can maintain a healthy summer smile without having to give up many of your favorite activities and foods! Here are a few tips to keep your teeth and gums healthy this summer!
summer smiles

ESTABLISH A BRUSHING ROUTINE! Stress the urgency of tooth brushing to your kids. The normal routine of school will be a distant memory, so have them focus on a solid night and morning tooth brushing routine. That way, when school is back in session, it’ll be second nature.

FOCUS ON THE FIRST MEAL OF THE DAY! Focus on eating a healthy breakfast. Sometimes mornings can be rushed during the school year. If you have more time, try to focus on stepping away from the quick, sugary cereals, and on to a well-balanced breakfast full of fruits, whole grains and protein – not processed sugar.

GO TO THE DENTIST! Make a follow up appointment for your children – there’s more time in the summer to go to the dentist. Make sure you take advantage of the time to get any necessary procedures done!

CHOOSE YOUR SNACKS WISELY! Snack on protein-filled food! Nuts and cheese are good, healthy choices, and protein is an excellent acid-buster!

HYDRATE! Stay Hydrated With Water! Choose water over sports drinks, juice or soda. The sugar in sports drinks, juice and soda mixes with the saliva in your mouth and produces acids that eat away at your precious tooth enamel!

CHOOSE ICE CREAM! If you must eat sweets, choose ice cream instead of sticky candy. Candy can attach to teeth! Residual ice cream is easy to wash away with a quick glass of water afterwards. Plus, it refreshing on a warn summer day!

PROTECT YOUR SMILE! Use proper mouth protection while playing outdoor summer sports like baseball, soccer and basketball. Though it might seem unconventional, using a mouth guard can prevent damage to braces or other orthodontic work, as well as prevent mouth cuts, jaw injuries and tooth damage

GET A NEW TOOTHBRUSH! If it’s been 3 months since you last changed your family’s toothbrush, it’s time to get a new one!

WEAR LIP BALM WITH SPF 15+. Let’s not forget about your lips. It’s important to use lip balm with SPF throughout the summer months because UV rays can also burn your lips with long exposure.

DON’T FORGET TO FLOSS! – It’s always important to floss, but when what you’re eating is likely to get stuck between your teeth –(Think: corn on the cob at a weekend barbeque!) – it’s especially important to get rid of any food particles that are stuck between teeth.