Dental Tips Blog

Jul
25

Are Those Calcium (Tartar) Deposits Bad for Your Teeth?

To some people, it’s a sign of excess calcium.

To others, it’s another word for plaque.

Just what is tartar, and how does it affect your teeth? 

The Recipe For Tartar

No, not the sauce . . .

“Tartar” is a more common term for what your dentist and dental hygienist know as “calculus.” Made up of dead bacterial cells, calcium phosphate from saliva, and natural fluids from your gum tissue, calculus is what’s left over when plaque calcifies. Gritty and concrete-like, tartar can develop in a thin veneer over tooth surfaces or it can collect in ledges below the gum line.

Basically, any place on your teeth where the plaque is not removed daily can develop this dental calculus.

Why Remove Calculus?

Tartar itself may not be as bad as soft plaque which is made up of live bacteria, but the mineral deposits are harmful in their own way. Calculus is very porous which makes it quickly pick up stain and germs.

If you have even just a little calculus buildup, it will show because of how it takes on the color of whatever foods you frequently eat.

Because it provides a safe harbor for bacteria, tartar is also a major irritant to gums. In fact, tartar deposits below the gum line promote the spread of periodontal disease and need to be removed with professional scaling for the gums to heal.

Prevent Tartar Buildup

By controlling the growth of plaque with routine preventative dental care, you limit how much tartar you can cultivate on your teeth. Aim to brush at least twice a day and even use an anti-plaque rinse. Of course, don’t forget the regular dental cleanings and checkups.

Posted on behalf of:
Seacrest Dental
66 N. Holiday Road
Miramar Beach, FL 32550
850-298-8576

Jul
25

What Teeth Staining Says About Your Smile

Posted in Teeth Whitening

Everyone wants a whiter smile. But few people wonder how stain gets there in the first place. Well, tackling your stain problem at it’s source is often the best way to start getting your smile white again.

Here are a few common colors of tooth stain and what they mean:

Black/Brown Stain – This is the most common kind of stain. It’s usually the result of tobacco use or consuming dark-colored foods such as coffee, tea, wine, soda, and berries.

Green/Orange Stain – You may experience a rainbow of colors in your tooth stain reflecting the variety of bacteria living in your plaque. These surface stains stay away if you are diligent with your tooth brushing.

Intrinsic Vs. Extrinsic Stain

Did you know that stain is actually grouped into two broad categories?

Some staining happens as a result of the outsides of our teeth coming in contact with dark-colored items. Other stains occur on the insides of teeth. These two types need to be corrected with different techniques.

Extrinsic (meaning, “outside”) stains can often be scrubbed away with an abrasive toothpaste. They also get scraped off at your dental cleaning appointments. The extrinsic stain that gets embedded in enamel pores can be coaxed out of there with professional teeth whitening.

But intrinsic (inner) staining shows up because of events going on inside the tooth. Intrinsic staining can happen because of an injury to the tooth or exposure to certain medications during tooth development.

Intrinsic stains can’t always be bleached out. Instead, you’re looking at cover-up dental techniques such as crowns, bonding, and veneers.

To find out how to combat the stain threats you encounter in daily life, visit your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Clearwater Dentistry
3006 Gulf to Bay Blvd
Clearwater, FL 33759
727-608-4361

Jul
25

Why People Without Dental Phobia Are Trying Sedation Dentistry

Have you been seeing more ads for “sleep dentistry?”

It’s becoming a popular selling point for dental offices targeting a population of fearful patients.

While most of us don’t exactly enjoy the prospect of dental work, not everyone has a morbid fear of the dentist. Even so, you might be surprised to see how “sleep dentistry” can make the experience a lot more pleasant for anyone.

What Happens When You “Sleep?”

Actually, you aren’t really sleeping your way through treatment.

Dental sedation isn’t the same thing as general sedation which knocks you out cold. Instead, it relaxes you to a point that you no longer feel anxiety. Even your ability to feel pain is dulled.

The sedative usually comes as a pill or syrup taken before the appointment or an IV medication administered during treatment.

Most people have little memory of their appointment after having sedation. This is in spite of the fact that they were fully conscious, albeit rather woozy. As a result, they “wake up” feeling like they napped through the process.

Thus the “sleep” dentistry!

Why Give Sedation Dentistry A Try?

If you’ve never had trouble with a simple filling so far, why would you bother trying out dental sedation?

Simply, it comes in handy for really long appointments. If you don’t feel like sitting bored for an hour or two for your next root canal, some sedation can make it pass like two minutes. This is also a great way to get multiple projects (remember those three fillings and two crowns you’re due for?) done in one sitting.

Ask your dentist today how a little sedation could improve your next appointment.

Posted on behalf of:
Horizon Dental Care
1615 Williams Dr.
Georgetown, TX 78628
512-864-9911

Jul
25

Meeting Dental Needs of Kids with Special Needs

Taking care of kids’ smiles is a challenge in and of itself. But things get a whole lot trickier when you have much more serious health matters to address. It’s so tempting to let basic oral hygiene slip to the bottom of the list of priorities.

What should you know about dental care for your child with special needs?

Be Familiar With Your Child’s Unique Situation

Some chronic conditions come with a very specific set of symptoms affecting the smile such as dry mouth, cleft palate, extra or missing teeth, high cavity risk, teeth grinding, and more.

So while there are a lot of potential dental issues out there, it helps to narrow down your focus to things your child in particular is most apt to struggle with.

Start With The Basics

  • A healthy smile, like many other things, is rooted in a healthy diet. Make sure your child has a balanced diet low in sugary snacks and drinks.
  • Ask your dentist about when to introduce your child to fluoride products. Fluoride is beneficial for strengthening enamel against decay, but it must be used carefully with kids who may be prone to swallowing it.
  • Good oral hygiene should start with gentle brushing as soon as the first tooth shows up. This will get your kids used to a routine of cleaning his or her teeth.
  • Help your child build a friendly relationship with their dentist. If the need for specialize treatment comes up, your dentist can recommend a qualified pediatric dentist in your area.

Be patient, celebrate small successes, and remember that it’s worth any effort to help your child get the best dental care they can handle in their situation!

Posted on behalf of:
Lakewood Dental Trails
10252 W Adams Ave
Temple, TX 76502
(254) 434-4035

Jul
25

Should I Get a Smile Makeover?

Botox needs to be redone, hair grows out, and makeup needs to be reapplied.

Most makeovers don’t last.

But once you score that even, confident, sparkling smile, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to hold onto. You could probably enjoy those benefits for the rest of your life.

A better question is: Why shouldn’t you get a smile makeover?

Smile Makeover: What’s Involved?

Your smile makeover is a highly personalized project that combines elements of surgical, orthodontic, and restorative dental techniques. None of it is necessary, per se. You just pick and choose which changes you’d like to see happen and your dentist explains which methods will get you there.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed while planning your makeover. Where do you begin? How do you get more specific than “bright and even teeth?” Your dentist will help you here too with the planning.

Factors like your natural tooth size and shape, bite discrepancy, and even gum color can affect the choices you make. A cosmetic dentist can help you make smart decisions.

Smile Makeover: Can You Afford It?

Most cosmetic dental procedures are not covered by insurance, unfortunately. But your dental office likely has some great financing plans to help you comfortably cover the costs. Start out small, if needed. A little dental bonding could be just right for you, for now. You can go for a more lasting option later on, when you’re ready.

Imagine the priceless benefits to your self-confidence that a smile makeover can give you. Then think about whether you can afford to miss out.

Contact your dentist to set up a smile consultation.

Posted on behalf of:
Lufkin Family Dental
701 S. John Redditt Dr.
Lufkin, TX 75904
(963) 634-5102

Jul
25

How to Reverse Gingivitis

Posted in Gum Disease

The good news here is that you CAN reverse gingivitis. You can’t say that of too many other dental diseases.

But “gingivitis” simply means gum inflammation. It’s not too serious in it’s early stages, so with a little extra effort, you can send it packing. But leave it be, and it could cause tooth loss!

Here are five ways you can nix the problem:

  1. Anti-Gingivitis Toothpaste

Most toothpastes that claim to fight gingivitis do just that with an ingredient called triclosan. This agent keeps germs from accumulating on teeth.

  1. Anti-Microbial Mouthwash

Swish twice a day with Listerine or some other antibacterial rinse. This will help to slow down the development of bacteria throughout the day between brushings.

  1. Boost Your Vitamin C Intake

Your gums often reflect the health of the rest of your body. In fact, they’re one of the first to suffer from a weakened immune system. Load up on vitamin C to beef up your gums’ germ-fighting power.

  1. Brush and Floss More

Yes, it’s that simple!

Regular, mechanical plaque removal is probably the best way you can keep your gums healthy at home and fight the signs of gingivitis.

  1. Visit Your Dentist For A Cleaning

A buildup of tartar, stain, and plaque will irritate your gums. If you’re overdue for a cleaning, then your gums will appreciate it if you make an appointment.

Gingivitis is reversible, but if you don’t stop it, it can progress to a much more serious disease: periodontitis. This advanced gum disease is not reversible and can be hard to stop. See your dentist at the first signs of bleeding or inflamed gums to stay on top of your periodontal health!

Posted on behalf of:
Lakewood Dental Trails
10252 W Adams Ave
Temple, TX 76502
(254) 434-4035

Jul
25

Is That Brown Spot a Cavity?

Posted in Fillings

There’s really nothing like that sinking sensation of dread when you look in the mirror and notice a dark spot in the center of your tooth.

You pick at it in a panic, hoping it’s just a spice left over from dinner. But no, it doesn’t seem to budge even after a vigorous brushing.

Is it time to panic?

What A Dark Spot Can Mean

Your molars (back chewing teeth) resemble a landscape of mountains and valleys. The mountains are the cusps that interlock with teeth directly above or below. The valleys are the shallow spaces. This setup gives your teeth a solid grip on food and mega chewing power.

But those little valleys are also great for catching stain.

You may not have noticed it at first, but over the course of time, your tooth may have accumulated dark stain from the food you eat. It’s possible to have dark spots on your teeth that are perfectly harmless.

What You Should Do

Even if it is just a spot of stain, it’s still a good idea to get it checked out. Those stained fissures and pits in molars are prime territory for cavities to get started in.

Your dentist will use x-rays, a special cavity probe, and maybe even a laser scanner to check for signs of decay. If he or she finds that it’s time to place a filling, you’ll be glad you didn’t wait too long before coming in.

In the meantime, work on brushing those sticky valleys a little more often. You might even want to ask your dentist about sealing healthy molars to avoid further stain and decay.

Posted on behalf of:
Royal Oak Family Dental
7101 NW 150th St. Suite 100
Oklahoma City, OK 73142
(405) 754-5941

Jul
25

Do Dental Crowns Hurt?

Posted in Crowns

When you worry about dental crowns “hurting,” you might have these three areas in mind:

  • Dental crown placement procedure
  • Post-procedure recovery
  • Living with a dental crown

We’ll break these down one-by-one to clear up confusion and put your mind at ease regarding your first dental crown.

Is Getting A Crown Painful?

Not at all. It’s no more uncomfortable than a standard filling. You’ll get a numbing shot so that you don’t feel a thing the entire time.

Post-Placement Sensitivity

It’s possible to experience a little sensitivity for some time after you get a crown. This is because your tooth has to adjust to losing a big part of its outer layer. With time, it will get more tolerant of temperature change. This sensitivity is nothing compared to the pain you could experience if you didn’t get the crown. Sensitivity toothpaste can also help, if you have a small area of recession.

Life With A Dental Crown

Once you’re used to a crown, you probably won’t pay much attention to it, at all.

As long as the crown material you have is compatible with the teeth that will be biting down on it, you shouldn’t have any problems. On occasion, some crowns will be too hard for the natural teeth. That can cause some premature wear and sensitivity.

Your dentist will help you avoid this by recommending a material that’s right for your smile.

Just care for your crown the same way you do for your other teeth. Regular brushing and flossing and not biting down on ridiculously hard objects will keep it strong and comfortable for years to come.

Talk with your dentist about any other concerns you have about dental crowns.

Posted on behalf of:
Northampton Dental
24036 Kuykendahl Rd Suite 300
Tomball, TX 77375
(832) 639-6350

Jul
25

Is It Okay to Get Braces Again?

Posted in Braces

Perhaps you spent years of living with a fixed orthodontic appliance. It felt so great to finally be done!

But in spite of all that time, the passing of a few years has found your smile looking a little crooked, to your great disappointment.

Is it safe for you to correct this mess by getting braces for the second time?

Why Your Teeth Shifted Out Of Alignment

The main reason why people’s teeth drift out of that tidy realignment is because they didn’t wear their retainer as directed.

Retainers are usually worn for life after completing treatment. That’s the only sure way to prevent a relapse in your tooth alignment. Some people feel that a year is long enough to be wearing their retainer. But in truth, your teeth are never going to give up their efforts to be back in their old positions!

Getting Braces Twice

As long as your teeth, gums, and jaw bone are all healthy, there’s almost no limit to how often you can straighten your teeth. It’s important to be reasonable, however. Cases vary from person to person. Talk with your dentist or orthodontist about whether now is a good time to realign your teeth.

Secondary Braces Options

If you’ve already had braces when you were a teen or (younger!) young adult, then you may have few more unique options available to you now.

Among these are a variety of conservative retainers and aligners that focus on moving only a few problem teeth. So you may not need to get full braces again. Ask your dentist whether something like Invisalign is right for you.

Posted on behalf of:
Rock Point Family Dentistry
115 S Lakeline Blvd #200
Cedar Park, TX 78613
(512) 829-3898

Jul
25

4 Signs You Should See Your Dentist For a Denture Adjustment or Repair

Posted in Dentures

It’s nice to think that once you get a set of false teeth you’ll never have to worry about them again. On the contrary, although they aren’t the same as natural teeth, you still have a big responsibility on your hands.

Or on your gums, rather.

Getting your denture adjusted and repaired on a regular basis is healthier for your mouth and can even extend the life of your appliance.

  1. Sores On Gums

A loose denture will chafe uncomfortably against soft tissues in your mouth. That’s definitely not normal for a denture. If the fit isn’t improved, those sore spots will only get worse until you can’t bear to wear your denture at all.

  1. Using Lots Of Adhesive

A little denture paste or cream goes a long way. In fact, the better your denture fits, the better the adhesive works. But if you find yourself dabbing on more paste than usual to hold your denture down, it may be time to have it tightened a bit.

  1. Slipping

Is your sandwich just not chewing the way it usually does?

Either the bread is stale, or your dentures don’t have a stable fit anymore. Over time, your jawbone shrinks under the pressure of dentures. Your appliance will need to be adjusted to compensate for those changes.

  1. Small Cracks

If your denture still fits, you might not think a small nick or hairline fracture is a big deal. But it will get bigger the longer it’s left there. It also provides a hideout for smelly bacteria and fungus.

Ask your dentist about the right time to get a denture adjustment.

Posted on behalf of:
Columbine Creek Dentistry
4760 W Mineral Ave #60
Littleton, CO 80128
(720) 636-9010

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