Dental Tips Blog

Mar
6

3 Surprising Causes Behind a Toothache

There are no signs of a cavity or infection, so why does your tooth suddenly hurt?

Here are a few reasons for a toothache that most people don’t suspect, at first.

  1. Sinus Problems

Is it an upper molar that’s killing you?

Upper tooth roots can sometimes extend close to the sinuses. If you’re familiar with sinus infections, then you know just how miserable that pressure can make you!

That very same pressure caused by infected sinuses can press on the tooth roots. Voila! Instant toothache.

  1. That Time Your Mouth Got Hit . . . A Long Time Ago!

You were just playing with your kids. You ran into the side of an open door.

Whatever the cause, it’s easy to take an accidental whack to the mouth. Your tooth may hurt for a couple hours, but then it’s fine and you move on.

But the tooth that was “fine” can flare up with pain when you least expect it. If you have an unexpected toothache, it could be a fracture or nerve damage dating back to an event you nearly forgot about more than a decade prior.

  1. Gum Recession

Gums can start to pull away from teeth for a number of reasons:

  • Age
  • Gum disease
  • Aggressive tooth brushing
  • Braces
  • Poor tooth alignment

When they do, they expose the sensitive dentin on the tooth root. This can give your teeth a sharp shock in temperature changes.

Although sensitive teeth don’t seem as serious as a cavity, you should still see your dentist. Exposed tooth roots are quick to develop decay.

Is a toothache ruining your life?

Get relief by discovering the cause of your dental pain. Contact your dentist to schedule a visit.

Posted on behalf of:
Springfield Lorton Dental Group
5419-C Backlick Rd
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 256-8554

Feb
11

Your Oral Hygiene May Help You Control Type II Diabetes

Years of research suggest that there is a definite connection between gum disease and diabetes. Having one condition seems to put you at increased risk for developing the other.

Uncontrolled diabetes worsens gum inflammation, and uncontrolled gum disease makes it harder to control blood sugar levels.

Yet another recent study highlights the role that bacteria play in this relationship.

Conducted at the University of Barcelona in 2017, this controlled study compared the glycemic levels of patients with type 2 diabetes after receiving different gum health treatments.

One group of diabetic adults received a deep cleaning treatment to remove bacterial plaque, tartar, and toxins from tooth roots. The other group received a superficial dental cleaning that did not extend below the gums.

Both groups of study participants had their blood glucose and bacteria levels tested at 3- and 6-month intervals over the course of the study. Interestingly, those treated with the deep cleanings had improved HbA1c levels and fasting plasma glucose. Most of these positive results correlated with decreased levels of bacteria.

So in summary, this study backs the idea that oral health affects diabetes, especially when it comes to plaque bacteria.

If you have type 2 diabetes, then you need to pay careful attention to your gum health. You can prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria in your mouth by:

  • Brushing at least twice daily
  • Flossing every day
  • Using an antimicrobial mouth rinse

Regular trips to the dentist for a routine dental checkup and cleaning can also help you keep your blood sugar levels in check.

Call your local dentist to schedule a gum examination and to learn more about the connection between diabetes and oral health.

Posted on behalf of:
Muccioli Dental
6300 Hospital Pkwy # 275
Johns Creek, GA 30097
(678) 389-9955

Jan
29

4 Ways Soda is Destroying Your Teeth

Drinking soda is not the worst thing, but if you guzzle down “pop/soda/coke” like it’s oxygen, your teeth could be in big danger.

Here are four ways a soda drinking habit is wrecking your oral health.

  1. Decay

Soda contains acids, abrasive carbonation, and sugars which really do a number on tooth enamel. These mix with cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth and skyrocket the risk for developing tooth decay.

The occasional fizzy drink with a meal won’t kill your smile. But steadily sipping on carbonated drinks for long periods throughout the day only increases the amount of harmful exposure to your teeth, leading to a significant increase in cavities and the need for restorative dental treatment including fillings and crowns.

  1. Stain

This effect is the least dangerous and so it’s often overlooked. The acidic nature of soda erodes the enamel and makes it more porous – basically, a stain sponge. Even lighter colored sodas still contain colorants that can discolor teeth.

Stain becomes a big deal when you realize it’s hiding the development of cavities.

  1. Enamel Wear

Having touched on this in the past two points, you probably get the idea. Acid and sugar in soda gradually dissolves the protective outer layer of your teeth. This makes them more prone to cavities and can also make them more sensitive. 

  1. Aggravate Gum Disease In Diabetics

Because your immune system is closely connected to gum health, uncontrolled blood sugar can weaken your gums. High sugar level in the bloodstream equals more sugar in your saliva. This can fuel an already-raging gum infection.

Ready to kick this habit for good? Visit your dentist to find out how to cut back on soda and protect your teeth from the damaging effects.

Posted on behalf of:
Dunwoody Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
1816 Independence Square, Suite B
Dunwoody, GA 30338
(770) 399-9199

Jan
4

Will My Insurance Cover an FMR?

“FMR” is the term used to describe full mouth reconstruction or restoration. Your dentist or oral surgeon may plan out a series of treatments that make up one plan with the aim of rebuilding your smile as a whole.

It’s not necessarily an optional procedure. You get an FMR because your health and circumstances demand it. While many patients opt for a smile makeover to enhance their appearance, an FMR has very different goals.

Before you start planning your procedures, you want to know how much insurance will pick up.

What Insurance May Cover

If damage to your smile has resulted in:

  • Difficulty eating
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Chronic pain

Then treatment is medically-necessary and urgent. Fortunately, this is the sort of treatment your insurance company should do well at covering. What is less certain is whether they will cover procedures that have purely cosmetic value.

What Should You Do?

Take the initiative to find out what your insurance benefits are. Don’t let those guidelines dictate the treatment you accept, however. Your dental office may be able to request an estimate of coverage for a procedure that isn’t clearly stated.

Visit your dentist for an examination to start planning your FMR. He or she will help you prioritize care so that the biggest issues are addressed first. Getting your mouth to a point where you can speak, smile, and eat comfortably is the first step. Later on, you can plan for other procedures to enhance the appearance of your smile and decide whether those are worth paying out-of-pocket for.

You may be surprised to learn how many treatments have overlapping medical and cosmetic benefits, making you eligible for insurance coverage. Ask your dentist for more information on planning an FMR.

Posted on behalf of:
Gilreath Dental Associates
200 White St NW
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 514-1224

Nov
12

Does Medical Insurance Ever Cover Dental Care?

You probably never expected your dentist to ask for your medical insurance card. They only take dental insurance, right? Although your policy might be carried through the same company, both of these plans are different and unique. What does medical coverage have to do with a trip to the dentist?

If You’re Getting Treated for Obstructive Sleep Apnea 

For people who are CPAP intolerant, an oral sleep appliance may be the best treatment option for your sleep apnea. Although it’s made by your dentist, the device is covered by medical insurance. 

For Wisdom Tooth Removal Surgery 

Getting your wisdom teeth removed is something that can take place in the dental office, surgery center, or even a hospital. Depending on your case and comfort level, specific types of sedation or equipment may be necessary for wisdom teeth removal. Some of these will fall under traditional dental benefits, but the others may need to be filed against your medical coverage. 

When You’re Undergoing Treatment for Oral Cancer 

Oral cancer is best identified by your family dentist. If it’s suspected that you have oral cancer, you may be referred to an oral surgeon. Oral surgery offices combine both dental and medical technology during treatments, and as such, the insurance codes and claims must be filed to reflect specific procedures. Your medical and dental plan essentially overlap. 

Accidents/Injuries That Affect Your Mouth

On the job injuries or automobile accidents can impact every part of the body…even your mouth and oral structures (including your teeth.) Depending on your situation, a medical policy may need to cover a portion of your care.

When in doubt, bring a copy of both cards during your next dental checkup!

Posted on behalf of:
Paul Jang Dentistry
14711 Princeton Avenue, Ste. 12
Moorpark, CA 93021
805-791-2336

Nov
12

Three Habits That are Bad for Your Teeth

If you brush daily and don’t eat too much sugar, that’s all your smile needs…right? Not necessarily. Here are 3 habits you might not have known could be bad for your teeth:

Chewing Ice 

Ice chewing might be linked to health issues like anemia, but that isn’t the only thing that should be at the back of your mind. It can also damage your teeth.  Not only can chewing ice cause a cracked or chipped tooth, but the cold temperature can cause dental problems too. If you have existing crowns or fillings, the cold temperatures can impact the rate of how they expand/contract compared to the enamel that they’re bonded to. Frequent ice chewing may break your restorations down quicker, resulting in the need for more dental work.

Clenching Your Teeth When You’re Stressed Out 

Your teeth take the brunt of your jaw muscles’ force when you’re focused on a problem at the office or during your long commute home. You might even be waking up in the morning with a migraine headache from all the tension. This can make your teeth start to chip away, break, or just look flat.

Make a conscious effort to relax your jaw so that your teeth are slightly apart, but your lips still together.. If the tension is happening still,  talk to your dentist about getting a splint made.

Adding Cream and Sweetener to Your Coffee

Coffee might stain your teeth, but the bigger problem is those other things that you’re putting inside of it. Sugar, artificial sweeteners, and creamer don’t just add calories to your diet…they increase the acid and bacterial levels on your teeth (which can increase how many cavities you get.)

Ask your dentist how he or she can help!

Posted on behalf of:
Short Pump Family Dentistry
201 Towne Center West Blvd
Suite 709
Richmond, VA 23233
804-332-5505

Oct
16

How Can I Make My Teeth Shorter?

Shortening your teeth isn’t always easy to do. There’s only so much of your tooth your dentist can remove before it hurts and becomes totally useless! But there’s still hope.

Most likely, your teeth look a little on the long side due to gum recession.

That’s right – you might have more of a gum problem than a tooth one if your teeth look long.

Shrinking Gums Cause Long Teeth

Your teeth don’t usually keep growing. They stop when they meet opposing teeth. You may have one tooth that grows over the limit because it doesn’t have an opposite neighbor. In that case, you will need some corrective treatment to get the tooth back in place or totally replaced.

But in most cases, it’s gums creeping away from the crowns of teeth that make them look long. Receding gums expose the long yellow tooth roots and leaves gaps between teeth.

What causes gum recession? That could be a number of factors:

  • Gum disease
  • Rough brushing habits (like using a hard-bristled toothbrush)
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Age

At any rate, you don’t like the way your teeth look without sufficient gum coverage. Not to mention, those exposed roots might feel a little sensitive.

What Can Be Done About Long Teeth?

The first step is removing the irritant that’s causing the receding gums, if possible. If you don’t do that, your gums will never stay in place.

Your dentist may recommend minor gum surgery, grafting, or other clever procedures to restore your gum line to its rightful position. Find out more when you schedule a smile consultation.

Posted on behalf of:
Parklane Family Dentistry
1606 FM 423, Suite 200
Frisco, TX 75033
469-452-2998

Oct
9

Do You Have a Salivary Gland Disorder?

Is it a passing case of dry mouth, or something more?

Your saliva glands are small and easy to take for granted. Yet, they play a big role in dental hygiene by keeping your mouth clean, healthy, and comfortable. So, when something goes wrong with a saliva gland, it’s hard to ignore.

There are three major disorders that commonly affect salivary glands:

  • Sialolithiasis
  • Sialadenitis
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome

The first condition is where a salivary stone obstructs a saliva duct. The second is inflammation of the duct that often follows as the result of a stone blockage, but it may happen independently. Lastly, Sjogren’s Syndrome is a set of symptoms that affect moisture-producing cells all over the body.

Additionally, viral infections and tumors can also cause problems with your salivary glands.

Signs You May Have A Salivary Gland Disorder

If you have a stone blocking a saliva duct you may feel a small lump in the area. It will probably hurt more when you eat because food stimulates saliva flow, but the fluid has nowhere to go.

An infection in the salivary gland may present with some pus and even a fever.

Swollen glands can indicate a variety of diseases and are also characteristic of diabetes and excessive alcohol use.

Have Dry Mouth? What You Should Do

If your discomfort is accompanied by fever or swelling that makes it hard to swallow or breathe, contact a doctor right away.

A simple case of dry mouth in itself may not be quite as serious. Plan a visit to your local dentist to find out whether your lack of saliva is due to medication or a serious medical condition.

Posted on behalf of:
The Grove Family Dentistry
6200 Center St Suite I
Clayton, CA 94517
(925) 350-8592

Oct
9

Do You Need to Premedicate with an Antibiotic Before Dental Treatment?

Dental treatment and oral surgery can involve sharp tools and manipulation of gum tissue that introduce bacteria to the bloodstream. Oral bacteria can potentially trigger infections in other parts of the body.

For years, many dental patients were prescribed antibiotics to take prior to treatment to prevent bacteria from thriving in the bloodstream.

Nowadays, bigger issues include the threat of antibiotic resistance and a bad reaction to antibiotics. When should a prophylactic antibiotic be prescribed and to whom?

Here are the latest guidelines per ADA (American Dental Association) and AHA (American Heart Association) collaboration:

Who Needs An Antibiotic Before Dental Treatment?

It’s not routinely recommended for those with joint replacements unless there is a history of previous infection.

There’s a more serious risk when the heart could develop an infection.

Specific heart conditions that warrant the use of a prophylactic antibiotic include:

  • Replacement heart valves
  • Heart transplant with a faulty valve
  • Certain serious congenital heart problems
  • A history of infective endocarditis 

When To Take A Prophylactic Antibiotic

Your doctor or dentist will give you directions to take the medication well before dental treatment or surgery. But new guidelines show that it’s still effective to take it up to two hours post-treatment.

Already taking an antibiotic? Your dentist will prescribe you a different kind. 

Keep In Mind

Dental treatment and oral surgery are not the only times you risk getting bacteria in your bloodstream. That can happen during many other daily activities such as brushing your teeth. What you can do is keep your mouth as healthy as possible to limit open sores, delicate gum tissues, and populations of bad bacteria.

Consult with your doctor and local dentist to make sure everyone is on the same page about the latest in prophylactic antibiotic guidelines.

Posted on behalf of:
Enamel Dentistry
2717 S Lamar Blvd #1086
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 717-5315

Oct
9

How A Latex Allergy Affects Your Dental Treatment

Latex is a versatile material made from natural rubber. It creates a secure barrier against infection, so it’s commonly used in many medical settings. In fact, some 40,000 products, medical and otherwise, are made from latex. This rubber is virtually everywhere.

Needless to say, your allergy to latex is more than a bit inconvenient.

The dental office is no exception when it comes to the abundance of latex in the medical field. From routine dental cleanings and checkups to fillings, root canals, and implants, virtually every dental treatment typically involves latex.  How can you ensure a safe visit for your dental treatment?

Communicate!

Be thorough when disclosing your health history to a dental professional. Questions on a form that might seem silly (i.e., are you allergic to bananas?) are actually designed to find connections to a possible latex allergy.

Ask your local dental office whether they are totally latex-free and if not, what protocol they have in place for treating patients with a latex allergy.

If a piece of equipment looks suspiciously made of latex, don’t be shy about asking before the dental professional uses it. Chances are, they use the equipment so routinely that they may forget it contains latex. Be your own advocate and speak up!

Be Prepared

If you are worried that a dental professional will question the validity of your allergy, then keep a note from your allergist with you to put on file. In fact, if your allergy is severe enough, you should have a medical alert bracelet or chain on your person. Take it upon yourself to keep an Epipen with you at all times.

With a little careful forethought and clear communication, you can get the dental treatment you need in a safe and latex-free setting.

Posted on behalf of:
Preston Sherry Dental Associates
6134 Sherry Ln
Dallas, TX 75225
(214) 691-7371

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