Dental Tips Blog

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

Sep
29

When Will My Child’s Teeth Fall Out?

Like many other processes in a growing body, teeth fall out on their very own schedule. Kids are often unique in terms of smile development. By understanding a few keystone principles, you’ll know when your son or daughter’s teeth are ready “exfoliate.”

Follow The Leader

Baby teeth tend to fall out in the same order as they one they came in at. For most kids, this usually means that their central bottom front teeth will be the first to get loose. Soon to follow are the upper front teeth, and so on.

When the adult teeth start developing within the bone, they’ll push on the baby tooth roots, triggering them to dissolve. Once the roots are gone, the tooth will loose to make way for the emerging replacement.

Other Factors

Do you have a little girl or boy? That can make a difference. Biologically, females tend to develop a bit faster than males.

If your child naturally loses their first tooth by age 4, that’s not necessarily a cause for concern. Neither is it worrisome if your kid is 8 and hasn’t yet lost any teeth.

What You Should Know

Never force a tooth to come out before it’s ready. Pulling it too soon can result in pain and even an infection. Encourage your child to gently wiggle a loose tooth with their finger or tongue until the tooth is ready to come out. Nature will take its course!

If a baby tooth is lost too soon because of decay or injury or you’re worried about late development, bring your child to your family dentist for an exam.

Posted on behalf of:
Moores Chapel Dentistry
9115 Samlen Lane #105
Charlotte, NC 28214
(704) 389-9299

Aug
29

Help! My Toddler Won’t Let Me Brush Her Teeth!

Is your nightly brushing routine coming down to a battle of wills?

You know that oral hygiene is important, so you’re tempted to hold your toddler down just to get the brushing chore done. But balance is essential if you’re going to help your child develop a positive view of oral health and hygiene.

When your toddler gets a little older, you can start appealing to her power of reason to encourage her to brush. For now, try these tips to keep tooth brushing a fun, engaging, and relaxed activity for your child.

Keep it brief. The younger the child, the shorter the attention span! While your child is very small, the most important thing is simply getting her comfortable with the idea of brushing. Don’t fret if you feel you can’t do a very thorough job. Praise her for cooperating for even half a minute.

Nix the paste. Even though many toddler toothpastes are fluoride-free, some babies just hate the sensation. It’s okay to brush without it if that helps your little one tolerate the activity.

Brush together. Kids like to do what they see their parents doing. Make tooth brushing a group activity everyone participates in before bedtime. Eventually, your toddler will catch on.

Take turns. Let your child try brushing your teeth, then try brushing hers. Let her try brushing her own teeth, and then once again try brushing hers. Switching it up gives your toddler the feeling that they have more control in the situation and shouldn’t be as nervous.

Talk with your child’s dentist or pediatrician to get more ideas on how to provide age-appropriate oral hygiene care.

Posted on behalf of:
Springhurst Hills Dentistry
10494 Westport Rd Suite 107
Louisville, KY 40241
(502) 791-8358

Aug
29

Advances in Modern Dentistry – Are You Making the Most of Them?

Today’s dentistry is worlds away from what it used to be.

Go back a few centuries and dentistry was a side job you might ask your barber to help you out with. Dental care has evolved into multiple specialty practices and the technology only gets better with each passing year.

See how many of the following current and developing practices in dentistry you’ve heard of.

Digital scanning allows your dentist to fit you for a crown or bridge with zero messy dental impressions.

Taking photos of your teeth is a whole other story thanks to intraoral cameras and digital x-rays.

Interested in taking a whole-body-approach to your dental care? Odds are good that there’s a holistic dental practitioner near you.

Laser cavity detection makes it easier for your dentist to find decay before you even notice it.

With oral cancer-detecting lights, you can always have peace of mind from knowing that risk won’t catch you off-guard.

Wouldn’t dentistry be so much easier if you could get needle-free injections? Well, you’ll be happy to hear that’s now a thing!

Nearly all dental offices can help you sleep through dental treatment with the right sedative techniques.

Restorations are stronger, made faster, and are more conservative thanks to chairside fabrication equipment and the advent of 3D printing.

How about that sleep apnea problem you have? Are you looking for relief from TMJ pain? You might be surprised to learn that your dentist has expanded education and experience to address those concerns.

Don’t let unfounded fear or negative past experiences hold you back from enjoying the dentistry of today! Contact your local dental office for an appointment.

Posted on behalf of:
Soft Touch Dentistry
1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050

Jul
18

Do You Have an Ice-Chewing Habit? Why You Need to Quit

Chewing ice. A lot of people do it, so what’s so wrong with the habit? Even if you’re not into crunching on an ice cube, you probably know someone who is.

The need to chew on ice stems from a few different possible reasons:

  • Dry mouth
  • Urge to snack while on a diet
  • Relieve stress or boredom
  • Medical condition that causes cravings for non-nutritional food

It’s even suggested that being iron-deficient could cause you to crave something like ice. But ice in itself has no nutritional value. In fact, it can be downright dangerous to your smile.

Ice-Chewing – Why So Bad?

Frozen water is a uniquely hard substance. So unique that some people are actually compelled to chew it.

The unfortunate part is that our teeth weren’t meant to handle such a tough item on a regular basis. Perhaps the occasional chomp on an ice cube from your drink won’t crack your teeth. But regular exposure to a hard substance will weaken enamel.

Over time, you could wear your enamel away and open up your teeth to a whole new host of problems such as a cavity, chipped tooth or cracked tooth.

Signs Ice-Chewing Is Harming Your Teeth

You might need to rein in an urge to chew ice if you notice:

  • Sensitivity
  • Yellow teeth
  • Worn areas around fillings
  • Broken or chipped restorations
  • Flattened chewing surfaces

All such signals indicate that your teeth’s protective enamel layer is quickly disappearing.

To get help kicking the ice-chewing habit, schedule a consultation with your dentist. He or she will help you find out if any biological factors could be playing into your urge to crunch on ice. You’ll also get an in-depth understanding into how the habit affects your smile.

Posted on behalf of:
Atlantic Dental Partners
729 Centre St
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
(617) 390-8484

Jun
28

4 Simple Diet Changes For a Healthier Smile

A new year means a new start and that’s worth smiling about! Speaking of smiling, here are some great ways you can make your diet a lot more smile-friendly on your teeth:

  1. Choose Whole Grains

The processed, sweet, cheap, refined, and enriched grains are, admittedly, easy to choose.

By switching to whole grains, you benefit it with:

More nutrients

Less sugar exposure

Higher fiber content that naturally nabs up some plaque

  1. Snack On Cheese

Cheese stimulates your saliva glands, which is a good thing for your mouth. It’s also high in calcium to reinforce bone and enamel. It may even help fight off cavity-causing bacteria and reduce the need for dental fillings or crowns.

Enjoy cheese in salads, on whole grain crackers, or on its own alongside fresh fruit.

  1. Pick The Healthier “Crunch”

Along the lines of incorporating more whole grain items into your diet, crunchy whole foods (not potato chips!) are a great way to keep your teeth clean. These foods also make for very satisfying and guilt-free snacks:

Almonds

Walnuts

Cashews

Carrots

Celery

Apples

  1. Set A Time Limit On Snacking

Maybe you congratulate yourself on choosing a bowl of healthy trail mix to munch on during a movie. That’s a great decision! But you still need to watch how long you’re snacking.

Foods like nuts and dried fruits can still get stuck in your teeth and trigger acid attacks that weaken enamel. The longer you snack, the longer your teeth are exposed to acids and sugars.

Try to finish off your snacks within several minutes rather than slowly enjoying them for an hour or more. Talk with your dentist about other ways you can improve your oral health through diet.

Posted on behalf of:
Brentwood Dental Group
2440 S Brentwood Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63144
(314) 962-6643

Jun
9

4 Signs You Could Be Brushing Incorrectly

Yes, the way you brush does matter! This isn’t just one of your dental hygienist’s pet-peeves. It’s something that has a big impact on your smile.

Here are four of the most common signs that something about your brushing technique just isn’t working for you.

  1. Abrasion to Your Teeth

Signs of horizontal wear on the tooth enamel usually indicate that someone has a heavy hand while brushing. Stiff scrub-brushing will erode enamel with time.

  1. Gum Recession

It’s not just your teeth that can suffer from aggressive brushing. Gums will probably respond sooner to the irritation by receding away from the teeth.

  1. Plaque and Tartar Buildup

Are you sick of that constant tartar growth on your lower front teeth?

Brushing there a little longer each day with the toothbrush properly angled could help you slow down the development of that unsightly, odorous buildup.

  1. Splayed Toothbrush Bristles

It’s normal for the bristles on a brush to wear down over time. They get bent and splayed and that usually means it’s time for a fresh toothbrush.

But if your brush bristles are splayed within just a couple of weeks, then that’s another sign that you’re brushing way too hard. You should be getting more mileage out of your brush than that!

What Can You Do?

Try out different kinds of toothbrushes. A powered toothbrush could even help ensure that you’re brushing with the right amount of pressure for the right amount of time.

Practice brushing during your dental checkup and cleaning. At your next dental visit, show your hygienist how you are brushing and you’ll get some valuable feedback.

Posted on behalf of:
Avalon Dental Group P.C.
2205 Williams Trace Blvd #108
Sugar Land, TX 77478
(281) 240-5559

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