Dental Tips Blog

Feb
14

Canker Sores – Why They Happen and How to Treat Them

Posted in Laser Dentistry

You usually don’t notice it until you take a refreshing swig of icy lemonade. Or it may be right as you chomp into Nana’s famous spaghetti and meatballs. Whatever the occasion, the pain is recognizable beyond a doubt: the acid zing of an angry canker sore.

Why oh why do these small little lesions cause so much pain?

Causes of Canker Sores

When it comes down to it, no one really knows exactly what causes these sores. People may experience them for different reasons such as:

  • Exposure to spicy or acidic foods
  • Stress
  • Hormones
  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Injury
  • Irritation from a sharp dental appliance
  • Underlying medical conditions

When to Seek Help for a Canker Sore

Recognizable as a crater-like ulcer with a pale center and red border, a canker sore usually resolves on its own within a week.

You can often dull the pain and speed up recovery by:

  • Avoiding spicy and acidic foods
  • Taking a pain killer
  • Rinsing your mouth with water after eating
  • Applying a topical benzocaine gel like Orajel
  • Cutting out toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulfate (some people are allergic)

But what if your sore gets bigger or more show up?

If your sore starts to spread, it’s time to see your dentist. Some canker sores, while not serious, can be extremely painful and make it impossible to eat or talk normally. Your dentist may be able to treat the spot with laser therapy.

You should especially plan a visit to your doctor if a sore is accompanied by a fever or results in dehydration. It could indicate that you have something more serious going on.

Contact your general dentist for more tips on getting relief from these painful ulcers.

Posted on behalf of :
Prime Dental Care
417 Wall St
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 651-8618

Feb
9

4 Reasons Why Your Gums Are Receding

Do your teeth look longer than they used to? Do you suffer from sensitive teeth when you eat or drink something hot or cold? These are common symptoms of gum recession. Gum recession occurs when the gum tissue wears away and exposes more of your teeth. Since your gums are the foundational support for your teeth, neglecting to treat receding gums can eventually lead to tooth instability and even tooth loss. Before treating your receding gums, it is important to determine the cause.

Here are some common culprits to gum recession:

Gum Disease: The most serious cause of gum recession is periodontal disease, which involves an infection in the gum tissues, causing them to recede or pull away from the tooth root. You will likely notice bleeding and swelling in the gums as well if you have gum disease.

Tobacco Products: Long-term use of cigarettes and chewing tobacco are known to cause receding gums.

Heredity: Some patients can blame their parents for their receding gums. As many as one third of Americans will suffer from dental problems that they inherited. Always discuss your family’s dental history with your dentist.

Brushing Too Hard: If you are overzealous in your brushing efforts, you may be doing more harm than good. Removing plaque, stains and bacteria doesn’t require vigorous brushing habits. Make sure you are using a soft-bristled toothbrush and ease up on your strokes to protect your gums.

If you notice that your gums are receding, which typically develops on the front lower teeth, tell your dentist as soon as possible. Early and mild cases of gum recession can often be effectively treated with a deep cleaning. This removes any plaque and tartar along the gum line and tooth root and encourages the gums to reattach. Severe cases of gum recession may require a soft tissue graft.

Posted on behalf of:
Farhan Qureshi, DDS
5206 Dawes Ave
Alexandria, VA 22311
(703) 931-4544

Feb
6

Novocain Allergies – Do you Have One?

Most dental restorations such as fillings, crowns, and root canals require that the tooth be numbed before your dentist can begin the restoration work.  For some patients, their fear of a shot is worse than the actual dental treatment.

Certain people need to worry about more than just a small pinch. Allergies to anesthetics in dentistry are rare, but they do happen. Do you suspect that you may have one?

Inside Novocain

Novocain was a specific drug that is traditionally used in dentistry. It’s not the only one, however. A lot of patients use the word “Novocain” to refer to a numbing shot, but your dentist probably uses other drugs since Novocain has become outdated. Lidocaine is actually the most common, these days. Ask your dentist what kinds he or she has available.

It’s not just the anesthetic itself that you might be allergic to. A numbing shot contains other elements that help the drug to work faster and longer. When people have a reaction to anesthesia, it’s often because of the epinephrine in it. Check with your doctor to see whether you need to avoid epinephrine. Your dentist can offer you shots that don’t contain this ingredient, if necessary.

Is It an Allergy?

Anesthesia is complicated, making it hard to predict how individuals will respond. The hard part is that there isn’t a very definitive way to screen for a sensitivity to most anesthetic drugs themselves. You usually find out through experience which shots work well for you.

A true allergy to an anesthetic will manifest itself in signs like:

  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Sneezing
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Sweating

If you feel a little pinch or discomfort during the injection, don’t worry, it’s probably not an allergy! But should a real problem arise, your dentist will know what to do.

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

Feb
6

Can Mouthwash Cure Gum Disease?

Posted in Gum Disease

If a rinse could eliminate gum disease, then why are 80% of adults in the U.S. still suffering from some form of it?

Simply the fact that dentists, hygienists, and gum specialists aren’t yet out of work shows that a mouthwash doesn’t make it that easy.

What’s Behind Gum Disease?

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of soft tissue disease. It happens when your gums react to plaque on the teeth. They get inflamed, puffy, sensitive, and bleed if they’re bothered.

Go a little deeper, however, and your in for a lot more trouble.

Gum disease usually refers to periodontitis – inflammation of the tissues supporting the roots of teeth. This includes bone and ligaments. Periodontitis sets in when gingivitis isn’t cleared up for good.

Once bacteria colonize inside of the shallow pockets around gums, it is almost impossible to reach them. The longer they thrive in your mouth, the deeper they’ll go as they break down the structures that hold your teeth in place.

Your Best Solution for Gum Disease

To access these germs, you’ll need the help of specialized tools. Your dental hygienist is your first line of defense. He or she has instruments that can disrupt bacteria, removed infected tissue, and cleanse the roots of affected teeth.

What Does Mouthwash Do?

An antimicrobial rinse will help you control bacteria levels in your mouth before they cause problems. It’s a great idea to supplement your brushing and flossing with a mouthwash. But it isn’t enough to reach the deep pockets of bacteria involved in established gum disease.

Visit your dentist to learn more about your risk for gum disease and what you can do to prevent it.

Posted on behalf of:
Columbine Creek Dentistry
4760 W Mineral Ave #60
Littleton, CO 80128

Feb
6

Do You Have Mercury Poisoning from Metal Fillings?

Posted in Fillings

Metal fillings are made from an amalgam of materials including silver, tin, copper, and mercury. It’s that final element that has created quite a debate in the dental field over the past several years.

Now, more patients are now choosing white composite fillings over metal ones, and more dentist are offering only white restorations than ever before.

Why have silver amalgam fillings become so controversial?

Watching What You Put in Your Body

Mercury poisoning has been known to cause severe issues such as:

  • Muscle breakdown
  • Respiratory problems
  • Kidney failure
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability and more

So why is such a controversial material used in dentistry? Metal fillings contain such a small amount of mercury because it allows the metal to remain soft and moldable. This way, a dentist can pack it into a tooth for a snug fit before it hardens.

Is Dental Amalgam Harmful?

Once the mercury is mixed and sets up in a filling, it’s really not going anywhere. Some studies have shown that traces of mercury can be released in vapors when the fillings wear down over time. But reviews of this research proves that the amounts are far too low to cause any problems.

Mercury toxicity happens when you’re exposed to this element for a long time. A true allergy to mercury is very rare with less than 100 confirmed cases. A couple dental fillings won’t make you sick, but a lifetime of mining the element without proper protection just might.

Amalgam Alternatives

Even though your current metal fillings should be just fine, your dentist would probably recommend that you consider updating them to mercury-free white ones. White composite restorations are much more conservative and esthetic. Talk with your dentist for more information.

Posted on behalf of:
Rock Point Family Dentistry
115 S Lakeline Blvd #200
Cedar Park, TX 78613

Feb
6

Cosmetic Solutions for Long Yellow Teeth

You can’t remember exactly when it started. All you know is that you’ve gradually become ashamed of your smile. Whitening toothpastes and rinses just don’t work anymore. You wonder if anything can be done.

How Did Your Teeth Get Like This?

Teeth will look longer when the gums recede from them. As your tissue pulls away, the tooth root is revealed. Unlike the bright enamel covering on the crown of your tooth, roots are dark yellow in appearance. Gingival recession thus results in making your teeth look longer and more yellow.

Years of stain and wear will also darken the hue of your teeth. The enamel layer thins out as you age and this exposes more of the yellow inner layer of your tooth.

It’s an unfortunate side-effect of aging that teeth will get darker and look longer.

Prevent Gum Recession and Staining

You might be able to slow down the recession of your gums by changing the way you brush. A soft toothbrush and gentle hand will help you keep your teeth clean without irritating your gums. Try to cut back on dark staining foods and drinks such as coffee, tea, red wine, curries, and tomato sauces.

Repair the Damage That’s Done

In spite of your best efforts, there’s little you can do to actually erase the effects of aging on your teeth. Your best options for improving your smile’s appearance include:

  • Gum reshaping and crown lengthening
  • Bonding to cover and protect exposed roots
  • Veneers to even out the color
  • Professional whitening for a deep bleaching effect

Ask your dentist for help in designing a smile makeover to rejuvenate your aged enamel.

Posted on behalf of:
Montevallo Family Dentistry
711 Wadsworth St
Montevallo, AL 35115
(205) 665-2224

Feb
6

Your Best Denture Alternatives

Posted in Dentures

Dentures are important for maintaining the shape of your smile as well helping you eat. It’s no surprise that not everyone is thrilled at the idea having such a prosthesis. Wearing a denture requires a lot of practice so that you can chew and laugh with confidence.

Here are some alternative methods for enjoying a more secure bite:

Implant Retained Overdenture

Taking your denture to the next level, this technique secures your prosthetic with about 2-4 dental implants. You’ll still snap it in and out of place to clean it much like a regular denture, but the attachments tend to hold better than a denture adhesive.

Implant Supported Overdenture

This option is also removable but tends to be quite stable. An implant supported overdenture might utilize a metal bar in the mouth for added security in addition to the implants. The denture itself often has a higher edge to make up for extensive bone loss below the gums.

Implant Supported Denture

Also known as a “hybrid” denture or the “All-on-4” technique, this denture uses at least four dental implants to stay fixed in place. You won’t have to remove this prosthetic for cleaning, but your dentist will show you the best way to keep your mouth clean and fresh.

Implant Supported Bridge

Think of a denture without the bulk of material covering your gums and the roof of your mouth. These implant supported bridges behave just like a dental bridge that spans the whole arch of your mouth. Your bridge would stay fixed in place on anywhere from 4-8 implants.

Would you like to know more about how implants could change your outlook on dentures? Contact your dentist to schedule a consultation.

Posted on behalf of:
Ashley Dinh, DDS, PC
107 E. Holly Avenue, Suite 5
Sterling, VA 20164
(703) 430-6655

Feb
6

Dental Implants on a Budget

Posted in Dental Implants

Because dental implants have set the new standard for tooth replacement, dentists do their best to make them available to everyone. However, some people may find that the investment is a bit more expensive than they think it’s worth.

Here are some ways to make sure that your implant is as affordable as possible:

Check with Your Insurance

Make sure that the treatment estimate you get is based on what insurance benefits are available to you. It’s also ideal to go to an office that is in-network with your provider. Some insurances are improving in their coverage since they realize that implants are no longer just a cosmetic treatment.

If your dental insurance won’t pick up anything on an implant procedure, check with your medical insurance. Dental implant therapy could be essential to helping you chew properly, making it a medical need that might be covered.

Shop Til You Drop

Dentists aren’t the only ones who offer dental implants. Research periodontists, implant centers, and oral surgeons in your area who also provide therapy. This will give you more prices to compare.

You might score a better deal if you find a dentist who can provide all the care you need from start to finish. This means preparing the treatment site, placing the implant, as well as restoring it. It may be more affordable to have this all done at one office.

Ask Your Dentist About Savings Options

When you find a treatment plan you like, ask the office about any financing, deals, or payment plans they have to make things easier on you. Then, do your part by making your dental implants a priority.

Schedule an implant consultation with your dentist to learn more.

Posted on behalf of:
Converse Dentistry
6634 Binz-Engleman Rd #109
Converse, TX 78109
(210) 960-8204

Feb
6

When Your Dental Crown Falls Out: 5 Steps

Posted in Crowns

Happily, a loose dental crown can be an easy fix as long as you don’t panic. You have more control over the situation than you might think. If your crown is loose, here is what your family dentist will probably recommend:

  1. Check Your Tooth

Look to make sure your tooth doesn’t seem to be missing any pieces. If you find any loose pieces in your mouth or inside the crown, save those to show the dentist.

  1. Clean Out the Inside of the Crown

As long as the crown and tooth both seem to be in-tact, go ahead and rinse out the crown. If it has been loosened for some time, it likely has a bit of debris packed underneath.

  1. Numb Your Tooth

This isn’t necessary, but it’s helpful if your tooth is extremely sensitive without its warm little cap. Clove oil is a great natural numbing agent.

  1. Try to Fit the Crown Back On

Check to see if you can gently tap your crown back into place over the tooth. Don’t force it and make sure you have it facing the right way. Once your sure of how it fits, secure it with a temporary cement (available over the counter) and schedule a visit with your dentist as soon as possible.

  1. If It Won’t Go Back?

That’s fine. Just save the crown in a safe container or bag to bring with you to the dentist’s. He or she will get it cleaned up and re-cemented for you, assuming the tooth is healthy.

The longer you go without your crown, the more likely you are to experience sensitivity or fracture to your unprotected tooth. Call your dentist today!

Posted on behalf of:
Smile Avenue Family Dentistry
9212 Fry Rd #120
Cypress, TX 77433
(281) 656-1503

Feb
6

How to Know if Your Child Needs Dental Sealants

How to Know if Your Child Needs Dental Sealants

You may already know that dental sealants are not the same thing as fillings. A restoration like a filling is something the dentist places after a tooth is damaged by a cavity. Sealants help to block out damage before it starts.

So what determines whether your child is a candidate for sealants?

Seal-Out Decay

Kids tend to have a hard time with proper brushing. They also love to eat sticky sweet snacks that pack into teeth and promote cavities. Sealing it off with a tiny bit of white resin-based material provides a barrier between the tooth and harmful bacteria or acid.

Sealants are instrumental in giving kids the upper hand over cavities. They’re now routinely offered in most dental offices as a preventative treatment. Sealing your child’s molars as early as possible can help them avoid getting cavities and spare them a lot of headache down the road.

How Groovy Are Your Kid’s Teeth?

Sealants are recommended for all kids. But, some kids need them even more than others. If your child has molars with really deep grooves on the chewing surfaces, then they could benefit from getting those sealed off shortly after the tooth erupts.

Age Matters

Generally-speaking, most dentist don’t recommend sealing baby teeth. Even though your child’s first teeth are important, the grooves are usually quite shallow. It’s the permanent teeth that have deep grooves, making them a priority to protect.

To find out whether your child is ready for sealants, schedule an appointment with your kids dentist. You’ll find out which teeth need to be repaired with fillings. . . and which teeth can avoid fillings with the help of dental sealants!

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

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