Dental Tips Blog

Dec
26

5 Reasons Your Teeth Are Turning Gray

Everyone wants a dazzlingly white smile. Sometimes, coffee or cigarette smoking is to blame for dark stains on teeth. But those are usually easy to treat with professional bleaching.

Gray teeth, on the other hand, are virtually impossible to bleach. This is because the stain usually comes from inside the tooth, as opposed to being caused by outside forces.

  1. Tetracycline Staining

Taking a certain class of antibiotic during tooth formation is known to cause staining. It can even happen to an unborn baby if the mom takes the medication during pregnancy. When the child’s teeth come in, they can show up gray.

  1. Trauma

A hard knock to a tooth can cause the inner tissues to die. As they decompose, the tooth is left an eerie gray color.

  1. Fluorosis

Extreme cases of heavy fluoride exposure during tooth development can cause relatively harmless but unsightly dark staining in permanent teeth.

  1. Metal Filling Staining

Do you have any old silver amalgam fillings? These can leach out into tooth enamel over time, discoloring it.

  1. Nerve Damage

Whether due to trauma or decay, the nerve inside a tooth can become injured and infected. When this happens, it’s time for a root canal to remove the nerve and save your tooth.

If you have a dark tooth that bothers you, it’s definitely time to see a dentist. Especially if the cause is a damaged nerve that can trigger an infection. Contact your family dental office to plan a visit. Your dentist will be happy to help you discover options for treating gray teeth such as teeth bleaching, dental crowns or dental veneers.

Posted on behalf of:
Memorial Park Dental Spa
6010 Washington Ave Suite D
Houston, TX 77007
(713) 336-8478

Dec
26

4 Things Your Smile Reveals About Your Sleep

Posted in Gum Disease

Did you know that many people discover they have a sleep disorder after a trip to the dentist?

The following complications are very common among American adults. By taking a good look at your mouth, you and your dentist might be able to figure out if any of these issues are a sign of a bigger problem…like obstructive sleep apnea.

  1. You Breathe With Your Mouth Open While You Sleep

This isn’t unusual if you have sinus issues. But breathing through your mouth can cause a few problems in your smile:

  • Higher risk for cavities and gum disease
  • Less healthy saliva flow
  • Gum recession

If you suffer from dry mouth and have puffy, rolled, red, or receded gums, then there’s a good chance your mouth is wide open to catch those Z’s!

  1. You Grind Your Teeth At Night

Flattened molars and biting edges are a good sign that you’re grinding your teeth together. This common habit usually happens while people are asleep and unaware of it. If you have sensitive aching teeth or are constantly damaging dental restorations, grinding/bruxism and clenching could be to blame.

  1. You’re A Restless Sleeper

Ever wake up with a headache and sore jaw? Stress could be causing you to clench them together in your sleep. This could be stress related to waking activities or the kind that accompanies vivid dreams.

  1. You Snore

Snoring is caused by tissues in the neck and throat collapsing over the airway. If you have extra tissue around your neck and often wake up with a sore throat and dry mouth, this could mean your body is struggling to breathe while you sleep.

Contact your dentist to learn more about the sleep and smile connection.

Posted on behalf of:
Dentistry of Highland Village
3651 Weslayan St. #208
Houston, TX 77027
(713) 360-7700

Dec
26

What A Dental Cap is and Why You Need One

Posted in Crowns

How useful is a hardhat, bike helmet, or football helmet if it has a crack in it? It’s basically pointless to wear a damaged piece of safety equipment.

Your tooth has a very similar setup. The outer layer of strong enamel is a covering that protects your tooth from the forces of biting and chewing.

Once that tough outer shell is compromised, however, you may need an entirely new “helmet.” This is wear a dental cap, or crown, comes into play.

Why Not Just Get A Filling?

A filling is often a great option for repairing tooth damage – if that damage is small enough. Fractures or cavities that compromise more than about 25% of the tooth’s structure could significantly undermine its strength.

This is where you would need to restore your tooth with a more solid option that can withstand heavier use.

Reasons You Might Need A Crown

Without a professional dental exam, it can be hard to know for sure whether you need a dental crown. Here are some of the reasons your dentist may suggest one.

  • Enamel is worn down by acid
  • Tooth structure has been lost due to excessive grinding
  • You have a large cavity
  • There are already too many old, large fillings in the tooth
  • Fractures/injuries
  • You want to improve the look of your tooth
  • You’ve just had a root canal and need to protect the tooth

Talk with your dentist if you think you might need a cap. You might be surprised to learn what other options you have. Schedule a consultation with your local office to find out which solution will help you hold onto your tooth for years to come.

Posted on behalf of:
The Newport Beach Dentist
1901 Westcliff Drive #6
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 646-2481

Dec
26

What Is a Tooth Abscess?

Posted in Gum Disease

An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms in gums or bone as a result of an infection. It can also occur alongside of teeth with serious periodontal disease. Most commonly, an abscess forms at the tip of a tooth root after it’s been compromised by decay or trauma.

Signs You May Have An Abscess 

An abscess can cause severe pain, but in some cases it won’t hurt at all. Other symptoms can include:

  • Pimple on the gums (where pus drains out)
  • Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
  • Your tooth is extremely sensitive to pressure and/or temperature
  • Swelling in your face
  • Red, swollen gums
  • Fracture or advanced decay in the tooth

Your dentist will most likely need to take an x-ray to pinpoint where the infection is originating.

Will It Go Away On Its Own?

No. This is a serious bacterial infection looking for a way out. As an abscess grows, it eats away at the tooth root and surrounding bone. There’s also a risk of the infection spreading to other parts of your body.

How To Treat An Abscessed Tooth

Get some relief by swishing lukewarm salt water to bring down inflammation and encourage the release of pressure. You can also take an over the counter medication such as ibuprofen.

These measures aren’t meant to buy you extra time. You still need to contact your dentist ASAP. If you have to wait for your appointment, these steps will help you get some relief before your scheduled visit.

Your dentist may need to drain the abscess if it’s very large. You’ll may even take some antibiotics. But to treat it thoroughly, your dentist will either need to do a root canal or extract the tooth.

The sooner your see your dentist, the sooner you’ll get relief and the better your chances of holding onto your natural tooth!

Posted on behalf of:
Riverheart Family Dentistry
8618 Mexico Road
O’Fallon, MO 63366
(636) 205-4045

Dec
26

Serving Smile-Safe Summer Snacks

Tasty treats are a part of what makes summer special. But keep these healthy tips in mind so that your kids’ smiles stay in great shape and are ready to go by the start of next school year.

Get Creative!

Look to Pinterest and other online DIY articles for inspiration. It doesn’t have to take much work to up the wow-factor of some pretty basic foods. Turn plain fruits and vegetables into eye-catching displays of creativity to encourage your kids to eat them.

  • Freeze berries in ice cubes to chill a glass of water
  • Arrange sliced apples, celery, carrots, strawberries and bananas to form a smiley face or make food look more appealing
  • Sneakily swap whole grain bread for the white in French toast
  • Offer whole grain tortilla chips as a snack with a few healthy dip options like hummus or low-fat yogurt.

Check Ingredients

Even products that you would never consider a sweet or dessert often have some added sweetener to enhance flavor (i.e., sliced deli meat, pasta sauces). High-fructose corn syrup is a major culprit of obesity, digestive problems, and tooth decay but it’s the number one sweetener out there.

Be careful when selecting carbs like pretzels, crackers, and breads which often contain lots of sweeteners. Get smart about checking the ingredients, and you can serve your family with peace of mind.

Encourage Balance

You want to be a cool parent who lets their kids enjoy traditional summer treats. But balance is necessary. Make sure your kids are fueling up on necessary nutrients, not just freezer waffles all day. Encourage munching on calcium-rich snacks like cheese slices and sugar-free yogurt to support strong teeth.

Also, don’t forget to visit your dentist.  Summer is a great time to schedule your kid’s dental cleanings and checkups and taking care of any dental issues before the school year starts.

Posted on behalf of:
Huebner Smiles Dentistry and Orthodontics
12055 Vance Jackson Rd #103
San Antonio, TX 78230
(210) 625-7056

Dec
26

How Honey Affects Your Smile When Compared with Sugar

Honey is generally touted as the healthier option over table sugar. It contains less glucose, which our bodies quickly metabolize. Instead, it’s a more complex carbohydrate with multiple kinds of sugars in it. This makes it a little better for your blood sugar levels and your waistline.

But at the end of the day, sugar is… well, sugar.

What Sugar Does To Teeth

Cavity-causing bacteria feed on the carbohydrates you eat. In turn, they produce an acid waste that eats away tooth enamel, creating cavities. The simpler the carbs, the faster they digest them and turn them into acids. Not to mention, sugar in itself can be corrosive to teeth.

Whether the sugar comes in the form of honey or refined sugarcane crystals, it will take a toll on your teeth if it’s left there.

How Does Honey Play Into Dental Health?

Honey contains some naturally-occurring vitamins and anti-bacterial properties. It also has no need for preservatives. Honey seems to have some health benefits such as fighting infection and reducing inflammation.

Be warned, however. All the good stuff honey does is overshadowed by the fact that it can still cause your teeth to erode. You won’t get immediate benefits by slathering this sweet syrup on your teeth and gums overnight. That’s just a recipe for enamel wear, tooth decay, and more time in the dentist’s chair getting fillings, crowns, and other tooth restorations.

Choose honey over sugar if you like, but don’t use it so often as if it doesn’t matter. Brush well at least twice a day, floss at least once, and rinse your mouth with water after having any carb – honey or sugar. Schedule a visit with your local dentist to find out how your diet is affecting your smile.

Posted on behalf of:
Meridian Campus Family Dental
3201 Willamette DR NE
Lacey, WA 98516
(360) 200-5505

Dec
26

What Happened on “Gum Health Day?”

Posted in Gum Disease

Friday May 12, 2017 marked the “European Gum Health Day,” supported by 27 of the national societies making up the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP). The event drew in extensive media coverage and here in it’s fourth year shows promising signs of further growth.

So, why was this a big deal?

The EFP unites national gum health societies from all over Europe, Caucasia, North Africa, and the Middle East. Their aim? Support research and education activities that promote periodontal (gum) health.

The annual event on May 12 marks an occasion of public outreach via university courses, conferences, media broadcasts, and free periodontal screenings. It’s estimated that millions of people were reached with an important message about gum health.

Why Gum Health Awareness Matters

It might seem like a silly thing to be so concerned about something as unimportant as gums. But is it, though?

You gums play an essential role in keeping your teeth anchored to your jaw. Additionally, their health is intricately connected to other body systems. Gum disease has been linked to some very serious conditions ranging from erectile dysfunction to stroke.

Alerting the general public to the importance of taking responsibility for their gum health is one way dental professionals build a stronger and healthier community. Awareness programs help people to identify:

  • Whether they are at risk for gum disease
  • Possible signs and symptoms of disease
  • Methods for preventing oral disease
  • Adequate treatment options for controlling gum disease

Here in the United States, there’s an entire month dedicated to national gum disease awareness. Don’t wait until next February, Gum Disease Awareness Month, to schedule a gum health checkup for every family member!

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. C Family Dentistry
13514 E 32nd Ave
Spokane Valley, WA 99216
(509) 591-9317

Dec
26

Is There a Difference Between a Smile Makeover and Full Mouth Restoration?

Yes, there is. Although both are processes are meant for remaking a smile, the end goal is very different. This difference could affect your plans for restoring your own smile.

What’s Involved In A Smile Makeover

A smile makeover takes a cosmetic angle. In fact, the process is almost purely cosmetic dental treatment with few functional benefits that may coincidentally follow. You undertake this series of procedures because you want to make changes in how your smile looks.

Some treatments that commonly turn up in a smile makeover include:

  • Teeth bleaching
  • Bonding
  • Veneers
  • Invisalign orthodontic treatment
  • Gum recontouring

When You Need A Full Mouth Restoration/Reconstruction

An FMR is something you need, not just want. The aim here is to restore some original function that was lost. Patients usually need restorations after their jaw has been affected by an accident, cancer, or extensive dental disease.

Restoring function often involves surgery, extractions, dentures, implants, and dental bridges, crowns, or fillings.

Which Do You Need?

Think of it this way: a makeover is a series of superficial changes while an FMR rebuilds your mouth, thereby helping you eat, breathe, and speak normally.

It can be hard to decide what you want when you don’t even know what your teeth need! Get started by visiting your dentist. He or she will assess your dental health needs, discuss your treatment options, and help you prioritize treatment.

Your dentist will help you figure out how to afford treatment and which procedures your insurance is likely to cover. In the meantime, take care of the smile you have with a great oral hygiene routine and regular dental checkups.

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

Dec
21

Can My Child Have Laughing Gas at the Dentist’s Office?

Laughing gas is perfectly safe for children. In fact, it’s often the preferred method for helping little tots stay comfortable during dental procedures. Here’s why:

The effects are quickly reversible. Laughing gas is made from a combination of nitrogen and oxygen called nitrous oxide. It simply contains gases naturally found in our atmosphere, just in different concentrations. By controlling how much your child inhales, the dentist can induce light sedation or reverse the proportion so that the oxygen flushes the nitrogen from the system within a matter of minutes at the end of the procedure.

It’s given in carefully controlled dosages. There is no one-size-fits-all, here. Your child would be given the minimum amount of nitrogen necessary to help him or her stay comfortable. If they don’t accept it well, it can be adjusted or turned off.

Low allergy risk.  With other sedative methods, there is always a small risk of allergic reaction. Nitrous oxide is extremely safe for most people to use.

Zero side-effects. As long as a carefully-trained clinician administers the laughing gas, your child will recover just fine. There won’t be any lingering effects like other sedatives have.

Benefits Of Laughing Gas For Kids

  • Reduces anxiety for children, especially those too young to understand what’s going on
  • Comfortable to administer
  • Has a pleasant scent (kids often pick from vanilla, orange, cotton candy, etc.)
  • Makes it easier to administer other pain-dulling medications, as needed

If you are concerned about the safety of dental sedation for your child, talk with your family or pediatric dentist about how laughing gas could help.

Posted on behalf of:
Mendota Springs Dentistry
6317 McKee Rd #500
Fitchburg, WI 53719
(608) 957-7709

Dec
19

Why Are My Teeth Getting Dark?

Posted in Teeth Whitening

Darkening teeth is a very common problem. In fact, the market for teeth whitening has taken off in recent years. Almost everyone wants a whiter smile. But it’s not easy to get bright teeth if you don’t know what caused them to darken in the first place.

Stain From Without

Most people blame yellowing teeth on the foods that they are eating. For the most part, this is one of the biggest contributors to stain. Tooth enamel, despite it’s shiny smooth appearance, is actually quite porous. All those tiny holes are quick to soak up dark pigments from food.

Stain can also come from tobacco and medications.

Stain From Within

After years of exposure to heavily-staining foods or cigarettes, stain on the outside of the tooth can start to become deeply embedded within the tooth itself. Tooth discoloration can also occur as the result of trauma or certain disease or drug-exposure during development.

What Can You Do?

You may want to consider eliminating the stain-causing agents from your diet. This means cutting back on coffee, switching to white instead of red wine, and giving up smoking altogether.

Next, see how an over-the-counter whitening toothpaste does at scrubbing away surface stain. If you want better results, talk with your dentist about professional teeth whitening. That’s pretty much the only way you’ll even touch stain that’s deep inside your tooth.

What if stubborn stains still won’t respond? Your dentist will have other options including dental crowns and veneers to totally mask darkening teeth.

White teeth convey a message of youth, health, and beauty. Get a brighter smile by contacting your dentist today.

Posted on behalf of:
Ambler Dental Care
602 S Bethlehem Pike C-2
Ambler, PA 19002
(215) 643-1122

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