7/14/2017 3:12:34 AM
It can sometimes be intimidating to hear your dentist describe what’s going on in your mouth after an oral exam. Your dentist may forget they aren’t in dental school and throw around some big words to describe otherwise common oral health issues. If you’ve ever gone home after an appointment and Googled the words your dentist used, this post is for you. We’re going to demystify some dental lingo and simplify several terms you may have heard around your dentist’s office.
Bruxism: If you’ve ever gotten a custom mouth guard for sleeping, you may have heard your dentist describe your condition as bruxism. This is a common problem usually called teeth grinding or jaw clenching. In dentistry, bruxism is divided into two categories and treated a little differently depending on if you’re awake or asleep when you’re doing it.
Diastema: Invisalign or braces might be good treatments for a diastema, which is the term dentists use to describe a gap between two teeth. Diastemata (plural) are best treated in childhood, but many affordable treatments also exist for adults.
Caries: Simply put, a dental cary is a cavity. Caries are the visible symptom of acid breaking down tooth enamel and causing tooth decay. Not-so-fun-fact: nearly one-third of the world population has a dental cary in their permanent teeth!
Dental Prophylaxis: You may have overheard your dentist tell the front office staff to schedule your next dental prophylaxis. This is a fancy way for your dentist to get your next cleaning scheduled. This routine procedure is beneficial for many reasons. Make sure to schedule at least two a year!
Calculus: In dentistry, calculus means something way different than the painful class you had Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in high school. Calculus is the hard deposit left on your teeth when plaque doesn’t get removed. It’s sometimes more common name is “tartar.”
Malocclusion: This term can be used in several different ways, but is commonly used in reference to an overbite. Technically, however, a malocclusion is any misalignment between the upper and lower teeth and how they come together when the jaw is closed.
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We hope this mini-glossary gives you some new useful words for your oral health vocabulary. If you enjoy our blog, please consider liking our Facebook page to see our new posts!
6/9/2017 1:01:06 AM
In the next few months, some of you will be cutting out a tiny slice of your summer to enjoy life on the open road. Maybe you’ll travel to visit family, cross a national park off your bucket list, or maybe you’ll drive just a few cities over to see a ball game and stay over the weekend.
As you load up the family wagon, keep in mind how important it is to stay on top of your oral health game while you’re away from your normal routine. You’ll encounter lots of hazardous food and drink lurking in convenience stores and gas stations, brushing after meals will only become less convenient, and no one wants to spend their hard-earned vacation tending to a dental emergency in a strange town.
Before you set sail on your summer adventure, pack these oral health vacation tips in the back of your mind:
Pack Sugar-Free Gum
Sugar-free gum can be a wonderful accessory for any kind of travel. If you’re flying, it can help you equalize air pressure changes in your ears during takeoff and landing. If you’re driving, it can be a good way to keep your mouth clean when brushing isn’t convenient. Chewing gum helps reduce acid and keep teeth clean by producing saliva. Add it to your packing list and pick up a large pack of sugar-free gum at the grocery store for your trip.
Use Technology for Reminders
Your oral health routine is successful at reducing tooth decay because it’s just that: a routine. When you travel, many of your routines will get thrown off. Thankfully, cell phones give us many tools to help keep our routines on track. Set reminders for yourself and your family to brush and floss daily. This can be a great psychological tool to help keep your oral health in good working order throughout your getaway.
Schedule an Appointment Before You Go
To make sure that old crown doesn’t come loose when you bite into the local fare at your holiday destination, consider having a dental checkup before traveling if your next one is close. Dental emergencies on vacation are no fun. Plus, you can talk to your dentist about teeth whitening or other cosmetic procedures if you’re wanting to look your best.
Pack New Toothbrushes
Getting kids to brush can be a challenge for the best of parents, let alone getting them to brush when their days are filled with excitement and crazy adventures. One thing that can help with this process is getting them involved and making the process of buying a new toothbrush a fun one for them. Let them pick the color and style, just make sure it’s as hard or soft as your dentist recommends and meets any special requirements they may have. There may be a lot less resistance when you tell them it’s time to brush with the cool new toothbrush they picked out.
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If you’re getting away this summer, be safe and have fun! Keep an eye on your family’s oral health and make sure they’re brushing and flossing as much as they can. Please drop by and like our Facebook page for more oral health tips!
5/12/2017 1:46:05 AM
Much of the fear we experience in life is toward the unknown. The same can be said for much of the fear and anxiety someone may experience before their first dental visit, either as a new patient at a dental practice, or the first dental visit as a child. In this post, we’re going to set you up for success by giving you a rundown of some common things you can expect if you’re swapping practices, getting regular dental care for the first time, or taking your child to a dentist for their first visit.
Do yourself a favor and try to arrive about 15 minutes early for your first dental appointment. This will give you a chance to ask any questions, clear up any clerical questions the staff may have, and fill out any new patient forms if you aren’t able to access and complete them before you arrive.
New Patient Forms
Dental practices tend to use a variety of intake forms to gather information about your oral health, insurance, and relevant medical information. If you’re scheduling your first appointment with a dental practice, ask if the forms can be accessed online, or if they can be mailed so you can prepare them ahead of time. This will save you a few minutes, especially if you’re running late to that first appointment.
Consultation with the Office Staff
The front office staff does a lot more than greet you with a smile when you arrive at your new dental home. They handle the details of your payments, insurance benefits, and patient financing. Expect to have a brief chat with them before or after your appointment to ensure all your financial records are up to date and any payments are collected.
Many dental practices begin your first appointment by taking dental X-rays. Technology can vary widely for X-rays, ranging from digital to panoramic to 3D, for example. This helps your dentist get a clear picture of your entire mouth, past dental work, decay, and emerging trouble spots in the gums and support structures.
Initial Dental Exam
Your first dental exam likely won’t include too much work within your mouth unless you’re in pain. Your dentist may go over your X-rays, ask you questions about your medical health, and examine any areas of interest that may need addressed in your treatment plan. Treatments and cleaning generally start during your second appointment.
A Custom Treatment Plan
At the conclusion of your first appointment, your dentist will go over your individualized treatment plan. This will be your roadmap to getting you back to regular cleanings and maintenance. Your dentist should cover average costs and do what they can to mitigate surprises down the road. You should also be given contact information for the practice in case you have any questions after you leave.
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We hope our blog post helps you go into your first dental appointment with confidence. If you enjoy our dental news, facts, and articles, please consider dropping by and liking our Facebook page to see when we publish new posts.
4/14/2017 3:30:56 AM
Along with the joy that usually accompanies the news of a little one on the way comes a host of health considerations. As soon as you find out you’re pregnant and start sharing the news, you’ll likely hear a non-stop barrage of health advice. One part of good pregnancy health advice that sometimes gets glanced over, however, is how your oral health can be impacted by pregnancy. In this post, we cover 4 of the most important oral health factors you may encounter while pregnant:
- Dental X-Rays While Pregnant
When you learn you’re pregnant, it’s essential you share the news with your dentist at your next appointment. Dental X-rays can be performed while pregnant, and your dentist will take a few extra precautions to cover more sensitive areas with shielding.
- Increased Risk of Gum Disease
Hormonal changes while pregnant can make an expecting mother more likely to experience periodontal (gum) disease. Depending on your specific oral health conditions, your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings to keep gum disease controlled and oral health maintained.
- Morning Sickness Can Increase Risk of Tooth Decay
The nausea and vomiting that often accompanies pregnancy can wreak havoc on teeth. To minimize the risk of decay brought on by increased exposure to stomach acid, try rinsing your mouth with water after you get sick and don’t brush right away. Give your mouth some time to dilute the acid so there’s less risk of damaging your enamel.
- Healthy Diet Is More Important than Ever
Your baby needs an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to make strong bones and teeth. That’s right, your baby’s first teeth are developing after only about 3 months of pregnancy. Make sure you’re eating a diet low in sugar and high in calcium so you and baby are getting what you need to have great oral health.
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Congratulations, and try to enjoy the time leading up to the moment you get to meet your little addition to the family! Make sure you’re taking care of ALL aspects of your health during pregnancy. Consult your dentist if you have any questions about specific oral health conditions. If you enjoy our blog, please consider liking our Facebook page to see when we publish new posts.
3/10/2017 2:50:21 AM
Optimal oral health is often the result of a great relationship between you and your dentist, and finding the right dentist can be tough. The factors to consider are many, and it’s important to make sure your needs and those of your family are met by your dentist.
This month, we’re going to help those of you in search of the perfect dentist by sharing 8 questions you can ask yourself to guide the process:
- Do you or anyone in your family have special needs?
Consider any physical conditions that may affect your dental treatment needs. For example, you may need to find a dentist who is wheelchair accessible or who has experience treating a family member who has diabetes.
- How do you plan on paying?
Whether you’re paying with insurance, financing options such as CareCredit, or out-of-pocket, don’t hesitate to call a dental office to inquire about all your financial options.
- How far away are you willing to travel?
Convenience is important when it comes to keeping regular appointments with your dentist. Before you begin your search to find a dentist, knowing how far you are willing to travel from home or work can narrow down results if you’re searching online.
- What are the most convenient hours for you to go to the dentist?
You shouldn’t have to use vacation time from work to make sure your teeth are clean. Try to find a dentist with office hours that fit your busy schedule.
- Do you need a dentist who is good with kids?
One of the most important factors in the success of your child’s lifelong oral health is finding a dentist who they trust. If you’re searching for a family dentist to take care of your young ones, ask your friends and family with kids about their experiences with local dentists.
- Do you need a specialist?
You may have a family history of certain conditions, or you may have had procedures done in the past that require some regular visits to a specialist. If you think you will need referrals, don’t forget to ask your new dentist how those would be handled within an office.
- What about dental emergencies?
Many dentists have varying policies within their offices for dental emergencies. Some may refer you to a colleague if you are in distress, and some may have dentists on call.
- What professional organizations is the dentist a member of?
Most dentists are members of the American Dental Association, but there are also many local dental organizations that help dentists develop skills and keep up-to-date within their areas of interest or training. You can usually find this information on a dentist’s website, but don’t be afraid to call and ask the office if you want to make sure a dentist has advanced knowledge of your specific needs or treatment requests.
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We hope these questions help you build the framework for selecting your family’s ideal dentist. If you want more dental tips, news, and info please drop by and like our Facebook page.
2/10/2017 4:47:08 AM
Many people are still pushing strong on their New Year’s resolutions. Losing weight is one of the most common resolutions many undertake, and for those who are dedicated to shedding some pounds on 2017, we’re going to give you a tip that will help your waistline and your oral health: drink more water.
Water is essential to good physical health, but it’s also necessary for good oral health. Here are three ways water keeps you showing off your best smile:
Water Helps You Remove More Debris Between Meals
Dentists recommend brushing between meals, but a toothbrush isn’t always handy. One of the ways you can flush your mouth of food debris and sugar regularly is making sure you drink more water throughout your day. If you can’t get to a toothbrush right after a meal, consider swishing a little water in your mouth after you eat to keep your mouth clean.
Fluoridated Water Strengthens Your Teeth
A research study published in the journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology in February 2016 looked at two cities in Canada–one that discontinued water fluoridation in 2011 and one that had continuous water fluoridation since the 1960s. Researchers examined children from the same age group over time and discovered children in the city with uninterrupted fluoridation had much lower rates of tooth decay. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) considers water fluoridation one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.
Water Fights Bad Breath and Promotes Healthy Saliva Production
One of the reasons people tend to have funky breath in the morning is because the mouth produces less saliva when you sleep. Dry mouth can wreak havoc on good oral health and can lead to bad breath. To ensure your body has enough of the materials to produce healthy saliva flow and to keep your breath smelling fresh, make sure to keep drinking water throughout the day.
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In addition to the oral health benefits above, water is also a calorie-free source of hydration. Many people struggle with losing weight because they intake high calories through the liquids they drink throughout the day. Cut the calories out, help your body function optimally, and keep your oral health in top shape. In 2017, drink more water!
1/6/2017 4:53:17 AM
Dentists are well trained to work within a variety of circumstances and with a range of health, age, and safety considerations. One of the common health conditions that impacts a patient’s oral health is diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects about 20 million people in the United States, and is characterized by a person’s inability to produce sufficient insulin or process it properly. About a third of diabetes cases go undiagnosed, but with the help of a physician, it’s typically manageable. Patients who are not able to manage diabetes can experience an increase risk of these oral health complications:
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, occurs at a higher rate in patients who have diabetes. This is often the result of elevated blood sugar levels and because diabetes can thicken blood vessels and reduce oxygen delivery to oral tissues and other areas of the body. The secret to reducing this risk if you have diabetes is controlling your blood sugar levels.
Salivary Gland Complications
According to a study in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, both type I and type II diabetics secrete less resting saliva, which can cause a whole host of problems in a person’s mouth. In addition to not being able to counteract harmful acids and remove food particles as effectively, dry mouth an lead to salivary gland infections and enlargement.
If a person with diabetes has poor control over their blood sugar, it can lead to a variety of infections, including some in the oral cavity. If you have diabetes, make sure to periodically check your tongue, cheeks, and gums for red or puffy tissue. Additionally, ask your dentist if your risk factors warrant a few more regular dental appointments to check for warning signs.
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Always inform your dentist of your health history so he or she can make sure you get the best dental care you deserve and address any important risk factors. If you enjoy our blog, please drop by and like our Facebook page to see when we publish new posts.
12/30/2016 1:47:24 AM
At the end of the year on our blog, we like to suggest some oral health resolutions that are easy for just about anyone to implement and follow. Pick one you know you can stick with, or go big and try to tackle the whole list. No matter which approach you take, commit to better oral health in 2017!
- Stop Using Tobacco
Your friends, family, wallet, and dentist will all appreciate this one. If you use smokeless tobacco or smoke cigarettes, commit to dropping the habit in the new year. If you need some suggestions for methods to quit, ask your dentist if he or she has any they recommend.
- Commit to Flossing Your Teeth Once a Day
This addition to your oral health routine will add no more than a few minutes to your morning as you get ready for work or school, and you’ll be rewarded by getting to keep your healthy teeth for many more years!
- If You Have No Major Oral Health Issues, Commit to at Least Two Dental Appointments
If you have no significant oral health issues and aren’t undergoing any treatments, make two dental appointments next year to get cleanings and a good checkup. This will keep your dental costs low by providing good maintenance for your mouth and letting your dentist look around for signs of gum disease, decay, or other abnormalities.
- During Your Next Dental Appointment, Ask About an Oral Cancer Screening
Many dentists recommend a periodic oral cancer screening. If you’ve never had one, consider your risk factors and talk to your dentist about it next time you go.
- Touch-Up Your Smile
Cosmetic dentistry provides many options to fix both minor and major things about your smile you might want to improve. There may be serious oral health benefits from some treatments too!
- Make Healthier Food and Drink Choices
Many of you are already committed to dropping a few pounds anyway, so use your oral health as extra motivation. Choosing foods low in sugar also likely means foods that cause less tooth decay.
- Buy a New Toothbrush
Take a close look at the most important tool you’re using to manage your oral health. If the bristles of your toothbrush look worn out and misshapen, pick up a new one and remember to replace your toothbrush about every 3-6 months.
- Learn Something You Didn’t Know About Your Teeth
We believe the more you know something, the more you’re likely to understand its importance. Your teeth are a fascinating part of the human body and one of its most used and durable. Next year, commit to learning something you didn’t know about your teeth. Read an article, go back and read one of our old blog posts, or use the awesome power of the internet to find out the answer to a question you’ve always wanted to ask.
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Here’s to your family’s best oral health in 2017!
12/16/2016 4:44:52 AM
One of the most important decisions you’ll make for your family’s health is selecting the right dentist. In most cases, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from, which may make your selection seem quite difficult. Whether you’re searching for a different dentist or the first dentist for your family, here are three quick ways to spot a good dental practice:
- Flexible Insurance and Payment Options
Everyone requires access to dental care at some point, and not everyone has dental insurance or the ability to pay out of pocket. A good dental practice will consider the wide variety of financial situations people are in and create options to cater to those financial situations. This may include CareCredit, a sliding scale fee for low-income families, and a big list of trusted insurance provider affiliations. Many people find a dentist through their insurance provider, but if you’re paying out of pocket or need to finance your dental care, ask a prospective dental practice about their payment options.
- A Staff and Dentist Able to Work with Different Age Groups, Especially If You Have Kids
Consistent care with a good family dentist has many long-term benefits. A dentist who monitors your family’s oral health year after year has a better eye to catch abnormalities and complications. It’s important to select a dental practice your family can grow with, which also includes you as you grow older. Different age groups have different dental needs. Oral health risks are a little different for younger and older patients. As your family moves through different stages of life, look for a dental practice with a staff that has experience meeting the needs of every family member’s age group.
- Good References from Friends and Patients
If you’re searching for a good family dentist, one of the best things you can do is reach out to your friends, coworkers, or social media networks and ask the opinions of those who you trust. Chances are your coworkers or someone you know has had experience with your prospective dental practice or knows someone else who has. If you can’t get a few good word of mouth references, check out a dental practice’s online reviews or website testimonials from real patients. Good dental practices tend to leave an impression.
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We hope our list of tips helps you evaluate the dental practice you choose for family. If you enjoy our blog posts and want to see when we publish new ones, please consider liking our Facebook page.
11/18/2016 2:39:45 AM
Malocclusion is the dental term for abnormally aligned upper and lower teeth. Tooth alignment can be affected by many different factors from childhood to old age. Sometimes, teeth are misaligned slightly enough that it may not warrant any type of corrective treatment, but even slightly misaligned teeth can cause problems for a person. They make it harder to maintain good oral hygiene, they can cause worse malocclusion down the road, and they can affect a person’s self-esteem.
Invisalign® is one of our go-to treatments for malocclusion. There are many financial options to pay for it, it’s convenient for aesthetic reasons, and it can treat a wide range of cases, including:
Underbite: This tooth misalignment occurs when teeth on the lower jaw stick out farther than the front teeth on the upper jaw. It’s typically caused from underdevelopment of the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both. The area that suffers the most from underbite tends to be the molars.
Ovberbite: An underbite occurs when teeth on the upper jaw stick out over teeth on the lower jaw too far. Genetics can be a factor in causing an overbite, in addition to irregular development of the upper jaw. An overbite tends to cause excessive wear on the lower teeth and can lead to serious and painful joint issues.
Gapped Teeth: The dental term for a gap between teeth is diastema. The most common one dentists see is a gap between the front teeth. Gaps in between teeth can be caused by gum disease weakening supporting structures, oral habits such as thumb sucking, irregular tooth or jaw development, and a number of other reasons. A serious risk of gapped teeth is a higher probability for developing gum disease.
Crowded Teeth: Teeth that are overcrowded are often caused when they don’t erupt (come through the skin) correctly or when the baby teeth aren’t lost quickly enough. If your teeth are overcrowded, it can can accelerate tooth decay, increase the risk of periodontal disease, prevent the ability to properly chew, and make it harder to clean your teeth.
Crossbite: There are two types of crossbites: anterior and posterior. A common cause of crossbite is when children suck their thumb or use a pacifier too long. This behavior causes force on the teeth and may change their alignment if the habit is continued while the teeth and mouth are developing the most. A dentist should help you align a crossbite to avoid premature wear and tear on the teeth, chewing difficulties, and higher risk of gum disease.
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If any of the above dental conditions affects you and your tooth alignment, please consider talking to your dentist about a way to correct it. Your oral health will benefit greatly if you do. At our practice, we often recommend Invisalign or Invisalign Teen to our patients for these conditions.
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