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Kucey Dental Group

Order of Your Oral Hygiene Routine

You’re awake, congratulations! Now, you are standing in front of the bathroom mirror, you’ve been wanting to upgrade your oral hygiene routine but you’ve heard a lot of conflicting information. There are so many tools and what order should you do them in? We’re here to help! If you’ve ever wondered, “What comes first brushing or flossing?” Read on!

Oral Hygiene Routine Blog

  • You’ve probably heard us stress the importance of flossing at your appointments. Flossing is an incredibly important part of your mouth’s health. Flossing your teeth should take place one time per day. We recommend at night so that food does not rest in between your teeth while you sleep. Flossing before brushing is a lot like dusting before you vacuum. The particles will loosen with flossing and the brushing will sweep them away.
  • You may have guessed it: the second part of your oral hygiene regimen should be a 2-minute brushing. Dentists look at your mouth in terms of quadrants. Therefore, your mouth consists on four separate quadrants and to ensure proper use of your two minute brushing session, we recommend spending 30 seconds in each quadrant. This brushing routine should take place two times a day!
  • Brushing your teeth alone will not eliminate the majority of the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Cleaning your tongue is an easy addition to your routine and will benefit your mouth greatly. Take your toothbrush, apply a very small amount of toothpaste and brush your tongue in gentle, circular motions. You may opt for a tongue scraper instead, they can be purchased at most grocery stores.
  • The finishing touch for optimum oral health is mouthwash. Sip a small amount and swish for 30-40 seconds. Spit it out and you are done!

It may seem like a lengthy routine but it actually only totals about 4 minutes. If you value your oral health and want to spend less time in a dental chair, it will be worth your time, we promise!

Avoidance Tactics: Top 10 Tips to Avoid Root Canal Treatment

We love seeing you in our office, but we wish we didn’t have to! Root canal treatment is a wonderful tool, and often the best tooth-saving tool that is available. Advancements in treatment have increased the success rate of endodontic treatment, while modern techniques and tools have decreased recovery time and pain. However, in spite of the advancements that excite us as professionals, we understand that most people would prefer to never experience root canal treatment!

Avoidance Tactics Top 10 Tips for Avoiding Root Canal

If you are one of those people, read on for our top ten tips to avoid having to have a root canal down the road:

  1. Brush twice daily. Sounds simple, but far too many adults and children skip this step at night. Brushing your teeth before bed should be just as automatic as turning off the light.
  2. Floss once daily. Skipping the floss is like only washing 70% of your body when you shower. This doesn’t just contribute to bad breath – it also gives root-damaging bacteria a place to hide and thrive!
  3. Avoid hard foods such as hard candies and lollipops. Both of which cause cracks that allow bacteria to enter your root system.
  4. Weak teeth be wary. If you already have weak teeth or restorations, you should also skip crunchy fruits and vegetables such as carrots and apples, which just so happen to be two of the biggest tooth-crackers.
  5. Back away from the ice! Many people are tempted by the cool, fresh taste of ice at the end of a beverage. But chewing on ice can easily fracture, crack or break a tooth or filling! Once that happens, bacteria have an easy route into the nerve center of your tooth.
  6. Wear a mouth guard at night. If you are a grinder or clencher, make sure that you wear a night-guard to protect teeth from fractures, which eventually can expose the tooth’s roots.
  7. Wear a mouth guard while playing sports. No longer just for football and hockey players, mouth guards are an important part of equipment for nearly every sport, from soccer to snowboarding.
  8. Avoid acidic drinks and foods like soda and citrus juices. These beverages present a double whammy to teeth: First, they break down enamel. Then, they saturate the tooth in sugar for bacteria to feast on!
  9. Have regular dental checkups and cleanings. A cracked tooth found early can often be spared root canal treatment.
  10. Get your tooth pain checked out immediately! Any pain is a sign that something is amiss in your mouth and ignoring it will only make treatments more serious down the road.

Dental Implants: What’s All The Hype?

These days, we all know someone who has a dental implant, and you have probably heard us champion these teeth substitutes, as they become more and more the common cure for missing teeth!

But why?Dental Implants What's all the Hype

We think that’s a valid question and it deserves a good answer!

Bone Loss
Any oral health professional will tell you that living with a missing tooth can have negative consequences that go well below the gum line. The problem doesn’t stop at the single tooth that goes missing. The jawbone also suffers. When there is not a tooth set in the jawbone offering regular stimulation, you lose bone mass in that area. That loss of jawbone contributes to a decline in facial aesthetics as the jaw shrinks away. The loss of jawbone also means that when you do have an implant later in life, you will likely require extensive bone grafting prior to the implant procedure. Traditional tooth “replacement” methods such as dentures and bridges do not solve the problem of bone loss.

In contrast, dental implants eliminate these problems and encourage a healthy, strong and adequate jaw by integrating with it (also known as: osseointegration). The implant then provides regular stimulation (as you chew food), and keeps the jawbone in proper health.

Lifestyle and Diet
Most people with dentures report that in addition to living in fear of their dentures falling out in social settings, they also must live with a restricted diet, unable to enjoy the foods that they previously ate. This same restricted diet goes for those with wobbly bridges and crowns as well. More often than not, those restricted foods are some of the healthiest ones, such as crunchy, fibrous fruits and vegetables.

Dental implants look and feel nearly identical to your regular teeth, and are second only to your natural teeth when it comes to form and function. Dental implants allow you to eat and live freely with a healthy diet and without fear. In addition to that, dental implants have a 98% success rate and can often last you for a lifetime!

4 Surprising Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

Common symptoms of Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder such as jaw pain, clicking or popping of the jaw and clenching are well known, but did you know that you can experience symptoms of TMJ disorders throughout your whole body? TMJ disorders can be difficult to diagnose when your symptoms are not restricted to the jaw area, so to make diagnosis easier we’ve listed some symptoms you might be surprised to find out are related to TMJ disorders!

  1. 4-Surprising-Signs-of-TMJ-DisordersEarache: Because the jaw muscles run from ear to ear, TMJ related jaw pain can also trigger ear pain, which is often mistaken for an ear infection. The pain actually doesn’t come from the ear at all, but originates directly beneath or in front of the ear.
  2. Neck pain: The temporomandibular joint plays a major role in keeping the head balanced on top of the spinal chord. The head weighs roughly 8 pounds, but bad posture due to joint misalignment causes this weight to be distributed unevenly, putting added stress on the neck and spine and causing the head to have a 30-pound pull on your muscles. No wonder neck and back pain are symptoms of TMJ disorders!
  3. Pinched nerves: When TMJ alignment is skewed, your muscles overwork themselves to compensate for the imbalance. The back is prone to TMJ related pain, as it becomes strained in order to maintain the body’s balance. This tension can lead to numbness in your extremities, so if you’re experiencing any tingling sensations in your arms, legs, fingers or toes, it could be a sign of a TMJ disorder.
  4. Obstructed airways: The tongue is attached to the lower jaw, so the position of the tongue in the mouth depends on your jaw alignment. Misalignment of the lower jaw could cause your tongue to sit too far back in the mouth and obstruct your airways. If your breathing feels abnormal, especially while sleeping, a TMJ disorder could be the culprit.

We hope that reading about these lesser-known symptoms will answer some of your questions about TMJ disorders. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule a consultation with us to learn about your treatment options!

Root Canals: Your Toughest Questions Answered

For most people, the mere mention of a root canal sets off alarm bells in the body. These bells come in the form of nervous thoughts and sensations – that fight-or-flight response we’ve all heard about. While this is a totally normal response, most fear of root canals is based on mis-information. We feel that by giving you the right information, we can help you understand the process better and calm your fears about this routine procedure.

Root Canals Your Toughest Questions AnsweredThis is not just your average list of root canal FAQs. Here, we aim to tackle the toughest questions that you can throw our way.

I’ve heard that root canals aren’t as painful as they used to be. How can that be true?

  • Better Instruments: Endodontic instruments have improved greatly over the years. They are more precise than ever, allowing us to target only necessary areas and avoid excess irritation.
  • Better Anesthetics: The anesthetics we use today are more effective and less likely to cause negative reactions than in the past. In addition, we can use an anesthetic that has adrenaline or epinephrine added to it to make it last longer. The longer it lasts, the less pain you will feel.
  • Better Imaging: Modern imaging allows for a more precise treatment and lessens the need to cause irritation in non-infected areas.
  • Better Understanding: Today, we have a better understanding of both your body and the microorganisms that cause infected roots. This results in less invasive treatments and better overall care for you.

What can I do to calm my nerves?

  • Know the Facts:
    • Over 15 million root canals are performed each year.
    • Root canals save your natural teeth and save money down the road.
    • Root canals are safe.
    • Root canals relieve pain caused by infection – they don’t cause pain!
  • Ask Questions: Sometimes patients are unsure about a specific part of the procedure and remain silent. We want you to ask questions! Usually we are able to set your mind at ease if you simply ask us.
  • Plug In: Many patients bring music and earphones to the appointment to help pass the time in the chair. Ask us if this is an option for you before your appointment.

Why not just remove the tooth? 
When a tooth hurts, often a person’s first reaction is to get rid of the tooth. However, we know that missing teeth cause bigger health problems and expenses down the road. The first choice in dental care is ALWAYS to save the tooth when possible. Root canal treatment saves teeth. In fact, a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment can last just as long as the healthy teeth in your mouth!

Tooth Sensitivity: What it Means and What You Can Do

You’re eating a scoop of ice cream or sipping hot chocolate, and suddenly your tooth hurts. Or maybe brushing your teeth makes you wince. These are common symptoms of tooth sensitivity, one of the most common complaints among dental patients. In fact over 40 million adults suffer from sensitive teeth at some point. This blog will help you understand just what this common problem is and what the cause may be.

Tooth SensitivityCauses of Tooth Sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity is caused by the movement of fluid within tiny tubes located in the dentin (the layer of tissue found beneath the hard enamel that contains the inner pulp), which results in nerve irritation. When the hard enamel is worn down or if your gums have receded, the tiny tube surfaces become exposed so that eating or drinking cold or hot food or beverages, touching the teeth, or exposing them to cold air can be uncomfortable. Dental issues that may cause tooth sensitivity include: tooth decay, fractured teeth, worn fillings, worn tooth enamel, and an exposed tooth root. Excessive consumption of foods and drinks high in acid content, such as soft drinks or citrus juices, can also put you at risk for tooth sensitivity. Acid reflux may also result in the erosion of tooth enamel due to acid coating the teeth.

Treatment. If a tooth is highly sensitive for more than three or four days, it is best to see your dentist to diagnose the cause of your discomfort. We have a variety of options to manage tooth sensitivity, including in-office treatments and products you use at home. We may apply a desensitizing agent or a protective coating to your teeth. Or we may prescribe a fluoride gel or over the counter desensitizing toothpaste, which contains fluoride and potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. These ingredients help block the transmission of sensation from the tooth to the nerve. It is also best to avoid using hard bristled tooth brushes that can wear down tooth enamel and expose sensitive areas.

It is important for us to accurately diagnose the cause of your tooth sensitivity for accurate treatment. Sometimes a damaged tooth may require a filling, bonding, or even root canal if the decay is severe.   Proper dental hygiene is the best way to prevent tooth pain and sensitivity. Please let us know if you have any areas of your mouth that experience sensitivity or if you have any questions abut your dental health.

After the Root Canal

If you have a root canal scheduled with our office, congratulations! You have taken an important first step toward saving your tooth and, thus, your smile and your oral health down the road! You may be wondering what to expect in terms of pain and what to do to relieve it after your procedure. Luckily, we have saved our best tips for you! Read on for information on home-care after a root canal.

After the Root CanalHow much pain will I have?
You will be happy to hear that after root canal treatment, most people report little or no pain. Advancements in endodontic instruments and techniques over the years have made this procedure similar to having a filling done. While it is considered normal to have soreness for a few days following the procedure, make sure you call us if you have extreme pain or pain that lasts more than a week.

Here are our recommended pain management tips following root canal treatment:

Over the Counter Pain Medicine
For the majority of patients, an over the counter pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) is all that is needed to curb soreness and pain after a root canal.

Prescription Pain Medicine
If we feel that you may need it, we will send you home with a prescription for a stronger pain medication than can be purchased over the counter. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully on the package.

Ice and Heat
For additional comfort at home, you may apply a cool or warm compress to the cheek in the area that the procedure was performed.

Salt Water Rinse
A teaspoon of salt in room temperature water can sometimes help with pain in the days following your procedure. Rinse and spit for reduced swelling and discomfort.

Be Pro-Active with Pain Medication
Have OTC pain medications ready to go at home. Take them before the numbing solution wears off completely so that you are not caught off-guard with pain. If we give you a prescription for pain medicine, fill it before going home, even if you think you won’t use it. Stay on top of timing and dosage until you feel that the soreness is gone.

And, as always, feel free to call us anytime with your questions. We are always happy to help!

Vaping: Is It Harmless?

You may have noticed a shift in the smoking world over the past few years. Smokers have been seemingly taking a step in the right direction. Smokers are transitioning away from the traditional cigarette to the e-cigarette, this act is also known as: vaping. Transitioning to an e-cigarette from a chemical-filled cigarette that decades of research have proven is deadly seems like a good thing, right? Think again. There are many people venturing into the world of e-cigarettes blindly. While e-cigarette advertisements and companies are currently unregulated, we wanted to uncover a few potential dangers of this popular fad.

VapingThe e-cigarette anatomy consists of a battery, a heating element and a cartridge that holds the nicotine, liquid and flavoring. If anyone has tried to convince you that e-cigarettes are not addictive, they’re wrong. Nicotine is highly addictive, and while many teens and young adults believe that vaping is harmless, nicotine is known to negatively affect brain development in this age group. The act of holding an e-cigarette and the presence of nicotine has indicated that it could be a very strong gateway to smoking real cigarettes for these young adults. That correlation has big tobacco firms excited for the future. Tobacco companies have been severely restricted in their advertising campaigns. In the recent past, they were forced to rely on the ‘cool-factor’ of smoking, something they hoped that celebrities and young adult’s peers would embody. E-cigarettes present a gateway to becoming addicted to the real thing. This is just what tobacco companies had been hoping for! Speaking of advertising, while tobacco companies are highly restricted in their advertising campaigns, no one is regulating e-cigarette companies. In fact, these companies can make any claims they wish. With regard to the manufacturing aspect of the e-cigarettes and their cartridges, there is also no regulating body that creates standards for the products.

We have talked about the anatomy of the actual e-cigarette, but what makes up the vapor that is exhaled by the smoker? The cloud that you see consists of aerosol, nicotine, propylene glycol, flavoring and fine particles. The hotter the body of the e-cigarette gets, the more harmful the chemicals contained in them becomes. This means that the deadly carcinogens present in a traditional cigarette are also present in their electronic counterpart.

Research is currently underway to determine the long-term effects of vaping. While current research indicates that an e-cigarette is safer than smoking an actual cigarette, research also proves that e-cigarettes are far from harmless. If you are looking to improve your mouth and lung health, experts agree that quitting smoking devices altogether is still the only 100% risk-free option available.

Dieting and Dental Health

Giving up processed foods and artificial sugars is a great way to improve our overall health, but sometimes our “healthy” habits can actually deprive us of vital nutrients. Internal health is an important factor when it comes to oral hygiene, and cutting meat, dairy products or sugars out of your diet could lead to serious conditions such as gum disease if you don’t find the right substitutes. Keep reading for a list of nutrients you might be missing and some tips for balancing your diet with your oral health!

Dieting-and-Dental-HealthZinc in saliva and enamel prevents the buildup of bacteria, which eventually turns to tartar or calculus. It is essential to preventing cavities and even gum disease (periodontitis). If you notice a metallic taste in your mouth, zinc deficiency may be to blame, as it causes a buildup of bacteria in the mouth.

  • Zinc-rich foods: Seafood, lean meats, dairy products
  • Alternatives: chickpeas, cashews, almonds

Gum swelling or bleeding may be a sign of Vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen production, which is an essential part of the connective tissue in the gums surrounding the teeth.

  • Vitamin C-rich foods: citrus fruits
  • Alternatives: Bell peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes

A lack of calcium weakens the gums, and people who don’t eat animal and dairy products may be increasing their risk of periodontal disease. Calcium prevents bone degeneration, keeping the jaw strong and healthy so bacteria doesn’t destroy the bone that supports the teeth.

  • Calcium-rich foods: dairy products
  • Alternatives: chickpeas, broccoli, collard greens, oranges

Vitamin D works with calcium to promote strong bones. It increases calcium absorption, preventing tooth loss and jaw bone degeneration.

  • Vitamin D-rich foods: Fatty fish, egg yolk
  • Alternatives: mushrooms, tofu, dairy alternatives (i.e. soy milk)

If you notice a burning sensation in your mouth, specifically on your tongue, or frequent canker sores you may be suffering from iron deficiency. Iron deficiency leads to reduced red blood cells and decreased oxygen flow.

  • Iron-rich foods: Red meat, poultry, seafood
  • Alternatives: dried fruits, beans, dark leafy greens

Finding a solution to your symptoms may be as simple as picking up a few extra ingredients at your local supermarket! Adding some of these nutrient rich foods to your diet can help you get back on track with your oral health and wow us next time you visit our office!

 

Five Foods for Healthy Teeth

We all know that foods high in sugar and acid are bad for teeth, but did you know that some foods are actually good for them? Incorporating these dental friendly foods into your family meals can both fight tooth decay and prevent gum disease. Here are five oral health friendly foods!

Almonds, Brazil Nuts, and Sesame Seeds. These foods contain phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and most importantly, calcium. Dietary calcium is not only good for your bones, it may actually contribute to tooth remineralization and fight tooth decay. Make sure to get the unhulled variety of sesame seeds, which are incredibly high in calcium.food tips for healthy teeth

Strawberries, Kiwi, and Citrus Fruits. These fruits have the highest concentration of Vitamin C, which helps to increase collagen in gum tissue and prevents gum disease.

Onions. Toss some raw onion on your salad or eat them on your hamburgers. Onions contain powerful bacteria fighters because of their sulfer-containing compounds and are natural cavity fighters.

Shitake Mushrooms. Recent studies show a natural sugar found in shitakes, called lenithan, specifically targets the bacteria which causes gingivitis (gum inflammation) and tooth decay while leaving non-harmful bacteria alone.

Apples and Celery. Water rich fruits and vegetables stimulate saliva production, which rinses teeth of bacteria. With their high fiber content, they act as natural tooth brushes, scrubbing your teeth as you chew, removing plaque and bacteria that may otherwise build up.

These simple everyday foods are great choices for snacks or to add to meals your family already enjoys. Put onions or shitakes as toppings on your pizza. Serve celery and apples with peanut butter and make a smoothie with your strawberries and kiwi. Nuts can be eaten as a snack on their own or try them as nut butter spread on toast. You can even throw nuts and sesame seeds in a stir fry for added texture and flavor as well as the nutritional benefit.

Green Tea. Besides these five teeth healthy foods, you can even get a boost for your oral health by drinking this powerhouse liquid! Green tea contains “catechins” that actually fight inflammation and control bacterial infections. One Japanese study found that regular green tea drinkers had less incidence of periodontal disease compared with people who drank the tea irregularly. So try drinking green tea instead of that second cup of coffee or have a refreshing green iced-tea on a hot afternoon.

Besides brushing and flossing, what you eat can make a difference to your oral health. It’s nice to know you can eat foods that taste good and be doing something good for your teeth at the same time. Now that’s something we can all smile about!

Kucey Dental Group

Order of Your Oral Hygiene Routine

You’re awake, congratulations! Now, you are standing in front of the bathroom mirror, you’ve been wanting to upgrade your oral hygiene routine but you’ve heard a lot of conflicting information. There are so many tools and what order should you do them in? We’re here to help! If you’ve ever wondered, “What comes first brushing or flossing?” Read on!

Oral Hygiene Routine Blog

  • You’ve probably heard us stress the importance of flossing at your appointments. Flossing is an incredibly important part of your mouth’s health. Flossing your teeth should take place one time per day. We recommend at night so that food does not rest in between your teeth while you sleep. Flossing before brushing is a lot like dusting before you vacuum. The particles will loosen with flossing and the brushing will sweep them away.
  • You may have guessed it: the second part of your oral hygiene regimen should be a 2-minute brushing. Dentists look at your mouth in terms of quadrants. Therefore, your mouth consists on four separate quadrants and to ensure proper use of your two minute brushing session, we recommend spending 30 seconds in each quadrant. This brushing routine should take place two times a day!
  • Brushing your teeth alone will not eliminate the majority of the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Cleaning your tongue is an easy addition to your routine and will benefit your mouth greatly. Take your toothbrush, apply a very small amount of toothpaste and brush your tongue in gentle, circular motions. You may opt for a tongue scraper instead, they can be purchased at most grocery stores.
  • The finishing touch for optimum oral health is mouthwash. Sip a small amount and swish for 30-40 seconds. Spit it out and you are done!

It may seem like a lengthy routine but it actually only totals about 4 minutes. If you value your oral health and want to spend less time in a dental chair, it will be worth your time, we promise!

Avoidance Tactics: Top 10 Tips to Avoid Root Canal Treatment

We love seeing you in our office, but we wish we didn’t have to! Root canal treatment is a wonderful tool, and often the best tooth-saving tool that is available. Advancements in treatment have increased the success rate of endodontic treatment, while modern techniques and tools have decreased recovery time and pain. However, in spite of the advancements that excite us as professionals, we understand that most people would prefer to never experience root canal treatment!

Avoidance Tactics Top 10 Tips for Avoiding Root Canal

If you are one of those people, read on for our top ten tips to avoid having to have a root canal down the road:

  1. Brush twice daily. Sounds simple, but far too many adults and children skip this step at night. Brushing your teeth before bed should be just as automatic as turning off the light.
  2. Floss once daily. Skipping the floss is like only washing 70% of your body when you shower. This doesn’t just contribute to bad breath – it also gives root-damaging bacteria a place to hide and thrive!
  3. Avoid hard foods such as hard candies and lollipops. Both of which cause cracks that allow bacteria to enter your root system.
  4. Weak teeth be wary. If you already have weak teeth or restorations, you should also skip crunchy fruits and vegetables such as carrots and apples, which just so happen to be two of the biggest tooth-crackers.
  5. Back away from the ice! Many people are tempted by the cool, fresh taste of ice at the end of a beverage. But chewing on ice can easily fracture, crack or break a tooth or filling! Once that happens, bacteria have an easy route into the nerve center of your tooth.
  6. Wear a mouth guard at night. If you are a grinder or clencher, make sure that you wear a night-guard to protect teeth from fractures, which eventually can expose the tooth’s roots.
  7. Wear a mouth guard while playing sports. No longer just for football and hockey players, mouth guards are an important part of equipment for nearly every sport, from soccer to snowboarding.
  8. Avoid acidic drinks and foods like soda and citrus juices. These beverages present a double whammy to teeth: First, they break down enamel. Then, they saturate the tooth in sugar for bacteria to feast on!
  9. Have regular dental checkups and cleanings. A cracked tooth found early can often be spared root canal treatment.
  10. Get your tooth pain checked out immediately! Any pain is a sign that something is amiss in your mouth and ignoring it will only make treatments more serious down the road.

Dental Implants: What’s All The Hype?

These days, we all know someone who has a dental implant, and you have probably heard us champion these teeth substitutes, as they become more and more the common cure for missing teeth!

But why?Dental Implants What's all the Hype

We think that’s a valid question and it deserves a good answer!

Bone Loss
Any oral health professional will tell you that living with a missing tooth can have negative consequences that go well below the gum line. The problem doesn’t stop at the single tooth that goes missing. The jawbone also suffers. When there is not a tooth set in the jawbone offering regular stimulation, you lose bone mass in that area. That loss of jawbone contributes to a decline in facial aesthetics as the jaw shrinks away. The loss of jawbone also means that when you do have an implant later in life, you will likely require extensive bone grafting prior to the implant procedure. Traditional tooth “replacement” methods such as dentures and bridges do not solve the problem of bone loss.

In contrast, dental implants eliminate these problems and encourage a healthy, strong and adequate jaw by integrating with it (also known as: osseointegration). The implant then provides regular stimulation (as you chew food), and keeps the jawbone in proper health.

Lifestyle and Diet
Most people with dentures report that in addition to living in fear of their dentures falling out in social settings, they also must live with a restricted diet, unable to enjoy the foods that they previously ate. This same restricted diet goes for those with wobbly bridges and crowns as well. More often than not, those restricted foods are some of the healthiest ones, such as crunchy, fibrous fruits and vegetables.

Dental implants look and feel nearly identical to your regular teeth, and are second only to your natural teeth when it comes to form and function. Dental implants allow you to eat and live freely with a healthy diet and without fear. In addition to that, dental implants have a 98% success rate and can often last you for a lifetime!

4 Surprising Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

Common symptoms of Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder such as jaw pain, clicking or popping of the jaw and clenching are well known, but did you know that you can experience symptoms of TMJ disorders throughout your whole body? TMJ disorders can be difficult to diagnose when your symptoms are not restricted to the jaw area, so to make diagnosis easier we’ve listed some symptoms you might be surprised to find out are related to TMJ disorders!

  1. 4-Surprising-Signs-of-TMJ-DisordersEarache: Because the jaw muscles run from ear to ear, TMJ related jaw pain can also trigger ear pain, which is often mistaken for an ear infection. The pain actually doesn’t come from the ear at all, but originates directly beneath or in front of the ear.
  2. Neck pain: The temporomandibular joint plays a major role in keeping the head balanced on top of the spinal chord. The head weighs roughly 8 pounds, but bad posture due to joint misalignment causes this weight to be distributed unevenly, putting added stress on the neck and spine and causing the head to have a 30-pound pull on your muscles. No wonder neck and back pain are symptoms of TMJ disorders!
  3. Pinched nerves: When TMJ alignment is skewed, your muscles overwork themselves to compensate for the imbalance. The back is prone to TMJ related pain, as it becomes strained in order to maintain the body’s balance. This tension can lead to numbness in your extremities, so if you’re experiencing any tingling sensations in your arms, legs, fingers or toes, it could be a sign of a TMJ disorder.
  4. Obstructed airways: The tongue is attached to the lower jaw, so the position of the tongue in the mouth depends on your jaw alignment. Misalignment of the lower jaw could cause your tongue to sit too far back in the mouth and obstruct your airways. If your breathing feels abnormal, especially while sleeping, a TMJ disorder could be the culprit.

We hope that reading about these lesser-known symptoms will answer some of your questions about TMJ disorders. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule a consultation with us to learn about your treatment options!

Root Canals: Your Toughest Questions Answered

For most people, the mere mention of a root canal sets off alarm bells in the body. These bells come in the form of nervous thoughts and sensations – that fight-or-flight response we’ve all heard about. While this is a totally normal response, most fear of root canals is based on mis-information. We feel that by giving you the right information, we can help you understand the process better and calm your fears about this routine procedure.

Root Canals Your Toughest Questions AnsweredThis is not just your average list of root canal FAQs. Here, we aim to tackle the toughest questions that you can throw our way.

I’ve heard that root canals aren’t as painful as they used to be. How can that be true?

  • Better Instruments: Endodontic instruments have improved greatly over the years. They are more precise than ever, allowing us to target only necessary areas and avoid excess irritation.
  • Better Anesthetics: The anesthetics we use today are more effective and less likely to cause negative reactions than in the past. In addition, we can use an anesthetic that has adrenaline or epinephrine added to it to make it last longer. The longer it lasts, the less pain you will feel.
  • Better Imaging: Modern imaging allows for a more precise treatment and lessens the need to cause irritation in non-infected areas.
  • Better Understanding: Today, we have a better understanding of both your body and the microorganisms that cause infected roots. This results in less invasive treatments and better overall care for you.

What can I do to calm my nerves?

  • Know the Facts:
    • Over 15 million root canals are performed each year.
    • Root canals save your natural teeth and save money down the road.
    • Root canals are safe.
    • Root canals relieve pain caused by infection – they don’t cause pain!
  • Ask Questions: Sometimes patients are unsure about a specific part of the procedure and remain silent. We want you to ask questions! Usually we are able to set your mind at ease if you simply ask us.
  • Plug In: Many patients bring music and earphones to the appointment to help pass the time in the chair. Ask us if this is an option for you before your appointment.

Why not just remove the tooth? 
When a tooth hurts, often a person’s first reaction is to get rid of the tooth. However, we know that missing teeth cause bigger health problems and expenses down the road. The first choice in dental care is ALWAYS to save the tooth when possible. Root canal treatment saves teeth. In fact, a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment can last just as long as the healthy teeth in your mouth!

Tooth Sensitivity: What it Means and What You Can Do

You’re eating a scoop of ice cream or sipping hot chocolate, and suddenly your tooth hurts. Or maybe brushing your teeth makes you wince. These are common symptoms of tooth sensitivity, one of the most common complaints among dental patients. In fact over 40 million adults suffer from sensitive teeth at some point. This blog will help you understand just what this common problem is and what the cause may be.

Tooth SensitivityCauses of Tooth Sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity is caused by the movement of fluid within tiny tubes located in the dentin (the layer of tissue found beneath the hard enamel that contains the inner pulp), which results in nerve irritation. When the hard enamel is worn down or if your gums have receded, the tiny tube surfaces become exposed so that eating or drinking cold or hot food or beverages, touching the teeth, or exposing them to cold air can be uncomfortable. Dental issues that may cause tooth sensitivity include: tooth decay, fractured teeth, worn fillings, worn tooth enamel, and an exposed tooth root. Excessive consumption of foods and drinks high in acid content, such as soft drinks or citrus juices, can also put you at risk for tooth sensitivity. Acid reflux may also result in the erosion of tooth enamel due to acid coating the teeth.

Treatment. If a tooth is highly sensitive for more than three or four days, it is best to see your dentist to diagnose the cause of your discomfort. We have a variety of options to manage tooth sensitivity, including in-office treatments and products you use at home. We may apply a desensitizing agent or a protective coating to your teeth. Or we may prescribe a fluoride gel or over the counter desensitizing toothpaste, which contains fluoride and potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. These ingredients help block the transmission of sensation from the tooth to the nerve. It is also best to avoid using hard bristled tooth brushes that can wear down tooth enamel and expose sensitive areas.

It is important for us to accurately diagnose the cause of your tooth sensitivity for accurate treatment. Sometimes a damaged tooth may require a filling, bonding, or even root canal if the decay is severe.   Proper dental hygiene is the best way to prevent tooth pain and sensitivity. Please let us know if you have any areas of your mouth that experience sensitivity or if you have any questions abut your dental health.

After the Root Canal

If you have a root canal scheduled with our office, congratulations! You have taken an important first step toward saving your tooth and, thus, your smile and your oral health down the road! You may be wondering what to expect in terms of pain and what to do to relieve it after your procedure. Luckily, we have saved our best tips for you! Read on for information on home-care after a root canal.

After the Root CanalHow much pain will I have?
You will be happy to hear that after root canal treatment, most people report little or no pain. Advancements in endodontic instruments and techniques over the years have made this procedure similar to having a filling done. While it is considered normal to have soreness for a few days following the procedure, make sure you call us if you have extreme pain or pain that lasts more than a week.

Here are our recommended pain management tips following root canal treatment:

Over the Counter Pain Medicine
For the majority of patients, an over the counter pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) is all that is needed to curb soreness and pain after a root canal.

Prescription Pain Medicine
If we feel that you may need it, we will send you home with a prescription for a stronger pain medication than can be purchased over the counter. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully on the package.

Ice and Heat
For additional comfort at home, you may apply a cool or warm compress to the cheek in the area that the procedure was performed.

Salt Water Rinse
A teaspoon of salt in room temperature water can sometimes help with pain in the days following your procedure. Rinse and spit for reduced swelling and discomfort.

Be Pro-Active with Pain Medication
Have OTC pain medications ready to go at home. Take them before the numbing solution wears off completely so that you are not caught off-guard with pain. If we give you a prescription for pain medicine, fill it before going home, even if you think you won’t use it. Stay on top of timing and dosage until you feel that the soreness is gone.

And, as always, feel free to call us anytime with your questions. We are always happy to help!

Vaping: Is It Harmless?

You may have noticed a shift in the smoking world over the past few years. Smokers have been seemingly taking a step in the right direction. Smokers are transitioning away from the traditional cigarette to the e-cigarette, this act is also known as: vaping. Transitioning to an e-cigarette from a chemical-filled cigarette that decades of research have proven is deadly seems like a good thing, right? Think again. There are many people venturing into the world of e-cigarettes blindly. While e-cigarette advertisements and companies are currently unregulated, we wanted to uncover a few potential dangers of this popular fad.

VapingThe e-cigarette anatomy consists of a battery, a heating element and a cartridge that holds the nicotine, liquid and flavoring. If anyone has tried to convince you that e-cigarettes are not addictive, they’re wrong. Nicotine is highly addictive, and while many teens and young adults believe that vaping is harmless, nicotine is known to negatively affect brain development in this age group. The act of holding an e-cigarette and the presence of nicotine has indicated that it could be a very strong gateway to smoking real cigarettes for these young adults. That correlation has big tobacco firms excited for the future. Tobacco companies have been severely restricted in their advertising campaigns. In the recent past, they were forced to rely on the ‘cool-factor’ of smoking, something they hoped that celebrities and young adult’s peers would embody. E-cigarettes present a gateway to becoming addicted to the real thing. This is just what tobacco companies had been hoping for! Speaking of advertising, while tobacco companies are highly restricted in their advertising campaigns, no one is regulating e-cigarette companies. In fact, these companies can make any claims they wish. With regard to the manufacturing aspect of the e-cigarettes and their cartridges, there is also no regulating body that creates standards for the products.

We have talked about the anatomy of the actual e-cigarette, but what makes up the vapor that is exhaled by the smoker? The cloud that you see consists of aerosol, nicotine, propylene glycol, flavoring and fine particles. The hotter the body of the e-cigarette gets, the more harmful the chemicals contained in them becomes. This means that the deadly carcinogens present in a traditional cigarette are also present in their electronic counterpart.

Research is currently underway to determine the long-term effects of vaping. While current research indicates that an e-cigarette is safer than smoking an actual cigarette, research also proves that e-cigarettes are far from harmless. If you are looking to improve your mouth and lung health, experts agree that quitting smoking devices altogether is still the only 100% risk-free option available.

Dieting and Dental Health

Giving up processed foods and artificial sugars is a great way to improve our overall health, but sometimes our “healthy” habits can actually deprive us of vital nutrients. Internal health is an important factor when it comes to oral hygiene, and cutting meat, dairy products or sugars out of your diet could lead to serious conditions such as gum disease if you don’t find the right substitutes. Keep reading for a list of nutrients you might be missing and some tips for balancing your diet with your oral health!

Dieting-and-Dental-HealthZinc in saliva and enamel prevents the buildup of bacteria, which eventually turns to tartar or calculus. It is essential to preventing cavities and even gum disease (periodontitis). If you notice a metallic taste in your mouth, zinc deficiency may be to blame, as it causes a buildup of bacteria in the mouth.

  • Zinc-rich foods: Seafood, lean meats, dairy products
  • Alternatives: chickpeas, cashews, almonds

Gum swelling or bleeding may be a sign of Vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen production, which is an essential part of the connective tissue in the gums surrounding the teeth.

  • Vitamin C-rich foods: citrus fruits
  • Alternatives: Bell peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes

A lack of calcium weakens the gums, and people who don’t eat animal and dairy products may be increasing their risk of periodontal disease. Calcium prevents bone degeneration, keeping the jaw strong and healthy so bacteria doesn’t destroy the bone that supports the teeth.

  • Calcium-rich foods: dairy products
  • Alternatives: chickpeas, broccoli, collard greens, oranges

Vitamin D works with calcium to promote strong bones. It increases calcium absorption, preventing tooth loss and jaw bone degeneration.

  • Vitamin D-rich foods: Fatty fish, egg yolk
  • Alternatives: mushrooms, tofu, dairy alternatives (i.e. soy milk)

If you notice a burning sensation in your mouth, specifically on your tongue, or frequent canker sores you may be suffering from iron deficiency. Iron deficiency leads to reduced red blood cells and decreased oxygen flow.

  • Iron-rich foods: Red meat, poultry, seafood
  • Alternatives: dried fruits, beans, dark leafy greens

Finding a solution to your symptoms may be as simple as picking up a few extra ingredients at your local supermarket! Adding some of these nutrient rich foods to your diet can help you get back on track with your oral health and wow us next time you visit our office!

 

Five Foods for Healthy Teeth

We all know that foods high in sugar and acid are bad for teeth, but did you know that some foods are actually good for them? Incorporating these dental friendly foods into your family meals can both fight tooth decay and prevent gum disease. Here are five oral health friendly foods!

Almonds, Brazil Nuts, and Sesame Seeds. These foods contain phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and most importantly, calcium. Dietary calcium is not only good for your bones, it may actually contribute to tooth remineralization and fight tooth decay. Make sure to get the unhulled variety of sesame seeds, which are incredibly high in calcium.food tips for healthy teeth

Strawberries, Kiwi, and Citrus Fruits. These fruits have the highest concentration of Vitamin C, which helps to increase collagen in gum tissue and prevents gum disease.

Onions. Toss some raw onion on your salad or eat them on your hamburgers. Onions contain powerful bacteria fighters because of their sulfer-containing compounds and are natural cavity fighters.

Shitake Mushrooms. Recent studies show a natural sugar found in shitakes, called lenithan, specifically targets the bacteria which causes gingivitis (gum inflammation) and tooth decay while leaving non-harmful bacteria alone.

Apples and Celery. Water rich fruits and vegetables stimulate saliva production, which rinses teeth of bacteria. With their high fiber content, they act as natural tooth brushes, scrubbing your teeth as you chew, removing plaque and bacteria that may otherwise build up.

These simple everyday foods are great choices for snacks or to add to meals your family already enjoys. Put onions or shitakes as toppings on your pizza. Serve celery and apples with peanut butter and make a smoothie with your strawberries and kiwi. Nuts can be eaten as a snack on their own or try them as nut butter spread on toast. You can even throw nuts and sesame seeds in a stir fry for added texture and flavor as well as the nutritional benefit.

Green Tea. Besides these five teeth healthy foods, you can even get a boost for your oral health by drinking this powerhouse liquid! Green tea contains “catechins” that actually fight inflammation and control bacterial infections. One Japanese study found that regular green tea drinkers had less incidence of periodontal disease compared with people who drank the tea irregularly. So try drinking green tea instead of that second cup of coffee or have a refreshing green iced-tea on a hot afternoon.

Besides brushing and flossing, what you eat can make a difference to your oral health. It’s nice to know you can eat foods that taste good and be doing something good for your teeth at the same time. Now that’s something we can all smile about!