Choosing The Right Dentist For You

MOVING TO A NEW AREA comes with a long to-do list, and one important item on it is finding the right dentist. There are a few factors to take into account when choosing a dentist in order to make sure they’re a good fit for you and your family.

Why Decide Now?

Dental care should be about preventing problems before they have a chance to get worse, not waiting until they’ve become an emergency. That means it’s important to find a dentist ahead of time so that you can start making regular checkup appointments to keep your teeth healthy.

Another benefit to choosing your dentist ahead of time is that the pressure is off! You don’t have to rush and take a risk with a practice nobody can vouch for. If you start early, you’ll have plenty of time to make sure you have only the best dentist for your needs.

Our Top 5 Tips For Choosing A Dentist

You might have other items you’d include on your own list, but these are five we feel are particularly important for any patient. Still, it’s up to you to decide which items on the list are a higher priority for you!

  1. Location. A crucial thing you should be looking at is if the office is within a reasonable distance from your home. How far are you willing to drive twice a year for your checkups? Answer that question for yourself, then choose from dentists within that range.
  2. Reputation. Once you’ve decided how far you’re willing to travel for your appointments, research your local dentists to find the ones with great reputations. You can check their Google reviews and Yelp pages for quick information, but you can also ask your friends, coworkers, and neighbors for recommendations.
  3. Cost. While the quality of dental care should always be high on the priority list, the cost is an important consideration as well. Determine your household’s dental care budget, research dental insurance options, and remember that good preventative dental care now will always be cheaper than dental repair work down the road!
  4. Specialization. Are you looking for a family dental practice, or do you need a pediatric dentist for your kids? This will make a difference in your final choice. If you know you need more complicated work than a regular cleaning or filling, you might want to learn about nearby periodontists or endodontists as well.
  5. Comfort. Even if a dentist meets all four of the other requirements, it may not mean so much to you if you can’t relax while you’re in their office. This is why it’s a good idea to go in beforehand to get a feel for the team and the overall environment of the practice. A good dentist will always look after your comfort!

We Look Forward To Meeting You!

If you still aren’t sure how to find the best dentist for you, we can help! Come to visit our practice and we’ll answer any questions you may have. We want to make sure every new member of our community has their dental health needs looked after. In the meantime, keep up your daily brushing and flossing habits!

Help us help you keep your smile healthy for life!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Good Tooth Brushing Technique

BRUSHING OUR TEETH is something we can get so used to doing that we don’t really think about it, but are we doing it the right way? It can be easy to get into some bad tooth-brushing habits, and the result can be that your teeth aren’t getting cleaned properly and you could be doing damage to your gums. So let’s take a moment to go over good brushing technique.

What To Avoid When Brushing Your Teeth

A few of the things we should avoid when we brush our teeth are brushing too hard, only brushing up and down or side-to-side, and always starting in the same place. Brushing too hard can damage our enamel and our gum tissue, which is why we should also avoid hard-bristled brushes.

When we only brush up and down or side-to-side, we tend to miss the spaces between teeth, which allows plaque to build up and leads to tooth decay. Because brushing our teeth is such a routine thing to do, it can be very easy to do it the same way every time, but when we always start brushing in the same place, we tend to pay unequal attention to the first teeth we brush compared to the last. Try mixing things up so that your whole mouth can get the same level of attention!

Brushing Your Teeth The Right Way

The first rule of good brushing is one you’ve likely heard all your life: brush twice a day every day for at least two minutes. Do whatever you need to do to make brushing your teeth an unskippable part of your morning and evening routines. You could even play music so you know how long to keep brushing!

However, brushing isn’t just about quantity; it’s also about quality. For the best cleaning action, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and focus on the gum line. Use gentle circular motions to brush the outsides, insides, and chewing surfaces of every tooth. And don’t forget to brush or scrape your tongue before you’re done! Like daily flossing, tongue-scraping is another crucial step for getting rid of harmful bacteria (and it will help keep your breath fresh!).

Timing is also important. Our teeth often feel unpleasant after a meal, but as much as you want to clean them, make sure you wait at least half an hour after eating before you brush. The acids in our food and produced by oral bacteria soften our enamel right after we eat, and it takes about half an hour for our saliva to restore a neutral pH. If we brush too soon, we can actually brush away some of our enamel!

Your Hygienist Is Your Greatest Resource

If you’d like more tips on tooth brushing techniques, just ask us! We can make sure your oral health routine is on track for keeping your teeth healthy for life. And don’t forget that an essential component of having healthy teeth is scheduling regular dental appointments!

Now set that timer and get brushing!

Top image by Flickr user Gloria used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Fun Tooth Fairy Ideas

THE EXCITEMENT OF LOSING a tooth and waiting for the Tooth Fairy to come is something almost every child looks forward to, but how can parents make sure this rite of passage lives up to the hype? If you’ve been looking for ways to improve your Tooth Fairy game, we have a few ideas you could use!

The Tooth Fairy’s Origins

The idea of a fairy who quietly swaps a child’s tooth for money or a small gift overnight isn’t a very old one, but there have been traditions associated with children losing their first tooth since the time of the Vikings, when the teeth were often buried to ensure a happy life for the child or considered good luck in battle. These days, many cultures have the Tooth Fairy or a Tooth Mouse, but exactly how the tradition operates varies from household to household.

A Few Fun Tooth Fairy Ideas

If you or your children are getting bored with the old dollar-under-the-pillow routine, it might be time to help your Tooth Fairy out. Try out one or more of these to really bring the magic back:

  • Tooth Fairy pillow: Sew a little pillow big enough to hold the lost tooth! When the Tooth Fairy comes, she’ll replace the tooth with whatever item she brings and put it in the same slot the tooth was in.
  • Fairy Dust: Sprinkle a coating of glitter over the Tooth Fairy money to make it seem like it’s covered in magical fairy dust!
  • Tooth Fairy note: Leave a signed note from the Tooth Fairy to let your child know they’re doing a great job on their oral hygiene and encourage them to keep it up!
  • Tooth box: A good way to make sure the tooth doesn’t become lost is to put it in a cute little box! Your child can decorate the box to make it even more special, and then the Tooth Fairy can put the reward in the box when she takes the tooth.
  • Tooth Fairy door: If your child’s room doesn’t have a window that opens (or if you want to do it just for fun), you could provide a special door the Tooth Fairy can use! A simple, fairy sized door is a great way to make sure she doesn’t get stuck outside!
  • Capturing the Tooth Fairy: Can you catch the Tooth Fairy on camera? There are websites and editing apps that will help you get this amazing footage. But remember, the Tooth Fairy is very tricky and might be hard to catch!

If you want a Tooth Fairy project to sink your teeth into, check out what this dad did:

Close Colleagues: The Dentist And The Tooth Fairy

A great way to make sure everything is going well with your child’s incoming adult tooth and the rest of their teeth is to bring them in for a check-up and hygiene therapy! We can also offer more Tooth Fairy ideas and tips on how to handle those loose teeth. Don’t forget to tell us your Tooth Fairy stories!

We can’t wait to hear how things went with the Tooth Fairy!

Top image by Flickr user John Anes used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Smile For Your Health!

THERE ARE SO MANY things that can make us smile, from seeing an old friend to watching a good movie to randomly remembering a great joke we heard years ago. Well, we’re about to give you another reason to smile: it’s good for your health! That’s right, smiling has actual health benefits, so prepare to flash those pearly whites as you read all about them!

Smiling And The Feel-Good Hormone

When we smile, it triggers a chemical reaction in our bodies: the release of endorphins. Endorphins are natural hormones that inhibit pain and produce feelings of euphoria. We get them after a good workout, and we also get them when we’re happy. What’s really cool is that our brains associate smiling with happiness so strongly that even a fake smile will trigger that endorphin release. So if you get injured, take advantage of this trick to reduce your pain levels!

Smile To Reduce Your Stress

Another benefit of endorphins released by smiling is that they help relieve stress. When we become stressed, our heart rate increases. Smiling (fake or real) has been proven to bring heart rates back down more quickly and lower blood pressure.

A study from 2012 involved giving subjects a stressful task to complete. One group had to complete the task while clamping a pencil between their teeth, forcing them to smile the whole time. The other group had to grip the pencil between their lips, forcing them to maintain a more neutral face. Those with the larges smiles returned to their resting heart rates the fastest!

Strengthen Your Immune System With Smiles

The more endorphins we get from smiling and the more we reduce our stress, the easier it is for our immune systems to keep us healthy. Our cells become less rigid when we are less stressed, and this makes quicker paths for our immune response cells to react to pathogens and other threats to our health. It can even lower our chances of getting cancer by reducing the number of stress-induced mutations in our cells!

The cumulative effect of all of this is that we can even add years to our lives by smiling! So get started earning those laughter lines!

Bonus Benefit Of Smiling: Productivity Boost!

When we are in a good mood, we tend to get more done. And because we can actually make ourselves feel better just by the physical act of smiling, we can improve our productivity at work by smiling more! Your coworkers could even catch the smiling bug because we all know how contagious smiles are!

Let Us Give You Reasons To Smile

Even with all these benefits, it can be difficult to smile with confidence without healthy teeth and gums. Make sure to maintain those good brushing and flossing habits to keep your smile in good shape, and visit your dentist twice a year for hygiene therapy and to stop any dental problems in their tracks!

We love seeing our patients’ smiles!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Thumb-Sucking, Pacifiers, And Oral Health

THE WORLD IS A big, new, confusing place for a young child, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that they like having something familiar to help them cope. Sometimes this means a stuffed animal or favorite blanket they carry everywhere, but for many children, it’s a pacifier or a thumb.

As parents, it’s important to be able to strike the right balance for our children when it comes to thumb-sucking or pacifier habits. Forcing them to stop too early can bring them unnecessary stress, but allowing them to continue sucking that thumb too long can cause significant problems for their oral health.

When Thumb-Sucking And Pacifiers Are Beneficial

Sucking on things is a reflex babies develop before birth, and it can be very comforting for them. Sucking their thumb or a pacifier will help them feel safe and happy in their earliest years of life. Benefits to thumb-sucking or pacifier use at this stage include helping them sleep (which also helps you sleep), keeping them calm when separated from you, and reducing the risk of SIDS.

When Is It Time To Stop?

Many parents worry that their toddler’s thumb-sucking or pacifier use will cause their adult teeth to grow in crooked, but there’s no need to worry at this age. Most children stop sucking their thumbs on their own by age four, and when they begin school, the desire to appear as grown-up as their peers will encourage them to stop.

If they don’t stop on their own around kindergarten age, this is when it’s important to intervene. Once the permanent teeth start coming in, vigorous thumb-sucking can lead to changes in the shape of the palate and an open bite between the upper and lower teeth, which will mean expensive orthodontic treatment down the line.

Tips For Discouraging Thumb-Sucking

Bite and dental alignment problems are less common with pacifiers because parents can simply take the pacifier away if the child doesn’t stop using it on their own by age three, but if your child is getting close to age six and still sucking their thumb, here are a few safe strategies you could use:

  • Praise their successes rather than scolding them for continuing to suck their thumb.
  • Create a rewards chart so they can see the progress they’re making and what they’re working for.
  • Keep their hands and minds occupied with activities like arts and crafts. Sometimes they thumb-suck because they’re bored!
  • Cover their hands with socks at night to keep them from thumb-sucking in their sleep. (You may need to tape these in place so they can’t remove them.)

Don’t forget that these strategies are for kindergarten-age and older children, not toddlers! Toddlers are too young to understand why you want them to stop sucking their thumb, so attempts at discouragement will only upset them.

Come To Us With Your Concerns

If you’re worried about your child’s pacifier use or thumb-sucking habit, don’t hesitate to talk to us! We can answer your questions and help you develop an effective strategy to ensure your child’s healthy dental development.

We love having you and your child as part of our practice family!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Defeating Your Dental Anxiety

FOR PEOPLE WITH DENTAL anxiety, the prospect of an appointment with the dentist can be so intimidating that they’d rather suffer tooth pain in silence than get it treated. That’s why we’re dedicating this post to helping our patients triumph over their dentist-related fears!

Don’t Let Pop Culture Give You The Wrong Idea About Dentists

Whenever dentists appear in movies and TV shows, we tend to be portrayed in a very over-the-top way that can make us seem much scarier than we are. These fictional stereotypes are relics of the pre-World War II era, before anesthetics where the norm, but modern dental offices have high standards for the care and comfort of patients.

Don’t Be Embarrassed; Dental Anxiety Is Normal

If you’ve been struggling with a fear of the dentist, that’s nothing to feel embarrassed about. Between 9 and 15 percent of Americans are so nervous about the idea of going to the dentist that they avoid it completely! But just because it isn’t uncommon doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Preventing serious dental problems through regular, twice-a-year cleaning appointments is always better than allowing those problems to develop further.

Tips For Overcoming Dental Anxiety

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How Our Practice Can Help

(NOTE TO OUR CLIENTS: Please customize your blog post by providing your own content here. Does your practice have any services to help patients with anxiety, such as counseling or sedation? What else do you and your team do to help patients feel at ease? Explain a little about the different options you offer your more anxious patients. Do you have pamphlets or other materials they could access?)

Get To Know Our Team!

If you or someone you care about struggles with dental anxiety, feel free to schedule a time to come to our practice, meet our team members, and get used to the facility. We want you to feel safe and comfortable when you’re with us, and we’ll answer any questions you may have!

We look forward to seeing you!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

What To Do About White Spots

HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED white spots on your own or someone else’s teeth? When we think of stains, we usually think of dark colors, but stains on teeth can just as easily be whiter than the surrounding area. These white spots can happen for a few different reasons, and there are a few different ways to remove them.

Causes Of White Spots

Stains can affect the outside of the tooth and the inside. White spots are surface stains affecting the enamel, and they can occur on an otherwise healthy tooth. These spots are most commonly caused by fluorosis and demineralization.

Fluorosis occurs when the adult teeth are exposed to too much fluoride while still developing beneath the gums. This doesn’t damage the teeth, it just unevenly bleaches them. The best way to avoid fluorosis is to make sure your child doesn’t use too much toothpaste before their adult teeth start coming in. Just a pea-sized dab is enough for a young child, and no more than a smear the size of a grain of rice should be used for babies and toddlers.

Demineralization is far more harmful than fluorosis, as it involves the leaching of minerals out of the enamel through exposure to acids. This happens when plaque isn’t cleaned away effectively. Good brushing habits and regular dental cleanings are crucial for preventing this problem. Demineralization is a particular risk for people with braces, so make extra sure to clean around those brackets!

Another cause of white spots is enamel hypoplasia, meaning enamel is thinner than usual, leaving the teeth more vulnerable to stains and decay. This condition can be caused in a child’s teeth when the mother smokes while pregnant, and it can also be caused by malnutrition and premature birth.

Treatment Options For White Spots

The best thing to do is always to prevent the white spots from developing in the first place, but when they do form, there are a few different ways they can be treated. With the microabrasion route, a thin layer of enamel is carefully removed to give the teeth a more uniform appearance. This can be paired with whitening treatments.

Another way of giving your teeth more balanced color is bleaching. Over-the-counter bleaching kits do help, but we recommend professional whitening in the dentist’s office or dentist-approved take-home kits for best results.
In cases of particularly severe staining that can’t be corrected with bleaching, veneers are an excellent option. The dentist attaches thin porcelain to the teeth, which gives them a natural, white appearance.

If you’re more worried about yellowing teeth than white spots, check out this video:

Let’s See Those Pearly Whites!

If you have white spots on your teeth, come see us so that we can figure out the best way to get you the bright, beautiful smile you deserve. We’re committed to our patients’ dental health and happiness!

Keep taking care of your beautiful smile between visits!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

All About Baby Teeth

A BABY’S FIRST TOOTH is a major milestone, and a child losing their first tooth is another! As parents, it’s important for us to know what to expect when it comes to our children’s baby teeth, from when they come in to when they lose them, and how to take good care of them in between. That’s why we’re dedicating a blog post to baby teeth!

The Purpose Of Baby Teeth

Just because baby teeth don’t last our whole lives, that doesn’t mean they don’t serve important purposes or that we can slack off taking care of them. Baby teeth help children chew, speak, and flash those beautiful smiles. Most importantly, they hold the places of permanent teeth so that they can come in where they’re supposed to once there’s room for them.

Keeping Baby Teeth Healthy

When your child has baby teeth, it’s the perfect time to teach them good life-long dental health habits. This way, by the time those adult teeth start coming in, they’ll already be pros at brushing and flossing so that they’ll be able to keep their permanent teeth healthy for life!

Before your children are old enough to start taking care of their teeth by themselves, there’s plenty you can do for them. Even before the first teeth appear, it’s important to gently clean away any residue from breast milk or formula so that the sugars in the milk can’t linger and feed oral bacteria.

Baby Teeth Timeline

Most children follow a similar timeline in getting their baby teeth, but not every situation is the same, so don’t get worried if your child doesn’t fit perfectly into these windows. The first two teeth (the bottom central incisors) typically show up between 4-7 months, followed by the top central incisors at around 8-12 months. The lateral incisors come in between 9-16 months, and the first molars make their appearance any time between 13-24 months, followed by the canines and, finally, the second molars.

The full set of baby teeth will usually have grown in by age three. Around age six is when those baby teeth begin to be replaced by adult teeth, in about the same order they first came in. From ages six through twelve, a child will lose teeth and grow their new ones pretty rapidly.

We Have The Answers

Besides knowing the basics about what baby teeth are for and when they’ll come in and fall out, it’s also important to know when to start bringing your child into the dentist. The best time for that is when that first tooth arrives! We can’t wait to see you and your child and help you get them on a path to lifelong healthy teeth!

Keep taking care of those teeth, whether baby or permanent!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

In Case Of Dental Emergency

WHEN WE THINK OF an emergency, we probably don’t imagine it could have something to do with our teeth. However, any chip, crack, or toothache should be treated as a priority because even if they seem like minor issues, they can lead to much worse (and more expensive) problems down the line.

Know Where To Go

Before an emergency happens, there are steps you can take to prepare yourself and your family. The first is to find a dental practice that is right for you. This way, you’ll know where to turn when something goes wrong unexpectedly, and you won’t have to waste precious time looking up dental practices. You want a dentist who is within easy driving distance, has a good reputation, is within your price range, and who makes you and your family feel comfortable.

Common Dental Emergencies

In addition to knowing where to turn when an emergency happens, you can also prepare for dental emergencies by becoming educated on what you can do on the way to the dentist. Here is the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s recommendations for three common dental emergencies:

1. A Knocked Out Baby Tooth

If a baby tooth is knocked out, contact your dentist immediately. Most likely, even if the tooth was not loose, they will not replant it because it could compromise the developing permanent tooth underneath.

2. Fracture Of A Tooth

If a tooth is cracked, chipped, or broken, contact your dentist right away because this will need treatment as soon as possible. Rinse out your mouth with water and find any broken fragments of the tooth, then place them in cold milk to preserve them and bring them with you to the dentist. Do not ignore a crack or chip! If the dental pulp is exposed, it is in danger of infection unless treated quickly!

Watch this video to learn about bonding, one way a dentist may repair a chipped tooth:

3. A Knocked Out Permanent Tooth

If a permanent tooth is knocked out, head straight to the dentist. In most cases, a knocked out tooth can be saved if the dentist sees you within an hour of the accident. Before you get there, you can help preserve the tooth by replacing it in the socket and holding it in place with clean gauze or a washcloth. If it won’t go back in, store it in cold milk.

A few things you should NOT do if a permanent tooth gets knocked out are letting it dry out, handling it by the root, scrubbing it clean, or using soap, alcohol, or peroxide on it. Doing any of these things will damage the root of the tooth, reducing the chances the dentist will be able to successfully replant it.

Your Dentist Is Ready To Help!

Even if your tooth shows no external damage, a toothache is a sign that something could be wrong on the inside, and that should be seen by a dentist as soon as possible. Now, hopefully, you will never have to put any of this preparation to the test, but if you do, you now know where to go! If you have any questions about what else you can do to prepare for a dental emergency, don’t hesitate to ask us.

Your dental health is our top priority!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

The Dangers Of DIY Teeth Whitening

A GOOD-LOOKING SMILE with white, even teeth is a major confidence booster and really helps make a good first impression, whether you’re going on a date or sitting down for a job interview. The widespread desire for whiter teeth in today’s society, combined with internet culture, has given rise to a number of popular do-it-yourself teeth whitening methods. While these might seem like great life-hacks to try, many of them can actually do serious damage to our teeth.

Common DIY Whitening Trends

Over the last couple of years, you’ve probably heard about some of these trendy teeth whitening approaches, such as activated charcoal, lemon juice, and oil pulling. Oil pulling is an ancient folk remedy, but there is no scientific evidence to back up the claims about its health benefits. Lemon juice is absolutely a bad idea because you’re essentially applying a strong acid directly to your teeth. Tooth enamel is highly vulnerable to acid, and enamel loss is permanent.

Activated charcoal might be able to absorb stains and toxins, but those benefits are debatable when it comes to teeth because charcoal is also abrasive so it could be scraping away enamel even as it removes stains. Hold off on buying that tube of charcoal toothpaste until you see the ADA Seal of Acceptance, and definitely don’t mix up your own.

What About Peroxide And Baking Soda?

Another recent DIY whitening trend is using the baking soda in the pantry and the hydrogen peroxide in the medicine cabinet to bleach teeth. The reasoning behind this idea is that hydrogen peroxide is used in professional whitening and baking soda is present in many ADA approved whitening toothpaste, and both proven to be effective at removing stains.

While it is true that peroxide and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) are used in professional and approved whitening products, that doesn’t mean these are safe chemicals to apply to our teeth however we want. There is a delicate balance between using too little, which won’t produce much of a whitening effect and using too much, which can damage the enamel and the soft tissues of the mouth. Only dental professionals have the knowledge, training, and materials needed to strike that balance.

Come To The Right Place For Whitening

Your teeth will thank you if you put your trust in dental professionals for your whitening needs rather than trying something risky at home, so bring your teeth whitening questions with you to your next appointment. Together, we can make a plan for how best to whiten your smile. In the meantime, the best things you can do to keep your smile healthy and bright are to keep up with your daily brushing and flossing habits, avoid foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, and don’t smoke.

We’re here to help you get the smile of your dreams!

Top image by Flickr user Rupert Taylor-Price used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.