Are you Suffering from TMJ Disorder?

April 11th, 2014

shutterstock_156686003When it comes to dental problems, you’re probably used to hearing all about the common ones that can negatively affect your teeth, such as cavities, gum disease, and even oral cancer. But did you know that one of the most painful oral conditions is actually caused by a part of the body that you may have never heard of before? We’re talking about the temporomandibular joints, also known as TMJs. These joints may be tiny, but they serve a crucial function, as they’re responsible for connecting your lower jaw to your skull. However, this means that when they’re even slightly misaligned, it can cause truly debilitating symptoms, negatively affecting both your dental health and your overall wellbeing. That’s why consulting with a local dentist is important if you suspect you may be suffering from this ailment.

Common signs of TMJ disorder include:

  • Persistent pain in the face, neck, head, shoulders, or back
  • Constant headaches
  • Jaw joints that pop or click
  • A jaw that feels unusually stiff
  • Constant earaches
  • Difficulty opening and closing your mouth when chewing

There are several therapy options for patients who are suffering from TMJ disorder, and no two cases are the same. Many patients whose symptoms are primarily caused by teeth grinding (bruxism) can often find relief by wearing a customized oral appliance during sleep. Other patients may require physical therapy or drug therapy to help alleviate the pain. When it comes to cases that are truly severe, surgery may be necessary. A dentist trained in TMJ treatment can offer the specialized help you need and recommend treatment options that fit your unique needs and concerns. With a professional touch, you can escape pain and get back to smiling bigger and brighter than ever before.

Fluoride’s Importance in Your Smile

March 28th, 2014

looka dem teefusThough many people may not know this, fluoride is a key mineral in keeping your teeth nice and strong. Especially important in children’s dentistry, fluoride treatments can begin a healthy foundation for your smile to thrive and take life’s knocks. Attracting minerals like calcium, fluoride is a wonderful way to build and maintain strong smiles! If you are unaware of some of the benefits fluoride can deliver, let us inform you!

One of the benefits to fluoride is the fact that it naturally makes your teeth more cavity resistant. The mineral acts as a shield, not allowing harmful bacteria to taint your smile. Fluoride also strengthens teeth, making them resilient to the end! Fluoride treatments are common practice in children’s dentistry, as studies show that children who receive them are 40% less likely to get cavities.

Another great way to receive you fluoride intake is through tap water; certain toothpastes and mouthwashes also contain fluoride. Fluoride is also beneficial to those who suffer from constant dry mouth, people with crowns and bridges, people with braces, gum disease, and those who have a history of having continual cavities. Everyone young and old and benefit from fluoride use, and we encourage you to find a source!

Kiss Me, I’m Irish! Oral Health Tips for a Happy St. Patrick’s Day

March 14th, 2014

shutterstock_113630209St. Patrick’s Day presents a great opportunity to celebrate with friends and family in true Irish fashion – with amazing food, freely flowing beverages, and festive clothing in every shade of green imaginable. As you gear up to join in on the merrymaking, keep these handy oral health and hygiene tips in mind for a truly happy holiday.

Everything in moderation. It’s entirely expected that millions will enjoy a couple of pints at their nearest pub or a few beers at home to celebrate St. Patty’s Day, but now is as good a time as ever to remember what alcohol can do to your oral health. Too much to drink can contribute to tooth decay and periodontal disease. Enjoy yourself, but not to excess!

Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water during the course of your holiday revelry to maintain your mouth’s healthy pH balance. This will also help your head and body feel better in the morning, so it’s worth remembering.

No matter how late you get home…Be sure to brush and floss as usual. The acid in beer, ale, and other alcoholic beverages can be severely damaging to tooth enamel. Just a few minutes of preventative maintenance to save your smile, and then you can climb into bed. Your teeth will thank you!

And of course, if you are lucky enough on St. Patty’s Day to receive a kiss (Irish or not), make sure to brush and/or use a good mouthwash after all of that delicious corned beef and cabbage! If you have any questions or concerns about your overall oral health, on St. Patrick’s Day or otherwise, contact your local dentist’s office today.

Five Ways to Keep Bad Breath at Bay

February 28th, 2014

brushingFor some patients, bad breath is something that only happens occasionally, after a meal heavy on garlic, for instance. For others, though, it’s a daily struggle caused by the accumulation and breakdown of bacteria in the mouth. That’s why frequent bad breath–also known as halitosis–is also a sign of early-stage gum disease.

The good news for patients who struggle daily with bad breath is that managing the condition is possible. By following these five helpful steps, patients with halitosis can experience relief and live more confidently.

Brush and floss regularly

Brushing and flossing are the first steps for anyone struggling with bad breath. These simple actions will help you control the amount of bacteria in your mouth by clearing away leftover food particles that contribute to the production and buildup of bacteria. We recommend brushing twice a day and flossing at least once.

Rinse with a mouthwash

Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash is the second step for patients who struggle with bad breath. Antibacterial mouthwashes kill bacteria before they have a chance to accumulate and they simultaneously freshen breath.

Scrape or brush your tongue

In addition to accumulating around the gum line, bacteria can also hide on tongue. Using a tongue scraper–or even your toothbrush–to clean your tongue will do a lot to hold bad breath at bay.

Change your toothbrush

Your toothbrush is another place bacteria can hide. That’s why we recommend switching to a new one about every three months. With a new toothbrush, you can be sure that you’re cleaning your teeth with a bacteria-free brush.

Stay hydrated

What you drink can have a big impact on your oral health. Sugary or acidic drinks can be damaging, while drinking water throughout the day will help you control the buildup of bacteria and wash food particles away.

Do you have questions about what causes bad breath and how it can be treated? Call your local dental office with your questions or to schedule an appointment.

Treat Your Smile This Valentine’s Day!

February 14th, 2014

This February, it may be hard to resist the urge to snack on your favorite candy. You might not want to wreck your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, but there might be a compromise!

Did you know that chocolate is good for your teeth?

Recent studies by Tulane University have shown that antioxidants, which occur naturally in dark chocolate, promote dental health by fighting cavities in addition to combating plaque. This means that your “guilty pleasure” sweet is actually actively fighting gum disease while you snack. Dark chocolate substances work to harden the enamel of your teeth. It’s even more effective than fluoride! You can strengthen your teeth and oral health as you eat.

And that’s not all!

Whether you’re enjoying a sweet Valentine’s Day treat or indulging in your favorite candy, you’re even fighting heart disease. Because gum disease has been linked to the development of cardiovascular problems, consuming your daily allowance of chocolate can even protect your heart! Keep in mind that the recommended amount of dark chocolate averages one ounce a day, because everything is better in moderation.

Some experts recommend the raw form of dark chocolate for the most health benefits. This type is less processed, and therefore contains more of the beneficial antioxidants! As always, remember to brush and floss properly after you eat. That way, your smile can shine brightly.

Prevent Periodontal Disease for Better Overall Health

January 31st, 2014

shutterstock dentist with patient

When most people consider the topic of good oral hygiene, the first thing they think about is teeth. You brush and floss your teeth to keep them white and cavity-free, but how much do you think about your gums? Often overlooked, the importance of healthy gums goes beyond the matter of a pretty smile. In fact, gums that are allowed to become infected can actually make you seriously ill.

While the initial effects of gingivitis and periodontitis are severe enough on their own – bleeding gums, inflammation, redness and eventual tooth loss, to name a few – the complications of untreated gum disease can be far more serious. When the bacteria from infected gums is inhaled or released into the bloodstream, it can travel throughout the body, wreaking havoc on other organs and tissues.

The most common systemic complications associated with periodontal disease are coronary artery disease, respiratory issues, diabetes and arthritis. In addition to addressing the gum disease itself, patients must take special care to treat any other conditions that arise because of it.

Some problems associated with chronic periodontal disease affect not only the individual patient, but others as well. Pregnant women with gum disease, for example, are significantly more likely to give birth to underweight babies. Infants who begin life at a low birth weight can suffer from a number of potentially serious complications, including respiratory distress shortly after birth. This is why proper oral health care is so crucial for women, especially when they are pregnant.

If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth or show any signs of redness and swelling, it’s time to see your dentist for periodontal treatment. In most cases, the damage caused by plaque and tartar buildup can be reversed with consistent professional care. Talk to your oral care professional to find out how you can protect yourself and lower your risk of serious infection and illness associated with gum disease.

Have a Healthier Smile for 2014

January 10th, 2014

shutterstock_120541276Now that 2014 is here, people are trying to stick to their resolutions and make a better version of themselves for the New Year. Though losing weight or being more organized are good resolutions, there is one resolution that is oftentimes overlooked, and that is the resolution to have a healthier smile. Believe it or not, making sure you are in tip-top oral health means many other parts of your body are healthier. For 2014, why not make the commitment to yourself to be a healthier you?

Dentists recommend you visit their office every six months. During a routine checkup, your dentist will do an oral cancer screening and check for periodontal (gum) disease, making sure there are no early signs and, if there are, treat it right away. They will look at every single tooth, checking for cavities, decay, cracks, and other possible harm. They will also do X-rays of your entire mouth, making sure there are no underlying problems that can’t be seen.

Your dentist will also perform scaling and root planing during your checkup. The scaling is the dentist’s opportunity to remove tartar from below the gum line, while root planing smoothes out the rough surfaces where plaque has built up.

By taking care of your dental needs, you reduce your risk of heart disease, oral cancer, severe tooth decay, and other possible health problems. You will be able to smile with confidence, knowing that your mouth is clean, healthy, and dazzling! Give yourself the gift of excellent oral health this year, and you will not be sorry!

A Gift You Can Give All Year Long

December 10th, 2013

Holday SmileFor most of us, gift-giving is just a holiday thing. Every year, we spend the time between Thanksgiving and December 25 looking for the perfect gift for those who are most special to us. But did you know there’s a very simple gift you can give your loved ones, and even strangers, any time you want? It’s your smile!

Believe it or not, smiling can have a remarkable impact on you and those around you.  According to scientific studies, it can improve one’s mood and even relieve stress.

Here’s how it works. When you smile, particular muscles in your face are stimulated. These muscles will, in turn, stimulate the part of the brain responsible for creating warm and pleasant feelings. Meanwhile, for those around you, a smile is simply hard to resist. Smiling at someone who’s having a hard day may inspire them to smile back, triggering those same pleasant feelings in them. That’s how smiling can easily become a gift you give someone else.

So, is the busy holiday season starting to wear you down? Practice your smiling. You may find that you start feeling better in no time. And why not make a New Year’s resolution to smile more throughout 2014. Just like regular brushing and flossing and twice-yearly checkups, committing to smiling throughout the year will help you enjoy better overall wellbeing and confidence.

Prepare Yourself for Common Dental Emergencies This Holiday Season

November 29th, 2013

tooth painWith big family dinners, presents, and cold weather to worry about this holiday season, the last thing you probably have on your mind is the state of your teeth. But what if the worst happens? After all, there are some accidents and injuries you just can’t prepare for. You might be enjoying a hard candy or running down the ice-covered sidewalk when CRACK! Suddenly, you’re experiencing a dental emergency, and in situations like this, time is of the essence. The most important thing to do is to stay calm and not panic. Then, follow these helpful tips below:

I knocked my tooth out!

Hold the tooth by the top (the crown section) and gently rinse the root in water if it’s dirty. Don’t scrub it or deliberately remove any of the attached tissue that might still be holding onto it. If it’s possible, set it back into its socket. If it won’t stay, place it in a cup or plastic baggie of milk. Then, contact your local dentist as soon as possible to arrange an emergency dentistry appointment. Make sure to bring the tooth with you to their office! Once you’re there, they’ll be able to let you know whether reattachment is a viable option.

I broke my tooth!

First, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Cold compresses will help keep the swelling down until you make an dental appointment.

I lost my temporary crown!

Try to find it, if you haven’t lost it! Once you have, dry your natural tooth, place a small dab of toothpaste of top of it, and then carefully reattach the crown. This usually works as a solid temporary solution until you can reach your local dentist.

My tooth really hurts!

First, rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water. Then, use dental floss to ensure that there are no food particles or debris caught between your teeth that might be causing the pain. Be sure not to place aspirin or any other painkillers against the gums near the aching tooth, as this might cause a burning sensation! If the pain doesn’t go away after these steps, contact your local dentist.

Be Thankful for Your Smile!

November 15th, 2013
For those trying to stay healthy around the holidays, you may have already sworn off second or even first helpings from the dessert table. However, there are still plenty of dishes that can cause damage to your waistline and your smile. Many main-course Thanksgiving foods contain high levels of sugar and fat. However, there is some confusion about one in particular.
The Cranberry Sauce Debacle
Research from Rutgers University has shown that cranberries are extremely beneficial in fighting plaque thanks to proanthocyanidine, a natural chemical compound found in the fruit. You may know that a buildup of plague can lead to cavities and gum disease, an incurable condition which affects the entire mouth, but you may not know that standard cranberry-based holiday fare probably won’t help your smile.
The Problem
Cranberry sauce, a popular holiday dish, usually contains large amounts of sugar to balance the tartness of the cranberries. Most of the many benefits of cranberries can only be reaped in the natural state, without additives. Sugar plays an active role in deteriorating enamel and increases the production of plague. In fact, a single serving of cranberry sauce can easily contain over 20 grams of sugar, which is comparable to a bar of milk chocolate!
The Solution
Are you responsible for making the cranberry sauce? Try tinkering with the recipe to reduce or substitute the sugar to reduce the overall content. If you truly enjoy this condiment in its traditional state, immediately brush and floss after your dinner. Happy Thanksgiving!For those trying to stay healthy around the holidays, you may have already sworn off second or even first helpings from the dessert table. However, there are still plenty of dishes that can cause damage to your waistline and your smile. Many main-course Thanksgiving foods contain high levels of sugar and fat. However, there is some confusion about one in particular.

snow womanFor those trying to stay healthy around the holidays, you may have already sworn off second or even first helpings from the dessert table. However, there are still plenty of dishes that can cause damage to your waistline and your smile. Many main-course Thanksgiving foods contain high levels of sugar and fat. However, there is some confusion about one in particular.

The Cranberry Sauce Debacle

Research from Rutgers University has shown that cranberries are extremely beneficial in fighting plaque thanks to proanthocyanidine, a natural chemical compound found in the fruit. You may know that a buildup of plaque can lead to cavities and gum disease, an incurable condition which affects the entire mouth, but you may not know that standard cranberry-based holiday fare probably won’t help your smile.

The Problem

Cranberry sauce, a popular holiday dish, usually contains large amounts of sugar to balance the tartness of the cranberries. Most of the many benefits of cranberries can only be reaped in the natural state, without additives. Sugar plays an active role in deteriorating enamel and increases the production of plaque. In fact, a single serving of cranberry sauce can easily contain over 20 grams of sugar, which is comparable to a bar of milk chocolate!

The Solution

Are you responsible for making the cranberry sauce? Try tinkering with the recipe to reduce or substitute the sugar to reduce the overall content. If you truly enjoy this condiment in its traditional state, immediately brush and floss after your dinner. Happy Thanksgiving!