Do Nice Dentists Finish Last? – Do Dentists Have to be Cruel to be Kind?

dental care for periodontal diseaseEver heard the phrase, “you’ve gotta be cruel to be kind?” It has never been truer than when referring to gum disease treatments. Periodontal disease affects as much as 80% of US adults, but the way dental practitioners handle periodontal treatments may be part of the problem. Patients avoid periodontal treatment due to lack of treatment urgency, not fully understanding necessary treatments, and money. Many dentists hesitate to fully explain and recommend periodontal therapy because they fear patients will simply cancel appointments due to the added cost. Instead, dentists tend to try the “nice” approach – recommending periodontal appointments every three months but billing them as regular dental cleanings during six month checkups. However, by changing the focus of periodontal disease treatment to communicating clearly, emphasizing assessment and prevention, and working with patients to maximize insurance benefits, dentists can better equip patients to receive the dental care they need.
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Heed These Helpful Dental Tips Before the Kids Are Back In School

back-to-school dentistry.Your kids have been out of school for a couple months now, but before you know it it’ll be time to ease them into the back-to-school routine. Lost in all the fracas is the time necessary to receive a regular checkup. You were a kid once, what did you do during the summer? You most likely spent your days outdoors with friends getting into trouble and doing who knows what. Now that you’re older, you should understand the importance of a dental checkup, especially for your kids. Who knows what kinds of sugary treats and other goodies they’ve been gorging on for the past couple months. A dental checkup can check for problems and help keep their mouths healthy throughout the school year.
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Caring for Your Smile When You’re Expecting

Are you adding to your family in the near future? Congratulations! This will be an exciting—not to mention busy—time in your life. You’ll have a nursery to decorate, furniture to buy, and plenty of checkups with your doctor.

With everything that’s going on, though, it’s important not to lose sight of your oral health. In fact, regular brushing and flossing will never be as important as they are now. Besides causing symptoms like swollen or bleeding gums, gum disease has also been linked with certain pregnancy complications, like premature birth.

To ensure that your smile stays healthy during your pregnancy, and that your baby stays safe, we recommend the following:

  • Clean your smile regularly, paying special attention to your gumline. Gum disease is caused by the accumulation of bacteria and plaque along the gums.
  • Enjoy a balanced and nutritious diet. Foods that are processed or sugary will increase your chances of developing gum disease or cavities.
  • Talk to your dentists about when to schedule a checkup during your pregnancy. The best time is often during the second trimester.

Like any mom, you want to give your baby the best possible start. With preventive brushing and flossing, you’re already well on your way.

If you have questions about the connection between pregnancy and gum disease, don’t hesitate to talk to your regular family dentist.

Eat for Your Best Oral Health

ThinkstockPhotos-57577930Did you know that the month of March is National Nutrition Month as designated by The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics?  Everyone knows that diet and nutrition are critical to general health. The fact of the matter is, however, your oral health is equally dependent on and affected by nutrition. Of course there are foods to limit for the sake of your oral health, like those that are loaded with sugar or highly acidic. But there are also foods, specifically certain fruits and vegetables, which are good for your teeth and gums. And with National Nutrition Month upon us, this seems like the time to offer worthwhile tips for your oral health.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits, such as oranges, pineapples and tomatoes, are chock full of vitamin C, which is critical for the health of your gums. Without enough vitamin C, gums might become unhealthy and even bleed, an early sign of gum disease. Eventually, unhealthy gums may lead to tooth loss, so be sure to include lots of fresh citrus fruits for healthy gums and stable teeth.

Fiber Rich Fruits

When you chew fruits that are high in fiber, salivation increases to help wash away food debris and bacteria that can be harmful to teeth and gums. Some of these fresh fruits are apples, oranges, pears, and watermelons. This increase in saliva reduces the acid level in your mouth and helps avert dry mouth, which makes teeth more vulnerable to decay. In addition, as you chew fiber-rich fruits, you’re also massaging your gums.

Hard Vegetables Build Strong Teeth

Eating hard and fibrous vegetables, such as carrots and celery, provide your body with a good source of beta carotene. Your body needs beta carotene to make vitamin A, which is a nutrient that is vital to building strong teeth. These and other hard vegetables also massage your gums as you chew. And the water content in these vegetables cleans your teeth and gums.


Onions are great for your oral health, because they contain antibacterial sulfur compounds. These antibacterial compounds help kill the bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. And, of course, they are strongest when eaten fresh and uncooked, so be sure to brush your teeth or rinse with a refreshing mouthwash after boosting your oral health with onions!

So, here’s to your health… your oral health!

Understanding Bruxism & TMJ Disorder: Find Relief from Nighttime Teeth Grinding

178901519Do you often awaken in the morning to find that your jaw is sore or that your neck and shoulders feel tense? Perhaps you suffer from frequent headaches that tend to begin in the area surrounding your temples. These symptoms are common in individuals with nighttime teeth grinding and daily jaw clenching, or bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Fortunately, treatment for these orofacial issues is typically non-invasive, affordable, and easily accessible at your dentist’s office.

What Causes Jaw Clenching and Teeth Grinding?

There are a variety of reasons that people with TMD and bruxism engage in the unconscious behavior of teeth grinding and clenching. Malocclusion, or an improper bite, is a major factor, as is daily stress. While you are sleeping, you are not able to stop the overworked muscles in the jaw and face from overtaking themselves further, leading to numerous symptoms that can affect you all day.

For many, the primary complaint related to TMJ disorder is headache pain that interferes with daily functioning. The delicate joints that connect your lower jaw to your cranium can become irritated and inflamed, causing nerve pain that can even spread to your upper back. This can lead to posture problems that further exacerbate the issue. In cases of teeth grinding, the patient is typically unaware that their jaws are placing inordinate amounts of pressure on their teeth all night. Bruxism can cause tooth fractures and enamel erosion, both of which can prove to be serious problems if not treated in a timely manner.

Bruxism & TMJ Treatment

In the majority of cases, a nighttime mouthguard is used to prevent damage to the teeth caused by clenching and grinding. This custom oral appliance fits comfortably in your mouth as you sleep, helping position the jaws properly so that the muscles aren’t unnecessarily strained. Patients who have been clenching their jaws for years are surprised to find that they experience relief from their discomfort in as few as one or two nights with their new appliance.

If you believe that you or someone in your family is suffering with the ill effects of TMJ disorder or bruxism, ask your dentist about a custom oral appliance. Relief could be a phone call away!

The Oral-Systemic Connection

145991961We live in an era of health consciousness, and that’s a good thing. Many people try to exercise and eat right. But being healthy is not simply a matter of what you put in your mouth, it’s also dependent on how you take care of your mouth. More and more evidence shows that there is a direct link between oral health and overall health.

The oral-systemic connection characterizes the link between diseases and conditions in the mouth and health problems throughout the body. For example, periodontal or gum disease—called gingivitis in its early stages and periodontitis later—is caused by bacteria that can have access to the bloodstream when gum tissue bleeds, a common symptom of gum disease. Thus, preventing or treating gum disease and other oral infections early can be critical to avoiding secondary health concerns. So, those bi-annual dental checkups are more than just a matter of clean teeth. They can mean the difference between life and death.

Medical Conditions that Start in the Mouth

While research continues, the following is a partial list of medical conditions and diseases that have already been found to have a connection to oral health:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes
  • Some forms of cancer
  • Some autoimmune disorders
  • Low birth weight in newborns

Furthermore, the importance of maintaining oral health in order to have a proper diet and nutrition cannot be understated. People who have missing teeth are often unable to eat raw fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods that require chewing. Therefore, they choose softer foods that tend to be higher in saturated fats and sugar, both of which can have detrimental effects on the body when over consumed.

The Oral-Systemic Connection and You

What can you do to keep your oral-systemic connection healthy? First of all, brush your teeth and floss twice each day. Be sure to floss well below the gum line where bacteria hide. Secondly, see your dentist at least twice each year for a checkup. With regular visits, you and your dentist will better be able to recognize changes in your oral health and fend off any conditions that could compromise your general health.

Make Your New Year’s Resolution Count with Biannual Dental Checkups

1666691562014 is rapidly coming to a close, and New Year’s Day is just around the corner. People from all around the world are coming up with ideas for their New Year’s resolutions, hoping to make this the year they make great strides toward self-improvement and better health. As we all prepare to welcome 2015 in style, we’d like to take a few moments to suggest one resolution that is not only easy to keep but incredibly rewarding as well.

Dental Checkups for the Whole Family

Biannual checkups and cleanings are critical components of any oral hygiene regimen. They present you with the perfect opportunity to ask your dentist any questions you may have about your teeth and gums, as well as any other concerns you may have at the time. These simple visits also include a thorough exam and cleaning, two things your teeth desperately need to stay healthy for life.

Unfortunately, many people still believe that it’s fine to skip out on their routine checkups because they haven’t noticed any problems that warrant a dental visit. The problem with that line of thinking is that not every oral health concern presents with noticeable symptoms. The early stages of gum disease, for example, may be virtually undetectable. Small cavities – particularly those that form between the teeth – may be difficult to see or feel until they have progressed to a more advanced stage of decay. Even a root canal infection may slip under your radar without the practiced eyes of a dentist to spot the signs with a detailed x-ray.

The great news about dental checkups is that they are covered by most dental insurance plans; you may not have to pay a single penny to get your teeth cleaned by a dedicated professional!

Make the Smart Resolution Today!

While vowing to eat healthily, save money, and get in shape are all viable and popular resolutions, we suggest placing more emphasis on your oral health this year as well. Your mouth serves as a portal to the rest of your body, and the status of your teeth and gums can potentially affect your overall health. This New Year’s Eve, make the decision to treat your smile well with routine preventive visits at your local dental office. You’ll be glad you did.

Don’t Just Brush Your Teeth… Brush Your Teeth Correctly

brushingMost people know that good oral hygiene includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day. And for most, those two times are usually in the morning—as you’re rushing to work or getting the kids off to school—and at night, when you’re fighting to keep your eyes open before falling into bed. Regardless of whether your day is beginning, ending or somewhere in between, proper brushing is worth the time and effort for good oral health.

First off all, did you know that proper brushing requires at least two minutes? Most adults spend a fraction of that time brushing their teeth every morning and night. Try looking at the clock when you start brushing, then brush normally and check the time when you’re finished. Chances are you didn’t spend enough time to thoroughly clean your teeth. To really do a good job and ensure better oral hygiene, spend two minutes brushing.

What is the Best Technique for Brushing Teeth?

When brushing your teeth, it’s important to hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle against the gum line and sweep or roll the brush away from your gums. Don’t brush side to side, which can scrape your gums. And be sure to use short strokes as you brush away from your gums.

Start out cleaning the outer surface of your upper teeth and then your lower teeth. Continue by brushing the inner surface of upper and lower teeth. Then, brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth, concentrating on your molars. Finally, be sure to brush your tongue, too.

Tools for Proper Brushing

Always choose a soft brush with round-ended bristles. Stiff bristles can hurt your gums. A powered toothbrush can be a good choice, too, especially if you have difficulty brushing because of limited manual dexterity. The type of toothpaste you choose is an individual matter. There are a variety of toothpastes to address a variety of concerns from teeth whitening and cavity prevention to eliminating tartar and reducing teeth sensitivity. Talk with your local dentist about which toothpaste is best for you.


Dental Myths Put To Rest

485017745There are many things in life that are shrouded in mystery. Things like urban myths and old wives’ tales always keep our curiosity tickled, and you may be dying to get to the truth of an issue for peace of mind. Your smile is no different! There are so many things that people may not know about their smiles; things that they may not know are true or not. Your smile is something you should never play around with, and we would like to clear up a few myths in order to contribute to your peace of mind.

A dental myth that you may have heard is that is teeth whitening weakens the durability of your smile. For those who want to brighten their smiles with teeth whitening, you have nothing to worry about, as this myth is completely false. When you go to have your smile whitened, the gel that the dentist places on your smile only affects the color of your enamel, not the strength. Though it is normal to experience some sensitivity with your smile after having the procedure done, it does not weaken the internal structure of your teeth.

Another dental myth that you may have heard is that you should not brush or floss your teeth if your gums are bleeding. This is actually the exact opposite of what you want to do, and there could be many reasons why your gums could be bleeding. Bleeding gums is usually a sign of plaque and other particles irritating them, and it is important to remove whatever is aggravating your gums as soon as possible. Brushing and flossing your teeth as well as you can is one avenue you can take in order to stop your gums from bleeding.

Dental myths seems to plague the minds of many people, and by putting some of them to rest, we hope that you are able to experience better oral health and better knowledge as to what goes on with your smile.

The Importance of Flossing

You may be brushing a few times every day, but if you’re not taking the time to floss as well, your smile isn’t getting all the attention it deserves.

In general, we recommend flossing at least once a day to remove the food that has collected between your teeth during the day. If you choose not to floss, this food can stimulate the growth of decay-causing bacteria. It can also turn into plaque over time. Together, bacteria and plaque release toxins that cause bad breath, in addition to destroying tooth enamel and causing gum disease. And once gum disease sets in, there is no absolute cure.

That’s why flossing is so important.

How to Floss Effectively

If you’re not sure how to floss effectively, let your dentist or hygienist know at your next appointment. They would be happy to show you how. For best results, floss between every tooth, including your very back teeth.

Your dental team can also recommend a specific type of floss for you to use, in addition to talking with you about the rest of your oral health routine. For optimal oral health we recommend that patients:

  • Brush at least twice a day, or after every meal if possible
  • Floss at least once
  • Rinse with an antibacterial or fluoride mouthwash

You can also learn about proper flossing by watching the video below.