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When It’s An Emergency

A dental emergency can be anything from a toothache to having a permanent tooth knocked out.  The pain from a toothache can stop you in your tracks, it’s hard to carry on with a daily routine when you’re so distracted.  If the pain becomes more intense or if it lasts for more than a couple of days and is accompanied by an earache or fever it’s time to call the dentist, you may have an infection. A chipped tooth is one thing but a fracture is something more serious.  A minor chip that isn’t causing pain doesn’t require emergency care, just be careful not to cause any further damage.  Be especially mindful of what you bite down on until your dentist can take a look.  A fractured tooth should be dealt with asap but until you can get to your dentist’s office it will help to rinse with warm water and take an aspirin-free over the counter pain reliever. If your dental crown comes off, don’t panic.  Fit it back into place with a denture ...

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What’s The Damage?

If you’re suddenly experiencing pain when you chew or you notice that your teeth are more sensitive to hot or cold foods or drinks you may have cracked a rear molar.  The molars are most susceptible since, after all, they do most of the chewing.  If this happens to you don’t risk further damage, see your dentist for an evaluation asap. It could be that the damage has only affected the tooth enamel in which case treatment won’t be necessary.  These common cracks in the enamel are known as “craze lines” and are not serious.  A little polishing will repair any unsightliness. If the crack is more invasive and has penetrated the enamel there are several procedures that your dentist may recommend, depending on how deep the crack is.  It may be that a filling and then a crown will repair any harm that has been done but if the softer tissue has been affected it will need to be removed via root canal therapy in order to save the tooth.  Worst case sce ...

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All About Bruxism

Bruxism, the act of clenching and grinding one’s teeth together, is commonly thought of as a childhood concern, something that kids do in their sleep and a habit that they usually just grow out of.  While this is the most commonly recognized scenario, bruxism can also affect adults. Dental professionals describe bruxism in two forms.  The first, sleep bruxism, is the most recognizable form and is an involuntary action.  it can be brought on by a misaligned bite, a reaction to pain or it could be a result of stress or anger, even in children.   Because all the action goes on while the person is asleep, the results may be the key to the diagnosis of sleep bruxism.  After some time all that clenching and grinding will wear down the tooth enamel, sometimes so much so that it will become noticeable to your dentist during a routine exam. Daytime bruxing is most commonly a technique for dealing with stress and affects adults more often than children.  It can be brough ...

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It Is Good To Ask Questions

Try not to think of your next dental appointment as just something you have to get through.  Instead, it is the perfect opportunity to ask questions about the state of your oral health and what you can do to improve it.  Poor oral health has been linked significantly to medical conditions such as diabetes or chronic digestive disorders.  You may be surprised to know, for instance, that the foods and drinks that you consume can have a direct effect on your dental as well as your overall health. What about your home care regimen, are you using the right implements, is your toothpaste and mouthwash appropriate to your needs?  If you have trouble flossing your dentist or hygienist can give you tips on how to make it easier. Early signs of oral cancer are often detected in the dental chair.  Your hygienist will do a screening at regular intervals.  If you notice a change in the pattern of your mouth mention it to your hygienist asap. If something shows up in the exam or if ...

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Could You Be Guilty Of Brushing Too Hard Or Too Often?

Is it possible that you may be brushing your teeth too often?  Dentists and hygienists have stressed the importance of daily brushing for years, the ADA has advised that we all brush twice a day and that we devote a full two minutes to it each time.  So with this in mind, how could brushing ever be a bad thing? “Toothbrush abrasion” is the term that dental professionals use to describe to patients what could happen when they overbrush.  The tooth enamel is what protects the more vulnerable inner layer of dentin and the nerve center, or pulp, of the tooth.  Brushing too hard or with the wrong kind of toothbrush can damage tooth enamel and let cavity-causing bacteria in.  Overbrushing can also cause the gum tissue to recede from the tooth leaving a space, “pocket,” where food debris could gather and infection could begin.  Receding gums can be a matter of genetics but more often is a result of using a hard bristle toothbrush and brushing too often while ...

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Voice Your Concerns

Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints that a dentist or dental hygienist hear from their patients.  It has been estimated that about half the adult population will at some time experience a level of sensitivity to hot or cold beverages or even a breath of cold air.  Tooth sensitivity can be a symptom of gum disease or bruxism.   It could also be a matter of genetics or due to some sort of trauma. Patients typically see their dental hygienist before the dentist arrives.  Your hygienist will ask you if you’ve noticed any changes in your mouth since your last exam.  Be sure to mention any sensitivity however insignificant you may consider it to be.  If the discomfort is due to a cavity, for instance, it’s best that you have it filled asap.  Without treatment, it may become uncomfortable to brush which could increase your risk for disease. Dentists and hygienists often recommend that patients who are experiencing increased tooth sensitiv ...

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Are Your Fears Realistic?

If you had a lot of cavities as a child and have had more than your share of dental work done over your adult life chances are that you may have had one or two bad experiences along the way.  An invasive dental procedure can be unnerving, to say the least but your dental health demands that you continue to get regular professional care.  Find a dentist who will understand your anxiety and who can offer ways of coping with it. Anxiety is one thing but a dental phobia is another.  Dental phobia is defined as an “extreme” or “irrational” fear of going to the dentist.  Some theories suggest that people who have a phobia realize that their fears are unreasonable but they just can’t shake them.  The feelings of panic and loss of control can be so severe that the person just isn’t able to seek dental care when he needs it let alone schedule preventive checkups and cleanings. How would you describe your apprehension?  A general anxiety may cau ...

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What More Can You Do?

Adults get cavities too.  If you seem to be making more frequent dental appointments due to a toothache or some other issue associated with your oral health it may be due at least in part to the foods and drinks that you’ve been consuming.  Proper diet is essential to healthy teeth.   Your tooth enamel is there to protect from decay getting through to the more vulnerable layers that lie just below the surface.  In order to provide that protection tooth enamel needs the fortification from foods that contain calcium and vitamin D.  Dairy products, and whole grains are good sources of both.  Patients who cannot tolerate dairy are encouraged to eat more green vegetables. Most of us enjoy a snack in the middle of the afternoon or just before bedtime but we have to make good choices.  Apples or grapes vs candy or doughnuts?  Water or milk vs soda or sports drinks?  Get the picture?  If you must have the occasional soft drink sip it through a straw to a ...

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Stop Invasive Decay

The only thing standing in the way of a cavity is your tooth enamel.  Although it is said to be the strongest element in your body tooth enamel can be vulnerable to outside forces such as bacterial plaque and acids.  It’s important to make every effort to protect the enamel and what lies beneath.  If the dentin and pulp are invaded by decay the tooth will become infected and if not treated soon enough it could be lost. Not all the bacteria that live in your mouth is harmful, some are beneficial in fighting bad breath, others aid the digestive system and some even protect against disease.  Then there are the “bad” bacteria.  It thrives on the sugar from the foods and drinks that we consume every day.  When these two forces combine they produce the acid that eats away at our tooth enamel and exposes the under layers of our teeth. If you had to pick just one food or drink to avoid in an effort to protect your teeth from disease it would be soft drinks follo ...

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Take The Time To Do It Right

We all know that brushing our teeth is an important preventive method in the fight against oral disease, but what is this about brushing for two minutes, why does it matter how long it takes?  After much collaboration dental professionals have concluded that it takes at least two minutes - some advise three - to thoroughly clean your mouth.  That includes brushing the surface and around each individual tooth, flossing between your teeth and scraping your tongue. You can’t really brush too often, but when and how you brush will make a difference.  Heavy brushing with a hard bristle toothbrush will over time begin to have an effect on your tooth enamel and once that happens you are at higher risk for tooth decay.  Hygienists recommend a soft or medium bristle brush and always use a fluoride toothpaste.  If you notice an increase in sensitivity to hot or cold liquids you may be brushing too hard. If you’re not sure that your brushing properly or using the best dental ...

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