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Warning sign preventing dental plaque for oral health

3 Step Plan To Prevent Dental Plaque

Dental plaque is a sticky, colorless substance that is formed by food, saliva, and bacteria in our mouths. It’s what gives our teeth that fuzzy-like feeling. If plaque is not removed through regular cleaning, it can build up and harden, while also spreading further bacteria. This can also cause gum inflammation which can then lead to gum disease, cavities, and tooth decay. Furthermore, the plaque can also cause bad breath and yellowing of your teeth. The best way of defending yourself from the adverse effects of plaque is by preventing it from hardening. Follow this three-step plan to help keep harmful dental plaque at bay.

1. Practice Good Oral Health

One of the best things you can do to prevent plaque is to practice good oral healthy every day. You should be brushing your teeth thoroughly with a suitable toothbrush and toothpaste twice a day. Electric toothbrushes have been known to be particularly effective at removing all traces of plaque. Don’t forget to brush both the front and back of each tooth. This will get rid of the plaque and bacteria that is on the surface of your teeth and gums. Flossing can help you access the gaps in between your teeth, where food can get stuck, and plaque can develop. You should aim to do this a minimum of once per day. Rinsing with a recommended mouthwash twice a day can also remove plaque from hard to reach areas. As well as removing bacteria from your tongue and sides of your mouth.

2. Eating a Balanced Diet

If you eat lots of sugary, starchy food and drinks, you are increasing your chances of developing plaque buildup. So avoid cookies, sweets and soda as much as possible. Instead, introduce more fruit and vegetables into your diet. These are much kinder to teeth and can even help to neutralize plaque-forming acids. Cut down on your carbohydrates too as this is what plaque needs to form. You should be drinking eight glasses of water per day to keep your teeth and the rest of your body in top condition.

3. Visit Your Dentist Regularly

Seeing your dentist at least twice per year will help you stop dental plaque from hardening. They can professionally scale and polish your teeth, which will make it harder for plaque to harden and develop. If you do have some buildup, they can also remove this for you. Your dentist can use your check up to examine your teeth and gums more carefully. They can use their tools to see areas you might be unable to. This ensures your entire mouth is getting the care and attention it needs to stay healthy. They can also pinpoint whether you might have the early signs of gum disease, which needs to be treated sooner rather than later. Contact your dentist to schedule in your next appointment today.

The methods that make up this plan are the best ways of preventing dental plaque from developing. Plaque is something we all have, and if we keep it under control, it shouldn’t be a cause for concern. For more guidance and support, talk to your dentist.

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healthy mouth healthy life

A Healthy Smile Equals Healthier Life

When you’re not feeling up to going to the gym, it’s encouraging to know that just flossing your teeth is a healthy and easy way to increase your life expectancy. Daily flossing can increase a person’s life expectancy by 3-5 years because it prevents bacterial mouth infections that can affect the bloodstream, harden arteries and cause heart disease. Even if you don’t like flossing (as most people don’t), it’s worth the effort for a healthier life. Other ways you might not know about show how having a healthy smile promotes a healthier life.

Maintain healthy blood sugar

Over 100 million people in the U.S. have diabetes or are pre-diabetic, which means they have a high risk of developing diabetes. With so many people eating processed, pre-made food that’s full of sugar, diabetes is fast becoming an American epidemic. Fortunately, by maintaining a clean mouth free from gum disease, you can improve your body’s ability to maintain healthy blood sugar. Avoiding gum disease can also prevent other bacteria related health conditions such as heart disease and stroke. Another great way to maintain oral health and overall health is by reducing your sugar intake, drinking more water and brushing after meals to reduce bacteria that can lead to gum disease.

Lower risk of dementia

A recent study of residents in a California retirement community found that oral health and mental health have a strong connection. The study covered a period from 1992-2010 and involved participants ranging in age from 52-105 with the average age around 81 years old. None of the study participants had dementia when the study began, and they all answered questions regarding their dental health such as if they wore dentures and what condition their teeth were in.

When the researchers returned to the community 18 years later, they conducted interviews, reviewed medical records and researched death certificates to discover that approximately 1/5 of them had received a diagnosis of dementia. Of the women in the study who reported brushing less than once a day, 21 out of 78 had dementia by 2010, which is around 1 case per 3.7 women. The female participants who brushed at least once a day had one case of dementia per 4.5 women. What this indicates is that there’s a 65% increased chance of developing dementia for those who brush less than once a day. Researchers believe the reason for this is that without daily brushing, gum disease can develop, and when bacteria enter the brain, it can cause damage, inflammation and increased likelihood of dementia and other cognitive disorders.

Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily and maintaining regular dental exams and cleanings does much more than just brighten your smile, it helps keep your whole body healthy. Schedule your exam and cleaning with Creative Dental today to promote your best health.

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Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and Onlays for Dental Restoration

When a tooth requires restoration due to a cavity or decay, inlays and onlays offer an alternative to traditional white or silver fillings. Unlike a filling that the dentist does directly in a patient’s mouth, inlays and onlays are indirect restorations created outside the mouth and placed in at the time of restoration. In certain situations, inlays and onlays have advantages over other minor restoration treatments

Inlays and onlays explained

For an inlay, the restoration goes inside the tooth, but for an onlay, the restoration receives bonding to the top of the tooth and can replace some or all tooth cusps. It’s common for a dentist to restore teeth with a combination of a partial inlay and partial onlay, depending on the amount of decay or the size of the existing filling they’re replacing. Inlays and onlays work best on the premolars and molars, which are the back teeth. With proper care, inlays and onlays can last longer than traditional fillings and as long as crowns at around 20 years.

Appropriate situations for an inlay and/or onlay

Inlays and onlays are applicable in various restoration situations and offer a potentially more durable solution than fillings. Situations where a dentist may suggest inlay or onlays include:

  • Restoring a large cavity in a weakened tooth
  • Replacing a failed filling
  • Repairing cracked teeth
  • Serving as an alternative to a filling or crown
  • Avoiding a root canal

Although scientists continue to work on improving filling material, placing the material puts stress on the remaining tooth and can shrink or expand. Inlays fill cavities in teeth without putting pressure on the tooth, they last longer, don’t deteriorate and don’t stain as silver fillings can. Silver fillings can cause tooth fractures over time, but inlays and onlays can repair the tooth by replacing the tooth area lost to fracture without putting pressure on the remaining tooth.

Inlays and onlays as alternatives to crowns or root canals

Many dentists believe that crowns are a good, predictable way to restore a heavily damaged tooth. However, inlays and onlays can also repair large holes or failed fillings and perhaps be a better alternative as they restore long-term tooth strength while preserving more of the natural tooth. Each restoration situation is different, and it’s important that the patient and dentist understand the best solution depending on the bite, tooth remaining, state of the tooth nerves and aesthetic results. When a tooth and filling facture leaving a patient with very little tooth above the gum, inlays and onlays can be used to avoid a root canal because of continued improvements in bonding technology. If the tooth nerve remains alive and healthy, an onlay can work as a crown with an inbuilt core that has been etched and bonded securely to the tooth. If the health of the tooth nerve is uncertain, then a root canal is probably the best option.

For a tooth that has extensive decay or needs a filling repaired, inlays or onlays represent a potential solution. Contact Creative Dental to schedule an exam that can determine the best restoration option for you.

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tongue ring oral health

Oral Piercings and Dental Health

Oral piercing such as piercing the lip, cheek or tongue continues to be an appealing form of self-expression for certain individuals. While the practice of oral piercings is not new, that does not guarantee that having it done is always safe. Oral piercings have several health related risks and can affect the health of a person’s teeth and gums without proper care.

Increased risk of gum disease

Anyone with oral piercing has an increased risk of gum disease, but it’s especially bad for those with long-stem tongue jewelry. When the jewelry contacts gum tissue and causes injury, that gum tissue may recede and lead to loose teeth and eventual tooth loss.

Damaged teeth

When mouth jewelry contacts teeth, it can cause cracks or chips that require dental attention to repair. A dental journal report showed that almost half of people who wore long-stem tongue jewelry for four years or more suffered, at least, one chipped tooth.

Oral function difficulty

Tongue piercings stimulate the development of excessive saliva production, and this can lead to drooling. Tongue piercings can also interfere with normal chewing, food swallowing, taste buds and clear speech.

Risk of infections and diseases

Having oral piercing performed increases the risk of infections for several reasons. The piercing creates a wound in the mouth, which is an area already full of bacteria and the jewelry introduces new bacteria. These factors work together to increase the potential for infection. There’s also an increased risk for transmission of diseases including hepatitis B and C and herpes simplex.

Potential development of heart problems

The wound created from an oral piercing can increase the chances of bacteria entering the bloodstream. These bacteria in the bloodstream can result in the development of an inflammation of the heart valves, called endocarditis, in people with underlying/undiagnosed heart issues.

Bleeding and nerve damage

Sometimes nerve damage occurs during piercing, and this causes loss of sensation or numbness as the piercing site and potential movement problems for pierced tongues. Prolonged bleeding can occur if the piercing punctures blood vessels and sometimes tongues swell so severely from piercing that they can block the airway and cause difficulty breathing.

Allergic reactions

Allergic contact dermatitis is a hypersensitive reaction to the metal of oral piercings, and this can lead to health complications.

Risk of swallowing jewelry

If the jewelry of the oral piercing becomes loose, the person can potentially choke on it or swallow it and damage the lungs or digestive tract.

Undergoing an oral piercing is a personal choice, but it’s important to understand all of the potential short and long-term risks before proceeding. Help protect your mouth by maintaining regular dental exams with Creative Dental.

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Allergies and Oral Health

Did You Know Allergies Can Affect Oral Health?

As spring and warmer weather approach, many people are already suffering from seasonal allergies and dealing with sneezing, running noses and itchy eyes. Along with these unpleasant discomforts, allergies can also affect dental health. It’s important to know how certain allergy symptoms can lead to oral trouble so patients can seek treatment when necessary.

Sore throat

When sinuses become congested from allergies, a sore throat is common sinuses drain and mucus travels down the throat causing irritation. The throat can become swollen, painful and itchy and even lead to tooth discomfort without treatment.

Toothaches

Allergies may lead to pain in the teeth, usually the molars and can increase sensitivity to cold and hot foods and beverages. When a body reacts to allergies, it can create more tooth pain as the immune system tries to deal with congestion and other allergy issues. Located on either side of the nose, sinuses are designed to drain upward but as this is difficult to accomplish in daily life, the sinuses become congested, mucus builds up, and upper molars can become inflamed leading to toothaches.

Dry mouth

Seasonal allergy medicines both over the counter and prescribed tend to dry a person out as they seek to clear sinuses and remove mucus. Unfortunately, this can lead to dry mouth. When a mouth becomes extremely dry, it reduces saliva production and without enough saliva, the mouth can’t remove harmful bacteria and food particles that lead to decay. Dry mouth can also lead to bad breath. A patient suffering from dry mouth due to allergy medications should consult their dentist to find ways to improve saliva production.

Disguises bigger issues

Many symptoms and reactions from allergies that cause oral discomfort can have a connection to bigger dental issues such as tooth decay, infection and gum disease. Patients shouldn’t dismiss oral pain because they feel it’s due to allergies, they need to consult a dentist to make sure the allergies aren’t hiding something more serious. A thorough dental exam can help rule out or diagnose oral issues that require treatment and the dentist can also suggest ways to deal with allergy symptoms while keeping your mouth healthy.

If you’re suffering from allergies and it’s causing oral pain, it’s important to contact a dentist right away to avoid tooth or gum issues. Creative Dental can help keep your smile beautiful no matter what’s in bloom and wreaking allergy havoc this spring and summer.

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sedation dentistry

Sedation Dentistry Can Help Patients Relax

For many people, the idea of even a routine teeth cleaning at the dentist can fill them with anxiety and fear. Sometimes they would rather suffer through the pain of a toothache than visit the dentist and this can be extremely detrimental to their oral health. Fortunately, sedation dentistry offers ways to help remove some of the fear and anxiety of dental visits and get patients back to the office for regular exams, cleanings, and treatments.

Levels of sedation dentistry

During sedation dentistry, the dentist or dental professional helps patients relax using a medication option that best suits the patient’s needs. Although it’s sometimes called sleep dentistry, the patients are usually awake unless they need general anesthesia. The levels of sedation dentistry include:

  • Minimal – patient is sedated and relaxed but awake
  • Moderate – patient is awake but in a deeper sedation that may cause slurred speaking and lack of memory of the procedure
  • Deep – patient is on the brink of unconsciousness but able to be woken up
  • General anesthesia – patient is totally unconscious

Types of sedation dentistry

The type of sedation dentistry a patient receives depends on their comfort level and the dental treatment the dentist needs to perform. Types of sedation dentistry include:

Nitrous oxide – For inhaled sedation, the patient breathes in nitrous oxide which some know as laughing gas. Through a mask placed over the nose, the patient breathes in a combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen that helps them relax. The gas wears off quickly, and the dentist controls how much sedation the patient receives. This form of sedation dentistry is the only one where a patient may be capable of driving himself or herself home following treatment.

Pills – For oral sedation, the patient takes a sedative approximately one hour before treatment, and the pill makes them drowsy but still awake. Most people associate this type of treatment with sedation dentistry, and the effects range from feeling groggy to falling asleep. The dentist can usually awaken a sleeping patient with a gentle shake.

IV sedation – This moderate form of sedation administers the sedative into the patient through a vein. This method works quickly, and the dentist can adjust the sedation level as needed.

General anesthesia – For deep sedation, the patient receives general anesthesia that renders them mostly or completely unconscious throughout the procedure. Patients don’t wake up until the medications wear off, or the dentist reverses their effects with different drugs.

During almost all types of sedation dentistry, the dentist administers a local anesthetic to numb the area and relieve any discomfort during the procedure.

Appropriate candidates for sedation dentistry

Patients who have a genuine fear of the dentist or suffer from dental anxiety that makes it difficult or impossible to visit the dentist can benefit from sedation dentistry. Appropriate candidates for sedation dentistry include patients who have a low pain threshold, sensitive teeth, a bad gag reflex, can’t remain still in the chair or require extensive dental work. Although there is always a risk involved when receiving anesthesia, sedation dentistry is extremely safe when performed by a qualified, experienced dental professional. It’s important that a patient discusses any medical conditions they have or medications they take with their dentist prior to sedation dentistry.

Don’t let dental fear or anxiety keep you from having a healthy, stunning smile. Contact Creative Dental to find out how we can make your next visit to the dentist comfortable and relaxed.

“Having a board certified anesthesiologist who can come into the office allows us to offer our patients in-office sedation, which is much more convenient than ever before.”

 

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drinking straws and oral health

Oral Health Benefits of Drinking Straws

Many people might not know that something as simple as using a straw to drink liquids can benefit their oral health. It’s common practice to use a straw in drinks at restaurants, but it’s less common for people to use straws at the workplace or home. Knowing the oral health benefits of using a drinking straw on a regular basis may encourage more people to change their drinking habits.

Benefits for teeth

Using a straw on a routine basis at home and out in public has several oral benefits as it protects your teeth. These benefits include:

Prevents stains – Using a straw avoids constant and direct contact between dark-colored drinks such as iced tea, and this prevents stains that can happen after long term exposure to these darker liquids.

Less exposure to sugary substances – Just like using a straw keeps stain-causing liquids from direct contact, it keeps sugary liquids away from your teeth. Less exposure to sugar-filled drinks can reduce the risk of bacteria and sticky residue from sticking to your teeth and causing tooth erosion.

Improves hygiene – Dishes in restaurants can serve as hosts for bacteria due to how many people they’re exposed to during a typical day. Even disposable, on-the-go cups can hold germs, so by using a straw, people can reduce their exposure to germs and bacteria that can make them sick and cause oral health issues.

More convenient – Anyone who has tipped an ice-filled cup up and had the ice shift and drench them as they drink knows that drinking from a straw reduces this risk and is more convenient than finding a dry shirt. Drinking from a straw is easier than unscrewing a cap too.

Safer – Drinking through a straw takes a controlled amount of liquid into the mouth, which lowers the chances of choking.

Additional ways to protect teeth

Using a drinking straw is one way to protect teeth from direct exposure to sugary and/or dark drinks that can cause erosion and stains, but there are other ways to protect teeth including:

  • Drinking water after consuming staining or sugary beverages to neutralize acid
  • Brushing teeth immediately after drinking dark or sugary beverages
  • Regular professional dental cleanings to prevent decay and discoloration

Even small changed like drinking through a straw or chasing sugary drinks with water can make a huge difference in a person’s oral health. Cutting back on sugar-filled beverages is another way to improve oral and overall health.

Keep your teeth looking and feeling their healthiest with professional cleanings and cosmetic dentistry from Creative Dental.

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Dental Numbing

What to Expect During Dental Numbing

It’s quite common and expected that when you have a tooth filled or extracted, the dentist will use medications to numb the area and ensure you’re comfortable throughout the procedure. If you’ve never had a procedure that required numbing, you may be nervous because you don’t know what to expect. Fortunately, with a better understanding of how numbing medications make you feel, you can feel more at ease about any impending procedures.

Things to keep in mind

Knowing that you need a filling, extraction or other dental procedure that requires numbing can be stressful, but the purpose of numbing is so that you don’t feel anything during the procedure. Every patient is different so numbing may affect you more or less than other people, and this doesn’t mean that there’s anything to worry about. The medication given during certain dental treatments may cause numbness in both your face and head, but this isn’t cause for concern. Other elements to be aware of during numbing include:

  • There’s less numbness for upper tooth extraction than lower tooth extraction
  • The dentist can numb upper teeth individually, so there’s less overall numbness
  • The dentist can numb upper teeth in blocks or sections for larger treatment areas
  • For lower teeth numbing, half of your lip and tongue on the side of treatment will go numb

It’s common and normal to experience numbness in your nose, cheek and the side of your head during a dental procedure because of how all the nerves in your face and head are connected. For a tooth extraction, it’s common for the entire side of your head to feel numb, and this doesn’t indicate a problem. The dentist wants to make sure that you’re comfortable and pain-free when removing a tooth.

When numbing wears off

Dental numbing usually wears off within a few hours. The length of time numbing lasts depends on what anesthetics the dentist used and where treatment occurred in the mouth. Generally speaking, though, feeling should return within 2-4 hours. You may have trouble speaking normally, eating or drinking while numb, but once sensation routines, you will be fine. If you don’t think numbing will be enough to calm your nervousness or you have dental anxiety, ask your dentists about sedation dentistry.

At Creative Dental, we encourage you to discuss any concerns you have about numbing and other aspects of dental treatments. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible during all procedures, and we put your oral health needs first.

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diabetes and tooth loss

Diabetes May Increase Risk of Tooth Loss

A diagnosis of diabetes increases a person’s risk of other health complications. Diabetes may result in damage to small and large blood vessels that increases the risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack. Diabetes can damage nerves, eyes, kidneys and feet. Current research also indicates that diabetes may have a link to tooth loss.

Duke University study

A study conducted from 1971-2012 by Duke University researchers found that tooth loss can be another health issue related to diabetes. The study of over 37,000 Americans showed that people with diabetes lose twice the number of teeth as non-diabetics. The National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey revealed that people with diabetes were 34% less likely than non-diabetics to have at least 21 of their natural teeth.

Additional factors affecting diabetic tooth loss

Tooth loss in the United States has been declining for 40 years, but diabetics are still more prone to losing teeth. Ethnicity also plays a role in tooth loss as African Americans with diabetes show a greater risk of tooth loss than Mexican or Caucasian Americans. The leading cause of adult tooth loss is gum disease and for those with diabetes, gum disease is a common complication. Approximately 10% of the population, or 29 million people, have a diagnosis of diabetes, and this represents a bewildering number of people at a higher risk of developing gum disease.

Importance of diagnosis and care

Adding to the increased risk of tooth loss is the fact that approximately 8 million people with diabetes haven’t been diagnosed with the disease. Without knowing they have diabetes, patients don’t know that they need to be more involved with their oral health than those who don’t have diabetes. When people receive the proper diagnosis of diabetes, they can then take steps to protect their overall and oral health and avoid tooth loss. Everyone benefits from good oral hygiene, but it’s especially important that diabetics take a proactive commitment to their oral health. Regular dental checkups and daily brushing and flossing are some of the best ways to prevent tooth loss.

At Creative Dental, we’re committed to helping all of our patients maintain and protect their healthy smile. If you have diabetes, we can help you avoid tooth loss with regular, thorough periodontal exams and advice on improving oral health habits at home as needed.

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Care after dental restoration procedures

Updated Guidelines for Dental Restoration Care

At the end of 2015, The American College of Prosthodontics (ACP) published new guidelines regarding the care and maintenance of dental restorations. These guidelines covered restorations supported by dental implants and those supported by natural teeth. The new guidelines don’t contain anything surprising, but it’s important to understand the reasoning behind any oral health recommendations.

Long-standing recommendations

The updated recommendations from the ACP uphold what’s been the standard of dental restoration care for a while. The ACP still recommends visits to the dentists every six months for inspection, care and maintenance of dental restorations including dental implants, porcelain veneers and dental crowns. The guidelines encourage dentists to clean natural teeth and restorations thoroughly and with the correct tools to avoid potential damage to restorations.

At home recommendations from the ACP encourage people to follow good oral hygiene practices including twice daily brushing, flossing at least once a day and using any supplement methods necessary to remove food debris and plaque from the gum line and between teeth. Patients with complex and multiple restorations on natural teeth that surround or support a removable restoration, the ACP suggests using chlorhexidine rinses, high fluoride toothpaste and the addition of triclosan antibiotic when necessary.

The need for additional study

One of the biggest revelations from the ACP’s 2015 guidelines was that only a few of the current clinical care recommendations have good, science-based support. In clinical care guidelines, the quality of evidence receives ratings that range from A to D; with A being the best score. The ACP issued a “D” rating for a majority of the guidelines because they’re extrapolated from or based on lower-quality evidence. The recommendations that received an “A” rating from ACP include thorough dental exams, brushing and flossing twice a day and the guidelines for complex and multiple dental restorations. Despite the “lower quality” evidence, it’s still advisable to follow the existing care recommendations as they’re based accurately on existing evidence. Additional study and research will yield better information and help create recommendations that receive a higher rating from the ACP.

The best place to receive recommendations that pertain to your specific dental restorations is from a qualified dental professional. At Creative Dental, we have extensive experience with many forms of dental restorations and understand the proper care and maintenance required to help those restorations last without the need for replacement or removal. Contact us today to discuss ways to improve and protect your smile.

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