Category Archives: Dental Tips

4 Questions to Ask an Orthodontist

If you have decided to take the leap and get braces, then there are a few questions that you need to ask your potential orthodontic specialist before choosing them.

What is your experience?

Before picking an orthodontic specialist, make sure that they are well versed in orthodontic treatment and have done it before. Ask if they are members of the AAO, which can only be joined after completing a required training course. Also ask them how many years of practical experience they have and if they would feel comfortable tackling your case.

Ask your friends and family for references when choosing an orthodontist. If your cousin’s son has braces then she may know a good orthodontic specialist. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it is a big decision that you don’t want to make lightly.

What are your hours?

You are probably busy, and if your kids need braces, then your family is probably pretty busy. Between soccer practice, dance recital, and piano lessons, it might be hard to squeeze in an orthodontic appointment. Find an orthodontic office that is right for you. Choose an office with extended and flexible hours so that you can fit in your visits when it works best for you.

How long will treatment take?

Treatment typically varies by person when it comes to orthodontia. We all have different mouths and teeth alignments, so it makes sense that some of us need to keep our braces on for longer periods of time. Most orthodontic specialists say that it takes about two years to see results. Ask how many visits you will need to make each year so that you can get a feel for the amount of time you will be spending in the dental chair.

What’s the cost?

Cost might just be the one thing keeping you from getting braces, so shop around for an orthodontist that best fits your price range. Sometimes price has nothing to do with quality, so if you find an orthodontist who charges less, that doesn’t make him a bad dentist. Ask what is included in the quote and what additional charges might crop up.

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Good Habits Start Young

Instilling proper dental habits in your children early on can help make it easier for them to care for their teeth lifelong. Good practices can’t start too soon! You can use gauze to wipe baby’s gums and clean any plaque from newly sprouting teeth. Use a soft toothbrush to clean teeth when they are fully erupted. And flossing? Kids don’t get a free pass! You can start the habit of flossing once your child has all his or her primary teeth, generally by age two. It’s also during this time that you should take your child for their first dental visit. Ask your dentist and doctor about fluoride rinses or toothpastes, as they can prevent tooth decay. But here’s what’s most important about that first visit: make it fun, comfortable, and easy. Now is the time to dispel any fears about the dentist! Creating fond memories from these early visits can ensure that your child doesn’t come to fear the dentist.

When your child begins to develop permanent teeth, consider sealants. Sealants in molars can keep cavities from forming in these chewing-heavy areas. It protects the enamel and keeps away tooth decay-causing bacteria.

If your child begins to play sports, don’t forget about protecting their teeth too! Mouth guards are essential for high-activity sports like football. They can prevent broken teeth, broken jaws, saving you a lot of difficulty and money. You can get a custom-designed mouth guard to make sure your child’s teeth and jaw are fully protected from any sports-related collisions!

In general, make sure your kids are involved with taking care of their teeth—make brushing teeth a fun activity that you do together as a family. Develop a relationship with your dental care team, so that your child trusts and feels comfortable in the dentist’s chair. Healthy habits start young!

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The Truth About Multivitamins

Millions of Americans take a daily multivitamin, but why? Most Americans pop the pill because they believe that it has an array of health benefits attached to it, but studies show that it may not be true.

Whether you are trying to up your daily intake of calcium and Vitamin D for healthy teeth and bones, or are trying to amp up your iron, switching to a pill may not be the answer. Most supplement users choose to take supplements as their own personal choice, not as a recommendation from their doctor.

The argument lies in the fact that you should be getting all your vitamins and nutrients from your diet. Instead of spending money on a monthly supply of vitamins, you could purchase some healthy greens, or a nice piece of fish.

Supplements cannot take the place of the nutrients and vitamins that you receive from your daily diet. Ask your dentist about things you can add to your diet for strong and healthy teeth.

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Too Much Bottled Water Could Be Bad for Your Teeth

With more and more Americans using less and less tap water, a lack of fluoride could be a real concern. How many water bottles do you and your family buy in a year? How much is too much?

Ensuring that children get fluoride from a young age is very important. Most brands of bottled water aspire to have a ‘clean’ feel, but some lack fluoride which is a key ingredient in tap water that keeps children from developing tooth decay.

Fluoride’s main goal is to help diminish the dental decay that leads to cavities and oral diseases. Fluoride is said to “strengthen tooth structure while also inhibiting the bacteria’s capacity to produce acid from sugars.” Although there is no current research that confirms that bottled water is a direct cause of tooth decay, fluoride filled water is said to statistically “reduce tooth decay by 25%.” If you and your family mainly drink water out of a bottle, consider starting your child on a fluoride rinse to help prevent the development of cavities. Note that fluoride rinses are suggested for children ages 6 and older.

We all consume H2O multiple times a day in order to maintain a healthy balanced diet and rid our bodies of bad toxins. Studies have found that if you add fluoride along regular water consumption you will reduce your risk for oral health problems.

If you have any individual questions regarding which water is better, how to get more fluoride into your daily routine, or questions about how much fluoride is safe, ask your local dentist and/or set up a time to talk with them to discuss this. He/she may also prescribe fluoride-filled toothpaste that allows you to get your source while brushing if drinking fluoridated tap water isn’t an option.

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Oral Health Tips for Those Aged 40-60

If you’re between 40-60 years old, you have unique concerns with regards to your oral health. Here’s what you should be paying attention to.

1. Gum Disease

Gingivitis is the first and only stage of gum disease that is reversible. If not treated properly, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis—a serious, destructive disease. Some people with gum disease show no visible signs until the damage has been done, which is why regular dental visits are crucial. Brushing properly and eating well is important as well.

2. Missing Teeth

Many adults have missing or decayed teeth, which is detrimental to oral health! If you have gaps between your teeth, it can affect how you speak and eat. Missing teeth can affect proper chewing, cause the other teeth to shift, and sometimes even bone loss can occur. Here at Flawless Dental we offer several solutions for missing teeth.

3. Sensitivity

Do hot or cold foods make you wince? This could be a sign of increased dental sensitivity. This could be because of cavities, fractured teeth, improper fillings, gum disease, enamel problems, or an exposed tooth root. All of these can be treated. There are desensitizing toothpaste options and other alternative treatments your dentist can suggest after determining the cause of your sensitivity.

4. Dry Mouth

Saliva is essential for oral health. Did you know saliva has enzymes that protect against cavities? If you have dry mouth, it’s a problem that should be addressed. There are ways to treat dry mouth!

5. Oropharyngeal Cancer

Oral cancer can happen in any area of the mouth cavity: lips, gums, cheeks, tongue, jaw, palate, and throat included. It usually appears as a small, almost unnoticeable spot or sore. Your dentist can check for any signs of cancer and discuss your health history. Many times suspicious changes will be unnoticeable to you, which is why a health care professional should check up your mouth regularly. Some symptoms of oral cancer are sores that bleed/don’t heal, a hard spot/lump, a roughened area, numbness in an area, tenderness in an area, or a change in the way your teeth feel when you bite. Tell your dentist or schedule an appointment if you have any problems with chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving any part of your mouth/jaw.

Cavities don’t stop when you grow up– they’re something that need to be prevented actively throughout your lifetime. Always brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day, and make sure to schedule regular appointments with your local dentist!

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Floss without Floss

When it comes to flossing, it’s not exactly the easiest thing to add organically to your routine. Sure, we are all told from childhood that flossing daily is crucial to oral health and preventing cavities/gum disease, and this is one hundred percent true. But in reality, how many of us truly floss at least once a day?

The truthful answer is ‘not many’ and the list of excuses is as long as, well, a piece of floss. “I just forget to”, “I don’t have any time”, “it hurts, and my gums bleed”, “I used up the whole sample you gave me last cleaning”, and so goes the list. But in this modern age of technological alternatives, there are some products that may help you add flossing to your routine:

“GUM” Soft-Picks

These are an excellent alternative for those who are looking for a gentler way to clean between teeth, and can be used on the go or in between meals. Essentially it’s just a soft-bristled toothpick that fits easily in the gaps of you teeth, allowing you to clean out bacteria and stimulate you gums to promote health. They are also an excellent alternative to floss for kids with braces, or that that wear a bridge/dental implant.

WaterPik Oral Irrigator

The WaterPik Oral Irrigator is an excellent alternative to flossing when used properly, and can be used by the whole family conveniently. Essentially it’s a sophisticated squirt gun that uses a tiny pulsating jet of water to remove plaque buildup and bacteria from teeth. The water jet is also said to promote healthy blood flow to the gums. Also, you can supplement the water in the reservoir with anti-bacterial or tartar controlling mouthwashes for a lasting clean.

Sonicare AirFloss

The Sonicare AirFloss machine works in a similar fashion to the WaterPik, but with minor tweaks. The AirFlosser uses a jet of air and super-fine water droplets to blast plaque and bacteria from the spaces between teeth. It also has a precision tip and trigger to allow for super-accurate cleaning in hard to reach areas.

Where these tools are excellent alternatives to flossing, most dentists would agree that traditional flossing is still the best way to prevent tooth decay. However, these gadgets can help you at least get closer to the ultimate goal of flossing every day!

Oral Health Problems in New Moms

We get it. When you’re a new mother, your top concern is your baby. Sometimes, however, this means neglecting the most important person…you! Here are some surprising ways your oral health can suffer during those crucial first few months of your baby’s life, and what to do if you encounter them.

Dry Mouth

Saliva is one of the most important (yet overlooked) components of a healthy mouth. If you’re a new mother, you may be so busy that you’re forgetting to stay hydrated. This is majorly important especially if you’re breastfeeding, because that’s even more hydration you’re losing and giving to baby. Keep a water bottle by you at all times, and drink even when you aren’t thirsty to keep your smile healthy.

Bruxism

As wonderful as it is, the stress of having a new baby in the house can sometimes get to new moms. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a common result of stress, and can wreak havoc on your smile. If you’re waking up in the morning feeling pain or tightness in your jaw, talk to your dentist about mouth guards to wear while you sleep.

Poor Habits

When you’re a busy mom, the easiest things to forget are often the most basic. Maintaining your normal brushing and flossing routines may seem inconsequential, but missing them can cause serious oral health issues including gum disease, cavities, and in serious cases, oral cancers.

Make sure you’re taking time to take care of yourself as well as baby, and contact your dentist with any oral health problems you find yourself facing. We’re here to help!

Meth Mouth

It is widely known that drug use, especially hard drug use, can cause tooth decay. The worst drug offender in ruining teeth, however, is methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine, or ‘Meth’ is known as a powerfully addictive drug that can harm overall health, but it can also seriously affect oral health. According to the American Dental Association, Meth use can both destroy a person’s smile and their ability to chew foods.

A 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 1.2 million Americans had tried methamphetamines in the last year and 440,000 reported using meth in the last month. These numbers have been on the rise since the early 2000s, especially in people between the ages of 18 to 34 years old.

Meth use causes permanent brain damage and also causes the salivary glands to stop producing saliva. This dries out the mouth and allows the acid in the mouth to run rampant, destroying teeth. The lack of saliva in the mouth allows for cavities to form, and these cavities will likely be left untreated, as meth becomes the sole purpose of the users life. As meth use continues, total tooth decay occurs.

Dentists can often times see the beginning signs of meth use in the oral health of teenagers. Teens who suddenly have teeth riddled with cavities is often a red flag to dentists.

Meth use will decimate your natural smile and negatively affects your overall physical and mental health. A quality dentist will see the signs and possibly recommend or call a treatment center for help when noticing signs of meth use.

5 Apps to Benefit Your Dental Hygiene

Alright all you tech savvy smart phone owners: time to put your phone to good use in helping with your oral health! We all use our phones all day everyday, but did you know that among the millions of apps out there, there are actually quite a few that aim to help improve our dental hygiene? Here are five to get you started.

First we have the Dental Expert app. This app explains dental procedures and treatment options, if ever you are curious or forget exactly what your dentist said about a certain procedure. It puts all the concepts in layman’s terms for easy readability, and is laid out in an accessible, user-friendly menu along with fun dental facts and myths as well!

Next up, a Pediatric Dental Expert app that allows first time parents to gain knowledge of anything from correct teething schedules to understanding overbites and how to fix them. Whatever the concern is for the little one, most of the information will be on here, right at your fingertips!

Speaking of children, we know that visiting the dentist for the first time can be frightening at a young age, but with the Tiny Dentist app, it doesn’t have to be! This specific app allows kids to “be the dentist” and put themselves in their shoes. They can play around fixing teeth and hopefully become less fearful of actually attending appointments. It even allows them to play-sit in the dental chair to feel more comfortable!

Hmm, did we remember to floss today? Flossing is one of the singlehanded most important things we can do for our oral health, but remembering to is sometimes difficult! With the app Flossy, keeping track of flossing and nurturing the habit becomes way easier. The app sets reminders and allows you to schedule specific times for flossing.

Lastly, we have Brush DJ. Two minutes is the suggested time for brushing but sometimes we fall short of that. With Brush DJ you can use any song and it cuts it to exactly two minutes, so when the songs ends, the brushing is complete! How clever!

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Tips Dental Professionals Live By

At a dental appointment, you’re likely to receive a lot of advice. Brush and floss twice daily, cut down on coffee and soda, don’t smoke cigarettes—while these are some of the most valuable and important tips, you probably hear them all the time. There are plenty of dental tips that dentists repeat with less frequency, but it doesn’t make them any less crucial. Read on for a few lesser-known insight into your mouth that only the pros know.

1. White Teeth Aren’t Always Healthy Teeth

We all want our teeth to look beautiful. Your smile is often one of the first things others notice about you, and everybody wants to make a good impression. It’s easy to prioritize looks over health—but don’t. If your mouth is riddled with cavities, it doesn’t do you much good to get a whitening treatment, nor do white teeth mean there are no underlying health issues.

2. Dental Health Isn’t Necessarily Hereditary

When you visit your doctor, you’ll often have to discuss your family’s medical history with them in order to determine your risk for certain diseases. Luckily, dental health doesn’t work exactly the same way. If your parents and grandparents wound up with dentures later in their lives, it doesn’t mean that you’ll inevitably need them. Most of your dental health is contingent on your own habits, so keep up the brushing!

3. Do More Than Clean

While hopefully most of your visits to the dentist will only include a simple cleaning, it’s important to periodically ask for additional exams such as oral cancer screenings or x-rays. A little extra time in the dentist’s chair ahead of time can help you avoid larger problems later on.

For more helpful tips and tricks, or to schedule an appointment, feel free to contact us!