See the Dentist More Often & You’ll Save Money!

an ounce of preventive dentistryWhat if we told you the more often you see your dentist, the less you’ll spend on dentistry? We know it sounds like a contradiction, but that is the power of preventive dentistry.

We recommend that you visit us at least twice a year for a teeth cleaning appointment, which also includes a basic exam. You’ll hear dental professionals refer to this kind of appointment as prophylaxis (prophy for short), which is a word that comes from a Greek term that means “guard”. The services we perform during your teeth cleaning & checkup are intended to guard against the spread & development of disease, particularly tooth decay & gum disease.

Think of your preventive dental care in terms of this metaphor: you’re at home & a bad rain storm is coming. What would you rather respond to, a weather report telling you that there is a flood warning, or three feet of water in your living room? Wouldn’t you want the early warning so you have time to place sandbags to keep the water out?

As a dental patient, which would you rather have, a dental hygienist gently removing plaque & tartar from your teeth, or the dentist telling you that your tooth is too far gone to be saved & has to be removed?

We say this not to scare you & not as a threat, but because we want you to think of preventive dentistry as an early warning system for your mouth. We’d rather let you know about the risks to your health & help you take preventive measures than be on the phone with the insurance company telling them about the damage.

A few dozens sandbags are a lot cheaper than replacing your belongings & repairing damage to your house. Preventive dentistry, like teeth cleanings, is much cheaper than restorative repair to fix decay, such as fillings, crowns, & bridges or gum disease treatments. If you have dental insurance, most of your annual preventive dental care is covered & won’t cost you any extra money. That’s like if your homeowner’s insurance offered you a load of sandbags for free twice a year, just in case there was a flood. If you knew there was a risk of flooding, why would your refuse the offer?

So if you want to avoid costly restorative dentistry or gum disease treatments in the future, be sure to come see us every six months for your preventive care & cleaning appointment. An hour of your time twice a year is well worth trying to repair the damage after a catastrophe!

What You Need to Know About Professional Teeth Whitening

woman with beautiful professionally whitened smileThe color of their teeth is one of the top things people say they would like to change about their smile. Thankfully, teeth whitening is fairly simple treatment, but there are so many options for teeth whitening you may find yourself with a few questions. We think the most common and the most important question we hear is this: Why should I have my dentist whiten my teeth instead of using those drugstore whitening kits?

Dentists have access to better, more effective teeth whitening technologies. Strips and gels from the drugstore can make a difference, but the whitening agents they contain aren’t as strong as the ones at the dental office. Stronger solutions can and should only be used under the supervision of a dentist, which is why you’ll have to come to us if you want access to more effective whitening solutions.

Drugstore kits usually require you to apply them over the course of several days or weeks to see a difference, but a dentist can whiten your teeth in the course of a single visit. This is because dentists can use special technologies, such as special lights that accelerate the whitening process.

With in-office whitening, you can also choose the shade you want you teeth to be whitened to and your dentist will use their experience and expertise to get as close to that shade as possible. With drugstore tooth whitening kits, the shade you’ll end up with is anyone’s guess.

Perhaps the most important reason to have your dentist whiten you teeth actually has to your oral health and comfort. Teeth whitening is not recommended for people with gum disease or worn enamel. Also, some whitening agents are known to cause irritation or sensitivity in the teeth and gums. Your dentist can help prevent this from happening and can help you if any irritation and sensitivity does occur.

In-office professional teeth whitening is more expensive than at-home options, but what you get for your money is better technology, dentist supervisions and usually better results.

Interested in whitening but still haven’t decided to do it? Consider scheduling your whitening before a special event, especially one at which you know you might be photographed a lot, such as the holidays, graduation, or a wedding. Teeth whitening is a common cosmetic procedure for brides-to-be. Who wants a white dress with a yellow smile? But be sure to leave a few weeks between your teeth whitening and your wedding just in case you experience some of the side effects mentioned above.

Great Reasons to Get Braces

Young woman with bracesMany people think of braces as a right of passage that we subject pre-teens & teens to in the midst of their most awkward years just to ensure they have a nice straight smile by the time they reach adulthood. But the truth is that braces can benefit people of all ages & not all of the reasons to get braces are aesthetic.

While most of us think of getting braces in order to have straight teeth, braces have a purpose beyond cosmetics. Braces can be used to treat misaligned bites (the technical term is malocclusion), which left untreated can contribute to difficulty chewing, jaw pain, & uneven wear on your teeth. Once your braces treatment is finished, you’ll get the benefit of a beautiful smile that is also functional.

In addition to this, braces have other benefits for your oral health: straight, properly spaced teeth are also easier to clean. When you teeth are properly aligned there are fewer places where your toothbrush can’t reach that might accumulate bacteria & plaque that could lead to tooth decay. The same goes for properly spaced teeth: it is much easier to floss teeth that are not too crowded.

Another side benefit of braces treatment is an improvement to your facial aesthetics. If the purpose of your braces is to fix an underbite, overbite or otherwise misaligned bite, the result may also result in a more proportional & attractive relationship between your jaw & the rest of your face. It should be noted that more severe jaw alignment problems cannot be fixed by braces alone & may also require jaw surgery. While facial aesthetics alone are not necessarily a reason to get braces, improvements in this area are often seen once treatment is finished.

Your options for orthodontic treatment may vary when it comes to braces that are for primarily for cosmetic versus structural purposes. Many of the clear or quick options, such as clear aligners, may not be able to fix more complex orthodontic problems the way that traditional braces can. But while traditional braces may not be as attractive or fast as other braces or aligners, you will still end up with a beautiful, straight smile at the end of your treatment. No two sets of teeth are quite the same, so start a discussion with your doctor or orthodontist about which braces options might be right for you.

5 Reasons to Visit the Dentist

 

Pain

If you are experiencing a toothache or pain in your gums or another part of your mouth, you should see us as soon as possible. We know this sounds obvious, but a surprising number of people put off going to the dentist when they’re in pain, either because they think it might get better on it’s own, or they’re afraid of what the treatment will cost. We can tell you from experience putting off getting treatment for a toothache will make it more expensive, not less! Plus, we don’t want any of our patients to be in pain for any length of time. The sooner you see us the sooner we can make the pain go away. If you’re experiencing oral pain, especially if accompanied by swelling or redness, please call right away.

Sensitivity

While tooth sensitivity can be a result of relatively harmless things such as over-brushing or sensitivity to chemicals in tooth whitening toothpaste, it can also be a sign of a serious oral health problem. Tooth sensitivity to heat or cold can be a sign of a cracked tooth, a filling that’s gone bad, a cavity, tooth erosion, or even gum disease. If you’ve suddenly developed tooth sensitivity, please come in to see us. Not only will we be able to diagnose potential problems, we can offer treatments or advice that may reduce or eliminate the sensitivity.

Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums can be a sign of serious oral health problems, particularly gingivitis & gum disease (which can lead to lots of pain, expense, & often tooth loss). Still, we know that many people see a bit of blood when they brush or floss their teeth & don’t think much of it. But consider this: you wash your hands all the time as a way to prevent disease. If your hands started bleeding every time you washed them, wouldn’t you contact your doctor? Same goes for your mouth: if it bleeds when you brush or floss, call us right away!

Health changes

It’s easy to forget that your oral health affects your overall health & that the opposite is also true. If you have been recently diagnosed with diabetes, you should let us know, as this condition puts you at higher risk for gum disease & poor oral hygiene has also been shown to exacerbate diabetes symptoms. Patients who are starting treatment for cancer should also contact us, as many cancer treatments can have serious side effects on your oral health. If you’ve recently been put on a medication that causes dry mouth, you may be more prone to tooth decay or other problems, so please let us know which medications you’re on & which side effects you’re experiencing. Women who who have become pregnant should also tell us right away, as pregnancy can create changes in your oral health, particularly your gums. These are just a few examples. If you’ve experienced a serious change in your health, please let us know so we can keep an eye on its effect on your smile.

It’s been a while

Your teeth don’t hurt, your gums don’t bleed, you brush & floss regularly, you don’t have that much plaque or tartar build up, your teeth are not too yellow, you think your breath smells fine, so why should you visit the dentist? The truth is, many potential dental problems start with no noticeable symptoms at all. Visiting us regularly for a teeth cleaning & dental exam is the best way to detect unseen problems. For example, we do periodic x-rays of your teeth during your visit because it helps us spot cavities that may be starting between your teeth or under fillings that would otherwise not be visible to the naked eye & aren’t yet causing your pay. When you visit us we can detect signs of a problem that you may not know to look for, such as signs of tooth grinding or even oral cancer. Plus, why would you want to miss out on that wonderful smooth & fresh smile that you can only get after a cleaning at the dentist?

What’s the Difference Between DDS & DMD?

Dentist degrees DMD vs. DDSAs dentists we know we sometimes speak a slightly different, more clinical, language than our patients. We try not to be mysterious, but sometimes what’s common knowledge to us could be confusing to our patients. One common thing that patients want to know is the meaning of the different letters you see after our names: either DDS or DMD. So what’s the difference? Is one better than the other?
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