When women become pregnant, their bodies undergo many changes. While many people tend to focus on their dietary and vascular health during pregnancy, it is important to note that oral health can be affected, too. Keeping your teeth healthy during pregnancy should be a priority for any expecting mother. We recommend that expecting mothers monitor their sugar intake, practice thorough oral hygiene, and keep regular appointments for checkups and cleanings to safeguard their oral health. If you are pregnant, be sure to mention this with our dentist so that we can help accommodate your unique needs.
Monitor Sugar Intake
For many women, pregnancy brings unsuspected cravings. Sometimes women crave foods they normally don’t think about. Whether its pickles, ice cream, or something else, it is important to monitor sugar intake – especially during pregnancy. Sugar feeds oral bacteria and this can lead to an increased risk for tooth decay. If sugary foods or drinks are consumed, be sure to drink water afterwards to help rinse away food particles.
Practice Proper Oral Hygiene
Oral hygiene is always important but pregnancy brings wild hormonal fluctuations. Hormonal fluctuations increase blood flow to soft tissue, including tissue like the gums and linings of cheeks and lips. Increased blood flow means that the gingiva become more sensitive than usual. Sensitivity can amplify the risk for gingival irritation, which increases the incidence of periodontal disease among women who are pregnant. Since pregnant patients are at risk for common oral conditions like periodontal (gum) disease, brushing and flossing thoroughly can control substances like plaque and tartar that inflame the gums. Brushing and flossing is essential for preventing tooth decay as well.
Keep Regular Dental Appointments
Regular visits to your dentist are necessary – even during pregnancy. Checkups and cleanings can help avert the progression of disease through early detection of potential issues and preventive treatments.
Our practice is happy to accommodate expecting patients. Be sure to let us know if you are expecting so that we can tailor appointments to your needs. Call us today to ask questions or reserve an appointment.
Visiting your dentist regularly is the best way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, but it can also help protect your heart. Studies have shown that, if you have gum disease, your risk of cardiovascular disease rises. So visiting the dentist regularly is one way to keep your heart healthy.
The Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Disease
Over the last several years, doctors have been studying the links between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. There is definitely a correlation between the two—the presence of gum disease is linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. What hasn’t been completely established yet is the reason why this correlation exists.
While searching for the answer to this conundrum, researchers discovered that the bacteria found in the mouths of those with gum disease can also be found in other areas of the body. When the bacteria migrates out of the mouth, it can contribute to inflammation elsewhere, and inflammation is an underlying cause of numerous problems, including heart disease. Recent studies have even found bacteria in the brain that normally exists in the mouth, indicating it has migrated through the bloodstream. The discovery has led researchers to look more closely to determine if there might also be a link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s.
Why Isn’t At-Home Cleaning Enough?
Diligent at-home care is vital, but regular visits to the dentist are necessary to ensure your teeth and gums are as healthy as they can be. There are several reasons for this:
- The dentist can take X-rays of your teeth
- The dentist can more easily find early signs of decay or gum disease
- Professional-strength fluoride treatments help reduce decay
- Professional cleaning helps remove plaque and tartar you might have missed
With access to special tools and knowledge of the earliest symptoms of gum disease, your dentist is an important ally in the quest to maintain your overall health. By diagnosing gum disease in its earliest stages and recommending treatment, your dentist can help protect not only your teeth, but your heart.
Discoloration is a common problem often treated by a cosmetic dentist. In fact, teeth whitening treatment is the most common treatment sought by patients. When teeth whitening doesn’t correct the issue, though, you and your cosmetic dentist might consider using veneers.
Discoloration and Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening is a simple, non-invasive procedure that can correct a range of staining issues, but it is best at treating extrinsic staining—that is, staining that affects only the surface of the teeth. Intrinsic staining, which affects deeper layers of the tooth, does not respond well to traditional whiteners.
Some causes of intrinsic staining include:
- Exposure to certain medications, particularly antibiotics, while the teeth are developing
- Exposure to excessive amounts of fluoride while the teeth are developing
- Damage to the tooth’s interior
- Congenital issues with the enamel
- Wear that has damaged the enamel, leaving the underlying dentin exposed
In addition, some external staining can be so severe that even repeated bleaching treatments do not bring about the desired results. In these cases, veneers can restore the proper whiteness to the teeth and can also help strengthen the tooth.
How Veneers Work
Veneers are typically made of porcelain. They are very thin—often no thicker than a fingernail—and are affixed to the tooth’s surface. Although they are delicate on their own, they provide a strong, durable surface when they’re set permanently into place. Porcelain is semi-translucent, so it allows some light to penetrate, just like your natural enamel. For this reason, porcelain veneers are much more natural-looking than solid porcelain crowns or prosthetic teeth made of tooth-colored resins, which tend to have an opaque, “plastic” appearance.
Typically, veneers are placed in two stages. First, your dentist prepares your teeth and places temporary veneers. The permanent veneers are manufactured off-site and are custom-made and color matched to provide you with your perfect smile. When they’re complete, your dentist will remove your temporary veneers and apply the new, permanent ones. The procedure is simply and relatively non-invasive. In a matter of days, you’ll have the bright, white smile you’ve always wanted.
Are you ready for a better smile? Contact us today!
Porcelain veneers can make a huge difference in the look of your smile. They require very little reshaping of your teeth, making them one of the least invasive cosmetic dentistry treatments. They are also one of the most versatile treatments and can be used to correct a wide range of cosmetic issues. Though porcelain veneers are very durable, taking proper care of them helps keep them looking their best for a decade or more.
Taking Care of Your Veneers
Once they’re adhered to your teeth, porcelain veneers are strong and durable. However, they are still susceptible to cracking or chipping, and the tooth beneath the veneer can be vulnerable to decay. For these reasons, it’s important to take proper care of your veneers so they will keep your smile looking beautiful for years to come.
Some basic guidelines for caring for your veneers include:
- Use a soft toothbrush to clean your teeth regularly
- Avoid biting hard objects, which could chip the edges of your veneers
- When you go to the dentist, tell your hygienist that you have veneers
- Visit the dentist regularly to ensure no cavities are developing
For the most part, you can treat your veneer-treated teeth in the same way you do your untreated teeth, with minor additions to your everyday care designed to protect the porcelain.
Choosing Cosmetic Veneers
If you have issues with the way your smile looks, ask your dentist about veneers. They can be used to disguise issues like severe discoloration, surface damage, or even minor misalignment and small gaps between the teeth. The porcelain reflects light much like natural enamel does, so your teeth will even have the same luster after they’re treated. Veneers are also custom-made and color matched so they don’t look out of place in your mouth.
Veneers can last a long time – often ten to fifteen years or more – if you take proper care of them. So, if you do decide on cosmetic veneers, maintain excellent oral hygiene and visit the dentist regularly to keep your smile looking bright well into the future.
Dental restorations can range from relatively small fillings to extensive work that requires restructuring of the tooth, root canal treatment, or dental crowns. If a tooth has been severely damaged, a crown might be necessary to keep it intact and prevent eventual removal.
Types of Tooth Restorations
Your dentist must perform a tooth restoration if your tooth has been damaged or has experienced decay. Small to medium cavities can be restored with fillings, in which the decayed portion of the tooth is removed and replaced with dental amalgam or with a tooth-colored resin. However, if the cavity is extremely large, or if you experience additional decay in a tooth that has already been filled, a crown might be necessary.
Very severe cavities, cracks in the teeth, or broken-off teeth might require a root canal treatment. This procedure is necessary if the tooth’s interior becomes infected. A dentist or endodontist removes the infected tissue from inside the tooth, then fills it and fits the tooth with a dental crown.
Common Uses of Dental Crowns
Dental crowns were once used routinely for cosmetic purposes, but now your dentist is more likely to recommend dental veneers for purely aesthetic treatment. Crowns are more invasive than veneers, and so are usually reserved for restorations. In order to place a crown, the underlying tooth must be reshaped to fit inside it, which usually involves removing a substantial amount of the enamel and dentin. The crown is custom-made to fit your tooth and to complement your bite, and is permanently fixed in place with special cement.
In general, your dentist will recommend dental crowns if:
- Your tooth is cracked
- Your tooth has broken off
- Your tooth has been treated with root canal therapy
- Your tooth is severely decayed
- You are suffering from decay in a tooth that has already been filled
Dental crowns can be constructed of metal, tooth-colored resins, porcelain, or metal bound with porcelain. Talk to your dentist about what type of crown is best for your particular restoration.
If your gums bleed when you brush, this could be a symptom of gingivitis, an early form of gum disease. Gingivitis is easily treated, so if you let your dentist know as soon as possible, you can prevent it from developing into more serious forms of periodontitis, which could require deep cleaning or even gum surgery.
Causes and Symptoms of Gum Disease
A wide variety of bacteria naturally lives in your mouth. These bacteria can build up if you do not practice good oral hygiene. Sugary drinks and sticky foods cling to the teeth, providing nutrients for these bacteria. As they multiply, they can cause inflammation in the gum tissue, causing the gums to draw back from the tooth roots. Your dentist evaluates the condition of your gums during regular visits by measuring the pockets around your teeth.
Some symptoms to watch out for that could indicate gum disease include:
- Swelling or redness in the gums
- A shiny or purple look to the gums
- Pus or pimple-like growths
- Extreme sensitivity
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- Bleeding when you brush your teeth
Bleeding when you brush is one of the earliest symptoms of gingivitis. If you do notice your gums bleeding, be sure to mention this to your dentist.
Treatment for Gum Disease
The main way to deal with gum disease is through prevention. Maintaining good oral health means regular dental hygiene and twice-yearly visits to the dentist. If your dentist does diagnose gingivitis or gum disease, you might require treatment.
Treatment for gum disease can include:
- Antibacterial toothpaste or mouthwash
- Deep cleaning techniques such as planing and scaling
- Gum surgery
- Gum grafting
The more serious your gum disease is, the more invasive your treatment will be. Very serious gum disease requires gum grafting, in which infected gum tissue is removed and replaced with tissue from the roof of your mouth. Shoring up the gumline in this way provides the necessary support and foundation for your tooth roots, and can prevent long-term tooth loss.
For more information, contact our office today.
Dental crowns are commonly used for restorations in teeth that have been broken off, heavily decayed, or that have undergone root canal therapy. They are strong enough to stand up to everyday wear and tear and the pressures of biting and chewing. The materials used to make crowns don’t generally require any additional care beyond everyday brushing and flossing and regular visits to your dentist.
Caring for Your Dental Crown
Most dental crowns don’t require special care. However, depending upon what the crown is made of, you might need to take some minor precautions to avoid damaging or staining it.
Crowns are generally made of:
- Metal, usually gold or stainless steel
- Metal bonded with porcelain
- Tooth-colored resins
Metal crowns are more commonly used for back teeth (molars) because they are stronger and less likely to chip under the regular stress of chewing. They are also less aesthetically pleasing on front teeth than crowns made of tooth-colored materials. Metal bonded with porcelain is also a popular choice for back teeth, combining the advantages of metal with those of porcelain.
Porcelain crowns are more susceptible to chipping or breaks. If you have porcelain crowns, whether they are on front or back teeth, you should avoid biting down on hard objects of any kind. Be sure to brush and floss regularly. If you have difficulty flossing between teeth that have been crowned, ask your dentist for solutions to prevent gum disease from developing between these teeth.
Having a Tooth Crowned
Crowns are typically placed in a two-step process. First, your dentist takes a mold of your tooth, then he reshapes the tooth to make room for the crown. A temporary crown is affixed to protect your tooth while the permanent crown is constructed. When the crown is ready, you’ll return to the dentist to have it set into place permanently. Your tooth and the jaw around it might be sore for a short time after treatment, but overall having a tooth crowned is a straightforward procedure.
Contact our office at Bliss Dental today for more questions answered!
Dental crowns are used to restore teeth that have been severely damaged by decay or trauma, or which have been treated with root canal therapy. The crown keeps the tooth intact and functional. Porcelain crowns are used when you prefer a more natural-looking restoration, such as for front teeth.
Uses for Porcelain Crowns
Dental crowns are generally used for restorations, though in the past they have also been used for cosmetic reasons. If your tooth has been seriously damaged due to decay, or if it has cracked as a result of trauma or because it’s been treated with large fillings, a crown is often the best choice for restoration. In most cases, a tooth that’s been treated with a root canal is fitted with a crown to keep it strong and usable.
Porcelain crowns are made in an off-site laboratory to exactly match the shape and color of the tooth being treated. After the decay is removed, your family dentist will place a temporary crown to protect your tooth. The permanent crown should be ready in a few days, at which time you’ll return to the dentist to have it set in place with a strong adhesive.
Choosing a Dental Crown
The type of crown you choose depends upon your preferences, the preferences of your dentist, and which tooth is being treated. Crowns can be made of metal, as well, and this is still a common choice, especially for back teeth. Porcelain crowns are used for aesthetic reasons, for example when front teeth must be restored. Other options include metal bonded with porcelain, which adds strength while maintaining a natural appearance.
If your tooth has been broken off, it can be restored with a crown, but you might require preliminary treatment to expose part of the tooth root so the crown has a solid foundation. A crown lengthening procedure is usually used to provide this foundation. If you require this type of preparation, you’ll have to wait for your gums to heal before your crown can be put in place.
If you have more questions, call our office where a caring team member is ready to speak to you!
Whitening toothpastes are a popular option for everyday teeth whitening. If you have mild surface stains on your teeth, brushing with one of these specially formulated toothpastes can help reduce or remove them. Whitening toothpaste can also help you maintain the results of a professional whitening procedure.
How Do Whitening Toothpastes Work?
Most whitening toothpastes contain baking soda, which acts as a mild abrasive to remove stains from the tooth surfaces. Some also contain peroxide, which is a bleaching agent. Peroxide is the main ingredient in professional teeth whitening agents used by your dentist. Using a whitening toothpaste in your everyday hygiene can help prevent or remove staining that occurs due to exposure to staining agents like coffee, tea, or nicotine.
If your staining is severe, however, you’ll need to see your dentist for the best results. Your dentist can use professional-strength whitening agents to lighten your teeth five to ten shades in a single, one-hour appointment. If your teeth still don’t respond to treatment, you might need to use a take-home kit supplied by your dentist. Very severe staining or intrinsic staining will require veneers to return your teeth to their natural color.
Are There Side Effects to Whitening Toothpastes?
In general, whitening toothpastes—and whitening treatment in general—are extremely safe and produce little to no side effects. You might experience a slight increase in sensitivity, since whitening treatment opens the pores in the teeth, making it easier for sensation to pass through the hard enamel and into the more sensitive pulp. This is more common with whitening treatments than with toothpastes. If you experience increased sensitivity, switch to a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth or talk to your dentist about treatment options.
Because whitening toothpastes are slightly abrasive, you should ask your dentist before using them if you have particularly sensitive enamel. Some people have very soft enamel that can be easily damaged even with a soft toothbrush. For these people, whitening toothpaste might not be recommended.
Contact our team at Bliss Dental to discuss your own treatment.
Wisdom teeth removal is very common because most people don’t have enough room in their mouths to accommodate four more large molars. It’s important to take good care of your mouth after removal to avoid uncomfortable side effects like infection or dry socket.
What is Dry Socket?
When a tooth is removed, it leaves behind an empty socket. This leaves nerves and bone tissue unprotected and vulnerable to infection. To protect the socket, a blood clot develops that fills the empty space where the tooth root used to be. Dry socket occurs when this clot become dislodged. Your oral surgeon will provide you with instructions on how to prevent this from happening, including:
- Eat only soft foods for a few days
- Avoid using a straw
- Don’t brush the area where the tooth was removed
- Rinse carefully with warm salt water to prevent infection
- Avoid smoking
If you experience any unusual symptoms after your tooth extraction, be sure to talk to your dentist. Symptoms that you may have developed dry socket include:
- The empty space where the tooth was looks white instead of dark red
- Persistent discomfort that can radiate into the jaw and ear
- A bad taste in the mouth or persistent bad breath
If left untreated, dry socket can develop into severe infection, so if you notice any symptoms, see your dentist as soon as possible.
Treatment for Dry Socket
If you have developed dry socket, your dentist or oral surgeon will treat it by cleaning the area and placing a special paste or a medicated dressing in the socket to help it heal. You’ll probably have to make frequent visits to the dentist to have the dressing changed over the next few days, until healing sets in. You may also receive a prescription for antibiotics, and you might need to use a prescription mouthwash.
Once the socket has healed sufficiently, the bone and nerves will be protected by the new gum tissue that fills in the hole where the tooth was. As long as you receive treatment and are careful to follow your dentist’s instructions, your dry socket should heal successfully.
Do you have more questions? We’re here to help! Contact our office today to get more tips about wisdom teeth removal.
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