Everyone wants a bright, white smile. But everyday things can take their toll on teeth and cause staining or discoloration. From coffee to wine, to certain medications and beets, it seems that everything we consume can transform our pearly whites into dull, discolored teeth. But, as your dentist in Lawrenceville knows, we don’t need to sit back and simply accept a non-ideal smile. In fact, there are things you can do to protect against tooth staining.
- Use Straws
As wine or coffee passes over your teeth, it’s essentially bathing your teeth in staining agents. However, if you use straws instead of sipping directly out of a cup, the liquid bypasses teeth and doesn’t have a chance to stick around, soak in, and cause stains. You may want to consider buying a reusable straw that you can take anywhere. Some restaurants don’t hand out straws anymore, and reusable straws are more environmentally friendly.
- Switch Your Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Sometimes removing stains is as easy as using the right toothpaste and toothbrush. Whitening toothpaste can safely effectively remove surface stains caused by foods and drinks. Find a toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, so you know you’re buying a brand that’s not only safe but also works. Switching from a manual toothbrush to an electric toothbrush can make brushing sessions more efficient and can help you brush each area of your smile for 30 seconds. We recommend talking with your dentist in Lawrenceville about which products are best for your teeth.
- Brush Your Teeth
You should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time to remove bacteria and plaque buildup and to keep your teeth healthy. However, you should also try to brush your teeth after meals. Removing any staining foods or drinks that came in contact with your teeth during dinner quickly and efficiently can work wonders in reducing the likelihood and severity of stains. However, there are bound to be times when brushing your teeth after a meal isn’t possible. When that happens, rinsing your mouth out with water or chewing sugarless gum can also help.
- Dental Cleanings
Besides practicing good oral hygiene habits at home and after meals, it’s also crucial that you get professional dental cleanings twice a year. These cleanings can help remove surface stains and brighten your smile. They’re also a great time to talk with your dentist in Lawrenceville about any concerns you may have about the appearance or health of your smile so you can work together to find solutions that fit your wants and needs.
Tooth discoloration is almost inevitable, even if you follow the tips above perfectly. But we believe that nobody should have to live with a dull smile. Thankfully, there are plenty of cosmetic dentistry treatments available to fix anything that bothers you. From smile whitening to veneers, your ideal smile is possible. Call us today to schedule an appointment.
We all know that good dental care helps protect teeth against cavities. But did you know that maintaining good oral health can also help protect overall health? In fact, research continues to show us that dental care is key to a healthy body. Join your dentist in Lawrenceville as we take a look at some of the ways oral health is connected to overall health.
When many of us think about dental care we immediately think about teeth. However, we can’t ignore the gums. Gum pockets provide an ideal place for bacteria to hide, and while some of the bacteria found in the mouth are harmless, some can lead to some serious problems including gum disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, study upon study is showing a strong connection between gum disease and many whole-body issues such as:
- Heart Disease
- Low Birth Weight
- Premature Births
- Alzheimer’s Disease
How Does This Happen?
The mouth is the first part of both our digestive and respiratory systems, and when an infection such as gum disease affects the mouth, it can easily transfer throughout the body and increase the risk of some of the concerns above. This is why it’s so important to take care of your oral health. Proper brushing and flossing, as well as seeing your dentist in Lawrenceville regularly, can help remove dangerous bacteria and protect your overall health.
Teeth Matter, Too
While there’s a clear connection between gum disease and overall health problems, we can’t forget about our teeth. When you think about it, our teeth definitely play a role in our overall health, too. If we do not take care of our teeth, the plaque and bacteria buildup will lead to gum disease and increase the risk of those larger healthcare concerns. But that’s not all. Our teeth help us chew and allow us to eat a well-balanced diet. Proper nutrition helps fuel our bodies and provides key nutrients we need to stay healthy and fight off germs and bacteria. Limiting the amount of sugar you consume, drinking plenty of water, and using the “Food Plate” guidelines are all good places to start.
Remember, your dentist in Lawrenceville is a key part of your healthcare team and can not only help keep your teeth healthy but can also help protect your overall health. Make sure to brush and floss every day and keep your dental appointments every six months.
October is National Dental Hygiene Month, an entire 31 days dedicated to our trusted and caring hygienists. This year, like most things, the celebration is a little bit different and has an appropriate theme — Faces of Courage. Sponsored by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and Colgate, National Dental Hygiene Month strives to spread thanks to all hygienists and praise their commitment to keeping patients healthy. To help celebrate, your dentist in Lawrenceville wants to share some of the things dental hygienists do and show just how important they are to our office.
What Do Dental Hygienists Do?
Many patients believe that hygienists only clean teeth. The truth is, they do so much more. In fact, it’s not uncommon for patients to see and spend more time with their hygienists than their dentist, they do that much! While laws and rules differ from state to state and a hygienist’s specific duties can vary accordingly, there are some common things that many hygienists do on a daily basis such as:
- Getting Personal – When you first start seeing a new dentist in Lawrenceville, your hygienist will usually start by reviewing some paperwork that includes your oral health history and overall health history. They will update this information at every visit to make sure they’re providing you the best care that’s appropriate for you and your mouth and body.
- Cleaning Teeth – Of course, we all know that a dental hygienist’s main job is to clean teeth and remove any plaque or tartar buildup. Many hygienists will also perform an oral cancer screening, take x-rays, and measure your gum pockets to check for gum disease.
- Preventing Problems – While cleaning your teeth, your hygienist is also paying close attention to any areas of your mouth that may require your dentist in Lawrenceville to take a closer look. Dental hygienists may also apply fluoride or sealants to teeth to help keep acids and bacteria from damaging teeth or to help with tooth sensitivity.
- Teaching Tips – Another thing that hygienists are really good at is teaching patients the best way to brush, floss, and care for their teeth. They may even offer nutrition tips to further protect oral health.
How Do You Become a Dental Hygienist?
To become a dental hygienist, one needs to receive training and get certified. Many hygienists attend a local community college, technical college, dental school, or university programs to complete the recommended courses and training. It usually takes around two years to become a licensed dental hygienist, and many students will receive an associate’s degree. But some universities even offer four-year degrees, along with master’s degree programs. After a degree is received, hygienists will then take a licensing exam on either the state, regional, or national level.
This month, and every month, take time to thank your dental hygienist for all they do to help keep you healthy. And if you’re overdue for a dental cleaning, call your dentist in Lawrenceville to schedule an appointment with a dental hygienist today!
Getting a cancer diagnosis can be understandably scary, and some cancer treatments can cause some unwanted and unpleasant side effects throughout your body. Your mouth is no exception. While we understand that seeing your dentist in Lawrenceville may not be at the top of your to-do list, especially if you’re preparing to begin cancer treatment, it’s important to know that these visits can be an important part of keeping your body healthy and strong through cancer treatment. In fact, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, dental checkups before and during cancer treatment can prevent problems that may be serious enough to stop cancer treatment, which is the last thing you want to do.
- Decreased White Blood Cells
Cancer treatment can be really effective at killing cancer cells, but they can also damage or kill good, healthy, normal cells including white blood cells. White blood cells are important to help fight off infection. Without enough of them, the immune system is weakened. Why is this a concern for your dentist in Lawrenceville? Well, if you have a gum infection, for example, and then your immune system is weakened, the infection can cause complications to both your oral health and additional problems to your overall health.
- Calcium Reduction
If your oncologist recommends radiation therapy to your head or neck, it may also affect your dental health. These treatments tend to reduce calcium levels in the body, and since our tooth enamel consists of mainly calcium, this reduction can cause teeth to weaken, putting them at increased risk of cavities. But that’s not all. Radiation therapy may also damage salivary glands, reducing their ability to produce saliva. This results in dry mouth, which also puts your oral health at risk for additional problems, including cavities and gum disease. Your dentist in Lawrenceville may recommend fluoride to help strengthen enamel or a special rinse to help keep the mouth properly hydrated.
Many cancer treatments involve the use of chemotherapy, which can damage the mucosal tissues in the mouth. This may cause painful sores and a temporary condition called mucositis. Mucositis is the inflammation or ulceration of the mucus membranes anywhere along the digestive tract, from the mouth through the intestines, and can affect an estimated 40% of cancer patients. Your dentist in Lawrenceville may be able to help reduce discomfort caused by mucositis through laser dentistry or other treatments.
Your dentist is always an important part of your healthcare team, especially if you’re undergoing cancer treatment. Make sure to see your dentist at least every six months, and perhaps more during treatment, to help protect your oral health and, in turn, the rest of your body.
Our gums are an important part of our oral health. After all, they help hold our teeth in place and protect the tooth roots. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we want to see them when we smile, no matter how important they are. Nonetheless, there are some people whose gums show more prominently than others. This is known as a gummy smile. Now while there typically aren’t any problems associated with a gummy smile, they can make some feel self-conscious. When this is the case, your dentist in Lawrenceville has some options to help.
Causes of a Gummy Smile
Before we dive into some of the cosmetic dentistry options that can fix a gummy smile, it’s important to know what can cause it in the first place. Some of the most common causes of a gummy smile include:
- Abnormal Tooth Eruption
One of the most common causes behind a gummy smile is the way the teeth develop and erupt. When there’s too much growth in the gum tissue it can expand up and over, essentially hiding teeth. This can create the appearance of short teeth and a gummy smile. However, oftentimes the teeth are fully developed and can be uncovered. An abundance of gum tissue can be genetic or can be a result of medication of an infection in the gums.
- A Bad Bite
At your dental appointments, your dentist in Lawrenceville will ask you to bite down and touch your top teeth to your bottom teeth in order to check your bite alignment. This can help identify several things such as a potential problem with your jaw. A bad bite may also be the reason behind a gummy smile. For example, if the upper jaw protrudes too far outward can create a gummy appearance.
- Hyperactive Upper Lip
While something called a hyperactive upper lip may seem silly, it’s a very real thing. Sometimes the muscles in the upper lip and under the nose are too active. Over time, this overuse can bring the top lip up too high, exposing the gums. This cause of a gummy smile is often hereditary.
Your dentist in Lawrenceville will need to know the root cause of a gummy smile in order to recommend the best treatment for your specific situation.
Gummy Smile Treatment
Treatment of a gummy smile can vary greatly depending on the case. But some of the most common solutions are:
- Scaling & Root Planing
If the cause of a gummy smile is an infection, your dentist will probably recommend beginning with a scaling and root planing deep cleaning. This treatment can be very effective at removing infection and reducing inflammation that may make the gums appear larger than normal. If scaling and root planing treatment doesn’t give a patient the result they desire, there are additional treatments available.
- Crown Lengthening/Gum Recontouring
Other common and often successful treatments for a gummy smile are crown lengthening or gum recontouring, which are pretty much exactly what they sound like. These procedures remove excess tissue around the teeth and restructure the gum line allowing more of the white enamel to show.
A gummy smile caused by a bad bite may best be treated through orthodontics, including traditional braces or clear aligners such as Invisalign or ClearCorrect. Orthodontics can also help fix a bad bite in general and may relieve jaw pain or other oral health problems related to a bad bite.
If you notice more of your gums showing when you smile, laugh, or talk, and it bothers you, schedule a consultation with your dentist in Lawrenceville.
There’s a myth out there that says we’re almost guaranteed to lose some of our teeth as we get older. But a study by the American Dental Association says otherwise. In fact, more adults are keeping more of their natural teeth longer now than ever before. But that doesn’t ultimately mean that we’re all safe from tooth loss. Join your dentist in Lawrenceville as we take a closer look at some of the main reasons why our teeth fall out, some of which have nothing to do with age.
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, accounts for 70% of all adult tooth loss in America and is the main reason our teeth fall out. Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue that can damage both the gum tissue and the jaw bone that hold our teeth in place. While anyone can develop gum disease, it does tend to affect older Americans more. For example, a little over 8% of Americans between the ages and 20 and 64 have gum disease compared to 17% for those over 65. The best way to combat the side effects of gum disease is to seek treatment from your dentist in Lawrenceville early.
Cavities are something that affects over 91% of Americans at least once in their lives, and they’re usually just a minor inconvenience. However, as with many things related to our health, if a cavity isn’t treated while it’s still small it can lead to other, more complex problems. As a cavity grows larger and deeper into the tooth, it will start to affect the tooth’s pulp, roots, and nerves. This can be painful and may require root canal treatment or tooth extraction and therefore, the loss of a tooth.
Our teeth can also fall out as a result of an accident. Many times these accidents occur from playing sports without a mouthguard but can also happen because of a fall, car accident, or other unexpected mishaps that involve trauma to the mouth. While nobody ever anticipates an accident and you can’t necessarily prevent them from happening, you can (and should) wear a mouthguard when playing sports.
Believe it or not, there are some reasons our teeth fall out that seemingly have nothing to do with our mouths. You see, there are several whole-body health problems that cause problems throughout the body as well as in the mouth, including tooth loss. Make sure you tell your dentist in Lawrenceville your entire health history, so they know if they need to pay extra special attention to your oral health. Some of the most common health problems associated with tooth loss include:
- High Blood Pressure
- Poor Nutrition
As we grow up, we do not need to simply accept the fact that we will lose our teeth. We can take matters into our own hands and actively work to protect our smiles for life by brushing and flossing our teeth every day, eating a well-balanced diet, avoiding tobacco use, and of course, seeing your dentist in Lawrenceville every six months
You’ve been told that you need what’s often referred to as the worst dental treatment out there — a root canal. Those two words can make any dental patient retreat in fear, and we understand why. However, while you may be feeling uneasy or flat out scared, it may help to know that the root canal’s reputation of being a painful and terrible treatment is old-fashioned and inaccurate. Join your dentist in Lawrenceville as we shed some truth about root canals.
Do Root Canals Hurt?
Let’s get right to the point and address the most common question surrounding root canals – Do they hurt? Historically, root canals have had a reputation for being painful. But the truth is, root canals help stop pain. When your dentist in Lawrenceville recommends a root canal treatment it’s usually because there’s decay or infection so deep inside your tooth a regular filling won’t fix it. Oftentimes when this happens, you will be in pain as the infection or decay has touched the tooth’s inner nerves. A root canal will remove this infection and relieve pain. And thanks to advancements in dental technology, the treatment formally known as painful, awful, and terrible suddenly becomes no big deal.
What is a Root Canal?
Next, let’s take a closer look at the procedure itself because sometimes knowing what’s happening during treatment can alleviate concerns and fear. During a root canal, your dentist in Lawrenceville will:
- Begin by thoroughly numbing the area to reduce or even completely eliminate discomfort.
- Make a teeny, tiny hole in the tooth (don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing) to access the inner workings of the tooth. This is where the pulp chamber and tooth canals are located. Inside the canals are nerves, pulp, and blood vessels.
- Once visible, your dentist will clean out all the stuff inside the inner tooth canals. Again, you’re still totally numb.
- After the canals are cleaned out, the pulp chamber and canals are sealed to close them off to any more bacteria.
- Finally, many times your dentist will prepare and place a dental crown on the treated tooth. This further protects the tooth and reduces the risk of more damage.
How Do You Know if You Need a Root Canal?
The aforementioned tooth pain is a key first sign that you may need a root canal. However, please note that tooth pain can be caused by any number of things and doesn’t automatically mean a root canal is in your future. Talk to your dentist in Lawrenceville to find out the cause of the pain and find the best treatment for you. Other signs that you may need a root canal can include, but are not limited to:
- Gum pain and swelling
- A pimple-like bump on the gums by the painful tooth
- Tooth discoloration
- Worse pain when chewing or applying pressure
- Hot/cold sensitivity that doesn’t go away once the food or drink is removed
If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can to get properly diagnosed and relief sooner rather than later. And if you’re told that you need a root canal, don’t sweat it, you have nothing to fear.
Does your smile appear dull, dingy, and discolored? You’re not alone. In fact, Americans spend over a billion dollars on smile whitening products every year because they’re unhappy with the color of their teeth. But what if we could better understand what’s causing the discoloration in the first place and, perhaps, prevent it? You’re in luck. Your dentist in Lawrenceville is here to share the top four things that often cause tooth discoloration and what you can do about them.
One of the best ways to almost guarantee tooth discoloration is by using tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco. Tobacco products contain ingredients such as tar and nicotine that are known to cause staining, so when tobacco is constantly introduced to the mouth, it’s incredibly common to notice yellowing of the teeth. It’s also common for tobacco users to notice brown spots thanks to the natural brown color of the tobacco itself. The best way to prevent tooth discoloration from tobacco is to avoid it altogether, but your dentist in Lawrenceville can also help reverse discoloration through a variety of smile whitening or cosmetic dentistry treatments.
- Foods & Drinks
Another common explanation behind tooth discoloration is found in our diets and in the foods and drinks we consume. Beverages such as a daily morning cup of coffee or tea, a nightcap of red wine, and soda can all cause teeth to appear brown or discolored. When it comes to foods that can cause tooth discoloration, think of foods that would stain a white shirt — berries, pasta sauce, and beets are all good examples. Additionally, foods and drinks that are highly acidic are known to attack tooth enamel and can cause teeth to appear dull, gray, or yellow. Alternatively, consuming too many sugary treats tends to cause tooth decay which can present itself as dark or brown patches. To decrease your chances of tooth discoloration from foods and drinks, enjoy tooth-staining treats in moderation.
- Tooth Trauma
A car accident, a fall, or a sporting accident can all result in tooth trauma. You’ll probably find it easier to identify this as a cause of tooth discoloration as you’ll be able to link the discoloration to a mouth injury, whereas the other causes occur over time, often without you even realizing it. Tooth trauma usually causes teeth to appear darkened or gray, and this can occur in one or even multiple teeth. The darkening is due to an injury inside the tooth and will require intervention from your dentist in Lawrenceville.
- Poor Oral Hygiene
Another incredibly common explanation for tooth discoloration is poor oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing your teeth every day helps remove plaque and bacteria buildup and also helps protect teeth against decay. If you don’t remove this buildup regularly and effectively with a proper oral hygiene routine, you may start to notice your teeth take on a yellowish or gray appearance – or you may even start to see orange or green spots on your teeth. To protect your smile, make sure you’re brushing twice a day for at least two minutes each time and flossing once a day.
Of course, it’s also important to see your dentist in Lawrenceville every six months for a professional dental cleaning. At these appointments, your dental hygienist will remove even more buildup from your teeth that your at-home brushings can’t remove. This further helps keep your pearly whites white and fight off decay.
When it comes to your oral health, it’s no surprise that your dentist in Lawrenceville puts so much importance on taking proper care of your teeth. But did you know that your gums are another crucial aspect to overall oral health? In fact, our gums are just as important to take care of as our teeth. They help hold our teeth steady and firmly in our mouths, protecting the roots and helping teeth last a lifetime. However, it’s not uncommon to experience something called gum recession.
What is Gum Recession?
Gum recession occurs when the gum tissue begins to pull away from teeth, leaving tooth roots exposed and increasing the risk for tooth loss, increased sensitivity, and decay. What’s even worse is that once gums recede, you can’t grow it back. However, your dentist in Lawrenceville may be able to help with a variety of gum recession treatments. It’s best to talk with your dentist to find out the best way to fix receding gums.
Gum Recession Treatment
Effect treatment of receding gums depends on the root cause and overall oral health. Some of the most common treatment options are:
- Scaling & Root Planing: This type of gum recession treatment is usually the first one suggested by dentists. It’s similar to a dental cleaning, but instead of focusing on the surfaces of teeth only, your dental team will clean up under the gum line to remove plaque and tartar from the roots of your teeth. This procedure is usually done with a numbing anesthetic for increased comfort.
- Antibiotics: Following a scaling root planing, which also helps smooth out roots to make it difficult for bacteria to cling to them, your dentist may also choose to use a temporary antibiotic to kill off any bacteria that may still be lingering around.
- Surgical Techniques: Advancements in dental technology have included several updated surgical techniques to help combat gum recession. To find out if gum recession surgery is right for you, and to determine which one would be most effective, schedule a visit with your dentist in Lawrenceville.
What Causes Receding Gums?
There’s not one singular underlying cause behind gum recession. Each individual is different, and your cause may be different than someone else’s. Some of the causes of gum recession are:
Preventing Gum Recession
Gum recession is an incredibly common dental concern that we encounter every day. While it may seem like a minor thing, receding gums can lead to some serious complications and even become pretty painful if left untreated. There are ways you can help prevent your gums from receding such as:
- Brushing properly using a soft-bristled toothbrush. You should hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and move it around in small, gentle circles on each surface of each tooth.
- Practicing a good oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing every day.
- Seeing your dentist in Lawrenceville at least every six months.
If you notice any of the common signs of gum recession, including swollen, red gums, chronic bad breath, pain along the gum line, exposed tooth roots and the accompanying sensitivity, or visibility shrinking gums, schedule a dental appointment today.
As we enter the hot summer months, it’s more important than ever to keep our bodies properly hydrated. After all, a well-hydrated body helps organs function properly, can improve sleep, and may even protect against infections. But as your dentist in Lawrenceville knows, drinking enough water isn’t just good for the body, it’s great for oral health, too.
Washes Away Bacteria
Drinking water is one of the best ways to hydrate. It’s also one of the best ways to wash away harmful bacteria, especially during and immediately after eating. Choosing water as your beverage of choice helps rinse away food particles that otherwise would break down and feed mouth bacteria. As bacteria feed, they release an acidic byproduct that can easily attack and wear away tooth enamel, leaving teeth at increased risk for decay.
Protects Against Dry Mouth
A hydrated mouth is a healthy mouth, but a dehydrated mouth is more likely to feel super dry and uncomfortable. This is appropriately known as dry mouth, and while it seems harmless, your dentist in Lawrenceville knows differently. Dry mouth can occur from not drinking enough water, some medications, and breathing through your mouth. While the last two causes are a little bit more difficult to treat, drinking enough water is always a good place to start. You see, when a mouth is dry, it provides an ideal environment for bacteria to stick around. And as we mentioned above, the longer bacteria linger, the more acid they produce, and the more likely your teeth will be attacked. When it comes to oral health, saliva is your mouth’s best friend. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps increase saliva production and protect your mouth around the clock.
Drinking water is always recommended, but drinking fluoridated water packs a double punch. Fluoride is a mineral that’s naturally found in some foods that helps remineralize enamel, making it stronger, tougher, and harder for acids to attack. Fluoride has been added to many community water supplies, so whenever possible, it’s best to drink water from the tap as opposed to bottled water. Fluoride can also be obtained by drinking some store-bought beverages that have added fluoride such as orange juice, by brushing with fluoridated toothpaste, or by talking with your dentist about adding fluoride treatments at your bi-annual dental appointments.
There’s No Sugar — And No Calories!
Another side benefit to water, and one of the top reasons your dentist in Lawrenceville loves it so much, is that it contains no sugars or calories. That means you can quench your thirst without the damaging side effects of sugar found in sports drinks, soda, and even fruit juice. Drinking enough water throughout the day may also help with weight loss or maintaining weight.
This summer, and every season, keep your body and your mouth property hydrated by aiming to drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day. To further protect your oral health, make sure to brush and floss regularly, and see your dentist every six months.