Should I Switch to a Silicone Toothbrush?

Silicone toothbrushes primarily got their start as being a starter toothbrush for babies who had just gotten their first tooth as the silicone bristles fared better on their sensitive gums than other forms of bristles, such as nylon. However, silicone toothbrushes have now branched out and are becoming popular amongst adults, most likely those who have gums that are sensitive and prone to bleeding.

Despite being much softer, silicone toothbrushes perform the same way as a traditional brush, being able to get in between the teeth and around the gum line to remove particles and bacteria quickly and efficiently. For those that prefer to use them or are unable to use a regular toothbrush, electric versions are also available for a quick and easy clean.

Will silicone toothbrushes eventually become the norm that we see on the drugstore shelves? It’s difficult to say, but with the amount of positive research out there, we may see a shift in the materials that we trust to clean our teeth.

However, whatever toothbrush you keep stocked in your bathroom cabinet, continue to follow your dentist’s advice and brush your teeth twice a day, morning and night. If you experience bleeding gums while brushing your teeth, or are unable to clean them properly, call or book online to schedule a consultation.

How Can I Prevent Clenching My Teeth?

Are you waking up with a headache or severe tooth pain in the morning? If you experience these symptoms, it’s safe to assume that you might have an issue with grinding or clenching your teeth at night. Luckily, there are a few ways that you can prevent yourself from doing this, most notably getting a night guard.

A night guard is a removable device that the wearer puts on before they go to bed. The night guard prevents the teeth from clenching together, creating a safe barrier between the upper and lower jaw. Night guards are very easy to obtain–you can pick one up at your local pharmacy without the need for a prescription, but they are also available through your dentist once they diagnose you with a teeth grinding problem. Depending on your budget, it may be a good idea to go with the one through your dentist as they are higher quality and fit to your mouth much better than an over-the-counter one. Both will produce the same results.

Besides a night guard, there are a couple of other treatments.

Stress Prevention: People often grind their teeth when they are stressed by clenching their jaw. This is often a subconscious action, meaning that the person will not even be aware that they are doing it. Finding better and healthier coping mechanisms to deal with stress may reduce or eliminate teeth grinding.

Braces or Clear Aligners: Teeth that are misaligned are more likely to put pressure on one another, creating the same effect as if you were clenching your jaw. By using braces or clear aligners, you can get straighter teeth to help with this problem.

For more information about night guards and other ways you can prevent yourself from grinding your teeth, contact us today and set up a consultation.

What Happens at a Dental Cleaning?

Even though you make it a habit to visit the dentist every 6 months, you may not pay attention as to what happens at a dental cleaning. While it doesn’t matter to most, there are others who prefer to know all the steps involved so that they can be informed as to what is happening to them. If you’ve ever been curious about the steps involved in your bi-annual cleaning, here they are.

The first thing that will happen during the exam is a physical exam which will be done by your hygenist. Using a tiny mirror, the hygenist will move around your mouth, checking for things such as inflamed gums, sores, gingivitis, and any source of bleeding. If they find something that seems out of the ordinary, the dentist will be called in for a second opinion. However, if everything looks alright, the hygenist can move onto the next step. Before the cleaning, the hygenist may want to take a couple x-rays of your teeth, especially if it’s been awhile since they’ve been done.

For the cleaning portion, your hygenist will once again utilise the mirror to look around your mouth while they use a tool called a scaler to clean around the gum line and between your teeth. This is the part of the exam that most patients do not enjoy, but if you brush your teeth regularly, there will be less to clean and therefore will take less time.

After the teeth have been scaled, they will be polished and scrubbed using a gritty toothpaste and a high powered tooth brush. This toothpaste will have a graelly texture and is used to scrub any light surface stains from your teeth and get rid of excess tartar.

All dental cleanings end with a good flossing. If you’re not flossing at home, this part can also be slightly uncomfortable and the gums will more than likely be sore and slightly irritated, but this will pass in as little as one hour after leaving the dental office.

For the final part of the exam, your hygenist will rinse your mouth out to get rid of anything missed, then give you a new toothbrush to tae home and a sample of floss.

How to Choose a Dentist

Your relationship with your dentist can make all the difference when it comes to your attitude about going to see the dentist. In fact, people who have a good relationship with their dentist are far more likely to come in to their appointments. However, if you’re in the group where you dread going to the dentist, you may want to consider switching. Here are a few things to help you find the right dentist for you.

1. Referrals and Reviews

Although you can ask your doctor for recommendations for a reputable dentist in the area, the best way to find a great dentist is through family and friends, especially ones that you really trust. Their opinion is often unfiltered and honest and they will steer you away from places where they have had bad experiences in the past. Finding offices through google and looking at how many reviews they have can be a great starting place as well.

2. Consider Accessibility

Weigh how far you’re willing to travel to get to the dentist? Is your dentist going to be available during times that you are? If you work throughout the week and can only come in on weekends, it’s best not to pick a place that is closed during that time. Do you have a family and need a dentist that can also perform services on children? Both of these and more that cater to your situation are important to consider.

3. Give Them a Call

Once you’ve narrowed down your list, give each of them a call. Although you will only get to speak to the receptionist, their attitude towards you and the tone of the call can be enough to either sell you on that place or completely deter you. The receptionist’s attitude is often reflective of their environment and the dentist themselves, so if you leave the conversation with an odd feeling, it’s best to scratch that one from the list.

4. Visit The Office

Atmosphere is another big deciding factor when choosing a dentist and you won’t know how the office feels unless you visit it in person. Take a look around at the surroundings. Are things clean and tidy? Are the hygienist and dentist wearing protective gear? How are you being treated as you walk in the doors? Take note of these things to help you make a final decision.

5. Meet The Dentist

Although you may get a different hygienist every time you visit, your actual dentist will remain the same. Have a chat with them if you’re able to get the chance to to discuss their practices, if they believe in continuing education for themselves and their staff, and other questions that are important for you to know. Their answers, should they give them, can make all the difference.

Sports-Related Injuries to the Mouth

Sports are a great way to stay fit and healthy, but did you know that around 35% of injuries that happen to the mouth are caused by them? This can be as minor as a chipped tooth or as severe as total tooth loss, but fortunately, teeth that have been knocked out by a sports related injury can be saved if the patient is able to get to the dentist in a timely manner. However, not everyone can afford to keep going to the dentist for restorative procedures as they can be quite expensive depending on your insurance and where you go. Therefore, dental professionals recommend the following items to reduce or eliminate sports related injuries to the oral cavity.

Helmets: Most team sports require players to wear a helmet as part of their uniform, but for recreational sports such as skateboarding and biking, always make sure to wear a helmet. Helmets provide a barrier between the head and the ground, making the resulting possible oral injury less than if the individual was not wearing one.

Mouth Guards: The most safe and effective method of preventing sports related injuries is the use of a mouth guard. Mouth guards are also given to individuals who suffer from grinding their teeth at night, a condition known as bruxism, but they can also be used to cover your teeth and provide a protective layer to prevent chipping and breaking. Mouth guards are most commonly used in high contact sports such as football, and even hockey and soccer.

In regards to mouth guards, custom fitted ones are the most effective, but general ones that can be picked up at most drugstore work just as well.

If you already have a sports related injury affecting your teeth, please book an appointment through our website or by calling us directly.

Common Oral Problems in the Winter

January might be coming to a close, but Winter is still in full swing, with many cold months for the foreseeable future. With the less than warm weather becoming the norm, there are a few oral issues that arise as a result. Here are the top mouth problems of the winter, and tips to help prevent and heal them.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are wounds that most commonly appear on the inside of your cheeks, under your tongue, and on your gums. They are especially prevalent in the winter time as they can appear when someone consumes acidic things such as cider, or particularly spicy treats.

Partaking in these treats occasionally shouldn’t have too big of an impact on your mouth, and therefore cutting back on the consumption should lessen the risk, but for those who already have canker sores, the treatment is simple. Mix in a tablespoon of salt in a small glass of warm water and swish it around your mouth, careful not to swallow the mixture. The canker sores should clear up in a few days.

Cold Sores

Not to be confused with the aforementioned canker sores, cold sores develop on the outside of the mouth and will do so much more frequently if you’re constantly exposed to the chilly outdoors. Moisturizing around the mouth and using products which have an SPF of at least 15 can help lessen the chance of contracting cold sores. Keeping a scarf up and over your mouth when the cold winds hit can also help in the prevention.

As far as treatment goes, there are many cold sore remedies that are available over the counter at any local pharmacy or grocery store.

Chapped Lips

Possibly the most common winter problem of them all is chapped lips. Like cold sores, chapped lips are a result of being out in the chilly temperatures which can suck the moisture right out of your lips, making them dry and prone to cracking and even bleeding. To prevent these, keep a lip balm on hand at all times to apply when your lips start feeling a little dry. This also works as a treatment for those who already have dry lips, as well as drinking water to keep your skin hydrated.

Take care of yourself this winter season, taking necessary precautions to ensure that these things do not happen to you.

Teeth Whitening in Burbank, California

Although teeth are not made to be naturally pure white, toothpaste brands have pushed a certain image into the media, making it appear as though that is the norm. While some pursue teeth whitening in order to reach this image, others seek it out because of staining that has occurred on their teeth due to foods or products like wine and tobacco, the natural process of aging, or through dental procedures such as root canals and fillings. No matter the cause of the staining, or what has led the individual to inquire about teeth whitening, the one thing that is important to know is that teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure and therefore not covered under any form of insurance. However, there are alternative methods available for those who are unable to afford teeth whitening at the dentist’s office. Let’s take a look at all the options available.

Dental Bleaching

Beginning with the treatment that can be done by your dentist, dental bleaching is by far the most expensive out of the options, but arguably the fastest and most effective method for those who want near-immediate results. There are two forms of dental bleaching available, vital and non-vital. The one that will be chosen for use depends on a few factors and the patients dental history.

The most common type of bleaching treatment, called vital bleaching, is done on teeth that are “alive”, or otherwise known as teeth that have not undergone another dental procedure such as a bridge, veneer, or have been capped with a crown. Vital bleaching is chosen for the patient who has stains due to coffee, wine, tobacco, or aging as it works on the surface of the tooth. 

The second method of bleaching is called non-vital bleaching which are done on teeth that need the bleaching to work from the inside out. Stains caused by root canals and other procedures on not considered to be surface stains, and therefore a stronger bleach is needed in order to remove the discolouration.

Surface Whiteners

As mentioned above, dental bleaching can be expensive and is not the best option for everyone. However, there is an alternative over-the-counter method in the form of surface whiteners. Surface whiteners are great for individuals who have only minor staining, as from the title of the product, they only work on the surface of the tooth. While it takes longer to achieve the level of white that one may desire, it certainly is the most affordable option. You can find a variety of surface whiteners in a grocery or drug store, displayed alongside the toothpastes and toothbrushes. At first, you may feel overwhelmed and confused with all of the choices presented, but rest assured that any one will work as they all generally use the same ingredients and are applied the same way–through the use of strips that cover your teeth.

If you are unsure if the product is right for you and your situation, consult with your dentist first.

If you are interested in teeth whitening services, please give us a call to book a consultation to discuss your options.

What are Wisdom Teeth?

“Do I have to get my wisdom teeth removed?” Well, it all depends. Each dentist has their own own opinion on the matter, but it also depends on your situation as well. If they’re not causing any harm and people don’t want to shell out the money to get them removed, there’s no harm in letting them stay in. But others like to get them removed before they cause any problems. Before you make a decision on your own, let’s take a closer look at wisdom teeth as a whole. 

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that humans get at the very back of their mouth. They usually make an appearance after the rest of your adult teeth have already come in, around the 18-20 years old range. Some people, however, never develop wisdom teeth, and therefore do not have to debate what to do with them. Impacted wisdom teeth that need to be removed will start showing up and causing pain that feels similar to a very intense toothache around the same timeframe. Wisdom teeth that have not broken through the surface of the gum can be seen through an x-ray, so your dentist will be able to tell you their condition.

Why do we have Wisdom Teeth? 

It’s widely acknowledged that wisdom teeth once served a purpose to our ancestors who needed the extra set in order to break down food materials. Having no access to modern machinery that cooks our food and makes it easier to eat, they needed the extra teeth in order to be able to survive. However, much like the appendix, they have no further use for humans during modern times, and therefore are not needed. 

What is the Extraction Process?

For those that choose to have their wisdom teeth removed, or for those who absolutely need it done to save their other teeth, the extraction process is quite simple and will take only a couple hours out of your day to do, depending on the number of wisdom teeth being extracted. A dental surgeon will perform the task right in their office and you’ll be able to go home the very same day. Just be sure to bring someone with you as your mouth may be in pain once the numbing wears off, affecting your ability to drive. Patients who opt for getting a sedative during the procedure, MUST bring someone with them as it is unsafe to leave alone after just waking up. 

What is the Healing time?

 Again, it all depends on the number of wisdom teeth being extracted, but generally, you can expect full healing to happen between a couple weeks to a full month. The first week is especially important in the healing process, so please take care and only eat foods that are soft and don’t require a lot of chewing. Avoid using straws of any material as well as the suction caused by drinking through them has the potential to tear the stitches and cause bleeding. A complete list of the do’s and don’ts will be provided to you from the dental surgeon once the procedure has been completed.

Any further questions about wisdom teeth can be directed at your dentist at your next visit. If you feel like your wisdom teeth are causing you pain, or you’d like to inquire about the extraction process, please contact us today to schedule a consultation.

5 Ways to Prevent Cavities

Cavities, although most common in children due to them often not being able to commit to a strict oral hygiene schedule, can happen to anyone, regardless of age. Particularly when we eat sugary foods, the acids produced from those foods erode away at the tooth’s hard surface. But there are ways to prevent cavities while still enjoying our favorite snacks. Take a look at the list below.

Drink Sugary Drinks Through a Straw

If soda isn’t something you can completely eliminate from your diet, you can reduce the effect it has on your teeth by drinking it with a straw. Using a straw minimizes the contact that the soda has with your teeth.

Visit the Dentist Regularly

Visiting the dentist for your bi-yearly teeth cleaning removes plaque build up that has formed on your teeth, and can inform you of teeth to keep a close eye on. A warning sign of a cavity is a white spot which is much easier to view from a dentist’s perspective and trained eye. They can then give you helpful tips in order to prevent it from turning into a cavity and do preventive care on it as well.

Eat More Fibrous Foods

Foods like apples, carrots, and celery can actually help clean your mouth. The texture of these different foods can wipe away bacteria from the surface of your teeth, preventing it from spreading and turning into something far less easy to clean off. 

Drink More Water

Water acts as a nourishing mouthwash, washing away bacteria and foot particles after a meal that get stuck in between the teeth. Tooth decay also occurs much more frequently in a dry mouth, so drinking water can combat this and hydrate you.

Brush and Floss After Every Meal

The best way to clear your teeth of harmful bacteria and tooth particles is to brush your teeth. The most effective way would be to do so as soon as you finish eating, but if that’s not possible, drink water, or brush your teeth as soon as you’re able to. Dentists recommend twice a day at a minimum.

If you have any concerns about how to take care of your teeth, do not hesitate to contact your dentist today.

How Can I Change the Shape of my Gum?

Some people are told that they have a “gummy” smile which means that a lot of the gum can be seen when they smile, and while this is a totally normal thing, most people are self-conscious about it and want it to be modified. People with short gums, caused by gum recession, certain medications, and even genetics, are also after the same result. That’s where gum contouring comes in.

It’s important to note that not all dentists are trained in gum contouring, so it’s important to do research and find someone that is experienced in the procedure. Scalpels and lasers are most commonly used to remedy the gum shape and can be done right at the dentist’s office with a little bit of localized anesthesia.

While the procedure itself is fairly simple when done by the right person, it can take quite a while for the patient to recover from the ordeal–up to several weeks. While your dentist will give you a detailed aftercare plan before you leave the office, there are some tips that you can do in order to ensure your recovery is as smooth as possible.

  • Over the counter pain medication such as Tylonel and Advil. Aspirin is not recommended as it also acts as a blood thinner and can complicate the healing process by causing bleeding. Stronger pain management medication may also be prescribed.
  • Opt for cooler, softer foods and stay away from spicy food and anything hot like coffee for the first several days.
  • Do not floss. Instead, use safe brushing methods that your dentist will recommend.
  • Rest. One of the most important things that you can do is to let your body recover at its own pace. Over exertion can cause bleeding and swelling, so take it easy until your body has had time to heal.

For more information on gum contouring, or to set up a consultation, contact us today by using the “Book an Appointment” section on our website.