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Creating a Healthy Attitude Towards Dentistry

2022-09-14T16:03:21+00:00September 14th, 2022|General|

Tips to Create Healthy Dentist Environment for Kids

Because maintaining one’s oral health is such an important issue—due to the fact that poor oral care can lead to a number of dangerous maladies—it is essential to help children establish, at an early age, a healthy attitude towards dentistry and individual oral care. By taking the time to prepare your child for a dental visit, and by encouraging regular brushing and flossing routines, children realize early on the importance and the benefits of taking care of their teeth and gums. 

The patient-dentist relationship is fostered through familiarity with, not only your family dentist but the entire dental staff as well. Due to Covid, we have seen a lack of this rapport between families and dental offices, but it is these relationships that help create positive experiences that reinforce the importance of oral health.  

Youngsters who are not taught the importance of regular dental visits, as well as, personal daily care for their teeth and gums can result in poor checkup consistency and resistance to dental care (the use of night guards, braces, etc.). Extreme reluctance to dental care could even result in the necessity of sedation for regular checkups.  

 

Is It Safe?

Though it seems we are mostly passed the big scare Covid gave us all over the past two years, nothing these days is one hundred percent safe. However, with the right safety procedures in place, a family dental visit is nothing to fear. 

The dangers of forgoing regular checkups for a prolonged period can cause severe problems, especially after a pandemic where we were confined to small areas and tended to eat more tooth-decaying foods and exercise a bit less. Throw in a few carbonated drinks and sweet snacks every day and it won’t take long for your oral health to drastically deteriorate, and the fact that sugary foods and drinks are especially tempting for children puts them at a higher risk for tooth decay. 

 

The Necessity of Maintaining Your Oral Health

Preventative care and dentistry not only preserve your oral health, but they also save you money. By keeping yourself and your dentist in the know of your level of oral health, your family can take preventative measures to keep harmful bacteria from festering into something dangerous, which requires expensive procedures or surgeries. Your oral health is unique to you, and the more you understand about your particular set of teeth, the better your chances of keeping a healthy mouth. Here are a few more key details of preventative dentistry you should consider: 

  1. It takes a community. It’s tempting to go along with the notion that brushing and flossing your teeth every day is enough to keep that mouth sparkly clean. It is true that brushing and flossing are important procedures, necessary for keeping your mouth clean, but without having regular checks where a dentist can give a thorough assessment of your oral hygiene, there is really no way to tell where your level of health is. Always make time for a dentist to monitor the condition of your teeth and gums. 
  2. Pay a little upfront to save a ton in the end. Ironically, people tend to skip dental visits in order to save money, however, the price of dealing with a developed condition—that was not caught by your dentist—will end up costing much more money. Imagine paying out of pocket for a tooth extraction—then again for the replacement. The pain and frustration and money simply aren’t worth it. 
  3. Visiting your dentist means meeting with a professional who can offer advice on oral hygiene products for purchase that are specific to you and your needs. There are so many products out there to choose from, and without the guidance of someone who knows what works and what does not, you might feel a bit lost. 
  4. With poor oral health come a lot of side effects: bad breath, a crooked smile, browning teeth, chipped or lost teeth, and the list goes on. These side effects can do major damage to an individual’s self-esteem and individual health. However, sometimes these issues can be easily dispelled by a quick visit to the dentist. 
  5. The most important aspect of preventative dentistry is that one simple visit could identify life-threatening diseases. Like many areas of the body, your mouth is teeming with bacteria, most of them harmless. Normally the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. Certain medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics, and antidepressants can reduce saliva flow. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease. Studies also suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease, might play a role in some diseases. 

Once you enter the office for your appointment, the nurse will take your temperature before you wait for the dentist. 

 

Preparing Your Child for a Visit

Trying to explain to your children what they are about to walk into before a trip to the dentist will surely scare them, no matter how nicely you try and say it. Chances are, children will hear something like this: “Someone with a gown on is going to stick sharp, metal objects in your mouth,” no matter what it is you actually say.

Instead of starting with an explanation, try to show what the experience will be like as much as possible. Put on a long gown and have your child sit in a chair like he or she would during a visit to the dentist. Mimic the movements of a teeth cleaning, rinsing, etc. Maybe even get a toothbrush and brush your child’s teeth, and do the same with floss. Let them see that dentists are people too!

Try and make it fun, but also mention that this is what it will be like going to see the real dentist. Include the fact that dental visits are going to be a part of life—at least two times a year. Let your children ask questions and keep the conversation open, you know those little minds will be thinking about this for much longer. 

Before making the trip to see the dentist, pull up a picture of the entire dental team and show your child. Along with your child, take special note of the names, hair, and eye color of each individual so when they see them in person they already feel a connection. 

It is also important to encourage your child to talk to and ask questions of the staff. Anything that can be done to highlight the fact that the entire dental team is friendly and here to help. At Adam Brown, DDS you can definitely count on the entire staff to engage in conversation as much as possible, so you are not completely alone in your quest to normalize your child’s trip to the dentist. 

At Adam Brown DDS, we understand that a trip to the dentist can be especially scary for young ones these days. If you find your child is struggling to understand why we visit the dentist, take the time now to show what it will look like and explain that there is nothing scary about a regular visit to your family dentist. 

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How to Tell if Your Tooth is Infected

2022-08-15T15:52:19+00:00August 15th, 2022|Tooth Infection|

How to Know If Your Tooth is Infected

There is nothing fun or exciting about having an infected tooth. The pain and swelling can leave even the toughest of individuals lying awake at night wondering how to find relief.

How do teeth get infected and what should you do if it happens?

Answering these questions is the first step to maintaining proper oral health and keeping your teeth free from infection.

There are a variety of ways a tooth can become infected: an untreated dental cavity can quickly become infected, an injured tooth that is not kept clean, or even prior dental work—if not properly cared for—can result in swelling at the tooth’s root, which then spreads infection.

If you think you might have an infected tooth, see your dentist right away. Then, he can drain the infected area, clean it, and advise on proper care in order to nurse the tooth back to health. If the infection is bad enough, the tooth may have to be removed and replaced. Not treating an infected tooth can lead to major complications, even some life-threatening ones.

 

Warning Signs of an Infected Tooth

It is never a good idea to try and diagnose your own oral health, and it’s an even worse idea to ignore mouth swelling and/or pain with the hope it will simply go away. That pain and uneasiness you feel is your body telling you to pay attention! Here are some of the most common warning signs of an infected tooth:

  • Maintaining a low or mid fever can be indicative of many maladies, and a tooth infection is definitely one.
  • A continuous throbbing tooth that spreads its pulsating pain through the jawbone and neck and ear is probably one of the clearest signs you are suffering from a tooth infection.
  • A sharp pain when eating or drinking items that are hot or cold temperatures.
  • A sharp pain when your teeth are active—chewing gum, biting down on food, brushing, flossing, etc.
  • If you notice any swelling of the face, or portions of the face such as the cheeks, is a good sign of infection. This swelling can also cause difficulty breathing and swallowing.
  • If ever your lymph nodes and jaw/neck area are sore for a series of days, this could be due to infection.
  • Bad breath you can’t seem to get rid of even after thoroughly brushing, rinsing can be due to a tooth that is rotting from infection.
  • To go along with the bad breath, there may also be a bad taste in the mouth that won’t go away—this is when the infection itself begins to leak into other areas of the mouth.

 

Preventing A Tooth Infection

Clearly, if you have any symptoms of infection it’s best to make an appointment with the dentist, but if ever you are struggling to breathe and swallow to a dangerous degree, head straight to the emergency room.
Hopefully, though, you will never get to that point. By using preventative measures, avoiding tooth infection is not a difficult task. Use these tips to keep your oral health in gear:

  • Use fluoride toothpaste and be sure and brush for at least two minutes, once in the morning and again at night.
  • Use an antiseptic or fluoride every morning before brushing. (You can at night before brushing as well, but once a day is all that’s needed.)
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and make sure a lot of the water you drink contains fluoride, which helps fight against the possibility of infection.
  • Floss—with dental floss or a water pik flosser—at least once a day.
  • Make sure and use a soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it every three or four months (or earlier if you notice the bristles are fraying).
  • Stay away from sugary foods and drinks as much as possible. And when you do eat or drink them, be sure and brush right after or at least thoroughly rinse with water.
  • Visit the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups (at least twice a year).

 

From Teeth to Gums

Unfortunately, an infected tooth is not the only danger our mouths may face. For instance, noticing a white coloration on your gums could mean a number of different things, and they all have varying levels of seriousness.

Infections of teeth or gums are nothing to play with.

That being said, as long as you catch it in time and know the possible reasons for the infection, you can get your oral health right back where it needs to be. Here are some possible reasons for infected gums:

Leukoplakia: this is an oral disease where white or gray coloration appears on or around the gums. These light spots are created due to mucous membranes that are sensitive and quite painful. Think canker sores, only on your gums! Leukoplakia is often caused by long-term tobacco use, excessive alcohol use, poorly fitting dental appliances, mouth injury, or bodily maladies such as cancer and HIV. If you find painful, white sores on your gums, the best thing to do is see a dentist immediately. Whether it is leukoplakia or not, your gums should never be white.

Anemia: this is a tough one because it can produce in many different forms, making it difficult to identify. The best way to diagnose anemia is to notice if the white coloration on your gums is paired with any of the following happenings:

  • Cold hands and feet
  • Constant fatigue
  • Chronic headaches
  • Spells of dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bodily weakness
  • Spells of irregular heartbeat

Another tell sign of anemia is sudden whiteness of skin beyond just the gums. Some common causes of anemia include vitamin B12 and iron deficiencies, Crohn’sdisease, and celiac disease. This is definitely one you want to take care of right away. If you feel any of these symptoms could be true for you, make a dental appointment as soon as possible.

Mouth Ulcers: noticing white spots on your gums could indicate oncoming ulcers. This is much less serious than the previous causes of white gums, but these sores are no fun at all. If you feel the white spots on your gums could be connected to ulcers, it’s a good idea to begin washing your mouth out with salt water. This is a great way to keep them away and the inside of your mouth healthy. Some causes of mouth ulcers are sugary foods and drinks, as well as, tobacco use. There is no need to completely cut these out of your diet, but regulation is a must.

Gingivitis: this is a mild form of gum disease that is fairly common among American adults. If you notice your gums beginning to recede and turn white, gingivitis is most likely the culprit. A few other signs include swollen and bleeding gums, even painful irritation, and loose teeth. The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral care, so if you have fallen off the wagon a bit, it’s best to get right back into the routine of brushing and flossing regularly to keep from this uncomfortable situation.

Lichen Planus: this chronic autoimmune condition can inflame the gums and begin to turn them white in lacy patches. Symptoms of lichen planus are similar to gingivitis, but regular dental check-ups can keep this condition from inflammation.

Candidiasis: simply put, this is a yeast infection that causes creamy white sores on the gums. This type of infection is usually seen in babies and older adults and is often brought on by diabetes. If you happen to fit any of these categories, it is best to maintain a strict teeth-and-gum cleaning schedule and keep up with your dental appointments. Two appointments a year are recommended, but in this case, you might benefit more from three or four check-ups a year.

Oral Cancer: if you ever notice white bumps or growths on your gums, or if you suddenly find it difficult to chew or swallow, see a dentist right away. Most importantly, though, don’t panic. White growths or raised sections on the gums do not always equate to cancer, and even if they do, the faster you get them looked at the better your chances of having them safely removed.

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Tips to Reduce Stress and Avoid Teeth Grinding

2022-07-14T17:21:27+00:00July 14th, 2022|Stress, Teeth Grinding|

Tips to Reduce Stress and Teeth Grinding

Whether it is Covid-19, gas prices, or the overall state of our economy there is always something to drive our anxiety—a daily, weekly, monthly occurrence or event that pushes us to clench our jaws while we lie awake at night. But this doesn’t have to be so. Not that we can necessarily adjust the price of gas and groceries and eliminate a Covid, but we can adjust how we react to the stress these things create. With some thoughtful steps and strategies, Adam Brown DDS can keep you from grinding your teeth and get you back to that healthy, restful sleep you need every night.

Stress-induced teeth grinding is on the rise, dentists say.

Last July, ABC News released a report indicating that more adults and children suffer from a lack of restful sleep and from teeth grinding than we have seen in years past.

With this information in mind, it seems that mouth guards and sleep aids, such as melatonin—a natural sleep-inducer that has become popular in recent years—are quelling a problem rather than eliminating it. Most experts agree that grinding teeth and struggling to gain a restful sleep at night are side effects of something else: stress and anxiety, which means that in order to get back on a healthy track, we need to attack the source of the problem, not only the nasty effects it causes.

 

Tips for Reducing Stress

Nobody enjoys feeling stressed. Sure, some stress is good—it can keep you on track, and motivate you to finish a project; but, too much and anxiety can begin to rule your life. Soon, every decision, every move you make is dictated by that built-up ball of stress in the pit of your stomach. This is not good for you physically, emotionally, and even spiritually, which is why it is so important to take immediate measures to begin dealing with and reducing your anxiety. How to do this? Here are some great tips for getting your life back:

1. Get Physical.
Virtually any form of physical exertion can act as a stress reliever. Moving the body to produce a little sweat will release endorphins and clear the mind so you can better assess that anxiety and begin to deal with it. You don’t have to be an athlete and you certainly don’t need to commit to rigorous exercise routines in order for this to work. Simple activities such as walking for twenty or thirty minutes, swimming, cycling, it really doesn’t matter what you do just as long as you are moving. Commit to one week of doing some sort of physical activity each day and see how this affects your daily stress and anxieties.

2. Develop Healthy Eating Habits.
Drinking alcohol, snacking, smoking—these are terrible ways to deal with stress (and, unfortunately, are the most commonly used). Consider this: the more you feel you are in control of your life, the less effective the stress you feel will be on your psyche and physical being. One of the first steps to controlling your life is replacing those bad habits with healthy ones. Instead of alcohol, have a healthy drink (seltzer, protein shake, etc.); rather than an unhealthy snack, eat some veggies and fruit. This will be tough at first, but once you feel the benefits it will become much easier.

3. Look on the Sunny Side.
When feeling a tinge of anxiety one of the most difficult things to do is stay positive. However, if you can approach every situation with a solution-based mindset, it makes it much harder for stress to affect you. So rather than thinking, “Oh, what am I to do?” think, “How can this issue be alleviated properly?” Sometimes you may not know what needs to be done, but at least you are heading in the right direction—and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

4. Don’t Do it Alone.
One of the first things we want to do when feeling stressed and anxious is to isolate ourselves. Keeping to the self is, however, also one of the worst things we can do when feeling this way. Remember, gaining control over any aspect of our lives helps to alleviate stress, and even though simply talking through our issues with a friend or family member might not bring us answers, it will help us better understand our situation. The act of speaking truthfully about how we feel to someone who is good at listening is priceless, as it calms the mind and strengthens our resolve.

5. Meditate.
If stress and anxiety spur the mind out of control, meditation is the perfect foil. When we meditate we quiet the mind and then open it up. The most important thing to know about meditation is it takes a while to get used to, so don’t give up after a few attempts. For those who have never, or who have rarely done it, meditating can be difficult. It can take a week of attempts only to get the mind settled down, but it’s worth it!

Take a week and carve out ten or twenty minutes to lie on a couch or sit in a comfy chair and simply be. Think of nothing, and when some stress begins to creep in shut it back out. Continue this and do not get frustrated (it takes time to build these mental muscles). Once you feel you can get into a meditative state of nothingness for a bit, begin to let your mind wander: ruminate on what your mind brings in—you might be surprised. Be mindful though, stress and anxiety will always try and creep back in, so stay focused and consider every thought. You will be amazed at the clarity and peace meditation can bring.

 

Sleeping Better

Doing any and all of the activities listed above will surely help your sleeping habits, but there are a few more specific things you can do that will directly affect your level of sleep. Check these out:

  • Keeping a consistent sleep schedule will help with better sleep quality. Attempt to go to bed around the same time every night, and try to wake at the same time every morning. This will train your body and mind to get in the habit of shutting down and resting during these specific times each night. Even if you still struggle to fall asleep, keep it up—the rest of you will catch up.
  • Try not to snack or drink anything besides water at least two-to-three hours before you go to bed. This way there is no chance of sugar or caffeine or any other stimulant keeping you from a full night’s rest.
  • Another good idea is to stay off your phone (and the television if you can help it) before bed. Especially with computers and phones, our minds begin to race when prompted by the onslaught of activity these technologies provide. You are trying to wind down, not stimulate the mind.
  • Lastly, make sure your bedroom is a restful environment. For some, this means soft music, a nightlight, and essential oils going; for others, it means blacking out the windows, perfect silence, and nightly prayer. Whatever spells comfort and relaxation for you, that’s what needs to be done. Get your atmosphere right if you expect to have some peaceful shuteye.

 

Dealing with Bruxism

While you are in the process of managing your stress, there are more immediate measures you can take to keep your teeth and jaw safe from unconscious teeth grinding, otherwise known as Bruxism. Even if you are unsure if you are suffering from bruxism, it’s worth a quick appointment with us to find out and get help if needed.

During your dental exam, we will look for any excessive wear on your teeth, any cracks or chips, or even loose teeth. Depending on what we find, we will then discuss a plan to stop you from grinding those teeth every night. Here are some possible solutions:

  • Wearing a Mandibular Advancement Device. This is a method for the more serious grinders where a mouthpiece is attached to your head that keeps your jaw fixed in one position. It’s not the most comfortable solution, but it works!
  • Wearing a basic mouth guard to protect the teeth while asleep. The mouth guard is perfectly molded to your teeth, and though this is a bit uncomfortable in the beginning, you will quickly get used to it.
  • Wearing a splint that keeps the teeth separated. If the mouth guard is too bulky or awkward, consider the low-profile splint instead.
  • Abstain from alcohol for a while. It has been proven that drinking alcohol does, at times, intensify bruxism while sleeping.
  • Cut back, or cut out completely, anything with caffeine in it. The energy gained from caffeine can cause nerves and muscles to work overtime while sleeping.
  • Begin using stress-management techniques. Maybe even begin some behavioral therapy, such as training yourself to hold your jaw and mouth in a single position for long periods of time.

The good news is that bruxism is treatable.

Even if you are practicing staying stress-free and nothing seems to be working, we will find a way to stop it. This is why it’s so important to visit your dentist as soon as you suspect you are grinding your teeth at night. We can assess and apply the appropriate method of treatment and make any adjustments along the way. The key thing to note is the sooner you get treatment, the healthier your teeth and mouth will be—and remain to be.

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Why Do I Have Naturally Stained Yellow Teeth?

2022-06-14T16:49:52+00:00June 14th, 2022|Dental Trends, Teeth Whitening|

Tips to Avoid Yellow Teeth

Despite the guarantee of many whitening products—the strips, the trays, the paint-on whitening liquid—not all teeth, or stains on the teeth, respond to these products.

So now for the million-dollar question: if these whitening products aren’t working, am I destined to have yellow, stained teeth for the rest of my life?

Luckily, the answer to this question is NO. There are a number of possible reasons your teeth are not responding to whitening agents and narrowing down the possibilities as to why is the first step in finding the culprit and solution to your naturally stained teeth.

At Adam Brown, DDS we know how frustrating it can be trying to get and maintain white teeth, especially since not all teeth are created the same; some respond well to whitening agents, while others don’t need whitening agents at all in order to show that pearly glow. For those of us with naturally stained or discolored teeth, the prospect of getting them to a whiter shade seems futile, but it’s important not to give up hope. The truth is, regardless of the level of staining, you can have white teeth.

When it comes down to it, there are only three options, and they should be followed in this order:
Make sure you are cleaning your teeth properly. Brushing and flossing daily is not only important for your oral health, but it will also remove stains that are not natural or permanent. There is really no way of knowing if your teeth are naturally stained if this step has not been taken. If you are unsure whether you are properly cleaning your teeth or not, see your dentist right away—he will be able to let you know pretty quickly.
Try whitening agents. Once you are confident those teeth are being kept clean, try some whitening agents. It’s a good idea to consult your dentist on this first, as he can point you in the direction of those products that will work best for you—some can irritate sensitive teeth, and others might not be strong enough for what you need.
Consider veneers. Veneers are a coating that goes over your teeth (permanently) and is the fastest way to brighten that smile. For those teeth with stains that simply won’t respond to regular cleaning and whitening, veneers are your only option.

 

Strategies for Keeping Healthy, White Teeth

When trying to find the culprit for naturally stained teeth, focus on your daily cleaning routine. Beyond brushing and flossing, there are a few other things you can do to keep those teeth healthy—and hopefully stain-free.

1. Drink Through Straws Whenever Possible
Any liquid with additives like sugar or caffeine can negatively affect your teeth, but there is an easy way to keep most of the liquid from having too much contact with your teeth: use a straw. By using a straw, you can keep liquid from contacting and leaving some residue on your teeth. You can use a wide straw for thick juices, narrow or regular-sized for normal densities, or even a bendy straw just because they’re fun. (Do stay away from those trendy metal straws though, as they can chip your teeth.)

2. Always Have a Water Chaser
The more time acidic liquids have to rest in-between and on the teeth, the better the chances of stains and erosion, and you know what that means: more trips to the dentist and quite possibly some intensive dental work to be done. So, even if you use a straw, it is a great idea to have a glass of crisp and clean water to drink from between each gulp of non-water you take. A quick swig of water makes those acidic bits difficult to stick around and manages to rinse any residue left behind that would stain the teeth.

3. Get the Right Toothpaste
A lot of people like to rush right to the whitening toothpaste. It makes sense, if it says “whitening” it must work, right? Well, not on all teeth. Sensitive teeth and gums can clash with the harsh chemicals in whitening toothpaste, and this can cause a lot of discomforts. It’s better to use toothpaste that is made for sensitive teeth. This will clean the teeth well without hurting them, and if your teeth are clean and the stains remain, the toothpaste is not your issue. Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth and brush twice a day. If there are removable stains on your teeth, this should help.

4. Avoid Over-Brushing
Never thought you could brush too much, did you? Well, you can. Too much brushing can actually help acid and bacteria erode the enamel off your teeth, turning them to a dingy yellow color. When you brush, use a soft or medium bristle; brush lightly, and use a mechanical toothbrush if possible. These are made to get to those hard-to-reach places and they put the perfect amount of pressure on your teeth and gums.

5. Use Mouthwash Regularly
Just like flossing and brushing, the twice-a-day rule is all you need with mouthwash. If you feel the need to rinse more than that use water, but once in the morning, then again at night, can do wonders to clean the mouth. Mouthwash also helps keep your teeth white and your breath fresh.

6. Visit Your Dentist Twice a Year
This is one of the most important things to do. One visit to the dentist every six months is the perfect way to gauge the health level of your teeth, as well as, document what is and is not working as far as whitening. Your dentist can tell if your teeth are becoming too sensitive or more stained and advise you on what to do. It’s also good because you get a professional cleaning where someone is meticulously searching your mouth for cavities, bits of food, permanent stains, or anything else.

 

Tips for Whitening

One possible reason those stains aren’t disappearing is that you are using the wrong kind of whiteners on your teeth. Each year there seems to be some new teeth-whitening trend, but not all of these methods effectively work to brighten that smile. There is one newer method catching attention that is showing some spectacular results for users. It’s called LED lighting and dentists and patients are beginning to take a closer look at this advanced method of removing coffee, nicotine, and seemingly permanent stains from the teeth. But is using LED lighting—or, blue lighting, as it is often called—for whitening teeth a safe practice? Though the results of this particular whitening method are positive, patients are still citing some enamel loss and increased sensitivity. Luckily, doctors have just recently discovered an even newer method, still using LED lighting, to whiten teeth but without the negative effects.

Here’s how it works: A gel is applied to the teeth then LED lights are used to trigger photocatalysts in the teeth, which then brighten and whiten. The gel is used to speed up the process and make the LED light more effective.

Though the chemicals in the gel used in conjunction with the LED lighting may not be quite as powerful as what’s used in other strips or gels, this process can still be harsh on the teeth—especially sensitive teeth. This has caused a bit of backlash, but this method is still seen as a step in the right direction, as it is not as intense as other take-home whitening products.

 

Before You Whiten

Though it is tempting to buy the most popular take-home whitening products on the market, be careful of what you get. Just because your friend has found a product that works to remove those pesky stains without causing sensitivity and enamel loss, it doesn’t mean the results will be the same for you.

Your first step is to come in and meet with Dr. Brown and his team. They can successfully assess your teeth and gums to forecast which method(s) might be best for you. But, if you absolutely must start the whitening process immediately, follow these tips until you can come to see us:

  1. Keep away from trays and gels. The problem with this method is that it can take weeks for results to show. And, most people who use the tray and gels report having teeth sensitivity afterward.
  2. Use caution with whitening strips as well. Though results can show in about a week, over time, this can cause irritation. Also, if you use the strips too often, your teeth can become sensitive.
  3. When you have the time to wait, use a paint-on. The paint-on method solves the problem of the whitening agent interacting with interior soft tissues, such as the gums and inner cheek. You simply brush the whitening gel on each tooth and let it sit for a short period of time. The only downside to this method is it can take months before results can be seen, and you have to be diligent in getting the gel on each tooth daily.
  4. Whitening devices are your best option. Go ahead and do a little research and find an LED lighting kit to order—you can get them off Amazon.
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Preventative Dentistry is Better for Your Wallet

2022-05-14T14:47:43+00:00May 12th, 2022|Preventative Dentistry|

Healthy Teeth and Saving Money Tips

Scheduling regular dental checkups and cleanings is the best way to maintain positive oral health—it’s also the best way to save money. Monitoring the condition of your teeth and gums can prevent major health issues, as well as, keep you from spending a lot of money on a procedure or surgery that could have been avoided. Tack on the rising costs of dentistry due to inflation and that dental price tag will be even higher.

If you haven’t scheduled your next teeth cleaning/checkup, now is definitely the time.

We all know the importance of brushing our teeth at least twice a day. We also know the necessity of flossing each night—even if we don’t get it done every night, but we try! There is more, however, to maintaining your oral health than the daily routine. A professional checkup is what truly keeps us in the know of our level of oral health and this is how we learn about the specific preventative measures we can take to better our current situation, whatever that might be.

The state of the inside of our mouths is a complicated one: cavities don’t simply show up one day, they turn over time. The same is true with gum diseases and other preventative health issues. These progressively get worse over time if they are not addressed. This is why it’s so important to keep regular checkups so you can always be in the know of where the level of your oral health is.

What is Preventative Dentistry?

Simply put, preventative dentistry is regular, professional cleaning and monitoring of your oral health. Here are a few things that are done and looked for when you come in:

  • Removing Hardened Plaque. You know when you visit the dentist and he gets that sharp, silver hook tool and scrapes it against your teeth? Sometimes, he has to press extra hard and poke and prod. What he is doing is removing plaque from your teeth. Though flossing and brushing twice a day can get most of this sticky substance from your teeth, little bits of plaque can still remain and harden. In time, that plaque will discolor and can cause damage to the teeth and gums if it’s not removed. Visiting your dentist twice a year will keep this hardened substance from accumulating.
  • Preventing Gum Disease. Bacteria in the mouth can cause gum disease, and most times it is not noticeable to the individual who has it until it’s festered. However, your dentist can help prevent gum disease from ever occurring by professionally cleaning your teeth and gums. And if signs of gum disease continue to show up, he can recommend the proper medication to help illuminate it.
  • Preventing Cavities. Plaque and food particles can create cavities, which eat away at the teeth, and like gum disease, cavities can be difficult to notice right away. Unless you see a dentist, that is. If they are found, cavities can be removed and the damaged tooth repaired, or, in extreme cases, the tooth will have to be pulled. Regardless, it is of the utmost importance that cavities are taken care of right away, as they can lead to more serious oral maladies.
  • Preventing Oral Cancer. The thought of cancer can be scary, but it’s something that should not be ignored. Instead, it should be prevented. Seeing your dentist twice a year and having an oral exam can greatly help reduce your chances of contracting cancer of the mouth.

Preventative dentistry starts with you—you make and keep the appointments, and you maintain the regime you and your dentist decide upon. At Adam Brown DDS, we like to work in tandem with our patients to first identify any issues or potential issues, then—together—work towards a plan to get that oral health with it needs to be and maintain it.

 

The Importance of Maintaining Your Oral Health

As stated earlier, preventative dentistry not only preserves your oral health, it also saves you money in the end. Here are a few more key details to preventative dentistry you should consider:

1. You can’t do it alone. It’s tempting to go along with the notion that brushing and flossing your teeth every day is enough to keep that mouth sparkly clean. It is true that brushing and flossing are important procedures, necessary for keeping your mouth clean, but without having regular checks where a dentist can give a thorough assessment of your oral hygiene, there is really no way to tell where your level of health is. Always make time for a dentist to monitor the condition of your teeth and gums.

2. Pay a little upfront to save a ton in the end. Ironically, people tend to skip dental visits in order to save money, however, the price of dealing with a developed condition, that was not caught by your dentist, will end up costing much more money. Imagine paying out of pocket for a tooth extraction—then again for the replacement! The pain and frustration and money just aren’t worth it

3. Visiting your dentist means meeting with a professional who can offer advice on oral hygiene products for purchase that are specific to you and your need(s). There are so many products out there too! Without the guidance of someone who knows what works and what does not, you might feel a bit lost. This toothpaste promises whiter teeth in two weeks, but this one says it fights gum disease—which to get? At Adam Brown, DDS not only can we advise on products to use, but we can also show you how best to use them.

4. With poor oral health come a lot of side effects: bad breath, a crooked smile, browning teeth, chipped or lost teeth…the list goes on, and these side effects can do major damage to an individual’s self-esteem. However, sometimes these issues can be easily dispelled by a quick visit to the dentist. Preventative dentistry has the power to give you back your confidence!

5. The most important aspect of preventative dentistry is that one simple visit could identify life-threatening diseases. Like many areas of the body, your mouth is teeming with bacteria, most of them harmless. Normally the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. Certain medications—such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics, and antidepressants—can reduce saliva flow. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease. Studies also suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease, might play a role in some diseases.

Ultimately, your best option for a healthy, fresh smile is to visit us at Adam Brown, DDS. Let us diagnose the current state of your particular oral health and advise on exactly what can be done to clean those teeth and brighten that smile. No matter your current condition, we can help—be sure to schedule now and save money!

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Why Aren’t My Kid’s Teeth Coming In? 

2022-04-21T14:45:48+00:00April 21st, 2022|Kids Teeth|

Kids Teeth Not Coming In

For a kid, the strange feeling of losing that first tooth means everything. The slight pain it causes as it slowly detaches from the gums, and the pleasure felt of sticking your tongue through its absence serves as a right of passage, a moment in time that distinguishes that transfer of child to kid, and eventually to young adult. But what to do when the new, adult tooth doesn’t seem to be breaking through? What if it doesn’t come in at all?! At Adam Brown DDS, we’ve had plenty of experience with this phenomenon and we are happy to share our insight with you.

Children begin losing their teeth around the age of six, but it’s not unheard of for a few teeth to loosen and fall out as early as the age of four—the process of losing teeth can last until the age of thirteen or so. Losing the teeth is usually not a problem, however, new teeth coming in can cause some issues: sometimes they come in crooked, sometimes they are too big for the space left, and sometimes they take their sweet time in breaking through the gums. 

Crooked teeth and too many teeth for such a crowded space can be fixed, but when the tooth itself is not growing things can get a bit complicated. But don’t panic! We have seen and worked with it all before. 

When a child loses a tooth, typically, it can take anywhere from a week to six months for the new tooth to fully erupt.

One thing to note: if the tooth has erupted but is taking a long time to grow, worry not. This is normal. The tooth will catch up and fully grow. It takes some teeth longer than others to get up there. On the other side of this, if six months have passed after losing a tooth and the new one has not yet broken through, it is a good idea to make an appointment with us to check it out. This way, we can evaluate the jaw, teeth, and gums to see where the problem is and make a plan for resolving it. 

 

Common Reasons for Slow (or Non) Growth

Here are the most common culprits for lack of growth, but before diagnosing your child, be sure to schedule a quick visit with us just to be sure:

  • Not Enough Room in the Jaw. Sometimes the reason a tooth won’t erupt is due to the jawbone simply not being big enough. When the baby teeth are lost, the room is made for new teeth—however—those new, adult teeth are not the same size, they are actually bigger and take up more space. This is the reason why dentists tell parents not to worry if they notice gaps between their children’s baby teeth. These spaces will be filled with adult teeth. A problem arises when the child’s jaw can’t accommodate the new growth, which can cause the new teeth to halt their progress because if they do try and squeeze in, they can become impacted and malformed. Luckily, since the jawbone is still growing at this age, interceptive orthodontics can be used to help encourage the jaw to expand. Worst-case scenario, surgery can be performed to make room in the mouth for new teeth—but this is extremely rare. 
  • Directional Issues. Teeth can have a mind of their own and sometimes they don’t want to break through because they are moving in the wrong direction. This problem can occur whether there is enough room in the gums or not, and this is easy to spot since once the tooth starts to erupt it is obvious it is not coming in straight. At Adam Brown DDS, we have found that tooth extraction is one way to fix this issue, but we try and save tooth removal as a last resort. Instead, we first try and coax the tooth into its proper place through orthodontic treatments. We have seen a lot of success with this process, especially if we are able to catch the tooth as it is still early in the eruption process.
  • Naturally Missing Teeth (from birth). Congenitally missing teeth are, surprisingly, pretty common. Usually, we see this phenomenon with the wisdom teeth: it’s normal for adults to be missing one or both of the upper lateral incisors or second premolars, and we have found that this happens due to genetics so if you are missing one or a few teeth because they never erupted, chances are you are not the only one within your family. With congenitally missing teeth though, the permanent teeth actually never develop at all, and since they are not developed, they never push the baby teeth out. If the baby teeth do eventually come out, due to decay or trauma, no tooth will grow in the absence. What to do in this situation? Typically, we create a bridge or partial denture to fill the gap (one tooth or multiple teeth), but we can also perform dental implant surgery that will work as a permanent fix that looks the most natural. One side note, this type of surgery should not be performed while the jawbone is still growing.
  • Extra Teeth. Conditions such as a cleft palate, Gardner’s syndrome, and cleidocranial dysostosis can cause supernumerary teeth to develop, but these extra teeth can come in on their own as well, though this is uncommon. When the dental arch inside the mouth can serve as a wall, blocking the permanent teeth from erupting or developing at all. Thankfully, there are orthodontic treatments to fix this issue, the most common of them involve extracting the tooth or teeth. 
  • Primary Failure of Eruption (PFE). In some of the rarest cases, permanent teeth are present beneath the gums and have a clear path for growth, but they fail to erupt or they begin to erupt and then mysteriously stop growing. It turns out that PFE is actually genetic, and when found there are multiple methods of treatment. The most common is oral surgery and specified treatment to encourage the teeth to come out or commence growing. Sometimes extractions are needed then braces are used to pull the teeth in to fill the empty space—dental implants can also be used to fill space. 

Another similar issue that can arise is when the tooth or teeth are fused to the jawbone and are unable to break loose and erupt the gums. Luckily, there is a surgical procedure that can loosen the tooth from the bone. After the surgery and a few treatments, the problem area should grow. 

 

We Can Help

Remember, if your child’s teeth are not coming in, or they started growing then stopped, don’t panic! The need for major cosmetic surgery is extremely rare. In our experience, we have found that spending time to diagnose the issue and using precise, proven treatments will work in coaxing those stubborn teeth to full growth. Make an appointment with us today so we can help you and your child maintain proper oral health.

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Is It Time for an Upgrade? Choosing Between Invisalign, Dental Implants, and Dentures

2022-02-14T15:42:40+00:00February 10th, 2022|Dental Implants, Dental Trends, Dentures, Invisalign|

Invisalign, Dentures, and Implants Monroe NC

If you feel this is the year to upgrade your smile, you have options. Adam Brown DDS offers several dental treatments that can give you the smile you’ve always wanted!

Three of the most popular treatments include Invisalign, dental implants, and dentures.

The solution that works best for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences, and our office can help you make the right decision. But for now, let’s break down these three types of dental treatments and discuss how they can take your smile design to the next level!

 

What Is Invisalign?       

Invisalign is an alternative to traditional metal braces. These clear aligners are used for teeth straightening, and they gradually shift teeth into their optimal positions. 

When using Invisalign, you don’t have to worry about metal brackets, wires, and other inconveniences of traditional braces. Most teenagers and adults who wear their aligners for the recommended 22 hours a day can correct their orthodontic problems. 

 

The Benefits of Invisalign     

When wearing metal braces, there are many foods that you must avoid, including corn-on-the-cob, popcorn, caramel, chewing gum, and chewy candies. Carrots, hard fruits and vegetables, nuts, and steak are also off-limits.

Because you can remove your aligner trays before meals and snacks, you can eat (and drink) whatever you wish, as long as you brush or rinse your teeth with water before re-applying the aligners.

The most obvious benefit of using clear aligners is that they are virtually invisible. Everyone knows you are undergoing orthodontic treatment when wearing traditional braces, but the average onlooker would not be able to tell when you are wearing Invisalign; the thin clear plastic is almost invisible.

Furthermore, it is easier to maintain oral hygiene when taking Invisalign treatment. It is common to notice stains on your teeth after wearing metal braces, if not gingivitis or cavities. Essentially, it is pretty challenging to brush and floss around metal wires and brackets, and even if you dedicate the extra time and effort, you may not be able to get into all the places you need to. 

All you have to do with Invisalign is remove the aligners, then brush and floss as you usually would. You can even clean your trays by soaking them in a cleaning solution or brushing them with a soft-bristle toothbrush.

Invisalign proves as effective as traditional braces for many patients, and they are much more comfortable. The smooth plastic fits snuggly to teeth, and you don’t have to worry about any brackets or wires poking your gums or cheeks. 

Even if you pay more for Invisalign, understand that emergency dental visits are less likely to occur because clear aligners are remarkably strong. There are no brackets or wires to break off. Moreover, more dental insurance plans are covering Invisalign.

 

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are primarily used to replace missing teeth. Missing teeth can impact chewing and speaking, lead to severe teeth misalignment, and cause gradual bone loss. While there are several ways to replace one or more missing teeth (e.g., dental bridges, partial dentures, complete dentures, etc.), dental implants have become one of the most popular choices because they offer many benefits. 

The patient undergoes a minor procedure to replace the missing tooth’s root with a post; then, the dentist puts a permanent dental crown onto the implant. 

 

Benefits of Dental Implants   

Getting dental implants is not the cheapest treatment, but it is often the most effective way to replace missing teeth. It can help you maintain clear speech, make chewing food more manageable, and provide superior comfort. Implants also look entirely natural, are easy to maintain, and are durable enough to last for many years.

 

What Are Dentures?

Dentures are another way to treat lost or removed teeth. A dentist (or laboratory) fabricates these sets of artificial teeth and gums to fit each patient’s mouth. You can get full or partial dentures. In other words, you can either replace a few missing teeth or all teeth on the top or bottom gum line. No matter what type of dentures you receive, you will have them custom-designed to match surrounding teeth and fit your mouth visually.

 

Benefits of Dentures   

Dentures are typically a less expensive solution for improving a smile and avoiding various oral health issues. They can support the structures around the lips and cheeks, plus they allow you to eat foods as you usually would and speak clearly. Your dentist will recommend whether dental implants or dentures are the best treatment for your situation.

 

Dental Implants vs. Dentures   

As we’ve discussed, both dental implants and dentures are viable solutions for replacing one or more missing teeth. The best treatment for you will depend on preference, price, jawbone health, and other factors. Let’s talk about these two treatments in more detail:

 

Dental Implants Procedure

When getting dental implants, the dentist will replace the missing tooth’s root with an implant that they will cap with a crown. This involves extracting the damaged root and inserting a metal prosthetic root (called a “post”) deep into the bone. Once the bone has grown around the post to secure it, the dentist will place an abutment onto it before applying the crown.

Sometimes, the abutment can be placed during the same procedure as the implant, while other times, it can take a couple of months for the bone to bond to the post.  

 

Dentures Procedure

Dentures are prosthetic, removable teeth for replacing one or many missing teeth. The dentist takes an impression of your mouth (upper gums, lower gums, or both), depending on which teeth need to be replaced. The dentist will also observe your jaw alignment and bite to ensure the dentures can improve your speech and ability to chew. 

Then, a lab will fabricate preliminary dentures for the dentist to fit in your mouth and make any necessary adjustments to the set’s alignment and length. The dentist will then order your final set of dentures so that your teeth and gums look as natural as possible.

 

Costs of Dental Implants and Dentures

Dental implants cost more than dentures. Each dentist’s office varies on price, but the American Dental Association (ADA) estimates that an implant runs from $1,600 to $2,200 per tooth. In comparison, the ADA reports that a patient can receive a complete set of upper or lower dentures for about $1,600. 

 

Maintenance of Dental Implants and Dentures

Caring for dental implants is as simple as caring for natural teeth. All you have to do is brush twice a day, floss once a day, and go to your regular checkups at Adam Brown DDS.

Dentures require more maintenance to remain effective. For instance, you must soak them overnight in water or a cleaning solution. You must also remove your dentures and brush them after each meal or snack, and you will need to ensure that you brush any adhesive revenue from your gums.

Another thing to consider is that you will need to have your dentures refitted now and then as your bite changes. Conversely, dental implants are permanent, though you might need to replace a cracked or broken crown. 

 

Choosing Between Dental Implants and Dentures

Your dentist can help you make the right decision concerning dental implants or dentures. But here are a few factors to consider when thinking about your dental future:

Age

Dental implants can last for decades, meaning that people in their sixties or younger might get the most out of these permanent prosthetic teeth. Many older adults prefer to get dentures because they don’t require a time-consuming or invasive procedure.

Jawbone Density

Before you get dental implants, your dentist must ensure there is enough jawbone material to support the posts. If there isn’t, implants might not be a viable solution. 

Age, gum disease, tooth loss, and injury are the most common culprits of jawbone loss. With that said, some dental practices perform bone grafting to support jawbone density, which could be a good option if you can afford the additional time and costs. 

Comfort and Effectiveness

In most cases, dental implants feel more comfortable than dentures, and they also make chewing and speaking feel more natural. There are implant-supported overdentures; however, they can provide better comfort and chewing efficacy than conventional dentures. 

Oral Hygiene

You also need to consider daily hygiene when choosing between dental implants and dentures. Dentures require more time and effort to keep viable, while implants are lower maintenance. Keep an honest assessment of how willing and able you are to care for your dentures each day. 

 

Can I Choose More Than One Dental Treatment?

Yes, it’s possible to get more than one dental treatment at a time. Let’s discuss your options:

Can I Wear Invisalign with Dental Implants?

Some patients receive a dental implant and wish to correct their crooked teeth somewhere down the road. Implants are permanent fixtures, meaning they will not move from their original position. But your dentist can use clear aligners to reposition all the surrounding teeth. Typically, you can still get Invisalign in this situation.

With that said, if you only have a few remaining natural teeth, Invisalign may not be the ideal option. Adam Brown DDS can thoroughly evaluate your situation and help you find the best solution. 

Which Treatment Should I Get First?

If you have not received dental implants or Invisalign treatment, you may be wondering which you should get first. Understand that Invisalign holds your natural teeth in their sockets and gradually moves them into proper alignment. 

On the other hand, dental implants attach directly to the jawbone, which bonds directly to the implant over time. Thus, implants are permanently fixed, and it is typically best to straighten your teeth with aligners before having implants inserted.

When your teeth are aligned before implant placement, it ensures that all your teeth are in their optimal positions. Then, you can replace missing teeth with implants and crowns that look natural and aesthetically pleasing with surrounding teeth. Furthermore, your dentist can ensure that the gap remains healthy during the Invisalign treatment.

Are Dental Bridges a Viable Alternative?

Dental bridges are another type of treatment for missing teeth. Dentists can use a dental bridge, sometimes called a fixed partial denture, to fill the gap left by one or more missing teeth. Essentially, the bridge attaches to the surrounding teeth to support the mouth’s structure. 

Dental bridges are less expensive than implants, and most patients who receive them are satisfied with the result. However, some people are confused about the appropriate care and maintenance responsibilities, leading to bridges becoming ineffective or unsanitary. 

If you choose to get a bridge, ask your dentist for comprehensive care instructions to ensure your device works well and allows you to maintain oral hygiene. 

 

Conclusion

It’s 2022, and it could be the ideal time to upgrade your smile! While there are many available dental treatments, Invisalign, dental implants, and dentures are some of the most popular options among patients. 

Along with considering the information and advice above, contact Adam Brown DDS to schedule a consultation. We would love to speak with you, go over your options, and help you make the best decision for your future smile and dental health!

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