Schedule Summer Dental Cleanings

Here at Bridge Creek Dental, our dentists recommend that people come in for dental cleanings twice a year. We understand life can be busy, and it can be difficult during the school year to ensure that your whole family makes it to the dental office for their biannual dental cleanings.

Yet, summer is one of the perfect times to bring the whole family into the dental office for one of their dental cleanings.

Ways Summer Gives More Opportunities For Family Dental Care

Summertime doesn’t necessarily mean adults have more free time for dental hygiene appointments. However, school-aged children are far more available for dental cleanings at this time of year as children have fewer commitments during the summer. Other ways summer gives more opportunities for family dental care are:

  • It can be easier to schedule dental appointments as a group during the summer. This group scheduling can ensure no one accidentally misses one of their biannual cleanings.
  • Being available to go with your younger children can reassure them before their dental appointment.
  • A good dental cleaning can start off the summer right as well as catch any problems which may have cropped up since your last dental cleaning.
  • If problems are discovered during a summer dental checkup, summer is the perfect time to recover from a longer dental procedure.
  • Summer provides plenty of opportunities to reward children after a dentist visit without resorting to food rewards for good behavior while at the dental office.

Schedule Dental Cleanings Before Summer Family Vacations

Before you go on your much-anticipated family vacation, it is important to ensure everyone in your family has made it into our dental office for their summer dental cleaning. Encountering a dental emergency during vacation can make the family vacation incredibly stressful and derail plans significantly.

Also, if you or your family member need emergency dentistry, the intervention can be very expensive as your family vacation spot is likely outside your insurance network.

By ensuring that everyone in the family has a dental cleaning this summer before the family vacation, you can avoid most dental emergencies as our dentists will be able to identify potential dental problems before they become serious issues.

Visit Bridge Creek Dental This Summer

Whether you are looking to have a dental cleaning, cavities filled, cosmetic dentistry, or other dental services, you can have these things taken care of this summer at Bridge Creek Dental. Make the best use of the summer and contact us to set up an appointment for you and your whole family.

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What is a cosmetic gum lift?

Many people worry about the appearance of their teeth, but some people’s mouth concerns rest elsewhere: their gums.

We’ve all seen a “gummy smile,” one where flashing those pearly whites means displaying quite a bit of pink tissue. It’s generally a sign that your teeth are small compared to your gums, as part of your genetic legacy or because of wear and tear. Excessive gums can also result when teeth fail to emerge properly, leaving them partly covered by tissue.

There are varying degrees of gum exposure.

For slightly gummy smilers like songstress Liz Phair, the peekaboo reveal can be a cute quirk. In more severe cases, all that gum can make for a truly idiosyncratic grin. This condition can be even more problematic if you suffer from other periodontal issues like uneven, inflamed or swollen gums. Luckily, there’s help to be found.

If you dislike your gummy smile, the certified dental surgeons at Bridge Creek Dental in Billings, Montana are ready to lift your spirits. Our dentists can perform a gum lift, a procedure also referred to as

  • A gingivectomy
  • Crown lengthening
  • Gum contouring
  • Tissue sculpting

Your gum lift may be part of a larger smile makeover, like having your teeth contoured and topped with crowns or veneers. It may also be complicated if you have uneven gums where the tissue is low-hanging in some areas but has receded elsewhere. In this case, your dentist may perform a gingival graft, using tissue from an adjacent area on the gums or from the roof of your mouth.

In most cases, however, a cosmetic gum lift is a routine standalone procedure.

A Cosmetic Gum Lift Is Quick and Easy

If you’re a candidate for periodontal surgery, you’ve probably obsessed over your smile for years. You may have even become resigned to the fact that you’ll always have a gummy grin.

In truth, however, a cosmetic gum lift is a quick and relatively painless proposition. Here’s how it works.

After numbing your mouth with a local anesthetic your dental surgeon sculpts your gums, especially the area around your front teeth which is the most visible portion of your smile. In most cases, no stitches are required. Instead your dentist uses a soft-tissue laser to seal off the blood vessels, staunching any bleeding.

After you leave the dentist, your mouth may be numb for a few hours until the anesthesia wears off. You may also experience swelling and mild discomfort for the next 24 to 40 hours. Your dental surgeon may prescribe medication, but in most cases an over-the-counter painkiller is sufficient.

You can eat and drink within 24 hours after your surgery and gums typically heal completely within a week after being lifted. Recovery may take longer, however, if you underwent additional dental procedures at the same time as the tissue sculpting.

Decide If A Gum Lift Is Right For You

To decide if this procedure is right for you, begin by looking online at before-and-after photos of people who’ve benefited from this procedure.

Actress Jennifer Garner, who’s known for her dazzling and dimpled smile, had surgery to correct a smile that was once too gummy for those up-close shots on the silver screen. For examples of how a gum lift has transformed everyday people in your area, check out the periodontal section of the smile gallery on the Bridge Creek Dental website for inspiring before-and-after photos.

For more cosmetic dental procedures, Bridge Creek Dental also offers the following::

If you like our results, it’s time to set up a consultation. You’ve got nothing to lose but some excess gum tissue and everything to gain, including a winning smile.

Visit Bridge Creek Dental for Dental Care

Whether you need a gum lift or other dental services, contact us for an appointment. Our dentists are highly experienced and offer a range of dental care services to help you enjoy the best oral health.

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Dentist Digest Monthly: Is It Possible To Save A Dying Tooth?

Often, a dying tooth is easy to recognize. Many times, a tooth will become discolored as the soft tissue and nerves inside the tooth die from infection. This discoloration is a clear sign, but often, the first warning sign of a dying tooth is jaw pain around the damaged tooth.

Once your tooth has become infected and begins to die, you need immediate intervention. Here at Bridge Creek Dental, our dentists have helped save many dying teeth from becoming worse and are ready to help you.

A Root Canal Can Save A Dying Tooth

After a tooth has been infected, our dentist will usually perform a root canal to save the tooth from further damage. The root canal allows our dentists to reach the source of the infection, clean it out, then refill the area with dental composite to stave off any further infection.

This procedure will allow you to retain the tooth. You will need to have the tooth crowned after the root canal, as the root canal procedure removes a significant amount of the enamel on the top of the tooth, leaving it vulnerable to bacteria.

Don’t Delay Care For A Dying Tooth

Some people delay coming into the dental clinic to take care of their dying tooth. It can be due to fear or a belief that homeopathic methods can cure the dying tooth. However, if the tooth is dying, it cannot be saved except by dental intervention. If you delay too long, several things can happen.

  • You can develop bad breath as the infection remains. Without intervention, there is no way to rid yourself of the bad smell, as it will be continually be refreshed by the infected tooth.
  • An abscess can form in your gums, which is a pocket of infection. Abscesses are incredibly painful, and in serious cases, can lead to death if the infection enters your bloodstream.
  • The tooth can die entirely, leaving the tooth permanently discolored. A dead tooth is far more brittle than a healthy tooth, making dead teeth more like to chip and crack.
  • There is potential for the infection which killed the tooth to spread to the teeth nearby the dead tooth, killing them as well.

Visit Bridge Creek Dental For Dental Care

Whether you need a root canal or other dental services, contact us for an appointment. Our dentists are highly experienced and offer a range of dental care services to help you enjoy the best oral health.

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Ways To Calm Your Child’s Anxiety at the Dentist

If your child struggles with anxiety surrounding dental visits, our staff at Bridge Creek Dental has several tips for you to help calm their fears.

Keep A Positive Attitude

Children take many of their attitudes from their parents, so it is up to you to keep a positive attitude about the dentist. Some of the things you may want to avoid to keep things positive are:

  • Don’t empathize with your child’s concerns. If your child knows that you are afraid of the dentist or have had bad experiences, it will only confirm their anxiety is valid.
  • Avoid becoming openly frustrated with their discomfort. It can be hard, especially if your child is acting out, but negative emotions can reinforce a child’s anxiety around the dentist.

Give Age-Appropriate Information

When going in for preventative dental care, you will want to keep the explanation to your child age-appropriate. A five-year-old likely will not understand talk about bacteria and cavities. Instead, it can potentially add to a young child’s anxiety. Instead, stick to the basics such as the dentist will take pictures of their teeth then check to make sure the teeth are clean.

If you have an older child around 10 years old, you can give a more scientifically correct explanation. Not too much detail is needed, but you can explain what the cleaning is for and how the X-ray machine allows the dentist to see below the surface to make sure everything is okay.

More than anything, it is essential to bring your child to the dentist by the time their first tooth has cut. This practice will help acclimate your child to dental appointments and make them less intimidating.

Roleplay A Dental Appointment

Part of your child’s anxiety surrounding their dental appointment can be due to the unknown element. You can help alleviate these fears by roleplaying a dental visit with your child. Some things you can do are:

  • Have your child take a comfortable seat.
  • Use a hand mirror and allow your child to look at their teeth as you pretend clean.
  • Pretend to clean with their toothbrush. There no need to simulate the actual tools.
  • Tell your child what you “the dentist” are looking for during the pretend checkup. With young children, you can simply tell them you are looking for clean teeth.

Skip any pretend cavity filling or other potentially intimidating procedure. If your child does end up needing extra dental work, our dentists can help you explain the procedure.

Let Your Dental Office Know

Dental anxiety is relatively common among children. Our dentists, as well as our dental clinic staff, are experienced in working with anxious children. If you contact us and let us know before your child’s visit, we can help them calm down when they come in for their appointment.

Lifelong dental hygiene starts with helping children alleviate their anxiety around the dentist.

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4 Reasons to Fix Your Bite With A Cosmetic Procedure

Some people believe that cosmetic dentistry exists only for vanity dental procedures. But what these people don’t understand is that cosmetic dentistry can help correct serious issues like a malocclusion.

A malocclusion is when the teeth are misaligned. This type of dental issue is relatively common, though with different levels of severity, and can create oral health issues. If you are ready to correct your bite issue, you may want to consider one of these cosmetic dentistry procedures as the solution to correct your misaligned bite.

Increase Your Confidence With Invisalign

Having a misaligned bite can make smiling or even talking uncomfortable, particularly for those with pronounced overbites or open bites. If you struggle with one of these types of bite issues, one way to easily boost your confidence and correct your bite is by choosing Invisalign Clear Orthodontics.

Unlike traditional braces which are made of visible wires and bands, Invisalign is a clear set of braces shaped for your teeth. Over time, the Invisalign will shift your teeth into a straighter, aligned position so you can smile freely and confidently.

Repair Misaligned Teeth With Veneers

Sometimes bite issues can result in your teeth growing in incorrectly or smaller than the surrounding teeth. Teeth which are considerably smaller or incorrectly positioned are in greater danger of being worn down and potentially chipped as they are less supported by the surrounding teeth. A way to painlessly correct this problem is with veneers.

Our cosmetic dentists will shape your misaligned teeth, making the teeth ready to have veneers placed. With a veneer over a misaligned tooth, the tooth with be better protected and present an even appearance with the rest of your teeth. It is even possible to correct bite this way, depending on the severity of the issue. There are several types of veneer materials available depending on your needs and preferences. All of them can be color-matched to the rest of your teeth.

Protect Worn Teeth With Crowns

Often, those who suffer from misaligned bites tend to grind their teeth. Along with the jaw and dental pain teeth grinding creates, the teeth become worn down. This wearing effect leaves your teeth more vulnerable to cavities, chipping, and cracking.

An effective way to protect teeth worn down by a misaligned bite is to have dental crowns placed. Our dentists recommend porcelain composite crowns, which are placed over the worn teeth. As these crowns are shaped to fit correctly with the rest of your teeth, it can both protect the worn down teeth and help ease your bite issues.

Make Your Teeth Appear Straighter By Whitening Them

When there is a bite misalignment like an overbite or underbite, often the overlapped teeth are a darker shade than the rest of the teeth. As food particles and saliva tend to become trapped in this area, it is a natural occurrence which can be difficult to prevent. The color contrast between the upper and lower teeth can make the bite misalignment more severe than it is in reality.

A simple fix to correct the illusion is to have your teeth professionally whitened. Evenly white teeth can help boost your self-esteem as the even, whitened appearance reduces any noticeable bite issues.

At Bridge Creek Dental, we offer all of these dental services and more. If you are ready to take control of your oral health and want the best dentists in Billings, Montana, contact us for an appointment.

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Dentist Digest Monthly: What Happens When You Get A Crown

When it comes to visiting the dentist, part of the intimidation some people feel is due to not understanding how dental procedures work. Our dentists wanted to cover dental crowns, as they are one of the more common dental procedures that patients receive.

When You Need A Dental Crown

There are many instances where you may need a dental crown. They are commonly used after a root canal is performed to cover the cleaned out tooth. Other dental crown uses are:

  • Cover and protect a cracked tooth from further damage.
  • Crown a tooth which has been ground down by heavy teeth grinding.
  • Used in the creation of some styles of dental bridges.
  • Protects and covers deeply chipped teeth.
  • Hides discolored and/or misshapen teeth.
  • Crowns are part of a dental implant.

Material Of Your Dental Crown

Before you go in for your dental crown placement procedure, you will need to decide material you want your dental crown to consist of as you consult with our dentists. The basic materials are:

  • Porcelain
  • Stainless steel
  • Gold alloy
  • Resin

If you choose a metal dental crown, they are best for teeth out-of-sight if you want to preserve a natural look. Resin crowns are generally the most affordable but they do not tend to last as long as the other dental crown materials. Porcelain dental crowns are both strong and natural-looking as they can be color-matched to your teeth.

Receiving Your Dental Crown

The process of receiving your dental crown is a multi-step procedure when you work with our dentist at Bridge Creek Dental.

  1. Consult with one of our dentists concerning your dental crown and choose crown materials.
  2. A scan or mold is taken of the tooth which is to be crowned.
  3. The crown is constructed by a third-party partner then sent to our office.
  4. At your second appointment, the tooth to be crowned will be shaped to fit the new dental crown. This generally involves our dentists grinding down the natural tooth.
  5. Our dentist will place the dental crown with dental cement, which will keep the crown secure.
  6. If minor adjustments are needed to make your dental crown more comfortable and fit in naturally, our dentists can make adjustments.

If you want to work with highly-experienced dentists on your next dental crown or dental procedure, contact us today for an appointment.

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​Natural Food Stores In Billings Are A Great Resource For Oral Health

You may be surprised to know that the natural food movement is really growing in Billings, Montana. You might be even more surprised to find out that natural food is directly related to oral health.

These stores have some fantastic options not only for mouth-healthy foods that can help you keep your teeth in tip top condition, but natural products that have been found to be beneficial in caring for your dental needs.

Good Foods For Happy Teeth

  • Dairy – Milk is usually considered the magic tooth food and for good reason. It provides great calcium, along with many other minerals that keep teeth healthy. It also assists with acid production, reducing reflux that can damage teeth. However, other dairy such as yogurt and cheese are also fantastic for the teeth and shouldn’t be forgotten.
  • Celery – Did you know that eating some celery at the end of every meal can help act as a kind of cleaning? Made primarily of water, it is also hard enough that as you bite into it, it scrapes away leftover particles of food that might have remained stuck in your mouth for hours. Granted, it doesn’t replace a good old fashioned brushing. But it is a good way to care for teeth between meals.
  • Apples – What is just as important as healthy teeth? Healthy gums! Apples help to stimulate them and the fiber content is good for the entire body, as well as the gums themselves. Another benefit is that they make your mouth generate plenty of saliva. This helps you to wash away and swallow the bacteria that could have caused a build up of plaque.
  • Green, Leafy Veggies – Calcium and folic acid are both very important when it comes to keeping teeth strong and gums in good condition. One of the number one suggestions for pregnant women is to make kale and spinach a daily part of their diet to help protect against hormone related dental issues. But it works for anyone and should be a part of your care routine.
  • Almonds – Speaking of calcium, almonds have a ton of it. They are also high in protein, which help regenerate tissue and improve your overall oral health. Plus, they are super delicious and filling.

Here are some local stores around Billings you should check out.

Montana Harvest Natural Foods

Natural Grocers

Mary’s Health Foods

Bonanza Health Foods

Lucky’s Market

To find out more, visit Bridgecreek Dental.

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​Dentist Digest Monthly: Tooth Care During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an amazing time, but it can also come with its share of challenges. When you have to have dental work done, it is important that all treatments are conducted with that pregnancy in mind. Aiming for reducing dental complications is also crucial, as any work can come with an increased risk of infection.

Here are some things you should know about caring for teeth during the months of pregnancy.

Pregnancy May Lead To Increased Dental Issues

When you are pregnant, a number of hormones are released into the body and remain there, at varying levels, until a few months post-partum. These hormones change the way the mouth responds to and fights plaque, one of the more dangerous threats to gum and tooth health.

Decaying teeth, receding gums and even gum disease risks are higher in pregnant women as a result of this fact. Some women may experience bleeding gums when brushing/flossing, or even pain and swelling in the mouth.

Dental Work May Be Done, But Is Not Recommended

Because of the increased risk of infection, any dental work beyond simple cleaning is not recommended until after the birth. However, emergency treatments can still be conducted. Your dentist will take special care to ensure all procedures combat against possible infection, including the potential use of preemptive antibiotics during recovery.

All of this is usually done during the first two trimesters. During the third trimester, outlying factors may impact the ability to work on teeth. Those factors include the woman’s ability to lay back in one spot for an increased amount of time, the type of local anesthetic that has to be used, or the need for painkillers following treatment.

Prevention Is The Best Course Of Action

The best thing a woman can do during pregnancy is to care for her dental hygiene diligently, to reduce the potential need for work before or after birth. Some tips are:

  • Wash out the mouth with water, then with mouthwash, following pregnancy related vomiting. Toothbrushing should be postponed between 20 and 60 minutes, but should be conducted within that frame.
  • Use a soft bristled toothbrush to protect against damage to the enamel.
  • Brush along the gumline each time the teeth are cleaned. If the gums are swollen, sensitive or bleeding, some toothpaste on a clean finger may be used to gently cleanse the gumline instead.
  • Increase calcium intake to replenish the nutrients lost to the fetus during pregnancy.

For more information, visit Bridgecreek Dental.

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Dentist Digest Monthly: 6 Of The Worst Snacks For Your Kids’ Teeth

A common question our dentists at Bridge Creek Dental are asked by parents when their child has a cavity is “What could we have done to prevent their cavity?”

If the dental hygiene is already taken care of, then another key culprit of children’s dental issues are snacks. There are 6 kinds of snacks which can quickly wear down the enamel of your child’s teeth and cause cavities and other dental issues.

Starchy Snacks

It is important that children are given few starchy snacks. Not only can they be choking hazards for young children, but a starchy snack will quickly turn to sugar, which attracts bacteria. The bacteria will eat away not only the leftover snack but also chew into the enamel of the tooth. If you want your child to skip out on needing dental fillings, some of the things to cut down on giving them are:

  • Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Bread
  • Pasta

It is not necessary to cut out all starch out of your child’s diet. However, when it comes to pasta for dinner or other starch-heavy meals, the sooner you can make sure your child’s teeth are cleaned, the better.

Gummy Or Sticky Snacks

Many parents know not to indulge their child in eating too many treats such as toffee and gummy worms. But some companies have aggressively marketed their treats as “health” and may catch parents off-guard with how bad they are for your children’s teeth. Some of the foods to keep away or closely monitor consumption are:

  • Fruit snacks
  • Dried fruits
  • Candies vegetable or fruits


Aside from water, there are very few other kinds of drinks your children should be having on a regular basis. Many drinks, ranging from juice boxes to sports drinks, are packed with sugar. The sugar attracts the bacteria to eat at your kids’ teeth. Even diet soda should be restricted, even without sugar to attract bacteria. The acid in both types of soda will wear at your kids’ teeth.

Also, your children need the hydration from plain water to help their developing teeth stay strong. Some drinks to keep off your kids’ drink menu are:

  • Sports drink
  • Juices
  • Flavored milk
  • Soda (including diet)

Acidic Snacks Like Citrus

While citruses offer a lot of great vitamins and other nutritional benefits, you should limit your children’s intake of any citruses. As citruses are highly acidic, the acid will eat at the enamel of your children’s teeth and leave them vulnerable to cavity-causing bacteria.

Hard Candy

Just in case you were wondering, hard candy and kids don’t mix all that well. Many children cannot resist crunching down on hard candy, which can cause cracks in their teeth. Even if your children resist the urge to preemptively crunch their candy, the sugar lingering in their mouths is doing their teeth no favors.

Pre-packaged Snacks

Food companies try to target busy families with their fast and easy prepackaged snacks. Yet these snack packs tend to be full of all the foods which can quickly become a detriment to your children’s teeth. Some examples of pre-packaged snacks you should avoid are:

  • Lunchables
  • Filled crackers
  • Trail mixes

To help prevent dental issues for your children, contact us for your child’s bi-annual dental checkup. Our dentists are experienced in working with children and can put them at ease during their appointments. So, as you help cut the worst snacks out of your kids’ lives, allow our dentists help to make sure your kids’ teeth stay in top shape.

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Dentist Digest Monthly: Stress’ Relationship To Tooth Pain

Life can bring you to a state of constant stress and can affect your health if you aren’t careful. Not only does stress affect several other parts of your body as well as your mind, it mainly attacks your teeth and can cause pain you have never experienced before. Your oral health should be placed only in the best hands, and at Bridge Creek Dental we offer you only the best solutions to keep your teeth safe from the harm of stress.

Grinding Your Teeth Can Be A Sign Of Stress

Grinding your teeth in your sleep is often caused by underlying stress and anxiety that is trapped in your subconscious mind until you go to sleep. Once asleep, you begin to process that stress and you grind your teeth unconsciously. Because you are asleep when it happens, you should be aware of the signs that mean you grind your teeth frequently enough to cause damage. Some of the signs include:

  • The tips of your teeth are flat or dull
  • Your tongue has new indentations
  • The enamel has worn off the teeth affected and your teeth have become extremely sensitive
  • Tired or locked jaw
  • Pain that feels like an earache

The only way to protect your teeth against grinding at night is to have a mouth guard customized to your teeth to wear when you sleep. Come to us and let one of our skilled dentists at Bridge Creek Dental help you protect your teeth and prevent any further damage.

Gum Disease Is Increased With Stress

Life changes can be stressful and take a toll on you in more ways that one, especially in ways you don’t notice right off the bat. In fact:

  • Gum disease sneaks in when you least expect it, and thrives on any emotional stress you might have.
  • Stress and emotional strain can make gum disease more severe.
  • If you are worried you might suffer from severe gum disease due to high stress, call us and one of our skilled dentists can give you the treatment you may need.

Canker Sores Can Be A Trigger of Stress

Canker sores, also known as mouth ulcers, are typically caused by biting your cheek, brushing too hard, or jabbing your toothbrush against your gums. They can also be triggered by stress and appear more frequently when you are experiencing more emotional or physical strain than usual. They will typically decrease once your stress levels are lower.

Continue to Keep Up Good Oral Hygiene

When you are stressed it is easy to forget to do the simple things you normally do to keep your body healthy. If you have a tendency to skip brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash, your teeth are bound to take a hit as well. It’s important to remember that keeping up daily dental hygiene habits can save you from further damage, and preventable dental work like filling cavities. Even in times of stress, make sure to be consistent with brushing and flossing so you don’t have to happen upon more stress from future dental issues. If you need an extra shove, come see us at Bridge Creek Dental and we will talk you through the steps necessary to have healthy teeth, and essentially, a healthy life.

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