Dental Digest Monthly: It’s Called Gum Disease, But It Affects More Than Your Gums

Peridodontal Gum Disease - Bridge Creek

While no one wants gum disease—also known as periodontal disease—it can be easy to ignore if you believe that it only impacts your gums. However, that’s only what the early stages affect.

Untreated gum disease has a far more significant impact on your entire body, so it’s important you understand before you decide to wait to schedule your next Bridge Creek Dental visit.

Oral Health Is Directly Impacted By Gum Disease

When your dental hygiene is impacted by gum disease, you can expect the repercussions over the rest of your oral health, not just the signs like tender gums that can bleed easily. Some ways that gum disease impacts your oral health are:

  • Bad breath – We’ve all had bad breath, but when you have gum disease, the bacteria can cause perpetual bad breath that can’t be gotten rid of without addressing your periodontal disease.
  • Change in teeth position – As your gums become more swollen and damaged by the gum disease, your teeth can start to shift from their normal position. This shifting can cause issues with your bite, lead to gaps, and other issues.
  • Tooth loss – Gum disease can cause the nerves in your teeth to become infected and die, resulting in the loss of your teeth. You will likely see your teeth start to shift and become loose before you reach this point, so watch for those signs and take them seriously.
  • Jawbone density loss – Periodontal disease can also quickly spread to your jawbone, destroying the bone. The resulting bone density loss can cause changes in your facial features and also cause your teeth to fall out.
  • Abscess – You can also develop dangerous pockets of infection in your gums. These abscesses are especially risky if the built-up toxins reach your bloodstream, as it can make you critically ill and potentially lead to death.

As gum disease can be painless, it is important that you keep an eye on these other oral health impacts. That way, you can come into our dental clinic and have your gum disease treated.

White Blood Cells Can Be Destroyed

Your white blood cells are a key part of your immune system and work to destroy infections as well as harmful bacteria. But when gum disease takes a serious hold on your system and spreads beyond your gums, your white blood cells can become overwhelmed. It can reach the point where your white blood cells are being destroyed by the high load of gum disease pathogens.

With your white blood cells out of action or severely reduced in volume, you can become more prone to infectious disease from the common cold to more serious infections.

Your Liver Can Be Impacted

One of the functions of the liver is to reduce inflammation in your body, and gum disease can be the source of serious inflammation.

In response to the threat of gum disease inflammation, your liver can put out an enzyme that can help address the issue. Unfortunately, this same enzyme can also increase your risks of having cardiovascular problems such as strokes and heart attacks.

Dementia And Gum Disease Can Be Connected

In a surprising new study on the connection between dementia and gum disease, scientists found that the pathogen which makes up periodontitis was found in the brains of patients’ with Alzheimer’s disease.

Not only was the disease present in their brains, but when it was studied in mice, the presence of the gum disease pathogen added to the production of amyloid plaques. As amyloid plaques are a key factor in the cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients, this connection between the two diseases is very concerning.

Gum Disease Can Raise The Risk Of Certain Cancers

The chronic inflammation of your gums can also put you at a higher risk for certain types of cancers. While researchers haven’t pinpointed the exact connection, the people they have studied have had a history of gum disease linked to their higher rates of cancer. The cancers which have been linked to gum disease are:

  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Melanoma cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Lung cancer

Ways To Prevent Periodontal Disease

By preventing periodontal disease from gaining a foothold in your life, you can better protect you from many of the connected health concerns.

  • Come in for biannual dental cleanings – Coming into our dental clinic for regular, preventative dental care can be one of your biggest protection against gum disease. With your twice a year cleaning and check up, our dentists can catch the beginning signs of gum disease and help effectively treat the problem.
  • Floss daily – By flossing in the evening, you can remove all the small food particles that have built up during the day that brushing is unable to remove. There are many types of flossing tools available to make flossing easier, so if you haven’t had much success with other types of flossing, you can ask our dentists about other tools.
  • Brush at least two times a day – Brushing in the morning removed the film of plaque which developed as you slept, while your evening brushing keeps from having food particles sit in your mouth overnight. Without these particles to eat, the bacteria which lead to gum disease will have nothing to eat and harm your teeth with.
  • Avoid nicotine use – Using nicotine, whether you chew, vape, or smoke, can hide the early signs of gum disease, as nicotine restricts blood flow. We recommend you cut nicotine out of your life so any gum disease symptoms can be quickly detected.

To start taking better care of your oral health—as well as the health of the rest of your body—contact us for an appointment today. Our dentists are ready to make sure your smile is as healthy as possible.

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Our Take On Smile Direct Club — Does It Really Work?

Smile Direct Club

Having whiter, straighter teeth is often a dental dream for most people, but the expense can put it outside of the reach of many individuals. But a new organization, called the Smile Direct Club, offers fast and affordable invisible aligners, much like Invisalign’s invisible braces.

Our dentists at Bridge Creek Dental have been asked by our patients for their opinion of Smile Direct Club. While some patients may benefit from this type of service, others (most) will not. Results will vary case by case and patients with mild to severe dental occlusions and misalignments are likely not a candidate for this type of treatment. We’re happy to talk with you about this line of treatment to see if you could benefit from these services.

The Smile Direct Club Process

On the surface, the Smile Direct Club has a straightforward process. First, a person will need to either order an at-home impression kit or go into a SmileShop for a 3D scan. Currently, the nearest SmileShop for Billings residents is located in Boise, Idaho. If you choose to order the impression kit, the impression you make at home will be used to make your invisible braces.

Smile Direct Club uses your impressions to create a course of treatment, then sends you your first set of invisible aligners, instructions, and a free whitening kit.

At the end of the treatment, Smile Direct Club advises their customers to visit their local dentist for a final check. You can order a retainer from Smile Direct Club to maintain the position and alignment of your teeth.

Should You Consider Using Smile Direct Club?

It’s important to remember that Smile Direct Club is not a viable option for patients in need of serious correction to the alignment of their teeth. Smile Direct Club is only a suitable treatment option for light to moderate realignment. If you have previously had an orthodontic correction and have since seen a subtle shift in your teeth, Smile Direct Club could be a good option to re-straightening slightly shifted teeth. But if your bite contributes to the shifting of your teeth, your results from Smile Direct Club will be temporary as they do not correct the shifting issue caused by your bite.

  • Minimal changes only – These aligners are not designed to correct anything more than slightly misaligned teeth. If you have rotated teeth, bite issues, or other significant teeth misalignment, then the Smile Direct Club isn’t a sufficient form of treatment. Consult with our dentists on what cosmetic dentistry can do for you to achieve your smile goals.
  • Affordable pricing – With an upfront cost of $1,850, the Smile Direct Club is an affordable option for aligning your teeth. While they do not accept dental insurance, you may use an existing HSA or FSA. They also allow financing through CareCredit. Smile Direct Club’s in-house financing will result in a total cost of $2,170 after interest rates and fees are applied.
  • Brief treatment time – Smile Direct Club says that the treatment process generally takes about 6 months, which is a fast approach to teeth alignment.
  • Simple process – Smile Direct Club offers a simple startup process for achieving straighter teeth.
  • Customer service – The main complaints reviewers mention when reviewing the Smile Direct Club is their customer service. Long wait times, confusing directions, and many dropped calls are common complaints. By working with our dentists, you can always enough prompt service and personalized help.

Work With Bridge Creek Dental For Straighter, Whiter Teeth

If you’re looking to make dramatic alterations to the alignment of your teeth, Smile Direct Club is likely a poor approach to treatment. Wondering whether or not Smile Direct Club is a good option for achieving a straighter smile? Meet with one of our dentists to see if you’re a candidate for invisible ortho liners. Here at Bridge Creek Dental, we offer a variety of dental services, from regular dental cleanings to more cosmetic dentistry such as teeth whitening and Invisalign.

If you are ready to have your cosmetic dentistry care customized to your needs, contact us for a consultation with one of our dentists. With their expert help, you can finally achieve the smile of your dreams.

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Understanding Your Teeth: Are Your Crooked Teeth Genetic?

3 Generations of Teeth

For people who dislike their crooked or misaligned teeth, an age-old question comes to mind: “Is the problem due to nature or nurture?” The answer is, it can result from either factor.

Whatever issues your teeth present—and whatever the cause—they can be made straighter and more uniform. We encourage you to take a look at our smile gallery on the Bridgecreek Dental website. We’ve achieved some miraculous smile makeovers through cosmetic procedures like:

  • Bonding
  • Crowns
  • Invisalign Braces
  • Veneers

In the meantime, let’s talk more about various types of crooked teeth and their potential causes.

The Size And Shape Of Your Jaw Can Cause Crooked Teeth

When you have crooked or misaligned teeth, it’s known as malocclusion. If your parents have malocclusion, there’s a good chance you do too.

One of the main contributors to malocclusion is the size and shape of your jaw. If you doubt these characteristics are controlled by genetics, take a gander at famous father/son look-alikes like the cleft-chinned Kirk and Michael Douglas and the long-jawed Donald and Kiefer Sutherland.

If a small jaw is your genetic legacy, your teeth are likely to be crooked because of overcrowding. You can also inherit a misaligned jaw, where the size of our upper and lower jaws differ significantly. This leads to abnormal bite patterns that range from harmless to problematic.

Abnormal bite patterns can be mild, as when your upper teeth slightly overlap your lower teeth. This may cause no physical problems and even add to a person’s charm. Take, for instance, noted beauties Eva Mendes and Julia Roberts. Both have smiles marked by slight overbites, as well as white and regular teeth.

In some cases, however, an overbite can be so pronounced it is a cosmetic issue. A major overbite can also lead to physical complications, as can a severe underbite. An underbite is when the lower jaw juts forward, causing your bottom teeth and jaw to overlap your upper teeth and jaw. Your jaw misalignment is a problem if:

  • It’s damaging your gums
  • It makes you feel unattractive
  • It’s uncomfortable to bite or chew
  • It spurs speech problems like a lisp
  • You breathe through your mouth, not your nose
  • You have jaw pain
  • You have tooth damage and enamel wear
  • You’ve have sleep apnea
  • You often bite your cheeks or tongue

Extra Teeth Can Also Cause Your Teeth To Be Crooked

There are other genetic factors besides your jaw that can lead to crooked teeth. Among these is the presence of extra teeth. Hyperdontia is the growth of extra teeth beyond our usual 20 baby teeth and 32 permanent adult teeth.

Extra teeth can come in many forms, from complete teeth to ones that are malformed. They can take root behind or near your regular teeth. Whatever your hyperdontia looks like, the resulting overcrowding makes for crooked teeth.

Sometimes a dentist or orthodontist will pull one or more extra teeth. This can take uncomfortable pressure off a patient’s jaws and gums and allow the regular teeth to thrive in a roomier environment.

Certain Behaviors and Habits Can Cause Malocclusion

Common childhood habits like thumb-sucking and prolonged use of a bottle or pacifier use can cause or exacerbate an overbite. Other behaviors that can lead to malocclusion include the tendency to thrust your tongue behind your teeth.

You may have thought you had to grin and bear it when it comes to your crooked teeth or misaligned jaw. In nearly all cases, though, malocclusion can be corrected through cosmetic dental procedures or orthodontia like braces. Want to discuss how you can correct a problem or simply beautify your smile? Contact us for your appointment today.

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Dentist Digest Monthly: Do’s and Don’ts of Pulling Out Baby Teeth

Baby Teeth

Dentists, and parents, never approach the process of pulling a baby tooth lightly. Kids feel a great deal of apprehension about tooth extraction, even at a family-friendly office like Bridge Creek Dental. This fear may be exacerbated by tooth pain they’re already experiencing.

Sometimes, though, tooth extraction is unavoidable. Your child’s primary tooth may be so badly decayed even a root canal can’t save it. It’s a common scenario, given 20 percent of children between age 5 and 11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth. Baby teeth may also need to be pulled if they’re fractured beyond repair; your child’s mouth is too crowded; a stubborn baby tooth refuses to make way for an erupting secondary tooth; or in preparation for getting braces.

While a tooth-pulling is never cause for celebration, a good dentist will work to make the procedure as painless as possible. There are also a number of dos and don’ts for parents when it comes to handling damaged baby teeth, which can lessen your child’s fear and discomfort.

Dental Do’s And Don’ts

Do explain the tooth-pulling procedure to your child ahead of time. Talk to your dentist so you know exactly what the procedure and recovery will look like, step-by-step. This includes any pain-killing measures, like numbing with a generalized anesthetic or sedation via laughing gas or an IV. It’s unlikely your child will be completely at ease about tooth extraction, but being in the know will ease their worry.

Don’t panic. If your child is experiencing severe tooth pain or has damaged their teeth through a mishap, do your best to remain calm. Your composure can reassure a frightened kid. Dentistry has become increasingly advanced and children are often more resilient than we think. Childhood dental issues can usually be resolved without any lasting physical or emotional damage.

Do consult with your dentist to find out how to prepare for the procedure. They may advise you to avoid giving your child food or liquids for a certain amount of time before the scheduled tooth-pulling, especially if sedation is involved.

Don’t ignore your child’s tooth decay because “they’re just baby teeth” and your child will get replacements soon. Tooth decay should always be addressed, because the infection involved can put your child’s health and even their at risk. An unresolved tooth infection can also spread to adult teeth that have yet to erupt.

Do plan ahead for the period immediately after the procedure. You’ll want to have over-the-counter pain medication at the ready as well as some soft foods that feel good on a sore gum.

Don’t assume your child’s damaged tooth is beyond repair. A knocked-out tooth may be successfully re-implanted if you get to a dentist within a couple hours. Save the tooth, keep it moist and call you your dentist. If it’s after-hours, you may be able to schedule an appointment with an emergency dentist. Trying to save a knocked-out tooth is particularly important if your child is younger than three or they’ve managed to dislodge a permanent tooth.

If your child’s tooth is knocked loose rather than knocked out, it can generally re-implant itself into your child’s jawbone. Give your dentist a call as soon as possible. They may recommend giving your youngster a soft diet for a couple days and that you make an appointment to have X-rays taken.

Do prepare to be surprised at how easily your child rolls with the punches. If you had your front two teeth knocked out, you’d be beside yourself. You’d worry about the way you look as well as complication with routine activities like eating.

A kid already in the stages of losing baby teeth, by contrast, is likely to be laughing at cartoons or pushing their toy cars around within a few hours of tooth extraction or injury. This resilience comes courtesy of a special superpower reserved for children. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “It is a happy talent to know how to play.”

Whether you’re in need of a tooth-extraction or just some sound advice, our dentists and staff are ready to help you. Contact us today.

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Tips On How To Fight Gingivitis

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a mild form of periodontal disease that presents itself as irritation, redness and swelling on the gingiva, the portion of your gums around the base of your teeth. It’s an uncomfortable condition that should be addressed as soon as possible because it can lead to more serious gum disease, tooth decay and even tooth loss.

If you suspect you have gingivitis or any other issues with your teeth and gums, you should see your local dentist to nip the problem in the bud. There are also measures you can take at home to ward off gingivitis.

Recognizing Gingivitis

When your gums are in good shape, they should be a pale pink color and fit firmly around your teeth. Gums with gingivitis, by contrast, have a red hue. Your diseased gums are likely to be tender, recede from your teeth and may bleed when you brush or floss. Further, gingivitis can cause bad breath.

Causes Of Gingivitis

The most common reason people get gingivitis is poor dental hygiene, but it’s possible for someone who’s conscientious about brushing and flossing to fall prey to gum disease.

Some people are genetically predisposed to gingivitis, while others develop it after taking certain pharmaceutical drugs or contracting a viral or fungal infection.

Other causes of gingivitis include:

  • Crooked, hard-to-clean teeth
  • Dry mouth
  • Hormonal changes like pregnancy or taking birth control pills
  • Immune disorders
  • Old age
  • Poor nutrition, especially vitamin C deficiency
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco

Gingivitis starts when plaque builds up and hardens into a crusty deposit called tartar. Tartar provides a breeding ground for bacteria and also irritates your gum-line, which can lead to inflammation of your gingiva.

Treating Gingivitis

The best treatment for gingivitis is professional dental hygiene care. Your dentist or oral hygienist will scale your teeth and conduct root planing on any exposed roots to remove plaque, bacteria and tartar. Your teeth and gums will also be examined to detect if there are any other problems that need to be addressed.

Preventing Gingivitis

The best treatment for gingivitis is to fend it off by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly.
You should also use a soft toothbrush and get a new one every three to four months— earlier if the bristles look worn and frayed. Some people find an electric toothbrush is better at getting rid of plaque and tartar.

It’s recommended that you also get your teeth professionally cleaned at your dentist’s office at least twice a year. Other ways to prevent gingivitis include avoiding tobacco products; using an antimicrobial mouthwash; and supplementing brushing and flossing with the use of an interdental cleaner like a dental pick.

If you want to prevent and reverse gum disease, address issues like cavities or learn how you can beautify and brighten your smile, contact us for an appointment at Bridge Creek Dental.

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Dentist Digest Monthly: Why Your Teeth May Hurt In Colder Weather

Colder Weather

Plenty of people with sensitive teeth expect that their teeth will react to hot or cold drinks and food. However, cold weather can hurt the teeth of those who don’t have sensitive teeth.

Our dentists at Bridge Creek Dental wanted to help explain why your teeth may hurt in colder weather and how you can fix the problem.

Winter Causes Changes In Our Teeth

While our teeth have some protection from the elements, when our teeth are exposed to exposed to the cold, they contract in response. Heat has the opposite effect and makes our teeth expand.

This contraction and expansion can cause small cracks in our enamel, leaving bacteria an area to gain a foothold. It can also work cavity fillings and dental crowns loose, leaving you in need of replacement. Setting up one of your bi-annual preventative dental cleanings during a winter month is a great way to catch these issues before they become too serious.

Ways To Correct Cold-Sensitive Teeth

You don’t have to simply live with the pain of cold-sensitive teeth. Some of the best ways to correct this problem are:

  • Sensitive toothpaste – A simple fix you may want to try is switching your toothpaste to specific sensitive toothpaste, which will help protect your teeth from changes in temperature.
  • Sealant treatment – If receding gums are behind your teeth sensitivity, our dentists can help by offering sealant treatment. The sealant will be applied to the exposed roots of your teeth and will help protect your teeth against both tooth decay and cold-sensitivity.
  • Cavity fillings – Replacing your cavity fillings may correct your dental sensitivity. As dental fillings don’t last forever, it is important to have them periodically checked and replaced, which our dentists can do for you.
  • Flouride application – Another way to strengthen your teeth against both cold-sensitivity and tooth decay is with fluoride applications, which adds a strengthening natural mineral to your teeth to boost your enamel’s protection. Our dentists can easily provide you with an application of fluoride and recommend toothpaste with high concentrations of fluoride.
  • Mouthguard – If your teeth are sensitive due to being worn down by grinding them, our dentists can fit you with a custom mouthguard to protect your teeth. Without the grinding motion to continually expose the dentin, you should have less sensitivity to cold weather.

Bridge Creek Dental is dedicated to providing top-quality dental care in Billings, MT. So, if you are looking for a reliable dentist who can help you with all your dental needs, contact us today.

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When Should You Consider Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry exists to help people manage their issues with the dentist. There are several levels of sedation dentistry—minimal, moderate, and deep—so everyone can receive the help they need.

Here at Bridge Creek Dental, we offer sedation dentistry to our patients to help make their dental appointments easier. Whether they struggle with dental anxiety or have physical restrictions which makes a dental appointment nearly impossible, sedation dentistry can help.

Sedation Dentistry Can Help With Anxiety

Dental anxiety is a real issue for many people, especially those who have previously had bad experiences with other dentists. With just minimal sedation dentistry, you can relax as you have your dental work done.

This level of sedation is considered safe for young children, and often can help them overcome their initial fears concerning dental checkups and cleanings. Whether or not your child can undergo sedation dentistry will be determined by their age and weight, so be sure to talk to our dentists if this is an option you would like to explore for your child.

Also, if you choose minimal sedation for your dental appointments, you can drive yourself home after your visit to our office and not have to worry about who will pick you up.

Undergo Multiple Dental Procedures At Once

It can physically and emotionally taxing to undergo multiple dental procedures such as two or more root canals back-to-back. Some people can become more anxious as time goes on while others who have smaller mouths can begin to feel sore and tense up.

With minimal-to-moderate sedation dentistry, you can more easily sit through multiple dental procedures. However, with moderate sedation dentistry, you may be a bit groggy afterward and need help going home.

Consider Sedation Dentistry To Correct Oral Sensitivity

For some dental patients, oral sensitivity can’t be blocked out with local anesthesia. To avoid any pain responses during your dental work, minimal sedation can be used to take that last bit of painful feedback away.

Sedation Dentistry Can Ease Physical Discomfort

If you struggle with sitting still for long periods of time due to physical limitations such as restless leg syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, or other issues, sedation dentistry is a good option to explore. Depending on your needs, our dentists may offer anywhere from minimal-to-deep sedation dentistry to help you through your appointment.

So, if you would like assistance with your dental struggles, inform us when you contact us for an appointment. Our dentists will be happy to make the process easier for you.

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Dentist Digest Monthly: When Is The Best Time of Day To Brush Your Teeth?

Brush Your Teeth

We all know the basics of brushing. You should do it in the morning and evening to remove plaque and food particles, stave off bad breath and ward off problems like tartar and tooth decay.

And yet, some questions that remain. Should you brush your teeth before or after breakfast? And are those hygiene enthusiasts we all know—the ones who carry a toothbrush and use it right after every meal and snack—doing themselves a favor?

At Bridge Creek Dental, teeth are our business. With that in mind, here’s our advice on optimal oral hygiene.

You Should Brush Your Teeth Before Breakfast

Our a.m. brushing routine is particularly crucial because plaque—a film rife with bacteria—builds up more quickly at night due to the fact we produce less saliva while sleeping.

Many people brush their teeth after breakfast because they figure it’s a one-two punch. You can remove the plaque and ensure no trapped food particles from breakfast remain in your mouth. There are, however, a number of arguments for brushing your teeth before breakfast, with post-pancake adherents including experts like the Mayo Clinic and the National Health Service.

Brushing Before Breakfast Makes For Good Chemistry

When plaque combines with sugar, it forms an acid that attacks the enamel of your teeth. Brushing before eating minimizes this corrosive chemical reaction. Further, if you use fluoride toothpaste it creates an added layer of pre-meal protection.

Brushing your teeth after breakfast may actually be detrimental. Many breakfasts are chock full of acid, sugar and carbs, which, when digested, become sugars. Think foods like sugary cereal and toast and acid-heavy beverages like orange juice and coffee.

Sugars and acid alter the pH level in your mouth, weakening the tooth enamel. If you brush straight away after eating, you run the risk of scraping off this softened enamel. This, in turn, allows acid to penetrate deeper into your teeth.

Avoid Brushing Immediately After Eating

In fact, brushing immediately after any meal can compromise your tooth enamel. This is especially true if you’ve consumed something acidic like citrus fruit or a dish containing tomato sauce, which is heavy in both acid and sugar.

It’s recommended you wait between 30 minutes and an hour after eating before brushing. This lets the pH level in your mouth normalize and your enamel be restored enough to handle brushing.

If you want to make sure there are no food particles on your teeth and your mouth feels fresh after eating, you can swish water around in your mouth, rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash or take the opportunity to floss.

You Should Always Brush Your Teeth In The Evening

If people are going to skip one of the two recommended daily brushing, they generally omit their evening brushing. A late night out or tough day can make it tempting to stumble into bed without your usual p.m. oral hygiene routine.

This, however, should be a rare occurrence. Think of it this way: your teeth have had a hard day, too! During the day, plaque builds up on our teeth and so do tiny bits of food accumulated during meals and snacks. If you hit the sack without brushing your teeth, this dental detritus causes bacteria that can weaken your tooth enamel. Further, the food can decay, causing bad breath.

You Should Have Your Teeth Regularly Cleaned At The Dentist

Good dental hygiene extends beyond conscientious home care. You should get your teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months or so. Our staff has the tools and expertise to get your pearly whites looking great. And when we peer into your mouth for cleaning purposes, we may be able to detect tooth or gum issues before they become a problem. A professional cleaning includes:

  • Scaling your teeth to remove built-up plaque and/or tartar
  • Root planting to clean any exposed roots that have begun to accumulate plaque or tartar
  • Dental polishing to leave your teeth squeaky clean and gleaming

Our dentists, the best in Billings, Montana, may also recommend further preventative care, like fluoride treatments or dental sealants. At Bridge Creek Dental, we work with you to ensure your teeth are well cared for, remaining in service and looking good when you smile. Contact us today to make an appointment.

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Dentist Digest Monthly: Signs That A Root Canal Is Needed

Root Canal

Dentists can generally repair a cavity with a simple filling, but sometimes the decay becomes more advanced, breaching the tooth’s enamel. If the pulp of your tooth—which contains blood vessels, connective tissues and nerve endings—becomes infected, your dentist may recommend a root canal to save your tooth and ward off nerve damage.

During a root canal, the infected pulp is removed and the inner chamber of your tooth is cleaned. The chamber is then filled and the tooth topped with a crown. Only your dentist can determine whether you need a root canal, but there are some signs that can serve as red flags.

Tooth Pain Is A Sign You May Need A Root Canal

By the time you need a root canal, your tooth’s pulp is severely inflamed. You may experience spontaneous waves of pain with no apparent cause. Other times, pain may be triggered by activities like chewing or touching the offending tooth. You may have trouble sleeping and find little relief from over-the-counter medication.

There are other painful signs that a root canal may be in order. You should make an appointment with our dentists at Bridge Creek Dental if you:

  • Can easily identify which tooth hurts.
  • Experience pain while brushing and flossing.
  • Experience positional pain, with the ache increasing when you lie down, stand up suddenly or jog in place.

Tooth Sensitivity Is A Sign You May Need A Root Canal

You may need a root canal if a sudden change in temperature prompts a sharp pain in the gums near your problem tooth.

If you experience pain after being exposed to heat, like taking a sip of coffee, it’s may be a sign that there is some nerve damage. If cold food or drink causes lingering pain, even radiating upwards to give you a headache, you also likely have an infection that has breached the pulp of your teeth.

Swelling Is A Sign You May Need A Root Canal

If you have swelling and discomfort in your gums, it may be a sign your tooth infection has spread to your gums. Tenderness and swelling in your cheeks indicate the infection has spread to your face, while soreness, swelling and drainage in the lymph nodes under your jaw or in your neck indicate the tooth infection has spread to your jaw.

An Abscess Is A Sign You May Need A Root Canal

When your dental pulp becomes infected, your immune system springs into action, sending white blood cells to kill the bacteria. In the ensuing battle, pus—made from white blood cells, dead tissue and bacteria—attempts to drain through the roots of your teeth into your jaw.

The pocket of pus that forms at the root tip can erupt into an abscess on your gums. Similar in appearance to a pimple, it can be white, yellow or red. The pressure and inflammation make an abscess very painful. Signs you may have an abscess include:

  • Severe toothache
  • Swelling in your gums, face or lymph nodes
  • The discharge of pus, which has a bad smell and an unpleasant taste
  • Fever

You should never ignore an abscessed tooth because the infection can enter your bloodstream, which can be life-threatening. Your dentist may recommend a course of antibiotics as well as a root canal.

Tooth Discoloration Is A Sign You May Need A Root Canal

Tooth discoloration, with the teeth taking on a gray or black appearance, is just one more indication that an infection inside your tooth has spurred internal tissue breakdown.

If you suspect you need a root canal or want preventative care to ward off tooth infections, contact us today to schedule an examination.

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How Long Should My Teeth Hurt After A Filling?

Teeth

After you receive a dental filling from one of our dentists, you can feel confident that our dentists have addressed the tooth decay and you are well on your way to recovery. However, directly after you have received the filling, there may be a certain amount of residual pain.

Pain From Dental Fillings Should Be Short-Term

If you do experience pain after you have had a dental filling, you don’t need to worry. This discomfort is a common occurrence and generally does not signal that anything is wrong with the filling our dentists placed.

For most people, any dental pain from their filling goes away over the course of a few days up to a couple of weeks. If you have any concerns, you are welcome to make another appointment with our dentists at Castle Rock Dental.

Potential Causes Of Dental Pain Post-Filling

There can be several potential causes that have triggered you to feel pain around your dental filling.

  • Altered bite – A filling can change how you bite down. Often, the difference will be quickly forgotten, but if you find it uncomfortable, you can come in and have one of our dentists shape your filling.
  • Referred pain – The nerves in your teeth are all tightly interwoven, and while your tooth with the filling may not feel pain, your surrounding teeth may experience pain. This discomfort should go away with time.
  • Pulpitis – The process of removing tooth decay can cause the pulp of your tooth to become inflamed and potentially infected if not all the decayed tooth tissue is removed before the filling is placed. Sometimes, all you need is time for this issue to go away. If you notice your gum swelling, it is best to come into our dental clinic to ensure you don’t need a root canal.
  • Varying material – If you have varying dental materials in your mouth such as a gold crown and a silver filling, you may experience an uncomfortable sensation when these materials make contact.
  • Allergic reaction – While rare, some people experience allergic reactions to their dental filling. If there is itching or a rash appears, our dentists can redo the filling with a different material.

Ways To Alleviate Dental Filling Discomfort

You don’t have to just suffer through discomfort caused by your dental filling. Some of the things you can do to alleviate the pain are:

  • Be extra-gentle as you brush and floss
  • Avoid cold or hot foods for a few days to a week
  • Skip any acidic foods and drinks
  • Take anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen
  • Chew food opposite of your filling

Whether you are looking to have a simple filling placed or cosmetic dentistry performed, you can come to our dentists at Castle Rock Dental in Billings, MT. For an appointment with our excellent dentists, contact us today.

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