5 Reasons Why You Should Still Visit The Dentist While You Have Braces

5 Reasons Why You Should Still Visit The Dentist While You Have Braces
While wearing braces, you have to make regular visits to the orthodontist. These visits can sometimes make people wonder if they can skip their regular dentist appointments and cleanings.

If you’ve been wondering if you should stick to your dental cleaning schedule or not, Bridge Creek Dental is here to tell you why you still need to come into our clinic while wearing braces.

1. Dental Cleanings Are Even More Necessary

While wearing braces, preventative dental care is even more important. With more areas to clean around, it is easier for dental plaque to be missed and build up, creating tartar and calcium deposits on your teeth. This build-up is particularly noticeable around the brackets of your braces.

By sticking to your six-month dental cleaning appointments, you can protect your teeth while your braces straighten them. Our dental clinic has specialized tools to clean around your wires and brackets so that you can enjoy that fresh mouth feeling while your braces stay intact.

2. Potential Cavity Development While Wearing Braces

Along with dental plaque, there are other things that can threaten your teeth while wearing braces, namely, cavities. In fact, developing even one cavity can set back your braces treatment timeline by a month or more.

So, why would a cavity slow down your teeth being straightened? Well, the cavity needs to be addressed before any tightening of the bands on your brackets. Otherwise, the tightened bands can put undue stress on the compromised tooth and may lead to it cracking or breaking altogether.

3. Prevent Pairing Unhealthy Gums With Straight Teeth

You can be at a higher risk of developing gum disease when wearing braces. Since you likely don’t want to pair beautifully straight teeth with inflamed gums, it is important to keep seeing your regular dentist while undergoing alignment treatment.

It doesn’t have to be extraordinary visits to our dental clinic either. During your regularly-scheduled dental cleanings, our dentists will check to see if you are experiencing gingivitis (early-stage gum disease) or one of the more severe forms of periodontitis. If signs are detected, it is important to intervene quickly to prevent further inflammation and potential tooth loss.

4. Avoid Dental Decalcification

Another dental issue that can be caught by regular cleanings is dental decalcification. If one of your teeth is losing calcium, white, chalky spots will appear. This loss of calcium weakens the tooth, making it more prone to cracking or fracturing, which is definitely not something you want when wearing braces.

Should our staff see the signs of dental decalcification, they will be able to provide treatment options, advice, and supplies that you can use at home to strengthen your teeth.

5. Get A Fluoride Treatment To Help Strengthen Teeth

One such option to strengthen decalcified teeth is a fluoride treatment. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral, and it has been documented to help remineralize teeth that have become decalcified.

At our dental clinic, our dentists can provide a clinical-strength fluoride treatment, and send you home with fluoride toothpaste that contains a higher concentration of fluoride than what is sold in store-bought fluoride toothpastes.

Pair Visits To Our Dentists With Regular Oral Hygiene

Along with sticking to your dentist and orthodontist appointments, your daily oral hygiene will make a huge impact on the health of your teeth as you wear your braces. Along with good braces practices—i.e., no sticky foods, drink sugary liquids with straw away from braces, etc.—be sure to brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. You should also floss once a day, though a floss threader may help you maneuver around your braces.

So, if you need to schedule your next dental cleaning, please contact us today. When setting up your appointment, please specify that you are wearing braces so that our staff can get the right tools ready for your appointment. We look forward to helping you have a healthy smile!

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Dentist Digest Monthly: Explaining The Stages Of Tooth Decay

Dentist Digest Monthly - Explaining The Stages Of Tooth Decay
It can seem like your teeth go from healthy and fine to in pain and in need of dental intervention without any warning. But there are actually many stages of tooth decay. The sooner the tooth decay is addressed, the fewer complications you will have when working with our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental.

To help you identify the signs and symptoms of a nascent cavity sooner, below are the six stages of tooth decay.

First Stage: White Spots Appear

Initially, the first sign of tooth decay will appear as white spots on your teeth. These white spots show up as your teeth become demineralized due to bacteria eating leftover food particles and excreting acid on your teeth. As your tooth loses calcium in spots, the chalky white spots will keep showing up, and dental plaque will be faster to build up.

At this stage, you might be able to reverse the problem. Spending more time and attention to your daily oral care can help, as well as using high concentration fluoride toothpaste. The fluoride in the toothpaste can help remineralize your teeth, and there are topical fluoride treatments that our dentists can provide.

Second Stage: Tooth Enamel Breaks Down

Your tooth’s first layer of defense is the hard enamel layer. However, the demineralization compromises the integrity of the enamel. So, in the second stage of tooth decay, the enamel starts to break down, creating small cavities. These tiny cavities aren’t always large enough to be addressed by a dentist, but it leaves weak spots on your teeth.

Once the enamel breaks down enough to form a full cavity, it should be quickly addressed by a dentist. Otherwise, the weakness in your tooth can lead to future breakage, especially if you grind your teeth, which also stresses the surface of your teeth.

Third Stage: Dentin Layer Breached

If tooth decay is allowed to progress, it will breach the next layer of the tooth under the enamel, which is the dentin. This layer is yellow in color, which is why teeth with thin enamel will look yellowish. While you can correct the yellow color with cosmetic dentistry, you should ensure that your teeth are healthy before embarking on any cosmetic dentistry.

At this stage, you will likely feel more dental pain, as the dentin is more sensitive than your enamel layer. A dental filling will be needed to correct the tooth decay.

Fourth Stage: Infection Reaches Tooth Pulp

Under the protective layers of enamel and dentin is the tooth pulp. This area of the tooth is where the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth are located. When the infection reaches this part of your tooth, the bacteria can kill both the blood vessels and nerves. The process isn’t instantaneous, and it is generally pretty painful.

Once your tooth reaches this stage of tooth decay, a root canal is needed to clean out the infection. The root canal will be followed up by a dental crown, as the tooth structure will have become severely compromised.

Fifth Stage: Dental Abscess Forms

If you manage to put up with the pain of having your dental pulp infected, the bacterial infection can travel throughout your tooth and exit through the root of your tooth. At or near the root, a pocket of infection can form, which creates a dental abscess.

Dental abscesses are incredibly painful and can put the nearby teeth and jawbone at risk of infection, as the bacteria can spread from the abscess. In some rare cases, the infection can enter the bloodstream for fatal consequences. Along with needing a root canal and crown, you may need oral surgery to have the abscess drained.

Sixth Stage: Tooth Loss

After the decay has killed all the nerves and blood vessels in your tooth—and likely has destroyed the majority of the tooth structure—tooth loss is the final step. The decayed tooth will need to be extracted, and it is likely that the nearby teeth will need dental attention, as tooth decay tends to spread to the neighboring teeth.

At this point, dental replacements will need to be considered. There are a number of options, from dental bridges to dental implants to replace the tooth. However, it is best if you never reach this stage of tooth decay.

Prevent Tooth Decay With Dentists In Billings, MT

Prevention of tooth decay starts at home with twice-daily tooth brushing and nightly flossing. You should also be visiting the dentist for dental cleanings on a twice-a-year basis. If you live in Billing, MT, you and the whole family can always come to Bridge Creek Dental for all your dental care needs.

So, if you are ready to come in for your biannual dental cleaning, feel free to contact us today to set up your appointment! We are ready to help keep your smile happy and cavity-free!

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How Does Mouth Breathing Affect Oral Health?

How Does Mouth Breathing Affect Oral Health
Some people may consider mouth breathing a matter of preference. But these individuals would be surprised to find out that breathing through their mouths regularly can impact their oral health.

Issues ranging from halitosis (bad breath) to gum disease and cavities can be a result of mouth breathing. So, if you don’t want an unpleasant surprise during your next dental cleaning here at Bridge Creek Dental, here’s exactly how mouth breathing impacts your oral health and what you can do about it.

Impact On Oral Health Due To Mouth Breathing

Much of the impact of mouth breathing on your oral health is due to how mouth breathing dries out your mouth while breathing through your nostrils provides warmed, humidified air. With a dry mouth from mouth breathing, these are some of the most common oral health side-effects:

  • Halitosis – Ongoing bad breath that isn’t alleviated with mouthwash, breath mints, and other things is classified as halitosis. The bad breath is caused by a buildup of bacteria, which is normally managed by your saliva. But if you breathe through your mouth, you won’t have enough saliva to control the bacterial growth.
  • Tooth decay – Another side-effect of having uncontrolled bacterial growth due to less saliva is that tooth decay can increase and spread from tooth-to-tooth. This decay, if left unchecked, can lead to infection and tooth loss.
  • Gum disease – A dried-out mouth with unchecked bacteria is also one that is vulnerable to gum disease. If bacteria are able to penetrate between your teeth and gums, you can develop gingivitis, which can progress into the more serious stages of periodontitis.

Children, in particular, experience negative side-effects due to mouth breathing, to the point where they suffer developmental issues. The main oral health impact of mouth breathing on children can be:

  • Malocclusion – Developing young mouths can become misaligned—also called maloccluded—by mouth breathing. This misalignment due to mouth breathing can result in a significant overbite and crooked teeth caused by crowding.
  • Excess gum tissue – A gummy smile—where most of the smile is gum tissue—can be the result of mouth breathing as a child.
  • Narrower mouths – As mouth breathing while young can impact how a child’s face develops, this impact extends to the shape of the mouth. Children who mouth breathe can develop narrower mouths that require dental intervention to correct.

Signs Of Mouth Breathing

A significant part of preventative dental care is careful monitoring of your oral health. If you are worried that you are mouth breathing, here are some signs you can look for:

  • Snoring
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Moody and tired when waking
  • Halitosis
  • Brain fog
  • Hoarse voice

As for what triggers mouth breathing, a common culprit is allergies and other nasal-related issues. Sometimes, the problems can tie into other airway issues, like sleep apnea. It is important to determine the source of your mouth breathing so that you can effectively address it before it has a further impact on your oral health.

Our Dentists Can Help Correct Mouth Breathing Side-Effects

Once you have worked with a medical professional or used the right medication to address your nasal congestion, you will likely need to take care of the oral issues that mouth breathing has caused. You can start this process by coming into our clinic for a dental cleaning.

During your cleaning, our staff can determine what problems need to be addressed, and you can consult with our dentists on cosmetic changes you would like to make. If you grew up mouth breathing, or you have a child who has been impacted by mouth breathing, procedures like gum tissue reduction, braces, spacer insertion, and other services may be needed.

If you are ready to tackle the issues that have been triggered by mouth breathing, whether it is having cavities filled or teeth whitened, feel free to contact us today to start working with our dentists.

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Deep Cleaning Your Teeth At Home – The Do’s And Don’ts

Deep Cleaning Your Teeth At Home - The Do’s And Don’ts
While regular dental appointments at our dental clinic are needed to keep your oral health on track, the majority of your dental care happens at home. Everyday dental care involves brushing your teeth and flossing, but sometimes, you can feel the need for deeper cleaning.

To avoid harming your teeth while trying to deep clean them, there are some things you should do, such as use the right products and others that you definitely avoid, such as using unsuitable tools.

Do These Things To Deep Clean Your Teeth At Home

When you are cleaning your teeth at home, there are several things you can do in addition to the regular recommendations, particularly if you are prone to developing tartar and dental plaque.

1. Extend Your Teeth Brushing Time

Generally, it is recommended that you brush your teeth for two minutes, with 30 seconds allotted for each quadrant of your mouth. You may want to set a timer, as many people underestimate the time they need to spend. And, instead of spending only two minutes, you can extend your brushing time to three or four minutes.

While you don’t want to overbrush your teeth and wear grooves into them, going for an extra three-to-four minutes can help ensure you get every nook and cranny of your teeth.

2. Alternate Which Toothpaste You Use

Often, we will recommend the use of fluoride toothpaste to help protect your teeth. But, for those who are concerned about tartar and plaque build-up on their teeth, you can alternate what toothpaste you use.

Different kinds of toothpastes generally have formulas that concentrate on fighting a specific dental issue, from high fluoride toothpaste for tooth decay prevention to whitening toothpaste. To get the most benefits, alternate days on what toothpaste you use.

3. Add Plenty Of Fruits And Veggies To Your Diet

Fresh fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals that your teeth need to stay healthy. By eating a more varied diet and cutting out processed—and likely highly sugary or carb-loaded—foods, you can better protect your teeth long term.

4. Stick To Effective Flossing

While the research behind flossing your teeth is still developing, there is nothing harmful about effective flossing techniques and a lot to recommend it. Flossing at least once a day allows you to remove food particles from hard-to-reach places without resorting to toothpicks, which can harm your gums.

5. Always Brush Your Teeth Gently

Speaking of pressing too hard, deep cleaning your teeth has nothing to do with brushing your teeth with hard pressure. Instead, you should brush your teeth gently, and avoid applying hard pressure, as it can wear down the enamel of your teeth, rather than deep cleaning.

Also, be sure that you are using a soft-bristled toothbrush. That way, you remain careful with your dental enamel.

Don’t Ever Do These Things To Your Teeth

There are several things you should never do to your teeth, whether you are cleaning them or just going about your day. Otherwise, you may find yourself in need of our dental services sooner than you would like.

1. Don’t Make Your Gums Bleed

There are several instances where your gums may bleed, whether when brushing or flossing. When you first start flossing, there may be a little blood. If you continue to gently floss, that should stop, as long as you aren’t pressing hard. With brushing, a bit of blood can indicate the early stages of gingivitis.

To avoid infection, be gentle as you brush and floss. Too much pressure and vigorous brushing can cause your gums to recede. Instead, you can come in for scaling and root planing if you want a deeper, professional clean for your teeth.

2. Avoid Using “Natural” Toothpaste

Most kinds of toothpastes that are touted as natural use agents like charcoal, or coarse, poorly-incorporated baking soda. While baking soda is used in some professionally-formulated toothpaste, these natural kinds of toothpaste are grittier, as are most natural toothpastes.

While it may make you feel like the grit is getting more off, your teeth aren’t dirty grout, and you don’t need high grit to get them clean. Instead, you would carve grooves into your teeth with natural toothpastes and wear down your enamel faster.

3. Do Not Use A Plaque Scraper

Some drugstores and grocery stores sell non-medical grade plaque scrapers. While these tools may look like the ones that are used in our dental clinic, they aren’t the same and shouldn’t be used for deep cleaning. Mostly because they are still sharp, and it is easy to slip and cut yourself, as well as pressing too hard and digging grooves into your teeth.

4. Don’t Use Your Teeth As Tools

When you lack scissors to cut off an annoying string, or there is a stubborn plastic package that won’t open, it is tempting to use your teeth to force the issue.

But your teeth aren’t tools, and if you don’t want to end up with a dental emergency due to a chipped tooth, you will avoid using your teeth for any other work than chewing food.

5. Keep From Chewing On Non-food Items

As for chewing on non-food items, our best advice is to not do it. It can be tough, especially if you’ve formed the absentminded habit of chewing on the end of your pen or other non-edible object.

To protect your teeth from having the edges worn down prematurely, do your best to catch yourself if you find you’re chewing on something you can’t eat.

Visit Bridge Creek Dental In Billings, MT For Professional Dental Care

Whether you need a routine dental cleaning or would like to consult about cosmetic dentistry, Bridge Creek Dental is here for Billings, MT, locals. So, if you are ready for your biannual dental cleaning, whether for you or the whole family, feel free to contact us today to set up your appointment.

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Dentist Digest Monthly: Everything You Need To Know About Oral Probiotics Impact On Dental Health

Dentist Digest Monthly - Everything You Need To Know About Oral Probiotics Impact On Dental Health
There are many different strains of bacteria in the human mouth. While some are beneficial, there are many types that lead to dental plaque buildup, cavities, and worse, requiring the intervention of our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental.

Lately, oral probiotics have been praised for promoting healthy bacteria growth and improvement in some users’ digestive system. From that success, individuals have been looking at how else probiotics can help and have found that oral probiotics may be able to help support dental health.

What Are Oral Probiotics

For something to be probiotic, it needs to have healthy bacteria that help support your overall health needs. Probiotics can be found in natural food sources that have been fermented, like sourdough bread and yogurt.

There are also oral supplements you can take with probiotics, which is how many people consume probiotics. These supplements can come in a variety of forms, from powders to pills. While people have mainly taken oral probiotics to help support their gut health with healthy bacteria, some researchers have been finding that probiotics can have a variety of positive effects on your oral health.

Ways Probiotics Can Support Dental Health

There have been some studies done to see if probiotics can help support dental health, and while there is some proof, these studies are still limited and need to be reproduced. However, what has been found so far infers that oral probiotics can help:

  • Fight off bad breath – As bad breath is often a result of issues with the bacteria in your gut or mouth, it makes sense that oral probiotics can help. A 2006 study had 23 people use a dental probiotic mouthwash, and 85% of the study participants found their bad breath was reduced.
  • Stop dental plaque – Another group of researchers wanted to see how dental plaque could be influenced by a probiotic strain of A12, which is known to assist in fighting off the cavity-causing bacterial strain called Streptococcus mutans. In the 2015 study, the A12 probiotic was able to stop Streptococcus mutans from growing at all, which helped prevent the formation of dental plaque.
  • Help manage gingivitis – The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, and in another 2006 study, researchers gave 59 participants with moderate-to-severe gingivitis were given probiotics. After just two weeks, there were marked improvements in their gingivitis as well as a reduction in plaque.
  • Potentially prevent oral cancer – In a limited 2013 study, a group of researchers found that oral probiotics help suppress oral cancer in lab rats. How effective this method would be for humans is debatable, but potentially very interesting.
  • Lower gum inflammation – Gum disease can also cause gum inflammation, which can leave your gums tender and prone to bleeding. A 2009 study found that participants who took oral probiotic supplements saw a reduction in their inflammation.

Potential Side-Effects Of Oral Probiotics

Overall, oral probiotics should be safe for everyone to take, especially in the form of different probiotic foods. However, for those who are immunosuppressed or immunodeficient—at high risk of infection—should not take concentrated doses of oral probiotics and talk to their doctor before starting any course of probiotics.

This warning also applies to children, pregnant women, and seniors, who are often at-risk groups for infections. Oral probiotic supplements in particular should not be started without the approval of your doctor.

How To Get More Dental Probiotics In Your Life

There are specific dental probiotic supplements available, though you don’t necessarily have to choose supplements to get dental probiotics in your life. Instead, you can get lower doses of oral probiotics via food sources like:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Tempeh
  • Miso
  • Kimchi
  • Enhanced milk
  • Soft cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Sour pickles
  • Sourdough bread

Along with adding probiotics to your life, be sure that you stick with your routine dental cleanings! By contacting us and setting up your biannual dental cleaning appointment, our dentists can help ensure that your oral health is on track, and any issues can be caught early.

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Tooth Anatomy, What Are The Basic Parts Of A Tooth?

Tooth Anatomy, What Are The Basic Parts Of A Tooth
Your teeth may look like they are all one piece, but in reality, teeth are made up of multiple layers. From the crown of your teeth to the nerves inside that tell you when your ice cream is chilly or how to move your tongue to make different sounds, the parts of your teeth work together to allow you to do many things.

To help demystify your teeth, our Billings, MT dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental are here to cover tooth anatomy and clear up what the basic parts of your teeth are and what they do for you.

What Are The Part Of A Tooth

The basic parts of a tooth consist of the crown, enamel, dentin, tooth pulp, and root. Each plays an important role and needs to be taken care of to ensure a healthy smile.


Top of the tooth, the crown is the part of the tooth, which makes the most contact with your other teeth and the objects you bite. With this constant contact, the crown of the tooth is vulnerable to becoming worn down and damaged, particularly if the crown makes contact with something hard.

While some wear is expected, when a crown becomes chipped or cracked, a dental filling or dental crown is needed to keep your tooth protected.


The hard, white outer layer of your teeth is called the enamel. Your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your entire body, which the enamel has to be to stand up to decades of heavy usage. It also protects the softer, more sensitive layers of your teeth. With proper dental hygiene, you should be able to maintain the enamel of your teeth for years to come.

When the enamel of your teeth is breached by bacteria, it forms a cavity. If dealt with quickly, all you need is a dental filling to re-seal your tooth. However, if it is left unaddressed, your enamel can suffer further damage, and the tooth layers below can be jeopardized.


Directly below the enamel layer of your tooth is a layer of dentin. This layer of your tooth is yellow, and when your enamel layer is thinner, the yellow you see in your teeth is likely the dentin showing through. The dentin helps support the enamel—but it is not as hard—and is the last layer of defense for the pulp of your teeth.

If the dentin is breached, you are lucky if all you need is a filling. Because, once tooth decay has made its way completely past the dentin, you will need a root canal to clean out the problem.

Tooth Pulp

Your tooth pulp is where all the soft tissue—nerves, blood vessels, etc.—of your tooth are located. This collection of tissue is what allows you to feel when your teeth make contact with something, changes in temperature, and pain when there is something wrong with your teeth.

If tooth decay allows an infection to set into the tooth pulp, it can be incredibly painful. A root canal to clean out the infection and a dental crown are generally needed if something goes wrong with the tooth pulp. Left untreated, tooth pulp can die, resulting in tooth loss.


The base of your tooth is the root. This part of your tooth connects it to your jawbone, keeping your tooth in place while chewing, speaking, etc. The pulp of your teeth run through the roots of your teeth and keep the connection between your teeth and your jaw alive.

How To Best Protect Your Teeth

To protect your teeth—from the crest of the crown to the tip of your roots—there is some preventative dental care you should be doing.

  • Daily oral hygiene – Your day-to-day oral hygiene routine is the most important thing you can do to maintain your dental health. Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day—morning and night—and floss once a day.
  • Fluoride treatment – Provided by our dentists, a fluoride treatment can add extra protection for your teeth, especially if you don’t normally drink water with fluoride in it.
  • Regular dental cleanings – Coming in twice a year for dental cleanings is an important part of maintaining your teeth’s health. With regular cleanings, our dental staff can monitor potential trouble spots and catch issues before they become serious problems.
  • Dental sealants – If you have deep grooves or crevasses in your teeth, these can allow pockets of bacteria to hide and flourish. To fill in these crevices and protect your teeth, our dentists can apply a thin coat to your teeth, sealing them.
  • Nightguard – For those individuals who tend to grind their teeth or clench them at night, a nightguard can be an excellent way to protect your teeth from excessive wear and tear.

When you are ready to schedule your dental cleaning to help protect your teeth, feel free to contact us so that we can get you in as soon as possible!

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Brushing Your Tongue – Are There Oral Hygiene Benefits?

Brushing Your Tongue - Are There Oral Hygiene Benefits
When it comes to preventative dental care, engaging in good daily oral hygiene practices is essential in keeping your mouth healthy. You know the basics—teeth brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash. But you may have heard people talking about tongue scraping or brushing and are wondering if it is worth your time.

In general, brushing your tongue may make you feel refreshed but doesn’t have any verifiable benefits beyond that. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t scrape your tongue, especially if it helps you stay committed to a good oral hygiene routine.

Should You Be Brushing Your Tongue

There are three main reasons why people brush or scrape their tongues:

  • Reduce halitosis (bad breath)
  • Increase the ability to taste things
  • Decrease the number of bacteria

The problem is, there is little to no scientific evidence to back up these tongue scraping claims. Without measurable effects, it can be hard to say that tongue scraping does anything other than add another step to your oral hygiene routine.

However, that doesn’t mean that you should stop brushing your tongue. Some people simply enjoy the fresh feeling after they have cleaned their entire mouth. If that’s what you enjoy about brushing your tongue, then you should feel free to continue.

How To Scrape Your Tongue

If you are still interested in cleaning your tongue, our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental recommend you do it as part of your regular oral hygiene routine. That way, if there are any undiscovered benefits to tongue scraping, you can enjoy them with the proven benefits of teeth brushing and flossing.

After you have finished with your brushing and flossing, you can use a tongue scraper to wrap up your routine, following these steps.

  • Open your mouth and place the scraper as far back on your tongue as you are comfortable. You may need to go slowly your first few times to avoid engaging your gag reflex.
  • With gently applied pressure on the tongue scraper, pull it forward until you reach the tip of your tongue. There should be no pain or discomfort associated with this motion.
  • Rinse off the tongue scraper after each pass using warm water, and repeat the scraping motion until the entire tongue has been scraped.
  • Once you are done scraping, rinse your mouth with mouthwash to seal in that fresh feeling.

Don’t Forget The Rest Of The Mouth

As you use a tongue scraper or brush your tongue, be sure not to neglect any other part of your oral hygiene routine, including going to your biannual cleaning appointments. By sticking to a healthy routine, you can reduce halitosis, protect yourself from gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral health issues that arise from poor oral hygiene.

To set up your biannual dental cleaning appointment to ensure that your oral health stays in top condition, feel free to contact us to schedule your cleaning! We look forward to helping you achieve the healthiest smile possible!

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Dentist Digest Monthly: Stop Opening Bottles With Your Teeth

Dentist Digest Monthly - Stop Opening Bottles With Your Teeth
Healthy natural teeth perform a range of essential functions—helping with speech as well as nonverbal communication, assists in food consumption, and more. And everyone feels more confident when they can flash a bright, white, and even smile.

Yet, some people insist on using their teeth to do things they shouldn’t, like opening bottles and holding things between their teeth, running the risk of severely damaging their teeth. As your local Billings, MT, dentists, we want you to stop opening bottles with your teeth and using them as substitute tools.

Is It Bad To Open Bottles With Your Teeth?

The enamel of your teeth is the hardest substance in your body. However, that doesn’t mean that it is up to being used as a bottle opener. Leave the opening of bottles with teeth to Hollywood—for everyone else, it is a terrible idea to open bottles with your teeth.

Think about it. Your teeth are quite strong as a chomping whole, but if you are using them to open a bottle, you are putting a lot of pressure on the crown of just a couple of your teeth. That kind of pressure is guaranteed to go wrong, either on the first try or down the road, the end result is the same.

Other Things You Should Stop Doing With Your Teeth

Along with needing to stop using your teeth to open bottles, there are other nonfood related things you should stop doing with your teeth so that you don’t have to visit our dental clinic before your next preventative dental cleaning.

  • Prying things open – Sometimes, when things get jammed, it can get frustrating. But you don’t want to resort to your teeth in frustration. It can increase the force you are using with your teeth and lead to painfully chipped teeth.
  • Using them as scissors – You know that vacuum-sealed plastic that seems to be on every electronic purchase? Yeah, stop using your teeth to tear off the initial edge. It can lead to chipping your front teeth on each other, so stick to keeping scissors handy.
  • Cracking open items – Most people have cracked open something like a nut with their teeth. But no bite of nut is worth cracking a tooth or chipping off a chunk. Stick to a nutcracker and other tools that aren’t your teeth when it comes to breaking things open.
  • Carrying things between teeth – Sometimes, teeth can seem like a convenient third hand. However, if something pulls out the thing you are holding or jostles the item, you run the risk of dislodging a tooth or creating a stress fracture.

What To Do When You Chip A Tooth On A Bottle

Unfortunately, for some people, our advice has come a little late, and they have already chipped a tooth opening a bottle or while using their teeth as tools. Depending on the extent of the damage, your tooth can be repaired with cosmetic dentistry. Some common options to correct cracked or chipped teeth are:

  • Bonding – For light dental damage—such as a chip or cracked tooth—bonding may be enough to fix your tooth. Using composite resin, our dentists can fill in the damaged area and cure it with a special light. The composite is matched to your teeth so that the damage can be completely fixed without being obvious.
  • Veneers – Sometimes, several teeth are chipped when you try and use your teeth as tools. When the damage occurs to your front teeth, veneers are an excellent option. Thin layers of porcelain are laid over the damaged teeth for a revitalized appearance.
  • Crown – Your molars require more sturdy repairs if they become chipped, as they take a lot of pressure when you eat. In these cases, a dental crown to cover the damaged tooth is the preferred method to fix a chipped tooth.
  • Dental implant – There are times where the damage is too extensive, and the tooth cannot be saved. In these cases, extraction of the broken tooth is needed, and a dental implant can be placed.

Whether you have a chipped or cracked tooth from using your teeth as a tool or simply need a preventative dental cleaning, you can count on Bridge Creek Dental. Contact us today to set up your dental appointment with one of our dentists and start taking care of your smile!

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Dentist Digest Monthly: Is Chewing Gum Bad For Your Teeth?

Dentist Digest Monthly - Is Chewing Gum Bad For Your Teeth
During their biannual dental cleanings, many of our patients have asked about whether or not chewing gum is bad for their teeth—particularly if we found cavities. While it is easy to blame things like gum chewing for cavities, there are some instances where gum can actually protect your teeth!

Whether chewing gum is good or bad for your teeth will depend on a variety of factors. In short, sugar-free gum with xylitol can help your teeth, while sugared gum can increase plaque. If you are interested in learning more, our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental are here to help.

Sugar-Free Chewing Gum Can Be Good For Your Teeth

One of the simplest things that gum—of any variety—can do for you is to increase the amount of saliva flow in your mouth. This increased saliva helps to breakdown food particles and wash away debris that attracts bad oral bacteria. It also helps prevent dry mouth.

Beyond the saliva production benefits, you should be sure to choose sugar-free gum with xylitol when you are looking to chew gum. Studies have shown that the sugar alcohol xylitol in gum can help reduce the amount of harmful oral bacteria significantly, assisting in preventing tooth decay. Also, as the bad bacteria is reduced, bad breath is also reduced.

So, if you are looking for ways to support your dental hygiene in between preventative cleanings by our dental staff, you may want to consider chewing sugar-free gum.

Consider These Things Before Chomping On Gum

Now, if you choose sugared gum rather than sugar-free gum, you will have the opposite effect on your dental health. Instead of supporting your teeth, full-sugar gum will directly deposit sugar onto your teeth, attracting the harmful oral bacteria that will eat the sugar and excrete acid onto your teeth.

This acid can erode your enamel, making it easier for cavities to form. Also, as you chew sugary gum, your teeth will develop more plaque, which can contribute to gum disease. So, if you are picking a gum, make sure that it is sugar-free gum, preferably one that contains xylitol.

Also, a side-effect of chewing gum—any kind of gum—can be the loosening of your fillings, veneers, crowns, and bridge. The gum can also become tangled with any fixed dental work you have, so you should be cautious when chewing gum if you have dental work that can either become loose or gummed up.

Lastly, there has been some research that has linked chewing gum with temporomandibular disorder (TMJ). This disorder causes you to feel pain as you chew, so if your jaw is starting to feel sore, you may want to take a break from chewing gum.

No Amount Of Chewing Gum Replaces Your Billings, MT Dentist

Even with the benefits of chewing sugar-free gum, nothing can replace your regular dental appointments with your Billings, MT dentist.

If you are ready to come in for your biannual cleaning or need other dental services, please contact us today to set up your appointment and don’t leave it all up to your gums.

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How Smoking And Tobacco Use Can Affect Dental Health

How Smoking And Tobacco Use Can Affect Dental Health

As most smokers and tobacco users know, using these products has a direct negative impact on many aspects of their health. From the risk of developing throat, mouth, or lung cancer, regular use of nicotine products can also have a significant effect on dental health.

Over the years, our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental have seen firsthand the effects of smoking and tobacco use in the mouths of patients. If you are looking for motivation to quit or have a loved one you want to help quit, here are some facts about how smoking and tobacco use can have far-reaching effects on dental health.

How Dental Health Is Impacted By Nicotine Products

Now, we have mentioned smoking and tobacco specifically, but the nicotine in these products is one of the main culprits behind deteriorating dental health. While the tar and carcinogens in tobacco products can cause a host of other health issues, nicotine—which is present in almost all forms of these products from cigars to most vaping liquids—is what will impact your oral health the most.

That impact is due to the vasoconstriction that nicotine induces. Vasoconstriction means that the blood vessels have been constricted and are narrower. With narrower blood vessels, there is less blood flowing through them.

With less blood flow in your mouth, it is far easier for periodontitis—gum disease—to set in and progress to further stages that can result in tooth loss and jawbone density loss. Also, another side effect of reduced blood flow due to nicotine is that if you have a tooth extracted or an oral sore, it can take far longer to heal as fewer white blood cells make their way to the problem area.

Lastly, using cigarettes, cigars, vaping, and other nicotine products can cause dry mouth. While some people may just consider that a comfort issue, having a dry mouth can lead to greater bacteria build-up and faster tooth decay. This decay can lead to needing fillings for cavities, root canals for deeper infections, and complete tooth loss if not controlled.

Signs That Smoking And Tobacco Are Affecting Your Oral Health

Sometimes, it can take until there is a visible impact on their health to convince a smoker that they should give up their addiction. So, to help you recognize the danger signs that smoking and tobacco are affecting oral health, see the list below.

  • Staining of the tongue, teeth, and discoloration of the gums.
  • Lasting bad breath that doesn’t go away.
  • White patches show up in the mouth—properly called leukoplakia.
  • Greater build-up of tartar and plaque on the teeth.
  • Loose teeth, which can potentially fall out.
  • Slow healing for sore in and around the mouth.

Should you recognize these signs in your dental health, then you likely need quality dental services to help get your oral health back on track.

Visit Our Dentists in Billings, MT For Dental Help

Receiving quality dental care can make a significant difference whether or not you do end up quitting smoking. While it is best if you quit smoking and have your dental health addressed, our dentists can still help with your dental care if you are still smoking.

If you would like our dentists to help with your dental health, please contact us today to set up your appointment as soon as possible. That way, we can get you on the path to a healthier, happier smile!

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