5 Reasons Your Should Stop Using Toothpicks

You can find toothpicks everywhere, from restaurants to your kitchen jumble drawer. Since they are everywhere, it is assumed that these little sticks are safe. But your local Billings dentists are here to give you five reasons why you should stop using toothpicks starting today.

1. Gum Tissue Can Be Damaged

A toothpick is just a small, shaped stick of wood, and most people have no problem jamming that piece of wood into their gums. We wouldn’t stab ourselves with a sliver of wood in other circumstances, but that’s often what happens when toothpicks are used.

Not only is it painful to slip when using a toothpick, but you also can cut your gums and leave an injury that takes a painful amount of time to heal.

2. Wooden Toothpicks Can Splinter

Wooden toothpicks have the potential to splinter as you use them. As wooden toothpicks are cut out of thin sheets of wood, they have the ability to shred as you use them, as they are not sealed in their shape.

And if there is somewhere you don’t want to get a splinter, it’s in your sensitive gums. Also, if you do end up with a splinter, it can be incredibility difficult to get it out, especially if it becomes lodged near your teeth.

3. Toothpicks Can Invite Bacteria And Infection

Even if you manage to avoid toothpick splinters and obvious cuts, toothpicks can still invite bacteria and infection.

Consider this—you pick out a stubborn kernel of popcorn with a toothpick, and your gums take a micro-tear. It isn’t enough for you to see any bleeding, and any pain is covered up with the relief that the irritating food is out. But the tiny cut is still there.

That cut can become infected by the bacteria that live in your mouth, causing significant amounts of pain and may require medical intervention to clear up the infection.

4. Food Can Be Pushed In Deeper

Counter-productive to using a toothpick, this device can actually wedge the food deeper in-between your teeth, rather than help fish it out. If food does become further trapped, it can attract more bacteria to help break it down, which can lead to tooth decay, cavities, and other dental issues that will require our dental services to correct.

5. Rough Use Can Crack Weakened Teeth

Should there be a cavity developing that has weakened your teeth, using a toothpick roughly can cause a crack to appear. Not only is it painful, but it can take a small cavity and turn it into a serious problem.

What To Use Instead Of Toothpicks

If you are ready to swear off of toothpicks but aren’t sure what to use instead, but you still want something to help you get things out from between, consider using these things instead:

  • Plastic toothpicks – The issues of splintering can be negated by using plastic toothpicks, though if you are rough when you use them, you can still cut your gums.
  • Floss – Using floss is one of the best ways to remove stuck food. This dentist-approved tool can safely move between your gums and teeth without the issues that toothpicks cause.
  • Floss toothpick combos – If you don’t want to pull out a string of floss out when you are out and about, you can use a pre-strung floss that also comes with a pick.
  • Small travel toothbrush – Along with floss, using a small travel toothbrush is a safe way to remove trapped food from between your teeth.

Coming in for your regular dental cleaning is one of the best ways to be sure that your oral health hasn’t been damaged by toothpicks. To schedule a dental cleaning appointment, feel free to contact us today!

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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 Are Snap-On Dentures?

Dentures are an excellent way to restore your smile when you have extensive dental damage and missing teeth. But what you may not know is that there are multiple options when it comes to choosing dentures.

One of the dentures options you may want to investigate when you visit us at Bridge Creek Dental is snap-on dentures.

What Are Implant Overdentures—AKA Snap-On Dentures

Snap-on dentures, also known as implant overdentures, are a type of cosmetic dentistry procedure that combines dental implants with dentures to create a strong and stable smile.

Unlike regular implanted dentures, two implant rods per jaw are usually used to place snap-on dentures. With just two rods, you can more easily snap the denture into place then remove it at night.

Like with permanently implanted dentures, receiving snap-on dentures is a multi-step process. First, the two implant rods are placed in the jawbone. It takes anywhere from 3-6 months to heal from the implanting the titanium rods, then an impression of your mouth needs to be made so that your new dentures can be fabricated. Then, once everything is healed and your dentures are created, you can use your snap-on dentures.

Pros And Cons Of Snap-On Dentures

With snap-on dentures, you combine some of the best attributes of implant dentures and the removability of traditional dentures. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t drawbacks to snap-on dentures. To help you determine if snap-on dentures are for you, here are the pros and cons of this type of dentures.

Pros to snap-on dentures:

  • Provides a high amount of stability when using, more than traditional dentures and very similar to permanently implanted dentures.
  • More affordable than permanently implanted dentures, though a bit pricier than traditional dentures, as the implant procedure adds extra cost.
  • Improves your confidence when speaking, smiling, or eating, as the implanted rods will hold the dentures steady.
  • Easy to remove the dentures for cleaning and for storage at night.
  • Helps patients who have a gag reflex and find the traditional suction of normal dentures uncomfortable.

Cons to snap-on dentures:

  • This style of dentures doesn’t provide as much stability and biting force as permanently implanted dentures, though snap-on dentures are still more stable than traditional dentures.
  • The snapping on and off of the dentures can wear down the connecting snap area, requiring the denture to be replaced.
  • Gum tissue and jawbone loss still proceed with snap-on dentures, leaving them to need to be relined to maintain a good fit.

Consult With Bridge Creek Dental About Snap-On Dentures

Snap-on dentures can be an excellent option if you are missing many teeth or need to have multiple teeth replaced. Not only is it more affordable than individual dental implants, but snap-on dentures are able to be removed and cleaned easily. If that appeals to you, our dentists can help.

To consult with one of our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental to see if you are a good candidate for snap-on dentures, please contact us today. The sooner we schedule your consultation, the sooner you can achieve your ideal smile!

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Celebrating 4th of July In Billings, MT

Independence Day in Billings, MT - Bridge Creek Dental
With Independence Day 2019 rapidly approaching, it’s time to start planning what you want to do, especially if you have children who are looking forward to celebrating. Here in Billings, MT, and the nearby town of Laurel, you can find plenty of fun free or cheap activities that can appeal to people of all ages.

Kick Your Independence Day Off With A Pancake Breakfast

To start the celebrations off right, you can catch a pancake breakfast in Laurel. Bring the whole family to enjoy the breakfast, which costs:

  • $8 per adult
  • $5 for children 12-7
  • Free for children 6 and under

Be careful with the syrup though! While it may be delicious, you don’t want the sugar sitting on your teeth for hours and leading to tooth decay. Our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental recommend limiting syrup and at least rinsing your mouth out with water if you can’t brush your teeth to take out the remaining sugary topping.

Participate In The 22nd Annual Chief Joseph Run

Also located in the town of Laurel, you can catch the 22nd Annual Chief Joseph Uphill Run, which starts near the Laurel High School track at 6:30 am. It’s best that you get there 10-15 minutes before the race to ensure an ideal starting spot. There are three different runs you can enter, which are: 2-mile, 4-mile, and 8-mile races.

All three of these races have a $25 sign up fee, though the price is set to rise after June 20th, so if you want to join in the fun, it’s best to do it sooner rather than later.

Snag A Spot Watching Two Parades For Maximum Fun

While you are there in Laurel, be sure to catch one or both of the parades that will be held! The two parades available are:

  • The Kiddie Parade at 10 am. The parade starts at Western Security Bank and will end at the Firefighter’s Memorial (address: 2nd Ave and 1st St.).
  • The Grand Parade at 11 am. This parade will start at Alder then head west on Main St. all the way to First Ave., then north to 8th St., then end by heading west to 3rd Ave.

Enjoy The Food And Craft Fair

For all-day fun, you can attend the Food and Craft Fair in Laurel. This fair starts at 9:00 am and ends at 9:00 pm, so you have plenty of time to stop by and enjoy the various food vendors, entertainment, and shop for homemade crafts.

In Billings, the fun won’t start until 5 pm, at which time, you can come to participate in the Celebrate Freedom festival. There are tons of fun things to do at the Celebrate Freedom event, such as:

  • Rock climbing
  • Putt-putt croquet
  • Udap bear spay activity
  • Laser tag
  • Pre-K play zone
  • Horse riding
  • Archery
  • Splash park

All this and the live entertainment are all completely free! You will need to pay for the food, but there is plenty of affordable treats and free water to stay hydrated during your busy 4th of July.

Catch Firework Shows For A Dazzling Display

The firework show that will occur in Laurel will begin once it is dark. Known for going all out when it comes to fireworks, you can be sure to enjoy a dazzling display of fireworks at Laurel.

Celebrate Freedom will also have a firework show in Billings, put on by Pyro F/X. It will be held at Castle Rock Park, as with the other Celebrate Freedom activities.

Also, among all the festivities, don’t forget to schedule a dental cleaning for you and the family this summer! Juggling appointments during the school year can be tough, so to find out what appointment openings we have for your family, contact us today.

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How Your Dentist Can Help Fix Your Bad Breath

How Your Dentist Can Help You Fix Bad Breath - Bridge Creek
It’s one thing to wake up with some hair-curling bad breath, but what do you do when simply brushing your teeth doesn’t fix the issue?

Halitosis, more commonly just called bad breath, can be a source of painful embarrassment for someone who is struggling with it. Worse, if you are the person with bad breath, it is possible to become so accustomed that you don’t notice, but someone you were hoping to impress won’t have that sort of immunity.

Our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental have helped people tackle their bad breath along with many other dental issues, and they are here to help you determine where your bad breath is coming from and what can be done to fix it.

Potential Sources Of Bad Breath

There is a large number of potential reasons why you may have bad breath. This variety can surprise people, as many people assume halitosis is simply due to poor oral hygiene. But the reality is, you can have bad breath even if you have good oral hygiene. Other reasons why you might have halitosis are:

Nicotine Products

The chemical nicotine can cause a variety of issues in your mouth, from staining your teeth to weakening the enamel so that bacteria have an easier time taking hold. Using nicotine products like vapes, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and other things can also contribute to gum disease, which also can cause bad breath.

Bacteria Build-up

Having bacteria in our mouths is normal, and many of the types of bacteria are helpful, assisting in breaking down food. However, bacteria are living organisms, and as they consume the food particles in your mouth, the bacteria produce waste. If not removed, this waste can cause cavities and other dental issues as well as leading to halitosis.

Medical Issues

Several types of chronic and acute medical issues such as diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease, cancer, liver problems, can produce bad breath. This form of bad breath is often due to how the chemicals in your body are interacting, and some of the gases are excreted orally in the form of bad breath.

Gum Disease

You develop gum disease when plaque builds up at the gum line of your teeth. This build-up, if not removed by brushing and flossing, can irritate your gums and cause them to swell and bleed. As bacteria in the plaque also continues to develop, bad breath is a natural result.

Dry Mouth

The saliva in your mouth is something of a self-cleaner product. It allows you to automatically clean up remaining food particles with any conscious effort. But when your mouth dries up, these particles are left to decay in your mouth and cause bad breath to happen.

Leftover Food

Even if your saliva is working as it is supposed to, you can still have food particles trapped near the gum line or between your teeth. If these particles are left to decay, it can attract bacteria and cause bad breath as long as the particle remains trapped.

How Our Dentists Can Help Correct Your Bad Breath

For the bad breath that doesn’t go away, it is time to visit our dentists. Our dentists will be able to rule out the many dental hygiene-related issues or find that your bad breath may be being caused by something like gum disease. With a professional cleaning to remove plaque build-up and other necessary treatments, your bad breath can be defeated.

There is also the potential that bacteria could have become trapped under your dental crown, causing the crown to smell. In that case, you need one of our dentists to clean under the dental crown and remove the trapped bacteria build-up to remove the smell.

What To Do At Home To Prevent Future Bad Breath

When it comes to preventing bad breath, there is a good deal of preventative dental care you can engage in. Some of the best things you can do are:

  • Drink plenty of water to help support your saliva production.
  • Use mouthwash to help reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth.
  • Brush at least twice a day in the morning and night.
  • Floss once a day between all your teeth and along the gumline.
  • Come in for dental cleaning with us every six months.
  • Use a tongue scraper to clean any build-up off of your tongue.
  • Quit using any products that have nicotine in them.

To have our dentists help you deal with your halitosis or other dental issues, contact us to set up an appointment today!

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Preparing for Dentures With Your Dentist

Prepare For Dentures - Bridge Creek Dental

Dentures can be an excellent way to restore your smile, whether you need partial dentures or all teeth replaced. Once your teeth are properly restored, you will be able to smile, talk, and eat more easily than you likely have been able to in years.

Our dentists at Bridge Creek Dental can help you prepare to receive your dentures, which will follow this general process.

Have A Pre-Dentures Consultation With Our Dentists

The first step in dentures preparation is to have a pre-dentures consultation with one of our dentists. During this consultation, our dentists will evaluate your mouth, noting what the supporting bones are like, how your gums look and examine any remaining teeth.

Our dentists will also take x-rays to ascertain if there are any underlying issues which need to be addressed, such as bone density loss or infection. As you consult with our dentists, they will provide you with information on your cosmetic dentistry options like what type of dentures you would like, what would suit you best, and other avenues.

Undergo Denture Preparations

Once your procedure is determined, it is time for the next step in your dentures preparation, where our dentists will prepare your mouth for dentures. These preparations can mean many things, depending on what is needed to be accomplished. Some possible preparatory steps are:

  • Teeth removal – If there are any remaining teeth and you are going to receive full dentures, our dentists will perform extractions. However, if your new dentures are going to be partial dentures, our dentists will only ensure that severely damaged teeth are removed while preserving all the teeth they can.
  • Implant rods – For those who are going to receive implanted dentures, titanium rods will need to be implanted into the jawbone months before any dentures are placed. These rods will require time to heal, but once they are healed, the implanted rods will provide excellent stability for your future dentures.
  • Jawbone grafting – Whether you are receiving implanted dentures or more traditional ones, you may require jawbone grafting. This grafting is to build up the bone in your jawbone so that either implant rods can be successfully placed or that your new traditional dentures will sit correctly.
  • Impressions – Once all the other tasks are completed and you are ready to have your dentures created, one of our dentists will make an impression of your mouth. There are usually several impressions, to ensure that all the dimensions of your mouth are captured properly.

Also, our dentists will discuss with you the aesthetics of your new dentures, gathering your input on things like the color of your new teeth. After all these preparations are done, our dentists will send out the impression of your gums to a dentures lab, which specializes in making dentures.

Receive Your Dentures

In about 3-6 weeks, your dentures will be completed and sent to our dental office. Once our dentists receive them, you will be contacted for an appointment to fit them. You will need to allow for an adjustment period when you first receive your dentures, as your gums will usually continue to adjust and heal over the next 6-12 months.

During your next visit to our dental office after receiving your dentures, our dentists will consult with you on how your dentures are working out. If there are fit or other issues, they can correct the problems for you.

What To Do Immediately After Receiving New Dentures

For the first couple of weeks after receiving your new dentures, your mouth will be adjusting to them. There may be a certain amount of discomfort, especially as your gums continue to change shape, but that will go away as you wear your dentures regularly.

During those weeks, you will want to stick to soft foods and liquids diets. By choosing easy to chew foods, you can make your dentures transition easier. You will need to be careful with sticky foods, as well as hard things like nuts, as these can damage your dentures and are best avoided.

If you are looking for a dentist in Billings, Montana, who can help you with receiving and being fit for high-quality dentures, contact us to start your consultation with our dentists.

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6 Mistakes People Make When It Comes To Their Dental Hygiene

dental hygien mistakes people make - bridge creek dental

When it comes to dental hygiene, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there. Some of these myths are old wives tales that have been passed down, while others are a direct result of misleading advertising.

If you have been worried that your dental hygiene isn’t quite up to par, our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental want to tell you all about the six most common mistakes people make when it comes to dental hygiene. That way, you can avoid them in the future and enjoy a healthier smile.

1. Buying Unproven Toothpastes From Ads

How many of us have seen an ad for toothpaste, whether on Facebook, Instagram or even in our local coupon saver, that promises major whitening results? Most of these ads also usually show “before and after” pictures of supposed users of the toothpaste, making it seem more credible, even though you may have never heard of the maker of the toothpaste.

Unfornetly, these kinds of toothpaste are often at best ineffective, and at worst, can damage your teeth. As these types of toothpaste can be labeled as a cosmetic product, they don’t have to contain the helpful ingredients found in regular toothpaste. In fact, some of the charcoal toothpaste can be very abrasive and erode your enamel, leaving your teeth more yellow as more dentin is exposed.

If you are unsure what toothpaste will work well for you, it is best that you opt for a toothpaste with fluoride, as that mineral can help strengthen your teeth and fights tooth decay.

2. Scrubbing At Teeth To Make Them “Cleaner” and “Whiter”

Even if you are using the right toothpaste, you may be brushing your teeth too hard. When we think of cleaning a surface, usually scrubbing yields better results. But, since your teeth aren’t a dirty kitchen floor, you don’t need to be tough on them.

By scrubbing at your teeth, you are far more likely to damage the enamel, which can make your teeth more prone to catch food particles and retain stains. If you are concerned about lightening stained teeth, our dentists do offer professional teeth whitening as one of our dental services.

Also, make sure you are using a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your teeth. Harder bristles don’t mean cleaner teeth. Instead, hard bristles are far more likely to damage your teeth and erode the enamel. So, be sure you stick to soft-bristle toothbrushes.

3. Consuming Sugary Foods And Drinks Too Often

You may not think it, but your teeth are better off if you chug a sugary drink than if you sip on it for hours. What many people don’t realize when it comes to sugar, it is how often you are consuming it which can affect your teeth, not how much.

While it isn’t great for your overall health to pound down sugary foods and drinks, the longer you expose your teeth to sugar, the more you give fuel to bacteria to eat and emit enamel-eroding acid, leading to tooth decay. Do your best to cut down on your sugar intake and stick more to neutral pH liquids like water.

4. Waiting To Take Children To The Dentist

Once a child turns a year old, it’s time for their first visit to the dentist. Sometimes, people may think that just because baby teeth are eventually replaced, children may not need as serious dental care as adults. However, good dental hygiene starts young.

For one thing, children can still suffer from cavities and oral infections without proper care, leaving them in pain and very ill in some cases. So, it is critical that parents help their children develop good oral hygiene early on in life.

As for the early dental visits, the sooner children see our dentists as just another part of taking care of their health, the less fear the dentists’ office will hold for them. But if parents only bring their children in when there is something very wrong with their teeth, it will be easy for children to associate the dentist with fear and discomfort.

5. Brushing Directly After Vomiting

It is a natural impulse to want to brush your teeth immediately after you vomit. However, this isn’t good for your teeth. As your stomach acid has already hit your teeth, you can weaken the enamel further by brushing them. But don’t worry, there is something you can do to clean your mouth after vomiting.

Take eight ounces of water and mix in 1 tsp of baking soda. Rinse your mouth out with this mix, but do not swallow. The combination of water and baking soda will help neutralize the remaining acid on your teeth. If you don’t have baking soda, you can always just use plain water. After an hour, you can then gently brush your teeth.

6. Chewing The Wrong Gum

Plenty of people like to chew gum, but not all types of gum are created equally. Rather than mashing a sugary gum against your teeth and leaving food for harmful bacteria, you should chew gum with xylitol.

Xylitol is a sugar substitute, and it actually helps improve your dental help! The bacteria Streptococcus mutans is the leading bacteria which causes tooth decay, and when it tries to ingest xylitol, the bacteria are unable to eat any glucose, which keeps it from secreting acid onto your teeth and causing tooth decay.

If you have specific concerns about your dental hygiene or just need to make your biannual appointment for a dental cleaning, contact us for an appointment today!

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What Is Considered A Dental Emergency?

Dental Emergency - Bridge Creek Dental

When it comes to your oral health, it can be tough to know what qualifies as a dental emergency. No one wants to feel like they are blowing a problem out of proportion, so they may put off receiving the immediate dental care they need to protect their dental health.

To help you pin down what oral issue may require emergency dentistry help, our dentists at Bridge Creek Dental are here to help clarify things.

Trauma To Your Teeth

One of the most common reasons that people contact us for our emergency dental services is due to teeth trauma. This dental trauma may extend to:

  • Cracked or fractured teeth
  • Chip in a tooth
  • Separation of the crown from the tooth
  • Knocked out tooth/teeth

This kind of dental trauma is unfortunately fairly common, especially if you play contact team sports such as football or hockey. It is important to have a damaged tooth checked out as soon as possible because if one tooth has become visibly damaged, there may be other, less visible damage.

Also, if your dental emergency includes a knocked out tooth, there are some critical steps you need to take if you want to save the natural tooth.

First, do not handle the root of the tooth. Only touch the crown, which is the portion which is normally visible. Touching the root of a knocked out tooth can kill the cells which can help the tooth re-root.

Next, rinse the tooth under cold water to remove any debris. Don’t scrub it, just allow the water to flow over the tooth.

If possible, place the tooth back into the socket. Should there be no way to put the tooth back into place, be sure to wrap it in gauze and place it in milk to keep it from drying out. The milk will provide the right ratio of acid-to-alkaline until you can reach our dentist for assistance.

Should it turn out that your displaced tooth is beyond saving, there are other options. Our dental services include dental replacement options such as dental implants, which can help restore your smile.

Unabated Oral Pain

In most cases, oral pain does not come on suddenly. However, many people tend to ignore the early warning signs of oral pain until it becomes a painful dental emergency. In general, oral pain signifies that there is an infection. This infection may be due to several things, such as:

  • An abscessed tooth
  • Periodontal disease
  • Tooth pulp infection
  • A failed dental implant or bridge

Often, it can be difficult for a person to do more than point out the general area where the pain is when it comes to oral pain. Our dentists can utilize various tools such as x-rays to determine where the pain is originating from and follow-up with appropriate treatment.

Ways To Prevent Dental Emergencies

While our dentists can provide emergency dentistry services, preventing a dental emergency is far better for your overall oral health and peace of mind. Some ways you can prevent dental emergencies are:

  • Practice good oral hygiene – The simple things of flossing at night and brushing twice a day can go a long way toward keeping your oral health up.
  • Visit our dental clinic for cleanings – When you practice good preventive dental care and come by our clinic for your biannual dental cleanings, it is far more likely that any issues can be seen to before they become an emergency.
  • Have a custom mouthguard made – If you are in a sport where your teeth may be at risk, whether it is rugby or BMX biking, having a custom mouthguard made by our dentists is a good idea.
  • Address dental issues early – Something as simple as a cavity can become a major issue if left alone, potentially leading to have an abscess and needing a root canal as well as the crown. If you see that there is an issue or are having some oral pain, be sure to make an appointment to deal with the problem quickly.

Whether you need emergency dental assistance or any of our other quality dental services, contact us. Our dentists are ready to help you maintain your oral health to the highest standard possible.

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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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Dentist Digest Monthly: Can I Be Asleep for A Root Canal?

Root canals are a common dental procedure. Typically, the reason you may need a root canal is to preserve a dead tooth. By the time a root canal is necessary, the tooth in question is already beyond saving. While the tooth may be dead, it’s still beneficial to keep it because it offers you the structure of the tooth needed to chew your food and speak properly.

Root canals, like any dental procedure, can make patients nervous. You are probably concerned about the pain and have a genuine fear about what’s happening inside your mouth as you sit in the dental chair. Many of our patients do ask about being put to sleep for a root canal.

Let’s explore what to expect from a root canal procedure and if you can be put to sleep.

Root Canal Procedures

A root canal has six specific steps as performed by Bridge Creek Dental. The entire procedure can be lengthy depending on the damage and will require your mouth to be open for an extended time. Here are the six standard steps we take during a procedure.

First, the dentist will drill through the top of the tooth until the inner chamber is accessible. Next, the infected tissue is removed from the tooth and the pulp chamber is cleaned to ensure all infection is gone. Then, a sterile dental material, gutta-percha, is injected into the canals. This will prohibit any new infection and support the tooth. During this part, a post may be added for additional support. The fourth step is to apply a sealant to fill the hole caused by the drilling. Finally, a temporary crown is on the tooth until the permanent crown is created. You will then come back to the office for your follow-up where the permanent crown will be applied. The new crown is cemented over the reshaped tooth.

Anesthetic is used to numb the mouth and gums prior to the procedure. After the procedure, it’s normal to have pain and soreness. Beyond just an anesthetic, there are ways to make the process less painful and scary with sedation dentistry.

Sedation Dentistry for Root Canals

There are different kinds of sedation dentistry to consider during a root canal or any other dental procedure, especially for those who have anxiety about visiting the dentist or have a low pain threshold. At Bridge Creek Dental, we can offer you several ways to be sedated, some of which you would actually be awake for, while others render you asleep.

  • Minimal sedation: you’ll feel relaxed but still be awake and is typically provided using nitrous oxide gas
  • Moderate sedation: you’ll likely not remember the procedure but still be awake and is delivered via oral medication, such as Valium
  • Deep sedation: you won’t have a memory of the procedure, but you will still be aware of your surroundings. This type of sedation is usually done via an IV.
  • General anesthesia: with anesthesia, an anesthesiologist will put you to sleep for the entire procedure

Is Sedation Dentistry Right for You?

Determining what level of sedation is right for you should be discussed with your dentist. Be sure to let your dentist know about your anxiety, pain tolerance, and if you have ever had an adverse reaction to sedation.

Our dental clinic has performed many successful root canals with a variety of sedation methods. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and get back to a happy, healthy mouth.

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