Why You Should Get Your Teeth Whitened By A Dentist

Even those of us who brush and floss regularly can develop tooth discoloration that detracts from the quality of our smile.

Regular visits to the dentist for cleaning can help keep your teeth free of plaque and tartar build-up and give your dental hygienist a chance to spot issues like gingivitis or oral cancer. The most thorough scraping and polishing, however, isn’t enough to brighten severely yellowed or stained teeth.

For that kind of smile transformation, you need teeth whitening, just one of the many cosmetic dentistry services performed by our dentists at Bridge Creek Dental.

There Are Two Main Types of Tooth Discoloration

There are two main types of tooth discoloration. Depending on what type is affecting your teeth will determine what can be done to lighten them.

Extrinsic discoloration involves stains on the outer layer of the tooth, resulting from behaviors like:

  • Drinking coffee, tea or wine
  • Eating certain foods, like berries
  • Smoking

A good professional polish may be enough to remove this type of stain.

Intrinsic discoloration occurs when the inner structure of the tooth, called dentin, becomes yellow or darkens. This type of discoloration can have a host of causes, including genetic factors or exposure to certain medications.

The most common reason for intrinsic discoloration, however, is age. Dentin naturally yellows over time. Meanwhile, the enamel covering our teeth thins out as we get older, causing the dentin to show through.

If you have intrinsic discoloration or the stains on the outside of your teeth are particularly stubborn, you’re a good candidate for teeth whitening.

Drugstore Teeth Whiteners Can Harm Your Teeth And Gums

When people become self-conscious about the color of their teeth, their first impulse is often to see what’s on hand at their local drugstore or in the toothpaste aisle at the grocery store.

The problem is that over-the-counter teeth whitening kits often include abrasive substances that can damage your tooth enamel. You can experience gum soreness if you leave whitening strips or gels on longer than suggested. And over-whitening can make your teeth look discolored or translucent, certainly not the effect you’re aiming for!

Our Dentists Can Whiten Your Teeth More Effectively

Teeth whitening performed by professionals like the dentists at Bridge Creek Dental is far safer. For one thing, it’s a relatively simple process. One of our dentists applies a bleaching substance to your teeth, which is then activated by a special light. The procedure is carefully monitored throughout by our doctors, who understand how to protect your teeth and the state of your enamel.

The teeth whitening gel used by our dentists is far stronger than any you can buy yourself, making in-office whitening significantly more effective than do-it-yourself options. In fact, our patients commonly find their teeth are a minimum of three shades lighter after a single treatment.

If you’d like to learn more about teeth whitening procedures or any other dental service, contact Bridge Creek Dental at (406) 652-1600 for a consultation. We look forward to serving you!

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Dentist Digest Monthly: How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

There is conflicting information on how long dental implants last. Some sources say 10-15 years, while others say a lifetime. Our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental wanted to set the record straight and clarify how your dental implant can potentially last 10-15 years and a lifetime at the same time!

Various Factors Effect How Long Dental Implants Last

As a single dental implant is made up of three different parts, the crown, abutment, and implant post. These three parts can have varying lifespans, depending on the care given to your overall oral hygiene.

  • Crown – The crown of your dental implant will typically last around 10-15 years. This lifespan is average for a crown used in other dental procedures such as root canals and bridges. Depending on how much wear and tear your teeth undergo and your attention to your oral hygiene, the crown can outlive its 10- to 15-year average lifespan.
  • Abutment – As the crown usually encases the abutment, its lifespan is generally dependent on the crown’s lifespan, making the abutment’s lifespan about 10-15 years. However, if it becomes exposed by receding gums, it can become damaged sooner and cause you to need both a new crown and abutment.
  • Implant post – With its fusion with the jawbone, the titanium implant post is the most durable part of your implant. With proper care, your implant post can last your entire life!

Potential Causes Behind Dental Implant Failure

There are situations that can cause the dental implant to fail altogether and not just its separate parts. Some of the potential causes behind total dental implant failure are:

  • Periodontal disease – As periodontal disease is a serious gum disease, it is not surprising that it can cause your mouth to reject the implant as the disease progresses.
  • Peri-implantitis – Unlike periodontal disease, which affects all of your gums, peri-implantitis is when just the bone and gums around your dental implant become inflamed due to overly hard biting forces or localized bacterial infection. Left untreated, it can cause the implant to fail.
  • Diabetes – Patients who have diabetes have a higher risk of gum infection. Any gum infection can increase the risk of dental implant failure and other complications, such as gum recession, which can expose the implant.
  • Facial trauma – Your dental implant crown can be shattered by facial trauma, or the whole implant can be knocked out with severe facial trauma. Bone grafting would likely need to take place before another dental implant could be placed if you lost your original one to facial trauma.  
  • Poor oral hygiene – Dental implants will look and act just as your natural teeth do, and they will need the same careful care. Do be careful flossing around them, as floss can potentially become trapped between where the crown and implant meet.  

Where You Can Receive Dental Implants In Billings, MT

If you are interested in receiving dental implants and you live in Billings, Montana, or the surrounding towns, contact us for an appointment. One of our dentists will consult with you, and if you choose to go forward with your dental implant after the consultation, we will be happy to help you achieve your perfect smile.

Other Dental Services You May Be Interested In:

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What is a cosmetic gum lift?

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

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

There are varying degrees of gum exposure.

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

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

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

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

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

A Cosmetic Gum Lift Is Quick and Easy

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

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

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

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

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

Decide If A Gum Lift Is Right For You

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

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

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

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

Visit Bridge Creek Dental for Dental Care

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

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

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

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

A Root Canal Can Save A Dying Tooth

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

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

Don’t Delay Care For A Dying Tooth

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

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

Visit Bridge Creek Dental For Dental Care

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

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Ways To Calm Your Child’s Anxiety at the Dentist

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

Keep A Positive Attitude

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

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

Give Age-Appropriate Information

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

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

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

Roleplay A Dental Appointment

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

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

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

Let Your Dental Office Know

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

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

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4 Reasons to Fix Your Bite With A Cosmetic Procedure

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

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

Increase Your Confidence With Invisalign

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

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

Repair Misaligned Teeth With Veneers

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

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

Protect Worn Teeth With Crowns

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

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

Make Your Teeth Appear Straighter By Whitening Them

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

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

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

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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.

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 ruin the family vacation for the whole family. 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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Dentist Digest Monthly: What Happens When You Get A Crown

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

When You Need A Dental Crown

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

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

Material Of Your Dental Crown

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

  • Porcelain
  • Stainless steel
  • Gold alloy
  • Resin

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

Receiving Your Dental Crown

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good Foods For Happy Teeth

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

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

Montana Harvest Natural Foods

Natural Grocers

Mary’s Health Foods

Bonanza Health Foods

Lucky’s Market

To find out more, visit Bridgecreek Dental.

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​Dentist Digest Monthly: Tooth Care During Pregnancy

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

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

Pregnancy May Lead To Increased Dental Issues

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

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

Dental Work May Be Done, But Is Not Recommended

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

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

Prevention Is The Best Course Of Action

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

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

For more information, visit Bridgecreek Dental.

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