Dentist Digest Monthly: 10 Things You Should Know About Your Lips

Your lips play a part in your overall oral health as well as being the frame for your smile. To highlight their importance, here at Bridge Creek Dental, we have gathered 10 facts about your lips which you should know.

Lips Are Incredibly Sensitive

You may have noticed that your lips are pretty sensitive. Well, that’s because there are millions of nerve endings in your lips, far more than are in your fingers.

Protect Your Thin-Skinned Lips

The rest of your body has 16 layers of skin to protect itself with. Your lips only have three to six layers. This also allows the blood vessels show through and give our lips a pinkish hue.

Your Lips Need Moisture

If you feel like you need to apply lip balm too often, don’t worry about it. Since there are no sweat glands in your lips, they can become dried out and crack under the lightest pressure. Make sure your lips are well moisturized before coming into a dental appointment so you don’t experience any discomfort during while having dental work done.

Teeth Position Can Affect The Shape Of The Lips

Teeth are incredibly important to the overall shape of your mouth. If someone is missing all their teeth, their mouth will appear sunken. An overbite or underbite can cause lips to jut out and create an uneven appearance. Our dentists can perform a range of cosmetic dentistry services to correct your teeth’s position so your lips present an even appearance.

More Men Suffer From Oral Cancer Than Women

Lip balm isn’t just to keep your lips from cracking at the dentist office. Since men apply lip balm less often than women, they are more prone to certain oral cancers than women as the sun’s UV rays hit men’s unprotected lips. Our dentists can perform oral cancer examinations to help alleviate your concerns.

Lips Can Be Temporarily Paralyzed

A temporary paralysis of your facial muscle, including your lips, can be caused by Bell’s Palsy. Those who suffer from diabetes and upper respiratory infections are at higher risk to have an attack of Bell’s Palsy.

Collagen Keeps Your Lips Full

While your teeth are important to the overall shape of your lips, the collagen in your lips keeps them full and plump. However, as we become older, collagen production slows down and lips begin to thin.

Lip Fillers Can Endanger Your Oral Health

To achieve fuller lips, many people have turned to lip injections. When working with a board-certified cosmetic surgeon, you are less likely to suffer side-effect. But many chose to try and have lips injection cheaply and end up endangering their oral health. Some side-effects are:

  • Bleeding at injection sites
  • Cold sores and canker sore reactivation
  • Infection
  • Scars developing
  • Ulcerated lips

Why Cold Sores Develop On Lips

The tissue that makes up your lips comes from the mucous membrane. Combined this with their thinness, and it leaves your lips vulnerable to herpes simplex virus. Laser dentistry can help speed up the healing of a cold sore.

Only Humans Have These Kinds Of Lips

The line of color which separates your lips from the rest of your skin is called the vermillion border. Only humans have been found to have these kinds of lips.

Our dentists, Dr. Wassmer and Dr. Taylor, are ready to help you achieve the perfect smile from the shape of your lips to your teeth. Contact us today to set up an appointment and begin the process to achieve your best smile.

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Dentist Digest Monthly: Why Do Some Dental Implants Fail?

Dentist Digest Monthly: Why Do Some Dental Implants Fail?

As technology improves and the options for patients widen, more people are choosing dental implants to meet their needs. These little wonders are metallic mounts that are placed inside of a patient’s gums, with a surface area exposed. That area contains a setting, where a doctor can attach replacement teeth.

dental implantWhat makes this such a great alternative to dentures is the permanence. Dental implants are a long term solution that doesn’t require you as the patient to remove or reinsert dentures. They are as strong (sometimes stronger) than natural teeth, so they can bite into tougher foods that might usually be difficult to eat, like apples, steak or hard candies.

Maintenance is as simple as with your naturally born teeth. You brush, floss and have them checked regularly by a dentist. They don’t require special adhesives or solvents, which can be costly, inconvenient and sometimes ineffective.

Aesthetically, they are also more appealing. Dental implants stay in your mouth at all times and have the appearance of normal teeth. Dentists strive to place them in as straight as possible, giving you a full mouth of beautiful pearly whites that will brighten your smile permanently.

There are some stories of dental implants failing. But according to most sources, the average success rate of these tools are 98%.

What’s Happening When Your Dental Implant “Fails”

While most patients will have no complications related to their dental implants, they can occasionally fail. When that happens, you may feel the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain or discomfort in the gums or teeth.
  • Swelling or inflammation of the gums.
  • Tenderness at the site of implants.
  • Excessive gum bleeding or the gathering of pus.
  • The implant being loose, wiggly or not remaining in place.

These complications are rare, but serious. If you experience any of the above it could be a sign that your dental implants have failed and your mouth is rejecting the foreign body. You should contact our office immediately to set an appointment, or if problems are severe or you are experiencing a fever (sign of infection) you should call for an emergency visit or go to your nearest emergency room (ER).

Common Reasons Why An Implant Would Fail

Foreign body rejection- Sometimes your body will read a dental or biomedical device as a dangerous invader, such as an infectious bacteria or virus. When this happens your system will reject that object and refuse to allow the area to heal. Fever, pain and other symptoms can develop.

Peri-implantitis – Not all rejection happens the same way. Occasionally the hard and soft tissues surrounding the implant will begin to degrade, soften to break down. The effect is similar to periodontal disease, or the recession of gums away from the teeth.

Nerve and tissue damage- Both the tissue and nerves around an implant can become damaged, especially if there was nerve exposure prior to the placement of the implant. This can cause serious pain in the patient.

Failed osseointegration- In a successful procedure, the implant will fuse with the jaw bone and the replacement tooth will settle securely on the implant site, creating an integrated tooth. When osseointegration fails, the bone will not fuse and so the tooth will be loose or painful.

Failure of the implant itself- At times there may not be a failure with the procedure but with the implant itself. If the metal fixture is in some way defective it can compromise the integrity of the entire site. It also may cause the above conditions to occur.

Sinus problems- When the implant intersections with the sinus cavity, or if it is close enough to cause agitation, the patient can develop sinus infections. Getting a bone graft or sinus lift prior to implantation can reduce the risks of this problem.

Allergic reaction– Very few patients will have an allergic reaction to an implant because negative reactions and allergies to the metals most commonly used (titanium, nickel, chromium, molybdenum and cobalt) affect such a tiny portion of the population. However, if there is an allergy that is unknown or not in past medical history, it will often become apparent due to symptoms during the initial preparation stages, prior to inserting an implant.

Overloading- Overloading occurs when there is improper support for an implant, or if there is too much pressure put on the use of too few implants. For example, a patient may choose not to get jaw reconstruction because it is too expensive, but that provides an unstable foundation for the implant. Or they may get one implant when three are needed, so too much force is put on the one.

Bridge Creek Dental Can Treat Implant Failure

There are many ways that Bridge Creek Dental can help you in cases of dental implant failure. We can assist you:

  • If you have peri-implantitis and are experiencing tissue loss, softening or abscess.
  • If the bone around your implant has been damaged in some way, including the bone.
  • If you’re experiencing nerve and tissue damage, or pain associated with either.
  • If osseointegration fails and your implants are not properly securing your replacement teeth.
  • If you experience an allergic reaction or suspect you may be allergic to the metals of your implant.
  • If your body simply rejects the foreign object and you are not properly healing.

Ways You Can Prevent Failure Of An Implant

Always follow your dentist’s instructions for care both before and after your procedure. It is important that you are aware of what is necessary to care for implants and replacement teeth, including cleaning.

If a bone graft is recommended before placing an implant, you should do so. The dentist performs bone gradfts to ensure the best possible outcome for your dental implant. Contact your dentist right away if you are experiencing abnormal discomfort or symptoms.

Take all antibiotics and medications for the duration of the prescription, as ordered by your dentist. And during your aftercare, you can avoid causing damage by avoiding hard foods, or foods that easily get stuck between your teeth.

Are You A Candidate For Dental Implants?

You may be a candidate for dental implants if:

  • You are missing one or several teeth, including front teeth
  • You want something more durable than dentures
  • You are looking for options that last a lifetime
  • You desire natural, real looking teeth
  • You want more comfortable options
  • You want to improve your smile
  • Your speech is currently impacted by your teeth
  • Your self esteem has been hurt by tooth health
  • You are looking for a way to eat easier
  • You want to improve your oral health
  • You are looking for something cost effective

If you experience any of these things, then speak with our dentist about possible alternatives to a dental implant:

  • Insufficient bone density and volume
  • Tooth grinding or clenching (bruxism)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Uncontrolled type 2 diabetes
  • Smoking

Don’t worry if you suffer from any of the above, there are treatments available to you. However, addressing those conditions before getting implants will reduce the chances of implant failure in the future. Talk to your dentist about creating a plan for treatment.

Dental Implants And Your Dentures

Dental implants can be used in conjunction with full or partial dentures. The dental implant is used to secure your prosthetic appliance to your jaw. This elliminates the need for denture adhesives. Those with dentures also appreciate the confidence that comes with an implant secured set of dentures. They no longer fear that their dentures might slip or fall out in public while either talking or eating with others.

Receiving A Dental Implant At Bridge Creek Dental

At Bridge Creek Dental, we are dedicated to giving you the best possible experience and to assist you in making choices that work with your individual needs and health plan. We offer several services, including full dental implant procedures.

The first step is to set a consultation. An examination will be conducted and x-rays of the mouth taken to see the extent of damage to teeth, the jawbone and surrounding tissues. From there you and your dentist can discuss options.

If approved for dental implants, it may be necessary to perform a bone or tissue graft in order to properly secure the metal settings. This is done in a multi-step process and ensures a reduced risk of rejection or complications.

More Services You Can Receive at Bridge Creek Dental

COSMETIC DENTISTRY
BRIDGES
CROWNS
FILLINGS
IMPLANTS
DENTURES
EMERGENCY DENTISTRY
INVISALIGN
PREVENTIVE
ROOT CANALS
SEDATION DENTISTRY
TEETH WHITENING
VENEERS

Contact Bridge Creek Dental for your consultation today.

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10 Sensational Before-and-After Photos Of Happy Patients Who’ve Had Cosmetic Dental Procedures

10 Sensational Before-and-After Photos Of Happy Patients Who've Had Cosmetic Dental Procedures

We love our patients at Bridge Creek Dental as well as the members in our surrounding community. A great part of our job as oral health specialists is our ability to put a happier, more beautiful smile on their faces. Cosmetic dentistry requires skill that our doctors and supporting staff specialize in. When you consider cosmetic dentistry, we want you to think of the many ways cosmetic dentistry can be used to enhance your smile.

  • Teeth whitening
  • Eliminating gaps
  • mending cracks
  • Restoring teeth
  • Changing the shape of a tooth
  • Adjusting the gum line
  • Combination of services
  • Replacing silver fillings with white 

These are just a few ways your smile can be altered to reveal a brighter, whiter grin.  If you have concerns about your smile, ask us what we can do to fix those concerns the next time you’re in our office. Our staff can design a treatment plan with estimated payments for services. This plan will outline the procedures and timeline for making corrections to your smile that you’ve always dreamed of having. 

At Bridge Creek Dental, we really wish every one of our patients understood the opportunities available to them when it comes to having an amazing smile. You’ll find just 10 incredible smile makeovers below of patients who have had various cosmetic dental procedures done in our office. Let us know what we can help you with during your quest to obtaining a healthy, happy, confident smile.

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Should My Teeth Be Sensitive After A Filling?

Should My Teeth Be Sensitive After A Filling?

It is very common to have sensitive teeth after you’ve undergone a cavity filling. Many people come into our dental office to have a cavity filled and expect for all their tooth pain to go away. So it can be startling for those people to experience tooth pain post-filling. This newfound sensitivity can last from days to even a few weeks.

Reasons Why Teeth Are Sensitive After Cavity Fillings

There are several reasons why your teeth may remain sensitive for a while after you have a cavity filled.

  • Healing – Depending on the location of the cavity, the decay may have inflamed the nearby gums. This can leave the area affected and sensitive as it heals.
  • Less insulation – If the dentist had to drill close to the nerve of your tooth, there may be less insulating material between your tooth’s nerve and things like temperature changes via food consumption. Your nerve will grow more accustomed to the lessening of insulation, but it will take time.
  • Bite change – Our dentist will do the best he can to replicate your tooth’s bite. However, there may be a margin of error and you may experience some discomfort as you adjust to your new bite. If the filling created too high a bite for you, be sure to come see us so we can make a simple adjustment to eliminate your discomfort.
  • Stress – Fillings can be very stressful for your teeth, so they may require days or even weeks to overcome the stress of a dental filling.

Common Types Of Tooth Pain Post-Filling

Even knowing the reasons behind tooth pain post-filling is not always reassuring. To help you identify your own filling pain, below are the common types of pain experienced after you have received a filling.

  • Cold/Hot sensitivity – Brief feelings of sharp discomfort can be experienced when something cold or hot comes into contact with your new filling. This should go away within a few weeks at most. If the pain remains after taking away the hot or cold irritant, then you may have nerve damage – so give us a call and we can help you.
  • Bite discomfort – If you have pain when biting down, your mouth may just be sensitive post-filling and becoming used to a slightly different bite. However, if the bite sparks a throbbing pain, you may have cracked your filling. Again, give us a call and we can fix this problem.
  • Allergic reaction – A very uncommon source of post-cavity pain is from an allergic reaction to the filling material. Be sure to mention any allergies prior to your appointment and let us know if you think you are experiencing any post-filling allergy irritation.
  • Throbbing pain – We may have needed to drill deep into your tooth to clean out the decay. This can cause lingering, throbbing pain. However, if the pain goes on without improving over the course of a few weeks, let us know. The tooth’s nerve may be irritated and need attention.

Overall, some pain and hot/cold sensitivity after a dental filling is to be expected. Just be sure to keep track of how long the pain lasts and be sure to let us know if the pain lasts more than a few weeks.

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The 2017 Billings, MT Christmas Light Spectacular Map

Billings Christmas Light Map 2017 - Link Image

Bridge Creek Dental is excited to present the 2017 Billings Montana Christmas Light Spectacular.

We will be donating $1 to a local charity for all Facebook likes received on our Facebook page during the month of December.

We invite you to spend time with your family this holiday season and get out and enjoy some amazing Christmas light displays. All events and light displays listed are free to attend or go and see.

Find a more comprehensive list of homes on the Official Billings Christmas Lights Facebook page – Here! – To get on that map sign up here!

Have a Merry Christmas from Bridge Creek Dental.

You Can Like Us On Facebook Right Here!

 

Share This Page With Your Friends As Well.

 

Download Christmas Light Map Here

Here is the Google Maps version For turn by turn directions

If you would like to be notified when future Billings Christmas Maps are released, please enter your name and email and you will be included on the release list!

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Up to $250 will be donated to the Billings Food Bank.

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Calming Your Dental Appointment Stress

Calming Your Dental Appointment Stress

Going to visit the dentist, whether you are a new dental patient or a veteran, can cause stress and anxiety in some people. This stress is understandable, as there can be a certain amount of discomfort and unexplainable anxiety attached to dental appointments. However, it is important to try and calm your stress so you don’t try and stretch out your dental visits.

By allowing your stress to keep you away from dental appointments, you raise the likelihood that a small oral health issue will need immediate intervention. By allowing your stress to dictate your actions, you could also end up having higher dental bills to deal with your neglected oral care.

There are several ways you can alleviate your dentist-related stress. We have compiled many suggestions and recommend you employ as many as you need to help feel calm while visiting your dentist.

Talk About Your Dental Anxiety

When you set up a dental appointment, mention that visiting the dentist causes you stress. Once your dental office has this information, the staff can more appropriately respond to your needs and any special requirements you may have. They may also offer options they have to help patients who struggle with dental anxiety, such as:

  • Sedation dentistry – Sleep your way through your stressful dental visits.
  • Establish signals – If you begin to panic or simply need a break from the procedure, establish a signal, such as raising your hand, to indicate you need the dental staff to give you space.
  • Discuss medication – If you have anti-anxiety medications, you should discuss with your dentist whether you should take any before your dental visit. Depending on the procedure, the medication may interfere, so be sure your dentist is aware of all the medications you are taking.

Block Out The Dental Office

We put blinders on animals to help them work through stressful situations. It only makes sense that we allow ourselves some “blinders” to deal with dental appointment stress. Some ways you could block out the dentist are:

  • Put in earbuds and listen to music or something to block out the noise of the dental office.
  • Wear sunglasses to help block out your surroundings.
  • Recite a mantra inside your head: “I am going to be fine” or “I am safe and okay”. A mantra can help you tune out anxious thoughts.
  • Holding onto something can help you literally get a grip on the situation. Grabbing onto a stress ball, worry stone, or a good friend’s hand can help you feel more in control and less overwhelmed by your anxiety.

Your dentists and their staff want you to feel stress-free during your time at their office. Which is why it is so important to try and find which strategies will help calm you during your dental appointments. It may take some trial and error, but the relief will be worth it in the end.

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​How Strong, Healthy Gums Protect Your Oral Health

Bridge Creek Dental

Your gums are your teeth’s first line of defense against the bad bacteria in your mouth. Maintaining your gums health is vital to your overall oral health.

To protect your gums, it is important to know how they could be threatened, then understand the best methods to maintain your gum health.

Common Types Of Gum Disease

Millions of adults are affected by gum diseases. There are two main types of gum disease which you could be affected with without even knowing it.

  • Gingivitis – This type of periodontal disease occurs as a direct result of poor oral hygiene. When you have gingivitis, the symptoms presented are reddened gums, swollen, and tend to bleed under pressure.
  • Periodontitis – When gingivitis is neglected, it can turn into periodontitis. The original gingivitis symptoms will continue in addition to plaque formation. The plaque will separate your gums from your teeth, leaving your teeth and nerves vulnerable to bacteria.

Other factors which can make your gums more vulnerable to periodontal diseases are:

  • Smoking
  • Genetics
  • Diabetes
  • Aging
  • Poor nutrition
  • Medication

Key Ways To Maintain Gum Health

It is easier to maintain healthy gums rather than trying to fix gums damaged by gum diseases. There are key ways to maintain gum health which in turn protects your overall oral health.

  • Brush after every meal – Leftover food lodged between teeth attracts bacteria. As the bacteria breaks down the food, it makes no distinction between food pieces and your teeth. It is important to clean your teeth thoroughly after every meal.
  • Floss carefully – Toothbrush bristles alone are not enough to remove all the food particles from between your teeth. Flossing will help remove the leftover food particles that become lodged between your teeth and protect against future gum disease. However, be careful not to floss too hard. You don’t want to cut your gums and invite bacteria into the cut.
  • Careful consumption – Some types of foods can speed up damage to your teeth and gums. Sugar is particularly dangerous, as it feeds bacteria growth, erodes enamel and weakening the seal between teeth and gums. Eating healthy and nutrition amounts of fats, vegetables, legumes, and fruits can help support your gum health.

Lastly, be sure you come in for your regular dental checkups. Dr. Wassmer and Dr. Taylor can identify if you have any periodontal disease and then treat your gums accordingly. However, as long as you maintain your oral health between visits, you can support your gums and your overall oral health with minimal fuss.

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New Patient Care At Bridge Creek Dental In Billings, Montana

Bridge Creek Dental

Your oral health can affect multiple aspects of your life, from your confidence levels to your overall health. We understand this at Bridge Creek Dental, which is why we offer an array of services to help all the patients who come through our doors.

We understand that it can be difficult to visit the dentist. Whether from bad prior experiences or it has just been a long time between your dental visits, our staff can put you at ease. Below is what our new patients can expect when visiting our dental practice for the first time.

Information Needed For Your First Time At Bridge Creek Dental

When visiting Bridge Creek Dental for your first time, we invite you to come 10-15 minutes early. For one thing, we take pride in our comfortable waiting room! You will also need to fill out new patient forms. The information will pertain to your medical history, general information and more.

To fill out these forms the best you can, have this information handy when working on the forms:

  • General information – Our office will need general information like your legal name (first and last), address, social security number, emergency contact, and birthday.
  • Insurance provider -You will need to fill in your insurance provider’s information. If you do not have dental insurance, be sure to talk to our staff. There are several dental financing options which you may be eligible to use.
  • Medical background – It is important that you fill out your medical history to the best of your ability. Many diseases first present with oral health-related symptoms. There can also be complications related to your medical background, which can be avoided if your dentist knows what to expect.
  • Current medications – Be careful to list any medications that you taking. Sometimes medications can interact incorrectly with some dental procedures.

You can also access our new patient forms online! So if you would prefer, you can have all your information filled out from the comfort of your own home.

Exams For New Dental Patients

With all your information filled out, you will be ready to be called out of the waiting room and into the main office to start your dental exam. One of our dental hygienists will start your examination. Once you leave the waiting room, you will have your teeth x-rayed. This will give your attending dentist a clear picture of the state of your teeth.

As the x-rays are developed, your hygienist will take you to one of the private and comfortable patient rooms. From there your dental hygienist will clean your teeth. This should be a pain-free procedure, so be sure to communicate any discomfort to your hygienist. This part of your exam can be around 15-25 minutes.

Meeting With Your Dentist

As Bridge Creek Dental is a full-service dental clinic, we can meet all your dental needs. From simple cleanings and cavity fillings to cosmetic dentistry, our dentists can help you perfect your smile.

Some of our most popular services are:

  • Cleanings
  • Dental implants
  • Teeth whitening
  • Invisalign braces

Whatever service you may need to create the smile of your dream, rest assured that our staff can help you achieve it. So contact us today to schedule your appointment and make your dreams a reality!

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Bacteria Growth In Our Mouths

Bacteria Growth In Our Mouths

Many of us were told as children that there were tiny armies in our mouths which attacked our teeth. The only way to defeat these invaders was to brush our teeth and go to the dentist regularly.

While the bacteria that live in our mouths doesn’t wield the swords and spears of these pretend armies, bacteria can damage our teeth. There are over 700 known strains of bacteria, though most people are host to only 30-75 different types. We also cannot completely eradicate all the bacteria in our mouths.

For one thing, we need the bacteria. Some strains are probiotic and they help break down food for digestion. Other types of bacteria actually strengthen our teeth and gums! However, there are still types of bacteria which are damaging to your oral health.

Top Two Harmful Bacteria

There are two strains of bacteria which commonly cause harm to individuals’ oral health. These are not the most destructive but if left untreated, they can be incredibly harmful.

  • Porphyromonas gingivalis – It is not normally found in a healthy mouth. The presence of this strain of bacteria has been linked to the oral disease periodontitis. If you develop periodontitis, it will progressively damage your jaw bones and the surrounding tissue. This disease can be very painful and can result in tooth loss.
  • Streptococcus mutans – This type of bacteria feeds on the starches and sugars you eat. While it can be found in healthy mouths, you need to be careful to keep it under control. As it eats the leftover sugars and starches on your teeth, it produces an enamel-eroding acid. This leaves your teeth vulnerable to cavities.

Managing Oral Bacteria

Once you have picked up a strain of oral bacteria, it is unlikely you can become rid of it. However, you can take steps to control the bacteria population.

  • Brush after meals – While many people only brush once or twice a day, it is best if you can brush your teeth after every meal. The bacteria will grow unchecked as it digests your meal, so you will want to brush as soon as possible after each meal. There are disposable toothbrushes you can carry if you are caught out and unable to reach your regular toothbrush. If you can, keep a work toothbrush so you can brush after lunch breaks.
  • Protect your toothbrush – It is important to protect your toothbrush. Rinse it off in hot water before and after using it. Do not allow others to borrow your toothbrush. Keep it upright and away from areas where it could be splashed. You don’t want to introduce more bacteria to your mouth via your toothbrush.
  • Floss daily – Brushing just isn’t enough when it comes to protecting your teeth from overactive bacteria. These invisible invaders can easily slip between teeth and avoid the most thorough teeth brushing. You can floss after every meal like brushing. Many people are too vigorous with their floss and can cut their gums, so if you are an exuberant flosser, you may want to stick to just flossing daily.
  • Rinse with mouthwash – An astringent mouthwash act as an antibacterial when you rinse your mouth with it. It will not kill all the bacteria but can keep the growth under control. You should not substitute brushing your teeth with mouthwash. While mouthwash can help control the bacteria, you still need to use a toothbrush to dislodge small bits of food and to thoroughly clean the surface of your teeth.

With regular care and dental visits, you should be able to keep your mouth’s bacterial growth under control and your smile intact.

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Procedure Concerns That Are Totally Normal, We Promise!

Procedure Concerns That Are Totally Normal, We Promise!

Let’s be honest, going to the dentist is nobody’s favorite thing, but we all know how important it is to keeping our smile at it’s healthiest. Even as an adult there are various dental procedures that can leave us feeling a little nervous. These nerves are totally normal and hopefully by understanding them a little better you’ll be able to relax next time you visit the dentist.

All the Tools

Even if you’re just visiting the dentist for a cleaning, there are still a number of tools that are used to keep those teeth looking their best. Before you sit down in your seat, you eye those tools wondering how they could possibly be so small, because when they are in your mouth it feels like they quadruple in size. This concern is completely justified, after all some of those tools are sharp and others sound like power tools. Rest easy knowing that the hygienist and dentist working on your teeth are more than qualified to use these tools properly. Furthermore, while these tools may look intimidating, they are all necessary to get your teeth as clean as possible.

That’s Been in Someone Else’s Mouth

Even if you’re generally not too concerned about germs, I’m sure it’s crossed your mind how well all those dental instruments have been cleaned. Those tools have been in someone else’s mouth and unless you know how well they’ve been sterilized, that can leave you feeling very uneasy. Dental tools are separated into three different categories depending on their risk for transmitting disease.

  1. Critical– These are the instruments that have been in direct contact with the gums and bone and need to be sterilized after each patient. These tools are sterilized by autoclaving, which is steam under intense pressure, dry heat, or chemical vapor.
  2. Semi- Critical– These are all of the tools that never penetrated your teeth or gums but did have contact with your saliva. These also need to be either sterilized or disinfected with a registered Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sterilant after each use.
  3. Non-Critical– These instruments have little chance of transmitting infection as they are tools that only come in contact with the patient’s skin. These tools simply need to be cleaned with a hospital disinfectant after each patient’s use.

If germs are what’s making you nervous about visiting the dentist, knowing how well every tool is cleaned after each use should make you feel better about your next visit.

The Shot

No matter how old you are, everyone’s least favorite part about visiting the dentist is the numbing shot that you get before getting a cavity filled. Before your injection, you will be given a topical anesthetic to take away the painful pinch that comes from the injection of the needle. This needs to be left on for about a minute to work effectively. If you start to feel any pain, there is no need to be a hero! Tell your dentist of your discomfort! The last thing they want to do is cause you unnecessary pain.

Hopefully now that some of your fears have been dispelled, visiting the dentist can be something that you look forward to, after all who doesn’t love the feeling of freshly cleaned and polished teeth.

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