Crowns vs Veneers – Which Is Best For Your Situation?

Veneers vs Crowns

Cosmetic dentistry is an excellent way to address a number of dental issues. From issues with the appearance of your smile to correcting misaligned teeth, cosmetic dentistry often relies on the use of dental crowns and veneers to make these changes.

Since both veneers and crowns are often used in dental procedures, it can be difficult for the layperson to know which is best for their circumstances. An easy rule of thumb is that crowns are best for reconstruction, and veneers are ideal for cosmetic-focused changes. However, there is a bit more to it than just a quick rule, so our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental have some more insights.

How Are Dental Crowns And Veneers Different

The main difference between dental crowns and veneers is their construction. A crown is created to cover the entirety of your tooth and is 2 millimeters (mm) thick. As a dental crown is meant to take bite pressure, its thicker size serves well. Crowns can be made of several materials, from metal alloys, composite resin, porcelain fused with a metal alloy for strength, or an all-porcelain crown.

With veneers, they are designed to cover the outward-facing part of your tooth and are layered over the front of your teeth. Veneers are also thinner than crowns and are generally only 1 mm thick. Porcelain is the preferred material used for veneers, but sometimes composite resin veneers are used, as well as other materials.

What Do Dental Crowns Do Best

Dental crowns are predominantly designed to protect a tooth after it has been compromised by tooth decay and requires a root canal to clear out the infection. After cleaning out the affected tooth, often, the tooth is ground too far and exposed for a simple filling to protect it. In these cases, only a dental crown will do to protect the tooth.

Along with protecting teeth post-root canal, crowns are the best solution for reshaping back teeth, as veneers are not designed for the high amount of pressure that is exerted on molars. So, if you have cracked or broken a molar, a dental crown is the ideal option to restore your tooth.

When Should You Pick Veneers

The best situation to choose veneers is when your teeth are already healthy, as you need healthy teeth as a base for your veneers. With healthy teeth, veneers can be used to reshape what your smile looks like. Also, while veneers require the removal of some of the enamel of your teeth, they are not as invasive to have put on as dental crowns.

Unlike a dental crown, which is designed to take the pressure, veneers are placed over the surface of a healthy tooth to create a whiter, straighter, and more even appearance to your smile. As it is a surface application, veneers are generally only placed on the front teeth, where less pressure is applied.

However, neither crowns or veneers are reversible, so be sure these dental services are what you want to maintain before investing.

Find Veneers And Crowns In Billings, MT

You don’t have to know for sure whether you want crowns or veneers before coming in for a cosmetic dentistry consultation at Bridge Creek Dental. With a visit to our Billings, MT dental clinic, our dentists can help you determine if crowns, veneers, or a combination of the two are best suited for you or your needs.

Should you need dental crowns, veneers, or just a really thorough dental cleaning, you can count on Bridge Creek Dental. All you need to do is contact us to arrange your appointment, and we will do our best to help you have the healthiest smile possible!

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Dentist Digest Monthly: How Does Asthma Affect Your Oral Health

Dentist Digest Monthly - How Does Asthma Affect Your Oral Health
Not only can asthma make day-to-day activities a bit tougher, but taking care of your dental hygiene can require a little more work when you have asthma. As research has shown, asthma can contribute to dry mouth, which can quickly evolve into bad breath, cavities, and more.

As your local Billings, MT, family dentists, Bridge Creek Dental is here to share the research that connects asthma to increased dental problems, and what you can do to protect yourself.

Research Links Asthma To Several Oral Health Issues

There are a number of oral health problems that researchers have been connected to asthma, as well as potentially the use of an inhaler. Even without the regular use of a rescue inhaler, asthma can lead to the dental issues below.

Dry Mouth

Those individuals who struggle with asthma are far more likely to breathe through their mouths in an effort to get enough air. The problem with mouth-breathing is that the air isn’t moisturized like it is when you breathe through your nose. With drier air passing through your mouth more, it can lead to chronic dry mouth.

While dry mouth may just sound like an inconvenience, lowering your saliva production can actually have adverse long-term effects on your oral health, leading to greater bacteria growth and oral infections.

Mouth Sores

The use of an inhaler can irritate the back of your mouth. With repeated irritation, sores and lesions can form, making eating, swallowing, and even simply breathing uncomfortable. Also, with open sores, infection is a serious risk.

Gum Disease

Remember how we said that dry mouth could lead to other oral health issues? Well, one of those issues is gum disease. In a healthy mouth, the saliva production helps keep the bacteria population down. But for someone with asthma, their mouth is drier, and bacteria are able to keep growing, which can also lead to plaque buildup.

As plaque builds up on your teeth, it irritates your gums. With inflamed gums, bacteria can slip between the teeth and gums, causing your gums to recede and allow for infection to take place.

Tooth Decay

The drying effect of asthma—both hard breathing, inhaler use, and some asthma medications—can lead to an increase in tooth decay. Again, dry mouth is the main culprit, as the harmful bacteria are able to sit on your teeth longer with nothing to discourage its presence.

How To Protect Your Mouth While Managing Asthma

With the right preventative dental care, you can protect your oral health as you manage your asthma. Some of the top steps you can take are:

  • Focus on drinking water – It’s not enough to simply hydrate, but instead, stick to drinking more water rather than other liquids. Also, if there is fluoride in the water, that is even better, as fluoride can help strengthen your teeth.
  • Commit to oral hygiene routine – Nothing can beat a solid oral hygiene routine of brushing at least once in the morning and once at night, with once a day flossing. And, as someone with asthma, using antibacterial mouthwash isn’t a bad idea.
  • Chew sugar-free gum – To help keep your salivary glands working, you can chew on gum, particularly sugar-free gum that contains xylitol. There has been research that points to xylitol helping prevent tooth decay.
  • Determine asthma triggers – Prevention is key when it comes to protecting your oral health, and that includes learning your asthma triggers and avoiding them.
  • Visit our dentists regularly – Coming in for your biannual dental cleanings can be a great way to keep track of your oral health. By knowing you have asthma, our dentists can provide you with tailored advice on how to keep your mouth healthy.

If you are ready for your biannual dental cleaning, then it is time to contact us and set up your appointment today.

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Everything You Need To Know About Mountain Dew Teeth

Everything You Need To Know About Moutain Dew Teeth

The fact that regular soda consumption is harmful to overall health and wellbeing is now well-known information. Regular consumption of soda is linked to a variety of negative health indicators, including increased cancer risk, higher likelihood of developing type II diabetes, poorer heart health, and many others. However, many people may forget or overlook the impact that soda consumption has on the teeth and mouth. The term “Mountain Dew Teeth” or “Mountain Dew Mouth” is something that is circulating in not only the dental community but the general population. While it sounds pretty straightforward, what are Mountain Dew teeth anyway, and how can this condition be prevented?

What Are Mountain Dew Teeth?

The term Mountain Dew teeth was coined by dentists who noticed this condition was common in people, oftentimes children and teenagers, who regularly consume sugar-sweetened beverages. This is a concern because soda continues to be a drink that wreaks havoc on teeth and overall health, and it is given to children at younger ages. Not only does Mountain Dew have high sugar content, but it also is highly acidic with a pH level of 3.3. The combination of acidity and sugar makes it very damaging for the health of the teeth and mouth.

What Causes Mountain Dew Teeth?

Very simply, Mountain Dew teeth are caused by the regular consumption of soda. After soda consumption, the sugar and acidity remain in the mouth, causing continuous damage. With the rise of new products and marketing geared towards children, the annual consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is high in the United States.

Mountain Dew teeth, while it can affect people of all ages, is especially prevalent in children and adolescents. The reason being is because since children and teenagers are less informed about the impact of their decisions on their health and wellbeing, they may be more prone to consuming sugar-sweetened beverages regularly. Additionally, children and teenagers have teeth that are still developing. This may increase the harm that is done by consuming drinks that are highly acidic and sugary. While it is recommended to limit soda consumption, brushing and flossing after drinking soda is recommended. Making regular dentists’ appointments may also reduce the harm of soda on the teeth.

Treatment Options For Mountain Dew Teeth

If you do not already suffer from Mountain Dew teeth, it is wise to employ prevention strategies that may help you avoid the condition altogether. Symptoms like tooth decay or sensitivity, cavities, and staining of the teeth are certainly things that should be avoided at all costs. Here are a few healthy habits and strategies that you can try:

  • Choose healthy drink options – water, milk, tea, and other low-sugar beverages are a smarter choice for both your body and your dental health.
  • If you do consume soda, brush well afterward.
  • Schedule regular cleanings. During busy times in life, it can be hard to remember to schedule a cleaning every 6 months. To avoid this, when you are at a dental cleaning you can schedule your next appointment while you are there.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene habits by brushing and flossing at least twice per day.

If dental hygiene is not taken care of and the underlying problem of drinking too much soda is not addressed, tooth extraction and implants may have to occur in order to correct damage inflicted to the teeth and mouth. These procedures, while they do work for cosmetic purposes and can reduce risks of infections and other dental-related health issues, still do not address the problem of high soda consumption and poor dental habits. It is imperative that these habits are addressed in conjunction with any corrective dental procedures that may take place.

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

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

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

1. Dental Cleanings Are Even More Necessary

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

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

2. Potential Cavity Development While Wearing Braces

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

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

3. Prevent Pairing Unhealthy Gums With Straight Teeth

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

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

4. Avoid Dental Decalcification

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

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

5. Get A Fluoride Treatment To Help Strengthen Teeth

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

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

Pair Visits To Our Dentists With Regular Oral Hygiene

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

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

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Dentist Digest Monthly: Explaining The Stages Of Tooth Decay

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

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

First Stage: White Spots Appear

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

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

Second Stage: Tooth Enamel Breaks Down

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

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

Third Stage: Dentin Layer Breached

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

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

Fourth Stage: Infection Reaches Tooth Pulp

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

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

Fifth Stage: Dental Abscess Forms

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

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

Sixth Stage: Tooth Loss

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

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

Prevent Tooth Decay With Dentists In Billings, MT

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

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

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How Does Mouth Breathing Affect Oral Health?

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

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

Impact On Oral Health Due To Mouth Breathing

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

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

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

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

Signs Of Mouth Breathing

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

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

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

Our Dentists Can Help Correct Mouth Breathing Side-Effects

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

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

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

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How To Choose The Best Emergency Dental Treatment When Your’e Rushed

How To Choose The Best Emergency Dental Treatment When Your are Rushed
No one knows when a dental crisis will happen. You may fall and break a tooth. You may wake up early one morning with the worst pain you’ve ever felt in your mouth. But, in general, a dental emergency can take you by an unpleasant surprise.

Since these situations aren’t ones that happen on a schedule, nor are they ones you can deal with for long, you will need to find a dentist that provides emergency dental care.

How to Choose the Best Emergency Dentist

Not all dentists provide emergency dental care. Part of it can be due to the fact that providing emergency dental care means that dentists have to work all day at their office and then might be needed to come in during the night or on weekends if needed. As dentists often practice with only one other dentist, or even alone, this kind of schedule can be extremely stressful, so they will not have emergency dental services.

When you find dentists who are willing to provide services after hours or rearrange their schedule to fit in a dental emergency, you know they are willing to go above and beyond, and that they truly care about people’s oral health.

Not all emergency dentists are created equal though. You should look for some key factors when selecting the one for you.

Length Of Practice

How long has the emergency dentist been practicing? Experience is important when a dentist is working on your teeth during an emergency situation. The dentist must be able to handle crisis situations with great skill and confidence.

Generally, you will find that confidence in dentists who have been practicing for years. Some dentists that offer emergency dental services do it due to being new dentists and having a small clientele, so try and look for dentists who have at least five or more years experience practicing as a full dentist.

Assistance During Care

Is the dentist providing emergency dental care alone or with the assistance of someone else? Sometimes, a dentist will provide emergency dental care on their own, which can be done but can be tricky, as most dentists work best with an assistant.

It is better if your emergency dentist has a dental hygienist with them for assistance. That way, the dentist can focus more on your dental issue and have their assistant pass them needed tools, take notes, and the millions of other tasks that dental hygienists cover.

Good Reputation

Does the dentist have a good reputation in the community? You can tell a lot about a dentist by listening to what people say about him. With the internet, you don’t have to go from house to house looking for reviews, you can simply type in the dentist’s name or the name of their practice.

Google reviews are an easy way to get a good idea about what that particular dentist or practice is like when it comes to dental care. If there are multiple dentists at the practice you are looking at, see if there are any standout mentions of a dentist, either good or bad. It is best if there are over 20 reviews of the dentist or practice. That way, you can get a good idea of what the dentist is really like, rather than the skewed perspective that a handful of reviews can give.

Of course, you can also talk to friends, family, and co-workers for dentist recommendations, but in a dental emergency, you may not want to take a full survey. Simply using the internet is a faster way to find an emergency dentist with a good reputation.

Available When Needed

Will the dentist see you when you need the care? When a dentist is willing to offer after-hours care, he shouldn’t try to get out of it when you call. He should be receptive and ready to come to the office no matter what time it is during the day or night.

Also, another thing to consider is how quickly the emergency dentist can get you in for an appointment. Many emergency dentists will sacrifice their lunch hour to make space in a busy schedule, so as long as they aren’t too booked, a good dentist should be able to see you the same day you call to address your dental emergency.

Bridge Creek Dental Offers Emergency Dental Care

Are you experiencing a dental emergency and live in or near Billings, MT? Then you should visit us here at Bridge Creek Dental. Our dental office offers emergency dental treatment and can get you back on track with your dental health.

Our experienced dentists have been practicing for many years, and they are always ready to help new and existing patients with their dental care. You can contact us right now to get the care you need quickly and easily.

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

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

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

Do These Things To Deep Clean Your Teeth At Home

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

1. Extend Your Teeth Brushing Time

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

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

2. Alternate Which Toothpaste You Use

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

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

3. Add Plenty Of Fruits And Veggies To Your Diet

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

4. Stick To Effective Flossing

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

5. Always Brush Your Teeth Gently

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

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

Don’t Ever Do These Things To Your Teeth

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

1. Don’t Make Your Gums Bleed

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

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

2. Avoid Using “Natural” Toothpaste

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

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

3. Do Not Use A Plaque Scraper

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

4. Don’t Use Your Teeth As Tools

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

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

5. Keep From Chewing On Non-food Items

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Are Oral Probiotics

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

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

Ways Probiotics Can Support Dental Health

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

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

Potential Side-Effects Of Oral Probiotics

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

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

How To Get More Dental Probiotics In Your Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Are The Part Of A Tooth

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

Crown

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

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

Enamel

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

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

Dentin

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

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

Tooth Pulp

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

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

Root

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

How To Best Protect Your Teeth

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

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

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

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