Dentist Digest Monthly: Protecting Your Kid’s Teeth During Sports


Team sports can be an excellent addition to a growing kid’s developing, teaching life skills like teamwork, dedication, hard work, and other valuable accomplishments. Yet, there is an element of dental danger to playing sports.

In popular contact sports like basketball, soccer, volleyball, and others, there is a high possibility that your child’s teeth can be damaged. While often the damage can be resolved fairly easily with some minor cosmetic dentistry, there are instances where the dental trauma can be more severe.

As your local family dentists in Billings, MT, here is some dentist-approved advice to help your kids to stay safe while enjoying their time participating in sports.

What Sports Are Most Likely To Cost Your Kid A Tooth

While it is completely possible for your kid to trip and knock out a tooth while participating on the cross-country team, the likelihood is pretty slim. Below are the sports that are most likely to cause your child to hurt their teeth and potentially lose one.

Basketball – While basketball is technically a non-contact sport, there are many instances of contact during the course of the game. Knocked out or cracked teeth due to flying elbows and collisions are not uncommon.

Ball and stick games – Sports that incorporate the use of a ball and players with sticks—such as lacrosse, baseball, hockey, etc.—have high incidents of tooth trauma. There is a good deal of protective gear that comes with most ball and stick sports but the damage due to being struck forcefully with either a player’s stick or the ball.

Skateboarding – As most young skateboarders like to skip out on wearing any protective gear, while still taking hard falls, they have some of the highest incidents of dental damage. Especially since one bad move generally means that a skateboarder will make contact with unforgiving asphalt and concrete.

Martial arts – A clear contact sport is various martial arts, from traditional styles like Tae Kwon Do and karate, as well as other sports like boxing and wrestling. Most of these martial arts require the use of a mouthguard, which can keep the dental trauma down, but there is still the potential for problems.

Football – There is plenty of protective gear worn during while playing football, yet your child’s teeth can still take a hit. Often, damage occurs when there are multiple players involved in a tackle, as the first jolt can knock the mouthguard out of position then the next hits can make contact with the teeth.

Other Sports That Can Lead To Dental Damage

Along with the top offenders, there are other sports where there is a significant risk of breaking, chipping, or losing a tooth. Other sports where children and teens can benefit from wearing a mouthguard are:

  • Volleyball
  • Equestrian sports
  • Inline skating
  • Snowboarding and skiing
  • Water polo
  • Rugby
  • Track and field events
  • Racquetball
  • Soccer

Have Your Child Fit With A Custom Mouthguard

One of the dental services we offer at our dental clinic is custom mouthguards. With a store-bought mouthguard, they are generally “boil and bite”, where you boil the mouthguard and then bite down to get an impression of the wearer’s teeth. However, these often aren’t a great fit and can still move around while wearing them, which provides less protection for your teeth.

With a custom mouthguard, an impression of the teeth is taken. From that impression, a mouthguard is created. With a custom mouthguard designed to fit your child’s teeth perfectly, there is less likelihood that the mouthguard will slip and not protect your kid’s teeth. Also, the better the mouthguard fits, the less likely your child will be to skip wearing it due to discomfort.

What To Do If A Dental Injury Occurs

If your child does suffer from a dental injury while playing sports, do your best to stay calm. If the tooth is still in place but damaged, call us to set up an emergency appointment. We keep time open for our recurring patients in case of an emergency. Even if you aren’t a dental patient at Bridge Creek Dental, you can still access our emergency dental services.

Also, if the tooth has been knocked out, you can place it in milk and bring it along to the appointment, as there is a chance that it can be re-implanted.

Also, be sure to contact us to set up appointments to bring your kids in for their biannual dental cleaning. That way, if there is any tooth trauma that may have gone under the radar, our dental staff will be able to find and correct the problem before it becomes a serious issue.

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Meth Mouth: The Effects Of Meth On Dental Health

Meth Mouth - Bridge Creek

Highly addictive drugs like methamphetamine—commonly called meth—can wreak havoc on people’s lives. Here in Billings, Montana, the effects of meth are becoming more widespread. The Billings Police Department as reported a 75% rise in meth-related violent crime, tracked from 2010 to 2017.

Along with the criminal impact of meth usage, people using meth can experience a number of health consequences ranging from high blood pressure to permanent brain damage. One of the more outwardly obvious effects of meth is its impact on a user’s dental health.

Meth mouth is a shorthand term to describe the severe oral health impact of using meth. In an effort to help heal the effects meth has had on our community, our staff here at Bridge Creek Dental is here to help provide insight on meth mouth, its symptoms, and how meth mouth can be treated.

Meth Mouth Defined

Technically, there is no dental condition called meth mouth. However, there are several common oral health issues that are common among meth users, according to a study by the American Dental Association. The survey of over 550 meth users found:

  • 96% of surveyed meth users had multiple cavities
  • 40% said they were embarrassed by the appearance of their teeth
  • 31% of participants were missing at least 6 or more of their teeth
  • 23% of surveyed meth users had all of their natural teeth

And among the older meth users in the study group, 6% of them had fewer than 10 of their natural teeth. Overall, most of the participants had severe gum disease that presented as gum inflammation, as well as broken, stained, and rotting teeth. These issues combined are what is commonly called meth mouth.

Symptoms Of Meth Mouth

As those who abuse substances like methamphetamines often neglect their oral hygiene and indulge in sugary drinks and foods, it is not surprising that their oral health takes a hit. Other clear symptoms and signs of someone with meth mouth can be:

  • Red and Swollen Gums
  • Unusually Short Teeth
  • Dry Mouth
  • Grinding or Clenching of Teeth
  • Crumbled, Broken, or Fractured Teeth
  • Tooth Sensitivity
  • Loose Teeth

Also, the gums of long-time meth users who inject the drugs by smoking it may be pale, as meth narrows the blood vessels in the gums, which restricts blood flow.

What Causes Meth Mouth To Happen

Substance abuse of any kind can lead to oral health issues, but meth mouth gets its own term thanks to the severe dental damage it causes. Meth mouth can occur thanks to several different factors.

Stimulants Like Meth Trigger Tense Jaw

As meth users often have weakened teeth, clenching, and teeth grinding that is triggered by meth can cause the brittle teeth to chip or shatter completely.

Meth Dries Out The User’s Mouth

We need our saliva to protect our teeth and gums from harmful bacteria buildup, break down food particles, and to neutralize acid. Since meth dries out the mouth, there is no helpful saliva to protect the user’s vulnerable teeth and gums.

People Tend To Neglect Oral Health When High On Meth

Unsurprisingly, when high on methamphetamines, people don’t generally take care of their dental hygiene. By skipping out on teeth brushing and flossing, plaque is allowed to build up, and infection can set into the gum more easily to lead to periodontal disease.

Blood Vessels Are Shrunk By Meth Use, Causing Oral Health Issues

When meth is used, blood vessels become shrunken and lessens the blood supply that can reach the mouth. Without enough blood, it is harder for the mouth to fight off infections, making it easier for gum disease to occur and tooth loss. Also, the vessels can die altogether, which just accelerates oral issues.

Dangerous Chemicals Are Found In Meth

Made up of a cocktail of abrasive and eroding chemicals like lithium and ammonia, meth is a toxic mix that is guaranteed to damage tooth enamel and abraid the gums.

Individuals Using Meth Often Crave Consumable High In Sugar

Combine a craving of sugary drinks and foods with poor oral hygiene—as well as the other factors listed above—and you are looking at a recipe for tooth decay and gum disease.

While not all these factors may take place when someone is abusing methamphetamines, generally, enough of them for meth to make a serious impact on the user’s oral health.

Ways Meth Impacts Oral Health

As you might have assumed from what causes meth mouth, there are some pretty severe oral health repercussions to using meth. Some of the most common ways that meth impacts a person’s oral health are:

  • Bruxism – This dental condition describes when a person clenches, gnashes, or grinds their teeth. While it is often during sleep that bruxism is at its worst, it can affect people during the day.
  • Tooth decay – With the combination of poor oral hygiene, the corrosive ingredients in methamphetamines, and sugary consumables, tooth decay is a common issue among those who use meth.
  • Gum disease – Unsurprisingly, the tooth decay tends to pair with gum disease, especially as food particles and bacteria become lodged near the gumline. Since meth users tend to neglect oral hygiene, gum disease often becomes serious as it is allowed to progress.
  • Tooth loss – Between gum inflammation and tooth decay, many meth users tend to lose at least one tooth, with older meth users missing the majority of their teeth.
  • Jawbone density loss – As meth users lose teeth and struggle with gum infections, their jawbones also take a hit, and the bone density tends to deteriorate.
  • Oral cancer risk increase – With the combined neglect and abrasive ingredients in methamphetamines, the risk of developing oral cancer is higher in meth users.

Even with the severe impact of meth on a person’s oral health, not all is lost. With the right dental services, meth mouth can be treated.

Treatment For Meth Mouth

Having meth mouth treated can be a critical part of recovery from methamphetamine abuse, along with finding the right resources thanks to groups like the Montana Meth Project. With dental treatment, some of the visible signs of meth use—like meth mouth—can be corrected.

Often, when a recovering meth user is ready to address their dental issues, many of their teeth have been damaged beyond repair. These teeth require extraction and can be replaced with things like dental bridges, dental implants, crowns, and dentures. Depending on the extent of the damage, sometimes jawbone grafts, and gum treatments can be required for a former meth user’s dental treatment.

If you have a loved one who has struggled with meth and needs help to recover their oral health, Bridge Creek Dental is here to help. Contact us to set up a consultation with one of our dentists, and we will help your loved one get their dental health back on track.

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Dentist Digest Monthly: Can Baby Teeth Predict Autism?

Our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental are committed to continuing their education when it comes to bringing you the latest in dental research. In pursuit of innovative research, there is a study that has found that baby teeth may be a good way to predict autism.

Baby Teeth With High Lead And Low In Other Minerals May Indicate Future Autism

In an exciting new study, researchers examined the layers of enamel and dentin in baby teeth. Like how the rings of a tree can help you learn the age of the tree, there was key information found in the layers of the examined baby teeth.

Children who were diagnosed with autism had higher levels of toxic lead in the layers of their teeth and were lower in manganese and zinc than in children who did not have autism. The researchers first worked with sets of twins, then non-twin siblings as part of their research to reach these findings.

The presence of toxic lead in baby teeth, in particular, was a major predictor in autism. This lead was processed by the fetus while in utero, which was confirmed when the researchers looked at how the baby teeth developed.

Genetics And Environmental Stressors Contribute To Autism

However, while this research is exciting, there is still a genetic component to autism that is still unpredictable. Also, while there was a connection between high levels of lead and low levels of manganese and zinc found in baby teeth, the solution is not quite as simple as removing lead and adding these minerals in.

For one thing, manganese in high doses can also affect brain development in babies and has been linked to autism. In fact, many vitamins and minerals in high doses can be toxic, so it is best not to load up on a ton of supplements.

Also, when it comes to lead, most sane people aren’t intentionally ingesting lead. However, lead can be present in your environment and contribute to issues without you even realizing the lead is present. To help you manage these factors, our dentists have some advice.

Ways To Remove Lead And Boost Essential Minerals

While the genetic factors can’t be controlled, there are steps you can take to control the environmental factors which may contribute to the development of autism in children. Some of the things you can do are:

  • Discuss dental issues with our dentists – If you or your loved one is pregnant, it is critical that you take care of any dental issues. By accessing our dental services during your pregnancy, you can protect your teeth and the health of your child, who can be affected by things like gum infection.
  • Check local water quality reports – Your water is one of the most common sources of lead ingestion. You can check your local water quality report and see what level of lead is present in your area. For Billings, MT, the local water quality report has stated that there is a low presence of lead in our water, which is likely due to natural deposits and the erosion of lead plumbing systems.
  • Filter your water – By filtering your water, you can help strain out the excess lead. Carbon filters are commonly recommended, but you should check before you purchase a filter to be sure what minerals are removed.
  • Consume foods high in manganese and zinc – Rather than overload your system with supplements, it is best if your vitamins and minerals mainly come from a varied diet. Foods that are high in both manganese and zinc are things like nuts, legumes—pinto beans, lima beans, etc.—dark leafy greens, whole grains, and other foods.

Pregnancy can be tough on your teeth as well as your developing baby’s teeth. For personalized dental assistance to help you make it through pregnancy with healthy teeth, contact us to set up an appointment. We offer a variety of other dental services, so no matter what stage of life you are in, you can count on Bridge Creek Dental, your local dental experts in Billings, MT.

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5 Reasons Your Should Stop Using Toothpicks

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

1. Gum Tissue Can Be Damaged

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

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

2. Wooden Toothpicks Can Splinter

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

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

3. Toothpicks Can Invite Bacteria And Infection

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

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

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

4. Food Can Be Pushed In Deeper

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

5. Rough Use Can Crack Weakened Teeth

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

What To Use Instead Of Toothpicks

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

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

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

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Schedule Summer Dental Cleanings

Here at Bridge Creek Dental, our dentists recommend that people come in for dental cleanings twice a year. We understand life can be busy, and it can be difficult during the school year to ensure that your whole family makes it to the dental office for their biannual dental cleanings.

Yet, summer is one of the perfect times to bring the whole family into the dental office for one of their dental cleanings.

Ways Summer Gives More Opportunities For Family Dental Care

Summertime doesn’t necessarily mean adults have more free time for dental hygiene appointments. However, school-aged children are far more available for dental cleanings at this time of year as children have fewer commitments during the summer. Other ways summer gives more opportunities for family dental care are:

  • It can be easier to schedule dental appointments as a group during the summer. This group scheduling can ensure no one accidentally misses one of their biannual cleanings.
  • Being available to go with your younger children can reassure them before their dental appointment.
  • A good dental cleaning can start off the summer right as well as catch any problems which may have cropped up since your last dental cleaning.
  • If problems are discovered during a summer dental checkup, summer is the perfect time to recover from a longer dental procedure.
  • Summer provides plenty of opportunities to reward children after a dentist visit without resorting to food rewards for good behavior while at the dental office.

Schedule Dental Cleanings Before Summer Family Vacations

Before you go on your much-anticipated family vacation, it is important to ensure everyone in your family has made it into our dental office for their summer dental cleaning. Encountering a dental emergency during vacation can make the family vacation incredibly stressful and derail plans significantly.

Also, if you or your family member need emergency dentistry, the intervention can be very expensive as your family vacation spot is likely outside your insurance network.

By ensuring that everyone in the family has a dental cleaning this summer before the family vacation, you can avoid most dental emergencies as our dentists will be able to identify potential dental problems before they become serious issues.

Visit Bridge Creek Dental This Summer

Whether you are looking to have a dental cleaning, cavities filled, cosmetic dentistry, or other dental services, you can have these things taken care of this summer at Bridge Creek Dental. Make the best use of the summer and contact us to set up an appointment for you and your whole family.

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What Are Snap-On Dentures?


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

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

What Are Implant Overdentures—AKA Snap-On Dentures

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

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

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

Pros And Cons Of Snap-On Dentures

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

Pros to snap-on dentures:

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

Cons to snap-on dentures:

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

Consult With Bridge Creek Dental About Snap-On Dentures

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

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

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Celebrating 4th of July In Billings, MT

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

Kick Your Independence Day Off With A Pancake Breakfast

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

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

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

Participate In The 22nd Annual Chief Joseph Run

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

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

Snag A Spot Watching Two Parades For Maximum Fun

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

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

Enjoy The Food And Craft Fair

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

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

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

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

Catch Firework Shows For A Dazzling Display

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

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

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

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How Your Dentist Can Help Fix Your Bad Breath

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

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

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

Potential Sources Of Bad Breath

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

Nicotine Products

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

Bacteria Build-up

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

Medical Issues

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

Gum Disease

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

Dry Mouth

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

Leftover Food

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

How Our Dentists Can Help Correct Your Bad Breath

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

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

What To Do At Home To Prevent Future Bad Breath

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

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

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

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Preparing for Dentures With Your Dentist

Prepare For Dentures - Bridge Creek Dental

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

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

Have A Pre-Dentures Consultation With Our Dentists

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

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

Undergo Denture Preparations

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

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

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

Receive Your Dentures

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

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

What To Do Immediately After Receiving New Dentures

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

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

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

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6 Mistakes People Make When It Comes To Their Dental Hygiene

dental hygien mistakes people make - bridge creek dental

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

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

1. Buying Unproven Toothpastes From Ads

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Consuming Sugary Foods And Drinks Too Often

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

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

4. Waiting To Take Children To The Dentist

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

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

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

5. Brushing Directly After Vomiting

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

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

6. Chewing The Wrong Gum

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

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

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

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