Oral Cancer Screenings

Posted by on Feb 21, 2018 in Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Hygiene | 0 comments

When you last visited our office for your regular cleaning, you likely received an oral cancer screening. Many of our patients may not know or understand what an oral cancer screening is, or why we perform them. The oral cancer screening is a visual and physical exam of the oral cavity and connected tissues to identify any early signs of oral cancer. Whether or not you are at risk, it is common procedure for one of our dental professionals to perform these 10 second screenings at your regular dental cleaning visit.

The reason that oral cancer screenings are standard procedure is that there is a significant advantage to catching oral cancer before symptoms begin to show, and it is a brief and simple check that is extremely effective in identifying oral cancer in its early stages.

When performing the brief exam, one of our dental professionals will examine your face, neck, lips, and nose area for any asymmetries, bumps, discoloration, or other abnormalities. A brief physical exam will follow to ensure the mouth, cheeks, jaw and neck area are free of nodules or irregularities, which may be a cause for concern.

As this is a precautionary measure, not a diagnostic measure, any causes for concern may simply initiate a request for further screening at regular intervals or follow-up, especially if you engage in lifestyle practices such as tobacco or alcohol use that may increase your risk level.

The Oral Cancer Foundation has initiated a campaign this year called “Check Your Mouth,” which encourages individuals to also perform at-home oral cancer screenings in between dental visits. If you are at high risk for oral cancer, you are especially encouraged to visit for a simple how-to video on self-screening to get you started.

We at River Valley Smiles care about your overall oral well-being and will partner with you to ensure you remain in the best health possible under our care. If you have any questions or concerns at any time about any oral health issue, we would be glad to discuss them with you to ensure they are properly addressed. Call us today to set up your next appointment, or visit our site to request an appointment online:

We Care About Your Heart!

Posted by on Feb 14, 2018 in Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Hygiene | 0 comments

We all know that taking care of our teeth is important, but did you know that your oral health can significantly affect your long-term heart health?

If you suffer from gum disease at a moderate or advanced stage, you are at greater risk for heart disease than a patient with healthy gums. This is due to the spread of bacteria from your mouth to other parts of your body through your bloodstream. These bacteria can cause inflammation which leads to a varying range of cardiovascular conditions.

Warning Signs of Gum Disease:

-Red, swollen gums that are sore to the touch

-Bad breath or a “bad taste” in your mouth

-Gums appear as if they are receding or “pulling away” from the teeth

-Bleeding gums, especially when eating, brushing, or flossing

-Loosening of permanent teeth

There is good news, though. We can help you prevent and treat gum disease to help prevent long term issues.

In addition to regular dental visits and cleanings, we recommend brushing with a soft bristled brush twice daily and flossing between your teeth daily. Even then, however, there are other factors that can affect your oral health. That’s why Dr. Liggett and Dr. Johnson and the rest of our dental team are here.

If you are experiencing any of these warning signs, please contact our office to discuss treatment options so we can help you get back on track to the best health possible.

Oral health is a much bigger concern than simply ensuring the longevity of your teeth. Your oral health is important for your entire system to function the way it is intended.  We at River Valley Smiles care about your overall health and want to do our part to help you maintain the best possible well-being by helping you take care of your teeth and gums.

Call our office today, or visit us here (make an appointment ) to schedule your next appointment!

Children & Dental Health Month

Posted by on Feb 7, 2018 in Dental Hygiene | 0 comments

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. The National Children’s Dental Health Month is a targeted national campaign presented by the American Dental Association and Crest + Oral B. It is all about helping to educate families on the importance of and benefits of good oral health.

This year’s campaign slogan is: Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth for a healthy smile.”

We all know proper oral hygiene habits begin at a young age. Here are some healthy smile tips you can teach and reinforce with your children to help establish proper oral hygiene habits for life:

-Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste

-Clean between your teeth daily

-Eat a healthy diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks

-See your dentist regularly for prevention and treatment of oral disease

Also, to make the experience of learning about oral health fun, visit for downloadable materials to use with your children to help reinforce the message of good habits. On this page, you’ll find a crossword activity, a connect the dots worksheet, and a coloring sheet teaching about dental hygiene.

As well, there is a downloadable brushing calendar that helps children track their brushing routine, offering a space to fill in for both morning and evening brushing. This is a helpful visual to hang in the bathroom as a reminder and as a motivator!

If your child has not been in to our office in the last six months for their regular cleaning, call us today to set up your appointment! Our team at River Valley Smiles cares about your family’s dental health and we are committed to partner with you to help ensure they have a healthy mouth for life!

Cosmetic Dentistry

Posted by on Jan 31, 2018 in Cosmetic Dentistry | 0 comments

If you struggle with feeling confident about your smile, River Valley Smiles is here to serve you. Our team of dental professionals not only treat the inside of your mouth and your overall dental health, but also the appearance of your smile. In fact, all of our dentists are well skilled in cosmetic dentistry and are here to help you get the smile you want.

What is Cosmetic Dentistry? Cosmetic dentistry refers to dental work that enhances the appearance of a person’s smile: their teeth, gums, or bite. By improving aesthetics such as color, position, shape, size, and/or alignment, a person’s entire appearance can benefit. Procedures range from minor corrections to a complete smile makeover.

Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry 

When patients undergo cosmetic dentistry to correct aesthetic flaws and improve their overall appearance, this can affect many areas of their life, in particular:

  • Help you appear younger
  • Boost your self-confidence
  • Enhance your career
  • Prevent future dental damage

Cosmetic Procedures

There is a plethora of procedures employed by our office to help improve the appearance of your smile. Two of our most common procedures are porcelain veneers and dental bridges.

Porcelain Veneers

When teeth become chipped or broken, porcelain veneers provide an aesthetic solution. Veneers are tooth-colored shells that are bonded to the front of teeth to improve the appearance of the patient’s smile. Veneers are also important to help protect the tooth from future damage and decay.

Dental Bridges

Many dental patients experience cosmetic issues due to missing teeth. This is a common occurrence. The American Dental Association reports that average adults between 20 and 64 years old have three decayed or missing teeth. When you are missing one or more teeth, dental bridges are often a great solution, with artificial teeth bonded to the surrounding teeth like a “bridge” to fill the gap. The dental bridge helps not only the appearance of your smile, but also helps ensure proper tooth alignment.

In addition to these most common procedures, we offer a host of other procedures, including teeth whitening and orthodontic work, that can help improve your smile.

Our team at River Valley Smiles is here to help you ensure you can show off those pearly whites with confidence. Schedule an appointment today to consult with our team of professionals and discuss your cosmetic dental concerns.

Toothbrush Care

Posted by on Jan 24, 2018 in Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Hygiene | 0 comments

You work hard to take care of your teeth, visiting River Valley Smiles regularly for cleanings and by practicing solid dental hygiene habits by brushing and flossing regularly. In order to make sure your toothbrush is also working hard for you and is not hindering your overall health, it is important to know when and how to clean and replace your toothbrush, as well as how to properly store it.

Replace: The National Dental Association recommends that you replace your toothbrush every three months (or more often if the bristles show signs of fraying). It can be helpful to keep your cabinet stocked with extra toothbrushes so that you can easily replace your toothbrush (and your family members’ toothbrushes) at the three-month mark or whenever needed.

Disinfect: A breeding ground for millions of bacteria, it is important for optimal health to keep your toothbrush disinfected in between new toothbrushes. This is especially important during the winter months when cold and flu season is in full force.  Be sure to clean your toothbrush thoroughly at least once per week. We’d also recommend to disinfect your toothbrush anytime you are ill or fighting a cold.

Here are several effective methods for cleaning your toothbrush to keep it disinfected:

-Soak your toothbrush in an antibacterial mouthwash, such as Listerine, at least once per week. Rinse thoroughly before using again. Not only does this method keep your toothbrush clean, it gives it a fresh flavor.

-Hydrogen Peroxide is also a great disinfectant. Soak your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide as often as every day in between uses, rinsing it well before brushing your teeth. Refresh the hydrogen peroxide after each use.

-Rubbing alcohol is also an effective sanitizer. Soak your toothbrush for at least five minutes, and then rinse thoroughly before use.

-Dip your toothbrush in boiling water for 5-10 seconds. This will kill off any germs or bacteria breeding on your brush.

-UV (ultraviolet light) toothbrush sanitizers are also effective in keeping toothbrushes disinfected in between brushing sessions. Although they can be costly, you may find that it is worth the investment!

Regardless of what method you use, you should also be rinsing your toothbrush thoroughly with water every time you use it to keep germs and bacteria at bay.

Storage: Proper storage is also important. After using/disinfecting, do not set your wet toothbrush back down in a cabinet or drawer where bacteria can collect. Be sure to store it in an upright container where it is able to dry out properly. A hygienic cap or container can be used to help keep it clean and protected, but you want to ensure it is not air sealed to prevent the growth of bacteria.

These preventative techniques will help keep your toothbrush in top shape so that it does not hinder your overall health and accomplishes the task for which it is made: to keep your teeth and mouth healthy!