Facing Your Dental Fears

Posted by on Nov 21, 2017 in Community Outreach, Cosmetic Dentistry, Oral Surgery | 0 comments

It is quite common to face a bit of apprehension before visiting the dentist due to past experiences, fear of pain, fear of the unknown, or simply embarrassment over the state of your teeth. In fact, up to 20% of the population experiences dental anxiety at some level, with up to 8% so fearful that that they avoid the dentist altogether.

We want to help ensure that your dental fears do not hinder your long term dental health. Here are a few strategies to help you or others in your family overcome their fear of coming in to visit us and get back in the dental chair!

Schedule Morning Appointments

Schedule your dental visits for early in the day. This will keep you from dwelling on your pending appointment all day, which may allow for anxiety to build up. Get it done first thing in the morning before you can think about it too long.

Bring a Distraction

You may find that bringing a set of headphones for listening to music or an audiobook during your procedure may help distract you and allow you to relax during your visit. Or, immediately before your visit, divert yourself with a book or video clip to get your mind off of your procedure to keep your anxiety low.

Bring a Buddy

Have a friend, spouse, or other family member accompany you on your next visit to our office. Sometimes simply the reassurance of a familiar person in your life provides a much-needed extra layer of support to help you face your fears.

If you experience levels of anxiety that may hinder your dental care and are not resolved on your own, please call our office ahead of time or talk with our team about your fears. Our staff will help you address these anxieties and provide a plan to ensure you are comfortable with each step of your visit by:

-Clearly communicating with you what is happening and what will happen next. This will help you rest easy knowing that you will be aware of the next step before it happens.

-Utilize anesthesia options that are best for you and your pain tolerance level.

-Create a signal to identify when you have an issue or need a break, such as a hand raise or other motion.

Our dental team here at River Valley Smiles is here to facilitate the best experience during your treatment. We want to ensure you receive the best care for your oral health and that in the process you remain calm, relaxed, and at ease.

Oral Healthcare + Pregnancy

Posted by on Nov 15, 2017 in Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Hygiene | 0 comments

When you are pregnant, dental care is probably the last thing on your mind. Yet, taking care of your dental health is especially important during pregnancy due to an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Pregnant women are more susceptible to gum disease and tooth decay for these main reasons:

1 – Hormonal Shifts: Due to changing hormone levels, bacteria growth is more likely in the gums and mouth during pregnancy. High levels of bacteria increase the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

2 – Acid Development: Nausea and vomiting, which is often prevalent during pregnancy, increases the levels of acid within the mouth, breaking down tooth enamel more rapidly.

3 – Pregnancy Dry Mouth: Dry mouth caused by pregnancy can increase risk of tooth decay, as saliva fights bacteria in the mouth.

Due to these factors, it is more important than ever to take excellent care of your teeth to ensure optimal oral health. Here are some tips to help you take care of your teeth (and your baby’s teeth) during pregnancy:

Practice Good Oral Hygiene Habits at HomeBe sure to continue to brush and floss your teeth daily. Be extra vigilant about your flossing routine to minimize bacteria.

Focus on raw fruits and vegetables, as well as protein-rich snacks: Not only will this add high levels of nutrition to your diet, but also it will minimize sugar exposure to your teeth.

Battle Dry Mouth: Drink plenty of water and suck on sugar-free lozenges (or chew sugar-free gum) to increase saliva production.

Neutralize Acids after Nausea: Neutralize acids in your mouth after vomiting by rinsing with a baking soda rinse (one teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water). This will minimize the deteriorating effects of acids caused by vomiting.

Keep your Dental Appointments: Especially after the first trimester, routine dental care and dental work (including cleanings and fillings) during pregnancy is safe and essential for you and for the health of your teeth. Let our dental team know that you are pregnant so you can avoid any unnecessary/routine X-Rays during pregnancy.

By maintaining a proper oral care regimen while pregnant, you can help minimize any risk factors and ensure healthy teeth and gums well beyond these nine months.

The Benefits of Dental Implants

Posted by on Nov 8, 2017 in Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Hygiene, Dentures | 0 comments

There are many reasons that one should consider getting dental implants. They can help if you are suffering from just a single missing tooth, or if you don’t have any of your natural teeth left. Not only would you be able to eat the foods you may be missing out on now, but you can also show off your smile with confidence again. If you have been considering going through and getting dental implants, look over these benefits and see which of them would help you the most!

Perks of Getting Dental Implants

After you lose a tooth, the jaw where the tooth once stood begins to deteriorate because it does not have the right kind of stimulation to keep the bone strong. Dentures or a bridge simply sits on top of the gum, providing minimal stimulation to keep the jaw bone intact. Dental implants are placed into the jawbone, giving the exact same type of stimulation to the bone that your natural tooth once did, helping your jaw to remain strong and healthy.

Smiling is something that may have been difficult if you have been hiding a missing tooth, or set of teeth. Many people who have a tooth missing are embarrassed, and they tend to hide their smiles. Getting dental implants gives you the ability to be confident when you show off your smile to the world, which can boost your overall self-esteem as well!

One of the lesser-known benefits of getting dental implants, especially if you have most or all of your natural teeth missing, is the more youthful appearance dental implants provide. Your jaw sinks in when you lose teeth or have only dentures, giving the entire face an aged and sunken look. Dental implants give you the stronger jawline that you once had, and fills out your face, allowing you to look younger than you did without your implants.

Dental implants can give you a lot of benefits, both in how you look and how your mouth functions. The more you can use your mouth like normal, the better off you are going to be overall. You can feel safe and secure, knowing your teeth are not going to slide around like they would with dentures, and you can eat all of the foods you have always loved. Give yourself the gift of confidence and get the process started for dental implants today!

Flossing 101

Posted by on Nov 1, 2017 in Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Hygiene | 0 comments

Flossing your teeth as part of a daily teeth cleaning regimen is important and necessary for long term oral health. Flossing has many benefits, but primarily accomplishes two main objectives: to remove plaque and food particles left behind by brushing and also to keep bacteria from forming in gum pockets around our teeth. In addition, flossing gives our teeth a much smoother, cleaner feeling and helps to stimulate and keep our gums healthy.

We all want a healthy mouth! Flossing is an inexpensive and relatively simple regimen that can make a long-term difference in our oral health. It is important, however, to ensure you are flossing correctly and effectively.

How to Floss Effectively

– When flossing, use approximately 18 inches or more of floss for each session. Don’t be stingy with the floss!

– Wrap the ends of the floss around your forefingers. Leave 1-2 inches of floss in between your fingers. Use your thumbs to direct this portion of floss in between each individual tooth.

– Slide the floss gently between each tooth in an up and down motion against each tooth.

– As you pull the floss between your teeth, be sure to gently wrap around the top of the tooth under the gum line in a c-shape to properly clean around the entire tooth. Wrap in each direction around both teeth individually at the gum line. This frequently missed step is critical when flossing, as it disrupts bacteria that can form under the gum line of the tooth.

– Use a new section of floss from one tooth to the next to minimize the spread of bacteria.

– If there is a tight section between your teeth, use a back and forth motion to gently ease the floss in or out of the opening to avoid damaging gum tissue. If you consistently struggle with fitting the floss in between your teeth, you may also want to try a different type of floss to access these areas more easily.

– Rinse and brush your teeth after flossing.

Developing an effective flossing regimen is as simple as picking up your floss, following these basic guidelines, and staying consistent. If flossing is a new habit for you, you may find that your gums initially bleed due to inflammation. This should subside within a week or two of regular, gentle flossing as the area is cleared. Be sure to let our office know, however, if you continue to experience bleeding gums.

The benefits of regular flossing are well worth the time and dedication you invest in your oral health. When you correctly floss daily, you will significantly reduce your susceptibility to plaque buildup and bacteria that can lead to gum disease and tooth decay in the long run.

What Foods Stain Your Teeth?

Posted by on Oct 25, 2017 in Cosmetic Dentistry | 0 comments

Do you love the feeling of freshly professionally cleaned teeth? The smooth feeling and shiny look are something to be adored, but unfortunately, they do not last for long. As soon as you start eating, bacteria begins accumulating on your teeth, giving you the unpleasant stains that you just eliminated. The good news is with proper oral health care habits and the avoidance of excessive consumption of certain foods, you can minimize the amount of food stains that your teeth experience. Proper oral hygiene habits simply mean drinking plenty of water with every meal/snack, brushing twice a day, and flossing at least once.

Food and Drinks to Avoid

There are certain foods that stain your teeth when consumed in excess. This does not mean that you cannot consume these foods at all; it just means to keep them to a minimum to avoid stained teeth:

  • Tea – Black tea is actually harder on the surface of your teeth than coffee due to the tannins in it. If you are a tea drinker, opt for green or white tea to limit the amount of staining you experience.
  • Wine – Red and white wines are both known to stain teeth, even though red wines typically get the bad rap for it. Studies have even shown that people that consume tea and white wine are even more at risk for stains on their teeth.
  • Dark colored berries – There are numerous berries that while good for your health with the extraordinary amounts of antioxidants, are hard on your teeth. Blueberries, raspberries, and pomegranates are among the most common reasons for stained teeth.
  • Carbonated beverages – Any type of soda, whether dark or light colored can stain your teeth due to the carbonation in these drinks. Experts have equated carbonation with battery acid, so you can imagine what those bubbles are doing to your enamel.
  • Candy with large amounts of dye – Candy is never a good choice to consume for good oral health, but those candies with excessive colors (the type that turn your tongue colors) can also stain your teeth if consumed in excessive amounts.

If you do consume any of the above food or drinks, it is important to do it right. The most important tip is to drink a glass of water after consumption of any of these items, taking the time to swish it around your mouth for a few seconds to remove the stain producing ingredients that are on your teeth. Of course, the best course of action is to avoid these foods/drinks all together and to maintain proper oral health habits to keep your pearly whites.