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A Chipped Tooth

Posted by on Sep 20, 2017 in Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Hygiene | 0 comments

After chipping a tooth, you may be tempted to skip getting it looked at. “After all,” you may think, “it’s a long trip to the dentist’s office, and besides my tooth feels just fine. It will keep until the next time I have a normal cleaning appointment.”

Such an approach can be quite problematic, however. A chipped tooth should always be checked out by a dentist as soon as possible. Neglecting to do this can lead to even more problems down the road.

Here at River Valley Smiles, we care about our patients, and we want you to know why it is that you should have your chipped tooth inspected as soon as possible. After reading this, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

A Chipped Tooth Can Lead to Further Tooth Damage

This is probably not a surprise to you, but a tooth that has been damaged is more susceptible to further damage until it has been repaired. Your tooth is covered with an extremely hard and durable material called enamel. When that enamel is damaged, the softer tissue underneath can become exposed. This softer tissue is much more susceptible to damage than the enamel is.

So, if you have a tooth that has a chip in it, you don’t want to continue using it if the enamel has been exposed. It’s best to get it checked out right away.

A Chipped Tooth Can Lead to Other Health Issues

What you may not know is that a chipped tooth can create problems elsewhere in your body. This is because if the pulp of the tooth gets exposed, it could become infected. This, in turn, can lead to an elevated level of bacteria and toxins circulating in your bloodstream, increasing your chances of infection elsewhere in the body.

This means that a damaged tooth—even if it does not hurt—can actually increase your likelihood of problems in another part of the body. With this in mind, it’s best to get it looked at immediately.

We Are Here to Help!

Here at River Valley Smiles, your health is important to us! If you have damaged a tooth—even if you think it’s just a small chip—please come see us right away. We can inspect it and let you know if it is just something superficial that can wait, or something serious that needs to be addressed right away.

Mouthwash That Contains Alcohol

Posted by on Sep 13, 2017 in Dental Hygiene | 0 comments

Using a good mouthwash after you brush and floss is a great way to cap off your oral hygiene routine. Mouthwash gets in the crevices you may have missed with your toothbrush, and helps kill the bacteria that cause bad breath, plaque, and other issues.

That being said, not all mouthwashes are created equal. Just stroll through the pharmacy section of your local department or grocery store, and you’ll see dozens of different mouthwashes, each with its own (somewhat) unique spin on the basic product.

Some mouthwashes contain alcohol. The idea is that alcohol kills germs; germs in the mouth cause problems; therefore, mouthwash with alcohol is a good thing. However, although this may sound good in theory, the reality is that this is not such a good idea.

Alcohol Can Have Damaging Effects on Your Mouth

Alcohol does a number of things, and most of them are not what you want to happen in your mouth. First, it can cause a burning sensation in the mouth—essentially, this is a sign of the irritation of the mucous tissues. Further, the alcohol can dry out these tissues, leading to tissue damage and bad breath (one way that the body combats halitosis is by circulating saliva to wash away odor-causing bacteria).

Alcohol can actually kill the sensitive cells in your gum and cheek tissues. These cells then slough off, becoming food for the bacteria that cause bad breath. Ironically, in this way, using mouthwash with alcohol in it can actually increase the bad breath it is intended to fight.

Finally, alcohol can damage the resin technology that has been used in affixing any dental work—such as veneers or bonding—to your teeth. This means that the alcohol in the mouthwash can damage your dental work and eventually contribute to it detaching from the tooth.

Questions? We Have Answers!

All this talk about what is and is not good for your teeth and mouth can be a bit much. Here at River Valley Smiles, we take pride in being accessible to our patients. If you have any questions about which mouthwash to use—or anything else related to your oral health—please feel free to give us a call, or bring it up at your next regularly scheduled cleaning appointment.

We’re here to help you, and we want you to make the best choices for your oral health.

Your Next Appointment with Us

Posted by on Sep 6, 2017 in Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Hygiene | 0 comments

A big part of our relationships with our patients is the fact that we regularly engage in education. At River Valley Smiles, we want you, our patient, to feel completely confident in your lifestyle choices that will affect your dental health. To get you there, we know you need to be educated about various things relating to your dental health.

With that in mind, here are some of the common questions we see. As the answers to these questions can vary depending on each patient’s circumstances, we recommend that you bring them up the next time we see you.

What Can I Do to Whiten My Teeth?

It’s just a fact of life that, as the years pass, many people begin to see a discoloration in their teeth. This can be due to things such as drinking coffee or tea, smoking, eating foods with strong pigments in them, or drinking red wine. Of course, other factors come into play as well, and these factors can vary from person to person.

Having said that, there are definitely ways to help you achieve a whiter, brighter smile. From at-home bleaching treatments that we can help you with to in-office whitening sessions, all the way to the use of veneers, we can help. Ask us about your smile the next time you see us, and we’ll be happy to discuss your options with you.

Why Do I Experience Sensitivity to Heat and Cold?

Tooth sensitivity is something that many of our patients experience. It can be due to any number of situations, so we would definitely need to take a look at your mouth before we could answer definitively.

That being said, common things that can result in sensitivity include gum recession, bruxism (grinding your teeth in your sleep), certain orthodontic procedures you may have had, or a tooth that has been damaged (such as a chipped or cracked tooth).

When you come see us, definitely let us know if you are experiencing sensitivity to temperature. We can take a good look and help you determine what, exactly, is the problem—and what can be done to remedy the situation.

At River Valley Smiles, We Are Here for You!

Perhaps you have some other question to ask. Or perhaps you’re just not sure exactly what you should be asking about. Regardless of the situation, we’re here to help. Come see us, and let us help you discover the path to better oral health.

White Spots on Your Teeth?

Posted by on Aug 30, 2017 in Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Hygiene | 0 comments

White spots on your teeth can be caused by a few different things. Some of the causes warrant immediate attention, while others are relatively harmless.

At River Valley Smiles, we work hard to protect the health of our patients. We want you to know what may be causing the white spots so you can decide whether it warrants a closer inspection right away, or if it’s something you can just bring at your next regular cleaning.

Have You Had the Spots Since Childhood?

If you have had white spots on your teeth since you were a child, they are likely caused by one of two things. The first thing that could be causing them is a condition called “enamel hypoplasia.” Essentially, this condition is caused when there is something that causes the enamel formation to be disrupted as the tooth is being formed.

Another common cause of white spots that have been there since childhood is hyperfluorosis. These are white spots caused by swallowing too much fluoride when the teeth are being formed.

Both of the above conditions are relatively harmless. Nevertheless, you should bring it up the next time you see us. We’ll be happy to talk with you about your options.

Are the Spots New?

White spots on the teeth that appear during adulthood are rarely caused by the above conditions. They can be indicative of the initial stages of a cavity or tooth decay. Or, they could be deposits of plaque or tartar that need to be removed.

If you have developed white spots as an adult, you should come see us right away. We will need to take a close look at your teeth to determine the source of the spots, and to figure out what we can do in order to treat the condition.

We Work Hard to Protect Your Oral Health

At River Valley Smiles, we are proud of our reputation and high patient satisfaction. We want you to know that we will give you every bit as much attention and professional care as we have given to our legions of happy patients.

If you are experiencing white spots on your teeth, come see us. We can help determine the cause and—more importantly—determine what, exactly, can be done to remedy the situation. So give us a call, or send us an email, and set up an appointment. We look forward to working with you!

Brushing Teeth Mistakes

Posted by on Aug 23, 2017 in Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Hygiene | 0 comments

You know that brushing your teeth at least twice a day is imperative to good oral health. And you probably know that using a good toothbrush is almost as important as the act of brushing itself. But did you know that there are a number of very common mistakes that many people make when brushing their teeth? These mistakes can limit the effectiveness of brushing, leading to tooth decay, gum disease, and other problems.

Here at River Valley Smiles, we want our patients to be educated as to the proper way to engage in oral hygiene practices. So we’ve put together a short list of common mistakes, and what you can do to avoid them.

Short-changing the Time

While most adults know they should brush for two minutes, very few of them do. Here’s the thing, though: most of them actually believe they are brushing for the full time. It just seems like two minutes have gone by, when in reality most adults brush for around 45 seconds.

The best way to address this is to set a timer for two minutes, or glance at the clock before you begin. If you use the latter method, it’s best to shoot for three minutes to be sure you’re actually getting the full two minutes.

Using the Wrong Angle

The head of the toothbrush should be angled slightly up (or down) towards the gum line. This helps the bristles to get all the way down to the surface of the tooth. Unfortunately, far too many people hold the toothbrush in such a way as to meet the tooth at a 90-degree angle (you should be using a 45-degree angle).

Using Too Much Pressure

Most people think that when it comes to brushing, harder is better. After all, when you scrub dishes, you get the dirt off by applying pressure, right? The thing is, this is wrong. Brushing your teeth too hard can actually lead to tooth and gum damage. While you can scrub the chewing surfaces as hard as you wish to, on the sides of the teeth you should be delicate. Ease off on the pressure just a bit—you’ll still notice your teeth have that smooth, clean feeling, and you’ll be saving yourself trouble down the road.

Questions? Ask Us!

We want to be sure you know exactly what you should—and should not—be doing when you brush. If you have any questions about your tooth brushing technique, please make sure to bring it up the next time you come see us.