• 24 MAY 18
    • 0

    All Whitening Programs Are Not Created Equal

    If you feel like your smile isn’t as “picture-perfect” as you would like it to be there are several options to enhance the whiteness of your teeth. Brushing and flossing daily are the easiest ways, and routine cleanings and check-ups are also important. But to keep one’s smile white you must be careful of what you eat and drink. And if all that brushing and flossing can’t eliminate all those stubborn stains and yellowing on your teeth, then whitening is a definite route to a great smile.

    Personal Care Dentistry offers an effective and affordable whitening program that includes custom-made and fitted bleach trays and clinical strength gel bleach that you cannot get over the counter.

    Whitening programs available from your dentist are superior to the over-the-counter ones available in many retail stores. While the over-the-counter kits may be cheaper, they are not as effective and can also be harmful to your gum line (from the bleach), aggravate existing dental problems (again from the bleach), produce spotted or weak results and damage your tooth enamel.

    So once you decide to have your teeth whitened at a dental office, what happens? During the first visit, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth after making sure your teeth are free of plaque and tarter. From this impression a custom mouth tray is made specifically for your mouth to fit like a glove. This ensures that each surface of the tooth gets bleached properly. On your second visit your dentist will show you how to apply the gel to the bleaching trays and place it into your mouth.

    The amount of time you must wear your bleaching trays depends on how badly your teeth are stained, as well as the concentration of the bleaching gel used. You will also need to decide if you want to use both trays – one for your top teeth, the other one for your bottom set of teeth – to whiten your smile. This process can vary from a few minutes to a few hours. It is recommended that you whiten two weeks for 30 minutes a day for optimal results. Tooth sensitivity may occur but Personal Care Dentistry provides patients with alternative bleach for those with sensitivity issues.

    The whitening program offered by Personal Care Dentistry can last anywhere from a few months to a few years and the degree of whitening changes from one person to another. This in part depends on the original condition of your teeth, specifically how stained they were, as well as the strength of the bleaching gel used. Also, in large part it depends on your eating, drinking and smoking habits, as no teeth whitening solution will result in a permanent color change of your teeth and it won’t prevent future staining.

    Contact Personal Care Dentistry today and ask how you can get started. Whitening your smile can take years off your teeth and make you look and feel younger. Bleaching your teeth is an easy and affordable way to boost your confidence and start smiling again!

    In the meantime follow these simple steps to avoid stains:

    Use a whitening toothpaste

    Brush and floss daily

    Avoid drinking coffee, red wine, tea and sports drinks

    Avoid eating berries, sweets and deep colored sauces

    Don’t smoke

    Use a straw with cold beverages

    Swallow promptly when consuming stain-causing foods and beverages

    If you do consume food and drink that may stain your teeth, keep a glass of plain water handy and take a drink between sips or bites of the stain-producing food or beverage you are consuming


    • 23 MAY 18
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    “Patients Say Everyone Is So Nice Here and They Feel Comforted and Truly Cared For”

    When Krista Dirksen walked into Personal Care Dentistry in 2014 for a job interview for a part-time dental hygienist position, she knew pretty quickly that this was “the” dental clinic for her. “I was interviewing for a part-time job to take over for a hygienist who was on maternity leave, but I felt really at home almost immediately. After a second stint as a fill-in for someone else on maternity leave, they couldn’t get rid of me! Now I’m here five days a week and I love it!”

    Krista is the Hygiene Assistant Team Leader at Personal Care Dentistry, working with Team Lead Kari Olson in her role. She first learned about Personal Care Dentistry through a classmate from dental hygiene school – Jenna Lind who had previously joined the practice.  They both went to Argosy University, where Krista earned an AAS degree. “I originally went to Normandale Community College to get my general education credits completed before transferring to a four-year school and getting a nursing degree or a psychology degree so I could work with kids. But in the back of my mind was also the idea of becoming a dental hygienist. I had been involved in a bad car accident in high school and I had to have a lot of dental work done. The dentist who did a lot of reconstructive work on my mouth asked me what I wanted to do for a career and I said I was thinking of becoming a nurse. He said I should become a dental hygienist because the hours were better and it was a lot less stressful.”

    Krista grew up in Burnsville and worked a variety of retail jobs when she was in high school and college. “It was a pretty diverse retail career – I worked in a prom dress store at the Mall of America for awhile before working at Home Depot in the flooring department. Plus I worked in an office job for an insurance company. I got to meet all kinds of people from all walks of life and that gave me a good foundation for being a dental hygienist – I can feel at ease with any patient no matter what their situation or background. That really helps with new patients when they have their first appointment here.”

    Dr. Walter Hunt’s Golden Rule of Dentistry resonated with Krista when she first started working at Personal Care Dentistry. “I was so impressed at how Dr. Hunt placed so much importance on the doctor-patient relationship and how we needed to treat every patient with the highest level of respect.”

    What impressed Kari even more was that the conversations she had with patients mirrored what she had heard from Dr. Hunt, who founded the practice in 1977. “Patients say everyone is so nice here and they feel comforted and truly cared for. Lots of patients have told me that they don’t like going to the dentist but they like coming here.”

    Krista has found a very supportive team environment at Personal Care Dentistry. “The first week I was here, Kari (Hygiene Team Leader) told me that you can ask anyone for help and they will be there for you. I found that to be very true. It’s the most cohesive office I have ever worked in.”

    Krista lives in Apple Valley with her husband Andy and their two dogs Ralphie (a terrier) and Veronica (a pug) who she describes as “a couple of real characters”. She and Andy enjoy softball, watching movies, and traveling when they have the time (and funds). She volunteers with the Big Brother program and at a free public clinic in Burnsville.

    “It’s a long drive from Apple Valley to Roseville every day, but it is worth the drive because of the work I get to do with our patients and the people I get to worth with.”


    • 17 MAY 18
    • 0

    Does Brushing Cause Your Gums to Bleed?

    If your gums bleed regularly when you brush, you may have the early stages of periodontal disease. If you do, you’ll be joining tens of millions of Americans who have some form of periodontal disease. And it’s a disease you don’t want in your mouth because it can eventually lead to major damage to soft tissue and bone or tooth loss.

    In it’s most mild form, periodontal disease produces inflammation in the gum tissue. This is called gingivitis. Look for red and swollen gums that may bleed easily. It especially likes mouths that only see a toothbrush or floss once in awhile. Additional factors include diabetes, use of certain medications, hormonal changes in women, other illnesses, and genetic susceptibility. At this stage, gingivitis is not resulting in bone or tissue loss.

    However, if you leave gingivitis untreated, then the odds are good that you will be headed toward periodontitis. At this point, the inflammation has moved from just being in your gums to being around your teeth. As gum tissue retracts from around the teeth, pockets are formed and infection moves into them. This can lead to the destruction of gums, teeth and bone.

    But you can prevent it from progressing to bone or tooth loss by following a set of simple tips. Remember, good oral health is more than fighting bad breath and having clean teeth. It is a reflection of your self esteem and how you take care of the rest of your body. Get a jumpstart on prevention and keep yourself looking and feeling young and healthy!

    Prevent periodontal disease by implementing the following habits:

    Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste

    Floss regularly to remove plaque from between the teeth

    Visit your dentist regularly for your routine check-up and cleaning

    Don’t smoke

    If you follow those simple tips, the odds are good that you will have healthy gums, happy teeth and a winning smile. And periodontal disease won’t be a problem for you and your mouth.

    Source: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

    • 17 MAY 18
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    “I Really Enjoy Getting to Know Our New Patients”

    Becky Carver | New Patient Advocate

    Becky Carver’s opportunity to learn and grow in her work career was a big motivator when she took a Patient Coordinator position at Personal Care Dentistry in August 2014. She was looking for a health care setting where she could make a difference and work with people that she liked and respected. Little did she know that all of those areas of her job would be realized within just a couple of years.

    “I had worked as a veterinary technician for more than a decade, and I loved it before I had kids but I got burned out after all those years. I love dogs and cats, but I loved the medical science part of the job as much. Eventually, I decided that I needed to find a new career in health care – but this time with people. I answered an ad for a Patient Coordinator at Personal Care Dentistry and when I interviewed with Brandy (Personal Care Dentistry’s Financial and Treatment Plan Coordinator) at the clinic I remember thinking ‘this is a place where I feel like I could grow and I really like that it is a private practice’.”

    Becky got the job, and she worked as the Patient Coordinator with a lot of patient insurance coverage and spent a lot of time on the phone with insurance companies. She also worked extensively with patient treatment plans.

    In April 2018, Becky was named Personal Care Dentistry’s New Patient Advocate. She is the face and voice of Personal Care Dentistry when new patients walk in the door for their first appointment. She provides each new patient with an extensive tour of the clinic’s 8,000 square feet of state-of-the-art facilities, then sits down with each patient to initially assess what are their oral health care needs. Once they have been guided to either the hygiene team or the dental group for a chairside evaluation and/or treatment, she visits again with the patient to review their proposed treatment plan and insurance coverage. She also follows up with the patient after their first visit to find out how they are doing.

    “I really enjoy getting to know our new patients and helping them not be nervous about their dental care. I get it when they are nervous because I’ve had a lot of dental work over the years. Plus I love to explain their insurance and see that ‘light bulb” go off when they understand their insurance.”

    One of the main guiding principles of Personal Care Dentistry is that all patients should be treated the same way that the dental care team would want to be treated if they were patients – with compassion, dignity, and excellence. “I really believe in that approach and I think patients should expect it. We really do follow the Golden Rule here, and everyone on our team truly cares about our patients as people.”

    Becky notes that Personal Care Dentistry is a busy office that provides plenty of challenges every day. “But it’s also extremely rewarding and a really fun place to work. We have an amazing staff here.”

    Becky and her husband Bob live in Maplewood, which is where she grew up in the Twin Cities. They have three kids and are “busy, busy, busy” with their kids’ activities. Her husband is a mechanic who owns his own shop, and her son has also become a mechanic. The family loves to go camping up north when they have the time.

    • 09 MAY 18
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    3 Simple Tips to Minimize the Impact of Teeth-Staining Foods

    If you value keeping your smile bright and white, then it’s critical to understand how to minimize the teeth-staining impact of seven key foods and beverages. In this blog, we’ve got a set of simple tips you can use to fight for your smile.

    What food are most likely to stain your teeth? It’s pretty simple, really. If the food or beverage is intensely colored (i.e. reds and blacks and purples) then your bright whites will be challenged to not become stained.

    There are three main reasons why these types of foods and beverages are so tough on white teeth. Chromogens are the first culprit – they are intensely pigmented molecules that likes to stick to dental enamel. The second culprit is acid, which erodes the dental enamel and promotes staining. It’s contained in a lot of the top 7 teeth-staining foods and beverages. The final culprit is tannins, a family of food compounds that boost chromogens’ enamel-attaching ability.

    The Terrible 7 (For Your Teeth)

    Wines – especially red. Red wine, an acidic beverage that contains chromogens and tannins, is notorious for staining teeth. But white wine, too, promotes staining. In fact, a research study found that teeth exposed to tea were stained more severely if they previously had been exposed to white wine.

    Black teas. The ordinary black tea most people drink is rich in stain-promoting tannins. It’s actually a bigger stainer than coffee, which is chromogen-rich but low in tannins. Herbal, green, and white teas are less likely to stain than black tea.

    Sodas. Acidic and chromogen-rich, dark sodas like cola can cause significant staining. But even light-colored soft drinks are sufficiently acidic to promote staining of teeth by other foods and beverages. According to leading experts, carbonated beverages have similar acidity to battery acid.

    Sports drinks. Research has found that highly acidic sports drinks can soften tooth enamel — setting the stage for staining.

    Dark sauces. Soy sauce, tomato sauce, curry sauce, and other deeply colored sauces are believed to have significant staining potential.

    Most berries. Blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, cherries, grapes, pomegranates, and other intensely colored fruits (and juices, pies, and other foods and beverages made from them) can cause stains.

    Candy and sweets. Hard candies, chewing gum, popsicles, and other sweets often contain teeth-staining coloring agents. If your tongue turns a funny color, there’s a good chance that your teeth will be affected, too.

    The Terrific Three

    Following the Terrific Three tips will allow you to reduce the impact the Terrible 7 have on your teeth without having to give up these items if you enjoy them. Plus, many of the foods and beverages that stain teeth are loaded with antioxidants, which, of course, have key health benefits. So if you’re worried about stained teeth, you might want to cut back on these foods and beverages rather than cut them out entirely. Here are several suggestions:

    Use a straw. Sipping beverages through a straw is believed to help keep teeth-staining beverages away from the teeth — the front teeth, in particular. No, you’re probably not eager to use a straw for coffee or wine. But it shouldn’t be too much trouble to use a straw for cola, juices, and iced tea.

    Swallow promptly. Swallowing stain-causing foods and beverages quickly is also believed to help protect teeth from stains. Obviously, don’t gulp and be sure to chew your food and savor flavors — but not for too long.

    Swish with water. It’s not always convenient to brush your teeth after having something to eat or drink. Even when it is, it might be better not to: dental enamel is highly vulnerable to abrasion from tooth brushing for up to 30 minutes after the consumption of an acidic food or beverage. So it’s safer simply to swish with water — and brush later, once the enamel has had a chance to re-harden.

    And don’t forget the importance of brushing and flossing daily and be sure to see a dentist periodically — and to avoid smoking or chewing tobacco. These long-term strategies, combined with the simple tips we’ve mentioned, should keep you smiling for years to come.

    Source: WebMD and Personal Care Dentistry

    • 02 MAY 18
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    “Patients Understand That We Actually Value Them”

    For Dionne Zaspel, the path to becoming a dental assistant was long and winding. But once she got there, she realized how much she enjoyed her new career. And when she was hired in March 2015 at Personal Care Dentistry, she felt blessed that she had found such a great care team to join. The clinic felt that same way, as she is now the Assistant Dental Assisting Team Leader.

     “I worked full time as a bar tender for many years, and I really enjoyed the people I met and the hours, but at a certain point I decided that I really needed something else as a career,” says Dionne. “I initially thought about becoming a nurse and working in a hospital, and I did get a job at St. Joseph’s in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), but I pretty quickly realized that I wasn’t cut out for that field. I considered radiology after that, but eventually settled on becoming a dental assistant because I felt like I could make patients feel happier and more comfortable as a dental assistant. I was so happy I chose that path.”

    Dionne initially worked part-time at several dental clinics in the White Bear Lake area, but didn’t feel like their approach was a real match for her goals as a dental assistant. She answered an ad for a dental assistant at Personal Care Dentistry and when she came in for the interview she was struck by how beautiful the office was and how comfortable it felt. “It didn’t feel sterile like a lot of dental offices, and when I interviewed with Tiffanie (Apple, the Dental Assisting Team Leader), I thought ‘This must be a great place to work’ because she was so happy and upbeat.”

    Tiffanie was right, says Dionne. “This is a really busy office, but it is exactly like I thought it would be when I interviewed here. Everyone is always nice and helpful and I feel like the team I work with – dental assistants, dentists, hygienists and the front office staff – are all really sincere about caring for their patients. I work with people who are smart, kind and helpful. It is really fun to be here!”

    Dionne’s top goal with patients is to educate them and inform them about their care. “I really try to help the patient to understand their treatment plan and what we are doing and why. Patients understand that we actually value them.”

    Dionne lives with her husband Mike and their two dogs and a cat. In her spare time, she loves to cook for her husband Mike and their friends in. “I love to feed people, especially Italian food. I can my own tomatoes and make meatballs from scratch and just serve a lot of love in my kitchen.” When she isn’t cooking, Dionne loves to fish (“I would fish every day if I could retire tomorrow”), refinish furniture, and can beets and pickles, make jellies, and put together gift baskets.

    • 24 APR 18
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    What To Do in a Dental Emergency

    If you’ve ever had a tooth knocked loose or knocked out you know what a terrifying and helpless feeling it can be. Will you permanently lose the tooth? Can it be fixed? Will you have to have oral surgery? Those are all questions that will probably be bouncing around in your head. But instead of panicking, follow the steps detailed below in a dental emergency and your chances of a good outcome (saving vs. losing your tooth) will be improved.


    If You Have a Tooth Knocked Loose

    If you’ve had an accident and you’re holding your tooth after it’s been knocked out, then it’s a dental emergency that needs action right away! Follow these five steps and the odds of your dentist being able to actually reinsert and preserve your tooth are increased immensely.

    Pick up the tooth from its top (which is the crown) and be sure not to touch the root of the tooth (which is at the bottom).

    Very gently rinse the tooth off with warm water to ensure that it is clean. Do not scrub the tooth or remove any tissue attached to the tooth. Be sure to close the drain in your sink so you don’t accidentally lose your tooth down the drain.

    If possible, place the tooth (gently) back into the socket where it came from. Bite down while gently holding the tooth once you get it back in the socket.

    If you are unable to put your tooth back in the socket, then place the tooth in a small container of milk. Be sure not to use water.

    Give your dentist a call immediately to make an appointment to be seen as soon as possible. This will improve your chances of saving your tooth (if you have also followed the steps above). The longer you wait, the less chance of the tooth remaining viable to be re-implanted in the socket.

    If You Have a Tooth That Is Loose

    If you’ve had a tooth knocked loose or out of alignment, call your dentist immediately to get in for an appointment. Try to put the tooth back in its original position using your finger with minimal pressure (don’t try and force it). Bite down to keep the tooth from moving. Once you get in for your appointment, your dentist may want to splint the tooth to the adjacent teeth (the teeth on each side) to keep it stabilized.

    Your Dental Emergency Preparedness Kit

    You can never predict when you’re going to experience a dental emergency. You can, however, be prepared in case you do have to deal with one. If you are prepared (and avoid panicking) then the chance of saving your tooth goes up immensely. Here’s some recommended things to keep in a small dental first-aid kit. Keep one in your house in an easy-to-find location and one in your car or truck.

    Each kit should contain the following:

    Small container with a lid
    Name and phone number of your dentist
    Acetaminophen – not aspirin or ibuprofen because they can act as a blood thinner and cause excessive bleeding during a dental emergency

    Follow these tips and your odds of saving that lost or loose tooth will be much better. And you won’t have to worry about getting an expensive implant eventually to replace the tooth!

    Sources: MouthHealthy.org (ADA), YourDentistryGuide.com

    • 17 APR 18
    • 0

    Tips to Protect Your Smile As You Grow Older

    It’s amazing how tough our teeth are considering how much we use them on a daily basis. Combine that long-term use with the natural process of aging and it’s a wonder that we have any teeth left by the time we get into our 50’s.

    If you’re curious about what happens to your teeth as you grow older – and would like some tips on how to help your teeth stay strong – then this blog will be helpful.

    Stopping Acid Erosion 

    Food that is sugary and starchy is the top threat to your teeth’s health. Both sugar and starch are carbohydrates, which means that the bacteria already in your mouth ferment the carbs and produce acid. It is those acids that damage your tooth’s enamel by creating tiny pits where tooth decay can form.

    Tips for Healthy Teeth:

    • Cut down on the amount of sugary foods you eat. Especially avoid carbonated soft drinks and sports drinks (which are loaded with sugar).
    • Reduce the frequency of snacking, because it keeps the level of acid in your mouth at a high level over a long period of time.
    • Chew sugarless gum if you have a craving for a sweet treat. The gum increases the production of saliva, which washes away food debris in your mouth and neutralizes the acids.
    • Be sure to follow the 2×2+1 regimen – brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time and floss once daily. This will cut down on the levels of bacteria in your mouth.
    • Get in to your dentist’s office twice a year for hygiene visits – that will help reduce the plaque buildup on your teeth.

    Reducing Mechanical Wear and Tear

    Many people believe that their teeth become brittle as they age, which is not correct. However, if you bite down on a hard object (popcorn kernels, the pit of an olive), you risk cracking or chipping a tooth. If you have any fillings or root canals, those teeth are most at risk. So be extra careful when you bite down!

    A big cause of wear and tear on teeth is the habit of grinding or clenching your teeth (called bruxism). Often attributed to anxiety of stress, bruxism can wear down your teeth’s surfaces over time and make them more susceptible to decay.

    Tips for Healthy Teeth:

    • Don’t chew ice and avoid if possible other hard foods.
    • If the food you’re eating has a pit, make sure it has been removed or you might be in for a nasty surprise.
    • Schedule regular visits with your dentist. They will be able to spot broken or cracked fillings that will weaken your teeth. Plus your dentist can check for signs of bruxism and if needed suggest a mouth guard that you can pop in at night to stop grinding.

    Preventing Stains

    Dark colored beverages such as tea, coffee and red wine can stain your teeth. Cigarettes and chewing tobacco are also culprits when it comes to staining teeth. Those stains usually form where there is a build-up of plaque on your teeth, so be sure to have them removed when you go in for your every six month hygiene visit.

    Tips for Healthy Teeth:

    • The first one is simple – avoid dark colored beverages. If you can’t give up your coffee or tea, be sure to keep water handy and rinse your mouth out periodically while drinking your cup of java.
    • Get rid of plaque so stains can’t adhere to it – which means you need to brush your teeth regularly.
    • See your dental hygienist every six months. They will remove the plaque and tartar that you can’t reach with your toothbrush.

    Avoiding Gum Problems

    Gum disease is the most deadly threat to healthy teeth. The risk of gum problems increases with age, especially as pockets form at the gum line where bacteria can grow. Left untreated, bacterial infections can cause inflammation that damages connective tissue and even bone, leading to tooth loss.

    Tips for Healthy Teeth:.

    • Remove bacteria by brushing and flossing daily.
    • Use an antibacterial mouthwash for additional protection.
    • See you dentist twice a year and they can catch gum disease early in your mouth.
    • Gum disease creates inflammation, so eating foods that reduce inflammation can be helpful. This includes omega-3 fatty acids from sources such as fish, fish oil, and flaxseed.

    Preventing Dry Mouth

    Saliva reduces the risk of tooth decay and problems with your gums. Which means that dry mouth accelerates those problems. But because nearly 1,0000 drugs on the market cause dry mouth as a side effect, this is an issue that many people as they get older (and take more prescription drugs) will have to deal with.

    Tips for Healthy Teeth:

    • Talk to your doctor immediately if you notice that you are being affected by dry mouth.
    • Changing your prescription may help reduce the problem. If it doesn’t, your doctor may suggest chewing sugar-free gum. Gum increases saliva flow.
    • Saliva-like oral mouthwashes are also available.

    SOURCE: WebMD, American Dental Association


    • 03 APR 18
    • 0

    8 Tips to Help Your Child Stop Sucking Their Thumb and Avoid Oral Health Issues

    Sucking their thumb, fingers or a pacifier is a natural reflex for most children. It helps them fall asleep, calm down, or to just feel good. When they are babies, it is considered harmless in terms of a child’s growth and speech development.

    But how long should it go on? Should a child still be sucking their thumb or a pacifier when they are ready for preschool?

    Generally, a child who is in the 2- to 4-year range will start to develop other coping skills beyond thumb or finger sucking, such as language development. These coping skills replace the need for a child to suck on a thumb or finger. But for some kids, thumb sucking or finger sucking is harder to kick, which could lead to problems for their growing mouths. Recent research shows that thumb or finger sucking can have an impact even at a younger age – as young as 2 to 4 years old – on the mouth and the jaw.

    Remember, sucking their thumbs or fingers is a soothing activity that can help reduce their anxiety. For most children, growing up is filled with anxiety and change.

    So if your child is approaching preschool and still sucking away, here’s 8 tips on how to handle it correctly:

    Try to limit the time that your child sucks their thumb to their bedroom or in the house, not in public. Explain to them that this is a bed activity during nap time and at night.

    Don’t turn it into a confrontation. Try to recognize your child and praise them when they are not sucking their thumb instead of criticizing them when they are.

    If your child is hurt or injured, don’t prohibit them from sucking their thumb or fingers. They need that comfort zone to cope.

    Help your child practice self-awareness by pointing out to them when they are sucking their thumb or fingers. Offer them an option to soothe them, like a blanket or stuffed animal.

    Avoid the gross-tasting stuff that is sold to stop thumb and finger sucking. It’s just creates more anxiety, which is the initial reason why your child is sucking their thumb.

    Use creative methods to help your child understand that they are growing up and one day won’t suck their thumb anymore. Ask your child if their favorite cartoon character sucks their thumb.

    Don’t try a glove or a mitten on the hand as a quick-fix to thumb or finger sucking. This will just frustrate the child and cause more anxiety. Plus, they are old enough to just remove the glove or mitten themselves.

    Be sure to remember that a child will grow out of the need for thumb sucking or finger sucking when they are good and ready.



    • 27 MAR 18
    • 0

    Can Gum Be a Cavity-Fighter?

    Chewing gum is a national obsession in the United States. More than $2 billion worth of gum is sold annually (that’s 1.74 trillion sticks of gum) and the average American pops 280 pieces of gum in their mouth each year.

    But is all that gum good for your oral health or is it helping create cavities? Simply put, it depends on what type of gum you are chewing (and unfortunately, much of the gum consumed in the United States is sugared gum).

    If you are chewing sugarless gum with something called Xylitol, then you are providing your teeth with a double-dose of goodness. Researchers have found through clinical studies that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after you finish a meal can help prevent your teeth from decaying.

    How does sugarless gum aid in cavity fighting? It encourages the flow of saliva in your mouth, which is a very good thing. Saliva is sort of the wonder potion for your mouth, washing away food debris, neutralizing acids that bacteria in your mouth produce (and which lead to cavities), and adding calcium and phosphate to help strengthen the enamel on your teeth. See what we mean – saliva is amazing for oral health!

    Bacteria are especially impacted by avoiding sugared gum and instead chewing sugarless gum. Bacteria feed on sugar and use it as fuel to produce acids which eat away at your teeth. So avoiding sugar reduces the bacteria in your mouth and makes it a safer place to keep your teeth happy.

    Look for a sugarless gum that has Xylitol when you are purchasing your supply of sugarless gum. Xylitol is a proven plaque-fighter, and plaque is that sticky stuff in your mouth that turns to tartar and can impacts your oral health. Another good ingredient to look for in your sugarless gum is Recaldent, which is said to assist in remineralize and hardening of tooth enamel, making your teeth stronger and less likely to suffer from tooth decay.

    But remember, sugarless gum is not a substitute for brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily. But chewing sugarless gum with Xylitol and Recaldent is a great way to boost your oral health care routine and increase the protection of your teeth.

    So the next time you are picking up a pack or container of gum, be sure to reach for the sugarless gum with Xylitol and Recaldent. You can satisfy your need for a sweet treat and at the same time enhance your oral health.

    Your mouth will thank you.

    SOURCES: American Dental Association and Colgate

    • 13 MAR 18
    • 0

    All About Crowns – the Dental Kind

    When your dentist says “you’ll probably need a crown” after examining a troublesome tooth, what exactly are they talking about and why do you need to be “crowned.” Crowns are a type of dental restoration that involves putting a protecting covering (a crown) over a tooth. There is a wide range of materials that the crown can be made from, ranging from porcelain to metals.

    So what types of oral health issues call for a crown?

    Damage to a tooth is so severe that it cannot be fixed by placing an amalgam or composite restoration (a filling).

    The appearance of the tooth is less than desirable and the placement of a crown can improve the shape, color and in some cases the alignment of the tooth.

    To protect a weak tooth due to decay.

    To protect a weak tooth that has been cracked.

    To hold a dental bridge into place.

    To cover a dental implant.

    How is a crown placed on the existing tooth?

    After a careful exam, your dentist will evaluate your needs and then review your options for repairing or replacing the tooth. If a crown is the best approach for your situation, your dentist at Personal Care Dentistry will initially “prep” the troublesome tooth. This involves removing any decay and readying the tooth for the permanent crown. This may include fabricating a build-up if there is not enough healthy tooth surface left to hold and stabilize the new crown.

    An impression is taken and a “temporary” crown is fabricated after the tooth is “prepped”.  The temporary crown is seated while the permanent crown is being made in the lab.  Once the crown is finished, typically 1 to 2 weeks, the patient will return to get the permanent crown cemented into place.

    So what are the different types of materials used in crowns?

    Stainless steel crowns are prefabricated crowns that are used on permanent teeth primarily as a temporary measure. The crown protects the tooth or filling while a permanent crown is made from another material. They are often used with children’s primary teeth. The crown covers the entire tooth and protects it from further decay. When the primary tooth comes out to make room for the permanent tooth, the crown comes out naturally with it.

    Metals used in crowns include gold alloy, palladium, nickel or chromium. Compared with other crown types, less tooth structure needs to be removed with metal crowns, and tooth wear to opposing teeth is kept to a minimum. Metal crowns withstand biting and chewing forces well and probably last the longest in terms of wear down. Also, metal crowns rarely chip or break. The metallic color is the main drawback. Metal crowns are a good choice for out-of-sight molars.

    Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns can be color matched to your adjacent teeth (unlike the metallic crowns). However, more wearing to the opposing teeth occurs with this crown type compared with metal or resin crowns. The crown’s porcelain portion can also chip or break off. Next to all-ceramic crowns, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look most like normal teeth. These crowns can be a good choice for front or back teeth.

    All-resin dental crowns are less expensive than other crown types. However, they wear down over time and are more prone to fractures than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.

    All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns provide better natural color match than any other crown type and may be more suitable for people with metal allergies. However, they are not as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns and they wear down opposing teeth a little more than metal or resin crowns. All-ceramic crowns are a good choice for front teeth.

    SOURCE: WebMD and American Dental Association



    • 24 FEB 18
    • 0

    Why Is Fluoride Important to Your Oral Health?

    Patients sometimes ask us to explain why fluoride is so helpful in preventing cavities and to overall oral health. So we thought in this blog we would provide an overview of fluoride and how it helps protect your teeth from cavities.

    Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral compound that helps prevent cavities in children and adults by making the outer surface of your teeth (enamel) more resistant to the acid attacks that cause tooth decay.

    Fluoride is especially important to young children, since it strengthens the child’s tooth enamel even before the teeth break through the gums. The hard surface of the tooth enamel is what resists tooth decay, so strengthening the tooth enamel makes it easier for a child to resist tooth decay. This benefit is what we call “systemic” because the fluoride is ingested from foods, beverages and dietary supplements that are consumed.

    Once your child’s teeth break through their gums, fluoride will help remineralize tooth enamel (which strengthens it) and reverse early tooth decay. The application of fluoride at this stage is called “topical” since it is being applied directly to the teeth. This “topical” application comes through brushing with fluoridated toothpaste or mouth rinses. You can still enjoy the benefits of “systemic” fluoride through what you drink and eat because it becomes part of your saliva, which is constantly coating your teeth with small amounts of fluoride that help repair tooth enamel that has been weakened.

    Most communities add fluoride to their public water supply to increase the level of fluoride up to a level that will help prevent tooth decay. Before water was fluoridated, children had three times as many cavities. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has proclaimed community water fluoridation one of ten great public health achievements of the 20th century because of the importance it has played in reducing tooth decay.

    For children younger than 3 years, start brushing their teeth as soon as they start to appear in the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. For children 3 to 6 years old, use no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Always supervise your child’s brushing to make sure they use the right amount and try to get your child to spit out most of the toothpaste.

    Mouthwash with fluoride can help make your teeth more resistant to decay, but children six years or younger should not use it unless it’s been recommended by a dentist. Many children younger than 6 are more likely to swallow it than spit it out because their swallowing reflexes aren’t fully developed.

    If you have a good chance of getting cavities, your dentist can apply fluoride directly to your teeth during your dental visit with a gel, foam or rinse.

    Available by prescription only, fluoride supplements come in tablet, drop or lozenge forms. They are recommended only for children ages six months to 16 years living in areas without adequate amounts of fluoride in their community drinking water and who are at high risk of developing cavities. Talk to your dentist, pediatrician or family physician about your child’s specific fluoride needs.

    SOURCE: American Dental Association