• 25 NOV 15
    • 0

    9 Common Procedures to Fix Your Smile

    Restore, Repair or Replace: Options for a Great Grin

    With the rise of cosmetic dentistry, people of all ages have been able to have the perfect smile. There are plenty of options to choose from – you can manipulate the shape of your teeth, whiten them, close the gaps between them, remove cavities and plaques, and more.

    Keep on reading to learn about nine common procedures that can help you have a healthy, happy smile!

    1. Teeth Whitening

    Teeth often lose their white shade over time. This often comes naturally as it absorbs various chemicals from the food and drinks you consume throughout your life.

    Your dentist can create a custom mouthpiece tray that ensures the right amount of whitening solution reaches your teeth.

    Keep in mind, whitening products are not meant to clean teeth, it is still important to continue practicing daily oral hygiene by brushing twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash daily.

    1. Crowns

    Sometimes called caps, crowns completely cover a tooth, restoring a normal shape and appearance. You may need a crown to:

    Cover a misshapen or discolored tooth

    Protect a weak tooth

    Restore a broken or worn tooth

    Cover a tooth with a large filling

    Hold a dental bridge in place

    Cover a dental implant

    Cover a tooth that’s had a root canal procedure

    Crowns can be made from metal, porcelain fused to metal, resin, or ceramic materials. Because crowns are costly, dentists usually suggest them only when other procedures can’t produce a pleasing result.

    Permanent crowns can have a long life if you take good care of them.

    1. Bonding

    Bonding may improve how your teeth look if they have excess space between them, or if they are chipped, broken, stained, or cracked.

    Dentists also use bonding materials to fill small cavities or to protect the exposed root of a tooth.

    The dentist can usually do this procedure in a single office visit by applying an etching solution followed by tooth-colored materials — sometimes composite resins — directly to the tooth’s surface where needed.

    Although bonding can last for several years, it is more likely than other types of restorations to chip or become stained or just wear down.

    1. Veneers

    These custom shells, typically made of porcelain (sometimes plastic), cover the front sides of the teeth to change their color and/or shape. Veneers last longer than bonding and provide a superior appearance. They are less expensive than crowns. Veneers can improve teeth that:

    Have spaces between them

    Have become chipped or worn

    Are permanently stained

    Are poorly shaped

    Are slightly crooked

    Before inserting veneers, the dentist first takes an impression of your tooth, then buffs the tooth before cementing the veneer in place. A beam of light helps harden the cement, which secures the veneer to your tooth.

    Porcelain veneers are made in a laboratory, so you need a second visit to the dentist to have them inserted.

    1. Enamel Shaping and Contouring

    Enamel shaping and contouring involves removing or contouring dental enamel to improve the appearance of your teeth. Dentists may combine this process with bonding.

    Often used to alter the length, shape, or position of teeth, reshaping and contouring can correct:

    Crooked or overlapping teeth

    Chipped and irregular teeth

    Minor bite problems

    You may be a good candidate for reshaping and contouring if you have normal, healthy teeth, and there’s still adequate bone between your teeth to support them.

    1. Bridges

    Sometimes called a fixed partial denture, bridges are used to replace missing teeth with artificial teeth. Bridges can be made of gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination. Dentists anchor them onto surrounding teeth after preparing them for crowns. Then a false tooth joins to the crowns and the bridge is cemented onto the prepared teeth. Only your dentist can remove a fixed bridge.

    The success of your bridge depends upon its foundation. So, remember that oral hygiene to keep remaining teeth healthy is particularly important if you wear a bridge.

    1. Braces

    Braces are becoming increasingly common because they not only straighten out your teeth, but they can fix overbites, underbites, and other jaw and teeth problems. Braces pretty much force the teeth to the desired places, usually for a few months to a few years depending on how badly the teeth are positioned.

    Braces were traditionally made of metal, ceramic, or plastic brackets with wires that go through them. Every time you visit the dentist, the braces are tightened. This is often a very uncomfortable experience at first – a lot of people report losing weight due to loss of appetite.

    1. Clear Aligner Trays

    Clear aligners are an alternative to braces. It’s less noticeable because it’s transparent, and it’s also removable. It’s usually more expensive than braces, but it’s often more convenient and less painful. However it can only correct minor problems though – you won’t be able to correct horribly misaligned teeth.

    1. Implants

    Implants are very expensive but are better alternatives to removable dentures that could easily fall out. Implants are surgically connected to the jawbone and look like a real tooth. The procedure consists of several steps and will therefore take quite a few sessions. They last very long and won’t lose their white shade anytime soon.

    Cosmetic dentistry has led to a lot of promising procedures that can help just about anyone have a perfect smile, but you have to remember that the procedures can only do so much in restoring your original teeth. Prevention is always better than the cure, so make sure you practice good oral hygiene. The better you take care of your teeth, the less damage control you’ll need to do later on.

    Sources: Worldental.org, WebMD

    • 19 NOV 15
    • 0

    Are Dental Veneers A Good Choice?

    An Easy, Inexpensive Way to Fix Flawed Teeth.

    Veneers are ultra-thin shells of ceramic (porcelain) or a composite resin material, which are bonded to the front of your teeth. This procedure requires little or no anesthesia and can be the ideal choice for improving the appearance of the front teeth. Veneers are placed to mask discolorations, to brighten teeth and to improve a smile.

    Why a Veneer?

    Veneers are an excellent alternative to crowns in many situations. They provide a much more conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color, size or shape. Generally, veneers will last for many years, and the technique has shown remarkable longevity when properly performed.

    Types of Problems Dental Veneers Fix

    Teeth that are worn down.

    Teeth that are chipped or broken.

    Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped (for example, have craters or bulges in them).

    Teeth with gaps between them (to close the space between these teeth).

    What Happens During the Procedure?

    Patients may need up to three appointments for the entire procedure, including diagnosis and treatment planning, preparation and bonding.

    It’s critical that you take an active role in the smile design. Spend time in the planning of the smile. Understand the corrective limitations of the procedure. Have more than one consultation, if necessary, to feel comfortable that your dentist understands your objectives.

    To prepare the teeth for the veneers, the teeth are lightly buffed to allow for the small added thickness of the veneer. Usually, about half a millimeter of the tooth is removed, which may require a local anesthetic. Composite resin veneers are generally done in one appointment. After the tooth is prepared, the dentist carefully bonds and sculpts the composite material onto your teeth. For porcelain veneers, a mold is taken of the teeth, which is sent to the laboratory for the fabrication of the veneers. This may take several days. If the teeth are too unsightly, a temporary veneer can be placed, at an additional cost.

    When your porcelain veneers are ready, the dentist places each veneer on the teeth to check their fit and get a sense of the shade or color. While the veneers are resting on your teeth, view the results, and pay particular attention to the color. At this point, the color of the veneers can still be adjusted with the shade of the cement to be used. The color cannot be altered after veneers are cemented. To apply the veneer, the tooth is cleansed with specific chemicals to achieve a bond. Once a special cement is sandwiched between the veneer and tooth, a light beam hardens the cement.

    Advantages of Dental Veneers

    They provide a natural tooth appearance.

    Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well.

    Porcelain veneers are stain resistant.

    The color of a porcelain veneer can be selected such that it makes dark teeth appear whiter.

    Veneers offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color and shape; veneers generally don’t require the extensive shaping prior to the procedure that crowns do, yet offer a stronger, more aesthetic alternative.

    Disadvantages of Dental Veneers

    The process is not reversible.

    Veneers are usually not repairable should they chip or crack.

    Because enamel has been removed, your tooth may become more sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages.

    How to Maintain Veneers

    Dental veneers do not require any special care. For about a week or two, you will go through a period of adjustment as you get used to your “new” teeth that have changed in size and shape. After one or two weeks, your dentist will ask you to return for a follow-up appointment. Continue to follow good oral hygiene practices, including brushing and flossing as you normally would.

    Realistic Expectations

    Veneers are reasonable facsimiles of natural teeth, not perfect replacements. It’s not uncommon to see slight variations in the color of veneers upon close inspection, as this occurs even in natural teeth. Nevertheless, this procedure can greatly enhance your smile and can heighten self-esteem.

    Sources: Worldental.org, KnowYourTeeth.com, WebMD


    • 11 NOV 15
    • 0

    Correcting Common Tooth Spacing Issues

    A Great Smile Can Boost Your Confidence and Change Your Life

    Do you keep your lips together when you smile or have a tendency to cover your mouth when you laugh because your teeth are less than perfect? Maybe you’ve always secretly admired the way that your friends, family, and even strangers smile. You wished you could have that kind of smile. Alas, the cost to close the gap between your teeth is way out of your reach, right? Not so fast. Most people give up on having a perfect set of teeth before they even talk to a dentist. The truth is, there’s a lot you can do, very inexpensively, at any age.

    Portrait of beautiful young woman at outdoors

    Portrait of beautiful young woman at outdoors

    There are many different causes for improperly spaced teeth. Some of them include:

    Thumb-Sucking – Thumb-sucking is common in children. However, after a child starts developing teeth, it’s time to curb the habit. Why? Because it can cause teeth to grow in improperly. If you were a kid who sucked his or her thumb after teething, it’s likely that you unknowingly caused some spacing between the teeth. Fortunately, this can be corrected with special tooth hardware.

    Overgrowth of Skin – Sometimes, skin develops between teeth and pushes them apart. Excessive gums can also be corrected with a simple procedure that involves removing the skin and applying braces to the teeth.

    Swallowing Errors – Swallowing errors often develop in childhood. Believe it or not, there’s a correct way to swallow. Sometimes, some individuals end up thrusting their tongue forward against their front teeth. This is called “tongue thrust” and it responsible for front teeth misalignment.

    Periodontal Disease – Periodontal disease often happens when an individual does not have good oral hygiene, but it can also be caused by a serious imbalance of oral bacteria in the mouth, which started at childhood and was never corrected. Bacteria lodge themselves between the tooth surface and the gum line and start laying down a biofilm or plaque or both. The tooth separates from the gum and loosens the tooth until it falls out. Other teeth grow in and drift apart, creating gaps or spaces. Sometimes, this sort of thing happens when primary teeth fall out.

    Common solutions to these problems include veneers, caps or crowns, bridges, braces and clear aligners.

    Veneers – Veneers are thin coverings for teeth that can correct the shape and size of a tooth. If there’s a very small gap, a veneer may be able to cover it up. For example, a dentist can take a mold of your teeth, send it to a lab, and cement the new veneer to your misaligned tooth in about 2 to 3 weeks. The veneer is a permanent fixture and looks just like your natural tooth.

    Crowns and Bridges – Crowns and bridges are often reserved for those with damaged teeth, and if your gap is caused by a lost tooth or a broken or seriously chipped tooth, then a crown or a bridge (several crowns fused together in a row) can help fix the spacing.

    Braces – While you’re undoubtedly familiar with stainless steel metallic braces, there are other braces on the market that are fixed to the back of your teeth, and some of them are even made of plastic.

    Clear Aligner Trays – Invisalign takes a modern approach to straightening teeth, using a custom-made series of aligners created for you and only you. These aligner trays are made of smooth, comfortable and virtually invisible plastic that you wear over your teeth. Wearing the aligners will gradually and gently shift your teeth into place, based on the exact movements your dentist plans out for you. There are no metal brackets to attach and no wires to tighten. You just pop in a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks, until your treatment is complete. You’ll achieve a great smile with little interference in your daily life. The best part about the whole process is that most people won’t even know you’re straightening your teeth.

    Your dentist is the best resource for consultation so make an appointment to discuss options.  They’ll help you make your smile the best it can be.

    Sources: WorlDental.org, Invisalign


    • 05 NOV 15
    • 0

    Tooth Extraction Aftercare

    How to Help Your Mouth Heal after a Tooth is Removed

    OK, so you have just had a tooth removed, or are about to have this procedure. What do you need to do to give yourself the best chance of a speedy and painless recovery?

    Commonly Extracted Teeth

    Young pretty girl with horrible pain in tooth

    Young pretty girl with horrible pain in tooth

    Wisdom teeth removal is one of the more common categories of tooth extraction. Many dental professionals will recommend removing wisdom teeth (third molars) before they are fully developed — usually in the adolescent years — to help eliminate potential problems. One issue that could occur is development of an impacted tooth that has surfaced and has no room in the mouth to grow. Other problems associated with impacted teeth include infection, decay of adjacent teeth, bite interference and gum disease.

    Gum disease is another reason for necessary tooth extraction. A tooth that is severely damaged by gum disease may need to be removed or risk infecting other areas of the mouth.

    Extractions of some permanent teeth that have not erupted — such as the canines, which are also known as fangs or eye teeth — may be required in order to make space for orthodontic treatment.

    Tooth Extraction Aftercare

    The dentist will immediately place a pack over the area for you to bite on after the tooth is removed, this will put pressure on the wound and help form a blood clot. A wound in the mouth will usually bleed more than one on the skin, as the saliva prevents a scab from forming. Pressure on the wound is necessary to help form the clot and thus reduce the bleeding. The clot protects the bone while the healing process takes place. The main aim in the few hours and days after an extraction procedure is to not disturb this clot.

    FIRST HOUR: Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze packs that have been placed over the surgical areas, making sure they remain in place. Do not change them for the first hour unless the bleeding is not controlled. The packs may be gently removed after one hour. If active bleeding persists, place enough new gauze to obtain pressure over the surgical site for another 30 minutes. The gauze may then be changed as necessary (typically every 30 to 45 minutes). It is best to moisten the gauze with tap water and loosely fluff for more comfortable positioning.

    EXERCISE CARE: Do not disturb the surgical area today. Do NOT rinse vigorously or probe the area with any objects. You may brush your teeth gently.

    ORAL HYGIENE: It is important to keep the mouth clean. You should brush your teeth the night of surgery, but be gentle around the surgical sites. If there is minimal bleeding, saltwater rinses may begin 24 hours after surgery (mix 1 tablespoon of salt with 8 ounces of water.) Swish gently and allow the water to drip into the sink. Rinses should be done 2-3 times a day, especially after eating. Begin your normal oral hygiene routine as soon as possible after surgery.

    ACTIVITIES: Activities after surgery should be couch or bed rest for the first day. Bending, lifting, or strenuous activity will result in increased bleeding, swelling and pain. Exercise should be avoided for 3-4 days following surgery.

    SWELLING: Swelling is a normal occurrence after surgery and will not reach its maximum until 2-3 days after surgery. It can be minimized by using a cold pack, ice bag or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel and applied firmly to the cheek adjacent to the surgical area. This should be applied 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off during the first 24 hours after surgery. If you have been prescribed medicine for the control of swelling, be sure to take it as directed.

    DRY SOCKETS: If the blood clot is loosened or dislodged, you may have a dry socket, in which the bone is exposed. Dry sockets may last for several days and may cause severe discomfort that sometimes includes ear pain.

    PAIN: Unfortunately most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. You will usually have a prescription for pain medication. If you take the first pill before the anesthetic has worn off, you should be able to manage any discomfort better.

    DIET: Eat any nourishing food that can be taken with comfort. Avoid extremely hot foods. Do not use a straw for the first few days after surgery. It is sometimes advisable, but not absolutely required, to confine the first day’s intake to liquids or pureed foods (soups, puddings, yogurt, milk shakes, etc.) It is best to avoid foods like rice, nuts, sunflower seeds, popcorn, etc., which may get lodged in the socket areas. Over the next several days you may gradually progress to solid foods.

    MOUTH RINSES: Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential. Use 1/4 teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8 ounce glass of warm water and gently rinse with portions of the solution, taking five minutes to use the entire glassful. Repeat as often as you like, but at least two or three times daily.

    HEALING: Normal healing after tooth extraction should be as follows: The first two days after surgery are generally the most uncomfortable and there is usually some swelling. On the third day you should be more comfortable and, although still swollen, can usually begin a more substantial diet. The remainder of the post-operative course should be gradual, steady improvement. If you don’t see continued improvement, please call our office.

    Your case is individual as no two mouths are alike. Do not accept well-intended advice from friends. Discuss your problem with the person best able to effectively help you – your dentist!

    Sources: DentalCareMatters.com


    • 29 OCT 15
    • 0

    10 Tricks for Dealing with Halloween Treats

    Halloween Can Be an Oral Health Learning Experience for Your Kids

    Pediatric dental experts say Halloween can be a time to teach your children good oral health habits for life, without depriving them of Halloween treats (think moderation). Denying your children the Halloween experience can send the entirely wrong message — deprivation — and make candy seem even more irresistible, leading to other problems. They may end up sneaking sweets or eating too much candy once they’re out on their own. Instead, let them have the joy of Halloween in all its sticky goodness and the experience of going to a party or trick-or-treating.

    iStock_000013743663_Large - kid with candyThe message isn’t “candy is bad,” but that candy and other sweets, in excess, can lead to cavities. Children learn two important lessons:

    How to control their diets.

    That what they eat relates to oral health, not just physical health.

    Here are some tips to help keep your children’s mouths happy so their smiles don’t start to look like the Jack-O-Lanterns on your front steps!

    Eat a well-balanced meal before trick-or-treating. This helps to reduce chances children will fill up on empty calories and sugar.

    Avoid more harmful candy options. Not all candy is created equal, and chewy and sour candies are amongst the worst for oral health. Chewy candies can easily get stuck in the crevices between teeth, making it nearly impossible to wash it all away. Gummies and caramel have the potential to dislodge fillings, crowns, space maintainers and orthodontic appliances. Sour candies are highly acidic and can break down the enamel on your teeth.

    Beware hidden sugars and starches. Glucose, fructose and honey that appear in foods such as cereal bars, flavored yogurts, fruit bars, pureed fruit pouches and juices can be just as destructive on children’s teeth. Snacks such as pretzels, with starches that stay in the mouth longer, can also lead to cavities.

    Establish a “treat time.” Snacking on candy over a long period of time can be more harmful for your children’s teeth. Limiting candy time will help you restrict the amount of candy consumed and protect their teeth from too much sugary contact. This ritual “treat time” may last long after Halloween and help promote healthy thinking about treats.

    Children learn that eating sweets shouldn’t be an all-day feast. Moderation is key.

    Knowing they have a specific sweet time can help make children less inclined to think about eating sweets at other times of the day.

    Pick 10 treats. After your children get back from trick-or-treating or a party, go through their bags of Halloween candy together. Tell them to each pick the 10 or so (whatever number you decide, based on factors such as age) treats they want the most. Letting children help decide what is a reasonable amount of candy to keep has benefits beyond good oral health.

    Get the unpicked treats out of sight. You can donate them to a food bank, save them for future “treat times” or freeze them if you can’t bear to throw them out.

    Choose best options for a sweet treat. These include sugar-free gum and dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants like tannins, polyphenols and flavonoids that can inhibit bacteria from sticking to the teeth, preventing infections in gums and battling tooth decay. Sugar-free gum made with xylitol promotes the growth of tooth-protective, non-acidic bacteria which can make it nearly impossible for bacteria and plaque to form.

    Swish with water. Let’s face it – most kids don’t look forward to Halloween for the sugar-free gum and dark chocolate. And that’s ok. If kids are indulging in any kind of candy, ensure they drink plenty of water after eating the treat.  Encourage them to swish the water around in the mouth to help dislodge particles that can get stuck onto tiny teeth. Decorate a Halloween-themed reusable water bottle to encourage your child to drink lots of water.

    Reinforce good brushing and flossing habits. The best way to protect your kid’s oral health from sugary sweets is to brush and floss regularly. This is especially important following your “treat times!”

    Find a healthy balance. Everyone is going to enjoy at least a couple sweets during Halloween – you don’t have to deny yourself or your children a little holiday fun! However, it’s important to balance those sugary foods with healthy ones.

    Sources: AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry), WebMD


    • 23 OCT 15
    • 0

    Monster Amounts of Twin Cities Halloween Events

    Family Fun Events to Make Everyone Say Boo-Ya!

    If you’re looking for a place to take your kids for family friendly festivities this Halloween, there’s bound to be a spooktacular spot for you in the Twin Cities. Halloween happenings in the Twin Cities are in abundance again this year and we’ve compiled a comprehensive list to help you find your happy haunting place. Read on to find where you can take little trick or treaters or find your share of scare.


    Zoo Boo
    Como Zoo, 1225 Eastbrook Dr., St. Paul

    Zoo Boo is an annual fundraiser for Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, but more than that, it is a safe and non-scary Halloween celebration especially for kids and their families. During the event, the zoo is transformed into a world of fairytales, magic and fun. More than 200 costumed characters are on hand to interact and mingle with the kids along the Zoo Boo trail to make sure everyone is happy and having a great time!

    Zoo Boo is recommended for kids between the ages of 3 and 8 and runs on Saturday and Sunday, October 24 & 25 from 4:30 pm until 7:30 pm. Tickets are $6 in advance online and $7 at the door. For more information and to get your tickets, please click here.


    Minnesota Streetcar Museum Como-Harriet Streetcar Line
    Linden Hills Station, Lake Harriet

    The Transylvania Trolley gives you the chance to take a ride with your host, Count Karl the Vampire Motorman. And, if you wear a costume for this 15-minute ride, you’ll get a treat. This ride is happening on Saturday, October 24 from 12:30 p.m. until 4:30 pm. Tickets are $2 and free for kids 3 and under. No advance sales or reservations.


    BareBones Halloween Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza
    Hidden Falls Regional Park, North Gate, St. Paul

    The 22nd Annual BareBones Halloween Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza features a show titled “We All Fall Down, which will take audiences through a journey of life, death, grief and peace. That said, BareBones performances are appropriate for kids as well as adults. The show is a community-created spectacle that includes larger-than-life puppetry, drama, stilt walkers, aerialists, fire performers, a live orchestra and more.

    The show is happening on October 24, 25, 29, 30 & 31 at 7:00 pm each night. A suggested donation of $10 or $20 is appreciated at the gate. For more information, please click here.


    The Great Pumpkin Fest at ValleySCARE
    Valleyfair, One Valleyfair Dr., Shakopee

    While the older kids and adults get their scare on at night at Valleyfair, the younger kids can have a blast at the Great Pumpkin Fest during the day. There is trick-or-treating, a corn maze, story-telling by a zany witch who reads “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”, a petting zoo and much more.

    The fun runs Saturdays and Sundays through November 1. For more information, check out Valleyfair’s website.


    Big Woods Halloween

    Eastman Nature Center, Dayton

    Play carnival games for prizes, go on a pumpkin scavenger hunt and participate in other spooky and fun activities. For those a bit braver, visit the Gross-out-Grotto with creepy sites and slimy challenges. 10 a.m. -3 p.m. Oct. 24; $5-$8; 763-559-6700.


    Boo Run 5K

    Harriet Island, St. Paul

    Harriet Island’s annual Halloween 5K and half-mile Kid’s Fun Run along the Mississippi River. Costumes welcome. Kids’ run starts at 8:30 a.m., 5K starts at 9 a.m. Oct. 24; 651-688-9143 andersonraces.com.


    Ghouls and Giggles

    Oswald Visitor Center, Minnesota Arboretum, Chaska

    Enjoy family-friendly arts and crafts, live music, costumed trick-or-treating nd a semi-spooky trail walk. 3-6 p.m. Oct. 24; $5; 952-443-1400; arboretum.umn.edu.


    Halloween at the Art Park

    Caponi Art Park; 1220 Diffley Road, Eagan

    Trick-or-treat around the park with spooky sculptures and fun costumes for an afternoon of family fun. 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Oct. 24; free; 651-454-9412; caponiartpark.org.


    Haunted Forest

    Steve Michaud Park, 17100 Ipava Ave. Lakeville

    Are you brave enough to walk through the forest? A spooky trail along with other tamer activities for kids like trick-or-treating and friendly-costumed characters make up this year’s Haunted Forest. 5 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Oct. 24; $3 per person, $10 per carload; 952-985-4600, lakevillemn.gov.


    Haunted Woods Trail

    2893 145th St. W., Rosemount

    This spooky trail is for kids ages preschool through middle-school and includes treats and tricks for the whole family. 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Oct. 24; free; 612-840-9016; rosemountevents.com.


    Hilltop Pumpkin Party

    YMCA Camp St. Croix, 532 County Road F, Hudson, Wis.;

    For family fun in the outdoors, this pumpkin party has numerous events, including wagon rides, a pumpkin patch, games, ghost stories, the fire department, crafts, a petting zoo and more. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 24; free; 751-386-8411; hudsonwi.org.



    Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska

    Gather your little ghosts and witches for a day at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum with free admission for those in costume. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 30; free in costume 952-443 1400;



    James Sewel Ballet Halloween Parade

    The Cowles Center, Goodale Theater, 528 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis

    Bring your family to the ballet for a day performance of both tricks and treats, with excerpts from “Grave Matters” and “New Moves” performed. Bring your best costume and walk in the annual Halloween Parade, too. 11 a.m. Oct. 24; $10; 612-206-3600; the cowlescenter.org.


    Lowry’s Enchanted Forest Halloween

    Lowry Nature Center, Victoria, Minn.

    The Lowry Nature Center transforms into an enchanted forest for this one-day-only event with trick-or-treating on the trail, skits, stories by the bonfire, the chance to meet a live owl and more. 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Oct. 24; $9; 763-694-7650.


    Spooktacular Concert

    Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska

    A music concert of Halloween favorites performed by the Minnetonka Symphony Orchestra. 3 p.m-4:30 p.m. Oct. 25; $12, children younger than 12 free; 952-443-1400 arboretum.umn.edu.


    Tamarack Trick-or-Treat

    Tamarack Nature Center, 5287 Otter Lake Road, White Bear Township

    Low-key and non-spooky, this event provides plenty of fun Halloween activities, including hand-pressed cider and live animals. 3 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Oct. 24; $7.50-$3.25; 651-407-5350.


    Thrill the World Minneapolis

    2121 W. 21st St., Minneapolis

    Hosted by beARTrageous and the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, be part of a Halloween-style block party. Come in costume and take part in a worldwide simultaneous dance of “Thriller.” 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 24; free; 612-423-7554; artrageousadventures.com.


    Trick-or-Treating on Main Street

    Downtown Stillwater, 100 Main St., Stillwater

    Dress up in costume and spend a day discovering the treats of downtown Stillwater’s independent businesses. Noon-4 p.m. Oct. 24-25; free; 651-342-1386; discoverstillwater.com.


    Trunks ‘n’ Treats

    1965 E. County Road E, White Bear Lake

    Enjoy food, games and live music at a family-friendly event. Treats from decorated trunks for kids in costumes, too. Food shelf donations accepted. 2 p.m-4 p.m. Oct. 24; free; St. Stephen Lutheran Church; 951-777-1107; ststephenwbl.org.



    Science Museum, 120 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul

    Experiment with hands-on Halloween-themed science activities for an afternoon of learning. Costumes encouraged. Noon-4 p.m. Oct. 31; $13, $10 ages 4-12 and seniors, kids 12 and younger free with costume; 651-221-9444; smm.org.


    Dia de los Muertos

    Minnesota History Center, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul

    Celebrate Mexican culture and tradition with the Day of the Dead. Learn an Aztec dance, look at decorated altars, see a puppet show and enjoy hands-on activities. Noon-4 p.m. Oct. 25; $6-$12; 651-259-3000; minnesotahistorycenter.org.


    Hijinks Puppet Show

    Maplewood Nature Center, 2659 E. Seventh St., Maplewood

    Watch a wild animal puppet show about autumn and stay after to hike outside. Best for ages 2-5. Shows at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Oct. 28; $5; 651-249-2170; maplewoodnaturecenter.com.



    Mall of America, Bloomington

    Grab your mummies and daddies and join a trick-or-treating celebration at participating shops at the Mall of America. 4:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Oct. 31; free; 952-858-8500; mallofamerica.com.


    Pumpkin Carving

    Silverwood Park, 2500 County Road E. St. Anthony

    Find inspiration for a pumpkin masterpiece with carving, sculpting and creative jack-o’-lantern samples and tools. After the pumpkins are completed, enjoy a mass pumpkin lighting and marshmallow roasting. 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Oct. 28; $8; 763-694-7707.


    Pumpkin Patch Party

    1818 Gervais Court E., Maplewood

    Celebrate on roller skates at this kid-friendly Halloween party. 7:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Oct. 30; $6, $2-$3 roller-skate rentals; Saints North Roller Rink; 651-770-3848.


    The Great Pumpkin Chase

    Lake Elmo Park Reserve, 1515 Keats Ave. N., Lake Elmo

    Tie up your running shoes and prepare for a 5K, 10K or Kids Dracula Dash Fun Run at Lake Elmo. 10K at 8:30 a.m., 5K at 10 a.m. Oct. 31; 651-430-8370; frontrunnerusa.com.


    Trunk or Treat at Mosaic Christian Community

    Mosaic Christian Community, 540 E. Wheelock Parkway, St. Paul

    Dress in costume for free family fun with inflatables, treats, food, warm bonfires, live music and more. 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 31; free; 651-774-2770; mosaicstpaul.org.


    Witch Hazel Hustle 5K

    Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska

    Throw on your costume and get ready to run this fun race around the thee-mile drive at the arboretum. 8 a.m. Oct. 31; $30-$35; 952-443-1400; arboretum.umn.edu.


    Frankenstein’s Laboratory

    The Bakken Museum, 3537 Zenith Ave. S., Minneapolis

    Watch the spooky lights and sounds show of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’s laboratory at the Bakken Museum. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, open until 8 p.m. Thursdays; $10 adults, $8 students and seniors, free for ages 3 and younger; 612-926-3878; thebakken.org/frankenstein.


    Pumpkin Fest

    Gertens, 5500 Blaine Ave., Inver Grove Heights

    Gertens annual Pumpkin Fest bring fun for the whole family with Minnesota grown pumpkins, food, hayrides, maze, petting zoo, games, crafts and much more. Swing by for fall treats like fresh apples, pies, rollovers and more tasty treats. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 24; $2-$10 for activities; 651-450-1501.


    Severs Fall Festival and Corn Maze

    1100 Canterbury Road, Shakopee

    Come for the corn maze — this year’s theme honors firefighters — stay for the activities, including an exotic animal petting zoo, corn pit, giant slide and camel rides. 1 p.m.-8 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 1; $15, free for ages 3 and younger; 952-975-5000;



    Twin Cities Harvest Festival and Maze

    8001 109th Ave. N., Brooklyn Park

    Celebrate fall with Minnesota’s largest corn maze — this year’s theme celebrates the Minnesota Wild’s 15-year anniversary. Enjoy corn pit, live music, petting zoo, hayride and more. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 25 and MEA weekend, Oct. 15-16; $12, children shorter than 36 inches free; 952-992-9326; twincitiesmaze.com.


    Halloween Lights on York

    1526 York Ave., St. Paul

    Drive through the neighborhood of York Avenue to see more than 15,000 lights strung between seven neighbors’ houses. Lights are choreographed to music that broadcasts from the car stereo. Dusk-10 p.m. through Oct. 31, weather permitting; free.



    Minnesota Zoo, 1300 Zoo Blvd. Apple Valley

    It’s the Minnesota Zoo but with Halloween-themed treats and activities that let families learn more about the animals. Visit the website for daily schedules of events and activities. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 24-25 and 30-31; $12-$18; 952-431-9200; mnzoo.org.


    Monster Bash

    Nickelodeon Universe, Mall of America, Bloomington

    Silly, spooky hosts, such as disco zombies and mad scientists, take over Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America for rides, treats and spooks. 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 23-24, Oct. 30-31; $23.99 ride wristbands; 952-883-8800; mallofamerica.com.


    Halloween in Anoka

    Various locations, Anoka

    Anoka calls itself the “Halloween Capital of the World” and they claim to be the first city to host Halloween activities organized by civic leaders. This year they have  not one but two Halloween parades (one during the day, one at night), the famed Grey Ghost 5k run, an “orange-tie” ball, a house-decorating contest, and lots more. Check out all the activities at http://anokahalloween.com/



    • 21 OCT 15
    • 0

    Details About Dental Crowns

    What You Should Know About This Common Dental Procedure

    When do you need a crown – the dental kind – and what are your options for the material used to make that crown. Those are questions we are often asked by our patients, and we would like to give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

    Young Fashion Woman on Autumn Background in Sunny Day. Smiling Happy Girl Portrait. Toned Photo with Copy Space.

    Let’s start by looking at the anatomy of a tooth, which can be divided into two basic parts – the root and the crown. In a person with healthy gums and bone, the root of the tooth is covered by the gums and bone. The part of the tooth that is visible in the mouth is called the clinical crown. A cemented restoration that partially or completely covers the outside of the clinical crown is referred to as a dental crown or cap.

    When is a Dental Crown Needed?

    There are a variety of situations that require a tooth to be restored with a dental crown. The following are the most common:

    To protect a weak tooth from decay, from breaking or to hold together parts of a breaking tooth

    To restore a severely worn down tooth

    To cover and support a tooth with a large filling and one that doesn’t have enough tooth left

    To hold a dental bridge in place

    To cover a severely misshapen or severely discolored teeth

    To cover a dental implant and as a cosmetic alteration

    Types of Dental Crowns:

    Crowns can be made out of a gold alloy, other metal alloys, stainless steel, all-porcelain/all-ceramic, composite resin, zirconia, or porcelain on the outside fused to metal or zirconia on the inside. In some cases, ceramic crowns can be made by milling the crowns out of blocks of porcelain in the dental office, without the need for temporaries or a dental laboratory. There are advantages and disadvantages to all of the types of dental crowns. Stainless steel crowns are preformed crowns used to cover baby teeth for children. Gold dental crowns have traditionally been the most durable and require less of the tooth to be removed or shaved down. The primary advantage of porcelain crowns is their esthetics, while newer types of ceramic crowns have become increasingly more durable.

    The Dental Crown Procedure:

    A dental crown usually requires two visits to the dentist – the first step involves examining and preparing the tooth, the second visit involves placement of the permanent crown.

    First Visit: Examining and Preparing the Tooth.

    At the first visit in preparation for a crown, your dentist may take a few X-rays to check the roots of the tooth receiving the crown and surrounding bone. If the tooth has extensive decay or if there is a risk of infection or injury to the tooth’s pulp, a root canal treatment may first be performed.

    Before the process of making a crown begins, your dentist will anesthetize (numb) the tooth and the gum tissue around the tooth. Next, the tooth receiving the crown is filed down along the chewing surface and sides to make room for the crown. The amount removed depends on the type of crown used (for instance, all-metal crowns are thinner and require less tooth structure removal than all-porcelain or porcelain-fused-to-metal ones). If, on the other hand, a large area of the tooth is missing (due to decay or damage), your dentist will use filling material to “build up” the tooth to support the crown.

    After reshaping the tooth, your dentist will use a paste or putty to make an impression of the tooth to receive the crown. Impressions of the teeth above and below the tooth to receive the dental crown will also be made to make sure that the crown will not affect your bite.

    The impressions are sent to a dental lab where the crown will be manufactured. The crown is usually returned to your dentist’s office in two to three weeks. If the crown is made of porcelain, your dentist will also select the shade that most closely matches the color of the neighboring teeth. During this first office visit your dentist will make a temporary crown to cover and protect the prepared tooth while the crown is being made. Temporary crowns usually are made of acrylic and are held in place using a temporary cement.

    Care for a Temporary Dental Crown

    Because temporary dental crowns are just that – a temporary fix until a permanent crown is ready – most dentists suggest that a few precautions. These include:

    Avoid sticky, chewy foods (for example, chewing gum, caramel), which have the potential of grabbing and pulling off the crown.

    Minimize use of the side of your mouth with the temporary crown. Shift the bulk of your chewing to the other side of the mouth.

    Avoid chewing hard foods (such as raw vegetables), which could dislodge or break the crown.

    Slide flossing material out-rather than lifting out-when cleaning your teeth. Lifting the floss out, as you normally would, might pull off the temporary crown.

    Second Visit: Receiving the Permanent Dental Crown

    At the second visit, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and check the fit and color of the permanent crown. If everything is acceptable, a local anesthetic will be used to numb the tooth and the new crown is permanently cemented in place.

    Is Getting a Dental Crown Painful?

    The tooth being restored is numbed so that it isn’t painful during the crown preparation. This requires a shot in the gums of a local anesthetic. After the procedure is over and the anesthesia has worn off, the patient may feel some sensitivity with the temporary crown or some soreness in the gums around the tooth. The pain is very minimal though and shouldn’t last long.

    How Long do Dental Crowns Last?

    Dental crowns should last on average from 10 to 20 years. Crowns are still subject to fracture and cavities, so it is important to take extra care in brushing and flossing around crowned teeth to prevent them from needing replacement too often.

    Does a Crowned Tooth Require Special Care?

    While a crowned tooth does not require any special care, remember that simply because a tooth is crowned does not mean the tooth is protected from decay or gum disease. Your dentist will advise you on the proper care and maintenance of your dental crown which includes brushing and flossing twice daily and avoiding putting excessive force on it like biting on hard candy or ice. If you habitually grind your teeth, your dentist may recommend that you wear a mouth guard to protect your crowns while you sleep.

    Sources: MedicineNet.com, WebMD.com

    • 15 OCT 15
    • 0

    Can Acid Reflux Damage Your Smile?

    Study Shows Chronic Heartburn Increases Damage to Tooth Enamel

    More than seven million people suffer from acid reflux and need to be aware of the danger that causes permanent and severe loss of tooth structure. Acid reflux-induced erosion is a condition caused when stomach contents reflux into the mouth, slowly dissolving tooth surfaces and leading to a series of dental issues.

    iStock_000055877924_Large - smiling dark haired womanWhat is Acid Reflux?

    Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when the muscle at the end of your esophagus—the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach—randomly opens for a period of time or does not shut properly. Contents in your stomach, including highly acidic digestive juices, can leak back up into your esophagus, resulting in a burning sensation in your chest or throat known as heartburn. You may also taste stomach fluid in the back of your mouth, which is called acid indigestion. GERD occurs when you experience any of these symptoms more than twice a week.

    Eventually, GERD can cause a slew of health issues, including ulcers and esophageal cancer. It can also cause dental problems. In fact, dentists are often the first health care professional to identify GERD in patients because one major sign of the disease is dental erosion, or dissolving of tooth surfaces. Dental erosion occurs because the acidic juices in the stomach come into contact with the mouth and, over time, break down your teeth.

    Research Findings on Acid Reflux and Tooth Erosion

    According to Dr. Daranee Tantbirojn, an associate professor in the department of restorative dentistry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, the acid from the stomach is strong enough “to dissolve the tooth surface directly, or soften the tooth surface, which is later worn down layer by layer.”

    Dr. Tantbirojn was the lead author of a recent study that appeared in “General Dentistry”, the Academy of General Dentistry’s peer-reviewed journal, and which found that almost half of patients in the study with this condition suffered much worse tooth wear and erosion than healthy people. The disease can ultimately lead to thin, sharp and pitted teeth.

    Once the outer coating of the teeth (known as enamel) is gone, it’s gone for good, notes Dr. David Leader, an associate clinical professor at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. “The only thing that you can do is wait for it to become bad enough that we have to put a crown, veneer or filling on the tooth,” Leader adds.

    Prevent Dental Erosion Due to GERD

    So how does someone with heartburn prevent tooth damage? “Generally speaking, saliva is good as the body’s defense mechanism,” says Dr. Tantbirojn. “Saliva has a so-called buffering capacity, meaning it can neutralize acid. Saliva also contains small amounts of calcium and phosphate ions that can reduce the damage of the tooth.”

    But there’s a limit to what your body’s natural production of saliva can do, according to Dr. Tantbirojn.

    However, there are proactive steps you can take to protect your teeth:

    Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after a reflux episode. Brushing may damage enamel that has already been weakened by acid.

    Chew sugar-free gum. Chewing gum stimulates saliva flow, which reduces acid in your mouth.

    To reduce the risk of demineralization of your teeth, ask your dentist about mouth rinses and toothpastes containing fluoride.

    To dilute the acid in your mouth, rinse vigorously with water.

    Rinsing with baking soda in water will neutralize the acid.

    Sources: US News, Delta Dental, KnowYourTeeth.com

    • 06 OCT 15
    • 0

    Does Good Oral Health = A Happy Heart?

    Keep Your Heart Happy by Taking Care of Your Gums

    Paying attention to your dental hygiene and health – especially your gums – may pay you back with more than a gleaming, healthy smile and manageable dental bills. It may keep your heart healthy too.

    HeartDid you know that the plaque that develops on your teeth is the same plaque that causes heart attacks? The most common type of bacteria in dental plaque can escape into the bloodstream, travel through the arteries, and result in blood clots that can cause fatal heart attacks.

    The Heart and Mouth Connection

    The American Heart Association published a Statement in April 2012 supporting an association between gum disease and heart disease. The article noted that current scientific data do not indicate if regular brushing and flossing or treatment of gum disease will decrease the incidence, rate or severity of the narrowing of the arteries (called atherosclerosis) that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. However, many studies show an as-yet-unexplained association between gum disease and several serious health conditions, including heart disease, even after adjusting for common risk factors.

    There are two different connections between heart disease and your oral health:

    Studies have shown that people with moderate or advanced gum (periodontal) disease are more likely to have heart disease than those with healthy gums.

    Oral health holds clues to overall health. Studies have shown that oral health can provide warning signs for other diseases or conditions, including heart disease.

    “The mouth can be a good warning signpost,” said Ann Bolger, M.D., William Watt Kerr Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “People with periodontitis often have risk factors that not only put their mouth at risk, but their heart and blood vessels, too. But whether one causes the other has not actually been shown.”

    Common Association

    Periodontitis and heart disease share risk factors such as smoking, age and diabetes, and both contribute to inflammation in the body. Although these shared risk factors may explain why diseases of the blood vessels and mouth can occur simultaneously, some evidence suggests that there may be an independent association between the two diseases.

    People with periodontal (gum) disease are nearly twice as likely to suffer from heart disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. The following diseases have been linked to plaque:

    Bacterial endocarditis – a condition in which the lining of the heart and heart valves become enlarged

    COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

    Overall, people who have chronic gum disease are at higher risk for a heart attack, according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). Gum disease (called gingivitis in its early stages and periodontal disease in the late stages) is caused by plaque buildup along and below the gum line. It has been suggested that inflammation caused by gum disease may also trigger clot formation. Clots decrease blood flow to the heart, thereby causing an elevation in blood pressure and increasing the risk of a heart attack.

    Dentists can help patients who have a history of heart disease by examining them for any signs of oral pain, infection or inflammation. According to the AGD, proper diagnosis and treatment of tooth and gum infections in some of these patients have led to a decrease in blood pressure medications and improved overall health. If you currently have heart disease, make sure to tell your dentist about your condition as well as any medications you are currently taking. Remember to carefully follow your physician’s and dentist’s instructions about health care, and use any prescription medications, such as antibiotics, as directed.

    Warning Signs

    Gum disease affects 80% of American adults and often the condition goes undiagnosed. Warning signs that you may have gum disease include:

    Red, tender or swollen gums

    Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing

    Gums that seem to be pulling away from your teethChronic bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth

    Teeth that are loose or separating from each other

    The best way to be proactive in maintaining your oral and overall health is scheduling regular dental checkups, getting professional cleanings and regular brushing and flossing.


    Sources: Heart.org (American Heart Association), MouthHealthy.org (American Dental Association, DeltaDentalIns.com


    • 01 OCT 15
    • 0

    10 Causes of Swollen Gums

    Know When Symptoms are Superficial or Serious and What To Do


    Everyone knows you’re supposed to take care of your teeth. But your gums, too? Who worries if their gums are swollen or a little red? Turns out you should! Swollen gums are a lot more than an uncomfortable annoyance; they could signal something more serious like gum disease.

    Gums are full of blood vessels that carry oxygen and food to the roots of the teeth and other connecting parts of the mouth. Hence, you have to take care of your gums if you want to have good oral health.

    Swelling anywhere in the body is not normal, and is actually a red flag to alert you that something is going on and needs to be addressed. Catching swollen gums early on and reversing it as soon as possible is the best way to prevent advancement of other serious diseases like periodontitis (gum disease), a condition that causes tooth loss.


    Symptoms of Swollen Gums

    What do swollen gums look like, and how do you tell them apart from healthy gingival tissue? The key is to know what healthy gums look like and being able to spot the areas where inflammation first comes into play.

    Healthy Gums

    • Light pink, coral, or natural tissue pigmentation throughout mouth
    • Smooth and flat along the gum lines
    • Pointed papilla (small protrusion) between each tooth
    • Don’t bleed when you brush or floss
    • No pain


    Inflamed (Swollen) Gums

    • Typically dark pink, red, blue or purple
    • Rolled margin along the teeth
    • Blunted papilla between the teeth, or no papilla at all (black triangle)
    • Bleeding when you brush or floss
    • Uncomfortable to severe pain


    What Causes Swollen Gums?

    Most swelling of the gums is due to one cause: bacterial plaque. That white, filmy debris that congregates along the gum lines and on the surface of your teeth causes not only cavities, but gum infections as well. That’s because the plaque builds up along the margin of the gum lines and also begins to creep in underneath the gum pocket, infecting the gums from the inside out.

    Swollen gums aren’t just caused by gum disease. Here are 10 0ther culprits that can create swollen sore gums:

    Incorrect brushing/flossing techniques. Most of us know poor oral hygiene is a common cause of swollen gums. But incorrect brushing or flossing techniques, like flossing your teeth too roughly, could cause swelling as well.

    Oral infections. Both viruses and fungi can affect your oral health and cause irritated gums. The attack of STDs like herpes or oral thrush, may be also reasons for gum swelling if not treated immediately.

    Hormonal changes. The change in hormone levels may also cause swollen gums. This is a common sighting during pregnancy, menstruation, puberty, or menopause when your body undergoes several changes. This may also increase blood flow to your gums, making them tender and become irritated easily.

    Mouth ulcers. Canker sores and mouth ulcers can cause painful gums. These sores usually have a whitish center with red edges. If you have any pre-existing autoimmune disease, you’re more likely to develop canker sores that cause swollen gums.

    Malnutrition/vitamin deficiency. In general, oral health is dependent more on the availability of vitamins and minerals especially that of B vitamins and vitamin C. When there is an acute shortage of Vitamin C, it causes scurvy, which leading to anemia and gum diseases. Thus, malnutrition becomes a cause of swollen gums.

    Irritation. Allergic reactions to ingredients in toothpaste, food, medications, or even metal dental restorations can cause irritation, redness, or swelling of the gum tissue.

    Food. Food that becomes lodged under the gums or between teeth can be hard to clean out, especially if it happens frequently throughout the day.

    Burns. Burning your mouth on foods like pizza, nachos, or coffee can create a temporary area of trauma in the mouth. These usually only last 10-14 days, and are directly related to the heat of the food on your gum tissue.

    Braces or Faulty Dental Restorations. When you undergo tooth restorations and rough margins are found along the edges of the restoration materials, these provide enough space for plaque to form and are not able to be cleaned easily. These areas become heavily infected and become chronically inflamed giving place to the swelling of your gums.

    Ill-fitting dentures or partials can also rub the tissues and cause sores or swelling.

    Tooth misalignment. When a misformed tooth is not treated, this condition becomes very serious and affects your oral health with frequent flares of infection manifested as swollen gums.

    How Are Swollen Gums Treated?

    The best dental treatment for swollen sore gums is removal of plaque and tartar buildup. Regular dental cleanings and other procedures such as scaling and root planing can stop gingivitis in its tracks and actually reverse the effects of gum disease. If you suffer from a more advanced form of periodontal disease, your dentist may recommend ongoing treatment for swollen and bleeding gums.


    How to Prevent Swollen Gums

    To avoid dealing with pain associated with swollen gums, you should take the following steps to avoid it from happening in the first place.

    Brush and floss teeth twice a day. Brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day will go a long way in maintaining proper oral hygiene and avoiding gum swelling.

    Maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet. It’s particularly important to maintain a healthy level of vitamins B and C, folic acid as well as calcium. You can simply include a variety of vegetables and fruits in your diet and take supplemental vitamins to encourage stronger teeth and healthier gums.

    Drink a lot of water. Drink plenty of water, especially after you eat something because it will not only help flush the food residue as well as bacteria in your mouth, reducing the risk of developing plaque in mouth.

    Reduce stress and sleep well. Stress is associated with your dental health according to the Academy of General Dentistry; it affects your immune system and makes it difficult for your body to combat bacteria.

    Have regular dental check-ups. See your dentist regularly to ensure everything is in a perfect condition and doesn’t require any treatment. And make sure to visit your dentist if your gum problems cause too much pain or persist. Your dentist not only can find out what causes your swollen gums, he can also help your gums problems heal faster.


    Sources: Med-Health.net, Worldental.org, 1800dentist.com

    • 24 SEP 15
    • 0

    At Home or Professional Teeth Whitening?

    A Dark Side to DIY Whitening: Why Your Dentist Offers the Best Results

    At-home whiteners are easy to use and relatively cheap. But if your teeth or gums are sensitive, custom-made trays that you get at your dentist’s office will help you avoid irritation. This is just one great reason to see your dentist for keeping your smile as white as it can be.

    Loving Couple Smiling Together At HomeIt comes as no surprise that a major Do-It-Yourself (DIY) trend is teeth whitening or bleaching. Although pharmacy-sold whitening can often improve the shade of your teeth, the disadvantages of over-the-counter kits far outweigh the benefits.  For more effective and safer results, it’s recommended that you ask your dentist to perform in-office teeth-whitening services.

    In-Office Procedures

    The most common one involves custom-made trays filled with bleaching solution that fit firmly over your teeth. Because your dentist supervises the procedure, a stronger bleaching solution can be used than what’s found in home kits.

    He may recommend doing everything in his office. In that case, a light or heat source may be used to speed up the process.

    Another option is to get fitted for custom-made whitening trays that you can use at home.

    If you’re considering whitening your teeth without the help of a professional, here are some potential risks and side effects that you should be aware of:


    Risks of DIY Whitening


    Harmful to the Gum Line

    Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits contain varying levels of peroxides, otherwise known as bleach. If the product isn’t applied properly, the peroxide can cause serious damage to your gum line.

    The problem that customers face is that DIY teeth-whitening products come as one size fits all.  As our mouths come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, DIY whitening strips or gel trays can often be too big or small. Either scenario can lead to unnecessary contact with your gum line. The last thing you want is bleach to burn your gums – they’re especially sensitive and full of thousands of susceptible nerve endings.

    In a dentist’s office, whitening trays are custom made for each patient in order to avoid the gums. As there’s a lesser risk of gum contact, they can use higher concentration of peroxides in stronger gels that ultimately yield better, whiter results.

    Aggravated Dental Problems

    If applied at the wrong time, do-it-yourself teeth whitening kits can make pre-existing dental problems worse.  The bleach from the kits can find its way into any abscess of the mouth and cause immediate pain – or worse, an infection.

    It is important to make an appointment with your dentist before considering DIY teeth-whitening products. They can check for any cavities or gum disease that could be aggravated by the bleach. If you have a severe cavity, the bleach can travel as far as the root of the tooth and may lead to requiring root-canal therapy.

    If there’s pre-existing gum disease like gingivitis or periodontitis, the bleach will burn the inflamed gums and even cause the loss of soft tissue. Aggravated gum disease could lead to serious illness as the bacteria from the gums can find its way to other parts of the body.

    Spotted/Weak Results

    Without the help of a dental professional, teeth whitening can lead to spotted or ineffective results. Most DIY treatments contain bleach concentrations between 10%-20% – somewhere in between is the safest bet for a bleaching agent. However, a large number of DIY teeth whitening kits don’t list the concentration on their box, making it impossible for the customer to choose a strength that’s sensitive to their oral health.

    As users can’t tell how strong the bleaching product is, they may pick one with a lower concentration that produces weak or ineffective results. As it’s difficult to get a full view of our teeth, it’s common for users to miss patches when applying the gel or strips.

    Damage to Tooth Enamel

    Enamel is the protective layer around our teeth that protects it from daily forces like chewing, talking, biting and grinding. It is the hardest tissue in our body, but can be stained by things like caffeine, tobacco and food. These yellow-colored spots are one of the primary reasons why people whiten their teeth.

    DIY teeth whitening kits are known to contain sodium bicarbonate and hydrogen peroxide – two chemicals that, if not applied properly, can cause erosion of the tooth enamel. If the enamel wears away, the layer of yellow dentin underneath becomes exposed and extreme pain becomes inevitable.

    See Your Dentist

    If you still decide to try over-the-counter teeth whitening, ask your dentist for more information or recommendations on which brand to use. They should also give you a full dental examination to make sure you don’t have any pre-existing problems. Whether you or a professional apply the product, it’s important that you’re educated on the risks with a clean bill of oral health.

    Professional solutions used by your dentist are stronger than those in over-the-counter kits, so your teeth will whiten more quickly. He or she can also make sure that sensitive gums don’t get more irritated.


    Sources: Worldental.org, WebMD

    • 17 SEP 15
    • 0

    Minnesota Apple Orchards Yield Bumper Crop of Family Fun

    These 15 Apple Orchards are a Ripe Pick for Families


    As seasons change the air gets a bit crisper like the apples across Minnesota orchards. Favorable weather has created a bumper crop of high quality apples across the state and fall festivities for the whole family.

    iStock_000028328950Large - apple orchards 2015“The quality this year is just off the charts. It’s been fantastic. We are getting high quality apples off a lot of the trees,” says JP Jacobson, the president of the Minnesota Apple Growers Association.

    “Minnesota is one of the best apple-growing states across the country. We have a really nice cool climate. There are different varieties that respond better to cool climates, like Honeycrisp, Sweet Tango and Haralson that were bred and raised in Minnesota. They do better here,” Jacobson said.

    You can also find a high yield of family fun with many orchards offering pick-your-own apples, fresh cider, pumpkins, fall raspberries and prize-winning bakeries. Outdoor activities include crop mazes, petting zoos and hay rides.

    We’ve compiled a list of 15 of the best apple orchards for family fun in the Twin Cities area. Also below are links to three websites that feature lists and maps for just about every apple orchard in Minnesota.

    Enjoy the fall and we hope to see you’ll join us in taking part in a Minnesota tradition!


    Apple Orchard Resources


    Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Minnesota Grown offers a free statewide guide to more than 100 apple orchards.


    Orange Pippin is a comprehensive resource for apples and orchards.


    The Apple Journal has an extensive list of orchards.



    Twin Cities Apple Orchards


    Aamodt’s Apple Farm, Stillwater

    Bagged and pick-your-own apples, cider, bakery with pies and more, bratwurst, tractor-pulled wagon and kiddie train rides, hay bale maze, goat pen, and pedal tractors and trikes for little kids. Aamodt’s has scenic hot air balloon rides and a neat apple barn with bakery to select some yummy treats to take home. Plus an added bonus is St. Croix Vineyard has a tasting room a few steps away. Phone: 651-439-3127



    Afton Apple Orchards, Afton

    Bagged and pick-your-own apples, fall raspberries, pumpkins, wagon rides, 15-acre corn maze, straw bale maze, straw mountain, tire hill, petting farm, “train” rides and bakery stocked with pies, pastries and jams. Phone: 651-436-8385



    Apple Jack Orchards, Delano

    A cheerful, family-run orchard, with lots of varieties of apples, including the latest University of Minnesota apple, SweeTango. There’s lots of things to do for children, like a play area, petting zoo, and wagon rides all week, and entertainment and live music are added at the weekend.

    Phone: 763 972-6673



    Anoka County Farms, Ham Lake

    This farm has plenty of things to do, to turn apple picking into a full family day out. Hay rides, corn maze, petting zoo, food for sale, pony rides, pumpkin patch, and all the classic fall farm entertainment.

    Phone: 763-427-0000



    Applewood Orchard, Lakeville

    Bagged and pick-your-own apples, fall raspberries, 8-acre corn maze, hedge maze for kids, wagon rides, haystack and store with baked goods and jams.

    Phone: 952-985-5425



    Emma Krumbee’s Orchard and Farm, Belle Plaine

    Lots of fall attractions at this popular farm include pick-your-own apples, petting zoo, maze, restaurant, and an annual scarecrow festival. Take a tractor ride out to the apple orchards to pick your own apples. There is an admission charge for some attractions at the farm.

    Phone: 952-873-4334



    Fireside Orchard and Gardens, Northfield

    This apple orchard, about 40 minutes south of Minneapolis, also grows plenty of Halloween pumpkins, and has a collection of vintage tractors to admire.

    Phone: 507-663-1376



    Homestead Orchard, Maple Plain

    Claiming to be the oldest, and largest apple orchard in the area, with 8,000 trees. As well as Homestead Orchard’s vast apple orchard, there is also a pumpkin patch, plus a petting zoo, free hayrides, jumping castle and straw pile. Fall fun at its finest. (Note: They don’t have a website, but you can find them on Facebook and on Yelp).

    Phone: 763 479-3186



    McDougall’s Apple Junction, Hastings

    McDougalls, in a scenic St. Croix Valley location, has pre-picked apples for sale, as well as a pick-your-own pumpkin patch, a petting zoo, a children’s playground, grilled apple brats, rides and a corn maze.

    Phone: 651-480-4701

    McDougalls Apple Orchard


    Minnesota Harvest Apple, Jordan

    Not just apples at this orchard: this farm has a petting zoo, playground, pumpkin patch, a corn maze, horse rides, live music and seasonal entertainment plus apples galore.

    Phone: 952-492-2785



    Minnetonka Orchards, Mound

    This apple orchard is a popular destination with lots of attractions, hayrides, playground, seasonal events and entertainment. Minnetonka Orchards has an entrance charge, but only on the weekends, so the thrifty can save by visiting during the week.

    Phone: 763-479-6530



    Natura Farms, Marine-on-St. Croix

    Pick your own apples at Natura Farm, as well as other seasonal produce like red raspberries and grapes.

    Phone: 651 433-5850



    Pine Tree Apple Orchard, White Bear Lake

    Bagged apples, pumpkins, corn maze, pony rides, live music and bakery stocked with pies, caramel apples and more.

    Phone: 651-429-7202



    Pleasant Valley Orchard, Taylors Falls

    The orchard offers sweeping views of the St. Croix Valley in full fall dress. Apple shed, vintage barn, lots of apples, bakery items and gift shop, pick-your-own weekends, hayrides, farm animals, kid’s corral, nature trail, and picnic area.

    Phone: 651-257-9159



    Whistling Well Farm, Hastings

    Bagged and pick-your-own apples, mums, pumpkins, a chicken coop to explore and a shop stocked with local honey, jams, corn shocks, gourds and fall decorations.
    Phone: 651-998-0301



    SOURCES: Minnesota Department of Agriculture, CBS Minneapolis, Star Tribune, Apple Journal