• 20 MAY 15
    • 0

    Caring for Your Child’s Baby Teeth

    When Should You Take Your Baby For A First Visit to the Dentist?

    Happy young mum with the baby

    If you have a new baby at home – or know someone who does – did you realize that a dentist should examine a child within six months after their first tooth comes in and no later than the child’s first birthday?  A whopping 97% of parents were unaware of the first-year, first-visit recommendation, according to a 2010 AAPD survey.

    Primary teeth, or “baby teeth,” are as important as permanent adult teeth. Primary teeth typically begin to appear when a baby is between age 6 months and 1 year. Primary teeth help children chew and speak. They also hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums.

    On a child’s first visit to a dentist, the dentist can show you how to clean the child’s teeth properly and how to evaluate any adverse habits such as thumb sucking. But there are other compelling reasons for early checkups. Tooth decay is a leading chronic childhood disease, more common than asthma, and it’s almost entirely preventable according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


    Teething is Tough

    Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are 3. When they first come in some babies may have sore or tender gums. The process as each tooth emerges is called “teething.” It can be a trying time for you and your baby.

    Teething Symptoms:


    Swollen gums

    Slightly higher than normal temperature

    Teething is uncomfortable. That’s why your baby cries and fusses in the days or weeks before each baby tooth pops up. You can start caring for baby’s gums right away. But at first, the care won’t involve a toothbrush and toothpaste.

    Easing Teething

    Gently rub your child’s gums with:

    A clean finger

    A small cool spoon

    A wet gauze pad

    A clean teething ring to chew on can also ease the discomfort as well. Avoid giving your child anything that is small enough to choke on. Avoid a teething ring with liquid inside that could break open.

    DO NOT give your baby topical pain relievers. Not only does saliva quickly wash the medication away, but the FDA warns against dangerous, potentially life-threatening side effects caused by such products.

    NEVER give your child aspirin. If your child is unusually irritable or inconsolable, call your pediatrician and ask if you can give your baby Tylenol (acetaminophen) occasionally to relieve pain first.


    Preventing Cavities

    In addition to caring for baby teeth, you need to protect them. To prevent cavities, only fill your baby’s bottle with:


    Breast milk


    Avoid giving your child fruit juices, sodas, and other sugary drinks. Sweet drinks, even container milk can settle on the teeth. This can lead to baby tooth decay – also known as “baby bottle tooth decay.” Bacteria feed on the sugar from sweet drinks and produce acid, which attacks baby’s teeth.

    If you have to send your baby to bed or naps with a bottle or sippy cup, fill it with water only. Also avoid putting anything sweet, such as sugar or honey, on your baby’s pacifier.

    When the first baby teeth start to pop up, you can graduate to a toothbrush. Choose one with a:

    Soft brush

    Small head

    Large handle

    At first, just wet the toothbrush. As soon as teeth erupt, you can start using a bit of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. You can increase this to a pea sized amount when your child is 3 years old. Brush gently all around your child’s baby teeth, front and back.

    You should brush your baby’s teeth until he or she is old enough to hold the brush. Continue to supervise the process until your child can rinse and spit without assistance. That usually happens at around age 6.

    Keep on the lookout for any signs of baby tooth decay, brown or white spots or pits on the teeth. If you or your pediatrician notices any problems, take your child to a pediatric dentist for an exam.


    Thumb Sucking

    Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children may suck on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers and other objects. It may help them relax or make them feel safe or happy. Most children stop sucking by age 4. If your child continues to thumb suck after the permanent teeth have come in, it can cause problems with tooth alignment and your child’s bite. The frequency, duration and intensity of a habit will determine whether or not dental problems may result. Children who rest their thumbs passively in their mouths are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs.

    Your baby needs help to establish a solid oral health foundation. See your dentist early and talk to them about how to care for your child’s primary teeth.


    Sources:  MouthHealthy.org, CNN, WebMD



    • 13 MAY 15
    • 0

    Jaw-Dropping Insights Into TMJ Disorders

    More Than 15 Percent of American Adults Suffer from Chronic Facial Pain

    Sensitive teeth giving you a pain?If you have pain or tenderness in your jaw, or persistent headaches or neck aches, you may be suffering from a temporomandibular (tem-puh-roe-mun-DIB-u-lur) joint (TMJ) disorder. For many sufferers of TMJ disorders (TMD), the dentist is a logical first stop in trying to diagnose and treat this problem.

    The temporomandibular joint acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. It lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, and yawn.


    Signs and symptoms of TMD may include:

    Pain or tenderness of your jaw;

    Aching pain in and around your ear;

    Difficulty chewing or discomfort while chewing;

    Aching facial pain;

    Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth;

    Headaches and neck aches.

    TMD can also cause a clicking sound or grating sensation when you open your mouth or chew. But if there’s no pain or limitation of movement associated with your jaw clicking, you probably don’t need treatment for a TMJ disorder.


    The parts of the bones that interact in the joint are covered with cartilage and are separated by a small shock-absorbing disk, which normally keeps the movement smooth. We don’t know what causes TMD. Dentists believe symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of your jaw or with the parts of the joint itself. Jaw pain may occur on one side or on both sides, depending upon the cause.

    Painful TMD can occur if:

    The disk erodes or moves out of its proper alignment.

    The joint’s cartilage is damaged by arthritis.

    The joint is damaged by a blow or other impact.

    Grinding or clenching your teeth (also known as bruxism), puts a lot of pressure on the joint.

    Stress, which can cause you to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth, is thought to be a factor in TMD. Even strenuous physical tasks, such as lifting a heavy object or stressful situations, can aggravate TMD by causing overuse of jaw muscles, specifically clenching or grinding teeth.


    When to see a Dentist or Doctor

    Seek medical attention if you have persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw, or if you can’t open or close your jaw completely. In about 90 percent of the cases, says the Delta Dental Plans Association, your description of symptoms, combined with a simple physical examination of face and jaw by your dentist, provides useful information for diagnosing these disorders.

    What to Expect

    You may be asked some of the following questions:

    Is your pain constant or do your symptoms come and go?

    Does any activity seem to trigger the pain?

    Does your jaw click or pop when you move it? Is that clicking painful?

    Is it difficult to open your mouth normally?


    Tests and Diagnosis

    During the physical exam, your doctor or dentist will probably:

    Listen to and feel your jaw when you open and close your mouth;

    Observe the range of motion in your jaw;

    Press on areas around your jaw to identify sites of pain or discomfort.

    If your doctor or dentist suspects a problem with your teeth, you may need X-rays. A CT scan can provide detailed images of the bones involved in the joint, and MRIs can reveal problems with the joint’s disk.

    Treatments and Drugs

    In some cases, the symptoms of TMJ disorders may go away without treatment. If your symptoms persist, your doctor or dentist may recommend a variety of treatment options. Many practitioners, especially dentists, are familiar with tried-and-true conservative treatment of TMD.


    Your dentist might suggest a muscle relaxer to relax your jaw if you grind or clench your teeth. Taking over-the-counter or Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like naproxen or ibuprofen, can relieve muscle pain and swelling.

    A splint or night guard. These plastic mouthpieces fit over your upper and lower teeth so they don’t touch. They lessen the effects of clenching or grinding and correct your bite by putting your teeth in a more correct position. What’s the difference between them? You wear night guards while you sleep. You use a splint all the time. Your dentist will tell you which type you need.

    Dental work. Your dentist can replace missing teeth and use crowns, bridges, or braces to balance the biting surfaces of your teeth or to correct a bite problem.

    Relaxation techniques. Consciously slowing your breathing and taking deep, regular breaths can help relax tense muscles, which can reduce pain. Ask your dentist if you need physical therapy or massage. Also consider stress reduction therapy.

    Lifestyle and Home Remedies

    Becoming more aware of tension-related habits — clenching your jaw, grinding your teeth or chewing pencils — will help you reduce their frequency.

    Avoid overuse of jaw muscles. Eat soft foods. Cut food into small pieces. Steer clear of sticky or chewy food. Avoid chewing gum.

    Stretching and massage. Your doctor, dentist or physical therapist may show you how to do exercises that stretch and strengthen your jaw muscles and how to massage the muscles yourself.

    Heat or cold. Applying warm, moist heat or ice to the side of your face may help alleviate pain.

    If more treatment is needed, it should be conservative and reversible. Avoid, if at all possible, treatments that cause permanent changes in the bite or jaw. If irreversible treatments are recommended, be sure to get a reliable second opinion.


    Sources: The Mayo Clinic, Web MD, Delta Dental


    • 30 APR 15
    • 0

    Bad Bites That Can Harm Your Teeth

    Foods That Are a Treat to Eat Often Can Do Serious Damage

    potato_chips-t3Your mouth is a busy place. Especially for bacteria – tiny colonies of living organisms are constantly on the move on your teeth, gums, lips and tongue. Having bacteria in your mouth is a normal thing. While some of the bacteria can be harmful, most are not harmful and some are even helpful.

    Bad Bacteria Basics

    Certain types of bacteria, however, can attach themselves to hard surfaces like the outside covering of your teeth called enamel.  Enamel is very hard, mainly because it contains durable mineral salts, like calcium. Mineral salts in your saliva help add to the hardness of your teeth. Mineral salts, however, are prone to attack by acids. Acid causes them to break down.

    If bad bacteria are not removed, they multiply and grow in number until a colony forms on the tooth enamel. Eventually, the bacteria colony becomes a whitish film on the tooth called plaque. If it doesn’t get washed away by saliva or brushed away by your toothbrush, it produces acid.

    Acid Produces Cavities

    This acid is produced inside the plaque and can’t be easily washed away by your saliva. The acid dissolves the minerals that make your tooth enamel hard. The surface of the enamel becomes porous and tiny holes appear. After a while, the acid causes the tiny holes in the enamel to get bigger until one large hole appears. This is a cavity.



    Sugar plays a harmful role in tooth decay. The bacteria that form together to become plaque use sugar as a form of energy.

    They multiply faster and the plaque grows in size and thickness. Some of the bacteria turn the sugar into a kind of glue that they use to stick themselves to the tooth surface. This makes it harder for the bacteria to get washed away with your saliva.

    Sugar is sugar whether it’s refined white sugar, brown sugar or honey. It’s not the amount, but how often you eat it. The acidic environment in your mouth created by sugar persists for about two hours after it’s consumed. If you eat or drink a little bit of sugar every few hours, your teeth will be continuously bathed in the acid, which directly dissolves tooth enamel.

    Hard Candy. While hard candies may seem harmless, eat too many and the constant exposure to sugar damages teeth. Hard candies also put your teeth at risk because in addition to being full of sugar, they can also trigger a dental emergency such as a broken or chipped tooth. Included are:


    Hard Candies

    Breath Mints

    Cough Drops

    Tasty Tip: They might soothe your symptoms, but many cough drops have as much sugar as hard candy, experts warn. And because you suck on them for several minutes, and tend to pop them all day long when you have a cold, dental damage can be hefty. Skip the drops in favor of soothing your throat with herbal tea and water, or opt for sugar-free drops if necessary.

    gummy candyChewy Candy. Sticky candies get stuck between braces and teeth, allowing plaque to build up. Plus, a chewy candy in the wrong place at the wrong time can easily take a filling or a whole tooth out. Beware of:



    Sugary Gum

    Tasty Tip: Chew sugarless gum that carries the American Dental Association Seal.

    Carbohydrates. Carb-heavy foods are processed as sugar when digested and food particles tend to linger by sticking in the grooves of teeth, creating a breeding ground for acid. The simple sugars quickly dissolve inside the mouth, causing a surge of acid that can erode tooth enamel. These include:

    White Bread


    Potato Chips

    Tasty Tip: They might go in your mouth light as air, but the texture of potato chips (crunchy at first, then gummy post-chewing) means they tend to linger in your mouth. When chip particles get stuck between teeth, acid-producing bacteria indulge in a snacking attack that ups your risk of tooth decay. And since we tend to chomp on chips over a long period (hey, no one can eat just one), that means a non-stop period of acid production. If you choose to indulge in snacks like these, take extra care when you floss that day to remove all the food particles that can lead to plaque build-up.

    Citrus.  Citrus fruits are great sources of vitamin C for healthy gums, but they’re also high in enamel-damaging acid. Because of the acidity it adds, even putting lemon slices in water can be a danger. Look out for:





    Tasty Tip: Continue to eat fruit for the vitamin content, but enjoy these foods in moderation to minimize their impact on your teeth. Also, drink a glass of water when you consume fruit – it will wash away the acid as you enjoy your snack.



    MH_sodaSugary Drinks. Be especially cautious of drinking them over a lengthy period of time, which promotes prolonged exposure to sugar and acid. Even something as innocent as lemonade is a destructive combination of acid and sugar that leads to tooth decay and cavities. These include:


    Fruit Juices

    Energy Drinks

    Sports Drinks

    Tasty Tip: Sports drinks sound healthy, don’t they? But for many sports and energy drinks, sugar is a top ingredient. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, while sports drinks can be helpful for young athletes engaged in prolonged, vigorous physical activities, in most cases they are unnecessary. Before your next sip, check the label to make sure your drink of choice is low in sugar. Not sure? Drink water instead.


    Fortunately, foods like candy and soda that don’t always play nice with our teeth are generally harmless in moderation.  It’s important to see your dentist before a cavity forms so that the plaque you can’t reach with your toothbrush or floss can be removed.

    SOURCES: Healthyteeth.org, besthealthmag.ca, prevention.com

    • 22 APR 15
    • 0

    Top Foods for Stronger and Whiter Teeth

    What You Eat Can Help Fortify and Brighten Your Smile

    Think of the enamel on your teeth as a fortress and plaque like a marauding horde bent on their destruction. You can build up defenses in your mouth with healthy eating habits and use nutrition to fight off the corrosive attack of plaque. Small changes in your meals and snacks will yield big benefits for your teeth.

    Enamel is the thin outer covering of the tooth. This tough shell is the hardest tissue in the human body. Enamel covers the crown which is the part of the tooth that’s visible outside of the gums.

    When you eat, the bacteria in plaque use the sugars in your food to produce acids that deteriorate tooth enamel. Repeated attacks cause the enamel to break down, eventually resulting in a cavity (or hole) in the tooth surface. If tartar (plaque that hardens after being left on teeth too long) collects then gingivitis, an early stage of gum (periodontal) disease can develop. Gingivitis is reversible with good oral hygiene and professional treatment, but one preventative step you can take every day is by giving a little extra attention to what you eat.


    Chew On This

    milkCalcium. Your teeth are made mostly of calcium, and without enough in your diet, you lower your resistance and increase your risk of developing tooth decay and other problems. Low-fat or fat-free dairy products add important minerals for oral health, but don’t add unhealthy saturated fat to your diet. Foods full of calcium include:


    Hard Cheese

    Plain Yogurt


    Snack Fact: Replacing that bag of chips at lunch with hard cheese will help neutralize the acids found in foods that threaten tooth enamel. Drink a glass of milk at meal times for another splash of healthy calcium.

    Other good sources of calcium are green leafy vegetables which deliver a healthy boost of vitamin C, too.


    Bok Choy


    Brussel Sprouts

    Snack Fact: Eating a bowl of spinach or beans is a bit like running your teeth through a car wash: All that chewing generates saliva, and the food itself physically scrubs your teeth as it’s mashed up into little pieces.

    Vitamin D.  Foods with Vitamin D absorb calcium, which builds and maintains healthy teeth. These include:

    Egg Yokes

    Shiitake Mushrooms


    Snack Fact: Shiitake mushrooms contain lentinan, a sugar that actually prevents mouth bacteria from creating plaque. Try adding four or five sliced shiitake mushrooms to soups and stir-fries.

    271285-strawberriesVitamin C. Foods full of vitamin C are necessary for healthy gums, which help keep your teeth firmly in place. Citrus fruits like oranges are also high in vitamin C, but you have to be careful of their acidity. If you don’t get enough vitamin C, research shows that the collagen network in your mouth can break down making your gums tender and susceptible to periodontal disease.


    Red Peppers

    Sweet Potatoes


    Snack Fact: Strawberries may help whiten teeth because they contain an enzyme called malic acid, which can be found in some whitening toothpastes. You can mash up strawberries, add some baking soda and rub it on your teeth.  Their fiber removes bacteria from your mouth and leaving the juice on your teeth for a minute before rinsing makes for a natural whitener.


    Add Crunch When You Munch

    The crisp texture of crunchy fruits and vegetables can help wipe away plaque-causing bacteria on your teeth. They can also increase the production of saliva, which helps fight bacteria in your mouth.





    Snack Fact: Eating apples, celery and carrots stimulate saliva which neutralizes tooth damaging acids and contain calcium and phosphates that help rebuild minerals in your mouth. These foods are also high in vitamin C which prevents gum disease and kills odor causing bacteria. Fruits with high water content clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath.

    Onions. Packed with powerful sulphur compounds, onions are serious bacteria killers.

    Snack Fact: The prospect of munching on a raw onion doesn’t appeal to you?  Try slicing them up and adding them to salads and sandwiches for a little crunch, less stink and a bacteria blaster.

    Edible-NutsNuts.  According to fossils, our Paleolithic ancestors had very strong teeth. Anthropologists suggest that this is partly due to the cleansing action of primitive foods like nuts and seeds which slough off plaque and help build enamel.  Many nuts contain vitamins and minerals that help your teeth.

    Peanuts (calcium and vitamin D)

    Almonds (high levels of calcium)

    Cashews (stimulate saliva)

    Walnuts (fiber, folic acid, iron, thiamine, magnesium, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium and zinc)

    Snack Fact: If you’re watching a movie or a TV show and have a snack attack, try a small bowl of mixed nuts to sample the varieties and get all the healthy benefits.

    Sesame Seeds. Best combined with bread and rolls, sesame seeds dissolve plaque and help build tooth enamel. They are also rich in calcium, which will keep your teeth and jawbone healthy.

    Snack Fact: Sprinkle sesame seeds on salads and steamed vegetables a few times a week for a gentle teeth cleaning.


    Drink To Your Health

    Green Tea. Teas contain compounds called polyphenols that interact with plaque and suppress harmful bacteria, preventing them from producing tooth attacking acid. This not only helps to prevent cavities, but also reduces inflammation and the chances of gum disease.  Green tea contains substances called catechins that kill the bacteria in your mouth that turn sugar into plaque. Catechins also wipe out the bacteria that causes bad breath.

    Snack Fact: Make a thermos of green tea to take to work. The night before, steep 3 to 4 green tea bags in 4 cups of boiling-hot water in a covered thermos for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the bags. Serve the tea the next day over ice or after reheating it.

    glass-of-waterWater.  One thing we can’t live without and absolutely essential to healthy teeth is water. Like saliva, water helps wash sugars and acid off teeth. It also contains fluoride, a mineral that protects against tooth erosion and is found in toothpaste and some mouthwashes. Fluoride occurs naturally in water (including some bottled spring water), and most tap water in the United States is also fortified with it. Water helps to clear toxins in your body which can create tooth decay. It also keeps your gums very well hydrated and washes away all the minute left overs from the teeth.

    Snack Fact: The best way to keep your teeth decay free is by drinking sufficient amount of water after every food intake.


    Gumming Things Up

    Sugarless Gum. Chewing sugarless gum after meals and snacks can help rinse harmful acid off your teeth to help you preserve enamel. It’s actually beneficial to your teeth as chewing helps dislodge food that becomes stuck to your teeth and also increases saliva flow to buffer mouth acids. Some gums contain ingredients that can reduce cavities as well as heal areas on the teeth where cavities are beginning. Many varieties of sugarless gum are sweetened with xylitol, an alcohol that reduces bacteria. On the flip side, gum with sugar increases your chances of developing a cavity.

    Snack Fact: Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating foods with high acid content helps deter the harmful effects.

    You are what you eat and your diet directly affects the health of your teeth. Good choices can yield great results, but any food can be decay-causing if you don’t routinely practice good oral hygiene, get regular cleanings and additional dental care as needed.

    Make sure to watch for the next posting on Bad Bites that can be harmful to your smile.

    SOURCES: Everydayhealth.com, WebMD, Natural Health Magazine, Delta Dental, Health.com

    • 15 APR 15
    • 0

    Need Dental Care But Feel Like You Can’t Afford It?

    Personal Care Dentistry’s Comprehensive Dental Care Plan May Be Just Right For You

    man_wife_smilingYou can have quality dental care at an affordable cost even if you don’t have health or dental insurance. Personal Care Dentistry recently introduced its Comprehensive Dental Care Plan, which is an annual reduced-fee saving plan for families and individuals that allows all members to receive quality dental services at greatly reduced prices. Unlike conventional insurance, with the Personal Care Dentistry’s plan there are no deductibles, no yearly maximums, and no waiting periods to begin treatment. The Comprehensive Dental Care Plan  begins immediately on plan registration.


    Benefits include:

    Free simple teeth cleaning (up to two per year)

    Free two annual scheduled exams per year

    All X-rays needed to complete annual exam(s)

    Free initial teeth whitening trays and mini-kit. Subsequently one courtesy mini-kit at each renewal

    Free two fluoride treatments per year

    A 20% savings on all dental procedures

    A 15% savings on all implant and Invisalign procedures


    A Comprehensive Dental Care Plan membership is $349 and only $299 for each additional family member.

    Eligible family members include spouse and dependent children under the age of 19 (up to age 23 if dependent child is a full-time student). All Care Plan membership fees are due and payable at the time of registration and are non-refundable. Plan duration is for one year from registration date. All patient portions for services received are due at time of services in order to receive benefits. Interest-free payment plans of 6, 12 or 18 months are available on request with approved credit. Repayment duration is based on service totals. When a payment plan is used, your Care Plan members savings maximum will be reduced by the percent of interest charged to us based on the duration of repayment at 6, 12 or 18 months. A missed appointment fee of 25% of treatment total will be charged for all missed dental appointments. Please notify our office at least 48 hours in advance if you must change a scheduled appointment.

    Give us a call today and we can answer any questions you may have and get you enrolled in our Comprehensive Dental Care Plan.


    • 08 APR 15
    • 0

    How Long Do Americans Spend Brushing Their Teeth?

    And What Percentage of Americans Make Their Partner Brush Before Kissing?

    toothbrushes-300x199The common advice when you brush your teeth is to spend a minimum of two minutes brushing. How do you compare to what is recommended – and how do you compare with the national average? And what about that kissing question – do you know the answer?


    The Results Are In

    Most Americans do it twice a day – once at bedtime and once after getting up in the morning – for an average of one minute and fifty-two seconds. These are some of the findings on tooth brushing from a recent national survey by Delta Dental .

    Nearly seven of 10 Americans (69 percent) brush their teeth at least twice a day, the amount recommended by the American Dental Association and other dental health professionals. However, that means more than 30 percent of Americans aren’t brushing enough.

    On average, Americans brush for just under the two minutes recommended by dental professionals. African Americans brush 18 seconds longer than Americans as a whole, while younger adults ages 18 to 24 spend 16 seconds longer than average brushing.

    Nearly six of 10 Americans brush their teeth at bedtime and as soon as they wake up in the morning, while 38 percent brush after breakfast. About 17 percent brush after lunch, and 21 percent brush after dinner

    According to the Delta Dental survey, 91 percent of Americans brush most frequently at home in their bathrooms over the sink. However, about 4 percent say they most frequently brush in the shower. Americans ages 18 to 44 are twice as likely to brush in the shower.


    Brushing Habits Linked with Oral Health

    Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste is key to good oral health. In fact, according to the Delta Dental survey, people who brush at least twice a day are 22 percent more likely to describe their oral health as good or better compared with those who brush less frequently.

    Unfortunately, 23 percent of Americans have gone two or more days without brushing their teeth in the past year. Nearly 37 percent of adults ages 18 to 24 have gone that long without brushing.

    Flossing is another area that could use some improvement. Only four of 10 Americans ( 41 percent) floss at least once a day, and 20 percent never floss. The survey showed a strong relationship between flossing daily and reporting good oral health.


    Brush First, Please

    Through one of the lighter topics addressed in the survey, Delta Dental found that one-third of Americans (33 percent) have made their partners brush their teeth before a kiss. Men were less likely to require brushing before kissing – one of the activities made possible by good oral health.


    • 25 MAR 15
    • 0

    Does Your Mouth Feel Like The Sahara Desert?

    What to do if you suffer from xerostomia (dry mouth)

    Do you go through life with your mouth constantly dry? Does it feel like the Sahara Desert has taken up residence in your mouth? If you answered yes, then you may be suffering from xerostomia – commonly called dry mouth.

    Dry mouth is caused by a lack of saliva. We all need saliva to moisten and cleanse our mouths and digest food. Saliva also prevents infection by controlling bacteria and fungi in the mouth.

    sahara-desert-sand-dunesWhen you don’t make enough saliva, your mouth gets dry and uncomfortable. Fortunately, many treatments can help against dry mouth, also called xerostomia.


    What Causes Dry Mouth?


    Side effect of certain medications. Dry mouth is a common side effect of many prescription and nonprescription drugs, including drugs used to treat depression, anxiety, pain, allergies, colds, obesity, acne, epilepsy, hypertension, diarrhea, nausea, psychotic disorders, urinary incontinence, asthma and Parkinson’s disease. Dry mouth can also be a side effect of muscle relaxants and sedatives.

    Side effect of certain diseases and infections. Dry mouth can be a side effect of medical conditions, including HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, anemia, cystic fibrosis, Sjögren’s syndrome,  rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and mumps.

    Side effect of certain medical treatments. Damage to the salivary glands, the glands that make saliva, can reduce the amount of saliva produced. For example, the damage could stem from radiation to the head and neck, and chemotherapy treatments, for cancer.

    Nerve damageDry mouth can be a result of nerve damage to the head and neck area from an injury or surgery.

    DehydrationConditions that lead to dehydration, such as fever, excessive sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, blood loss, and burns can cause dry mouth.

    Surgical removal of the salivary glands.

    Smoking or chewing tobacco can affect how much saliva you make and aggravate dry mouth. Breathing with your mouth open a lot can also contribute to the problem.


    What Are the Symptoms of Dry Mouth?


    A sticky, dry feeling in the mouth

    Frequent thirst

    Sores in the mouth; sores or splitskin at the corners of the mouth; cracked lips

    A dry feeling in the throat

    A burning or tingling sensation in the mouth and especially on the tongue

    A dry, red, raw tongue

    Problems speaking or trouble tasting, chewing, and swallowing

    Hoarseness, dry nasal passages, sore throat

    Bad breath


    Why Is Dry Mouth a Problem?


    Besides causing the symptoms mentioned above, dry mouth also raises your risk of gingivitis (gum disease), tooth decay, and mouth infections, such as thrush.

    Dry mouth can also make it hard to wear dentures.


    How Is Dry Mouth Treated?


    If you think your dry mouth is caused by certain medication you’re taking, talk to your dentist at Personal Care Dentistry. He or she may suggest you check with your medical doctor to adjust the dose you’re taking or switch you to a different drug that doesn’t cause dry mouth.

    Your dentist at Personal Care Dentistry may also suggest an oral rinse such as Biotene to restore mouth moisture. If that doesn’t help, you may want to consider a medication that boosts saliva production called Salagen.

    You can also try these other steps, which may help improve saliva flow:

    Suck on sugar-free candy or chew sugar-free gum.

    Drink plenty of water to help keep your mouth moist.

    Brush with a fluoride toothpaste, use a fluoride rinse, and visit your dentist regularly.

    Breathe through your nose, not your mouth, as much as possible.

    Use a room vaporizer to add moisture to the bedroom air.

    Use an over-the-counter artificial saliva substitute.




    • 19 MAR 15
    • 0

    Can’t Afford Quality Dental Care?

    Think Again – Personal Care Dentistry’s Comprehensive Dental Care Plan is Very Affordable 

    Happy-family-of-four-smiling-300x135Just because you don’t have health or dental insurance doesn’t mean you can’t have access to quality dental care at an affordable cost. Personal Care Dentistry recently introduced its Comprehensive Dental Care Plan, which is an annual reduced-fee saving plan for families and individuals that allows all members to receive quality dental services at greatly reduced prices. Unlike conventional insurance, with the Personal Care Dentistry’s plan there are no deductibles, no yearly maximums, and no waiting periods to begin treatment. The Comprehensive Dental Care Plan  begins immediately on plan registration.


    Benefits include:

    Free simple teeth cleaning (up to two per year)

    Free two annual scheduled exams per year

    All X-rays needed to complete annual exam(s)

    Free initial teeth whitening trays and mini-kit. Subsequently one courtesy mini-kit at each renewal

    Free two fluoride treatments per year

    A 20% savings on all dental procedures

    A 15% savings on all implant and Invisalign procedures


    A Comprehensive Dental Care Plan membership is $349 and only $299 for each additional family member.

    Eligible family members include spouse and dependent children under the age of 19 (up to age 23 if dependent child is a full-time student). All Care Plan membership fees are due and payable at the time of registration and are non-refundable. Plan duration is for one year from registration date. All patient portions for services received are due at time of services in order to receive benefits. Interest-free payment plans of 6, 12 or 18 months are available on request with approved credit. Repayment duration is based on service totals. When a payment plan is used, your Care Plan members savings maximum will be reduced by the percent of interest charged to us based on the duration of repayment at 6, 12 or 18 months. A missed appointment fee of 25% of treatment total will be charged for all missed dental appointments. Please notify our office at least 48 hours in advance if you must change a scheduled appointment.

    Give us a call today and we can answer any questions you may have and get you enrolled in our Comprehensive Dental Care Plan.


    • 18 MAR 15
    • 0

    How Much Do You Know About Your Pearly Whites?

    Your teeth and the structure of your mouth play important roles in your ability to eat and speak and stay healthy.

    Most of us take our teeth for granted … until something goes wrong. Our teeth help us chew and digest food, play an important role in speech, and impact our health overall. And by brushing up on your dental health knowledge, you’ll be taking the first step toward giving your teeth the attention they deserve.

    Loving Couple Smiling Together At HomeHow much do you know about your pearly whites?

    The Development of Teeth

    Humans have two sets of teeth, primary (or baby) teeth and then permanent teeth, which develop in stages. Although the timing is different, the development of each of these sets of teeth is similar. Here are some facts about how people develop teeth:

    Teeth tend to erupt in parallel, meaning that the top molar on your left side should grow in at about the same time as the top molar on the right.

    Tooth development begins long before your first tooth becomes visible. For example, a baby’s first tooth appears at around six months of age, but development of those teeth actually begins during the early second trimester of pregnancy.

    The crown of a tooth forms first, while the roots continue to develop even after the tooth has erupted.

    The 20 primary teeth are in place by age 3 and remain until around 6 years of age when they begin to fall out to make way for the permanent set of teeth.

    Adult teeth start to grow in between 6 and 12 years of age. Most adults have 32 permanent teeth.

    are larger and take longer to grow in than primary teeth.

    The Parts of the Tooth

    A tooth is divided into two basic parts: the crown, which is the visible, white part of the tooth, and the root, which you can’t see. The root extends below the gum line and anchors the tooth into the bone. Your teeth contain four substances and each does a different job. These include:

    Enamel. Enamel is the visible substance that covers the tooth crown. Harder than bone, enamel protects the tooth from decay. Enamel is made up of phosphorous and calcium.

    Dentin. Underneath the enamel you find dentin, which is calcified and looks similar to bone. Dentin is not quite as hard as enamel, so it is at greater risk for decay should the enamel wear away.

    Cementum. This tissue covers the tooth root and helps anchor it (cement it) into the bone. It is softer than enamel and dentin; the best way to protect this softer tissue from decay is by taking good care of your gums. Cementum has a light yellow color and is usually covered by the gums. But with inadequate dental care, the gums may become diseased and shrink, exposing the cementum to harmful plaque and bacteria.

    Pulp. Pulp is found at the center of your tooth and contains the blood vessels, nerves, and other soft tissues that deliver nutrients and signals to your teeth.

    Types of Teeth and What They Do

    Teeth help you chew your food, making it easier to digest. Each type of tooth has a slightly different shape and performs a different job. Types of teeth include:

    Incisors. Incisors are the eight teeth in the front and center of your mouth (four on top and four on bottom). These are the teeth that you use to take bites of your food. Incisors are usually the first teeth to erupt, at around 6 months of age for your first set of teeth, and between 6 and 8 years of age for your adult set.

    Canines. Your four canines are the next type of teeth to develop. These are your sharpest teeth and are used for ripping and tearing food apart. Primary canines generally appear between 16 and 20 months of age with the upper canines coming in just ahead of the lower canines. In permanent teeth, the order is reversed. Lower canines erupt around age 9 with the uppers arriving between 11 and 12 years of age.

    Premolars. Premolars, or bicuspids, are used for chewing and grinding food. You have four premolars on each side of your mouth, two on the upper and two on the lower jaw. The first premolars appear around age 10 and the second premolars arrive about a year later.

    Molars. Primary molars are also used for chewing and grinding food. These appear between 12 and 15 months of age. These molars, also known as decidious molars, are replaced by the first and second permanent premolars (four upper and four lower). The permanent molars do not replace, but come in behind the primary teeth. The first molars erupt around 6 years of age (before the primary molars fall out) while the second molars come in between 11 and 13 years of age.

    Third molars. Third molars are commonly known as wisdom teeth. These are the last teeth to develop and do not typically erupt until age 18 to 20, and some people never develop third molars at all. For those who do, these molars may cause crowding and need to be removed.

    Your mouth is important. Don’t take your teeth or oral health for granted. For good dental health, brush and floss your teeth regularly, don’t smoke, eat a healthy diet, and see your dentist regularly for dental cleanings and checkups. A healthy mouth makes for a healthy body … and a great smile.

    Source: Everyday Health



    • 11 MAR 15
    • 0

    Do You Keep Making Excuses to Not Floss Your Teeth?

    Learn the 8 most common excuses and what you can do to solve each one


    flossingDo you floss? Or, like many people, do you always seem to find a reason not to? A 2014 survey found that only 41% of Americans floss daily, and 20% never floss. That’s most unfortunate, because flossing is even more important than brushing when it comes to preventing periodontal (gum) disease and tooth loss.

    The list of excuses for not flossing are varied and many. But for every excuse, there is a simple workaround that can help you consistently floss and enjoy better oral health.


    Excuse #1: Food doesn’t get caught between my teeth, so I don’t need to floss.

    Flossing isn’t so much about removing food debris as it is about removing dental plaque, the complex bacterial ecosystem that forms on tooth surfaces between cleanings. Plaque is what causes tooth decay, inflamed gums (gingivitis), periodontal disease, and eventually tooth loss. Flossing or using an interdental cleaner is the only effective way to remove plaque between teeth.


    Excuse #2: I don’t know how to floss.

    Flossing isn’t easy. In fact, it’s often considered the most difficult personal grooming activity there is. But practice makes perfect. Here’s a great primer on how to floss from the American Dental Association:

    Start with about 18 inches of floss. Wrap most of it around the middle finger of one hand, the rest around the other middle finger.

    Grasp the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers, and use a gentle shoeshine motion to guide it between teeth.

    When the floss reaches the gum line, form a C shape to follow the contours of the tooth.

    Hold the floss firmly against the tooth, and move the floss gently up and down.

    Repeat with the other tooth, and then repeat the entire process with the rest of your teeth, “unspooling” fresh sections of floss as you go along.

    Don’t forget to floss the backs of your last molars. By far, most gum disease and most decay occurs in the back teeth.


    Excuse #3: I’m not coordinated enough to floss.

    Many tooth-cleaning options exist for people whose manual dexterity is compromised by poor coordination, hand pain, paralysis, and amputations — or simply by fingers that are too big to fit inside the mouth.

    One option is to use floss holders. These disposable plastic Y-shaped devices (some equipped with a spool of floss) hold a span of floss between two prongs to allow one-handed use.

    Another option is to forgo floss and clean between teeth using disposable toothpick-like dental stimulators (Stim-U-Dents, Soft-Picks, and so on); narrow spiral brushes (interproximal brushes); or the conical rubber nubs (tip stimulators) found at the end of many toothbrushes or mounted on their own handles.


    Excuse #4: I don’t have time to floss.

    flossbrushEffective flossing does take a while — once a day for several minutes is recommended. But even 60 seconds of flossing is of enormous benefit. As with exercise, bathing, and other daily activities, the key is to make flossing a habit. Keep floss in plain view, alongside your toothbrush and toothpaste. If you’re too tired to floss before bed, floss in the morning or afternoon. Or keep floss on hand and use it when you find the time.


    Excuse #5: It hurts when I floss.

    If flossing causes gum pain or bleeding, odds are you have gingivitis or gum disease — precisely the conditions for which flossing is beneficial. Stopping flossing because of bleeding [or pain] is just the opposite of what you should be doing. The good news? With daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing, gum pain and bleeding should stop within a week or two. If either persists, see a dentist.


    Excuse #6: My teeth are spaced too close together to floss.

    If unwaxed floss doesn’t work for your teeth, you might try waxed floss or floss made of super-slippery polytetrafluoroethylene. If the spacing between your teeth varies (or if you have significant gum recession), yarn-like “superfloss” may be a good bet. It stretches thin for narrow spaces and fluffs out to clean between teeth that are more widely spaced.


    Excuse #7: The floss keeps shredding.

    In many cases, broken or fraying floss is caused by a cavity or a problem with dental work — often a broken or poorly fabricated filling or crown. Consult your dentist.


    Excuse #8: I have dental work that makes flossing impossible.

    Try floss threaders. These monofilament loops make it easy to position floss around dental work.



    • 04 MAR 15
    • 0

    All Dental Fillings Are Not Created Equal

    A Guide to Options in Tooth Filling Materials

    image_07Most of us know that when you visit your dental office with a cavity, your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then “fill” the area on the tooth where the decayed material was removed. Fillings are also used to repair cracked or broken teeth and teeth that have been worn down from misuse (such as from nail-biting or tooth grinding).

    Once the decay in the tooth has been removed, you have multiple options for dental filling materials. Teeth can be filled with gold; porcelain; silver amalgam (which consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper); or tooth-colored, plastic, and glass materials called composite resin fillings. The location and extent of the decay, cost of filling material, patients’ insurance coverage, and your dentist’s recommendation assist in determining the type of filling best for you.





    Durability — lasts at least 10 to 15 years and usually longer; doesn’t corrode

    Strength — can withstand chewing forces

    Aesthetics — some patients find gold more pleasing to the eyethan silver, amalgam fillings.


    Expense — gold cast fillings cost more than other materials; up to 10 times higher than cost of silver amalgam fillings.

    Additional office visits — requires at least two office visits to place

    Galvanic shock — a gold filling placed immediately next to a silver, amalgam filling may cause a sharp pain(galvanic shock) to occur. The interaction between the metals and saliva causes an electric current to occur. It’s a rare occurrence, however.

    Aesthetics — most patients dislike metal “colored” fillings and prefer fillings that match the rest of the tooth.





    Durability — silver fillings last at least 10 to 15 years and outlasts composite (tooth-colored) fillings.

    Strength — can withstand chewing forces

    Expense — is less expensive than composite fillings


    Poor aesthetics — silver fillings don’t match the color of natural teeth.

    Destruction of more tooth structure — healthy parts of the tooth must often be removed to make a space large enough to hold the amalgam filling.

    Discoloration — amalgam fillings can create a grayish hue to the surrounding tooth structure.

    Cracks and fractures — although all teeth expand and contract in the presence of hot and cold liquids, which ultimately can cause the tooth to crack or fracture, amalgam material — in comparison with other filling materials — may experience a wider degree of expansion and contraction and lead to a higher incidence of cracks and fractures.

    Allergic reactions — a small percentage of people, approximately 1%, are allergic to the mercury present in amalgam restorations.





    Aesthetics — the shade/color of the composite fillings can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth. Composites are particularly well suited for use in front teeth or visible parts of teeth.

    Bonding to tooth structure — composite fillings actually chemically bond to tooth structure, providing further support.

    Versatility — in addition to use as a filling material for decay, composite fillings can also be used to repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth.

    Tooth-sparing preparation — sometimes less tooth structure needs to be removed compared with amalgam fillings when removing decay and preparing for the filling.


    Lack of durability — composite fillings wear out sooner than amalgam fillings (lasting at least five years compared with at least 10 to 15 for amalgams); in addition, they may not last as long as amalgam fillings under the pressure of chewing and particularly if used for large cavities.

    Increased chair time — because of the process to apply the composite material, these fillings can take up to 20 minutes longer than amalgam fillings to place.

    Additional visits — if composites are used for inlays or onlays, more than one office visit may be required.

    Chipping — depending on location, composite materials can chip off the tooth.

    Expense — composite fillings can cost up to twice the cost of amalgam fillings.




    In addition to tooth-colored, composite resin fillings, two other tooth-colored fillings exist — ceramics and glass ionomer.

    Ceramics – these fillings are made most often of porcelain, are more resistant to staining than composite resin material but are also more abrasive. This material generally lasts more than 15 years and can cost as much as gold.

    Glass ionomer is made of acrylic and a specific type of glass material. This material is most commonly used for fillings below the gum line and for fillings in young children (drilling is still required). Glass ionomers release fluoride, which can help protect the tooth from further decay. However, this material is weaker than composite resin and is more susceptible to wear and prone to fracture. Glass ionomer generally lasts five years or less with costs comparable to composite resin.




    Indirect fillings are similar to composite or tooth-colored fillings except they are made in a dental laboratory and require two visits before being placed. Indirect fillings are considered when not enough tooth structure remains to support a filling but the tooth is not so severely damaged that it needs a crown.

    During the first visit, decay or an old filling is removed. An impression is taken to record the shape of the tooth being repaired and the teeth around it. The impression is sent to a dental lab that will make the indirect filling. A temporary filling (described below) is placed to protect the tooth while the restoration is being made. During the second visit, the temporary filling is removed, and the dentist will check the fit of the indirect restoration. Provided the fit is acceptable, it will be permanently cemented into place.

    There are two types of indirect fillings — inlays and onlays:

    Inlays are similar to fillings but the entire work lies within the cusps (bumps) on the chewing surface of the tooth.

    Onlays are more extensive than inlays, covering one or more cusps. Onlays are sometimes called partial crowns.

    Inlays and onlays are more durable and last much longer than traditional fillings — up to 30 years. They can be made of tooth-colored composite resin, porcelain, or gold. Inlays and onlays weaken the tooth structure, but do so to a much lower extent than traditional fillings.

    Another type of inlay and onlay — direct inlays and onlays — follow similar processes and procedures as the indirect, but the difference is that direct inlays and onlays are made in the dental office and can be placed in one visit. The type of inlay or onlay used depends on how much sound tooth structure remains and consideration of any cosmetic concerns.

    Give us a call at Personal Care Dentistry and make an appointment with one of our dentists if you have a cavity that needs attention. We can go through all of your filling options and answer any questions you may have.





    • 25 FEB 15
    • 0

    The Ugly Truth About Your Toothbrush

    Your toothbrush may be nastier than you think. Find out when to ditch it.

    As you reach for your toothbrush each morning, you may not realize what’s hanging out on its bristles.Toothbrushes colorful

    “Toothbrushes can become contaminated with oral microbial organisms whenever they are placed in the mouth,” says Sharon Cooper, PhD., a clinical associate professor at the University of Florida College of Dentistry.

    Viruses and bacteria from an infected person’s mouth can live for weeks on a toothbrush surface, and continue to cause illness, notes Dr. Cooper.

    Even normal, healthy microorganisms can cause infections, especially if they enter your gum tissue due to an injury, a break, or an oral ulcer, she adds.

    Toothbrushes don’t have to be sold in sterile packaging, so they may have bacteria right out of the box, says the American Dental Association’s official statement on toothbrush care. So what should you do to avoid getting sick from your toothbrush?


    Keep It Clean

    You may not give much thought to cleaning your toothbrush, since you’re wetting it every day to scrub your teeth. However, it’s important – and easy – to do. How?

    Wash it. Give your toothbrush a thorough rinse with tap water to remove debris. If you have a systemic illness or immune disorder, you may want to soak it in antibacterial mouthwash or run it through the dishwasher, Dr. Cooper says.

    Try deep cleaning. There are many types of toothbrush sanitizers on the market, Dr. Cooper says. Some use ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms.

    Store it properly. After use, don’t pop that wet toothbrush back into your medicine cabinet, drawer, or bathroom cup and forget about it. Store it upright, in a rack or cup, where it can dry out. Look for a cover that lets air circulate and prevents mold, but isn’t completely sealed. The lack of air can foster bacteria.


    When to Call It Quits

    How long should you keep a toothbrush to prevent the ick from building up? Here are a few useful tips:

    Know when to let go. Replace your toothbrush about every 3 to 4 months, or when it shows signs of wear. “Frayed bristles will not clean the teeth and gums adequately,” Dr. Cooper says.

    Toss toothbrushes after illness. Throw away a brush you or anyone in your home used while sick. Yes, that means all toothbrushes. Treat electric or power models the same way you handle an old-fashioned one. Chuck the brush attachment after an illness or when the bristles begin to show signs of wear, Dr. Cooper says.


    No Sharing

    Tempted to lend a toothbrush to a family member? Don’t. Toothbrush sharing can transfer saliva and bacteria – even the kind that cause tooth decay. “Tooth decay is considered an infectious disease – one more reason not to share or borrow a toothbrush,” Dr. Cooper says.