How To Prevent Cavities & Tooth Decay
Preventing Cavities in Omaha, NE
Cavities, often referred to as tooth decay, are tiny holes that develop in the hard surface of your teeth. They are most common in children and teenagers, but they can affect everyone including infants and toddlers. Take a closer look at what causes cavities and how you can prevent them.
What Causes a Tooth Cavity?
Cavities typically occur as a result of poor oral health habits but other various factors can increase the risk of getting a cavity, including:
- Dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when there is a lack of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps wash away food stuck on the teeth and it counters the acid produced from bacteria in the mouth, which reduces the chance for cavities.
- Foods and drinks. Certain foods aren’t as easily washed away from saliva, making them more likely to cause decay. Foods you should limit include: ice cream, honey, sugar, soda, cake, chips, cookies, and hard candy.
- Constant snacking or sipping. Drinking or eating frequently throughout the day results in increased bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria produce the acids that attack tooth enamel.
How to Prevent Cavities
Regular dental visits and daily brushing and flossing are the best protection against cavities. If you get a cavity, it should be treated right away. But, cavities left untreated get larger and larger, affecting the deeper layers of your teeth. Deeper cavities result in higher chances of experiencing severe toothache and infection. So, when it comes to cavities, prevention is key. Below are some of our cavity preventions tips:
- Brush and Floss. Brush and floss twice a day, ideally after each meal.
- Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Professional teeth cleanings remove plaque that builds up overtime which isn’t removed by regular brushing and flossing. Going to the dentist twice a year is one of the best cavity prevention options.
- Dental sealants. Sealants protect the tooth enamel from harmful plaque and bacteria.
What Is The Best Teeth Whitening Option?
Professional Teeth Whitening vs. At-Home Teeth Whitening
Both at-home and professional whitening methods rely on peroxide bleaching agents to break down and remove tooth stains. The concentration of this active ingredient, however, is the key differentiator:
- At-Home Solutions: Over-the-counter products typically contain 3% to 20% peroxide, offering gradual results over longer periods.
- Professional Solutions: Dentist-supervised treatments boast a higher concentration of 14% to 43% peroxide, delivering faster and more dramatic whitening.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Professional teeth whitening offers several advantages over at-home methods:
- Enhanced Safety & Precision: Dentists ensure proper application to protect your gums and target whitening only to your teeth.
- Faster & More Dramatic Results: Higher peroxide concentrations translate to quicker and more noticeable brightening.
- Customized Trays: Custom-made trays guarantee a snug fit, maximizing whitening efficacy and minimizing tooth sensitivity.
- Expert Supervision: Throughout the process, your dentist monitors your progress and addresses any concerns
At-Home Whitening Whitening Products
While professional treatments reign supreme in terms of safety and effectiveness, at-home whitening products offer certain benefits:
- Cost-Effectiveness: Over-the-counter options are significantly cheaper than professional treatments.
- Convenience: You can whiten your teeth at your own pace and comfort in the privacy of your home.
- Variety of Products: A wide range of whitening strips, pens, and toothpastes cater to different needs and preferences.
No matter which option you choose, consulting your dentist for a personalized recommendation is crucial. They can assess your tooth health, recommend the most suitable method based on your specific needs, and address any concerns you may have. Remember, at-home whitening products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance are generally considered safe and effective.
Cavities In Baby Teeth
Baby teeth are the primary set of teeth that come in as early as 6 months. Your child should see a dentist as a soon as their first tooth appears or no later than their first birthday. Parents commonly wonder if it’s really necessary to take care of baby teeth since they fall out anyways. It is very important for your child’s oral health and development that baby teeth are taken care of and if your child has cavities in their baby teeth that we take care of them as early as possible.
Functions of Baby Teeth
There are numerous functions that baby teeth provide, including chewing, speaking, and maintaining space for permanent teeth. The ability to chew properly begins with healthy baby teeth. Proper chewing breaks down particles in food, helping your child properly digest nutrients and reduces the risk of choking. Once your child starts learning to talk, missing or improperly placed teeth can negatively affect their speech patterns and potentially result in a noticeable speech impediment. Baby teeth also maintain the spot for permanent teeth to come in correctly. If the teeth aren’t positioned correctly or if they fall out too early, there could be resulting damage to the permanent teeth,
Baby Teeth With Cavities
Children are more prone to cavities. This is a result of their lack of fine motor skills that help them properly brush and floss their teeth. It is also due to the face that the layer of enamel that covers baby teeth is much more thin than the enamel that protects adult teeth. Baby teeth with cavities can be pulled out or filled, depending on your child’s overall tooth development. Teeth damaged by cavities can negatively affect your child by causing pain that results in them not properly chewing or speaking, or lead to infection in nearby teeth.
Cavities in baby teeth grow faster than they do in adult teeth. Because of the thinner enamel in baby teeth, once the softening of the enamel begins, you have much less time to treat the cavity. If the cavity is left untreated the infection will rapidly progress, so early and quick intervention is key.
If your child has pain during brushing or chewing, increased sensitivity to hold or cold drinks/food, or visible discoloration—they might have a cavity. We can offer tooth fillings to repair cavities or dental sealants to help prevent cavities. If you believe your child has a cavity—contact our office.Learn More About Fillings and Sealants
What Are the Pros and Cons of Dental Implants?
One of the hottest topics in dentistry today is the use of dental implants. Implants have certainly revolutionized the field of tooth replacement . If you are considering dental implants for missing teeth, you need to know the facts. There are pros and cons of dental implants that are carefully weighed by your dentist before surgery can be scheduled.
Research continually shows that dental implants are the best long term solution to replace missing teeth. However, like any type of surgery, there are advantages and disadvantages.
Cons of Dental Implants
No procedure is right for everyone, including dental implants. While there are some risks associated with dental implants, they are relatively mild. The disadvantages include:
1. You have to meet a set of requirements
In order to have dental implant surgery, you first have to meet certain criteria. As the procedure involves anchoring the implant to your jaw bone, if you’ve experienced significant bone loss as a result of losing teeth, there may not be enough for the dental implant to be successful. You also have to be in good health so your jaw bone can fully recover.
2. The cost of the procedure
While dental implants are the best long term solution for tooth loss, they’re not always the most cost effective. However, dental implants are well worth the price for the comfort, confidence and natural feel they give you.
3. The procedure can be lengthy
Dental implants are not a quick fix and can take several months to complete. If you’re replacing an existing damaged tooth, this will first need to be removed. Your dentist will then need to prepare the tooth site before fitting the implant anchor. Once the anchor has been fitted, you’ll need to wait several months while it heals and the surrounding bone grows. The final stage of the procedure involves placing the artificial tooth.
Pros of Dental Implants
While there are some drawbacks to dental implants, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
1. They look and feel like natural teeth
Dental implants have the appearance of real teeth. In fact, once your implant has been fitted, you’ll hardly be able to tell the difference between your replacement tooth and your real teeth. Implants also won’t feel any different from your regular teeth. Since the implants are anchored to your jaw, they’ll feel just as strong as your regular teeth too.
2. You can eat and chew with ease
Unlike dentures, implants won’t feel any different than your regular teeth when eating and chewing. Once the dental implant procedure is complete, you can eat what you want! Whether you fancy crunchy snacks, chewy foods, or hot or cold drinks, you can eat and drink without concern — just remember not to overdo the sugary treats.
3. Dental implants can last a lifetime
Implants are a long-lasting tooth replacement solution. You may need to replace the crowns every 10-15 years, but if you look after the implants, they can last a lifetime.
4. They’re easy to take care of
You should take care of your implants the same way you would take care of your regular teeth with daily brushing and flossing, regular dental checkups and a healthy diet.
5. They prevent bone loss
Dental implants are anchored into your jaw, similar to your real teeth. The screw thread of the implant acts as the root of a natural tooth, so with dental implants, your jaw bone remains strong and you won’t experience bone loss.
You can see that the advantages heavily outweigh the disadvantages. Dental implants have been proven to be a great option for people who suffer from tooth loss. We always want to make our patients look and feel great, and dental implants is a great way to do that. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have, so contact us today!Learn More About Dental Implants
Root Canal Symptoms To Watch Out For
Each year, over 60 million Americans visit the dentist. Many of these visits are attributed to cavities—small holes in teeth that let bacteria in. But sometimes, other dental issues occur that require additional treatments. Root canals are considered the best option for saving a damaged tooth when an abscess is present. Below are some root canal symptoms to watch out for.
Signs You Need A Root Canal
1. Persistent Pain
Having persistent pain is one way to tell if you need a root canal. The pain might be constant, or it might go away, but it always comes back. You may feel the pain deep in the bone of your tooth, or it might be in your jaw, face or other teeth.
Tooth pain may have other causes, such as gum disease, cavities, or an impacted tooth, but it’s always a good idea to talk with your dentist if you have tooth pain.
2. Tooth Discoloration
An infection in the pulp of your tooth can cause your tooth to become discolored. Trauma to the tooth or the breakdown of the internal tissue can damage the roots and give the tooth a grayish-black appearance. While there might be other reasons a tooth is discolored, it could be cause for a root canal so talk with your dentist!
3. Sensitivity to Heat and Cold
When your teeth start to hurt from drinking a hot cup of coffee or drinking ice water, you may need a root canal.
The pain can be just a dull feeling. It can be a sharp pain that lingers for an extended period of time, even after you’ve finished eating or drinking. If your tooth hurts when you eat or drink something hot or cold, the blood vessels and nerves in your tooth could be infected or damaged.
4. Swollen Gums
Swollen gums near a painful tooth can indicate you need root canal. Even if the swelling comes and go. If it’s tender or painful to the touch, please contact our office.
There also might be a pimple like abscess on your gum, which may ooze pus from the infection of the tooth. This can give you an unpleasant taste in your mouth and make your breath smell bad.
5. A Chipped or Cracked Tooth
If you’ve chipped or cracked your tooth in an accident, in a contact sport, or by chewing on something hard, bacteria can set in and lead to inflammation and infection. Even if your tooth didn’t crack but you injured it, the injury can still cause damage to the nerves of the tooth. The nerve can become inflamed and cause pain and sensitivity, which may require root canal treatment.
These are just a few signs that you may need a root canal. If you have any of these root canal symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk with your dentist—contact us and we can talk you through possible solutions.Learn More About Root Canal Treatment
One Year Update: COVID-19 and Dental Offices
It’s been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic changed almost every aspect of our daily lives—including regularly visiting the dentist. However, this should soon be a thing of the past. Not visiting the dentist was one of the many ripple-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and even though it is not over, yet, things are looking up.
According to the ADA Health Policy Institute, confidence in going back to the dentist hit a new high since the pandemic started, with 94% of patients stating they are ready to go back to the dentist or they have already gone back to see the dentist, compared to August of 2020 where only 78% of patients had been back or were ready to go back to the dentist.
If you’re ready for your next dental checkup, contact us today to setup an appointment!
Continued Safety Protocols
As more and more people become fully vaccinated, the CDC has started to provide less-restrictive guidelines for these people. However, most recommended precautions, such as using personal protective equipment, have not changed for health care settings, including dental offices.
Even though we are seeing COVID-19 case numbers trending down, we still ask that you follow our guidelines for your safety and the safety of others, including:
- Do not come to the office if you have any symptoms of COVID-19
- Limit the number of people you bring to your appointment, if possible
- Wear a mask until notified that you can remove it
Per the CDC, we are regularly consulting with our state and local health departments for region-specific information and recommendations, as they monitor trends in local case counts and adjust accordingly.
We understand that you may not feel comfortable quite yet, or you have questions about the protocols we’ve implemented in our office to keep patients safe. You can review our entire list of COVID-19 Safety Protocols or you can contact us and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.