Do you have a Dental Abscess?

If you think you have a dental abscess, you probably do! The pain is hard to miss. While the best way to identify and treat a dental abscess is to visit your dentist, it is still nice to know some information about dental abscesses before your visit. After you have set up an appointment at the dentist, here are some things you may want to know:

First and foremost, what is it? According to dentaly.org, it is “a pocket of pus that accumulates when a bacterial infection breaks down tissue.” This is a general definition as you can get abscesses all over your body. Abscesses form when your body is trying to protect itself from infection. When an abscess forms in your mouth, it can be both painful for you and harmful for your oral health.

The first thing your dentist will do after identifying the abscess is determine what type of abscess it is.

  1. There are gingival abscesses, also known as gum abscessed that can be found on the gingiva or gum line of your teeth.
  2. Then, there are periodontal abscesses that are more serious because they occur deep into the actual gum pockets leaving nowhere for the pus to drain.
  3. Finally, there is periapical abscesses found in the soft tooth pulp. This abscess is normally the result of decay inside the tooth.

While all abscesses are painful, and quite frankly no fun, some are much more serious then others. The best thing you can do is practice good oral health as a preventative measure. This means brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups.

Practicing good oral health will also help you if you do get an abscess. The earlier you identify it, the easier it will be to treat. Also, catching it early will decrease the likelihood of it progressing into something worse and causing significant oral damage. If you are concerned you have a dental abscess, make sure to see your dentist right away.

Mapping your Mouth

Have you ever wondered what is really going on inside your mouth? Well now it is time to find out. On your dental visits, you may hear your dentist call your teeth by specific names such as molars or incisors. Today, we are here to tell you what’s what in your mouth so you understand what your dentist is talking about.

If you take a look at the diagram below from Phoenix Children’s Hospital,  you can see where all of the different teeth are located in your mouth and around what age the teeth come in.  For more information on what each tooth is about see more information below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First, you have your central or lateral incisors. There are four incisors on each jaw, or in other words four on the top and four on the bottom. These teeth generally come in first and appear at the front of your mouth. Incisors are especially fitted for cutting your food as it enters your mouth.

Right after the incisors, you have your canine teeth. Canine teeth are also called cuspids, and these are the fang like teeth that are sharp and pointed. The purpose of these teeth is to help hold on to and tear food apart. One fun fact is that these teeth are often one of the largest teeth.

Finally, we have your molars. These are the teeth located at the back of your mouth used for grinding food. These teeth normally take the longest to come in and mature.

Keep in mind, this diagram is not always the same for everyone. We are all unique and different. Some people may have more of less teeth than others. However, generally this is what most of our mouths look like!

How to Form Healthy Habits

We understand that good oral health is not always easy. It takes time and effort, and it might seem annoying at times to remember to floss everyday or get out of bed when your forget to brush your teeth. However, forming strong oral health habits is not as hard as it sounds, and it is critical to your health.

We have all dismissed the sweet hygienist or dutiful dentist who reminded us to try to floss more and not to skip a brushing at least once. We think it will take too much time to add flossing to our daily routine or that is is just not worth it, but both of those are misconceptions. It will not take that much time, and creating healthy habits such as this will have a great impact on your teeth, your health, and your life.

To help you start forming healthy oral health habits, we have done some research on how to build and create habits. Hopefully, these ideas will not only help you take care of your teeth, but also they may be useful in other areas of your life.

We have all heard it only takes 21 days to form or destroy a habit, but it actually takes much longer than that, so be patient! Studies have shown that it actually takes at least 66 days to make a habit stick. The art of creating a habit is creating an effective system that works for you.

First, you need a “cue” that reminds you to brush your teeth of floss. For me, this can be leaving my floss on the counter or a note reminding me to floss on my mirror. The second step is actually taking the time to complete the task. In this case, listen to your dentist. Brush. Floss. Gargle. Finally, make sure your reward yourself whether this be silent praise or some special time reading a book before bed. In this case, try to avoid food! But, make sure to be proud that you remembered!

It sounds easy, and it is. We are creatures of habit. The more we do this, the easier it becomes. If you miss a day though, don’t throw in the towel. Winners never quit, and neither should you. Just do the best you can for as long as you can, and you will be on your way to a beautiful healthy smile.

Taking Care of your Dental Bridges and Crown

If you have just had a dental procedure to get a dental bridge or crown, you may be wondering how to make sure that your bridge or crown will last as long as possible. If properly taken care of, crowns and bridges can actually even potentially last a life time.

At Masters Dental, we want to make sure your dental crown or bridge lasts as long as possible, so here are two simply and easy guidelines for good oral health care and for protecting your dental crown or bridges.

First, make sure you are keeping up with your daily oral health care routine including twice daily brushing and flossing using fluoride and other approved toothpastes. This also means that you need to make sure to keep up with your dental appointments. Regular cleanings and check-ups are important. This will allow you dentist to spot a problem before it becomes serious.

Second, watch what you eat. Your crowns and bridges aren’t entirely invincible. Even superman has his kryptonite. Avoid chewing extra hard food such as chewing ice, especially near the location or your bridge or crown. Also, there is not reason to put other hard objects in your mouth. If you like to use your teeth to rip tape or open containers, this isn’t a good idea.

For more information on dental crowns and bridges, check out Colgate’s great informative website. Masters Dental is also hear to help of you have any questions.

How to Reduce Plaque

Plaque … we all have to deal it. No matter how well we brush and floss, it seems to never go away. Lucky for us, this is why we go to the dentist to keep our teeth clean, healthy, and free of plaque.

However, if you have a lot of plaque built up every time you go to the dentist, you may not be doing everything you can to help reduce plaque build up on your teeth. Here is a list of some ways you can reduce plaque:

  1. Brush and Floss regularly! Yes, we know this is the obvious one, but it is also the easiest and one of the most important. Good daily oral health routines are one of the best ways you can fight off plaque build up on your teeth. It is easy to go to bed saying you will only skip tonight, but all too quickly that becomes a habit. Don’t skip the basics! Make sure you brush twice a day for at least two minutes and remember to floss as well!
  2. Choose your toothpaste wisely. Depending on your toothpaste, you can have a higher likelihood of reducing plaque. If you have an issue with plaque build up, check to see if you are using a tartar-control toothpaste and/or a fluoride toothpaste. If not, consider switching.
  3. Get an upgrade. Get an electronic toothbrush. These toothbrushes have been shown to eliminate plaque and give a deeper clean than normal manual toothbrushes. Skeptical? Give it a try and find out.
  4. Consider your diet. What you put in your mouth is important too! The food you eat can actually effect plaque build up. Not only that, but also if you plan to eat food high in acidity or sugar content you may need to brush and floss longer and/or more frequently to ensure all the remaining food particles and bacteria are removed from your teeth.

We help these four reminders keep your teeth looking better than ever. Remember though, your semi-annual dental appointments are just as important to keeping your teeth healthy.

Why should I limit my soda consumption?

There is nothing like a sip of a cold soda on a hot summer’s day. Whether it’s the cool refreshing taste of a pepsi or a coke, we all have our signature drink. For those of you who just can’t get enough of your favorite soft drink though, there can be some negative consequences for your teeth. While we are not here to tell you to never drink soda again, there are some important facts you should keep in mind.

First and foremost, soda consumption has a strong correlation to tooth decay and other medical issues. In other words, the more soda you drink, the more likely you are to have cavities and other oral issues. In today’s society, more and more people are passing up water or milk for these sugar packed beverages, and more and more people are having oral issues as a result.

The fact is that when you drink soda, the sugar in the soda combines with the bacteria already present in your mouth to create acid. Then, this acid attacks your teeth and tooth enamel. Regardless if you opt for sugar free options, there is acid that works to harm your teeth in all soda products. According to the American Dental Association and the Wisconsin Dental Association, acid attacks your teeth for about 20 minutes after you drink a soda. Therefore, they use the slogan “sip all day, get decay.”

The number one thing you can do is remember to drink soda in moderation. Soda is not inherently bad, as long as your practice good oral health and avoid over consumption. If you are a frequent soda drinker, start by trying to reduce your consumption to once a day. Then perhaps you can move to only drinking soda on weekends and when you go out to eat.

However, soda is not the only sugared beverage to consider. You should also try to limit your consumption of 100 percent juices and other high sugar content drinks. These also combine with bacteria in your mouth to form acid and attack your teeth.

While you may love soda and sugary drinks, it’s important for you teeth that you remember what these are doing to your body. Limiting soda consumption will drastically reduce your risk for tooth decay, cavities, and other oral health issues.

My Tooth is Loose

Having a loose adult tooth can be scary! What if it falls out? You will need an expensive replacement tooth to restore your full set of teeth.

Why is my tooth loose?

First, let’s look at why your tooth may be loose. There could be a number of factors contributing to your loose tooth, but you can probably guess the most common reason. That’s right – impact. Falling and hitting your tooth is obviously a factor contributing to loose teeth.

Another reason for loose adult teeth is tooth grinding. Some adults may grind or clench their teeth at night, which can stretch out the ligaments. This can cause the tooth to feel loose, especially in the mornings.

Another cause of loose teeth can be gum disease. Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque around the gum line. It’s an infection that can damage or destroy your gums and tooth ligaments, causing teeth to feel loose. Gum disease has many other effects and should be treated as soon as possible.

What are my treatment options?

Your treatment options for your loose tooth depend on what caused the tooth to become loose in the first place. Some teeth may tighten up on their own, but it’s always best to visit your dentist before assuming your tooth will be fine because other teeth may need treatment.

If you knocked your tooth loose due to impact, your dentist will likely splint your tooth. Splinting gives your tooth extra support by bonding it to neighboring teeth in order to keep the loose tooth stable and still. Splints are usually only worn a couple of weeks to give your ligaments time to heal.

If you loosened your tooth by grinding your teeth, you will be given a mouth guard to sleep with a night. This will help cushion your teeth and keep you from clinching and grinding so the ligaments are not placed under stress and can heal.

If your loose tooth is caused by gum disease you will need to undergo a more lengthy treatment. A few deep cleaning appointments may be necessary to remove the buildup of plaque. Your dentist will advise you on this depending on the severity of your gum disease.

If your tooth cannot be saved, it may have to be extracted. You will be given an implant or bridge to replace the missing tooth.

Don’t fear!

Just because your adult tooth is loose does not mean you will loose it. There are several easy options to help save your tooth if you visit your dentist as soon as possible.

Periodontal Disease

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, also commonly referred to as gum disease, is when bacteria infect your gums and mouth. “Peri” means around, and “odontal” refers to teeth. Periodontal disease can affect any part around the teeth including the gums, roots, ligaments, and bone.

I thought gum disease was called gingivitis?

Gingivitis, another result of bacteria in the mouth, usually comes before periodontal disease. Gingivitis refers to the early stages of bacteria, which manifests itself in plaque buildup around the teeth. This causes the gums to often bleed during brushing or flossing.

What causes periodontal disease?

Plaque causes periodontal disease, but there are some other common risk factors including:

  • Poor oral hygiene: lack of brushing and flossing make periodontal disease easier to develop
  • Genetics: things such as family history or having crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean can contribute to development of periodontal disease
  • Habits: smoking or chewing tobacco make it harder for the gums to repair themselves
  • Hormones: changes that occur in puberty, pregnancy, etc. can make periodontal disease easier to develop
  • Illness: some illnesses such as cancer or diabetes can put you at higher risk for periodontal diseases. The medication you take can contribute as well.

What happens if I have periodontal disease?

If your gingivitis is left untreated, it can (but not always) develop into periodontal disease. If it does progress, the inner layer of the gum will pull away from the teeth, forming pockets. These pockets can become infected because they easily collect germs and debris. Toxins, produced by the bacteria as well as enzymes in your body trying to fight the bacteria off, will begin to break the tissues and bones that hold your teeth in place. This deepens the pockets formed earlier and destroys everything that anchors your teeth in place. This causes your tooth to become loose and eventually fall out.

How is periodontal disease treated?

Treatment varies from person to person, but can range from therapies to stop bacterial growth to surgery to restore tissues. The goal of all treatments is to reduce the infection and stop the disease from further development. The best treatment is to see you dentist as soon as possible if you think you may have periodontal disease.

Why You Should Smile Every Day

Smiling comes naturally to us. Whether it be because someone told a funny joke or because you just got a promotion, you smile when you are happy. But did you know smiling could actually trigger positive thoughts in your brain? Smiling actually trains your brain to think more positive thoughts. So don’t hesitate on showing off your pearly whites – here are 5 reasons to smile daily!

1. It can improve your mood.

2. Smiling makes you more trustworthy.

Many psychological studies have shown that people with smiles are evaluated as more trustworthy than those with other facial expressions.

3. It can reduce stress.

Some people unwind with a glass of wine or a massage, but did you know that smiling can do the trick? A 2012 University of Kansas experiment showed that people who were asked to perform a stressful task experienced a reduced heart rate and quicker stress recovery when told to smile while completing the task.

4. It makes you stronger.

Because smiling can reduce the stress in your mind, it can reduce the stress in your body as well. Your cells can distinguish if your body feels safety or danger and will adjust themselves accordingly. When you smile, your cells detect safety and will become less rigid. This can help make your cells stronger and healthier.

5. Smiling makes you more approachable 

Would you want to talk to someone who looked angry or someone who had a smile on their face? Obviously most people would choose the smiling person. People who are smiling appear more approachable than those who are not.

We’ve given you some great reasons to show off that beautiful smile of yours, and we hope you will put these tips to use and smile daily for a happier, healthier you! If you’re not happy with your smile, we can help! Come visit us at Masters Dental today and we can give you the smile you’ve always dreamed of.

The Secret Behind Whitening Toothpastes

You head to the oral health section or the grocery store, and you stare at the full shelves. There are so many product to choose from it is hard to know what too choose. You’ve been trying to whiten your teeth, but the whitening toothpastes probably don’t really work, right?

You may be worried that whitening toothpastes either don’t work or will hurt your teeth. Today, we are going to set the record straight by explaining just how exactly whitening toothpastes differ from normal toothpastes.

First, all toothpastes are mildly abrasive as it is their job to remove stains on your teeth and keep your teeth clean. However, some whitening toothpastes have additional ingredients that allow this process to be more effective. These can be gentle polishing or chemical agents.

Don’t worry though, these toothpastes can only help fight to remove surface stains as not to harm your teeth. They cannot contain bleach or hydrogen peroxide. In order for more serious whitening, you must get professional or over-the-counter medications for it.

Therefore, you do not need to worry about whitening toothpastes hurting you teeth. Also, whitening toothpastes can actually be effective because there is a difference between normal toothpaste and whitening toothpastes, just check the ingredients.

Keep in mind though, these toothpastes will likely only lighten your teeth by one shade, whereas professional medications would show much more drastic change of many shades.

If you are considering professional whitening or even want to consult about the types of toothpastes that would be best for your mouth, Masters Dental is here for you.