If you see your dentist in Doylestown regularly, then you’ve probably had a dental x-ray or two taken in your life. The reason we rely on x-rays so heavily is that they’re absolutely a crucial part of creating a custom treatment plan that’s going to address your dental issues and needs, the right way.
We know it may seem like they’re just any other x-ray and you might even wonder why you actually even need dental x-rays in the first place. The truth is, these images can save your smile and maybe even your life. Let’s learn more about what x-rays are and what they do for you.
Why Do We Need X-Rays?
Radiographs or x-rays are relied on heavily for preventive dentistry or to help fix issues such as cavities, decay, and breakage. Generally, dentists rely on 2D or 3D imaging to gain a better understanding of what’s going on inside your mouth, highlighting your jaw bone health and tooth structure that lies beneath your gums and enamel. It gives us the added ability to find out if something is going on inside your mouth or teeth that’s not 100 percent visible to the naked eye.
Are Dental X-Rays Going to Expose Me to Radiation?
Most of the x-rays used in dental offices across the country today give off a minimal amount of radiation. It’s important to note that you should always limit your exposure to x-rays and avoid repeated use as it can damage cells over time due to the small, continued radiation aftereffects.
Dental x-rays are certainly safer than ever thanks to advancements in dentistry over the years. Dentists now rely on using lower x-ray dosages, higher quality film, film holders, and well-designed, full-body aprons lined with lead. It’s important to note though that most of the modern dental x-ray technology that’s available today give off very little stray radiation.
How Do Dental X-Rays Work?
The process of obtaining a good dental x-ray image can occur a few ways. Usually, a dentist or a dental specialist will cover you with the iron apron for protection before putting a small plastic device in your mouth and asking you to bite down. Your bite is going to hold the x-ray film in place for accurate, immediate results.
In instances like this where we’re x-raying the inside of your mouth, it’s referred to as obtaining intraoral photos. There are also several extraoral x-rays that your Doylestown dentist and orthodontists can use to help fix a smile, with extra meaning outside of your mouth. These images are useful in seeing your jaw bone and entire skull as a whole how it relates to your mouth and oral health.
If you’re experiencing a problem or if you feel like something isn’t right with your smile, please call our Doylestown dental office. We may need to use one of these super cool x-ray techniques to help get you and your smile back into tip-top shape.
We always like to take a moment this time of year to dedicate a special blog to eating healthy in honor of National Nutrition Month. Ask anyone of our team members at our dental office in Doylestown, and they’re going to tell you how important it is to make sure you’re only putting good foods into your body. This will help ensure that your smile (and the rest of you) stays healthy so that you can live a long, happy life.
How Do I Know What to Eat?
The first thing your dentist in Doylestown is going to recommend is that you limit the amount of sugar, fats, and processed foods in your diet. Let’s take a look at some helpful, healthy replacements you can easily incorporate in both your personal diet and the foods you feed your family.
- Replace sugary sodas and sports drinks with: Water. It’s just that simple. Water is the best way for your mouth and your body to stay hydrated which is essential to your overall health. Think of water like a superhero when it comes to protecting your body. By drinking plenty of water every day, you’re going to wash away food and debris that can get stuck in your teeth, as well as stimulate your body to produce more saliva– which is your best defense against smile deterioration because it’s rich with minerals and proteins.
- Replace acidic foods with: Foods that are high in calcium and phosphorus. Both calcium and phosphorus aren’t going erode your teeth like foods that cause the formation of harmful acid in your mouth. These elements can help keep your enamel and gums going strong.
- To get more calcium: Try cheese (aged, hard), plain yogurt, low-fat milk, fish, almonds, and tofu
- To get more phosphorus: Try nuts, red meat, eggs, pumpkin seeds, and fish
- Replace unhealthy snacks with: Hard, crunchy foods that contain large amounts of water. Again, crunching and munching on these foods is going to signal your mouth to create more saliva, which is beneficial to keeping your smile free from cavity-causing bacteria. Crunchy foods can even act like a toothbrush, helping to remove excess plaque and unwanted food particles. Try raw celery, cucumbers, apples, and carrots to add an extra, healthy bite to your diet.
Do I Really Need to Avoid Sugar?
The simple answer is yes. We know it can be hard, especially when sugars are hidden everywhere. Carbohydrate-loaded foods, even though they’re not overtly overflowing with sugars, will break down into simple sugars in your body, and this is just as dangerous as eating sweets and drinking sugary beverages. Try to be more mindful of what the labels say when you’re shopping at the store for you and your family in order to reduce or even eliminate the number of carbs your family regularly intakes.
Our Doylestown dental office knows hows challenging it can be to change your diet, especially when you’ve got a hungry, picky family to feed. If you find that you’re not eating as healthy as you should be, try taking small steps to get your diet back on track. You won’t regret making the change for your smile and yourself.
Halitosis, or more commonly referred to as bad breath, can happen to anyone. It can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. But what’s more concerning for the team at our dental office in Doylestown is that bad breath can be a sign of something more serious. Let’s take a look at what causes bad breath and some ways you can get rid of it.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath can be caused by something temporary such as fragrant food or something like coffee. This type of bad breath usually resolves itself and is probably nothing to worry about. However, when bad breath becomes an ongoing occurrence, you should consider calling your dentist in Doylestown.
Chronic bad breath is typically caused by an overabundance of bacteria in the mouth. Now, while the bacteria themselves don’t smell bad, the byproduct they give off after feeding certainly does. This byproduct is stinky hydrogen sulfide and it’s what we’re referring to when we talk about smelling bad breath.
Why is Bad Breath Concerning?
Besides causing embarrassment, bad breath can be an early symptom of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious problem not only for your mouth but also for your body. Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss, sensitivity, and has even been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Essentially, bad breath is something you should take seriously and seek proactive treatment.
How to Get Rid of Bad Breath
If you suffer from bad breath, there are few tips you can try.
- Practice Good Oral Hygiene. Making sure that you brush and floss daily is a great way to get rid of bacteria that could contribute to bad breath if left alone. Clean the surface of every tooth, under the gum line, and the tongue.
- Choose Water. Keeping your mouth hydrated helps wash away bacteria which can lower your risk of bad breath. When our mouths don’t get enough water, they dry out and saliva production slows, leaving bacteria free to linger around.
- See Your Dentist. Maintaining regular visits to your Doylestown dentist can not only help protect your smile from cavities, it can also help catch any potential problems before they have a chance to become serious… including gum disease. If you’re worried about your bad breath, or if it’s been longer than six months since your last dental appointment, give us a call today.
Toothaches can happen at any time, anywhere, and to anyone. When they do make an appearance, they can cause severe pain and leave us wanting immediate relief. At our dental office in Doylestown, we understand the discomfort associated with a toothache and are here to share our top five tips to get rid of one.
Before we dive into the best toothache remedies out there, it’s important to note that a toothache is usually a sign of a bigger problem. While there are ways you can treat a toothache at home, please note that the relief is temporary and you should schedule an appointment with your dentist in Doylestown as quickly as you can to get treated.
Top 5 Toothache Treatments
- Warm Salt Water – Mix a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water until it dissolves then take a sip and swish the mixture around in your mouth. After a few seconds, spit it into the sink. You can repeat this a few times throughout the day. The salt can help dry out any fluid that may be putting pressure on the nerves and give you some relief.
- Ice Packs – Ice has been a trusted method to treat many injuries because it can decrease inflammation. Toothaches are no different. Wrap an ice pack in a shirt or cloth and gently apply it your cheek for 15 minutes at a time. Make sure to give your skin a rest in between icings.
- Anti-inflammatory Medication – If you can safely take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, it may help ease your toothache pain. Take any medications as directed and never apply a pill or a crushed up pill directly to the gums or tooth. This will only result in more pain and more problems.
- Floss – Floss can be a lifesaver if your toothache is caused by a piece of food that’s wedged between your teeth. Simply take a piece of floss or a floss pick and carefully wiggle it between the painful area and try to remove anything that may be stuck in there. Don’t use too much pressure or be too rough.
- Over-the-Counter Anesthetic – There are plenty of over-the-counter oral anesthetics designed to ease toothache pain. These anesthetics can provide temporary relief by numbing the area. However, oral anesthetics are not designed to be used for long periods of time.
Reduce Your Risk
Even though there’s no fool-proof way to completely avoid a toothache, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of one. Brushing and flossing daily as well as maintaining visits to our Doylestown dental office every six months can help protect your teeth and treat any problems before they have a chance to sneak up on you and cause a toothache.
Don’t let the pain of a toothache take its toll on you. Try the remedies above and see your dentist as soon as you can.
As 2018 comes to an end and we’re starting to think about all of the good things waiting for us next year, it’s common to set resolutions in order to help make 2019 the best year ever. Our dental office in Doylestown wants to remind our neighbors and patients that making resolutions for better oral health can be a great place to start. In this blog, we cover five ways you can help improve the health of your smile and your whole body in 2019…
- Quit Smoking. One of the most common New Year’s resolutions made every year is to quit smoking. Smoking, or using any product containing nicotine, is a dangerous habit that’s highly addictive, which makes it really difficult to quit. But we know you can do it. Quitting smoking can reduce your risk for heart disease, cancer, and respiratory problems. It can also help protect your mouth from gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer. Work with your healthcare provider or find support tools online and make 2019 the year you kick the habit.
- Eat Healthier. Another common resolution is to eat healthier. Whether it’s for weight loss, to lower cholesterol, or simply to fuel your body with more nutrients, eating better can benefit your entire body, including your mouth. Fruits and veggies, for example, help to decrease inflammation levels and provide your body with tons of antioxidants. Foods in the fruit and vegetable family also protect your teeth and gums from plaque buildup and dangerous bacteria that can lead to decay.
- Choose Water. Drinking the recommended eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day helps to keep your body functioning as it should. Water also effectively rinses away bacteria and neutralizes acid in the mouth that otherwise would eat away at tooth enamel. Choose to quench your thirst using water as opposed to soda or other sugar-packed drinks and keep yourself hydrated and healthy.
- Improve the Look of Your Smile. Cosmetic dentistry isn’t only about appearance. The truth is, crooked teeth, missing teeth, and other aesthetic concerns can also affect the function and health of your mouth. From dental veneers to dental implants, to orthodontics and dental crowns, there are numerous cosmetic dentistry options available to help resolve any concern you may have. Talk with your dentist and find the best smile makeover treatment for you and your health.
- Schedule an Appointment with Your Dentist in Doylestown. Maintaining regular appointments with your dentist can go a long way in keeping your smile (and whole body) healthy. Research suggests several links to oral health and whole-body problems such as heart disease. Seeing your dentist at least twice a year can help catch any problems, whether related directly to oral health or systemic health, early before they have a chance to cause real trouble.
As we near turning the page on a new calendar year, make resolutions to get your smile the healthiest it’s ever been. Start by calling our Doylestown dental office and scheduling an appointment. We’re here to help you.
Tooth pain is a pain like no other, and when you have it you’re willing to do just about anything to get rid of it. This includes perhaps not thinking twice when your dentist recommends extracting the tooth that’s causing you pain. But our dental office in Doylestown wants you to know that you may have another option that will both get you out of pain and save your tooth.
Let’s Talk About Root Canals
When it comes to severe tooth pain, it’s usually caused by either dental trauma or deep, untreated decay. Many times the pain experienced can be relieved through a root canal instead of an extraction. Now, before we get too far into our discussion on root canals, we want to clear up the common misconception that root canals are incredibly painful and should be avoided. In fact, the opposite is true. Thanks to major advancements in dental technology, root canals are comfortable treatments that can get you out of pain almost immediately.
What is a Root Canal?
Essentially, a root canal is a dental treatment that involves removing infection from inside the pulp of a tooth. We understand that may sound scary, but the treatment is incredibly common and many patients report little to no pain. Your dentist in Doylestown will start by thoroughly numbing the area. After the numbing agent takes effect, a tiny hole is made in the tooth and the infected material causing all your pain is removed. Your tooth may then be capped with a dental crown to keep it protected.
Root Canals Aren’t Always an Option
Preserving natural teeth is always the goal of your dental team. But the truth is, sometimes a tooth can’t be saved. If decay is left untreated for too long and seeps deep into the tooth, or if a break or chip goes under the gum line, the tooth may need to be extracted. If this is the case, the lost tooth should be replaced with a strong dental restoration to preserve look and function. Some common tooth replacement treatments are:
Maintaining regular dental appointments at our Doylestown dental office can help you protect your smile and save your teeth from needing a root canal or an extraction. At these visits, decay can be caught and treated early before it has a chance to affect the roots and cause pain. Call to schedule an appointment today.
By now we all know that things such as sugar and smoking can really damage teeth and oral health. But there are several other things out there that are also bad for your smile… some that may even surprise you. Join our dental office in Doylestown as we cover some of the most surprising ways you may be damaging your teeth.
- Citrus Fruits & Acidic Drinks
Sugar tends to get all of the blame when it comes to cavities and damaged teeth. However, the truth is, acidic foods and drinks like citrus fruit and wine can also lead to oral health problems. Acid erodes enamel and leaves teeth exposed to the bacteria that cause decay. Losing enamel may also cause tooth sensitivity and increase pain when eating or drinking hot or cold treats.
Biting your nails may seem relatively harmless, but this common habit can wreak havoc on teeth. First, the way the jaw moves when we bite our nails is unnatural, and the repeated motion can place too much pressure on the jaw joint. This can result in jaw pain and symptoms of TMJ/TMD. Second, nail biting can lead to chipped, cracked, or broken teeth that would require dental treatment to fix.
It’s not uncommon to want to crunch on the ice floating in your drink. But these frozen cubes are really bad for teeth. Not only can they chip or break teeth, but they can also create tiny cracks where bacteria can easily hide. These bacteria can then increase the chance of decay. Damage caused by eating ice can be so severe that cosmetic dentistry may be the only fix.
- Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard
While brushing your teeth twice a day is recommended by your dentist in Doylestown, it doesn’t mean that just any brushing will do. A proper brushing uses a soft-bristled toothbrush and a gentle scrubbing to whisk away bacteria and plaque. Brushing your teeth too hard can have the opposite effect and actually damage teeth and gums.
Most smile whitening methods, including in-office and take-home whitening products, are safe and effective. But whitening your teeth too much can lead to damage. Using smile whitening products excessively may cause sensitivity, gum irritation, and enamel erosion.
Keeping your smile healthy is a combination of professional teeth cleanings, regular dental checkups, brushing and flossing every day, and limiting your exposure to any environmental or lifestyle factors that can damage teeth.
This month we’re taking some time to thank our dental hygienists, and with good reason. Every October is recognized as National Dental Hygiene Month. It’s 31 days dedicated to not only recognizing the important role dental hygienists have at our dental office in Doylestown, but also to educate patients on just what our hygiene team does during their appointments.
What Are the Responsibilities of a Dental Hygienist?
Many people know that dental hygienists are responsible for giving each and every patient a thorough, in-depth cleaning at their appointments. But the responsibilities of hygienists go far beyond dental cleanings. These team members also help educate patients on any oral health concerns and proper at-home care, identify any problems early, and are focused on preventing these problems in the first place in order to keep patients healthy. After all, according to the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH), there is a link between oral health and several problems that can affect the entire body such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
What’s Required to Become a Dental Hygienist?
The first step to becoming a dental hygienist is to get an associates degree. As of 2017, there were more than 300 accredited dental hygiene programs available in the United States. These programs can be found at local community colleges, technical schools, and universities. To earn a degree in dental hygiene it takes about three years of schooling, including labs, clinical work, and classroom lectures. An interest in the sciences including biology, chemistry, and anatomy would make the coursework and a dental hygiene career more enjoyable. Once a degree is earned, dental hygienists are usually required to pass a licensing test.
Top Tips for Patients
When you visit your dentist in Doylestown, you will most likely have some time with a dental hygienist. Besides preventing any dental problems from popping up, this hygienist is also responsible for passing along information on how you can keep your teeth healthy in between visits. Some of the most helpful tips are below.
Brush for Two Minutes
Brushing every day is great, but brushing twice a day using correct technique and for the recommended two minutes is even better. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and small, gentle circles instead of scrubbing back and forth.
When you don’t floss regularly, you’re leaving about 35% of each tooth uncleaned. That greatly increases the likelihood that bacteria will wear away enamel and cause decay. Flossing in between every tooth and up under the gum line can minimize this risk.
Use Mouthwash, But Choose Wisely
Many times mouthwash is used as a breath freshener, but if you’re using the wrong mouthwash for you it can actually make bad breath worse. If you choose to use mouthwash, choose one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance or talk with your hygienist about what’s right for you.
This October, and at every visit, we hope that you will thank your dental hygienist for doing their part in keeping your smile healthy. If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental cleaning, we welcome you to call our Doylestown dental office to schedule an appointment today.