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27 Oct 2020
October 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental TechnologyPatient Care

The Buzz on Electric Toothbrushes: Are They Really Worth the Investment?

Family Dental Health discuss what an electric toothbrush has to offerElectric toothbrushes have been on the market for years now, and whether you’re a devout user or a critical skeptic, you may still be wondering: do they really work better, or have we all been duped? Dr. Case is here to break down some of the myths and separate fact from fiction to give us the spin on electric versus manual toothbrushes.

What’s Wrong with Ol’ Trusty?

Well, nothing… really. People have been brushing manually since the Middle Ages and continue to use manual toothbrushes effectively today. So why reinvent the wheel if it already rolls? Simple—technology and innovation drive us forward. Wheels today aren’t made of stone, they’re made from high-tech metals and rubber because we’ve discovered better materials and designs that fit our modern needs. Yes, they both accomplish the same end goal, but one is clearly more efficient than the other. 

So, the question becomes not what is wrong with manual toothbrushes, but what’s wrong with how we’re using them? With the proper technique and routine, manual toothbrushes and floss are usually all that’s needed to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. The problem is, most of us slack off with “drive-by brushing”—we don’t brush long enough or use the proper technique to clean our teeth and gums effectively. 

Don’t Fight the Power

Standing up and speaking out for social justice causes is encouraged, and the power of electric toothbrushes is one movement you may want to jump on board with. Electric toothbrushes clean at up to 30,000 strokes per minute, while manual brushes only produce up to 200 strokes. More brush strokes equal more plaque removed, so that figure alone should tell you an electric brush is well worth the extra cost.

Compared to manual toothbrushes, electric models reduce 21% more plaque and 11% more gingivitis after three months of use according to an analysis of 56 studies published in 2014 by the international evidence-based research organization, Cochrane.

Quit Working So Hard

Do you ever struggle to find the energy to brush and floss right before bedtime? No… just us? Ok. Well if you did, you might be interested to know that electric toothbrushes are not only more effective, but they require less effort than a manual. As the name implies, manual brushes require your own energy to move the brush in small circles (not up and down). With electric models, however, you can sit back and let the brush do the work for you. That is not to say you don’t have to do anything—you still need to move the brush along each tooth surface and get the bristles between teeth and under the gum line—but the brush does most of the heavy lifting. So, if your technique isn’t perfect (like most of us), you can rest assured you’re still getting a quality clean each time. 

Proper brushing technique requires a certain level of dexterity, which can make it difficult for children, the elderly, or people with disabilities. Electric brushes are great for everyone, of course, but these particular demographics that may otherwise struggle to brush effectively can have a trusty tool on their side to get the job done better.

But They’re So Expensive

Not compared to a dental crown or gum disease treatment! We know, the cost of an electric brush can be more than three times that of a manual (and often you get a manual brush for free after seeing the dentist), but if you look at the lifetime value and return on your investment, electric is the way to go. Electric brushes can range anywhere from $30-$200+ dollars, but with up to 150x the cleaning power, the investment is well worth it. 

If you’re an expert brusher and flosser with perfect technique and you’ve never had any issues with tooth decay or gingivitis, then a manual toothbrush is probably just fine—but if you’re like the rest of us, an electric toothbrush is the way to go. Dr. Case would be happy to recommend one that suits your individual needs and budget. Whatever brush you use, be sure to use light pressure, a 45-degree angle, and small circular motions for at least two minutes, twice per day for the best results.

If you’d like to talk toothbrushes with Dr. Case, contact your Portland dentist at Family Dental Health today! And remember, when it comes to choosing a toothbrush—you gotta feel it… it’s electric! Boogie woogie woogie woogie!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Oct 2020
October 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental ServicesPatient Care

How are Dental Savings Plans Different from Insurance?

Family Dental Health discuss financial options for Portland patients without insuranceUnderstanding any type of medical or dental insurance can be a challenge, especially for uninsured folks trying to find a plan on their own. According to the National Association of Dental Plans, about 74 million Americans had no dental insurance coverage at the end of 2016. One possible solution is dental savings plans (also called dental discount plans). 

Dr. Case would like to talk about plans like these and their potential to reduce out-of-pocket dental costs for patients (who doesn’t like to save money?).

How Do Dental Savings Plans Work?

With a dental discount plan, the consumer pays an annual fee, just as they would pay for a buyer’s club membership to Costco or Sam’s Club or for emergency roadside assistance insurance like AAA. In return, they get access to a dental network that offers special savings to plan members, usually in the form of percentage-off discounts. For example, if a participating provider offers a 40% discount on crowns, that crown will cost $600 rather than $1,000 for the dental savings plan holder.

There are no exclusions for preexisting conditions and no annual cap on costs under a dental discount plan. A patient is free to choose the plan offering them the most savings, pay the plan’s annual fee with the full knowledge they need extensive work done, and be in the participating dentist’s chair as soon as they can book an appointment for the procedures they need!

When Do Dental Discount Plans Make Sense?

If you already have traditional dental insurance and know you’ll need a lot of work done this calendar year that won’t exceed your policy’s annual limits, a discount dental plan is probably not necessary for you. However, if you are postponing a costly procedure until the next calendar year, or you have a child or teen that needs braces soon, a discount dental plan might be just the thing.  Before you sign up, do your research—find out what providers in your area are on the plan, which procedures the plan covers, and whether the discount the plan has the potential to actually save you money.

Differences Between Dental Savings Plans & Dental Insurance

  • Discount plans generally cost less than dental insurance.
  • Dental discount plans require services paid upfront (or a payment plan is negotiated at the time of service if the provider allows). There will be no reimbursement from the plan later—and as a result, there is no claim paperwork to complete. While paying for services upfront can present a hardship, there are also no surprises.
  • There are no annual maximums, deductibles, copays, premiums, or preexisting conditions with a dental discount plan.
  • Some dental discount plans cover elective services such as teeth whitening, orthodontics or other cosmetic dentistry procedures.
  • Some dental discount plans throw in bonus savings on chiropractic, vision, or hearing, particularly those plans that are geared toward seniors.

Family Dental Health loves to help our patients get the care they need in a way that will work for them. Contact your Portland dentist, Dr. Case today to learn more or schedule a visit!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Sep 2020
September 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental HealthPatient Care

Dry Mouth: Nothing to Spit At

Dry Mouth: nothing to spit atCan you imagine a 2-liter bottle of your favorite soda? Now imagine that same bottle filled with spit. That’s approximately how much saliva the average adult produces in their mouth every day! It may be gross, but it’s definitely important. Saliva is a normal body fluid that’s crucial for oral health and overall wellness. 

If you struggle to make enough saliva, your mouth will feel very dry and you will have trouble with daily activities like speaking, eating, and swallowing. This condition is commonly known as dry mouth, but the clinical name is xerostomia. A chronically dry mouth is uncomfortable and unhealthy. 

You have three salivary glands in different parts of your jaw that make and secrete saliva. Saliva is mostly made of water, but it also contains important molecules called enzymes that help keep your mouth clean and fight infection.

Dry mouth is common and can usually be fixed with the help of your Portland dentist and primary care doctor. Dr. Case shares more below about what causes dry mouth and how to treat it.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

When your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva, there’s not enough moisture in your mouth and it becomes overly dry. Dry mouth can be a random side effect of prescription medicine or a sign that there’s something actually wrong with your salivary glands. 

Common causes of dry mouth are:

  • Prescription medication
  • Nerve damage in your mouth from an impact or injury
  • Smoking
  • Chemotherapy and radiation 
  • Extreme dehydration
  • Other health conditions 

It’s important to talk with your primary care provider to determine what exactly is causing your dry mouth. Your body is a complex machine with many interconnected parts that all work together to keep you healthy.

What Are the Side Effects of Dry Mouth?

The importance of saliva goes beyond just your mouth. The water and enzymes in saliva are necessary for good breathing, digestion, immunity, and oral health. 

Common side effects of dry mouth include:

  • Dry (scratchy, painful) nasal passages and throat
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble speaking
  • Increased risk of infection in the mouth
  • Increased risk of tooth decay
  • Bad breath
  • Trouble tasting food

How Do I Treat Dry Mouth?

Talk with your doctor to figure out what’s causing your dry mouth. There are prescription and over-the-counter medicines and mouth rinses that might be able to ease your symptoms.

If you have dry mouth, it’s very important you maintain good oral hygiene to protect yourself against tooth decay and gum disease. Talk with your dentist about prescription fluoride or more regular cleanings to keep your mouth clean and healthy.

Some easy ways to keep yourself comfortable with dry mouth include:

  • Drink more water
  • Chew sugar-free gum (with xylitol) to help produce saliva and keep your teeth clean
  • Breathe out of your nose instead of your mouth
  • Use a humidifier at home
  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t drink caffeinated beverages
  • Don’t take antihistamines or decongestants

If you have concerns about dry mouth or any other oral health questions, we’d love to be your partner in health. Make an appointment with your Portland dentist, Dr. Case at Family Dental Health today and we will see you soon!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Sep 2020
September 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental ServicesPatient Care

Types for All Stripes: Teeth Whitening

Teeth whiteningWhiter, brighter teeth are on the top of everyone’s smile wish list – and for good reason! White teeth look young and healthy. The good news is that teeth whitening is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to improve your smile, and the results are almost immediate. If you’re already taking good care of your oral health, whitening your teeth will truly put the polish on all of your efforts.

Teeth Staining 101

Your unique smile and lifestyle determine the color of your teeth. The hard, outer surface of every tooth is called enamel. Enamel is usually white or off-white, but health and environmental factors can make it turn yellow, brown, or gray. Your mouth may do the talking, but your teeth can say a lot about your habits and health.

  • Coffee, tea, red wine, soda, sports drinks, and tobacco are the biggest causes of stains in healthy teeth. Limit these to preserve your natural pearly whites.
  • One dark or discolored tooth may be the sign of a more serious problem. It’s important to see a dentist that can get an accurate diagnosis for a single discolored tooth.
  • Aging causes your enamel to thin. This causes yellowing and sensitivity in teeth.

Bleach & Brush

All teeth whitening involves either bleaching out stains or rubbing them away. Light abrasives can scrape surface-level stains off your enamel, but bleach moves through the layers of the teeth to remove deeper stains that give teeth their true color. Both options work by breaking down stains to make them less visible. 

Carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide are the two dental bleaching options. Carbamide peroxide may be preferred because it’s less acidic and works longer. Small amounts of these chemicals have been approved for teeth whitening without harming your teeth.

Yellow teeth respond best to whitening procedures and can be brightened many shades. Brown or gray teeth may not respond at all and you should speak with a dentist first before attempting to whiten them.

Professional Whitening Treatments

  • Your Portland dentist can use the highest concentration of dental bleach in our office. To get professional whitening results in one visit, simply make an appointment and prepare to be amazed.
  • Your dentist can also make you a custom bleaching system to use at home over a couple of weeks. The kit includes a lower concentration of bleach and trays made to fit your mouth.
  • Some professional whitening treatments use lasers to enhance or speed up whitening results.
  • Veneers may be the best option for severely discolored teeth with the added benefit of being able to better shape or fill in your smile’s imperfections.

At-Home Whitening Treatments

  • Most toothpaste helps whiten teeth, though the results will take longer and not be as noticeable as professional bleaching. All toothpaste uses gentle abrasives to rub off surface stains. For bleaching toothpaste, look for the key ingredients: carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.
  • Whitening strips and gels are similar. Your results won’t be as dramatic, but these options cost much less than professional treatments and can be found right on your drugstore shelf.
  • Natural remedies for whitening teeth include oil pulling and activated charcoal. You can learn about these DIY options online, but nothing will replace the important role of your dentist who cares about your oral health. Find a holistic dentist if you’re interested in learning more about more natural teeth whitening.

Lasting Results

Teeth whitening results should last at least six months and can last much longer depending on each individual person and their oral hygiene habits. You can really prevent new stains by brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and limiting teeth-staining habits and substances. Talk with your dentist if your teeth feel sensitive after whitening. 

If you’re interested in achieving your brightest smile, call Family Dental Health today to make an appointment!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Aug 2020
August 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental ServicesDental Technology

Dental Implants: A Brief History of Tooth Replacement Innovation

Dental Implants: a brief history of innovationToday’s dental implants boast a long-term success rate of near 97%. Because implants support surrounding teeth, encourage new tissue growth and continued bone formation, and give patients back full chewing ability and a complete smile, they have become the industry standard for tooth replacement. 

Today, your Portland dentist, Dr. Case, would like to share some interesting history about dental implants and how we got to where we are today.

History of Dental Implants

    • 4,000 Years Ago: The first record of temporary dental implants were bamboo pegs used to replace missing teeth in China.
    • 3,000 Years Ago: The first recorded case of a metal replacement tooth (a copper peg) fixed to a jawbone occurred in the mouth of an Egyptian king. Experts believe it may have been placed after death due to how painful placement would have been to a living person. There is also evidence that the Egyptians tried to stabilize teeth with ligature gold wire around this same era.
    • 2,300 Years Ago: An iron tooth was found among real teeth in a Celtic grave in France. Experts again concurred replacement teeth like these were likely to have been placed after death.
    • 2,000 Years Ago: People replaced missing teeth with human teeth purchased from underprivileged people or teeth stolen from corpses or animals. Teeth like these would be rejected by the host due to infection.
    • 1,350 Years Ago: An excavation of Mayan ruins in Honduras uncovered a jawbone with what may be the oldest recorded permanent tooth replacement using seashells. The replacement tooth had actually begun the process of fusion with the jawbone, indicating that it was placed during life, not after death.
  • 800 AD: A stone implant was found among cultural artifacts from early Honduras.
  • 18th Century: A European doctor implanted a still-developing tooth into a rooster – and the tooth integrated with the rooster’s tissues.
  • 1886: A porcelain crown mounted on a platinum disc, silver capsules, corrugated porcelain, and iridium tubes were some of the materials to make implants during this time without much success.
  • 1930s: Drs. Alvin and Moses Strock are believed to be the first to place the first endosteal (in the bone) implant made of a biocompatible metal.
  • 1940s: A number of different doctors continued to experiment with and design implants made of different types of metal, perfecting the design along the way to allow for greater stability in the jaw.
  • 1952: A Swedish orthopedic surgeon named Branemark discovered titanium fused and regrew bone while studying blood flow in rabbits.
  • 1960s: The 1960s saw more innovations in implant design from many different doctors. Implant design expanded to allow for placement into the maxilla or the mandible and to accommodate more than one missing tooth. 
  • 1965: Branemark placed his first titanium implant into a live human volunteer. Branemark continued to research bone healing, performing experiments and publishing studies, eventually making dental implants a commercial endeavor in 1978. 
  • 1980s: The 1980s ushered in the use of titanium for implants, which have continued to improve to the present day. Recent developments include antibiotic coatings to prevent infection and even more biocompatible materials like zirconia and ceramic.

Family Dental Health can give you all the information you need about the history of implants and how they exist today and everything they can do to bring back your full, healthy smile. If you are curious to discover more about implants or wonder if you could be an implant candidate, contact us today!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Aug 2020
August 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental HealthPatient Care

Sugar: Teeth’s Worst Nightmare

What sugar does to your teethPeople in the United States eat more sugar than any other country in the world. (Fortunately, we also have some of the best dentists in the world.) You hear it all the time: “sugar rots your teeth.” But is it true? What exactly does sugar do to your teeth and why is it so bad? You might want to learn more about this substance that is added to nearly every edible item in the grocery store. Portland, Oregon dentist Dr. Case tells us more below.

Sugar 101

All food causes some buildup on your teeth. After eating and drinking, little bits of food are left behind in your mouth. Out of all the food we eat, sugar does the worst damage to your teeth.

Even healthy foods like milk, bread, and produce contain some natural sugar, but these foods also contain necessary vitamins and nutrients. Eaten in healthy amounts, your body has no problem breaking down the natural sugars with the other food bits on your teeth.

The problems begin when you eat food that has more sugar than nutritional value. Without proper nutrition, your body may be unable to fight the bacteria and decay excessive sugar consumption causes in your mouth.

Sugar is sneaky: it’s in almost everything! Read your regular grocery labels carefully just to estimate your actual sugar consumption levels. This is not an all-inclusive list, but here are some examples of these common and misleading names for sugar that are added where you least expect it:

  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Barley malt
  • Dextrose
  • Maltose
  • Rice syrup

The American Heart Association recommends you have no more than 9.5 teaspoons of sugar per day. However, in the U.S. the average adult consumes 22 teaspoons and the average child consumes 32 teaspoons…every single day!

Plaque 

Why is sugar so bad for your teeth? Because it causes plaque buildup and tooth decay.

Certain bacteria are normal and fine in your mouth. But sugar left on your teeth attracts bad bacteria that create plaque, which breaks down your teeth. Think of how the wind sweeps away bits of sand off a dune little by little, until eventually there is no dune left. That’s what plaque does to your teeth. It causes an acidic reaction that weakens enamel, your tooth’s outer layer.

Snacking all day means your teeth are exposed to food buildup, bacteria, and plaque over an extended period of time. Drinking sugary beverages is especially harmful because that liquid gets into all the grooves and hard-to-reach parts of your mouth. The average American consumes 53 gallons of soft drinks per year – do you see where this is going?

Decay

When plaque ruins your enamel, you get a hole in your tooth called a cavity. The hole allows more bacteria and plaque to move deeper into the inside of your tooth. This is known as tooth decay. Your enamel is the shiny white surface of your teeth and its purpose is to protect the inner layers of each tooth. Each individual tooth has a blood source and a nerve keeping that tooth alive. If decay reaches to the inner layers, your tooth may die and fall out. And all of that can happen much more quickly than you realize.

Next Steps

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children, and many adults struggle with it as well. The good news is that tooth decay is preventable with healthy eating habits and proper oral hygiene. Here are some tips if you want to protect your teeth from the negative effects of sugar:

  • Don’t snack all day
  • Avoid sugar in any beverage
  • Enjoy sweets in moderation
  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste
  • Try natural forms of licorice and cinnamon which taste sweet without any sugar
  • Beware of sugar alternatives (those little yellow, blue, and pink packets) that can still have negative effects on your health
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once

Last but not least, contact Portland dentist Family Dental Health today to make an appointment and be sure to get your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year by our amazing hygienists.

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Jul 2020
July 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental HealthPatient Care

Is Your Little One Getting Enough Calcium?

Calcium. We regularly hear how important calcium is for our kids’ diets. It’s vital for healthy growth. Calcium is a building block for strong bones. It helps with hormone balance and keeps the heart pumping and blood circulating normally. But, did you know that calcium is also vital for healthy teeth?

Calcium builds strong bones. Years of milk commercials (backed by years of research) have firmly planted that information in our brains. In fact, 99% of the calcium in the body goes to building healthy bones and teeth. Calcium is the hard mineral that makes bones hard, and it also makes the enamel that surrounds our teeth the hardest substance in the human body.

The 1% Difference

Since 99% of the calcium in the body is in the teeth and bones, you might think there’s always enough for the teeth, but it turns out that’s not always the case. Because regulating heart rhythms and hormone balance is necessary to stay alive, if there isn’t enough calcium for these vital functions from food, the body will take it from anywhere it can get it.

Unfortunately, that means your body and your kids’ bodies will take calcium from the teeth and bones to keep enough of it for other necessary jobs it has in the body. Teeth without enough calcium can develop demineralized spots–dull white spots on the teeth that are not as strong as regular enamel. Those spots are fragile and have a high risk of turning into full cavities.

Who’s at Risk?

Not having enough calcium in your diet may not sound as scary as the big bad wolf, but it’s far more worrisome in real life. More than half of both boys and girls 9-13 routinely get less than half of the calcium required for good health at their age. The National Institutes of Health identifies several groups that are chronically at risk of inadequate calcium. They include girls 4 and older, especially adolescent girls, and boys age 9-18. Women who are pregnant also need additional calcium to support bone development in the growing baby.

What Foods are Calcium Champs?

When we say calcium, we often flash back to those milk ads. It’s true; there is a lot of calcium in dairy. That includes milk, yogurt, and cheese. But, not all calcium-rich foods are dairy-based, which is good news for those who do not eat dairy.

Sardines pack more calcium per 3-ounce serving than calcium-fortified orange juice, but the orange juice will probably be easier to convince your children to consume. Dark green leafy vegetables like kale, bok choi, Chinese cabbage, and turnip greens also pack a calcium punch. Even a corn tortilla can provide 5% of the recommended daily value for calcium.

What About Supplements?

Calcium supplements are commonly used to make up for a lack of calcium in the diet. They can be a good choice to help when there is no way to make up the calcium by better eating, but they require a little extra care. Food-sourced calcium is easier for the body to process. Calcium carbonate is less expensive, but harder to absorb and can be hard on people with stomach issues. Calcium citrate is easier to absorb, but is more expensive and can be harder to find.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Sometimes with supplements, you can run into “a little is good, more is better” mentality. That’s just not the case. There’s an upper limit to how much calcium your body can safely process in a day. The smaller the body, the smaller the limit. While it’s very unlikely that you would exceed that limit with food alone in your children’s diets, supplements, particularly gummy ones with candy flavors, can increase the risk of having too much. As with most things in life, balance is key.

Mindful Eating

With some care and attention, it’s possible to keep your family healthy and calcium-rich, making your dental visits more pleasant. If supplements are necessary, they are readily available. Healthy calcium builds healthy teeth, so build healthy eating habits and keep your teeth ready to eat with you (and your family) for a lifetime.

If you have any questions about calcium, tooth decay, or any other oral health topics, please contact your Portland dentist, Dr. Case at Family Dental Health today! We would be more than happy to talk with you about a healthy diet to help your little one grow up strong and healthy.

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Jul 2020
July 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogPatient Care

Is Flossing Really Necessary?

Flossing 101How do you feel when you see that little plastic floss container in your medicine cabinet? Eagerness to achieve that clean feeling in your mouth? Or regret over a habit you have trouble keeping? Did you get excited about recent headlines saying flossing isn’t necessary? We’re sorry to break the news, but as your oral health experts, we’re here to tell you floss is still incredibly important. In fact, it’s one of the most important foundations for oral health.

Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health shares more below about why you should floss, how to floss, and what to do if flossing causes your gums to bleed.

What is Floss?

Floss is a simple waxed thread designed specially to clean between your teeth (the hardest spots in your mouth to reach) comfortably and effectively. Floss was invented around 1820 and was first seen on store shelves decades later.

There are countless brands and types of floss. It can be thin or thick, flavored or unflavored. Most often, floss is waxed to help it move smoothly between and around your teeth. When buying floss, be sure to find one that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance (it looks like a small square) to be sure the product is both safe and effective.

Why Should I Floss?

Your toothbrush and floss go so well together, they should be married! In addition to brushing your teeth twice a day, it’s recommended that everybody floss once a day (even small children). Used together, brushing and flossing are crucial habits for maintaining good oral health and a beautiful smile.

According to the American Dental Association, flossing can remove up to 80% of the plaque on your teeth. Plaque is a naturally occurring substance in your mouth, but it must be removed regularly to prevent cavities, gum disease and bad breath (halitosis). Over time, plaque can build up, becoming tartar, and become very difficult to remove. Brushing and flossing every day gives you a head start on maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

How Do I Floss?

Flossing every day is important. Whenever is convenient for you is fine as long as it gets the job done. If you’re looking for the most effective flossing session, we recommend flossing at night before you brush. Here’s how:

  • Pull about 1.5 feet of floss out from the container and wrap each end around your middle fingers, holding it taught with your index and thumb.
  • Gently guide a section of the floss between two neighboring teeth.
  • Curve the floss in a C-shape around each tooth and move it up and down gently to dislodge any debris.
  • Keep the floss close to the spot where your teeth and gums meet (around and under the gum line).

A floss threader or a tiny interdental brush can help you floss if you have a dental bridge or braces. Talk to your dentist if you have specific questions about adopting your own flossing habit. You can also look for instructional videos online if you would like a good visual example of how to floss properly.

Bleeding Gums

It’s common for your gums to bleed just a bit when you first start flossing, but it shouldn’t really hurt. Bleeding is a sign of neglected gums with gingivitis—so you’re on the right track by flossing. Don’t stop flossing if you experience bleeding gums.

Gums bleed when there’s so much buildup between your teeth that it hardens and sticks to your soft gum tissue. Vitamin deficiencies, some medicines, and gingivitis (early-stage gum disease) can also cause bleeding. In extreme cases, only a licensed dentist or hygienist will be able to remove old plaque or tartar. See your dentist if bleeding is persistent, painful, or excessive.

Family Dental Health provides professional dental cleanings and consultations in Portland. Make an appointment today and show your mouth some TLC!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Jun 2020
June 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogPatient Care

Stop Tooth Pain & Sensitivity Now!

Stop Tooth Pain NowWhy Are My Teeth Sensitive?

There are many specialized toothbrushes and types of mouthwash and toothpaste available to those who suffer from sensitive teeth. It is a very common problem that lots of products claim they can solve, but have you ever wondered why it exists? Today, Family Dental Health would like to explain what causes tooth sensitivity and how these products work.

 

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Do you find yourself ordering beverages without ice, drinking room temperature water, and waiting a long time for your coffee or tea to cool down? If you do, it’s probably because you have sensitive teeth. To find out if you have sensitive teeth, take this fun online quiz!

Enamel, which covers the crown of your teeth, is the hardest substance in your body; tooth roots have a similar substance called cementum. However, beneath those layers is a softer, more porous layer called dentin. When dentin is exposed, the nerves in your teeth become much more sensitive to hot and cold and sticky or acidic foods and beverages.

Common causes of sensitive teeth are:

  • Tooth decay
  • Degraded tooth fillings
  • A cracked tooth
  • Degraded tooth enamel
  • Exposed tooth roots- which can be caused by brushing too hard, receding gums, and gum disease

 

Treatment for Sensitive Teeth

Most folks with sensitive teeth use Sensodyne® or some other type of toothpaste designed to reduce sensitivity. These products work by blocking sensation before it travels to the nerve. If toothpaste doesn’t help, Dr. Case offers in-office fluoride and desensitizing treatments that will help you get relief from pain. In cases of severe sensitivity, Dr. Case may recommend surgical gum graft or a root canal.

Whatever the cause of your sensitive teeth, we can help! Contact Family Dental Health today to find out what we can do to keep your smile beautiful, healthy, and pain-free.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Jun 2020
June 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental Services

Dental Inlays & Onlays

Dental inlays and onlaysCracked, broken, and decayed teeth require restoration or they will break down further until they become infected and/or require extraction. At Family Dental Health, our goal is to preserve your natural teeth for as long as possible.

Depending on the extent and location of the damage, we will likely recommend an inlay, onlay, or crown. Different levels of the same idea, these restorative dentistry treatments are custom-made to protect your tooth and restore it to its full, healthy, and functioning condition.

Another reason you may need an inlay, onlay, or crown is due to extensive tooth decay breaking down your tooth that requires more than a simple filling to fix, or an old filling that needs to be replaced. Here’s how these options compare:

  • Fillings: only fill a small, center portion of the biting surface of your tooth; is not a treatment for extensive damage
  • Inlays: fill a larger portion of the biting surface than a filling contained within the cusp
  • Onlays: fill and cover the biting surface of your tooth including up and over the rounded ridges (cusps)
  • Crowns: cover the whole tooth; all or most of the portion visible above your gums

Benefits of Inlays & Onlays

Inlays and onlays can be a great intermediate solution between a filling and a crown. Family Dental Health can help determine if you need an inlay or onlay. If you do, here are some of the benefits:

  • While considered a relatively “old” technique, inlays/onlays are still the most appropriate and most effective treatment in many cases.
  • Your tooth can withstand 50-75% more chewing pressure with an inlay or onlay.
  • Inlays/onlays are a restorative dentistry treatment that holistically heals your tooth.
  • Inlays/onlays can last longer than fillings.
  • Inlays/onlays are made with porcelain or resin to match your natural tooth color.
  • An inlay or onlay is less expensive than a crown.
  • Sometimes an inlay or onlay can be completed during one dental visit.
  • An inlay/onlay fits perfectly over your tooth so there will be no bulging that bothers your tongue, cheek, or bite.

Getting an Inlay or Onlay

If you’re in the Portland area and need an inlay or onlay, Dr. David Case has you covered! Depending on your case, the inlay/onlay treatment will either require one or two trips to the office.

For the two-visit process: the tooth is prepared by cleaning out any decay and taking an impression. You may be given a temporary filling just to protect the tooth from further damage. The inlay or onlay will then be made in a lab using your impression. You’ll return for a second visit to remove the temporary filling and have your inlay/onlay permanently placed on your tooth.

For the one-visit process: the tooth will still be prepared with a good cleaning. But instead of taking impressions, the dentist uses digital technology to take a photo of your tooth and create a perfect inlay/onlay right there in the office. You’ll relax until it is ready and they will place it on your tooth, all in one day.

Contact us today to make an appointment for a professional assessment of what kind of filling, crown, inlay or onlay you might need.

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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