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27 Apr 2020
April 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental Health

TMJ: The Root of Your Pain

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is a really long name… so let’s call it TMJ.  That sounds more familiar—you’ve probably heard it before. Maybe some lingering pain in your chewing muscles and bones even have you wondering if you have it.

TMJ dysfunction is sometimes called TMD, TMJD, or TMJ Syndrome, especially if there seem to be a number of other jaw-related issues. Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health is here to tell you more about TMJ and what to do if you’ve got it.

What is TMJ?

A sailboat requires a complex system of ropes, pulleys, and hooks to catch the wind in its sails and get moving. Your jaw is also made of an incredible team of muscles, bones, joints, and tissues working together in order to function. If anything affects any one part of these pieces in your jaw, it could lead to chronic pain and problems with the joints in your jaw. TMJ is a broad term that includes any of this pain or dysfunction.

TMJ can feel like anything from a headache to an inner ear infection, with pain moving from your face and head down to your neck and shoulders. If you have TMJ, talking, chewing and yawning can be very uncomfortable. You might also hear clicking in your jaw, feel your jaw lock in place, or experience muscle spasms.

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13 Apr 2020
April 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental HealthDental Services

Filling in the Gaps: Restoring Your Smile & Quality of Life

Life is full of unexpected surprises, and while we’d love for all of them to be smile-inducing, that’s not entirely realistic—and there may be many reasons you hide your smile. If you’re hiding your smile because of one or more missing teeth, we want you to know you’re not alone. In fact, 120 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth, and more than 36 million Americans do not have any teeth at all.

Whether the cause is tooth decay, gum disease—#1 on the list of reasons, with 50% of Americans over the age of 30 having the most severe form of periodontitis—illness, or injury, there are solutions. Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health would like to fill you in on your options, which have expanded and improved over the years thanks to technological advancements and continuing education.

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27 Mar 2020
March 27, 2020 by David CaseDental HealthDental Technology

Salivary Diagnostics: What Can Your Saliva Reveal?

If you’ve tuned in to any crime scene investigation shows, you’ve probably heard of salivary testing, but did you know it’s becoming increasingly common in dental offices? Salivary testing has a bright future in medicine because of how much it can tell us about your state of health—both oral and overall.

One of the reasons it’s especially important in the dental office is because we screen for oral cancer, and the number one culprit for diagnoses in recent years is human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be detected through saliva.

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13 Mar 2020
March 13, 2020 by David CaseDental HealthDental Services

Crowning Glory: Esthetic Dental Crowns

The first known dental crowns were made as far back as 200 A.D. when Etruscans used gold to create crowns and bridges. Can you imagine what the process must have been like without the technology we have now? If you’d rather not, we can’t blame you!

Thanks to digital x-rays and impressions, dentists today can create crowns that blend in so well with the rest of the mouth, you’ll forget you weren’t born with them. The updated materials appear very natural, especially ceramic and porcelain.

But I Love Gold!

Gold is still an option for crowns today, and it’s not a bad option in terms of durability—they’re extremely fracture-resistant and seal well to prevent recurrent tooth decay. However, gold is usually the most expensive material for the creation of crowns, and most people want their dental restorations to be a secret only they know—especially if the tooth in need of crowning is an incisor or canine.

For those anterior (front) teeth, porcelain and ceramic are excellent crown options; they’re the most economical solution and can be color-matched to blend in with your smile perfectly.

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27 Feb 2020
February 27, 2020 by David CaseDental Health

Good, Clean, Wholesome Family Dentistry

You love your teeth. You brush them twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist regularly. Right? We love your teeth, too! In fact, there’s so much to know about caring for your oral health that dentistry has quite a few categories of specialties and different kinds of dentists.

The primary dentist in your life should be your family dentist, also known as a general dentist. Your family dentist is who you will see most often for dental check-ups. But how exactly is family dentistry different from other kinds of dentistry? Portland dentist Dr. David Case shares more below about family dentistry.

Types of Dentistry

All dentists have an undergraduate degree and then go on to about four years of dental school. This earns them either a doctorate of dental medicine (DMD) or a doctorate of dental surgery (DDS). To become more specialized, the dentist will need additional education and clinical experience.

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13 Feb 2020
February 13, 2020 by David CaseDental Health

When a Toothache is Not a Toothache

Most of us have experienced a toothache. At their mildest, toothaches may cause just enough discomfort to get on your nerves and disrupt your concentration, but at their worst, they can be debilitating. Because the pain feels like it’s coming from your tooth, it’s natural to assume that all toothaches are caused by cavities, gum disease or some other tooth-related problem. However, Dr. David Case would like you to know that not all toothaches are related to your teeth.

Wait, what? Toothaches that have nothing to do with teeth? Yes– as anyone at Family Dental Health will tell you –it is possible and it does happen. That being said, most toothaches are tooth-related.

How can a toothache not come from your tooth?

Your mouth is a complex organ that contains a number of different types of tissue, nerves, and microorganisms. While run-of-the-mill dental problems like tooth decay and gum disease are responsible for the majority of toothaches, there are many other conditions that can cause localized pain in one or more teeth –and some of them have nothing to do with your teeth. Here are a few examples:

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13 Jan 2020
January 13, 2020 by David CaseDental Health

Warning Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Nicknamed for the fact that they come into your mouth and your life by the time you are mature and supposedly “wise”, wisdom teeth are simply the last set of molars that grow furthest back in your mouth. If you’re experiencing some specific pain in your gums and jaw, you may be wondering if you have impacted wisdom teeth.

Dr. David Case takes care of wisdom teeth from all around Portland! Let us tell you more about impacted wisdom teeth and what to do if you have them.

What are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

Your wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars you’ll get. They usually come in when you are between 17 and 21 years old. Sometimes they appear later in life, while some people’s wisdom teeth never grow in at all. (Does that mean those people never become wise? Hard to say.)

As with other teeth, wisdom teeth are expected to break through the gums and become totally visible when they emerge. However, in some situations, they remain deep in the jawbone or never break through the gums. These are examples of impacted wisdom teeth.

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27 Dec 2019
December 27, 2019 by David CaseDental Health

The Science of Tooth Decay

If you’ve visited our blog before, you know that we love to talk about tooth decay. The chances are, everyone has had or will have tooth decay at one point. It is classified by the National Institutes of Health as the most prevalent disease in the world. Today we’re going to talk about a few of the factors involved in causing tooth decay and what you and Portland dentist Dr. David Case can do to protect your smile.

The Unique Makeup of Your Teeth

Even within your own mouth, teeth vary widely in shape, size, and enamel quality and consistency. Some teeth are harder than others, and some—especially molars—may have deep fissures that can trap bacteria, causing decay. Additional defects in enamel formation can cause yellow or brown areas on your teeth that are more susceptible to caries (tooth decay).

The pH Level in Your Mouth

Research indicates that acidity in your mouth plays an important role in developing tooth decay. A low pH (an acidic state) allows decay-causing bacteria to thrive. Acidity is affected by the quality and flow of saliva, diet, and a number of other factors. For example, after eating carbohydrates, people will experience a temporary drop in the pH of their saliva.

Diet

One of the biggest and most easily controlled risk factors for tooth decay is diet. An unhealthy diet rich in sugars and sticky foods will increase the amount of plaque formed and lower the acidity of your saliva.

Saliva

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27 Nov 2019
November 27, 2019 by David CaseDental HealthDental Services

Are Your Teeth Safe from Coffee Stains?

First things first, put your worries away! We are not about to tell you that your coffee drinking days are over. We know that each shot of caffeine is crucial and we cherish our coffee, too! Here at Family Dental Health, we want to educate you on what causes coffee stains and what you can do to fight them.

It’s no secret how Portland residents feel about their coffee, and we’re not about to get in the way of that love. However, we will help you keep your smile healthy and beautiful[LINK]  with tips that won’t drastically affect your lifestyle. Dr. Case and the rest of us at Family Dental Health are your oral health allies!

So let’s start off with the basics. Why does coffee stain your teeth?

Coffee is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to stained teeth, and the discoloration can be so bad it mimics cigarette stains. So what’s the secret? What can you do to keep your teeth shiny, but still get your caffeine fix?

Coffee and its Active Ingredient: Caffeine

It is best for your oral and overall health to keep your coffee consumption to a safe limit. Excessive caffeine, regardless of the source, spells negative effects for your heart and stomach and can lead to serious health problems over time. That being said, we won’t tell you to do anything crazy, like quit drinking coffee.

Guard Your Teeth Against Coffee Stains with These Three Tips

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13 Nov 2019
November 13, 2019 by David CaseDental Health

Bad Breath: When Morning Breath Becomes Halitosis

It’s often said that a true friend will tell you if you have bad breath. Bad breath, formally known as halitosis, is embarrassing and can hold you back from truly enjoying your life and social situations. Like a good friend, Portland dentist Dr. David Case will tell it to you straight. Read more below to determine what to do about your bad breath.

Is Bad Breath Normal?

Yes. Sorry. But some bad breath is just unavoidable. Moderate and occasional bad breath is caused by the normal breakdown of foods for digestion. Most people don’t wake up with minty fresh breath because bacteria build up in your mouth overnight while you are sleeping. Keep normal bouts of bad breath at bay with good oral hygiene, by drinking plenty of water, and by chewing sugar-free gum containing xylitol.

Lifestyle vs. Medical Causes of Bad Breath

Your lifestyle or daily habits may cause you unusually bad breath. There are some things you can do every day to keep bad breath at bay:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day (and don’t forget your tongue!)
  • Floss once a day
  • Keep dentures & other oral appliances clean
  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a healthy diet including a variety of foods and enough calories
  • Avoid odorous foods like coffee, garlic, and onions

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