man smoking e-cig

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health, Prevention.

By now you’ve probably heard of the relatively recent rise in the popularity of vaping as an alternative to traditional smoking. You’ve probably heard that this new craze isn’t as safe as you may have originally thought. New research suggests that vaping has a direct correlation to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease. But that’s not all. Our dental office in Erdenheim also wants you to know that vaping can have a serious effect on your oral health, too. 

Limited Research

With the relatively fast increase in e-cigarette popularity, research has been a little slow to catch up. But that doesn’t mean researchers aren’t working hard to report their findings. While more research needs to be done to find out just how bad vaping can be for our bodies and oral health, there are a few things several studies have already found. Here’s what your dentist in Erdenheim knows.

Dry Mouth

One part of vaping is selecting a juice or flavored liquid. However, some of these liquids contain ingredients such as propylene glycol that are known to contribute to or cause dry mouth. Dry mouth may not sound like that big of a deal, but if it’s untreated, it can increase the risk for decay, bad breath, and gum disease. 

Inflamed Gums

Evidence found in a 2016 study suggested that vaping can cause gum tissue to inflame, which can put you at risk for gum disease. One possible explanation for this inflammation may be the nicotine itself. Nicotine may reduce blood flow to the gums, and without proper blood flow, the mouth’s ability to fight off bacteria diminishes and the likelihood of inflammation and gum disease increases.

Cell Damage

Another study conducted in 2018 found that vaping may also cause damage to the cell’s DNA. This lowers or eliminates a cell’s ability to divide and grow and can essentially kill off a cell’s life prematurely. The same study suggests that cell damage is directly linked to bad breath, bone loss, tooth loss, and gum disease. 

Many companies that sell vapes claim that vaping is a healthier alternative to smoking, and some even say it can help people quit smoking. However, studies contradict this. For example, one study concluded that e-cigarettes helped current smokers reduce the number of cigarettes they smoked by about half, while another suggested that smokers who use e-cigs are 59% less likely to quit. Before you decide to use e-cigarettes as an aid to quit smoking, consider trying another option such as:

  • Reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke a day and continue to decrease over time. 
  • Using a nicotine replacement that has been approved by the FDA. 
  • Researching different ways other people have quit. You can start by visiting the American Lung Association

If you’re a smoker or use e-cigarettes, it’s never too late to quit. Work on finding the right solution for you and of course, call our Erdenheim dental office if we can help in any way. 

seniors take selfie

Posted by & filed under Gum Disease, Oral Health, Prevention, Restorative Dentistry.

August 21st is Senior Citizen’s Day, and there’s no better way for our dental office in Erdenheim to celebrate than by sharing some oral health information for the favorite senior citizens we have in our lives and their families.  

The truth is, our oral health needs will vary as we celebrate more birthdays, and needs will also differ from person to person. That’s one reason we believe in treating each person with individualized, custom care. When it comes to the senior population, there are a few unique things to be aware of. 

  • Discolored Teeth – While anyone can experience discolored teeth, there’s usually an explanation. Maybe morning coffee is to blame, or perhaps smoking or red wine. But when it comes to seniors, discoloration may occur without any obvious explanation. Most commonly, tooth discoloration as we age is a typical sign that the white outer layer of our teeth (enamel) is wearing away and becoming thinner. When this happens, your teeth can become a little transparent and the inner workings of the tooth become more visible. As it turns out, the insides of teeth are not as white as the outsides, and the more we’re able to see them, the more dark or yellow teeth can appear. 
  • Dry Mouth – Dry mouth is another condition that can happen to anyone, but it does tend to be more common in seniors. Many times, medication is to blame. There are tons of over-the-counter medications and prescription medications that list dry mouth as a side effect. When these medications are taken regularly, saliva production slows down and the mouth becomes dry… and there is nothing bacteria like better than a dry mouth. Without saliva on hand to rinse away bacteria and neutralize acid, teeth are at an increased risk for developing cavities. If these cavities aren’t treated, they could lead to the need for a root canal, cause tooth sensitivity, or even tooth loss. If you’re experiencing dry mouth, do not stop taking your medication as prescribed, but do talk to your dentist in Erdenheim
  • Tooth Loss – Let’s start by saying that there’s no guarantee that we’ll lose our teeth as we get older. There are plenty of people who keep their teeth for a lifetime, especially if they see their dentist regularly and practice good oral hygiene habits. However, tooth loss can be a real concern for many people. The best ways to reduce the risk of tooth loss is to avoid smoking or using tobacco, limiting alcohol intake, and seeing your dentist in Erdenheim every six months. These preventative dental appointments help identify problems early while they’re still often easily treatable and can help save your teeth. 
  • Gum Disease – One of the more serious concerns for seniors’ oral health is gum disease. In fact, research suggests a strong link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and stroke. Gum disease occurs when bacteria isn’t removed and it works its way under the gum line. Once this occurs, it becomes difficult to remove and can lead to an infection or advanced gum disease. If not treated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. The common signs of gum disease include red, bleeding, and inflamed gums. 

Unfortunately, there’s no way we can stop ourselves from getting older. But there are things we can do to help protect our teeth for life. Always brush twice a day and floss once a day, and get a professional dental cleaning and check-up at least twice a year. If you’re overdue for your dental appointment, we welcome you to call our Erdenheim dental office to schedule a visit with us today. 

dental implant

Posted by & filed under Dental Implants, Restorative Dentistry.

If you’re missing a tooth, or even several teeth, you may feel as if you don’t have any options to get your smile back functioning as it should. However, your dentist in Erdenheim wants you to know that that’s just not the case! There are many tooth replacement procedures available including a dental bridge, dentures, and dental implants. Today, we’re taking a closer look at one of the more preferred treatments — dental implants.  

What are Dental Implants?

Like a dental bridge or removable denture, dental implants essentially replace a missing tooth or several missing teeth. But that’s where the similarities end. Dental implants, unlike bridges or dentures, replace both the tooth’s root as well as the crown. They’re also permanent, non-removable restorations that function very similarly to natural teeth. 

Benefits of Dental Implants

Since dental implants provide complete, permanent restorations, they’re often considered the best tooth-replacement option available. They’re not only incredibly strong, but they can also last a lifetime and give patients their smiles back. Some benefits of dental implants include: 

  • Increased comfort. With dental implants, there’s no worry about food getting stuck under your dentures and no concern of slippage. Just a solid restoration that you won’t even be able to tell isn’t your natural tooth. 
  • Ability to eat what you want. Many denture wearers and those with a dental bridge don’t like that they can’t eat what they want when they want to. However, dental implants don’t limit your diet to only soft foods. You can even eat corn on the cob if you want!
  • Easier to care for. Dental implants are non-removable, permanent fixtures in the mouth. This means that there is no need to remove them to clean them or soak them overnight. You can take care of a dental implant just like you would any natural tooth! 
  • A healthier mouth. When a dental implant procedure is done, there is no need for your dentist in Erdenheim to touch any other teeth in the mouth. This keeps all of the other teeth structurally sound and strong. This doesn’t apply to a dental bridge or dentures as you do need to rely on natural teeth to anchor in both of those options. 

Getting a Dental Implant

When some patients first hear of a titanium post being placed into the jaw bone, they’re understandably concerned and perhaps a little scared. But thanks to advancements in dental technology, getting a dental implant is pretty easy and pretty painless. Here’s what you can expect: 

  • Place the post. The first step of getting a dental implant is to have the titanium post surgically placed into the jaw bone. This is the foundation for the entire restoration and may cause a bit discomfort but nothing severe. 
  • Give it time. Your body won’t immediately fuse the bone and post together as this will take a little time. During that healing process, you will have a temporary crown covering your post for comfort and protection. 
  • Restore the crown. Once the post is healed and fully integrated with the bone, you’ll have a sturdy base for the rest of your restoration. At this time, your dentist will replace your temporary crown with a custom-created permanent crown that’s designed to match the rest of your teeth. Once this step is complete, nobody will ever notice that it’s not your natural tooth! 

You don’t need to live with a missing tooth or teeth. There are many options available to you to get your smile back to health and get you back to having confidence. We welcome you to call our Erdenheim dental office today to schedule a consultation so we can work together to find the best way to replace your missing tooth. 

calendar

Posted by & filed under General, General Dental Articles, Prevention.

A visit to your dentist in Erdenheim is a pretty easy thing to check off your to-do list. But did you know that there are things you can do prior to your visit to make the process even easier? In this week’s blog, we provide you with a free checklist that you can use to make sure you’re prepared for your dental appointment. 

Appointment Confirmation

Many dental offices will send a pre-appointment reminder to you via text or email or call you directly to confirm your appointment. However, if your dental office doesn’t provide this service, you should confirm your appointment 24-hours in advance. These reminders not only help keep your appointment on schedule, so your dental team is able to be courteous of your time, but they’re also a great way to remove any chance of miscommunication. 

Know Your Medical History

Whether you’re visiting a new dentist in Erdenheim for the first time or you’ve been going to the same place for years, make sure you know your medical history as well as any changes that may have happened since your last visit. Things to remember include, new medications along with dosage, a new diagnosis or changes to overall health, and of course any concerns you may have with your dental health. 

Be Ready To Share

If you have any concerns about your oral health that you want to discuss with your dentist, make sure to be ready to share those concerns. The more specific you can be, the better. Consider things such as: 

  • If there’s pain and when it started 
  • The level of discomfort and where you feel it 
  • Any signs that worry you including bleeding or swollen gums 
  • If you’re unhappy with your smile and ideally what you would like to change 

Being open and honest with your dental team will help make sure your appointment is catered just to you and your concerns or desires. 

Look Six Months Ahead

Most people will see the dentist every six months, and you should be prepared to schedule your next appointment at the end of your first visit. Take a quick look at your schedule six months down the road so you know what you may need to avoid. Coming in with dates in mind will help make sure you’re appointment remains on the schedule and you can be seen when you want to be seen.  

However, even though you’ll be set to see your dentist again in six short months, you should always continue to do your part in between appointments to keep your teeth and mouth healthy. Make sure to brush and floss regularly, take it easy on the acidic and sugary foods, and don’t smoke or use tobacco. 

If you’re overdue for a dental appointment, call our Erdenheim dental office to schedule one today. We’ll be happy to see you! 

summer foods

Posted by & filed under Dental Hygiene, General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

One of the best parts about summer is all of the picnics and the delicious foods that go along with them. And while all of the treats are delicious, they may not all be great for your teeth. At our dental office in Erdenheim, we’re here to help by giving you a list of the best and worst summertime snacks for your smile.

Best Summertime Snacks for Teeth

  • Veggies

Yummy raw, crunchy vegetables aren’t only great for your body, they’re fantastic for your teeth, too. Snacks like broccoli, carrots, celery, and peppers gently scrub away plaque buildup and give your teeth a little bit of a cleaning. This helps protect your smile against decay and can even help freshen breath.

  • Fruits

Veggies sweeter cousin fruits are also a great snack option. Not only are many fruits fresh and in season this time of the year, but they can also help clean your teeth and rub away plaque. Kiwis, for example, have calcium which is always great for your bones and, of course, your teeth. Another fan favorite is raw apples.

  • Cheese

Another tasty snack that can help remove plaque is cheese. But this yummy food is also loaded with calcium and vitamin D. The duo of calcium and vitamin D is a powerhouse that works together to build super strong bones and teeth. Cheese can also increase saliva production, which will help rinse away bacteria and sugar.

Summer Snacks That Can Harm Teeth

  • Condiments

Dressings, sauces, and dips can seem harmless enough but the truth is these condiments are a sneaky danger. BBQ sauce and ketchup, for example, contain a lot of sugar and are acidic — both of which are bad for teeth.

  • Soda

It’s well-known that your dentist in Erdenheim isn’t a huge fan of soda, and with good reason. Soda is packed with tons of sugar which essentially coats your teeth when you drink it. Sugar is one of your smile’s natural enemies as it can feed bacteria, wear away enamel, and increase the risk of decay.

  • Alcohol

Drinking alcohol can greatly increase the risk of gum disease and decay. Certain types of alcohol can also lead to tooth discoloration. Lastly, alcohol can cause dry mouth, further putting teeth in danger of decay.

At our dental office in Erdenheim, we’re not here to tell you to avoid these summer treats, we simply recommend enjoying them in moderation. Additionally, it’s always wise to drink plenty of water after eating or drinking alcohol to help wash away sugar or food particles.

dental emergency

Posted by & filed under Dental Emergency, Oral Health, Prevention.

Emergencies of any kind can cause fear and discomfort. Dental emergencies are no different and can be particularly concerning. What exactly are you supposed to do if you experience a dental emergency such as a broken tooth, a knocked out tooth, or a painful toothache? The team at our Erdenheim dental office is here to give you some advice on how to handle some of the most common dental emergencies.

Top Dental Emergencies & Treatment Tips

It’s important to note that any dental emergency, including injuries to the mouth, teeth, or gums, should be treated by a dentist in Erdenheim as quickly as possible. But if you can’t get to the dentist right away, there are some things you can do to help minimize discomfort and protect your tooth.  

Chipped or Broken ToothWhether caused by a pesky popcorn kernel, sports injury, or grinding your teeth, a chipped or broken tooth may cause you to panic. Not to worry, there are many forms of cosmetic dentistry that can restore your tooth and smile. However, right after the injury happens, you may be in some pain or bleeding. The best thing to do is to rinse your mouth with warm water, apply gauze and a bit of pressure to help stop any bleeding, and use a cold compress to help reduce any swelling.

Knocked Out ToothHaving a tooth knocked out can certainly be scary. If this happens, the first thing you should try to do is stay calm and remember the following tips:

  • Only touch the crown of the tooth. Do not touch the roots.
  • Try to replace the tooth into the socket.
  • Place the tooth in a glass of milk, store it in a cup of spit, or keep it safely under your tongue and get to a dentist. Your tooth has the best chance of survival if it’s returned to the socket within an hour.

ToothacheA toothache is usually the mouth’s way of telling us that something isn’t right, and it definitely shouldn’t be ignored. See your dentist as quickly as you can to increase the chance of easier and successful treatment. Prior to your appointment, you can ease the pain by using a cold compress or over-the-counter pain reliever.

We never want our patients to experience a dental emergency, but the truth is, they happen. If they do, we welcome you to call our dental office in Erdenheim. We’re here to help protect smiles and treat them if something happens. Call us today.

dental x-rays

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Prevention, Technology.

If you see your dentist in Erdenheim 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 Erdenheim 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 Erdenheim 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.

foods with calcium

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Prevention.

We make a commitment to every patient who walks through the doors of our dental office in Erdenheim to restore and protect both their oral and overall health. One way we can do this is to help your teeth and bones stay strong so that they can last a lifetime. One of the most significant nutrients our bodies need to keep them healthy is calcium. Let’s take a look at why it’s important in so many different ways.

Calcium Does Your Smile & Body Good

You might already know that calcium can be found in a variety of different foods and beverages. But did you know that you can also try calcium supplements (ask your doctor first) to help boost your intake? This can be a good option for people who struggle digesting dairy products that are high in calcium such as cheese, milk, and yogurt. Remember that magnesium and vitamin D support calcium’s effort to protect your teeth, keep your smile free from decay, prevent, loose teeth, and ward off gum disease.

Consider adding these calcium-rich foods to your diet:

  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Almonds
  • Tofu
  • Beans
  • Oranges
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potatoes

How to Know You’re Getting The Right Amount of Calcium

It can be tricky knowing if you or your family members are getting the right amount of calcium in your diet to help protect your teeth and keep your bones healthy. Your dentist in Erdenheim is here to help with some daily calcium recommendations courtesy of the Institute of Medicine.

AGE                    MG/DAY

1 -3                      700

4 – 8                    1,000

9 – 18                  1,300

19 – 70               1,000

71+                      1,200

This is just a general guideline for you to get an idea about daily calcium intake. There are also other recommendations that are gender specific, i.e., a woman’s calcium intake should increase when she’s pregnant.

No Bones About it – Calcium is Key to Being Healthy

We talked about it briefly earlier in this blog, but calcium is also super important for your bone health too. Why does this concern your Erdenheim dentist so much? Because we’re concerned about what a calcium deficiency can do to your jaw bone. Your jaw bone serves as the anchor for your teeth, so if it’s in poor health, you could run the risk of having loose teeth or losing them altogether. The other bones in your body also need calcium to help prevent damaging osteoporosis later in life.

We hope you learned a little something here today about how important it is to get the right amount of calcium in your diet, no matter what your age. It’s a benefit that your whole body will thank you for. If you have any questions about your smile or need to schedule a visit with us, please don’t hesitate to call.

teeth whitening

Posted by & filed under Cosmetic Dentistry.

There are a number of things that can stain our teeth and make them look dull and discolored. When this happens, we tend to look for ways to bring back our bright, white smiles. At our dental office in Erdenheim, we have some good news — there are many ways to whiten your teeth! Let’s take a look at some of the most common things you can do to get a whiter smile.

Professional Teeth Whitening

The best way to whiten your smile fast is to get professional whitening from your dentist in Erdenheim. Even though this option is more costly than many over-the-counter tooth whitening products, you can customize just how white you want your teeth to get and see the results immediately. Many times dental offices can also provide you with custom trays and whitening gel that you can use at home safely to maintain your new look.

DIY Smile Whitening

If you’re looking for ways to whiten your teeth, you may begin by exploring all of the options in your local grocery store or online. While there are tons of over-the-counter smile whitening products available, and they can be cheaper than a professional whitening, they do come with some risks. For example, you may be using a solution that’s too high for your teeth that could cause sensitivity and pain. Additionally, whitening strips and non-custom trays can allow the solution to seep into your gums. If left too long it can cause gum damage. Lastly, over-the-counter tooth whitening products tend to take longer to work.  

Cosmetic Dentistry

If traditional forms of smile whitening just aren’t making your teeth as white as you’d like, you may be a candidate for cosmetic dentistry. The truth is, there are some types of tooth staining that don’t respond to whitening gels. In this case, the best solution may be dental veneers. Dental veneers essentially cover up the front of your natural teeth with a custom-made slice of porcelain. These veneers can be your ideal shade of white and are shaped to blend in with your other natural teeth.

It’s important to note that you should talk to your dentist before beginning any whitening treatment. Not all whitening solutions are appropriate for everyone. To find the best option for you and to reduce the risk of negative side effects, meet with your dentist.

If you’re unhappy with the color of your teeth, call our Erdenheim dental office to schedule an appointment today. We’ll talk with you about what you’d like to change as well as your oral health history so we can recommend the best tooth whitening treatment for you.  

oral cancer awareness

Posted by & filed under Oral Cancer, Oral Health, Prevention.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and at our dental office in Erdenheim, we know just how serious and scary oral cancer can be. To do our part to help raise awareness, we’re here to share facts, signs, and risk factors of oral cancer with our patients and neighbors.

Facts About Oral Cancer

  • More than 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year
  • Oral cancer kills more than 8,500 people annually
  • Nearly 80% of oral cancer diagnoses are in tobacco users
  • Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women
  • Patients who have had oral cancer once are up to 20 times more likely to develop another form of cancer

The Importance of a Fast Diagnosis

Oral cancer can be treated, however, treatment is much more successful when the disease is caught early. This is one reason why bi-annual visits to your dentist in Erdenheim are so important. You see, unlike other types of cancer, there are no official timing guidelines for screening for oral cancer like there is for, say, colon or breast cancer. Your regular dental visits essentially act as regular oral cancer screenings. These checkups allow your dental team to identify any potential signs of oral cancer early so that you can get treatment fast.

Oral Cancer Signs & Symptoms

One thing that can make oral cancer difficult to diagnose is that its signs and symptoms can disguise themselves as common oral health problems that don’t seem like a big deal. However, you’re better safe than sorry… so if you notice any of the signs below, call your dentist as soon as you can.

  • A sore or discoloration that doesn’t go away
  • A lump inside the mouth or neck
  • Pain while swallowing, chewing, or speaking
  • Changes in voice
  • Chronic bad breath

Risk Factors

Even though oral cancer can happen to anyone, there are some people who may be at increased risk including:

Oral cancer is a very serious disease. Reduce your risk by changing any risky habits and commit to seeing your dentist every six months. Of course, if you suspect you’re at risk for oral cancer, or are concerned by any potential signs, we welcome you to call our Erdenheim dental office.