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.

man grinds teeth

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

Did you ever wake up in the morning and notice that your face and jaw are sore? Do you get up in the mornings with unexplainable headaches?  Our dental office in Erdenheim wants to know if you’ve ever considered that your pain and discomfort could be caused by teeth grinding or bruxism. Read on and see if your smile is at risk because of clenching or grinding…

What Exactly is Bruxism Anyway?

Bruxism is defined as the involuntary habitual grinding of your teeth, mainly while you’re asleep. That’s what makes teeth grinding so dangerous for you and your smile. Many of the 30 million people who struggle with bruxism don’t even know they’re doing it, so they don’t know what signs and symptoms they should be looking for. That’s why it’s important to have a partner like your dentist in Erdenheim who can see the early warning signs and help you fight your bruxism before it badly damages your teeth.

What Causes Bruxism or Teeth Grinding?

The American Dental Association says there’s three big reasons why patients of all ages grind or clench their teeth while sleeping. While we break them down here, ask yourself if any of these could be affecting you oral and overall health.

  1. Anxiety or Stress – This is a big one that so many people can relate to, especially when life is busy and demanding. Worrying or feeling stressed can cause us to tense up making it all the more likely you’ll start to clench your jaw or grind your teeth. It’s important to address your stress before it ruins your smile and your sleep.
  2. Having a Bad Bite – Sometimes when your teeth are out of alignment, it can cause problems with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the surrounding facial muscles. Your muscle can start to spasm during sleep causing you to grind your teeth together in response.
  3. Medical Complications – Some patients who grind their teeth at night could have an underlying, undiagnosed medical condition such as Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease or even acid reflux. Bruxism is also a side effect of certain prescription medications.

Stop ignoring your pain or masking it with medications. It’s time to call our Erdenheim dental office as soon as possible before your teeth become damaged or broken. We can give you a comprehensive, thorough exam, learn more about the symptoms you’ve been experiencing, and monitor your bite. From there, we’ll be able to address the severity of your teeth grinding and put together a personalized treatment plan for you.

nutrition month

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

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 Erdenheim, 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 Erdenheim 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  1. 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 Erdenheim 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.

bad breath

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

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 Erdenheim 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 Erdenheim.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.  
  3. See Your Dentist. Maintaining regular visits to your Erdenheim 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.

woman with toothache

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

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 Erdenheim, 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 Erdenheim as quickly as you can to get treated.

Top 5 Toothache Treatments

  • Warm Salt WaterMix 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 PacksIce 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 MedicationIf 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.
  • FlossFloss 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 AnestheticThere 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 maintain visits to our Erdenheim 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.

wisdom tooth model

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Prevention, Wisdom Teeth.

About 90% of the American population has had their wisdom teeth removed. But why is it important that we get these teeth extracted? Is wisdom teeth surgery really that important? What happens if we don’t have our wisdom teeth taken out? The team at our dental office in Erdenheim has the answers.

Wisdom Teeth Basics

Wisdom teeth tend to develop in our teens. This is when your dentist in Erdenheim should start to see these third molars on x-rays and when your dental team will start to monitor their development. Occasionally, wisdom teeth develop just fine and there are no reasons for concern. Other times people don’t get their wisdom teeth at all. But more commonly, wisdom teeth need to be removed for a few specific reasons. Let’s take a look at the top reasons why wisdom teeth extraction is usually recommended.

There’s No Room

Most people fall into the category where their mouths don’t have enough space to accommodate four more teeth. This can often be identified early through dental x-rays, and wisdom teeth removal can be incredibly easy. However, if treatment is delayed or avoided, the teeth can get trapped in the bone and become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth can be very painful and put you at increased risk for infection or an abscess. Furthermore, if wisdom teeth aren’t removed and are allowed to force their way into the mouth, other teeth will shift to make room. This will result in overlapping, crooked teeth.

They’re Facing the Wrong Way

Normally wisdom teeth will be facing crown up like all your other teeth. But sometimes wisdom teeth can come in at a weird angle or even sideways. When this happens the wisdom teeth should definitely be extracted. If not, these large teeth can cause permanent damage and severely affect the other teeth in the mouth.

When Wisdom Teeth Can Stay… Maybe

There are times when wisdom teeth come in almost perfectly and there’s no immediate need for extraction. However, wisdom teeth are difficult to care for properly. They’re hard to reach with a toothbrush and flossing requires an almost acrobatic approach. Because of this, your dentist may still recommend having them removed if only to reduce the risk of other problems down the road.

Wisdom teeth removal is incredibly common and most people have theirs removed at some point in their lives. The best way to monitor wisdom teeth development is to maintain regular appointments at our Erdenheim dental office. Keeping a close eye on how your wisdom teeth are erupting can mean a quicker treatment plan and easier removal.

child's hand holding vitamins

Posted by & filed under Home Care, Pediatric Dentistry.

Making sure your child gets enough of the right vitamins and minerals is an important part of helping them grow up big and strong. Their oral health is no different. Kids need to get the recommended amount of a variety of vitamins (and minerals!) in order to develop strong teeth and good oral health. Our dental office in Erdenheim is here to help give you a guide on what vitamins your kid needs.

Calcium

Calcium is most well-known for building strong bones, but it’s crucial for developing strong, healthy teeth too. Starting with strong teeth can help your child have good oral health for life and lower their risk for problems later on. Get calcium through dairy products, leafy green veggies, and nuts.

Vitamin D

While calcium is definitely important, it doesn’t work alone. In order for calcium to be absorbed properly, it needs vitamin D. Pair calcium-rich foods with vitamin D foods such as tuna, cheese, and egg yolks.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is often linked to developing good vision, but it’s also needed to help keep gums healthy. Vitamin A helps saliva glands produce more spit, and spit is a good thing. Saliva rinses away bacteria that otherwise could easily bury themselves into the gum tissue and cause problems. Foods loaded with vitamin A include fortified cereals, salmon, hard boiled eggs, and carrots.

Fluoride

Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that just so happens to also fight off cavities and decay. It’s also crucial in developing strong protective tooth enamel. Most public water supplies include enough fluoride to protect your child. Your dentist in Erdenheim should also provide fluoride treatments to your child regularly.  

Supplements or No Supplements?

Oftentimes a well-balanced diet complete with fruit, vegetables, dairy, and whole grain provides kids with the vitamins they need. However, doing this isn’t always easy. Life can get crazy and there’s not always time for a home-cooked meal including items from each food group. That’s ok! When there’s a chance your kid isn’t getting enough vitamins and minerals through their food, consider supplements or fun multivitamins.

Whether you choose to give your kids the vitamins they need in form of food or supplements, making sure they get enough can help set them up for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Of course, maintaining regular appointments at our Erdenheim dental office is also important for optimal dental health. Call to schedule a visit with us today!