Dental Anxiety and Our Office

If you get nervous or feel uneasy before dental appointments, you’re not alone. Perhaps you are scared the visit may hurt or you are worried about what the dentist may find.

Dental anxiety is a common mental health condition that affects 40 million Americans every year. Though it is normal to feel some degree of unease with dentists, dental anxiety is used to describe intense feelings of fear, stress, or unease while thinking about the dentist or while being in a dental setting.

For some, dental anxiety can result in avoiding or delaying treatment. If severe enough, dental anxiety can progress into dental phobia leading to the complete avoidance of dentists and their practice.

We understand and acknowledge your concerns and anxiety. We will work with you to ease your fears so that you can feel comfortable during your next appointment.

Symptoms

Though many patients may experience some degree of stress during a dental procedure, patients with dental anxiety can experience feelings of unease at just the thought of a dental appointment. Here are some common symptoms of dental anxiety:

  • Difficulty sitting still
  • Intense unease during examinations or cleanings
  • Low blood pressure
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Strong gag reflex
  • Sweating
  • Visible distress such as crying and signs of panic

These feelings can escalate the night before an appointment or while waiting in the office. Dental anxiety can lead patients to delay dental appointments even if they are in pain or need treatment.

Dental Anxiety and Your Oral Health

It may seem reasonable to skip dental appointments if you are not experiencing any pain when you have dental anxiety. However, avoiding the dentist can lead to the build-up of plaque and untreated dental conditions worsening, requiring more complex treatments later on or the need for emergency dental care.

Postponing dental care and visits can also lead to more intensive dental work, feeding the patient’s dental anxiety and unease.

Routine dental examinations and cleanings help to prevent dental disease and detect problems early on before they progress. This allows for simpler, less invasive, and often more cost-effective treatment options as many dental conditions are preventable.

Causes

For many, the anxiety may stem from fear of pain throughout procedures or the fear of injections. Others may also feel uncomfortable about the physical closeness during appointments or the tools used during procedures and routine examinations.

While the cause of dental anxiety can vary, our approach does not. We acknowledge your anxiety and will work with you so that your mental, emotional, and oral health are taken care of.

How We Can Help

One of the most important things you can do to overcome dental anxiety is to open a dialogue between you and your dentist about your feelings. By letting your dental office, dental hygienist, and dentist know about your anxiety, steps can be taken to reduce your anxiety and unease throughout your dental experiences.

We will adjust how we approach your oral health to better suit your needs and concerns so your experience in our office can be stress-free.

We can establish a signal, such as a raised hand, that will let us know non-verbally during your appointment that you may need to take a break or that you feel uncomfortable. We can also use conscious sedation, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), general anesthesia, or prescribe anxiety medication for added patient comfort.

During procedures or examinations, you may want to use headphones or earplugs to block out the sounds of tools being used. Consider bringing a stress ball so that you occupy your hands during your appointment or practice deep breathing exercises while in our office to lower your stress levels.

Our staff acknowledges dental anxiety and dental phobia in patients and will work with you to ease your feelings of anxiety and discomfort. Together, we will help you to achieve better oral health and a brilliant, long-lasting smile.

For more information on how we can help you with your dental anxiety, contact North Pointe Dental today.

Lasers In Dentistry

We understand that sometimes the sounds of drills can make dental visits and procedures seem intimidating. Unfortunately, this causes many patients to dread dental care and even refrain from visiting the office or voicing complaints and concerns. However, we are always researching the best ways to safely and successfully treat our patients and are proud to offer laser dentistry as a near pain-free option. With laser dentistry, we have the option to reduce and even eliminate dental fears or worries as many of our procedures involving dental lasers use minimal or even no anesthesia or drills for treatment.

What is Laser Dentistry?

Laser dentistry is an FDA approved treatment where lasers are used to treat several different dental conditions. Lasers create light energy in a very narrow and focused beam targeted on certain hard or soft tissue. This light is precisely calculated so that we can control the interaction with a particular type of tissue. The typical heat, vibration, noise, and pressure of traditional dental drills and tools are removed with the use of lasers helping to reduce patient anxiety surrounding dental care.

The two categories of procedures for laser dentistry are hard tissue and soft tissue procedures. Hard tissue refers to teeth and bones while soft tissue often refers to the gums, lips, tongue, or inner cheek.

How can it be used?

Dental lasers can treat a variety of conditions depending on the type of laser used. Common hard tissue procedures include cavity detection, treatment for tooth decay, tooth preparations, dental fillings, or reducing tooth sensitivity.

For soft tissue procedures, a laser may be used to reshape gum tissue, adjust, or reshape gum and bone for healthier tooth structure. Oftentimes soft tissue treatment does not require any sutures or stitches, so the healing and recovery period is significantly reduced.

Lasers can also be used in other procedures such as sealants, treating cold sores, removing benign tumors or lesions/growths, nerve generation, reducing pain and inflammation in jaw joints, teeth whitening, and more. Dental lasers can also be used to treat periodontitis or gum disease as they can kill bacteria and activate healthy tissue regrowth.

Benefits

One of the great benefits of laser treatment is the fact that the laser often seals nerve endings and blood vessels during procedures which helps to reduce pain and promote faster healing.

Other benefits of laser dentistry include but are not limited to:

  • Reduced need for stitches
  • Minimized bleeding
  • In many cases anesthesia is unnecessary
  • Lower risk of bacterial infection
  • Faster recovery

Limitations

There are some disadvantages to laser dentistry as it cannot be used on teeth that already have certain filling such as metal amalgam. Sometimes certain procedures may still require anesthesia and traditional dental tools.

Laser dentistry is a great option for those who may have anxiety in our office. Lasers enable us to address multiple dental needs while also ensuring that your experience is a positive one. For more information on laser dentistry, contact North Pointe Dental today.

8 Harmful Habits to Your Teeth

8 Harmful Habits to Your TeethAre you harming your teeth without even knowing it? Everyone knows how important it is to take care of your teeth and gums by brushing and flossing, but many don’t know that some daily habits can damage your teeth. While some of these habits can cause immediate damage, others may affect your oral health over time. Here are 8 harmful habits that you may need to put to rest for the sake of your teeth.

1. Nail-Biting
This nervous habit not only ruins your nails but can also chip and increase tooth sensitivity. It can also impact your jaw as you place your jaw in a protruding position and use pressure to bite down onto your nails. Over time, nail-biting can lead to chipped or cracked teeth, tooth sensitivity, and jaw dysfunction.

Pick a nail color that you love so you won’t be tempted, keep your nails trimmed short, or coat them in something bitter to prevent mindless biting. If stress is causing your nail-biting, consider other solutions to stress relief.

2. Brushing Too Hard
Brushing twice a day for at least two minutes is one of the best habits you can have for your oral health. However, brushing harder and faster doesn’t mean you are brushing better. Brushing with a hard-bristled brush can irritate your gums and damage your teeth.

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with the ADA seal of approval and think of massaging your teeth when you brush, not scrubbing them clean.

3. Grinding and Clenching
Many people grind or clench their teeth, especially while sleeping. Tooth grinding, also called Bruxism, can result in wearing down your teeth, cracking or chipping teeth, muscle tenderness, joint dysfunction, and chronic pain. Damage from grinding may also require additional replacements to crowns or other dental implants.

Grinding is often caused by stress. At night it can be difficult to control, so patients should consider wearing a nightguard to limit the damage. During the day, practice relaxation exercises by stretching your jaw and making an effort to keep your feet apart.

4. Chewing on Ice and Pencils
Chewing on ice is a common habit that is very dangerous for your teeth. Tooth enamel is crystal and ice cubes are another form of crystal. When you push crystals against each other, one will break. Thankfully it is most often the ice that breaks, but sometimes a tooth or filling will break instead.

Instead, use a straw so you won’t be tempted or consider chewing on a piece of sugarless gum if you get the urge.

Biting down on pencils or pens while you concentrate is also a bad habit that may cause your teeth to crack and chip. They may also irritate the inside of your teeth.

5. Using Your Teeth as Tools
It might seem convenient to open a package with your teeth or to use them as an extra hand, but your teeth were made for eating. When you use your teeth as a stand-in for a pair of scissors or to hold something while you open a door, you put yourself at a greater risk of damaging your teeth. Common injuries include cracked teeth, cuts on the lips and tongue, injured jaw, or accidentally swallowing something you shouldn’t have.

Instead, keep yourself safe and ask for help, grab a pair of scissors, or decide to make multiple trips if you don’t have room in your hands for all your items. Always practice safety first, even for your teeth.

6. Playing without a mouthguard
A hit to the mouth during a big game can cause your teeth to loosen, chip, crack, or you may even lose a tooth. Not to mention, you may bite down on your tongue, lip, or cheek. Many people play recreational sports without using a mouthguard, even though nearly all professional athletes wear them. Protect your oral health and purchase a self-fitting mouthguard that conforms to your bite or talk with your dentist about a custom-made mouthguard so that you can protect your smile while you play sports.

7. Loving Lemons
Remember when you were young and you would take a cut orange and smile with it in your mouth? You were probably told by a teacher or parent to take it out of your mouth because you’d damage your teeth. They were right! Lemons, oranges, and other highly acidic foods can damage your tooth’s enamel. These acidic substances can cause erosion and tooth sensitivity. This may lead to tooth discoloration as well and make a rough texture on the surface of your teeth afterward.

Avoid eating highly acidic foods in large quantities. Remember to rinse out your mouth with water after eating acidic foods. Brush your teeth after waiting 30 minutes or so, as brushing immediately afterward may result in increased sensitivity and lead to more damage.

8. Forgetting to Floss
We know that brushing and flossing are important and that more often than not, flossing can fall to the side during a busy week. Forgetting to floss can cause serious damage to your oral health. Regular flossing helps to reduce plaque buildup from between your teeth and under your gums.

Commit to brushing and flossing. Do them together in the morning and night so that you don’t forget one or the other. Establish a routine and stick to it.

We understand it is hard to break bad habits, but amending your ways will significantly improve your dental health. If you recognize one or two of these habits as your own, contact our office so that we can work with you to break these bad habits.

For more information on habits that are harmful to your teeth, please contact North Pointe Dental today.

The Ultimate Toothpaste Guide

Walking into the toothpaste aisle, it is easy to become confused even when searching among the same brand of toothpaste. Should you for tartar-control? Fluoride? What does “total” whole mouth health toothpaste include? Should you try an all-natural toothpaste? When it comes to selecting your toothpaste, we understand how important it is to choose a product that is perfect for your unique oral health needs. To aid you in your search, we’ve made the ultimate toothpaste guide so that you know exactly what to look for.

Did you know the first known formula for toothpaste was made by the Egyptians? They used rock salt, dried flowers, mint, and pepper! This formula was altered over the years by various societies. Some using pulverized brick, chalk, and even burnt bread as ingredients. It wasn’t until the 19th century that there was a toothpaste somewhat similar to what we know today.

Basics of Toothpaste

Toothpaste comes in paste, gel, or powdered forms and also a variety of flavors. Despite the differences in taste and texture, most toothpaste share some common ingredients.

  • Abrasive Agents -These are scratchy particles that work to remove food, bacteria, and minimal stains from the surface of your teeth while you brush. Calcium carbonate is the most common abrasive substance used in toothpaste. Abrasive agents make up about 50% of modern toothpaste.
  • Flavoring – Artificial sweeteners are added to make toothpaste taste better. Though many of us associate the flavor of toothpaste with mint, there are many other flavor options on the market such as cinnamon, lemon-lime, and bubblegum. You can even find novelty flavors such as bacon or pickle!
  • HumectantsMoisturizing agents are used to keep pastes and gels from drying out. The most commonly used humectant for toothpaste is glycerol.
  • Thickening Agents – These agents help to give toothpaste that distinctive consistency and texture that we are used to in our toothpaste.
  • Detergent – Detergents are used to develop suds or foam while you brush your teeth. The most commonly used agent for detergents in toothpaste is sodium lauryl sulfate.

Types of Toothpaste

There are many types of toothpaste on the market and while some may target specific oral concerns, others may cover a variety. Some of the common types of toothpaste include:

  • All-Natural- Some patients prefer to use products that do not contain any artificial chemicals or ingredients. If so, consult with your dentist to discuss your options. Often natural toothpaste is fluoride-free, so you may need to find another means of fluoride intake to ensure cavity prevention. Many of these products do not contain detergents, so they may not foam like traditional toothpaste.
  • Fluoride- Fluoride is a naturally found mineral that has proven instrumental in reducing tooth decay and preventing cavities dramatically over the last 50 years. Toothpaste that contains fluoride works to strengthen your enamel to prevent acidic damage and also reverses early signs of decay by remineralizing the surface of your teeth. Many products contain fluoride even if they target other concerns, as it is one of the most important qualities when selecting toothpaste for cavity prevention. Even if you drink fluoride-rich water daily, we still recommend you make sure it is included in your toothpaste selection.
  • Tartar-Control- Everyone has bacteria on their teeth known as plaque which can be removed with good oral hygiene habits such as daily brushing and flossing. However, when plaque is left alone, it can harden and form into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional during a cleaning. Though there is no avoiding harmful bacteria, you can help reduce plaque and buildup. This toothpaste has agents that help kill bacteria more effectively and prevent tartar from forming better than other toothpaste.
  • Tooth Sensitivity- If your teeth are sensitive, it is best to discuss your options with your dentist who can recommend specific brands for your needs. Certain chemicals within tooth sensitive toothpaste work to block nerve pathways to offer relief and reduce sensitivity.

We recommend selecting a toothpaste that has ADA approval as that product has earned its distinction after being evaluated for safety and effectiveness by a board of dental health experts. If you have any questions about which toothpaste is right for you or to schedule a consultation, contact North Pointe Dental today!

Sleep Apnea and Your Dentist

Are you struggling with snoring and sleepless nights? Do you wake up with morning headaches and still feel tired throughout the day? If so, you may be experiencing some form of sleep-related breathing disorder. Did you know that many dentists are trained to help treat and manage your snoring or sleep disturbances? Though dentistry may not be the first place you seek for a good night’s rest, your dentist may be able to help you find an effective and comfortable treatment option. Snoring isn’t uncommon among Americans as millions of Americans suffer from sleep disorders such as chronic snoring. Though people joke that snoring is a sign of a good night’s rest, chronic loud snoring could be a tell-tale sign that a person may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Dental sleep medicine is an area of dental practice that focuses on helping patients to treat sleep-disordered breathing conditions such as snoring and OSA by using oral appliance therapy. Sleeping well helps you to look, feel, and perform at your best. Your sleep impacts every aspect of your health and daily life and can even affect your dental health. One of the first signs of OSA in addition to chronic snoring is tooth grinding. Your dentist may notice worn tooth surfaces during a routine exam and bring the issue to your attention. Tooth grinding can not only lead to inflamed gums but can also allow for the development of cavities.

Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a chronic condition that occurs when your muscles relax during sleep. This allows for soft tissue to collapse and block your airway which results in reduced oxygen levels. The lack of airflow can last only a few seconds or up to a few minutes. These low oxygen levels cause the body to wake up throughout the night to regain airflow and may result in snorting, gasping, or choking to restore oxygen levels. A person with sleep apnea may wake up an overage of 30 times an hour with no memory of it. Chronic low oxygen levels can cause irreversible brain damage, heart attack, and stroke.

A misaligned or small jaw, tongue with scalloped edges, excess body weight, or a narrow airway are common causes of sleep apnea.

Symptoms

Aside from excessive snoring and tooth grinding, other symptoms that are associated with sleep apnea include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Lack of energy
  • Poor memory
  • Headaches
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke
  • Obesity
  • Sexual dysfunction

If your dentist suspects you may be suffering from a sleep disorder, he or she may refer you to a sleep specialist for a proper diagnosis. Once confirmed, your dentist will work with your sleep physician to identify the best form of treatment for you.

Treatment options

The most common treatment option for sleep apnea is a CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy machine. The CPAP machine keeps the airway open by forcing air into the body through flexible tubing. It does require you to wear a mask as you sleep. Though it is an effective form of treatment, many are unable to adhere to it. Some patients complain of claustrophobia, dry nasal passages, difficulty tolerating pressurized air, or the mask shifting during sleep.

For those seeking alternate forms of treatment aside from a CPAP machine or surgery to remove excess soft tissue above the airway, your dentist can help you with oral appliance therapy.

Oral appliance therapy

Oral appliance therapy is a dental solution for mild to moderate cases of sleep-related breathing disorders like sleep apnea. As mentioned above, sleep apnea is caused by muscles and soft fatty tissues relaxing during your sleep to the point where they collapse onto the upper airway and block the flow of oxygen through the body. Oral appliance therapy uses devices that are similar to a mouthguard or retainer that are custom-made to the patient’s mouth to help realign the jaw, teeth, and tongue to prevent airway obstruction.

There are two major types of dental appliances used for treatment:

  • Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs) are similar to mouthguards and retainers. They fit into the mouth and use metal hinges to push the lower jaw and tongue forward to prevent the tissues from collapsing on the airway.
  • Tongue Retaining Mouthpieces are similar to MADs but have a small compartment or attachment to keep the tongue in place while you sleep.

This form of treatment can be more convenient and comfortable for some patients compared to the traditional CPAP machine. However, some patients may experience jaw pain or soreness, tender teeth and gums, dry mouth, damaged bite, and loosening of dental restorations.

The quality of your sleep has a dramatic impact on your health, wellbeing, and quality of life. If you think you have sleep apnea or would like to learn more about how your dentist can help you achieve a better night’s rest, contact North Pointe Dental.

World Oral Health Day

It’s March, which means that World Oral Health Day is upon us! It is celebrated globally every year on March 20th and is the largest global awareness campaign for oral health. March 20th is a day to celebrate oral health and spread the message about good oral hygiene practices for both adults and children alike so we are taking time to offer a refresher on how to maintain your dental regimen. We have put together some smart choices to help you have great oral health for a lifetime.

2020’s theme is “Unite For Mouth Health”! Your mouth is amazing as it helps you to eat, drink, speak and smile confidently. Whatever your age, taking care of your mouth is crucial not just for your teeth but also for your general health and wellbeing. An unhealthy mouth can cause pain, discomfort, disease, and even play a role in your mental health. It is never too early or too late to begin caring for your mouth.

Pledge to make a better effort at improving and maintaining great oral health this year.

Brush and Floss Daily

Brushing twice a day with FDA and ADA approved toothpaste is a great place to start when working to improve your dental care routine. Toothpaste plays an important role in keeping your teeth, gums, and breath clean and fresh. Toothpaste comes in a variety of forms and flavors so be sure to ask your dentist which is best for you. However, toothpaste doesn’t do you any good if you don’t brush properly. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and gums, brushing gently in small circles for 2 minutes. Remember to replace your toothbrush every 3 months or once its bristles have become frayed and after every professional cleaning.

Floss at least once a day to clean between your teeth and underneath gums. If you have little ones, pledge to teach them the importance of good oral health habits early with proper brushing and flossing even if they might need your help and supervision.

Commit to Regular Dental Check-ups

Brushing and flossing are great at preventing plaque buildup, but it cannot replace the effect of professional dental cleanings. Only a dentist can remove tartar from your teeth, which is hardened plaque from food or other materials. Dental exams also enable the dentist to keep an eye on your oral health and treat any early signs of oral disease to keep you in optimal health at all times.

Keep Clean On-The-Go

Sometimes you don’t always have time to fully clean and brush your teeth when you are on-the-go. Help keep your mouth clean by having sugar-free gum, mini floss, travel-size mouthwashes, or on-the-go toothbrush kits on hand at all times.

Protect Your Teeth

Protect your teeth by taking proper care of your protective or oral health gear such as dentures, mouthguards, or orthodontic appliances. Remember to take the time to clean them as instructed by your dentist. For added protection, consider asking your dentist about sealants which can add a protective layer to your teeth to help protect them from cavities and keep them healthy.

Practice healthy habits

A healthy diet is beneficial in numerous ways! Be sure to cut back on sugary snacks, processed foods, and caffeine. Eat a well-balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, and healthy fats. For families, adopting new routines together can be fun and helps to keep family members accountable. If you are of age, you should limit your alcohol and tobacco usage.

This oral health day we want everyone to unite for oral health because a healthy mouth enables us to enjoy life to the fullest, and that’s something worth pledging for. For more information on oral health day and good oral hygiene habits, contact North Pointe Dental today.

Gum Disease Awareness

Gum Disease AwarenessFebruary is Gum Disease Awareness Month and dentists and oral health professionals across the globe are taking the time to raise public awareness about gum disease. Our goal is to educate the public on gum disease and the consequences of leaving it untreated while encouraging patients to take a more active role in bettering their oral health.

The mouth can be a busy place. It is home to millions of bacteria, and while some aren’t as harmful, others can attack your teeth and gums. The good news is that gum disease is preventable with quality, daily brushing and flossing along with routine dental exams and cleanings. With the proper care, gum disease can be prevented and in most early stages can even be reversed.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a condition where bacterial growth within the mouth causes irritation and infection of the surrounding and supporting tissue of teeth. One of the most common causes of gum disease is the build-up of plaque that hardens into tartar which can only be removed by professionals.

There are two stages of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Let’s take a closer look.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. The common symptoms of gingivitis include swollen or red gums that bleed during brushing and flossing. There is no bone or tissue damage at this stage and teeth are firmly rooted in place. This stage is reversible with dental cleanings and good oral hygiene habits.

Periodontitis

Periodontitis is the second stage of gum disease and is the result of gingivitis being left untreated. During this stage, the inner layers of gum and bone have receded from your teeth and formed pockets. These pockets allow for food and bacteria to grow inside leading to possible infection. Common symptoms of periodontitis include sensitive teeth, receding gums, shifting or loss of teeth, and bad breath. Periodontitis requires professional treatment and possible surgical options.

Treatments

The goals of treatment for gum disease are to reduce inflammation, decrease pocket depth, and to stop and prevent further bone loss (including teeth). Treatment varies from patient to patient and depends on the type of gum disease as well as the condition to which it has progressed.

Treatment options may include home care such as maintaining a healthy diet along with proper brushing and flossing. Brushing only eliminates plaque from the surfaces, so remember to floss to remove plaque from in between teeth and under the gum line.

In the early stages, most treatment options are non-surgical such as scaling and root planing or laser pocket disinfection. Scaling and root planing is when a dentist or hygienist uses metal instruments to scrape away tartar and plaque on the tooth’s surface and in the pockets around your teeth. Laser pocket disinfection may be used as well to treat early forms of gingivitis. During laser pocket disinfection a dental laser is used to kill bacteria within pockets between teeth. Medication may be prescribed to you to help control infection, discomfort, or to help with healing. Your dentist will request a follow-up appointment after a few weeks to evaluate your healing and decide if further treatment is needed.

If your condition has progressed and has become severe, surgery may be recommended. Surgery options allow your dentists to remove plaque and tartar from hard to reach areas. In these cases, a scalpel may be used to cut your gum and fold it back, allowing your dentist to clean the roots of your teeth and view the condition. If needed, reshaping and grafts may also be done. Afterward, your gums will be stitched into place to ensure they hug tightly onto your teeth, helping you to keep them clean.

For more information on gum disease, prevention, and treatment options, please contact North Pointe Dental today.

Healthier Smile For A New You

What does ringing in the New Year have to do with your teeth? A lot, of course! The new year is a time for resolutions and as people set their sights on improving their health, many fail to see how important it is to consider your dental health as well! This is a great time to refamiliarize yourself with your dental hygiene regime and adjust accordingly, so whether you want to fix up some habits or try a dental treatment, we are here to help you achieve a new smile this year with these dental resolutions!

Brushing and Flossing

The champion rule of dental hygiene is to brush at least twice a day and floss daily. We understand that sometimes people can get sidetracked and forget to uphold the golden rule. However, the new year is a good time for a fresh start. Remember to brush for at least two minutes to keep plaque from building up on your teeth. Flossing will help you to remove any leftover bits of food and plaque between teeth and underneath the gum line where your toothbrush can’t reach.

Toothbrushes should be replaced every 3-4 months or once the bristles have frayed. You will also want to replace your toothbrush after each professional cleaning. Brush gently at a 45-degree angle towards the gum line to clean teeth properly as brushing and flossing can help to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.

Well-Balanced Diet

Food and beverage choice plays a large part in your dental health as frequent consumption of food and beverages with high sugar or acid content can contribute to the development of cavities or other oral health problems. Remember to drink plenty of water to not only keep your breath fresh, but also to rinse away any leftover sugars from throughout the day. Also, consider limiting your intake of dark drinks and foods that can stain your teeth. Eating fibrous foods and dairy products can help to keep your mouth clean and your teeth strong.

Routine Exams

Routine visits to the dentist can help to prevent oral disease and detect any oral health complications early on. If it’s been a while since your last trip to the dentist, have no fear, it is better late than never. Commit to visiting the dentist every six months so that your dentist can clean and monitor the condition of your teeth. Your dentist will be able to provide you with a proper care or treatment plan for all your dental wants and needs this year.

A good tip to help you keep up with your appointments is to schedule your next one before you leave the office and place a reminder in your calendar immediately.

Improving Your Smile

There are many techniques and treatments that we can offer to you to help improve your smile such as teeth whitening or cosmetic dentistry. You can ask your dentist for recommendations on over-the-counter whitening products or even ask about treatments available at the office.

Making New Year’s resolutions can be fun, but be sure to keep them as simple as possible so you can keep up with them. Don’t try to take on too many changes at once, it’s okay to add them in as the year progresses so you don’t become overwhelmed. We are committed to helping you achieve a new and brilliant smile this year, for more information about how our office can help you, please contact North Pointe Dental today.

A Merry and Bright Smile

Wishing for a white Christmas? Is your smile ready for the holidays? If you desire whiter and brighter teeth for the holidays or new year, we can help. We understand that a radiant smile can leave a lasting impression and that bright, white teeth are great confidence builders. There are a variety of ways to whiten your teeth, both in-office and at home. We invite you to explore the possibilities of achieving a glowing smile with these whitening treatments.

Many of us desire white teeth especially around the holidays, and while brushing, flossing, and using a mouthwash are great ways to take care of your teeth and prevent stains from forming, to achieve that radiant smile a whitening treatment may be in order. It is best to consult with your dentist to determine the right treatment for you and your teeth.

Why do teeth change colors?

By nature, our teeth are not perfectly white, but over time our teeth may change color from their pale appearance due to certain foods and drinks, age, trauma, medication, and tobacco usage.

There are two kinds of stains: extrinsic and intrinsic.

  • Extrinsic stains are the stains located on the outside of the tooth’s enamel. Whitening toothpaste, strips, and mouthwashes have some effect on these types of stains.
  • Intrinsic stains are underneath the surface of your teeth’s enamel and will not respond effectively to home remedies. The best way to target these stains is with professional dental treatment.

How does whitening work? Are there any side effects?

Teeth whitening is often a simple process. Whitening products contain either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Both are safe and dentist-approved bleaches. These bleaches break down stains into smaller pieces, making the color less concentrated and your teeth brighter.

Some people may experience tooth sensitivity. This happens when bleaching agents irritate the nerves of your teeth. Overuse of whiteners can also damage tooth enamel and gums permanently. Follow directions properly and speak with your dentist before any treatment.

Does whitening treatment work on all teeth and stains?

No, unfortunately even professional whitening may not lift all stains. Brown and gray tones may not take to whitening treatment or result in uneven results. Yellow teeth respond better to bleaching.

Bleaching is not recommended for tooth-colored fillings, crowns, caps, or bonding at the front of your mouth as the bleach will not change the color of those materials. Ask your dentist for other options such as veneers or bonding.

What are my options?

  • Stain removal toothpaste– All toothpaste help remove surface stains on your teeth. Look for an ADA approved whitening toothpaste. These kinds of toothpaste will have additional polishing agents that are safe for your teeth. They may not change the color of your teeth significantly but will remove surface stains.
  • In-office treatment– The fastest and most efficient whitening treatment is done by professionals. In-office treatments contain whitening agents at higher concentrations and produce results faster than other options, lifting deep discoloration within your teeth. During this treatment, the lips and gums will be protected and the whitening gel applied directly to the teeth. Fluoride may be applied following treatment to reduce tooth sensitivity.
  • At-home dental treatment– Your dentist may also provide you with a custom-made tray for at-home whitening. In this case, he or she will give you specific instructions on how to use the bleaching solution, trays, and the length of treatment.
  • Over-the-counter products– Toothpaste, whitening kits, and strips are available at your local stores. The concentration of whitening agents is lower than what your dentist would use, but can still help you to achieve a brighter smile.

Lifestyle changes

  • Eating the right foods– A healthy diet is important to maintaining good oral health. However, some foods are better at promoting a brighter smile than others. Eating vegetables and fruits that are firm and crisp can help prevent plaque buildup. Foods to consider are celery, apples, pears, carrots, broccoli, and spinach.
  • Be smart about what foods may cause staining– Foods and beverages that would stain a white carpet will likely stain your teeth. If you want a brighter smile, avoid these foods and drinks or be sure to rinse and clean your mouth after consuming them.
  • Avoid smoking – Smoking can be one of the fastest ways to diminish the whiteness of your teeth. Tar and nicotine can stain and turn your teeth yellow. If you desire whiter teeth, you may need to consider curbing this habit.
  • Use caution with home remedies – Be aware of the ingredients in home remedies, baking soda is abrasive and may strip away your tooth enamel permanently if you are not careful. Acidic treatments can also increase sensitivity, yellowing, and eat away at your enamel.

If you have any questions on teeth whitening options for your smile, we are happy to do everything we can to assist you. We will work with you to find the perfect treatment for you. For more information, contact North Pointe Dental today.

Dangers of “Do-It-Yourself” Teeth Whitening

As we enter the holiday season, we know everyone is trying to put their best self forward preparing to gather around with loved ones. A good-looking smile with even teeth can be a major confidence booster and helps to make a lasting impression on others whether on a date, at a reunion, or even in an interview.

Each year millions and even billions of dollars are spent on products to help people achieve that beautiful smile. There are hundreds of products and methods spreading across the internet claiming to get your teeth to “pearlfection” and some people have even resulted in making their own concoctions to save on money. However, when it comes to dental care, doing it on your own can have dangerous and disastrous results.

Recently videos and posts of how to perform “do-it-yourself” or DIY dental procedures have increased and resulted in a rise of patients suffering from DIY procedures gone wrong. These are at a minimum, problematic trends that can have serious consequences. We’d like to take time to talk to you about some dangerous but unfortunately common trends in hopes that you will come to see through their false promises and come to us with your dental desires saving yourself the trouble and toothache.

“Do-It-Yourself” Teeth Whitening

The widespread desire for whiter teeth in today’s society combined with internet culture has given rise to several DIY whitening methods. You can easily do a quick search on the internet and find tons of ‘promising’ Hollywood like smiles from supposed DIY tooth whitening methods. While some of these tricks might seem like great life hacks, often these ‘recipes’ are more for disaster rather than success.

  • Oil Pulling – Oil pulling is a folk remedy and while in some cases it has been effective in slight degrees, there is no scientific evidence or consistent track record to back up its claim for health benefits, especially when it comes to whitening teeth.
  • Lemon Juice – Lemon juice is probably one of the worst ideas we have seen in terms of teeth whitening as you are essentially brushing your teeth with strong citric acid. Any acid is harmful to your teeth, but a strong acid such as lemon juice applied directly to your teeth will strip your teeth of its protective layers and enamel. Tooth enamel is highly vulnerable to acids and enamel loss is permanent. We strongly urge you against this method as it can cause permanent damage to your teeth.
  • Activated Charcoal – Activated charcoal has been exceptionally popular recently and though it may absorb stains and toxins from your teeth, there are strong debates on its brightening qualities. Charcoal is an abrasive substance that might scrape away enamel as it removes stains from your teeth leaving them in a dangerous position. Hold off on buying any products that are not ADA approved and do not try to make your own mix.
  • Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide – These two household products can often be found in pantries or medicine cabinets in most homes. This DIY method came from the idea that because hydrogen peroxide is used in professional whitening methods and baking soda is a common ingredient in many ADA approved toothpaste, that combining the two would be a safe option in terms of removing stains/whitening teeth. While both are used in ADA products and procedures, that does not mean they are safe chemicals to apply directly to your teeth unsupervised.

There is a delicate balance to avoid damaging teeth and soft tissues of your mouth when it comes to teeth whitening procedures. Only dental professionals have the knowledge, experience, training, and materials to properly whiten your teeth with safe, long-lasting results.

Your teeth will thank you for putting your trust in dental professionals at North Pointe Dental when it comes to achieving your perfect smile. Bring your questions and desires with you to your next appointment and we will be sure to help you. Together, we will make a safe plan on how to achieve your best smile. In the meantime, keep up with good practices such as brushing and flossing daily and avoid foods, drinks, and other products that might stain or harm your teeth.

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