What is considered a dental emergency?

Calling the dentist in an emergency can be stressful, and it is important to know when to call our office. At Smile Design, we offer same day or next day appointments to address any emergency situations for our patients.
It is important to know the signs or symptoms that may tell you that you need to contact us. Any pain or discomfort that is dismissed or not addressed can make a bad situation worse, and additional problems can arise.
The quicker you make an appointment in our office, the faster we can help you recover and prevent future issues.
Dental emergencies include any problems that may require immediate attention. Some examples include saving a tooth, infections, and alleviating pain. Infections can be life-threatening and should be addressed right away.

Signs or symptoms of a dental emergency:

  • Abscess or infection
  • Bleeding or irritated gums
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Any tooth pain that is persistent and does not go away
  • Mouth or lip sores that will not go away
  • Jaw pain, clicking, or popping
  • Change in tooth color, or spots that have formed on the tooth’s surface
  • Loose teeth

If you experience any of the above symptoms, please do not hesitate to call our office. Any pain or trauma is a good reason to call so we can evaluate the issue. Our team at Smile Design is highly trained to handle any dental emergency. We are happy to assist our patients in any way we can.
Call Smile Design today to schedule your appointment, and let us help get you.

It’s National Gum Care Month!

September brings the month of National Gum Care, a time to raise awareness for healthy gums everywhere. No matter your age, you should always be striving for great oral care, and this doesn’t just mean your teeth. Your gums are just as important when it comes to maintaining a great smile.

As new research develops, we see a rise in medical conditions related to infected gums – such as heart disease, diabetes, pregnancy complications and more – and how preventing gum (periodontal) disease is vital for both your oral and overall health. It is believed that the inflammation caused by bacteria can destroy gum tissue and then invade the bloodstream, eventually affecting other parts of your body. You can help prevent this invasion by taking excellent care of your teeth and gums.

Healthy Gums vs. Diseased Gums

Do you know what healthy gums look like? Gums should be firm and pink with no bleeding and no discomfort. Signs of bad gums include loose or shifting teeth, chronic bad breath, a bad taste in your mouth, bleeding gums, redness, swelling, pus around teeth and gums, receding gums, and gum tenderness. If you have dentures, they may not fit correctly.

Preventing Gum Disease

You can help take care of your gums by following these guidelines:

– Healthy Brushing: Be sure to brush at least twice a day, waiting to brush for at least 30 minutes after your meal (brushing right away can cause corrosion from leftover food).

– Flossing Correctly: Floss at least once a day to remove debris between the teeth and near the gums. It is recommended you floss before brushing so your toothbrush can wipe away leftover bacteria and debris. Gently floss between each tooth, using clean sections of floss each time. Avoid snapping the floss down onto the gums.

– Seeing Your Dentist: You should receive a dental exam and cleaning every six months if not more often. Notify your dentist if you have concerns about your teeth and gums or you are experiencing pain or discomfort.

– Healthy Diet: Consume a regular diet of healthy foods and liquids. More sugar in your diet tends to lead to more lingering and sticky bacteria. Rinse your mouth with water after eating and drinking other beverages.

– Avoiding Substances: A great way to help your teeth and gums stay healthy is avoiding tobacco and limiting your alcohol intake. This includes smoking and vaping. Try to avoid drinking too much soda and energy beverages, candies, sugary snacks, and fast food.

– Other Tips: Replace your toothbrush every two to three months, depending on the wear. Exercise regularly to increase blood flow and encourage saliva flow. Choose a toothpaste that is best for your dental needs.

Treatments for Healthier Gums

Even if you haven’t had a cavity in your life, you are still vulnerable to gum disease. If your home dental care isn’t enough, there are alternative treatments to help rid your mouth of infection. These include the following options:

– Professional dental cleaning
– Scaling and root planing
– Pocket reduction
– Gum graft
– Soft tissue graft
– Prescribed medication, toothpaste or mouthwash
– Root canal therapy (if needed)

These options can help keep you and your smile in optimal health. Your gums are important in keeping your teeth in place. We invite you to consult with our team about what treatment may be best for you.

If you have questions or concerns about your gum health, feel free to give our experienced team a call. We will be happy to help you get the gum care you deserve, so reach out today and get your dental health where it deserves to be!

What is the treatment for sleep apnea?

If you suffer from Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS) or sleep apnea, you may have symptoms that should never be ignored. Many patients have repeated interrupted sleep where they snore loudly or even gasp for air while breathing. Seeing professional help is always a good idea and highly recommended.
Sleep apnea is a condition where breathing stops and starts during sleep. If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, the tissue in your throat relaxes and causes your airway to be blocked.
Upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) is very similar to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). With UARS, the soft tissue in the throat relaxes and reduces the size of the airway, causing problems with breathing. UARS is not as severe as obstructive sleep apnea, but still does affect a patient’s breathing and sleep.
Treatment for sleep apnea:

  • A CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure device may be recommended. This device fits over the patient’s nose and mouth, and gently blows air into their airway. This helps keep the airway open during sleep. This method can be cumbersome, but it is effective.
  • If your condition is severe, surgery may be recommended. The surgery would eliminate any extra tissue in the patient’s throat, and prevent the throat from collapsing during sleep.
  • Changing your lifestyle habits including how often you exercise and what you eat can help alleviate sleep apnea symptoms. Also, we recommend avoiding smoking and alcohol as this can contribute to OSA.
  • Changing the position while you sleep may be recommended, and can help with symptoms of sleep apnea.

Treatment for Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS):

  • A CPAP machine can also be used to treat UARS and help patients sleep and breathe more easily at night.
  • Treating allergies can help alleviate symptoms of UARS.
  • Changing your lifestyle habits and losing weight can help treat UARS.
  • If a child has been diagnosed with UARS, surgery may be recommended to remove the tonsils and/or adenoids. This helps with breathing and allows the child to sleep throughout the night.

If you are interested in finding out more about treatment for sleep apnea or UARS, contact Smile Design Family and Cosmetic Dentistry to schedule your appointment.

How Do Dental Checkups Impact Your Oral Health?

We learn at a young age that brushing and flossing are vital to keeping your smile healthy. We need to continue these daily habits in our ongoing quest to maintain healthy smiles for strong teeth and gums. Seeing your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups at least twice a year is another habit you should incorporate. Together with our dental team, you are creating an optimal oral environment for a lifetime of smiles in great condition.

Professional dental cleanings are typically recommended twice a year, but if you are in treatment for dental illnesses or are at high risk for disease – such as gum disease – you may need to come in more frequently. Of course, dental cleanings are just one aspect of these visits. Our dentist will also conduct an oral exam, which may include taking dental X-rays to assess the condition of your teeth, jaw and gums.

We will be looking for signs of tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer. If this is your first visit, we will want to know about your health history, what medications you take, current allergies or adverse reactions you have had to medications in the past. And if you have dental anxiety that kept you from seeing your dentist before, please let us know so we can discuss ways to minimize your discomfort and help you feel more relaxed and comfortable during your time with us. We are happy to work with you to make your experience safe, relaxing and convenient for you.

Professional Dental Cleanings

Regular professional dental cleanings remove calcified plaque, known as tartar, that accumulates in the hard-to-clean areas of the mouth. These are not easily accessible by your daily brushing and flossing efforts. To do this, our dentist or hygienist may use a special dental instrument – either a hand scaler or ultrasonic dental instrument – to remove tartar from around and below the gum line. Once this calcified plaque has been removed, your teeth will be polished with a mildly abrasive paste to clear away leftover plaque and tooth stains. After a final floss and evaluation from our experienced team, we will send you on your way.

If you run your tongue along your tooth surfaces, you should be able to feel the clean, smooth surface of the enamel. When the surface is smooth, it is harder for plaque to attach. We will also be happy to review whatever hygiene issues you may be experiencing as well as go over brushing and flossing techniques to help you better care for your teeth at home. We will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have concerning your oral care.

If you would like to know more about how dental checkups can help your oral health, feel free to give us a call or schedule to come into our office for your next exam! Our goal is to help you attain your best smile and have a great dental experience, so call us today to set up an appointment.

Does mild sleep apnea require treatment?

If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea this condition is classified by severity. To measure the severity of the condition an index is used. This index is called the Apnea-Hypopnea Index or AHI, and this represents the number of apnea or hypopnea events per hour of a patient’s sleep. Typically mild apnea has an AHI between the ranges of 5-15.
Mild apnea does not normally require treatment, but in certain cases oral appliances may be recommended. These oral devices help to reduce sleepiness and improve quality of life.
Other ways to treat mild sleep apnea include losing weight. This will help to reduce the amount of tissue that blocks the airway. Changing your sleeping position and increasing your daily amount of exercise can also help.
If you are interested in finding out more about the treatment for mild obstructive sleep apnea and how we can help, contact Smile Design Family and Cosmetic Dentistry to schedule your appointment.