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Dental X-Rays Demystified

Dental x-rays are in important part of an exam. They help the doctor detect damage to gums and teeth not visible during a routine checkup. X-rays also show the condition of your jaw placement, overall composition of your facial bones, and the condition of your teeth and roots. Your doctor may also be able to determine the presence of abscesses, the degree of gum disease, and the presence of abnormal growths and tumors. Impacted teeth and teeth which have not fully developed can also be seen using x-rays. Today’s dental x-rays are valuable tools your dentist uses to give you the best care possible.

Your dentist may take x-rays every six months to track your oral health. You may need new x-rays or bring your x-rays with you if you change dentists. The timing of x-rays depends upon your specific condition.

What are the Different Type of X-Rays?

Bitewing x-rays are the most common type. Patients hold or bite down on a piece of plastic containing x-ray film in the center. Your doctor may use bitewing x-rays to check for decay between your teeth. This is one of the most common places for decay to occur.

Another common type of x-ray are periapical x-rays. These give your doctor an image of the entire tooth and root. Periapical x-rays help dentists evaluate the bone level and structure of a tooth. It can also detect abscesses and cysts.

Occlusal x-rays give your doctor a view of the floor of your mouth. This shows the bite of the lower or upper jaw. This type of x-ray can be used to show the development of children’s primary and permanent teeth.

A radiograph, or panoramic x-ray, gives your dentist a view of our whole mouth. A single image may include parts of your jaw and upper and lower teeth. This type of x-ray gives your dentist a very clear image and is also used to predict children’s tooth development and spot any wisdom teeth complications before they erupt.

Your doctor may use more than one type of x-ray to diagnose and determine treatment. Each type gives your dentist a unique view of your teeth, gums, and mouth. Periapical and bitewing x-rays give a more detailed image while panoramic x-rays let your doctor see your entire mouth.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Dental x-rays use a low dose of radiation and are considered very safe. Although the x-ray machine is large, the actual x-ray is produced from a small cone limiting exposure. Today’s x-ray film is much more sensitive and needs less radiation to produce an image. Digital x-rays need no radiation at all and give the doctor a real-time image. Your doctor will use x-rays only when needed. This limits the amount of radiation you are exposed to.

Today’s dental x-rays are safe and effective tools used by dentists to examine your mouth, teeth, and gums. If you have any questions about dental x-rays, please call or contact us today.

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Tips to Get Through the Cold and Flu Season

It’s that time of year again. Your family and coworkers are sniffling and sneezing – it’s only a matter of time until you start, too. Every year we face the cold and flu season. If you are unlucky enough to get sick, your oral health may be the last thing on your mind. But if you follow these tips you can be sure to take care of your oral health as you fight a cold or suffer from the flu.

  • Brush your teeth. Although you may not feel like it, brush for at least two minutes to keep up on your oral hygiene habits.
  • Stay hydrated. Your body needs extra fluid to fight infection. Because you may be breathing through your mouth because your nose is stopped up, you may experience dry mouth. Dry mouth reduces the amount of saliva in your mouth and increases cavity causing bacteria. This is because saliva is important in the prevention of cavities and gum disease. Drink plenty of water and tea. Also load up on soup and juice to stay well hydrated.
  • Toss your toothbrush after start to feel better. Your toothbrush can harbor bacteria and make you sick again if you continue to use it.
  • Gargle with saltwater. This is an old home remedy that actual works. Gargling with saltwater reduces the bacteria in your mouth and helps reduce the effects of plaque and bad breath. Mix a teaspoon of salt into a warm glass of water and gargle and spit until the water is gone. It is not the tastiest remedy, but it does work.
  • Choose sugar free cough drops and syrups. Many cough drops and cough syrups use sugar to sweeten them. This can contribute to tooth decay. Try looking for medicine that is sugar free and sweetened with sucralose, xylitol, or other sugar substitutes. Wait a half an hour if your medicine is acidic before you brush your teeth. This will give your enamel a chance to harden.

If you come down with a cold or the flu, be sure to get your rest and drink plenty of fluids. Don’t forget your oral health while you’re sick and look for sugar free medicines to help get you through this time of year. Call or contact us today if you have any questions about the effects of a cold of flu on your oral health.

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Medical Conditions Which Affect Oral Health

The connection between oral health and overall health has been long known by doctors and dentists alike. Certain medical conditions have a direct effect on your oral health. Here are the top five medical conditions which affect oral health.

  • Acid reflux is a gastroesophageal reflux disease. It can erode your teeth because of the strong stomach acids coming up into your mouth. Your dentist may spot the symptoms during an exam. If you experience reflux, rinse your mouth out with water. Don’t brush them right away since they may still be soft from the acid. Prevent nighttime reflux by refraining from eating two to three hours before bed. Avoid food and beverages which may trigger reflux. These include acidic foods, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • Stomach ulcers may appear as sores in the lining of your small intestine or stomach. They are caused by the bacterium H. pylori which weakens the lining of your stomach. Although stomach ulcers don’t cause any oral health issues, certain medications used to treat them may turn your tongue black. Although shocking, the side effect goes away once you stop treatment.
  • Chronic kidney disease can make your breath smell fishy or like ammonia. As the disease progresses and the kidneys lose their ability to filter waste and toxins from the blood, your breath may smell like urine. Chronic kidney disease is a serious condition, and if left untreated can be fatal.
  • Diabetes doesn’t just affect your blood sugar. It is a widespread inflammatory disease which puts you at greater risk for gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, be sure and alert your dentist.
  • High blood pressure affects 25 percent of the American population. One of the side effects of certain blood pressure medications is gingival enlargement. This condition makes your gums swell and grow over your teeth.

These are just some of the medical conditions which can affect your oral health. When you go in for a checkup be sure to alert your dentist about any new conditions or medications you are taking. Together you can keep your oral and overall health up to par. Contact or call us today and schedule your next checkup to go over your health history and medication list.

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Quit Smoking and Save Your Teeth

Smoking puts you at risk for several serious health conditions. These include hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. But did you know smoking can also have a detrimental effect on your oral health? A recent study shows smokers are three to six times more likely to develop advanced gum disease than non-smokers.

A study at Newcastle University School of Dental Sciences in the UK focused on 49 smokers who had chronic periodontal disease. They received counseling to help stop smoking, and of the 49 in the study 1/5th of the subjects quit smoking and saw a marked improvement in their oral health. Other studies have also shown a link between smoking, quitting, and oral health. Once you quit smoking your gums begin to heal and the effects of periodontal disease lessen.

Periodontal disease is an infection. It affects the gums and can lead to loss of teeth. Smoking not only raises your risk for periodontal disease, but it also slows healing. Smokers are also five times likely to experience tooth loss from periodontal disease.

Another danger to smokers is oral cancer. This risk of cancer increases the longer you smoke or chew. About 90 percent of people who develop oral cancer have smoked. In fact, smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop oral cancer. Approximately 37 percent of people who continue to smoke after cancer treatment have a greater risk of developing second cancers of the mouth. On the other hand, only six percent of people who stopped smoking will develop secondary cancers.

You may think smokeless tobacco is a healthy choice. This is not true. Smokeless tobacco has been linked to oral cancers of the gums, cheeks, and inner surface of the lips. The use of smokeless tobacco raises the risk of oral cancer by 50 percent.

As you can see, smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco not only raises the risk of serious health issues, but has a direct effect on your oral health. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about quitting. If have quit, you have taken a crucial step to protecting your overall and oral health. If you have any questions about how your dentist can help you quit smoking, call or contact us today.

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Bright White Teeth are Just a Visit Away

Everyone wants the best smile possible, and it is no secret a bright white smile boosts your confidence. While you can find whitening products at your favorite store, none of them offer you the results that a professional whitening treatment can give you. We offer two options to help you achieve a bright white smile; Zoom! ™ Whitening and Opalescence Home Whitening Method. Both treatment options give you safe and quick whitening of even the most stained or discolored teeth.

Why Choose a Professional Whitening System?

If you visit your favorite store you will see several products which promise white teeth. Brightening toothpastes, products you paint onto your teeth, and over the counter whitening systems claim to be safe and effective. But the truth is some of them are so caustic they can erode your precious enamel, while others just can’t whiten your teeth as well as a professional treatment.
The main concern your doctor has is the erosion of your enamel. Tooth enamel is the thin layer of protection your teeth have from cavities and decay. Once this layer is damaged your teeth are susceptible to the bacteria which causes cavities and decay. Over the counter products may also cause painful sensitivity. Only a professional service can protect your teeth and give you noticeable results.

Zoom! ™ Whitening

With the Zoom! ™ Whitening procedure your teeth may be six to ten shades lighter after your first treatment. First you are made comfortable and relaxed. Next a special protective covering is placed to protect your gums and other soft tissues. A thick gel is then applied to the front surfaces of your teeth and an advanced LED light is directed at your teeth. The doctor will monitor your progress and remove and replace the gel every 15 minutes for a total of three times. A fourth treatment may be needed to achieve the results desired. Once the whitening treatment is complete a finishing gel, Relief ACP, is applied to your teeth to reduce any potential sensitivity.
You will receive custom fabricated whitening trays for at home use. These are made from dental impressions and custom fabricated for you. Your doctor or clinician will also give you instruction about using the at home trays, and their storage and cleaning.

Opalescence Home Whitening Method

We also offer the Opalescence Home Whitening Method. This method is done completely in the comfort of your own home, and on your time schedule. Custom whitening trays are custom fabricated after dental impressions are taken. When your trays return from the lab you will return and try them on so the doctor can make sure they fit correctly. You will be given the Opalescence whitening gel and specific instructions on how to use the system. The gel comes in a variety of strengths and results are usually achieved in five to seven days of consistent use.
Don’t suffer from a lackluster smile. Contact or call us today and ask about your teeth whitening options.

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Perfect Your Smile with Invisalign

Did you know we have an Invisalign specialist? Our experienced Invisalign provider, Dr. Kristin Soileau works with you from the initial consultation to completion of treatment. Invisalign is a safe and pain free way to improve your smile and boost your confidence. The trays are clear and only you know when you are wearing them. You can remove them when you eat and perform your at home dental hygiene. This makes them easy to use and a confidential way to perfect your smile.

Am I a Good Candidate for Invisalign?

Just about everyone can use Invisalign to straighten their teeth. Invisalign can help both teenagers and adults have straighter teeth without invasive traditional braces. Since the trays are clear, there is no embarrassing wires or fixtures in your mouth. This makes Invisalign an attractive option for adults who don’t want the stigma of braces.

Getting Your Invisalign Trays

At your first consultation with Dr. Soileau she will discuss your goals and the treatment process. Digital images and x-rays will be taken so that your Invisalign trays provide you with a custom fit. Once your trays are ready and back from the lab, you’ll return and the doctor will check their fit and educate you on their proper use. As your teeth shift into place, you will return to the office every two weeks for your new trays and so the doctor can check your progress.

Wearing Invisalign

Invisalign is very easy to use. The trays are made from high impact transparent plastic which you wear over your teeth. You wear your trays at night and during the day. Remove them when you eat, and brush and floss your teeth. For treatment to be successful you will wear the trays from 20 to 22 hours per day, but since the trays are made from transparent plastic no one will know you are wearing them except for you. You will receive a cleaning kit for your trays, or you can use a soft brush and clean them with water. There are no food or beverage limitations with Invisalign so you don’t have to give up any of your favorite foods or drinks. Most people report wearing the trays is comfortable and an effortless way to get the perfect smile.
Gone are the days of suffering with pain and appliances in your mouth. Now you can have a perfect smile with no pain or fuss. Call or contact us today if you have any questions about Invisalign.

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At Home Dental Tools and How to Choose Them

If you’ve ever stood in front of the toothbrush and toothpaste selection at your favorite store, you know how confusing it can be to choose the right ones for you. Add onto that the choices in floss, mouthwash, mouth rinses, and water irrigation devices and the choices can be staggering. Selecting the correct dental tools for at home use is important. Ask your doctor for their recommendations and use the following information to help you choose the right tools.

Toothbrushes

Most doctors recommend using a soft bristle brush which is small enough to reach all areas of your mouth. Soft bristles are best because they remove plaque and debris from your teeth and gum line, but are gentle and won’t cause damage. A powered toothbrush is also an excellent choice and does a better job of cleaning your teeth and gums. You should replace your toothbrush ever three months, or as soon as it starts to show signs of wear and tear. Choose a soft nylon brush for your child. Begin as soon as their teeth start to emerge and choose a toothbrush that fits easily in their mouth.

Toothpaste

A toothpaste which contains fluoride will help strengthen and protect your teeth. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral which helps to remineralize your teeth and make them stronger. It is safe and effective for adults and children. You can find toothpastes with many different benefits. Whitening toothpaste and toothpaste for sensitive teeth are a few examples. When choosing a toothpaste for your child, look for one that tastes good and has fluoride. Ask your doctor which type of toothpaste is right for you and your family.

Mouthwashes and Mouth Rinses

A mouthwash and a mouth rise are two different products. Mouthwashes are antibacterial and help prevent plaque and freshen your breath. Mouth rinses coat your teeth with fluoride and help to strengthen them as well as freshen your breath. When choosing one for your child, be sure to choose an alcohol-free mouthwash or mouth rinse.

Floss

You should floss twice a day for healthy gums. Floss comes in many different coatings, sizes, flavors, and forms. You can also get floss in a holder to make it easier to use. Which type of floss is a personal preference. Choose a coated floss if uncoated irritates your gums. Children should floss once a day under parent’s supervision.

Water Irrigation Devices

Water irrigation devices are very effective for removing food between your teeth. Children, teens, and adults who wear braces or other orthodontic appliances find these devices handy for removing food and debris around and in the device as well as between the teeth and at the gum line. Water irrigation devices are also effective in reduction of gingivitis, bleeding gums, and plaque accumulation.
Of course, you should still keep up with your twice a year dental checkups to maintain optimal oral health, but knowing the best tools to use at home will give you an extra hedge or protection. If you have questions about the tools you need, call or contact Smith and Cole Dentistry today.

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Today’s Restorative Dentistry Options

Regular dental checkups and cleanings every six months will help keep your teeth and mouth healthy and looking great. But sometimes you need more care, and that is where restorative dentistry can help. Restorative dentistry is the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of oral diseases. This type of dentistry is used to treat chipped, decayed, discolored, cracked, and missing teeth. Restorative dentistry is also used to treat trauma or developmental defects. Your doctor has several options to treat you and restore your oral health and improve your smile. Your doctor will work with you to formulate a treatment plan to treat your condition.

Initial Visit

Before your doctor can formulate a treatment plan, the nature of your problem must be diagnosed. Your doctor uses mechanical, radiographic, and visual techniques to analyze your teeth’s surfaces. These techniques may include x-rays and digital images. Most restorative procedures can be performed with minimal sedation, but more complex treatments may require heavier sedation and the services of a specialist like a maxillofacial surgeon, prosthodontist, or endodontist. Simple restorative procedures may be done in just one visit, where more extensive procedures may require several visits. The main goal is to restore your teeth and gums with minimal discomfort and anxiety. At your initial visit the doctor will examine, diagnose, and decide which treatment option is best.

Treatment Options

Once your doctor has examined and diagnosed you they have a variety of treatment options. Here are some of the most common treatments used in restorative dentistry today.

  • Fillings – Fillings may be dental amalgam (traditional metal fillings), gold, composite resin, or porcelain. Composite and porcelain fillings can match the color and shape of your teeth which make them an excellent choice for restorations. Amalgam fillings are normally used for back teeth and molars since they can withstand the pressures of chewing although composite fillings can also be used in back teeth and molars.
  • Veneers – Veneers are very thin shells placed onto the surface of your teeth. They are used to repair cracked, chipped, uneven, or damaged teeth. Veneers can be fabricated to match your natural tooth color, or to improve it. Your doctor places the thin porcelain shells onto your teeth and then bonds them with cement or a special light. Veneers can last many years.
  • Crowns and Bridges – Crowns are used to restore chipped, cracked, and damaged teeth. They are also used in dental treatments such as root canals to protect the affected tooth. Most crowns are fabricated from porcelain or ceramic and once in place look just like your natural tooth.
    Bridges are used to replace one or more teeth. They consist of one or more crowns which are attached to adjacent teeth. Bridges are usually permanent, but some can be removed depending on your condition.
  • Implant – An implant replaces a damaged or diseased tooth. A titanium screw is placed in the jawbone and the replacement crown is then attached to the implant.
  • Inlay – An inlay is a cemented restoration which restores up to three surfaces of the tooth. They can be made of porcelain, ceramic, or gold.
  • Onlay – This dental restoration restores the chewing surfaces and sides of your teeth in the back of your mouth. Onlays are made of the same materials as inlays.
  • Bonding – Also known as composite bonding, this restoration is used to lengthen your front central teeth or reshape teeth.

These are just some of the restorative procedures your doctor can use to repair and improve your smile. If you have questions about which treatment is right for you, call or contact Smith and Cole Dentistry today.

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Pain Free Dentistry with Sedation

If a trip to the dentist’s office fills you with anxiety or dread, know that with today’s sedation dentistry technology you next trip can be pain and stress free. Sedation dentistry relaxes you while the doctor works on you and frees you from fear and anxiety.

Types of Sedation

There are three levels of sedation used; minimal, moderate, and deep anesthesia. Minimal sedation makes you relaxed, but you are still conscious and aware of what is going on. Moderate sedation puts you a bit deeper into sedation, but you’re still awake but more relaxed. Many people fall asleep under this type of sedation. Deep anesthesia is used for oral surgery. You are completely out and have no memory of the procedure.

At Smith and Cole Dentistry we use oral sedation. Before the doctor performs your procedure, you will be given a pill that will relax you. You are made comfortable with a warm blanket and when the medication take effect, the doctor will perform your procedure. Depending upon the level of sedation you may be completely awake but relaxed and able to leave the office on your own. Moderate and deep sedation require you to have someone drive you home a you may still be a bit groggy when you leave the office.

Are You a Good Candidate for Sedation Dentistry?

Almost everyone is a good candidate for sedation dentistry. Here are some examples of factors which make sedation a desirable choice for you.

  • Elevated level of fear and anxiety
  • Past traumatic dental experience
  • Strong gag reflex
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Limited time for treatment
  • Complex dental problems
  • You have a fear of needles and shots
  • You have an aversion to the smells, noises, and tastes associated with a dental visit
  • Embarrassment or fear about your teeth

If you are nervous or fearful of your next visit, call or contact Cole and Smith Dentistry and ask about sedation dentistry.

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Repair and Improve Your Smile with Lumineers

Everyone wants a bright shining smile, but yellow or discolored teeth, misaligned teeth, and chipped or broken teeth can mar your smile. Today’s dentistry practice has an answer to repair and improve your smile. Lumineers are thin porcelain shells placed over your teeth which look just like natural teeth. They are a cost effective and attractive way to have the smile of your dreams.

Restorative Dental Lumineers

Many times, your doctor will recommend Lumineers to help correct your smile. Your teeth may be misaligned, broken, cracked, or yellowed. While Lumineers will not cure the underlying problem since they are bonded to the surface of your teeth, they can give you an improved smile and increase your confidence. The secret to movie stars smiles? Many times, it is Lumineers.

Unlike traditional dental veneers, which take at least three visits to fit, Lumineers can be fitted and placed in just two visits. There is no need to take any enamel off your teeth as in traditional veneers. Since Lumineers don’t require the removal of any of your enamel, they are reversible. Lumineers are thin translucent porcelain shells which reflect light much in the same way as your natural teeth and last up to 20 years.

Getting Your New Smile

Getting your Lumineers usually takes just two visits. At the first visit the doctor will discuss your goals and take impressions of your teeth. The impressions are then sent to a dental lab where your new Lumineers are milled. Once they are delivered, you’ll come back and have them placed and bonded. Lumineers are generally placed on your front teeth and not your molars because they can’t withstand the grinding involved in chewing. Placement takes about an hour, and then you have a bright perfect smile which lasts for many years.

If you want a perfect smile which will last for many years, call or contact Smith and Cole Dentistry today and ask about Lumineers.

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