How To Avoid Dry Socket After Wisdom Tooth Removal

Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure where the back set of molars is removed. This is typically done because many people develop impacted molars. Impaction occurs when there is not enough room in the mouth for the teeth to develop normally.  When teeth are removed, either through wisdom teeth removal or through a tooth extraction, a socket is left in your bone where the tooth was removed. A blood clot is supposed to form in the hole, that heals overtime. This blood clot serves as a protective layer over the underlying bone and nerve endings in the empty tooth socket. Dry socket occurs when the blood clot becomes dislodged, exposing the socket to nerves, air, food, and bacteria.

How to Avoid Dry Socket

  1. Avoid straws. Using straws creates a suction in your mouth, which can cause the blood clot to move or become dislodged, and result in dry socket. You should avoid straws for a least one week after your procedure.
  2. Do not consume tobacco in any form, including chewing tobacco and electronic cigarettes. The chemicals and suction created during smoking can easily disrupt the healing processes or result in dry socket.
  3. Avoid beverages and foods that are extremely hot or cold. These can dissolve your blood clot, exposing the nerves and resulting in pain.
  4. Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is a critical part of the recovery process. Acidic beverages can also cause the clot to become dissolved.
  5. Eat soft foods. Soft foods are less likely to disrupt the clot or get stuck in your socket.
  6. Continue proper oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing twice, daily.

Symptoms of Dry Socket

If you experience any of these symptoms, you could be experiencing dry socket.

  • Severe pain within a few days of your extraction
  • Loss of the blood clot, either partial or complete loss within the socket
  • Unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Bad breathe

Summary

Dry socket can occur as a result of bacterial contamination or trauma at the surgical site, after you’ve had one or multiple teeth removed. It can result in complications if left untreated, including delayed healing, infection in the socket, or infection in the bone. If you’re experiencing pain after your extraction, over-the-counter pain medication can help relieve any discomfort. If your pain levels continue to increase in the days following your extraction, contact your dentist right away.

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How To Prevent Cavities & Tooth Decay

Cavities, often referred to as tooth decay, are tiny holes that develop in the hard surface of your teeth. They are most common in children and teenagers, but they can affect everyone including infants and toddlers. Take a closer look at what causes cavities and how you can prevent them.

Causes of Cavities

Cavities typically occur as a result of poor oral health habits but other various factors can increase the risk of getting a cavity, including:

  • Dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when there is a lack of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps wash away food stuck on the teeth and it counters the acid produced from bacteria in the mouth, which reduces the chance for cavities.
  • Foods and drinks. Certain foods aren’t as easily washed away from saliva, making them more likely to cause decay. Foods you should limit include: ice cream, honey, sugar, soda, cake, chips, cookies, and hard candy.
  • Constant snacking or sipping. Drinking or eating frequently throughout the day results in increased bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria produce the acids that attack tooth enamel.
  • Lack of fluoride. Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps prevent cavities and can reverse the early stage of tooth decay. Use a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash to help reduce your chance of cavities.

Cavity Prevention

Regular dental visits and daily brushing and flossing are the best protection against cavities. If you get a cavity, it should be treated right away. But, cavities left untreated get larger and larger, affecting the deeper layers of your teeth. Deeper cavities result in higher chances of experiencing severe toothache and infection. So, when it comes to cavities, prevention is key. Below are some of our cavity preventions tips:

  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste. Brush and floss twice a day, ideally after each meal.
  • Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Professional teeth cleanings remove plaque that builds up overtime which isn’t removed by regular brushing and flossing. Going to the dentist twice a year is one of the best cavity prevention options.
  • Dental sealants. Sealants protect the tooth enamel from harmful plaque and bacteria.
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What Is The Best Teeth Whitening Option?

Teeth can become discolored for a variety of reasons and many people want their teeth to be bright and white, so they look into teeth whitening. When it comes to getting a brighter smile, you can whiten your teeth at home or get a professional treatment. At home whitening typically includes over-the-counter products like whitening strips, pens, or toothpaste. Professional whitening includes custom-made whitening trays you take home or an in-office appointment. What might work best for some, might not necessarily work best for another. So what’s the best teeth whitening option for you?

Both over-the counter and professional treatments use peroxide bleaching agents as the main active ingredient. The difference between each option is the amount of peroxide it contains. Over-the-counter solutions use 3 – 20 percent where professional solutions contain 14 – 43 percent. Solutions with higher amounts of peroxide should be left on for a shorter amount of time. Keeping the solution on longer will dehydrate your teeth and make them more prone to sensitivity.

Professional Whitening

Professional teeth whitening options are much safer and more effective. Additionally, it ensures that all of the proper precautions are taken. So, when it comes to protecting your gums, the whitening agent only gets on your teeth.

At-Home Whitening Products

Over-the-counter products are cheaper, generally take longer to see results, and have limitations depending on your tooth color and health prior. If used incorrectly, at-home teeth whitening kits can lead to burned gums, tooth sensitivity, or pain. It’s always best to talk with your dentist to decide the best treatment option for you.

If you choose to go for an over-the-counter solution, we recommend that you use one from the list of bleaching products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Bleaching Products with ADA Seal of Acceptance

 

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Root Canal Symptoms To Watch Out For

Each year, over 60 million Americans visit the dentist. Many of these visits can be attributed to cavities, which are small holes in your teeth that allow bacteria to get inside. But sometimes, other dental issues occur that require additional treatments. Root canals are considered the best option for saving a damaged tooth when an abscess is present. Below are some root canal symptoms to watch out for.

Signs You Need A Root Canal

1. Persistent Pain

Having persistent pain is one way to tell if you need a root canal. The pain might be constant, or it might go away, but it always comes back. You may feel the pain deep in the bone of your tooth, or it might be in your jaw, face or other teeth.

Tooth pain may have other causes, such as gum disease, cavities, or an impacted tooth, but it’s always a good idea to talk with your dentist if you have tooth pain.

2. Tooth Discoloration

An infection in the pulp of your tooth can cause your tooth to become discolored.Trauma to the tooth or the breakdown of the internal tissue can damage the roots and give the tooth a grayish-black appearance. While there might be other reasons a tooth is discolored, it could be cause for a root canal so talk with your dentist!

3. Sensitivity to Heat and Cold

When your teeth start to hurt from drinking a hot cup of coffee or drinking ice water, you may need a root canal.

The pain can be just a dull feeling, or it can be a sharp pain that lingers for an extended period of time, even after you’ve finished eating or drinking. If your tooth hurts when you eat or drink something hot or cold, it may be an indication that the blood vessels and nerves in your tooth are infected or damaged.

4. Swollen Gums

Swollen gums near the painful tooth can be a sign of an issue that requires a root canal. The swelling may come and go. It may be tender when you touch it, or it may not be painful to the touch.

There also might be a pimple like abscess on your gum, which may ooze pus from the infection of the tooth. This can give you an unpleasant taste in your mouth and make your breath smell bad.

5. A Chipped or Cracked Tooth

If you’ve chipped or cracked your tooth in an accident, in a contact sport, or by chewing on something hard, bacteria can set in and lead to inflammation and infection. Even if your tooth didn’t crack but you did injure it, the injury can still cause damage to the nerves of the tooth. The nerve can become inflamed and cause pain and sensitivity, which may require root canal treatment.

These are just a few signs that you may need a root canal. If you have any of these root canal symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk with your dentist. Contact us and we can talk you through possible solutions.

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Is A Custom Mouth Guard Right For Me?

Mouth guards are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Even though mouth guards may look similar, they can provide different functions. They can be used for preventing teeth grinding, reducing snoring, sleep apnea relief, and protecting your mouth when playing sports. There are three different types of mouth guards: stock, boil and bite, and custom. Learn more about each option from our mouth guards service page.

Prevent Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding can cause soreness, tenderness, and tightness in the muscles of the jaw, neck, and face, commonly resulting in tension headaches. Mouthguards worn while you sleep prevent the bottom and top teeth from clenching together so damage does not occur. Custom mouth guards are recommended to prevent teeth grinding because they provide the best fit for your teeth, last longer over time than stock or boil and bite mouth guards, and will be the most comfortable option for you while you sleep.

Reduce Snoring or Manage Sleep Apnea

Snoring occurs when air flows past the relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate when you breathe. While sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. There are two different types of mouth guards, or oral appliances that can be used for snoring and/or sleep apnea:

  • Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD): Pushes the lower jaw forward to open your airway while you sleep.
  • Tongue Retaining device: Grips your tongue to prevent it from falling into the back of the throat.

These oral appliances must be fitted by a dentist and worn in your mouth at night. There are many over the counter mouthguards that claim to prevent snoring or help sleep apnea but the best course of action is to consult with your dentist or doctor to see what is right for you.

Sports Mouth Guards

Sports mouth guards can help prevent damage to the face and minimize the risk of broken teeth or injuries to your face, jaw, tongue, and lips. Certain sports have higher risks than others. It is very important to wear a mouthguard if you play any of the following sports: football, boxing, hockey, or wrestling. Basically, when it comes to mouthguards, the better the fit, the better the protection. Stock mouth guards are the least expensive option for protecting your teeth while playing sports. Boil and bite mouthguards are slightly more expensive but they provide a better fit, reducing the risk of injury. Custom mouth guards will provide the most protection as they will have the best fit/coverage of your mouth.

We know you have many options for mouth guards, if you are not sure if a mouth guard will help you or if you would like a custom-fit mouth guard consultation, contact us today!

Dental Savings Plans

Going to the dentist can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t have dental insurance or your insurance isn’t in network for a certain clinic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get regular dental care. Many dental offices offer dental savings plans, sometimes referred to as membership plans, for those that don’t have insurance.

Signing up for a membership plan with your dental care provider can help make sure you get the dental care you need – even without insurance!

What Are Dental Savings Plans?

Dental Savings Plans are membership based discount plans for dental health care. These plans are a great alternative to dental insurance, and plan members typically save between 10-60% on the regular price of dental care and treatments. By joining a dental savings plan, you gain access to member only discounts that participating dental care providers have agreed upon. You pay the discounted rate directly to the dentist- no insurance needed!

What Do Dental Savings Plans Cover?

This all depends on the practice, but typically they cover the following:

  • Cosmetic Dentistry
  • Restorative Dental Care
  • Specialist Dental Care
  • Preventative Dental Care

Talk with your dental office to see what they provide with their own membership plan.

Choosing a Plan That’s Right For You

One big plus of having a dental savings plan is that you have options. Simply by searching for the following, you can choose a plan that’s right for you:

  • By savings: Choose the plan that has the best overall savings
  • By dentist: Choose the plan that your dentist accepts
  • By procedure: Choose the plan you want based on your dental care needs.

Here at Suburban Dental, we want to make sure everyone has the option to get dental care. That’s why our dental savings plan can help you have peace of mind when you come to the dentist. To find out more about our membership plan, click here or call us at (301) 916-8570. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t get the dental care you deserve.

What are the Pros and Cons of Dental Veneers?

The Pros and Cons of Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are a very popular cosmetic dental procedure. For those who wish to improve the appearance of their smile, but do not have teeth that are in serious condition, dental veneers may be an excellent option.

Even though veneer treatment has proved to be a highly effective, safe and minimally invasive treatment, patients are constantly asking their dentists about the advantages and disadvantages of dental veneers.

Disadvantages

While there are a lot of great things about dental veneers, there are also a couple drawbacks. For example, getting veneers is a procedure that is irreversible. Once the doctor shaves down the enamel of your teeth, there is no turning back.

Shaving down that layer of enamel can also make your teeth more sensitive to hot and cold as the veneers are not thick enough to act as a barrier. Veneers are also not a good option for people with badly failing teeth.

Veneers have a shorter life span compared to dental restorations like bridges and crowns. If you’re looking for a long term solution, dental veneers might not be the right choice for you.

Advantages

While there are some disadvantages to dental veneers, there are also quite a few advantages. Veneers help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted by straightening and whitening your teeth. However, those are the most obvious advantages.

Another advantage is that veneers are also a more conservative dental restoration. A dentist only needs to remove a little enamel to accommodate a veneer. In contrast, a crown needs much more space. To accommodate a crown, a dentist may need to remove a significant portion of the enamel first.

Veneers are also versatile in that they can match a certain shade of teeth. There are also different types of porcelain that are strong enough to provide structural support to slightly damaged teeth.

 

If you’re looking to get veneers, it’s always a good idea to talk it over with your dentist to make sure you weigh the pros and cons. Your dentist can help you decide if dental veneers are right for you. Call us today at (301) 916-8570 and we’ll set up an appointment to talk through the advantages and disadvantages.

Tips For Getting Rid of Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a very common mouth problem among people of all ages. People who have gingivitis may experience little to no symptoms of this dental condition, while others may experience bleeding when flossing or brushing. Gingivitis can become worse over time and can need to be healed by a dentist if left untreated.

Here are some ways you can get rid of Gingivitis.

Saltwater Rinse

Rinsing your mouth with salt water has been shown to be very beneficial in healing gums inflamed by gingivitis. It can also help reduce pain and bacteria, relieve bad breath and remove particles of food.

To make the rinse, you can add one half to three fourths teaspoons of salt into a glass of lukewarm water. After mixing the solution well, you can swish it around your mouth for up to 30 seconds, and then spit out. You can repeat two to three times a day.

Be sure to not rinse for too long or too often as this could hurt the enamel of your teeth and cause them to erode because of the mixture’s acidic properties.

Turmeric Gel

Turmeric is a plant in the ginger family and turmeric gel has been proven to help prevent plaque and gingivitis. It’s also used in many home remedies as it has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. Turmeric gel is available in many health food or alternative remedy shops. To use it to treat gingivitis, people should apply it to the gums and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing with water and spitting.

Homemade Mouthwash

There are several home remedies you can make to help get rid of gingivitis. Follow these recipes to make your own:

Lemongrass Oil Mouthwash
Lemongrass oil has been shown to reduce gingivitis and the plaque that causes it. To make this mouthwash, dilute 2 to 3 drops of lemongrass oil in water. Swirl around the mouth and then spit out. Repeat up to three times daily.

Aloe Vera Mouthwash
Aloe Vera has been proven to be as effective as the active ingredient in traditional mouthwash at treating gingivitis symptoms. Aloe vera juice does not need diluting and can be used on its own, just as long as it is pure. Like other mouthwashes, you should swirl it in the mouth and spit out then repeat up to three times daily.

Tea Tree Oil Mouthwash
Tea tree oil mouthwash can reduce the bleeding associated with gingivitis significantly. To make tea tree oil mouthwash, you should simply add 3 drops of tea tree oil to a cup of warm water then use it in the same way as the other homemade mouthwashes above. Tea tree oil can interact with some medications, so it is best to speak to a doctor before using it for the first time.

These are some ways that can help you get rid of gingivitis. However, if your gums don’t heal or you continue to see symptoms of gingivitis, contact us right away. We’re always happy to help and we’ll answer any questions you may have. Give us a call at (301) 916-8570 to set up an appointment.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Dental Implants?

One of the hottest topics in dentistry today is the use of dental implants. Implants have certainly revolutionized the field of replacement teeth. If you are considering tooth implants for missing teeth, you need to know the facts. There are pros and cons of dental implants that are carefully weighed by your dentist before surgery can be scheduled.

Research continually shows that dental implants are the best long term solution to replace missing teeth. However, like any type of surgery, there are advantages and disadvantages.

Cons of Dental Implants

No procedure is right for everyone, including dental implants. While there are some risks associated with dental implants, they are relatively mild. The disadvantages include:

  • You have to meet a set of requirements
    In order to have dental implant surgery, you first have to meet certain criteria. As the procedure involves anchoring the implant to your jaw bone, if you’ve experienced significant bone loss as a result of losing teeth, there may not be enough for the dental implant to be successful. You also have to be in good health so your jaw bone can fully recover.
  • The cost of the procedure
    While dental implants are the best long term solution for tooth loss, they’re not always the most cost effective. However, dental implants are well worth the price for the comfort, confidence and natural feel they give you.
  • The procedure can be lengthy
    Dental implants are not a quick fix and can take several months to complete. If you’re replacing an existing damaged tooth, this will first need to be removed. Your dentist will then need to prepare the tooth site before fitting the implant anchor. Once the anchor has been fitted, you’ll need to wait several months while it heals and the surrounding bone grows. The final stage of the procedure involves placing the artificial tooth.

Pros of Dental Implants

While there are some drawbacks to dental implants, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

  • They look and feel like natural teeth
    Dental implants have the appearance of real teeth. In fact, once your implant has been fitted, you’ll hardly be able to tell the difference between your replacement tooth and your real teeth. Implants also won’t feel any different from your regular teeth. Since the implants are anchored to your jaw, they’ll feel just as strong as your regular teeth too.
  • You can eat and chew with ease
    Unlike dentures, implants won’t feel any different than your regular teeth when eating and chewing. Once the dental implant procedure is complete, you can eat what you want! Whether you fancy crunchy snacks, chewy foods, or hot or cold drinks, you can eat and drink without concern — just remember not to overdo the sugary treats.
  • Dental implants can last a lifetime
    Implants are a long-lasting tooth replacement solution. You may need to replace the crowns every 10-15 years, but if you look after the implants, they can last a lifetime.
  • They’re easy to take care of
    You should take care of your implants the same way you would take care of your regular teeth with daily brushing and flossing, regular dental checkups and a healthy diet.
  • They prevent bone loss
    Dental implants are anchored into your jaw, similar to your real teeth. The screw thread of the implant acts as the root of a natural tooth, so with dental implants, your jaw bone remains strong and you won’t experience bone loss.

You can see that the advantages heavily outweigh the disadvantages. Dental implants have been proven to be a great option for people who suffer from tooth loss. We always want to make our patients look and feel great, and dental implants is a great way to do that. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have, so give us a call at (301) 916-8570!

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep: How Dental Sleep Machines and Oral Appliances Can Help Treat Sleep Apnea

When you think about services your dentist can provide, you’ll generally think of tooth cleaning, extractions and root canals. But did you know your dentist also may be able to help you with sleep apnea? “Dental sleep medicine” is a rapidly evolving field. One of the most prominent areas of dental sleep medicine is sleep apnea treatment.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea (sometimes spelled as “sleep apnoea”) is a condition where the inflicted person’s breathing is restricted while they sleep, causing short periods of time where their breathing stops entirely or becomes very shallow during the night, often after snoring. Many people suffering from sleep apnea are unaware they have it, but it can have significant effects on quality of life. Many people who suffer from sleep apnea will wake up after a full night’s sleep without feeling well-rested at all. Going a long time without treatment also can have dramatic medical consequences, such as increasing the risk of heart or respiratory disease.

How Suburban Dental can help.

If you are familiar with sleep apnea, you might associate it with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines. These machines are often very effective in treating sleep apnea, but they can be loud, uncomfortable and difficult to travel with.

One effective method of treating sleep apnea is with an oral appliance. These are fitted to your teeth like a mouth guard and comfortably hold your jaw forward to keep your airways unblocked while you sleep. They may not be effective in every case of sleep apnea, but the appliances are silent, more comfortable, easier and more convenient compared to CPAP machines or other electronic breathing equipment.

Let’s find the device that’s right for you.

When you are looking for an oral appliance to treat your sleep apnea, it’s important to find a high-quality device and have your dentist professionally fit it to your teeth. Depending on the device, this can be done in a short period of time in a single visit, or your dentist may need to take the measurements and have it ready for you on your next visit.

Some oral appliances are available over the counter, but these aren’t FDA approved for treating sleep apnea—it is important to involve a dental professional. Non-fitted, unapproved devices may be uncomfortable and ineffective. In some circumstances, it may even make your symptoms worse.

Oral appliances are just one method of treating sleep apnea. CPAP machines, other breathing equipment, surgery or weight loss also might help return you to restful sleep. You may want to begin by consulting your primary care physician to explore your options first. Then, if it looks like a dental device might help, a dentist trained in dental sleep medicine can help fit an oral appliance and tell you the pros and cons of different kinds.

 

Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep. If you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea and your doctor determines an oral appliance is a viable option for you, Suburban Dental can help. Give us a call at (301) 916-8570 to learn more about oral appliances for sleep apnea or any other dental concerns.