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Dental Emergency Preparedness

HAVING A PLAN already in place can make a huge difference if an emergency comes up, and that definitely applies to dental emergencies like oral injuries. How do we plan ahead for unexpected injuries? That will depend on the particular situation.

A Baby Tooth Gets Knocked Out

In most cases, a baby tooth getting knocked out isn’t an emergency. We usually wouldn’t attempt to replant a baby tooth because doing so could create problems for the permanent tooth on its way. However, if the tooth wasn’t at all loose beforehand, it’s a good idea to at least give the dentist a call to get advice, and there might be other damage besides to the tooth.

An Adult Tooth Gets Knocked Out

If an adult tooth is knocked out in one intact piece, there is limited time (not much longer than an hour) for it to be successfully replanted by the dentist before the tooth dies. The faster you can get to the dentist, the better. You can give a knocked-out tooth its best shot by placing it back in its socket for the trip to the dentist’s office and holding it in place with a washcloth or gauze. If it won’t go back into the socket, you can store it in cold milk.

Make sure NOT to do any of these things with a knocked-out tooth:

  • Touching the root.
  • Letting it dry out.
  • Scrubbing it clean with soap, alcohol, or peroxide.

Doing any of these will kill the root and make the tooth impossible to replant.

A Tooth Breaks

If a tooth breaks, chips, or cracks in an accident, you should get straight to the dentist. Try to find all of the broken pieces and bring them with you in a glass of cold milk. It’s also safe to rinse your mouth with water.

No matter how minor a crack or chip seems, don’t just ignore it. A crack can function the same way as a cavity, giving bacteria space to grow until it reaches the pulp. The damage could reach the pulp chamber over time and lead to a tooth infection, abscess, loss of bone tissue in the jaw, and even risk an infection spreading to the bloodstream, which is life-threatening.

The Dentist Is Prepared for Patient Emergencies Too

Besides knowing what to do with a broken or knocked-out tooth, it’s also important to know where to go for help in a dental emergency. Give us a call to learn how our practice can help. We hope that you won’t ever be in a situation where you have to make use of this information, but it’s always wise to be prepared.

We appreciate the trust you place in our practice!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
When a Child Gets a Toothache

TOOTHACHES ARE NEVER fun, particularly for little kids who might not know what’s happening. They can be caused by a variety of things and are usually worth a visit to the dentist, especially if it’s still hurting after a couple of days, but what can parents do when a toothache comes during the holidays or after hours?

What Causes Toothaches?

For children, a toothache could simply be teething from a new baby tooth or adult tooth. This is a normal part of development. Otherwise, the most common reason for initial tooth pain is decay, but it can also happen with gum disease, dental abscess, inflamed pulp, or a cracked tooth. Impacted teeth can be painful as well, and tooth sensitivity can be very uncomfortable.

Toothache Remedies

It’s usually best to bring a child with a toothache to the dentist. If that isn’t possible at first, there are a few things that can help manage their discomfort until then:

  1. Rinsing and spitting with warm salt water will reduce inflammation.
  2. Applying a cold compress to their cheek near where it’s sore.
  3. Giving them children’s over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication.

How to prevent future toothaches? Brush and floss daily and schedule regular dental visits!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
What Is Toothpaste Made Of?

PEOPLE HAVE USED some form of paste to help keep their teeth clean since at least 3000 BC in ancient Egypt. Modern toothpaste first appeared in the 1700s and was usually homemade. A dentist first added soap to dental paste in 1824, and John Harris added chalk in the 1850s. 20 years later, Colgate began mass-producing toothpaste in jars.

A Little More Toothpaste History

In 1920, Dr. Washington Sheffield realized it was pretty unsanitary for a whole family to dip their toothbrushes into the same jar over and over, so he developed the collapsible toothpaste tube, inspired by artists’ paint tubes. After WWII, further improvements included emulsifying agents to replace soap, introducing fluoride, adding stripes, and adding whitening agents. Let’s take a closer look at the common ingredients in modern toothpaste.

Active Ingredient: Fluoride

The toothpaste ingredient we spend most of our time talking about is fluoride since it’s the active ingredient. It helps remineralize tooth enamel and protects against tooth decay. Toothpaste must contain it to receive the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.

Fluoride in Children’s Toothpaste?

Toothpaste containing fluoride is safe for young children if used in the correct amounts (a smear the size of a grain of rice up to age 3, the size of a pea from ages 3-6) and with parental supervision to make sure they spit it out.

Flavoring and Sweeteners

Flavors are the ingredients that make toothpaste taste good. They include sugar-free sweeteners like saccharin or sorbitol. The ADA won’t give its Seal of Acceptance to any toothpaste containing sugar. Children’s toothpaste is often fruity or candy-flavored, unlike the strong mint flavors we tend to prefer as adults.

Abrasives for Scrubbing

Abrasive ingredients (like calcium carbonate, hydrated aluminum oxides, and dehydrated silica gels) help to scrub away surface stains and food debris. Abrasive ingredients are effective with soft-bristled brushes and gentle brushing, so make sure not to brush too hard because overbrushing can cause significant damage to teeth and gum tissue.

Detergents for Foaming

Detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate make the toothpaste foam while brushing so that the ingredients can effectively reach every tooth. (This one is why you rarely see actors brushing with real toothpaste on TV! It would foam and get too messy for their scenes.)

Humectants for Texture

Finally, humectants (including glycol, glycerol, and sorbitol) trap water inside toothpaste so that it doesn’t become crumbly and dry. It also helps it come out of the tube onto your toothbrush in a nice, smooth piece.

What about the actual toothpaste mixing process?

Let’s Find the Right Toothpaste for Your Child!

If you aren’t sure where to start looking for an effective toothpaste for your child, we’re happy to offer suggestions. We look forward to seeing their smile (and yours!) the next time it’s time for a checkup at our practice.

Thank you for being part of our practice family!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
Dental Implants: Are They Right for Me?
dental implants in midlothian
dental implants in midlothian

Dental Implants in Midlothian

There are so many options to replace lost teeth. Some people need clarification because of the many choices on the market. Refrain from reverting to removable dentures, partials, or bridges because you have information overload. Dental implants are one of the single-most crucial restorative dentistry options in the history of dental care. 

Dental professionals consider dental implants the most effective and esthetic tooth replacement option. Implants are permanent long-term solutions designed to replace missing teeth. Your new artificial teeth function like natural teeth and beautifully enhance your smile. Dental implants are the best alternative to traditional dentures.

Comfort and Stability

Sticky adhesives hold dentures, whereas unsightly wires or crowns secure partials and bridges. Although these are very effective to a certain degree, they cannot compare to a healthy natural tooth root. The titanium post replicates a tooth root and fuses to the jaw bone, making them the most durable and comfortable replacement teeth option.

In addition to comfort and stability is the sheer fact that they are just much more manageable. Sliding dentures make chewing and speaking difficult. An implant-supported artificial tooth functions like your natural tooth and allows you to eat your favorite foods without discomfort. 

Natural Looking 

The advantage of dental implants in Midlothian, Virginia, is that they look entirely natural. Traditional dentures have shiny plastic gums and tend to look artificial. Partials and bridges have metal wires or brackets that show through when smiling. 

The implant post is deep into the gum and invisible from the outside with the dental implant procedure. Coupled with perfectly matched porcelain, you are guaranteed beautiful, natural results.

Are Dental Implants for Me?

If you’re missing a single tooth, multiple teeth, or an entire arch of teeth, then it is no doubt you’ve been considering your options for replacement teeth. 

To be a good candidate for dental implants or implant-supported dentures, you need the following:

  • – Healthy teeth and gums
  • – Enough jawbone to support the implant
  • – Good oral hygiene and no periodontal disease preventing you from having surgery.
  • – A non-smoker or to have quit a few weeks before treatment and during the recovery period
  • – A fully developed jaw

 

Suppose you have had tooth loss and are interested in dental implants. In that case, our dentists at Virginia Center For Advanced Dentistry perform an initial evaluation to examine your oral structures and determine whether you are an eligible candidate. 

The essential qualification is good oral health and sufficient jaw bone. With tooth loss comes bone loss and the need for a bone grafting procedure before the implant placement can start. The implant must have enough jaw bone to secure it.  

Beyond that, dental implants are pretty straightforward. They are placed with the help of a local anesthetic. Many patients return to work a day after the procedure. 

Over-the-counter pain medications are adequate for alleviating any pain and discomfort. On average, the healing process is about four to six months.

Schedule a Consultation for Dental Implants Today!

Implant restorations have the power to restore your smile and give you a whole new lease on life. The first step is to determine if you are a suitable candidate. Schedule an appointment for an initial exam at Virginia Center for Advanced Dentistry, your provider for dental implants in Midlothian, Virginia. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns about the entire arch or individual implant treatment plans. 

How Does Diabetes Impact Oral Health?

DIABETES (ANY TYPE) tends to make good dental health a much more difficult goal to achieve, and poor oral health also makes diabetes harder to control. More than one in five diabetics will develop a form of gum disease, which can take a toll on overall health if untreated and even become life-threatening if the bacteria reach the bloodstream.

Diabetes and Gum Disease

Symptoms of gum disease to watch for include swollen, red gums, chronic bad breath, gum recession, loosening teeth, and gums prone to bleeding. Diabetes makes these more likely as well as other problems like slower healing, dry mouth, enlarged salivary glands, fungal infections, burning mouth syndrome, and worse and more frequent infections.

What About Diabetes and Braces?

Gum disease can also be a challenge for orthodontic treatment, no matter what’s causing it. Parents of type 1 diabetic kids should be extra careful about controlling their diabetes and promoting good oral health habits. If they eventually need braces, they will then be in a good position to be able to go forward with orthodontic treatment.

Patients and Dentists Work Together for Oral Health

Diabetes makes it harder to maintain oral health, but not impossible. Good oral hygiene habits are essential, including daily flossing and twice-daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Regular dental checkups and cutting out excess sugar are also key!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
We’re Observing TMJ Awareness Month

AROUND 35 MILLION people in the US are affected by temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD or TMJ), which is why we’re observing TMJ Awareness Month. Our jaws get an almost constant workout throughout the day. We open and close our mouths over and over to talk, chew, and yawn. For most people, all of the anatomy in the joint works the way it should and these are all easy tasks to perform, but sometimes something can go wrong.

The Anatomy of the Jaw Joints

The hinge joint on either side of the jaw, located between the cheekbone and ear, has three components: the socket in the temporal bone, the ball at the top of the jawbone, and a small fibrous disk acting as a cushion between the two. The ball and socket are each covered in cartilage to make the movement comfortable and smooth.

If the fibrous disk shifts out of its correct alignment or erodes, if arthritis wears away the cartilage, or if the joint is damaged in a traumatic injury, the result could be TMD.

Common Symptoms of TMD

The symptoms of a problem with the temporomandibular joint often include:

  • A grating sensation when chewing, or clicking and popping sounds in the joint
  • Tenderness or pain in the jaw
  • Pain in one or both jaw joints
  • Painful or difficult chewing
  • Aching pain around the face
  • Pain in and around the ear
  • Locking of the jaw joint, making it difficult to open or close the mouth

Quick Tips for TMD Relief

There are several things we can do at home to relieve TMJ discomfort:

  • Avoid extreme jaw movements when singing or yelling, when possible
  • Control yawns by pressing a fist beneath your chin
  • Stick to small movements while chewing
  • When resting, hold your teeth a little apart instead of fully closing your jaws. (This is the natural resting position of the jaw, whether lips are open or closed.)

How TMD Is Treated

Most cases of TMD are temporary and resolve on their own after a week or so, but not always. If your symptoms persist, and particularly if they get worse, then your jaw likely needs treatment. Treatments we may recommend include ice packs, exercise, moist heat, medication, and splints. If none of these helps, ultrasound treatment, trigger-point injections, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) would likely be the next steps. Extreme cases can be treated with jaw surgery.

Let Us Know About Your TMD Symptoms

If you’ve experienced any of the symptoms listed above, don’t leave the dentist out of the loop! Make sure to tell us about your symptoms when you come in for your regular appointment, and if that’s too far away, schedule one specifically to discuss them with us! We can discover what’s causing the problem and recommend the best steps to take next.

Let’s defeat TMD together!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
Happy Halloween From the Dentist!

WHY IS SUGAR so bad for our teeth? Because harmful oral bacteria love to eat it, then excrete acid onto our teeth. Even though tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body, it is very vulnerable to erosion by acid. That’s why dentists aren’t huge fans of sour, sticky, and hard Halloween candies.

The Worst Candy for Our Teeth

Hard candy is basically a slow sugar delivery system, bathing our teeth in sugar over time. Sticky candy brings the sugar directly to the bacteria on our teeth and gums. Sour candy eliminates the middleman by being acidic on its own!

Is There Any Mouth-Healthy Candy?

So what’s the good news? Chocolate! It contains flavonoids and polyphenols — compounds that slow tooth decay, limit oral bacteria, and combat bad breath. However, the more sugar in the chocolate, the more it cancels out the benefits. That’s why dentists like dark chocolate best.

If it’s a candy sweetened by xylitol instead of sugar, it’s definitely better for our teeth. This sugar-free sweetener actually hurts harmful oral bacteria! Candies containing xylitol are far from the norm now, but maybe that will change in future Halloweens!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
What’s Causing Caries in Childhood?

TWO OUT OF every five kids develop one or more cavity by the time they turn eleven. That makes dental caries the most common disease of childhood. The good news is that it’s very preventable when parents prioritize their kids’ dental health. We’re here to help you do that for your children by identifying the main culprits of childhood tooth decay.

Oral Bacteria Love Sugar

As much as kids love sugary treats, harmful bacteria living on the surfaces of their teeth love them even more. Oral bacteria eat any sugar that remains stuck to the teeth and excrete acid as a waste product. It takes about thirty minutes for saliva to neutralize these acids, so if a child is constantly snacking on something sweet, they’re giving their teeth a never-ending acid bath!

Parents can fight back by swapping some of those sugary snacks for options like sliced fruits and veggies or cheese. This isn’t just healthier for their teeth, but for their whole bodies!

Bottles and Sippy Cups Versus Oral Health

Sugary snacks aren’t the only problem; juice and soda are full of sugar and very acidic. Even milk isn’t sugar-free. Sugary drinks are particularly dangerous to a child’s oral health when they are able to sip on them over a long period of time, as that prevents their saliva from neutralizing the acid and washing away the sugar.

The risk of tooth decay from bottles and sippy cups is so high that it’s earned a few scary nicknames like “baby bottle tooth decay” and “bottle rot.” As with sugary snacks, we encourage parents to limit sugary drinks. We particularly recommend keeping them to mealtimes instead of letting your child carry them around in a bottle or sippy cup for hours. Water is a much better option for that.

Other Great Strategies for Parents

There are plenty of other ways to help your child keep their smile cavity-free aside from cutting back on sugar and limiting it to mealtimes. One is modeling good dental hygiene habits for them with your own brushing and flossing. Positive reinforcement and encouragement are also great, as is giving them an explanation about why brushing and flossing matter so much. You can also help make it fun for them by letting them choose a toothbrush they like.

One last tip is to avoid spreading oral bacteria by kissing on the mouth, sharing the same spoon, or cleaning off a dropped pacifier with your mouth. Any of these will introduce more types of bacteria into your child’s mouth.

The Dentist Is the Number 1 Fan of Your Child’s Smile!

Even when we do all the right things, kids are sometimes prone to dental health troubles for less controllable reasons like genetics or injuries. That’s why it’s so important to include the dentist when fighting for their cavity-free smile. Dentists have the training and experience to identify oral health problems early on and start fighting back.

We’re here to help you keep that sweet little smile healthy and bright!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
Are Emergency Dentists More Expensive?
emergency dentist

Experienced Emergency Dentist in Midlothian, VA

Lately, your teeth have been very sensitive to hot and cold liquids. Or perhaps you chipped or completely knocked out a tooth. The pain can be excruciating, but you can’t help but be concerned about what an emergency dentist appointment will cost. Any dental issues that cause extreme tooth pain affect your quality of life and must be treated immediately. 

Not only are dental emergencies inconvenient, but they also cost a little more than a routine checkup. You pay for knowledge, extensive experience, high-quality modern equipment, and availability. In short, you are paying for the best possible care right when you need it most.

Standard emergency dental procedures are root canals, filling cavities, tooth extractions, and finishing crowns. 

The starting price of an urgent dental visit depends on the emergency and whether you are visiting during regular practice hours or not. A base fee is set for the initial consultation and then increases depending on the type of treatment. 

Many things may increase the price of your dental visit, including: 

  • – the severity of the dental problem
  • – location of the affected teeth in the mouth
  • – how many teeth are involved 

 

So, suppose your emergency is with the front tooth. In that case, the cost is less than an intermediate tooth with more than one root, like a bicuspid. Molars, on the other hand, are more pricey because they have more roots.

Tooth extraction is a typical dental emergency. Suppose the tooth is infected or fractured, and your emergency dentist has decided a root canal will not be affective. In that case, an emergency tooth extraction is necessary. 

The cost of the extraction varies on where the fracture is in the affected tooth and whether you require sedation dentistry. If the tooth has erupted through the gum, it is considered non-surgical. But, if the tooth is impacted in the gum and requires anesthesia, the price will increase.

Fillings for cavities are also common, especially with slight fractures, decay, or surface damage. Your emergency dentist in Midlothian, commonly uses silver amalgam or a resin-based composite. Composite resins match your natural teeth and are a bit more costly to produce than silver amalgam fillings. Depending on which you choose, the cost slightly changes.

Knowing all these details well in advance will help you understand what to expect and hopefully encourage you to seek treatment.

Overall, good oral health is the best way to avoid higher costs. Preventive oral hygiene with good at-home oral hygiene is the most cost-friendly. And when it comes to contact or high adrenalin sports, always wear protective mouth gear.

Visit Your Emergency Dentist in Midlothian, Virginia

Don’t suffer through extreme dental pain alone. Please do not call the emergency room if you require an emergency dentistry visit. Please call our office, Virginia Center for Advanced Dentistry. We’re available 24 hours a day and will work with you to provide affordable and effective emergency dental care services to restore your smile and relieve your pain.

If you are experiencing a dental emergency in Midlothian, Virginia, please schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Your dental trauma is a high priority, and we do our best to offer same day appointments.

How Can We Guard Against Gum Recession?

MANY PEOPLE HAVE the idea that gum recession is only a concern for older people (that’s where the saying “long in the tooth” came from), but it can start at any age. While we can’t do anything about a risk factor like genetics, there are many we can control.

1. Avoid Overbrushing

Overbrushing is a major risk factor for both enamel erosion and gum recession. Brushing too hard can damage the teeth and the gums. It’s time to ease up if it only takes a few months of using a toothbrush before all the bristles are bent outward. Overbrushing is why we recommend soft-bristled brushes. It’s also important to floss gently instead of snapping the floss directly onto the gums.

2. Fight Back Against Gum Disease

Gum disease can destroy supporting gum tissue and bone around teeth as it progresses, which is what makes it the main cause of gum recession. Dental hygiene habits and limited sugar intake are the best ways to maintain good gum health. That means (gentle) daily brushing and flossing, along with prioritizing regular dental appointments.

3. Break the Bruxism Habit (or Protect Against It)

People with a bruxism habit are more likely to have gum recession, as the constant harsh friction from their teeth puts too much pressure on the gum tissue and can damage it over time. Kids are also vulnerable to many of these gum recession causes, as well as oral injuries.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
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