I don’t know how I chipped my tooth

Have you noticed a chipped or cracked tooth, but don’t how it happen?  It could have been damaged while you were sleeping. Grinding or clenching your teeth during the night will cause your teeth to chip, crack, and even break. To keep you from seriously damaging your teeth, we recommend a dental appliance called a nightguard. A custom-fitted nightguard protects your teeth from grinding and clenching in your sleep. At Yahara Dental we are careful to make sure you have a proper fit to prevent pain in your jaw joint. Do you also have frequent headaches? If so, you may find that a side benefit of your night-guard is headache prevention. Many headaches start during the night, caused by the extreme pressure caused by grinding and clenching your teeth. Ask us about having a nightguard custom created especially for you.

How your teeth come together.

Malocclusion or misalignment is when the upper and lower teeth don’t meet comfortably. Two of the most noticeable types of jaw misalignment are an overbite, where the upper teeth stick out, and an underbite, where the lower teeth sit in front of the upper teeth. A symptom of malocclusion is if you bite your cheeks or other areas inside your mouth. It can also cause jaw pain and headaches. The correct alignment allows for effective chewing and distribution of biting forces equally over all the teeth. When the condition is severe it can interfere with eating, breathing, sleeping, and speech, and cause discomfort and pain even when the jaw isn’t moving. If not corrected, malocclusion can even lead to broken teeth and even tooth loss.

There are several causes of malocclusion, including:

  • Mismatch between jaw size and size of teeth
  • Thumb sucking or tongue thrusting habit
  • Premature loss of or missing teeth

Checking for malocclusion is a part of your dental exam.  Depending on the severity, treatments may include orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry and surgery.

Drink Water – An Easy, Accessible, Inexpensive Way to Protect Your Teeth

For over 70 years, communities in the United States have benefited from community water fluoridation. Water fluoridation is the process of adding a small amount of fluoride to public water supplies to a level known to make teeth stronger and prevent cavities.

Almost all water contains some naturally-occurring fluoride, but usually at levels too low to prevent tooth decay.

Fluoridated water is effective, because it keeps a low level of fluoride in the mouth, specifically in the dental plaque and saliva, all day. Even with the use of other fluoride products, such as toothpaste and mouth rinses, fluoridated water reduces tooth decay by 25% among children and adults.

Tooth decay is caused by certain bacteria in the mouth. When a person eats sugar and other refined carbohydrates, these bacteria produce acid that removes minerals from the surface of the tooth. Fluoride helps to remineralize tooth surfaces and prevents cavities from forming.

So, go ahead, fill up your glass or refillable bottle from your tap.

Source:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/basics/index.htm

How to reduce your risk for oral cancer:

Stop using tobacco or don’t start – Using smoked or chewed tobacco exposes the cells in your mouth to dangerous cancer-causing chemicals.

Drink alcohol only in moderation – Excessive alcohol use can irritate the cells in your mouth, making them susceptible to oral cancer.  According to the Mayo Clinic, moderation for healthy adults means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.

Avoid excessive sun exposure to your lips – Protect the skin on your lips from the sun by staying in the shade when possible. Wear a wide-brimmed hat that shades your entire face, including your mouth. Apply a sunscreen lip product as part of your routine sun protection routine.

Visit us at Yahara Dental regularly – As part of your routine dental exam, we inspect your entire mouth for abnormal areas that may indicate mouth cancer or precancerous changes.

My gums are sore and bleed when I brush my teeth – maybe if I wait it will just go away.

If your hands became swollen and started to bleed when you washed them, you would be concerned. Yet, many people think it’s normal if their gums bleed or are swollen when they brush or floss.

Swollen and bleeding gums are a warning that something is wrong with your oral health.  It could be as simple as poor brushing and flossing techniques.  Or, it could be gingivitis, a disease caused by a buildup of plaque which contains germs that attack the healthy tissue around the teeth.  If gingivitis is not taken care of, it can lead to periodontal disease, a long-term gum condition that damages the tissue and bone that support your teeth.

With periodontal disease, your gums become inflamed and infected and pull away from the roots of your teeth causing them to become loose.  Another sign of periodontal disease is bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth which can mean you have an infection.

Bleeding gums are not normal.  It is a cause of concern. Please call Yahara Dental if you have bleeding gums, we can ease your mind, save your teeth and your smile.

General Dentistry or Primary Care Dentistry

Dr. Thor Anderson

As a general dentist I diagnose, treat, and manage your overall oral health care needs, including preventive care and education, pediatric dentistry, gum care, fillings, bonding and resins, crowns, veneers, bridges, partial dentures, dentures and implants.

This type of dentistry allows me to offer a valuable standard of care for patients of all ages. I enjoy watching families grow and am honored when the next generation chooses to come to me for their dental care.

Dentistry is exciting and challenging, there are advances in science, technology and creativity. It is my mission to go above and beyond to participate in continuing education so I can offer my patients the very best dentistry has to offer.

I am active in the following organizations:

Each of these organizations is dedicated to higher learning through continuing education.

An area of special interest is cosmetic and esthetic dentistry, which is dental work that improves the appearance of teeth and gums. This can include color, position, shape, size and alignment of your teeth. It is very gratifying to see the look on a patient’s face the first time they see their new smile.

I enjoy seeing patients on a regular basis, not just for special circumstances. I am your primary care provider for your oral health.  Like your primary care physician, I can take care of many facets of your oral health. If I see an area that needs special attention, I have a referral network you can trust.

Oral health a part of your overall health

Your oral health offers clues about your overall health. Studies suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontal (gum) disease might play a role in some diseases. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, possible conditions associated with your oral health include:

  • Endocarditis. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.
  • Cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
  • Pregnancy and birth. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.

Conditions that might affect your oral health, include:

  • Diabetes. Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection — putting the gums at risk. Gum disease appears to be more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes. Research shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels, and that regular periodontal care can improve diabetes control.
  • Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis — which causes bones to become weak and brittle — might be linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Drugs used to treat osteoporosis carry a small risk of damage to the bones of the jaw.

Contact Dr. Thor as soon as an oral health problem arises. Taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.

Source: Mayo Clinic, Oral health: A window to your overall health, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475

Special Oral Health Care During Pregnancy

According to the American Dental Association, as many as half of all women develop pregnancy gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease that is most common between the second and eighth months of pregnancy. It usually goes away after childbirth. Hormones make your gums more easily irritated by plaque and can cause gums to be red, tender, sore and bleed. Brush twice a day for two minutes, clean between your teeth once a day.

If you experience morning sickness, here is how to help protect your teeth. When you throw-up, stomach acids enter your mouth and can eat away at your teeth, so waiting to brush after you’ve rinsed your mouth can help prevent those acids from doing damage. Instead of brushing, first swish and spit. You can use water, a diluted mouth rinse or a mixture of 1 cup of water and 1 tsp. of baking soda. Spit it out and brush your teeth about 30 minutes later.

Please contact Dr. Thor with any concerns or about other steps you can take to keep your gums healthy.

Start Early – Teaching your little ones to floss!

Little kids love to imitate grownups, which is why making dental care and flossing a family activity is a good idea. Brush and floss your teeth alongside your little ones and let them watch you floss your teeth. They will want to be just like you.  It may also be fun if you let them brush your teeth while you brush theirs.

Allow your child to choose their own toothbrush, dental floss, toothpaste, and dental flossing picks. This can help them to personalize the activity and make it more interesting. After all, what kid wouldn’t want to floss with a fruit flavor dental floss in neon colors or brush their teeth with a toothbrush that has their favorite cartoon character on the front?

At their next visit, the Yahara Hygiene team and Dr. Thor would enjoy watching your little flosser in action. 

Ouch! My Tooth Hurts

When eating or drinking hot or cold foods do you feel a sharp pain in your tooth?  You probably think you it must be a cavity. It could also mean you have sensitive teeth.  Your teeth can become sensitive either from receding gums or from a thinning of your tooth enamel.

Some toothaches are more severe

If the pain you are experiencing is a sharp, stabbing pain when you bite down on your food, the cause of your toothache could be a cavity or a cracked tooth.

Symptom and signs of an an abscessed tooth or an infection include:

  • Severe, persistent, throbbing toothache that can radiate to the jawbone, neck or ear
  • Sensitivity to the pressure of chewing or biting
  • Fever
  • Swelling in your face or cheek
  • Tender, swollen lymph nodes under your jaw or in your neck
  • Sudden rush of foul-smelling and foul-tasting, salty fluid in your mouth and pain relief if the abscess ruptures

A tooth abscess won’t go away without treatment. If the abscess ruptures, the pain may decrease significantly — but you still need dental treatment. If the abscess doesn’t drain, the infection may spread to your jaw and to other areas of your head and neck.

Don’t wait, call Yahara Dental if you have any pain or sensitivity and especially if you have signs or symptoms of a tooth abscess.