What To Expect When You Get a Dental Checkup

Knowing what to expect when you go in for a dental checkup can help ease the anxiety of going into the dentist. Usually, you should get a dental checkup every six months to ensure the health of your teeth and gums.

Not only are checkups great for your overall health, but they also give your dentist the opportunity to share tips on caring for your teeth and detect oral health problems early. Here is what you can expect from a typical dental checkup.

Physical Exam

Most teeth cleanings are performed by a dental hygiene professional. Before beginning the cleaning, the hygienist will start with an exam of your entire mouth. By using a small mirror tool, the hygienist will check around your teeth and gums for any sign of gingivitis (inflamed gums) or other potential concerns.

If any major issues are detected, the hygienist might call the dentist over to make sure it’s okay to continue.

Cleaning and Polishing

Next, the hygienist will begin to remove any plaque or tartar that has built up on your teeth. They do so by using the mirror tool and scaler. Usually plaque build up happens around the gums and in between teeth, so you’ll notice the hygienist focusing there. The more plaque and tartar there is, the more scraping there will be. Then they will expertly floss your teeth, making sure to get any problem areas where the gums might bleed more. Next, they’ll do a fluoride treatment on your teeth, which is a protectant for your teeth to help fight against cavities for several months.

Education

Another big part of the dental checkup process is education. After the cleaning the dental hygienist will discuss any hygiene problems that were detected. They’ll also show you ways to more effectively brush and floss your teeth, if necessary.

Examination

Both the dental hygienist and your dentist will then do an examination on your teeth, gums and mouth to look for signs of any problems, like a cavity, gum disease, or early signs of oral cancer. The dentist will use the mirror tool to get a better view of your teeth and gums, and if they see any issues, they might recommend a special treatment or refer you to a specialist.

X-Rays

At some of your dental visits, your dentist might ask for x-rays of your teeth. A dental X-ray allows the dentist to see detailed images of specific sections of your mouth to help diagnose problems not visible during the dental exam. X-rays aren’t typically needed at every checkup, so your dentist or hygiene specialist will talk to you about your need for x-rays based on your oral health and risk of disease.

Getting regular dental checkups is so important to your overall health. Dentists and hygienists are here to make sure you’re keeping your mouth and teeth in tip top shape. The Dentist of Siouxland is always here to help you and answer any questions you have. Call one of our offices to make an appointment for your next dental checkup!

What is the Role of Fluoride in Dental Care?

Fluoride is one of the most researched nutrients, with over 50 years of peer-reviewed scientific studies confirming its various dental health benefits. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by remineralizing and strengthening your teeth. It also lowers the risk of cavities and strengthens tooth enamel

Fluoride, a component of saliva and the hardest natural substance found in the earth’s crust, when combined with calcium and phosphate to form tooth enamel, is often referred to as a cavity-fighting mineral. Nevertheless, water fluoridation has been around since the 1940s. And its importance has not diminished; today, fluoride continues to play a crucial role in dental care.

Why Do You Need Fluoride?

Fluoride is absorbed by the teeth and protects against tooth decay.Your teeth are constantly under attack by acids and bacteria. If these are left unchecked, these acids and bacteria will break down your teeth over time by causing tooth decay in the form of cavities. Cavities usually begin as microscopic damage to your tooth, but fluoride acts as concrete poured into a crack, protecting against such damage and even reversing early tooth decay.

How Do You Receive Fluoride?

Unfortunately, the amount of fluoride obtained through food is not sufficient to protect your teeth. Throughout both childhood and your adult years, your dentist will apply fluoride treatments at appropriate intervals. These fluoride treatments are put directly on your teeth and are usually in the form of a rinse, gel, or foam. You leave the fluoride in your mouth for a minute or so before either spitting it out or having it rinsed away. This is typically the part in your dentist visit where your dentist asks you the type of flavor you want!

 

Fluoride is an incredibly important part of your oral routine. You should go to your dentist every six months for a checkup, where you should get a fluoride treatment. This will help prevent tooth decay and help fight any decay that has already happened. Give one of our offices a call today and we’ll schedule an appointment for you to come in and get a fluoride treatment with your cleaning.

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. Mouth guards 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 Sleep Apnea Relief

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): This works by pushing the lower jaw forward to open your airway while you sleep.
Tongue retaining device: This works by gripping 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 mouth guards 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 mouth guard if you play any of the following sports: football, boxing, hockey, or wrestling. Basically, when it comes to mouth guards, 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 mouth guards 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!

One Year Update: COVID-19 and Dental Offices

It’s been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic changed almost every aspect of our daily lives—including regularly visiting the dentist. However, this should soon be a thing of the past. Not visiting the dentist was one of the many ripple-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and even though it is not over, yet, things are looking up.

According to the ADA Health Policy Institute, confidence in going back to the dentist hit a new high since the pandemic started, with 94% of patients stating they are ready to go back to the dentist or they have already have gone back to see the dentist, compared to August of 2020 where only 78% of patients had been back or were ready to go back to the dentist.

If you’re ready for your next dental checkup, contact us today to set up an appointment!

Continued Safety Protocols

As more and more people become fully vaccinated, the CDC has started to provide less-restrictive guidelines for these people. However, most recommended precautions, such as using personal protective equipment, have not changed for health care settings, including dental offices.

Even though we are seeing COVID-19 case numbers trending down, we still ask that you follow our guidelines for your safety and the safety of others, including:

  • Do not come to the office if you have any symptoms of COVID-19
  • Limit the number of people you bring to your appointment, if possible
  • Wear a mask until notified that you can remove it

Per the CDC, we are regularly consulting with our state and local health departments for region-specific information and recommendations, as they monitor trends in local case counts and adjust accordingly.

We understand that you may not feel comfortable quite yet, or you have questions about the protocols we’ve implemented in our office to keep patients safe. You can review our entire list of COVID-19 Safety Protocols or you can contact us and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

What are the Different Types of Dental Implants?

Dental implants are changing the way we think about dental care. More and more people are discovering the great benefits that come with having one. But, what are they exactly? Every dentist has a different approach to the procedure of tooth replacement, but they all work in a similar way: by supporting a new tooth or crown. Here is a brief list explaining the most common types of dental implants.

Types of Implants

Each dental implant is different in terms of coating, connector and size options. However, while there are several methods to placing implants, the different types typically fall into one of two categories.

Endosteal (Endosseous) Implants: This is the most common type of dental implant. They are sometimes used as an alternative to a bridge or removable denture. Endosteal implants include screw types (threaded), cylinder types (smooth) or bladed types. Your dentist can help determine which type of dental implant will work best for you, but endosteal implants are safe, effective and the most popular choice used today.

For this type of implant, the dentist begins by drilling into the jawbone to insert a titanium screw, which acts as an artificial root. Before you can finish the treatment, you have to wait for the soft tissue and bone to heal around the root, which can take a couple of months. Endosteal implants are known for looking and feeling like natural teeth.

Subperiosteal Implants: Subperiosteal are hardly used today. They were once primarily used to hold dentures in place in patients with insufficient bone height. When subperiosteal implants are used, they are placed on the jawbone within the gum tissue, with the metal implant post exposed through the gums to hold the denture.

With subperiosteal implants, the overall treatment process is done in two appointments and is often a far shorter treatment plan than with an endosteal implant. However, subperiosteal implants don’t have the same level of stability since the implant doesn’t go into the jawbone but rather rests on top of the bone and is held in place by only soft tissue. This still gives more support than dentures without implants but is still less stable than a full endosteal implant system.

Dental implants are a great solution for people who suffer from tooth loss. Give us a call today to talk about which type of dental implant is best for you. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have!

Steps for Getting A Root Canal

Root canals are no fun, but millions of teeth are treated and saved every year with root canal treatments. Root canal treatment is one type of endodontic treatment, which means it treats the inside of the tooth. Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, an injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

Even though root canals can be scary, our dentists walk you through each step and answer all your questions. Keep reading to learn more about the steps of getting a root canal.

Before Treatment Begins

When you arrive at your dentist’s office, you can first expect your dentist to go over any X-rays that have previously been taken to prepare for the procedure. Then, they will administer a local anesthetic using a small needle to numb the area. You may feel a slight pinch, but there is very little pain when the anesthetic is administered. The numbing sensation will take effect almost immediately.

Once numb, the dentist will place a dental dam, which is a small rubber sheet, over the affected tooth to protect and isolate the area. This will keep the tooth clean and dry during the procedure.

During Root Canal Treatment

The root canal treatment itself will take about ninety minutes. Using a specially designed drill, your dentist or endodontist will create an opening in the top of the affected tooth, which will fully expose the top of the tooth pulp, containing the tooth’s damaged nerve and blood vessels. The doctor will then remove tooth pulp from the inside of the tooth and the root.

The space that the pulp occupied will then be carefully cleaned and widened shaping the inner chamber to accommodate a filling. The dentist will then irrigate the area with a variety of solutions to wash away any remaining pulp. The tooth and surrounding area will be thoroughly dried before moving onto the next step.

To prevent infection, an antimicrobial medication will be put on to the root canal. The majority of cases the tooth canals will now be filled with a biocompatible material. The material used is typically gutta-percha, a rubber-like material, that seals to the tooth with an adhesive cement and helps prevent further infection.

Finally, a temporary filling is put in place on top of the tooth to provide protection from food and debris until a permanent filling or crown can be placed. In some cases, your dentist may be able to skip this step and place a permanent filling in the same appointment.

After Root Canal Treatment

Once the root canal procedure is completed, you’ll need to make sure you take extra precautions with the treated tooth. You may experience sensitivity or mild discomfort in the area for a few days- you can use over the counter pain medicine such as acetaminophen. If significant pain or swelling continues, call your dentist. You will most likely have a follow up appointment with your dentist to restore the tooth or remove the temporary filling and place a permanent filling.

After the root canal treatment and restoration with a filling or crown has been completed, your tooth can now provide normal, healthy function. We’re happy to help with any questions you have. Call one of our three locations to schedule an appointment.

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, 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 These 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 The Dentist of Siouxland, 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 one of our three offices. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t get the dental care you deserve.

How to Teach Your Child the Value of Oral Hygiene

As a parent, it’s a very daunting task to teach your child the value of oral hygiene. It is especially difficult when they are in the preschool years and more likely to be distracted and uninterested in what you have to say. The key, according to dental instructor Elizabeth J. Hodges, who often lectures on this topic, is to make teaching fun for both parent and child.

This blog will discuss some ideas on how to keep your child interested in their oral health.

Why It Matters

Keeping good oral hygiene is so important as a child. As a parent, you probably know this, but how do you convince your child that it is important. When you maintain a clean mouth, you will have lesser chances of dental diseases and tooth loss. Good dental hygiene also plays a huge role for aesthetic reasons as it keeps your teeth looking polished and white and also reduces the chance of experiencing bad breath.

Habits to Teach

Regular Dental Checkups
It’s important to take your child to the dentist for regular checkups (at least every six months). This will help them get into the habit of seeing a dentist on a regular basis, which will help them even as they grow into adults.

Eating Healthy Foods
Eating healthy at a young age is so important for children. This will help them get into the habit of eating fruits and vegetables and actually enjoy them. Eating healthy is great for oral health and will keep their teeth stay in good condition

Brushing Twice a Day
Showing your child that it is important to brush their teeth twice a day is a great practice. You can even start this before your child actually starts teething. You can start by wiping their gums with a soft foam, and once they start to grow teeth, you can upgrade to a baby toothbrush. This will help your child to grow up with the familiarity of having their teeth brushed.

Flossing
Teaching your child at a young age that not only brushing, but also flossing your teeth is another great way to keep their mouth healthy. If this is difficult for you as a parent, you can have your dentist help show them at their regular checkup!

Lead By Example
Your child learns the most from you as their parent. Showing them how important oral hygiene is and practicing good oral hygiene is one of the best ways for them to learn. When you put both your child’s and your own dental hygiene as a top priority, your child will grow up understanding the importance of taking care of your teeth.

 

It is imperative to teach your child how to take care of their teeth at a young age. We’re always happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have. Call any of our three locations today and we can schedule an appointment.

Are Dental Implants Safe?

Dental implants have become many dentists’ go-to procedure for replacing missing teeth. Dental implant surgery replaces tooth roots with metal, screwlike posts and replaces damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function much like real ones. This surgery is a great alternative to dentures and can offer an option when a lack of natural teeth roots don’t allow building denture or bridgework tooth replacements.

What are the risks?

Like any type of surgery, there are a few risks to getting dental implants. However, the problems that come with dental implant surgery are rare and typically minor and very treatable. Risks include:

  • Sinus problems, when dental implants placed in the upper jaw protrude into one of your sinus cavities
  • Injury or damage to surrounding structures, such as other teeth or blood vessels
  • Nerve damage, which can cause pain, numbness or tingling in your natural teeth, gums, lips or chin
  • Infection at the implant site

The advantages of using dental implants

Dental implants are one of the most reliable dental procedures with a 95% success. They also offer advantages that other missing teeth solutions do not, such as:

  • Appearance – Implants look and feel like your natural teeth.
  • Speech – No need to worry about slipping dentures or loose bridges that can cause slurred speech.
  • Comfort – Implants are permanent and stable, so no chaffing or discomfort will happen like with dentures.
  • Oral health – Implant placement does not require modifying surrounding teeth as a bridge does. Also, implants stop bone deterioration and stimulate healthy bone tissue growth.

Dental Implant Procedure

When considering having a dental implant procedure, a patient will typically go through the following steps:

  1. First, the patient will go through a thorough exam and consultation with the dentist. The dentist will then make an individualized treatment plan.
  2. At the next appointment, the team will place your implant, which acts as a substitute tooth root.
  3. Then, the tooth is given time (about 2-3 months) to heal and integrate with the bone tissue.
  4. Once the implant has bonded to the bone tissue, a small connector called an abutment is attached to the implant.
  5. Impressions are taken of your teeth to create either a custom crown to replace one tooth or an implant-supported bridge or denture for multiple missing teeth. Crown restorations are custom tinted, so they blend in beautifully with your natural teeth.
  6. The finished crown, bridge, or denture is attached to the implant(s).

Once you get the finished implant, your new teeth are ready to use! If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at any of our three locations. We want your implants to look and feel like real teeth and you smile looking its best!

What are the Pros and Cons of a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure used to save a tooth that has become infected or injured. The procedure can remove damaged tissues in the tooth and prevent future infection, but is it really worth it? We will examine the benefits and drawbacks to help you decide if a root canal is right for you.

Cons of Having a Root Canal

While root canals are pretty common, there are some drawbacks to having this procedure done. One of those drawbacks is that it might weaken the tooth. Dentists have to drill through the tooth in order to get to the pulp, and additional decay might have to be removed. If the tooth is too weak to function, the dentist will add a crown to it, which will strengthen the tooth and allow the patient to use it like a natural tooth.

Another disadvantage of having a root canal is the time it takes in order to get one done. In most cases, a patient will only need to go to the dentist once to get this procedure done. However, two to three appointments are required in complicated cases where the infection or damage is severe. Also, patients might need two to three visits to get root canals on upper first molars. Upper first molars have three to five root canals, and each one must be treated, which takes longer to complete.

Root canals can also cause discomfort to the mouth and jaw, as it will have to remain open the entire procedure.

While there are some cons to having a root canal, there are also some advantages.

Pros of Having a Root Canal

One of the advantages of getting a root canal is that it keeps the natural tooth. Dentists remove the infected pulp tissue, clean out the root canal and replace it with filling material. Because the patient gets to keep the natural tooth, they don’t have to worry about bone loss. The tooth’s root will also continue to stimulate the bone, so the patient can keep their natural smile.

Another benefit of having a root canal is that it stops the tooth pain. Having an inflamed or infected pulp can be pretty painful and can make it difficult to function in everyday life. A root canal cleans out the infected pulp and antibiotics are used to treat the area if needed. Once everything is healed, the toothache will be gone!

If you choose to have a root canal over a tooth extraction, it helps prevent gaps in your mouth. Gaps can lead to alignment issues, which can change your smile and make it difficult to eat. With a root canal, your tooth stays in place so you don’t have to worry about those alignment issues.

Root canals are also more affordable than extracting the tooth and replacing it. You get to keep your real tooth and your real smile.

Like any dental procedure, there are pros and cons. It’s always a good idea to talk with your dentists if you think you may need a root canal. Call us today and we’d be happy to schedule an appointment with you.