3 Best Ways to Prevent Cavities

Cavities aren’t fun for anyone, yet they seem to be very common. If you think that cavities are a necessary part of life, though, you’re mistaken. Some people have never had a cavity in their lives. Others get cavities very often. Why is it that some people never experience cavities while others can’t seem to be rid of them? The answer is that some people practice certain dental hygiene tips that prevent cavities. Here are the best ways you can use to prevent cavities, too.

1. Floss After Each Meal

You already know you should brush after each meal, but did you know you should floss after each meal, too? Flossing gets rid of food debris that gets stuck in between teeth. If you don’t floss after each meal, that leftover food debris could lead to the development of cavities.

2. Avoid Sugar

Bacteria feed on sugar. When you eat sugar-laden foods, bacteria in your mouth have plenty of sugar to eat, and then the bacteria count grows in number. When you have more bacteria, that means they will end up eating into your teeth, which means you will likely develop cavities. Avoiding sugar means much more than not opening up a sugar packet. You should start reading the labels on the foods you eat to check for added sugars. Unfortunately today, many processed foods do contain added sugars. To be on the safe side, just eat whole foods as much as possible and cook your own foods from home.

3. Get Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are a treatment that is available through your dentist’s office. It’s basically a clear coat that helps to fill in pits and cracks in your teeth that can be an entry point for bacteria to cause cavities. Dental sealants also create an added layer of protection over your teeth enamel. The dental sealant treatment is completely non-invasive and 100% painless. If you’re interested in dental sealant treatment, contact your dentist.

It’s hard to prevent cavities, but not impossible. Use the three tips mentioned above to help keep cavities from forming in your mouth.

Dental Sealants Help Prevent Cavities

Although following a daily regimen of brushing and flossing is one of the best ways to prevent the development of cavities, reaching the back teeth (molars) can be challenging. The inability to properly clean these teeth often leads to decay, cavities and costly dental procedures. While trying to clean these teeth may seem like a never-ending battle, another safety net is now available to help keep your child’s molars clean and cavity-free, the dental sealant.

Why Are Molars Susceptible to Decay?

To aid in the chewing process, molars have rough, uneven surfaces. Furthermore, there are nooks and crannies on the chewing surface of each molar, which makes cleaning them even more difficult, especially for children. Cavity-causing bacteria hide within these crevices, consuming the leftover debris, multiplying and releasing harmful acid that eats away at the protective coating of the teeth (enamel).

What Are Dental Sealants?

A dental sealant consists of plastic or some other dental material. The sealant is applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars. This sealant is not meant to replace a daily oral hygiene regimen, but, instead, to supplement it. Dental sealants can help prevent cavities by ‘filling-in’ those nooks and crannies where food debris remains, and bacteria hide.

How Does a Dental Sealant Work?

Once the dental sealant is applied, it penetrates the tooth enamel: This ensures that the sealant is firmly attached to the tooth. The grooves of the tooth fill in and the sealant hardens, creating a thin, plastic barrier.

When Should Dental Sealants Be Applied?

Ideally, dental sealants should be applied as soon as the chewing surface of the molar has completely erupted beyond the gum line. When the molars are sealed as they erupt, the likelihood of decay and cavity development is greatly reduced. Typically, the wisdom teeth do not erupt until an individual is at least 17 years of age. Since the wisdom teeth are usually removed, sealing them is not particularly beneficial to the patient.

How Are Dental Sealants Applied?

The application of dental sealants is quick and painless. Prior to applying the sealant, your child’s Woodlane Family Dentist cleans and dries the tooth/teeth being sealed. An acidic gel is placed on the tooth/teeth, which roughens up the surface of the tooth to ensure a strong bond between the tooth and the sealant. Once a couple of seconds have passed, your child’s Woodlane Family Dentist rinses off the gel, dries the tooth/teeth again and ‘paints’ the sealant onto the chewing surfaces of the molars being treated. A special blue light is used to harden the sealant. These sealants usually last for several years.

Will Dental Insurance Cover Sealants?

Most dental insurance companies do cover dental sealants for both primary and permanent teeth. We recommend that you contact your insurance provider to find out if your child is covered.

Choosing the Right Dentist for You and Your Family’s Needs

Perhaps you’ve just moved to a new community, or maybe your regular family dentist has decided to relocate or retire — whatever the reason, choosing a new family dentist can feel like a daunting task. After all, your family’s oral health is extremely important, and choosing the wrong dentist can have unpleasant consequences. Fortunately, strategies exist designed to help you make the best possible choice. The following are five of them.

Ask Your Dentist for Recommendations

The easiest way to find the right dentist is to ask your current dentist to recommend someone. If your dentist is retiring, he or she may already have a replacement lined up. If you’re moving, your dentist may be able to recommend a good dentist in your new community.

Ask Family and Friends

If your dentist isn’t able to make recommendations, ask family and friends for recommendations — especially those whose families resemble yours. For instance, if you’re married with children, you’ll probably want someone who practices general family dentistry rather than someone who specializes in geriatric dentistry. The best way to go about this is to ask as many people as possible and look for a name or names that keep popping up.

Check Out Online Reviews

Online reviews aren’t just for restaurants and hotels anymore — medical professionals of all types are being reviewed online as well. Searching for reviews on dentists in your area can point you in the right direction. Although it’s important not to let one bad review cause you to jump to conclusions, look for common themes in several reviews and take it from there.

Ask Your Family Doctor or Personal Physician

Another good source of recommendations for a family dentist is your family doctor or personal physician. Medical professionals often know one another, and they often have enough inside knowledge to be able to recommend someone who’s a good fit for your family.

Look on the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Website

You can search the ADA’s website by the community, making it easy to come up with a list of dental professionals in a specific area. Members of the ADA have all firmly pledged to provide top-quality care and to put the dental health of their patients at the very top of their list of priorities.

Please contact Woodlane Family and Cosmetic Dentistry at your convenience for more information on finding the right dentist for your family.

 

The Importance of Having a Good Family Dentist

Many people muddle through life without seeing a dentist on a regular basis until they experience oral health issues that they can no longer ignore. They are then often surprised and discouraged at the cost of treating these issues as well as the pain and discomfort these conditions often cause. However, a significant amount of dental issues can be circumvented or at least slowed down in their progression if they’re caught early enough. Most people are advised to see their dentist every six months for a thorough examination and cleaning, which provides the dentist with the opportunity to check for developing issues and to implement a treatment program.

Following are just three more of the many reasons why having a good family dentist makes good sense.

Regular Dental Cleanings Help Prevent Tooth Decay

Although practicing good oral hygiene is an essential component of preventing tooth decay, it can’t completely stop the buildup of plaque and tartar that can damage tooth enamel to the extent it starts to decay. A good professional cleaning every six months removes plaque and tartar buildup that brushing and flossing don’t get.

You Can Usually Get Multiple Appointments on the Same Day

Having a family dentist who provides care for everyone in your household means that you can usually get multiple appointments on the same day when it’s time for routine checkups. This cuts down on ferrying people around to various appointment locations on different days as well as keeping track of different appointment times.

A Family Dentist Provides Personalized Care

A good family dentist provides the kind of good personalized care you’ll won’t find by just piecing together your family’s dental needs as you go along. For instance, your dentist will have first-hand knowledge of your family’s dental history and be familiar with other medical conditions that may impact treatment options for your dental issues. For instance, if you have Type II diabetes, your family dentist will be able to recommend a course of preventive treatment designed to minimize your chances of developing gum disease.

Our dental practice is designed for patients in all stages of life. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to find out more about why you should make us your family dentist.

Girl after teeth whitening

Ways to Retain Your Professional Teeth Whitening Results

After having your teeth professionally whitened, you are tasked with keeping them sparkling white and healthy through proper daily care. Your efforts can go a long way in retaining your results, ensuring you can enjoy your dazzling smile for years to come.

As you provide excellent care to your teeth, you won’t just protect their amazing appearance either — their health will improve as well. Here’s how to give your teeth all the love they deserve and retain your professional teeth whitening results.

Always Use a Straw

To keep your teeth bright and white, you should skip the coffee and soda altogether. Since that is much easier said than done, there is a workaround: Straws.

By drinking all beverages through a straw, you can keep the pigments from staining your teeth. With straws, you also protect your tooth enamel from contact with acidic compounds that can cause damage over time.

The exception to this rule is water. You should drink water without a straw to wash away debris and cleanse your teeth throughout the day.

Increase Your Water Intake

By bumping up your water intake, you can wash your teeth clean throughout the day, minimizing the impact of deeply-pigmented food and beverages. Increasing your water intake also boosts the production of saliva, which also continually cleanses the surface of your teeth.

So, boost your water intake to 64 ounces or more a day to actively retain your professional teeth whitening results. If you live in an area with fluoridated water, remember to fill up at the tap for the greatest benefits. You can also buy bottled water treated with fluoride to help keep your teeth beautiful, healthy, and strong.

Properly Care for Your Teeth

All the water in the world cannot make up for improper tooth care. You must commit to brushing and flossing for at least two minutes a day, twice a day. Consider using a strong mouthwash after each brushing session to clear away the remaining food particles and help keep your teeth white. You should also always remember to schedule your twice-yearly professional teeth cleaning appointments at your trusted dentist’s office.

When you take the time to care for your teeth and ensure they are protected from stains, you can retain your professional teeth whitening results for longer than you ever expected. You can also schedule follow-up whitening appointments if your teeth develop any stains. To do so, just give our team at Woodlane Family & Cosmetic Dentistry a call at 651-731-1560 to find a convenient time to visit.

Important Benefits of Fluoride

Tooth decay is among the most common types of dental problems that affect children and adults. While brushing and flossing help protect teeth from decay, they’re not always enough. Fluoride offers added protection from cavities and decay. Find out more about this compound.

How Fluoride Works

Your teeth have a covering on them called enamel, which helps keep bacteria from causing damage. Poor dental hygiene and other problems can cause tooth enamel to erode or wear away over time. When this happens, your teeth don’t have as much protection from bacteria and decay. Fluoride binds to tooth enamel and helps make it stronger, which reduces your risk of decay.

Fluoride Benefits

Fluoride’s main benefit is that it helps rebuild tooth enamel for added protection from bacteria and acids that damage teeth. Having strong tooth enamel is among the most effective ways to guard against cavities and tooth decay that can lead to severe damage. Fluoride also helps ensure that children have healthy baby teeth that are more resistant to decay. This paves the way for healthy permanent teeth to grow in, later on, resulting in a lower risk of cavities.

smiling family

How to Get Fluoride

Making sure that you and your children have enough fluoride is easy. In some areas, local water sources are treated with fluoride, which means you can get this compound by drinking tap water from your sink. If you don’t have fluoridated water in your home, you can use dental care products made with fluorides, such as toothpaste or mouthwash. Keep in mind that children under six shouldn’t use fluoridated mouthwash since they could accidentally swallow it. If you use fluoridated toothpaste, only give children a very small amount each time they brush. Your dentist can give you and your kid’s fluoride treatments during cleanings. This involves applying fluoride to your teeth in a gel form or another form. These treatments are an essential part of ensuring that you and your family are protected from tooth decay.

If you or your kids need fluoride treatment, please contact Woodlane Family and Cosmetic Dentistry for an appointment.

woman smiling white teeth

Brighten Your Smile With Professional Teeth Whitening

If you put your hand over your mouth when you smile because you’re embarrassed by stained or discolored teeth, hide no more. Teeth whitening is painless, safe, and often quick. You’ve got a few treatment procedures to choose from. Let’s learn more about what causes a dull smile and what you can do to transform it.

What causes teeth staining?

Because teeth are porous, it’s easy for them to pick up colors from the foods and beverages we consume. Here are some of the most common chief offenders.

Coffee: Dark coffee, especially when enjoyed black, can leave your teeth an unsightly shade of brown. While adding milk or cream may lessen this effect, it’s wise to rinse your mouth or brush your teeth right after your morning cup of joe.

Tea: Equally as harmful to your pearly whites are the tannins in black tea. Even white, green, and herbal teas can leave stains.

Red wine: Ever looked at your mouth after a glass of your favorite merlot or pinot? That purple hue lingers, especially if you’ve got plaque buildup on your teeth that the wine can cling to. Sip your wine with just-brushed teeth to lessen the effect. Drinking water and eating while you enjoy your wine also helps to prevent stains.

Soda: Full of enamel-damaging acid, dark-colored sodas pack twice the punch as clear choices since they stain. Plus, they’re loaded with sugar, which is also harmful to your teeth.

Blueberries and beets: Definitely at the top of the list of healthy superfoods, these highly pigmented produce offerings have potent staining power. Rather than forego their nourishing benefits, enjoy them in large quantities, but brush your teeth within an hour of eating to remove the discoloring agents.

woman smiling white teeth

What are my options for professional teeth whitening?

Depending on how quickly you’d like to brighten your smile and the budget you’re working with, we offer three great treatment choices.

1) In-office bleaching: If you’ve got 60-90 minutes to spare, we can deliver optimum teeth whitening. The dentist applies a whitening solution on the front surface of your teeth and then uses a curing light to activate it. The solution is left on your teeth for 30-60 minutes.

2) Tray whitening: This is an at-home procedure that takes a little longer but is also less costly. The dentist takes an impression of your teeth from which to create a personalized tray. You fill the tray with whitening gel, and let it go to work for about an hour a day for two weeks in the comfort of your own home.

3) Whitening strips: The most affordable option, strips are available in our office. Please be sure to consult with your dental team before purchasing over-the-counter strips. We want to be sure you’re choosing the right product for your unique needs.

Call us now to book your whitening consultation.

 

Causes of Tooth Pain

It’s no secret that tooth pain is unpleasant. It often goes beyond the pain itself, affecting one’s ability to eat, sleep, and enjoy life. Before your dentist can help alleviate your tooth pain, he’ll need to get to the root of the problem, so let’s explore some common causes of tooth pain.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that occurs after plaque (the sticky, white substance that’s filled with bacteria) that has turned into tartar along the gum lines. The tartar causes the gums to become irritated and swollen. Sometimes, if left untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, an infection that can lead to the deterioration of the gum line, bone loss, and a loss of teeth.

Regular dental cleanings help reduce plaque and tartar, keeping gums healthy.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay happens when plaque has formed on the enamel (outside) of the tooth. The bacteria within the plaque produce an acid, which eventually begins to eat away at the enamel. Over time, this erosion leaves the tooth enamel vulnerable to cavities. While cavities themselves aren’t usually painful, untreated tooth decay can expose the tooth’s dentin (the inside of the tooth). This part of the tooth is sensitive and needs the protection of natural enamel or cosmetic dentistry solutions to avoid being painful.

senior couple

Bruxism

Bruxism is the medical term for teeth-grinding. People who grind their teeth may not even realize they’re doing it—especially if the habit happens while they’re sleeping. Bruxism can lead to a host of oral health problems, including:

  • Chipped, fractured, or cracked teeth
  • Flattened tops of teeth
  • Facial pain
  • Sensitivity to cold, heat, or pressure
  • Chewed wounds on the tongue or cheek

Inflammation of the Tooth Pulp (Pulpitis)

The pulp is in the center of the tooth where the nerves and tissue live. When it becomes inflamed or irritated—often as a result of decay or trauma—it can cause tremendous sensitivity to various stimuli (hot and cold temperatures, in particular).

 

If you’re in the Woodbury, MN area and experiencing tooth pain, contact our team at Woodlane Family & Cosmetic Dentistry as soon as possible. We’d love to help you feel better!

 

Benefits of Dental Implants

As you consider your options for replacing one or more missing teeth, dental implants offer a quality alternative to conventional dentures. Consider the benefits of dental implants for you or your family member. Then learn how you can get started with dental implants in Woodbury, Minnesota here at Woodlane Family and Cosmetic Dentistry.

Improved Smile and Self-Confidence

Your smile is often the first thing people see when they greet you. With dental implants, you get a permanent solution to missing teeth. Provide your best smile by using dental implants. This way you always have a beautiful looking smile. See your self-confidence soar when you feel happier about your full grin.

Plus, unlike conventional dentures, implants ensure that the tooth will stay in place even when eating or laughing. No worries about your dentures slipping when speaking, which is an experience no one should have to endure. When you go with denture implants, you can prevent this from happening to you, too.

Low Maintenance Dentures

One of the issues patients have with conventional dentures is that you constantly have to remove them. Dentures have to be taken out to eat certain foods, for cleaning, and when you sleep. This is a lot of extra work throughout your day that can be minimized with the use of dental implants. You brush your implants like you do the rest of your teeth.

The versatility of Dental Work

Whether you need to replace one or more teeth or a bridge, you can do so using implants. If you lose teeth due to periodontal disease, dental implants can be used to correct your gum tissue. This way you maintain your smile and natural facial contours even with tooth loss. Use dental implants to help improve the look and structure of your face and gums.

Choose Dental Implants in Woodbury, MN

Here at Woodlane Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we provide family, cosmetic, and general dentistry services in Woodbury, Minnesota. This includes dental implants and implant restoration. Contact Woodlane Family and Cosmetic Dentistry at 651-731-1560 to schedule an appointment.

Benefits of Veneers

Veneers in Woodbury, MNIf you’re unhappy with the way your smile looks, veneers could offer an excellent option. They’re shells that are placed on the front of your teeth to correct imperfections for a more beautiful smile. Why should you consider veneers? Here are a few of the benefits they have to offer.

Get a Whiter, Brighter Smile

If you’re dreaming of a whiter smile but whitening treatments aren’t right for you, veneers could help. They cover the front of your teeth and can be chosen in lighter shades to brighten up your smile. And you won’t have to worry about the sensitivity that often comes with traditional teeth whitening.

Don’t Worry About Future Stains

Unlike your teeth, veneers aren’t porous. This means that you won’t have to worry about them getting stained in the future. Enjoy your favorite wine or your daily cup of coffee without worrying that you’ll ruin the appearance of your veneers.

Correct Tooth Imperfections

Veneers also have the ability to correct tooth imperfections, such as irregular shape, cracks, gaps, and chips. Even if teeth are a bit crooked or you have some chipped teeth, veneers can help you to enjoy the perfect smile you want.

A Long-Lasting Option

As long as you take good care of your teeth with daily dental hygiene, veneers can last a long time. In fact, they can last decades with proper oral care.

Additional Protection for Teeth

Veneers also can strengthen and protect teeth that are vulnerable due to cracks or chips. If your teeth need a bit more protection and additional strength, they could be an excellent choice for you.

Dental veneers are so easy to maintain, they’re long-lasting, and they can give you the gorgeous smile you want. If you’re wondering if veneers are right for you, contact our office today and set up your appointment for a consultation.