Dental Crowns: What Are They, and When Do You Need Them?

Dental Crowns: What Are They, and When Do You Need Them?

If you’ve chipped a tooth or undergone a root canal procedure, your dentist may have discussed using dental crowns to repair or protect your teeth. What are dental crowns exactly? Let’s break down what they are, why they’re used, and what the procedure looks like.

What are Dental Crowns?

Also known as caps, dental crowns are artificial tooth material placed on top of the affected tooth to repair it or blend it to match other teeth. Dental crowns can be made of resin, porcelain, zirconia, metal, or a combination of a few materials. DIfferent materials may offer certain advantages in cost, durability, and appearance.

The best type of crown for you will depend on where it will be located, the amount of chewing force that will be applied, and how much remaining tooth will be supporting the crown. Once applied, dental crowns are color matched to closely match your natural color, so they can blend seamlessly with your smile.

What are Dental Crowns Used For?

Dental crowns are recommended by dentists for a variety of cosmetic, protective, restorative reasons.

  • Dental crowns can be used to cover discolored, broken, or misshapen teeth.
  • Dental crowns can be used after a root canal to protect the exposed tooth.
  • Dental crowns can be used to strengthen weak teeth and provide a restored chewing surface.

If you have a cavity that is too big to fill, or have struggled for a way to disguise a discolored tooth, a crown could be an effective solution. It’s always best to talk through the options with your dentist to see if they agree that dental crowns can give you the best results.

Dental Crown Procedure

Traditional dental crowns take 2 dental procedures. In the first visit, your dentist will prepare the tooth receiving the crown by removing some of the tooth material so the prosthetic can fit closely. Then, they will take an impression of the area which will be used to construct the crown. The measurements will be sent to a laboratory where the crown will be fabricated to your exact specifications. You may receive a temporary crown while the permanent one is being prepared for you. 

At the second visit, the dental crown will be placed by your dentist who will check that it is a perfect fit before cementing it in. Dental crowns can last many years, depending on the type and placement of the crown. They are a fantastic solution for patients looking for a more confident smile and a reliable way to repair damaged teeth.

Think you might need a crown? Talk to Weber, Mountford, & Ruszkowski. We’re happy to get you on our schedule, take a look, and let you know how we can help.

Waterpik vs. Flossing: What Do Dentists Recommend?

Waterpik vs. Flossing: What Do Dentists Recommend?

Brushing does a good job of removing food particles from the surface of your teeth, but it can’t reach all areas of your teeth — specifically between your teeth, where bacteria and plaque can easily build up and cause problems. 

The Importance of Daily Flossing

The only way to reach these areas is through regular flossing. Flossing is an important part of every daily dental hygiene routine — but it’s one of the most neglected hygiene tasks. Until recently, traditional flossing was the only reliable way to clean between teeth. That is, until the Waterpik came onto the scene. 

What is a Waterpik and what makes it different? Is it more effective than traditional dental floss? Which do dentists recommend their patients use to help them maintain their dental health? Let’s explore the Waterpik vs. flossing debate, some of the advantages of each, and see which dentists prefer.

What is a Waterpik?

A Waterpik is a machine similar to a dental irrigation tool at your dentist’s office. The appliance uses electricity and a reservoir of water to force a pressurized stream of water through a small mouthpiece that can be directed at and between teeth to push food pieces, plaque, and particles awa. You can adjust the pressure and pulsation of the water stream to your comfort level. The Waterpik can be a little messy at first until you figure out how to use it, but with a bit of practice, it can be an effective tool to add to your dental hygiene routine. 

Waterpik vs. Flossing

The Waterpik is a useful appliance for many — but can it actually replace traditional flossing? Let’s compare the methods of using a Waterpik vs. flossing.

Waterpik

Using a Waterpik is effective at removing food pieces and helping keep your teeth clean. It comes with less discomfort than traditional floss, particularly if you’re not a regular flosser. The Waterpik is unlikely to cause your gums to bleed, except in extreme cases of sensitivity or inflammation. This appliance can help you to reach some areas of the mouth that are difficult with brushing and regular flossing, even under the gumline. The Waterpik is especially helpful if you have braces — it can easily get around brackets and under wires.

Disadvantages of a Waterpik

It’s important to note that the Waterpik is more expensive than dental floss. It also takes up space to store, and due to its size and reliance on electricity, it can’t travel with you. 

The Waterpik can be a valuable step of your dental hygiene routine — either to remove large particles prior to brushing, or to rinse your mouth after — but can’t completely replace flossing. It just isn’t as effective as floss at removing stubborn plaque. The movement of actual dental floss is necessary to dislodge some particles, and the scraping action of floss removes plaque more effectively than a targeted stream of water. 

For these reasons, even if you’re a dedicated Waterpik user, it’s a good idea to keep some traditional floss on hand to use occasionally, either to follow up after brushing and rinsing, or to check the effectiveness of your Waterpik technique.

Flossing

Flossing the traditional way involves using a thin strand of string between your teeth. You hold an end between your fingers of each hand, and move the string back and forth between teeth and around the base of each tooth to remove lodged food pieces, plaque, and bacteria. 

Traditional flossing is very effective when done regularly. It’s able to get pretty much anywhere between and around teeth. In many cases, it can get at difficult-to-remove plaque better than the Waterpik. In regards to the potential discomfort, if you floss every day, your gums won’t be sensitive or prone to bleeding. 

If you have braces, traditional flossing is a little more complicated. It requires the use of a special flexible “needle” from your dentist to thread the floss under the wires. Any additional steps or complications to flossing are going to make you less likely to do it regularly. 

Waterpik vs. Flossing: What Dentists Recommend

Flossing is difficult for most adults to keep up with. Often, the less flossing is a part of a daily routine, the smaller the chance it ever will be. This is because the less often you floss, the more sensitive your gums will be next time you go to complete the task. If the process is uncomfortable, painful, or causes your gums to bleed, there’s not much chance you’ll want to continue, and you’ll be prone to skipping this important dental hygiene step in the future. 

For this reason, dentists tend to recommend whichever flossing method — Waterpik vs. flossing — you’ll be most likely to keep up with on a regular basis. For many, the Waterpik is more comfortable and easy to get used to, so it’s not hard to make it part of their routine. Others, however, prefer the simplicity and zero-mess quality of dental floss. As long as you’re doing a thorough job of brushing and flossing, your dentist will be happy to see cleaner, healthier teeth at your regular dental cleaning appointments. 

Been awhile since you’ve flossed or picked up that Waterpik? Call Creason, Weber & Mountford to get your next cleaning on the schedule.

5 Most Common Causes of Teeth Stains

5 Most Common Causes of Teeth Stains

If you’ve ever seen or dealt with teeth stains, you probably didn’t find them an attractive addition to your smile. Some teeth stains are temporary, like when your teeth change color after sipping red wine. Others are longer-lasting and can make us feel self-conscious about our smile. While some staining is bound to happen from consuming different foods or beverages, severe staining could indicate a more serious internal problem. Whether you’re currently experiencing teeth stains and don’t want to make them worse or want to prevent them from forming, here are 5 common causes of teeth stains.

5 Common Causes of Teeth Stains

Teeth stains come in two forms: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stains appear when your teeth come into contact with a staining substance, like red wine, coffee, or even certain fruits and vegetables. Intrinsic stains, on the other hand, result from something inside your teeth or body that causes the teeth to become discolored. Some of these conditions could point to more serious health issues.

Food and Drink

The most common causes of teeth stains are from the food and beverages we consume day-to-day. Coffee, tea, sodas, red wine, some fruits — particularly berries — and even some vegetables, can all cause teeth stains to appear. Most are temporary, as once the extrinsic causes are removed and the teeth are brushed, the stains go away on their own. 

If you habitually drink a lot of strong coffee and don’t brush your teeth after you’ve finished, you might notice a little browning or yellowing discoloration of your teeth. While it doesn’t indicate any significant health risk, you should be aware that the acids in coffee and wine, for example, do cause some wear to the protective enamel covering your teeth, which could cause them to stain more easily as you get older.

Tobacco

Both smoking and chewing tobacco can stain teeth. Teeth stains from tobacco can appear yellow, brown, or even brownish-gray. Tobacco is also an irritant to gums, and can cause periodontal disease, which is painful and can cause teeth to decay or even fall out.

Age

As we get older, the outer layer of our teeth’s enamel will gradually wear away, and the natural color of the dentin can show through, appearing more yellow or brown. Some people naturally have thicker enamel layers than others, which is why not everyone’s teeth will become discolored at the same rate. Eating acidic foods or using tobacco products can cause the enamel to wear away prematurely, and teeth to discolor more quickly.

Disease or Treatment

Intrinsic or internal causes of teeth stains affect the enamel or dentin of teeth and can cause them to appear discolored. Some health conditions, like acid reflux, can wear away at teeth enamel and lead to staining. Even some treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy can cause teeth stains. Other common causes of teeth stains occur in children while their teeth are still developing. Some antibiotics and antihistamines have been known to have this effect on growing teeth.

Environmental Causes

Some factors in your environment could be responsible for teeth stains. White spots on your teeth, for example, may be a result of overexposure to fluoride, either through fluoride toothpastes, fluoride treatments, fluoride-treated water, or a combination of all three. If your teeth sustained any type of trauma or impact, particularly when you were young and your teeth were still developing, your teeth’s enamel-growing abilities could be altered and cause discoloration.

Prevention and Treatment of Teeth Stains

Sometimes teeth stains can be prevented by making simple changes to your lifestyle. Try cutting back on your coffee consumption, or limit your use of cigarettes and tobacco. Regular brushing, flossing, and mouthwash can keep your teeth clean so food particles can’t sit and leave stains on your teeth. As always, be sure to visit your dentist for cleaning every 6 months to remove plaque buildup and have your dental and gum health checked.

If regular brushing doesn’t remove stains, or your teeth are prone to staining, talk to your dentist about potential treatments. At-home whitening agents or in-office whitening procedures can help remove stubborn teeth stains. If that isn’t effective, your dentist may recommend teeth bonding or veneers. For teeth bonding, your dentist will fuse a small amount of tooth-colored material over a stain to cover it, then blend it to match your natural tooth. Veneers can help cover up larger stains and discoloration. They are used to cover an entire tooth to change its appearance.

If the color of your teeth changes without cause, or if you have teeth stains you aren’t able to remove on your own, make an appointment to see your dentist. Your dentist can help you determine the cause of your teeth stains so you can gain confidence in your smile again.

Worried that your teeth are turning brown? Call Creason, Weber & Mountford today. We’re proud to offer ZOOM! tooth whitening, one of the best, most effective and long-lasting tooth whitening services on the market. We’d be happy to get you on our schedule today. 

What to Expect From Your Wisdom Tooth Extraction

What to Expect From Your Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Wisdom tooth extraction — no one looks forward to it. Though a dental surgery can seem scary, it’s an experience most young people go through to prevent discomfort and protect their smile. Understanding what will happen and knowing what to expect can help you feel better about the procedure in general. Here’s everything you need to know about what wisdom tooth extraction is, why it’s important, and what you can expect to experience before, during, and after the procedure.

What are Wisdom Teeth? 

Wisdom teeth are molars that grow in the back of your mouth on the top and bottom jaws. They don’t typically develop until you’re between 17-24 years old, hence the name “wisdom teeth,” because they take time to mature. By the time you’re a teenager or young adult, your mouth is already full of mature teeth, so there isn’t much space for new ones to grow in. Problems with wisdom teeth occur when they push their way into your mouth anyway. 

If you start to have symptoms from your wisdom teeth coming in, dentists will likely recommend wisdom tooth extraction. They may suggest removal even before symptoms appear if they notice them in dental X rays and predict future discomfort.

Why Wisdom Tooth Extraction is Necessary

When wisdom teeth push their way in they can erupt fully or partially and crowd your other teeth, pushing them around in uncomfortable ways. If you’ve already had orthodontic work done, wisdom teeth can threaten expensive and time-consuming progress. 

Sometimes, the tooth can get stuck without appearing above the gums at all, or come out partially at an angle. This is called an impacted or partially impacted wisdom tooth. Both can cause extreme discomfort and lead to other dental problems if food or bacteria gets trapped around the impacted tooth, causing decay. An erupting tooth can damage the jawbone or other teeth, or cysts can form which swell and make it painful to eat or open your mouth.

To avoid all of these potential issues, the best and easiest solution is often to have the wisdom tooth extracted before it becomes a problem.

Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedure 

If you experience gum pain or swelling, or pain when you open your mouth, it could be because your wisdom teeth are coming in. Your dentist might recommend wisdom tooth extraction to alleviate your pain, or advise extraction before any symptoms are present if the teeth appear threatening.

What You’ll Experience

The wisdom tooth extraction procedure is simple and pain-free using local or general anaesthesia. The whole process only takes a few hours and then you’re onto recovery — a cinch compared to the potential pain if you were to let the wisdom teeth grow in. When you wake up, you might feel disoriented and groggy, so you’ll want to bring someone with you to help you home to rest.

What’s Happening

When the wisdom tooth extraction is underway, the surgeon will make an incision into the gum tissue to expose the bone. If necessary, they may cut into the bone to reach the full tooth, and then remove the tooth and root, as well as any debris in the area. Once the tooth is out, they will clean the area and stitch it closed to allow for faster healing, and place gauze to help blood clot naturally.

After Your Wisdom Tooth Extraction

After your appointment, you’ll need a little time to rest up at home. The recovery process is different for everyone. Some people experience little swelling and are back to normal activities in a day or two, while others take longer to get back to their routine. Most can expect from a few days up to a week of discomfort  with some pain and swelling around the cheeks. 

For at least a few days, it’s best to eat soft foods like soups, fruit smoothies, yogurt, and ice cream. It’s important to drink plenty of water and stay away from hot liquids and drinks like coffee, alcohol, and carbonated sodas for at least 24 hours. You should also avoid spicy foods and anything crunchy or chewy for a little while. 

Every few hours and after all meals, use a warm saltwater rinse to gently clean the mouth. You won’t brush your teeth right after the procedure, but can begin gently brushing again after 24 hours. You might experience swelling and bruising of the cheeks, which you can manage with ice packs. For pain, take medication as prescribed by your surgeon or manage with over-the-counter medications like Tylenol or Aspirin. Your pain level will vary depending on the severity of the procedure and your individual pain tolerance. 

Post-Surgical Care

During recovery, it’s very important to protect the wisdom tooth extraction area. You should avoid spitting, using a straw, heavy exercise or sport, and smoking for a few days to a week. This is because the area where the extraction occurred will be very sensitive and protected by a blood clot where the bone was exposed. If this area is damaged, and the blood clot removed, the area will be open to bacteria and infection. To prevent this, be sure to follow your dentist’s recommendations for care after surgery.

If you experience more pain, excessive bleeding, excessive or long-lasting numbness, fever, or swelling that gets worse contact your dentist or surgeon.

Why a Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedure is Worth It

After about a week, you’ll be back to your normal diet and routine. Your stitches will dissolve on their own or you’ll have an appointment to have them removed once the area is healed. While you should still take care of the sensitive area, you can add back in chewy foods as you’re ready. Recovery from wisdom tooth extraction is not always fun — despite all the ice cream you have an excuse to eat — but it’s worth it to save yourself from the potential discomfort and pain if the teeth had been allowed to come in and cause problems. 

All in all, the wisdom tooth extraction procedure is a short moment in your life that could save you a lot of pain in the future. You can think about having your wisdom teeth taken out as a rite of passage, a story you can share well into adulthood. By enduring the procedure, you will protect your teeth and your health, and have a bonus anecdote to tell your friends.

Time to have those wisdom teeth looked at? Schedule your appointment with Creason, Weber & Mountford today. We can take a look, identify which teeth might be causing you pain, and recommend the best maxillofacial surgeon for you. Give us a call at 616-842-0822 or reach out to us online today.

How to Find the Right Dentist for Your Child

How to Find the Right Dentist for Your Child

Whether you’re looking for your child’s first dentist or wanting to find a new dentist for your child, it can be difficult to know where to begin your search. The dentist you currently visit might not be the best choice for your child. You might be looking for a dentistry that can accommodate your entire family. How do you find the right dentist that will meet your and your child’s dental needs?

Different dentists and dental offices will have a variety of specialties. To find the right dentist for your child, you’ll want to look for a dentistry that has experience with children. In your search, it might be a practical idea to switch to a family dentistry that can care for everyone in your household.

Look for a Family Dentistry

A family dentistry is equipped to handle the dental needs of the whole family, including your child. It will likely employ pediatric dentists who have undergone special training after dental school to specialize in kids teeth. Pediatric dentists not only have the skills to work on your child’s teeth, but they also understand kids’ behavior and how to work with children in a way that is educational and fun.

It’s hard enough to sell kids on why they should go to the dentist, but working with the right dentist for your child will help them develop the habit of attending regular dental visits. A pediatric dentist can show your child why dental hygiene is so important and make the process less scary and stressful — even entertaining! 

A family dentistry will have all the necessary tools and experience to deal with dental problems children often have, and can create a safe and welcoming environment where your child can have a pain-free first experience.

Visit a Dentist for Your Child While They’re Young

It’s recommended that your child visit a dentist before their first birthday. Start bringing your child to the dentist regularly when they’re very young, and make it a part of your biannual routine to establish healthy habits early. If you wait too long, your child may already have some tooth decay. It will be hard for them to have a good first experience at the dentist if they’re starting off with an uncomfortable procedure.

How you talk about dental health and visits to the dentist will help your child have a good experience. Do you dread your dental cleanings? If they hear you grumbling about having to go to the dentist, it’s likely they won’t feel like going either. Your kids can pick up on a lot. Going to a dentist for kids should be a fun experience, and the way you talk about it will have a great impact on your child’s first impression.

Why Choose a Dentist for Kids

Finding the right dentist for your kids is important for their future. Your child’s dentist can teach them important lessons about preventative dental care — the most important part of dental health. A pediatric dentist knows how to get kids engaged with their health and demonstrate the importance of dental hygiene. 

Family dentists practice a method of teaching that helps lower apprehension and makes kids feel safe and supported in the office. They explain what they’re doing, then show the child how it’s done before doing it. This gets kids involved in their own appointments. Feeling involved helps limit fear and puts their minds to work on other things.

How to Know You’ve Found the Right Dentist For Your Child

Before you commit to a dentist for your child, try a first visit consultation. This is a chance for you and your child to meet with your dentist and assess the environment to see if it’s a good fit for your family. You can see how your child responds to the office and the staff, and get them familiar with their dentist when there’s nothing at stake. This first visit also gives the dentist a chance to meet with your child, so they can anticipate their apprehensions before treatment and start building rapport.

Finding a great dentist for kids takes a bit of research, but it’s worth the effort. Your family dentistry could be with you for a long time, helping you care for your kids as they grow up. It’s important to find the right dentist for your child who will make them feel comfortable and help teach them healthy habits. 

Whether you’re planning for the future, or looking to make a switch to a family dentistry who can accommodate you and your child, give Creason, Weber & Mountford a call! We perform pediatric dentistry daily, and we’d love to be your go-to dentistry for the whole family. Request an appointment today!