How to Pick a New Dentist

How to Pick a New Dentist

If you just moved, got new insurance, or had a baby, you might need to find a new dentist to better meet your needs or your family’s. Here are some things to consider when choosing a new dentist:

 

Specialties and Services

Your situation and needs determine the specialties and services you’ll want from a dentist. If you have kids, a dental practice with a pediatric or family dentistry specialty will ensure that your kids get treatment from people experienced in working with kids and their dental issues and needs. If you want to straighten crooked teeth, you may want to choose a dentist’s office that has an orthodontist on staff. If you’re interested in whitening your teeth, make sure the dentist you choose has cosmetic dentistry capabilities.

 

Insurance

This is the biggest factor for most of us, since paying for all dental services out of pocket can be pricey, and you pay for insurance for a reason. If your dentist of choice doesn’t take your insurance, you’re more likely to skip necessary dental checkups. When choosing a new dentist, make sure that they take your dental insurance and that there are no hiccups or hangups.

 

Comfort

If you don’t like your dentist, you shouldn’t go to them. It’s important that you find a dentist you’re comfortable with so that you can trust them to listen to and address your concerns, to provide you with the best possible care, and to bill you fairly and work with your insurance company.

 

Convenience

Convenience is a consideration for anything we do, because we lead full and busy lives. If it’s not convenient for you to see the dentist, you might dread your visits even more and put off going, which can lead to oral health problems. 

Convenience doesn’t only apply to location (though a good location near work, home, or the kids’ school is always a bonus!). It can also apply to scheduling and appointment availability. For those who work, that means appointments that are available during lunch or before or after work; for families with children, this could mean having enough staff to get all the kids’ appointments in at the same time, so you don’t have to visit separately with each kid.

 

Are you looking for a new dentist? Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry is here to meet your dental needs!

How Often Do I Really Need To Go To The Dentist?

How Often Do I Really Need To Go To The Dentist?

We get it: going to the dentist is a pain. You have to take time off work to get your teeth cleaned and your gums poked, and to sit in a chair with your mouth open while someone works over it with tools that are metal or sound like a power drill. Many people dislike going to the dentist. If you’re one of them, you’ve probably asked yourself “How often do I really need to go to the dentist?”

So, how often should you see a dentist?

It depends on a variety of factors, including oral hygiene habits, health, conditions like pregnancy, or even genetic factors. 

It’s likely that you’ve heard that you should have a dental checkup every six months. While this is a good recommendation for average, healthy people, it’s just a starting point. According to an article reviewed by the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, health and dental organizations set the standard twice-yearly visit schedule as a “best guess” for preventing and catching tooth decay and gum disease.

Tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease are all preventable conditions with good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups. If as a healthy person with no extenuating conditions you have a dental checkup every six months, your dentist will be able to diagnose and address any emerging gum or tooth issues before they become a large or systemic problem. Your dentist may also be able to identify other health conditions that present with oral symptoms, like diabetes and certain cancers.

However, people with certain conditions or risk factors may need to see a dentist more often than twice per year. These factors include

  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Weakened immune system due to bacterial infection
  • Gum disease
  • Persistent tooth or mouth pain
  • TMJ disorders
  • Greater than normal propensity to build up plaque

 

These conditions can put you at greater risk for oral infections, gingivitis, cavities, and gum disease, and your dentist will want to monitor your oral health more closely than the twice-yearly recommendation allows. 

Additionally, even if you have been to the dentist in the last six months, if you experience an emergent dental issue like a broken tooth or troublesome conditions like persistent bad breath, you should make an appointment with your dentist. Check out Six Signs it Might be Time to See Your Dentist for a few issues you shouldn’t put off until your next semiannual checkup.

Has it been more than six months since you saw a dentist? Schedule an appointment with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry.

 

Can A Tongue Piercing Ruin My Teeth?

Can A Tongue Piercing Ruin My Teeth?

Piercings of all kinds are growing in popularity as social stigmas against tattoos, piercings, and dyed hair are declining. While piercings can be a fun accessory or a way to express your identity and creativity, if you’re considering a tongue or lip piercing, you might be concerned about how it will affect the health of your mouth and teeth. 

 

Can a tongue piercing ruin my teeth?

Unfortunately, yes. A tongue piercing can cause damage to teeth. Piercings are usually hard metal, which inside the mouth can cause damage. Biting down onto the piercing or playing with it can result in scratching or chipping teeth, as well as increased tooth sensitivity.

 

Can a tongue piercing hurt my mouth in other ways?

Again, the answer is an unfortunate yes. Piercing the tongue can result in harm to your oral health in several different ways. First of which is the possibility of nerve damage. Piercing the tongue can affect the nerves in the tongue, causing numbness, altering the sense of taste, and even altering the way the mouth moves. This nerve damage can be temporary or permanent.

Additionally, a tongue piercing can easily become infected. There are many forms of bacteria present in the mouth, and a piercing is initially an open wound. It’s a recipe for infection, and an instance when infection poses especially serious risks. Infection of the tongue could lead to swelling that blocks the air passage, which is dangerous and could lead to death or brain damage.

The tongue is also at risk of dangerously swelling and blocking the airways from allergic reactions. Many people find that they have metal allergies and sensitivities to the metals used in piercing jewelry. Jewelry not made of surgical steel, gold, silver, or other high-quality, low-irritation metals can result in an allergic reaction.

 

What about lip piercings?

All oral piercings pose an inherent oral health risk. While there is not the same risk of nerve damage to the tongue, lip piercings can still cause oral health issues. The jewelry is still likely a hard metal ring or post, and it can knock against teeth or be accidentally bitten down on, causing damage. A lip piercing, given that on the inside is in the mouth, is also susceptible to infection from oral bacteria.

 

Whether you have a tongue or lip piercing or not, regular dental checkups are crucial for ensuring that your teeth and mouth stay healthy. Schedule an appointment with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry.

Is Oil Pulling Good for Your Teeth?

Is Oil Pulling Good for Your Teeth?

If you’re into healthy living, homeopathic remedies, alternative medicine, or other health-oriented green lifestyles, you may have heard of oil pulling and its reputed health benefits. But while a lot of homeopathic and traditional folk remedies are good practices confirmed by modern science, some are bunk. Is oil pulling actually good for your teeth?

What is oil pulling?

If you’re not aware, oil pulling is the practice of swishing a tablespoon of an edible oil like olive oil or coconut oil around in the mouth and through the teeth. This is done for from one to five minutes up to 20 minutes. It’s a traditional folk remedy from Southern Asia and India that has been practiced for hundreds of years.

Is oil pulling good for your teeth?

There have been no reliable scientific studies proving that oil pulling has any health benefits. There is no confirmation that oil pulling whitens teeth, reduces cavities, or otherwise improves health. The ADA does not recommend oil pulling or other “unconventional dentistry.”

What should you do instead?

Instead of oil pulling, here are some scientifically proven, safe, and effective ways of improving your dental health and oral hygiene:

  • Use fluoride toothpaste
  • Brush your teeth twice per day
  • Floss everyday
  • Drink lots of water
  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and calcium
  • Avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks
  • Get regular dental checkups
  • Don’t use tobacco or illicit drugs
  • Use mouthguards during high-impact and contact sports
  • Use dentist-approved whitening products
  • Treat dental issues ASAP

 

To keep your teeth healthy, maintain a regimen of brushing and flossing, and get regular dental checkups. Schedule an appointment today!

What Is Fluoride & Why Is It Important for Healthy Teeth?

What Is Fluoride & Why Is It Important for Healthy Teeth?

Fluoride is a controversial topic in the health and dental world—though it shouldn’t be. Many people are concerned about the use of fluoride in dental applications and in fortifying municipal water supplies, but this is simply due to misinformation. Fluoride is safe and effective and is critical in preventing tooth decay and ensuring dental health. So, what is fluoride and why is it important? 

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found throughout the Earth. It occurs naturally in certain foods and water sources. It is also added to the water in many communities. Dentists use fluoride treatments to prevent tooth decay in their patients, and many kinds of toothpaste also contain fluoride.

Why is Fluoride Important?

Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel which keeps teeth white and strong and prevents decay. In adults, it hardens the tooth enamel of already emerged teeth; in children, it concentrates in their growing teeth and bones before the teeth even emerge! 

Teeth undergo a natural demineralization and remineralization process naturally, and fluoride participates in that process. After you eat, acids in your saliva dissolve some of the calcium and phosphorous below the tooth surface (this is called demineralization). When your saliva is less acidic at other times, it replenishes the phosphorus and calcium. When fluoride is present during remineralization, it makes the calcium and phosphorus harder and less likely to dissolve in the future, which keeps teeth strong.

How do You Get Enough Fluoride?

  • Use a fluoride toothpaste
  • Get regular fluoride treatments at the dentist
  • Brush your teeth (with fluoride toothpaste) twice per day
  • Drink tap water that contains fluoride 
  • Ensure that if you drink a lot of bottled water that it is fluoridated
  • Eat fruits and vegetables that naturally contain fluoride

 

Time for a fluoride treatment or dental checkup? Schedule an appointment with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry

Can My Medications Affect My Teeth?

Can My Medications Affect My Teeth?

As medical science progresses, an increasing number of medications become available to patients to treat, prevent, and cure ailments and illnesses. But as anyone who has ever seen an advertisement for any medication knows, these drugs can have many and diverse side effects. And some of these side effects could cause more than just discomfort: they could affect your dental health.

So, can medications affect my teeth?

The short answer: Yes.

Many medications cause dry mouth, which causes bad breath, discomfort, and exacerbates tooth decay. When your mouth is dry, saliva isn’t breaking down acids and other substances that can erode your enamel. It also means that your mouth is more susceptible to bacteria that cause cavities, infections, and gum disease.

Medication side effects are a top cause of dry mouth, and hundreds of medications have dry mouth as a side effect. Some medications that commonly cause dry mouth are allergy medications, decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants, muscle relaxers, diuretics, appetite suppressants, and diet pills, urinary incontinence medication, and even radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

How can I protect my teeth?

If you’re experiencing dry mouth as a side effect of a medication you’re taking, it’s important that you discuss the issue with both your doctor and your dentist in order to ensure that your dental health is maintained while maintaining your bodily and mental health as well. Sometimes this may mean that your doctor will put you on a different medication, and other times, it may be necessary to keep taking your current medication and add treatment for your dry mouth.

Even if you’re taking a medication that lists dry mouth as a symptom, that doesn’t mean that your dry mouth is caused by the medication. Dry mouth has other causes, such as mouth-breathing, snoring, or thrush. It can also be a symptom of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, nerve damage, strokes, or autoimmune disorders. This is why it is crucial to address you dry mouth with your doctor and dentist, to ensure that there is no major underlying health problem.

How is dry mouth treated?

Treatment for dry mouth can include specially-formulated mouthwashes or rinses, using a humidifier in your home, dietary changes like cutting back on drying foods (particularly salty foods), and lifestyle changes like cutting back on tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine. Your dentist can help determine the best course of action for managing your dry mouth symptoms

To find out if your medication might be causing dry mouth or other dental issues, make an appointment with a dentist at Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry.