How Bad is Skipping a Dentist Appointment, Really?

How Bad is Skipping a Dentist Appointment, Really?

Skipping a dentist appointment is not good. You’re supposed to have biannual dental checkups for a reason. A dental visit is essential to keeping your teeth clean beyond what normal brushing can do. The dentist is also responsible for catching any little problems before they become big ones. Remember, even if you only skip one appointment, that means you might be waiting 6 months until your next one. That’s 6 more months of plaque buildup and potential tooth decay. 

What Happens When You Skip An Appointment?

While delaying your appointment a few weeks isn’t likely to make a huge difference in your dental health (unless you’re dealing with pain or discomfort from an unresolved dental issue), skipping a dentist appointment and waiting months or even years before going back to the dentist office could have serious consequences for your health. 

Plaque is building up all the time, even if you’re a thorough brusher. Regular cleanings and checkups at the dentist remove that buildup to keep your teeth healthy. The longer you wait, the more risk you have of experiencing a cavity, tooth decay, or a more serious health issue.

Think of it like owning a vehicle. If you don’t take care of your car with regular oil changes and repairs, it might work for a while without seeming to show any signs. Eventually, however, your car could break down and leave you stranded, cause an accident, or need more expensive repairs that could have been avoided. You wouldn’t continue to drive a car that’s in need of serious repairs and in danger of breaking down, so why would you neglect your dental health?

Your dentist does more than just clean your teeth. In addition to regular cleanings, your dentist performs important preventative care and checkups that protect your health in the long run. Your dentist takes X-rays of your teeth to look for structural deficiencies, conducts checks of your gums and tongue for indicators of disease, and examines the state of your enamel for wear and vulnerabilities. If you’re consistently skipping a dentist appointment, you could be at an increased risk of tooth decay, bad breath, gum disease, infection, or even cancer.

How Often Should You See Your Dentist?

At minimum, to maintain your dental health, you should visit your dentist twice annually for cleanings, and receive X-rays once per year. If you experience dental problems like cavities or tooth pain you may need to see your dentist more often. Also, if you’re working with your dentist on aesthetic correction, you will likely need to see your dentist frequently throughout the year to make sure treatment is going according to plan.

When you visit your dentist for your regular cleaning, it’s a good idea to schedule your next appointment ahead of time. That way, you won’t forget to visit the dentist when it’s time for your teeth to be cleaned again. Your dentist will remind you before your next appointment to make it easy for you to remember.

How Long is Too Long After Skipping a Dentist Appointment?

If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist, it’s best to get an appointment scheduled as soon as possible. It’s never too late to get a handle on your dental health, and your dentist can help you address any damage or issues that they find to make sure your teeth, gums, and mouth are healthy and happy.

Skipped your dentist appointment and afraid of the consequences? Call Creason, Weber & Mountford today. We’d be happy to get you into our office for a checkup and cleaning as soon as possible.

How Do Dentists Feel About Mail-Order Orthodontics?

How Do Dentists Feel About Mail-Order Orthodontics?

Mail order orthodontics like Smile Direct Club, Candid, and others, have been gaining popularity as more patients look for affordable and convenient ways to achieve more beautiful straight smiles at home — but how effective are these treatments, really? If you want to try straightening your teeth at home, it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist first. Not all mail order orthodontics will work for everyone’s teeth, and they can come packaged with risks. Let’s talk about mail order orthodontics, how they work, and what you should know before you sign up. 

How Do Mail Order Orthodontics Work?

Mail order orthodontics are marketed towards customers wanting a straighter smile at home, without the price tag of orthodontic treatment from a dentist. Customers sign up online and receive a kit in the mail to take their own impressions at home. An affiliated dentist reviews the model made by the patient to determine if they are a candidate. Then, the dentist then designs a treatment plan using clear retainers that work to shape the teeth over time. In their plan they include a model of what the patient’s smile will look like and directions for how long and how often each retainer should be worn. The customer pays a one-time fee or monthly payments to begin treatment over a certain period of time. 

The appeals of mail order orthodontics are the convenience and price. Many patients like the idea of handling their teeth alignment journey at home, without having to wear traditional metal braces. They are also attracted to the lower price. Mail order orthodontics cost about $2,000 compared to $5,000-8,000 of professional orthodontic treatment.

Are Mail Order Orthodontics Effective?

Despite the appeals of convenience and price, are mail order orthodontics worth it? While you may pay less to pick up your retainers in the mail, you will also receive less. As a better comparing factor than price, you should consider if the treatment will be valuable and effective for you.

While mail order orthodontics might have some success for minor alignment issues, major orthodontic work is not advisable. Orthodontic procedures should be regularly monitored by a licensed professional to make sure the treatment is effective. Orthodontists play a critical role in helping patients achieve a straight and healthy smile. Under their supervision, minor adjustments can be made to help ease teeth into position naturally and with minimal discomfort. 

Additionally, many are unaware that they can also receive clear aligning retainers from their dentist. If you don’t want to go the route of conspicuous metal braces, clear retainers are a more subtle way to straighten your teeth. Rather than trust the opinion of a mail order dentist, your dentist can work with you on a customized treatment plan to achieve actual results. 

Mail order orthodontics put a huge amount of responsibility on the patient. They require them to initiate and manage their own treatment. Patients must wear the retainers diligently with no guarantee they are working, and ignore the possible risks that come from taking treatment into their own hands. What other medical procedures would you do on your own without help from a licensed professional? Are mail order orthodontics worth the risks?

What Are the Risks of Mail Order Orthodontics?

Risks associated with mail order orthodontics come from skipping over steps that would normally be taken with professional in-office orthodontic treatment. Before starting orthodontic work, your teeth should receive a complete cleaning and examination to ensure they are in peak health and prepared for alignment work to begin. Your dentist can then design a treatment plan based on your needs and goals, using all of the tools at their disposal. 

Professional orthodontic treatment is based on more information than mail order orthodontics, including radiographs and a thorough in-person examination, as well as consideration of the unique topography of your teeth and your dental history. Your dentist has access to all of this — a mailbox doesn’t. Without this valuable information, mail order orthodontics cannot design a comprehensive treatment plan that works for every individual and the specific challenges or health issues they may be facing. 

Health Risks of Mail Order Orthodontics

Either missing or failing to properly diagnose dental problems patients may be dealing with prior to orthodontic work makes the treatment less effective and possibly dangerous to the patient’s health. For example, failure to recognize tooth decay or gum disease, problems with teeth sensitivity, lesions, and even cancer, can have long-lasting health consequences. All of these are best treated when caught early, and performing orthodontic work over afflicted areas could exacerbate problems and lead to tooth loss, extensive dental problems, or long-lasting health issues. 

What’s the Real Cost of Mail Order Orthodontic Treatment?

When you opt for mail order orthodontics over professional orthodontic treatment, you risk completing the “steps” of mail order work and then having to repair considerable damage caused by ineffective treatment — due to unaddressed dental issues that could have been resolved before starting treatment, or from following a treatment plan that wasn’t designed for your unique teeth.

Another major risk is cost. Although mail order orthodontics are less expensive, they are still not cheap. If treatment doesn’t work, or causes more problems, you will still need to see a professional orthodontist to straighten your teeth or repair the damage — and it could end up costing you more than it would have to see a professional in the first place.

Mail Order Orthodontics vs. Professional Treatment

Before being licensed to complete orthodontic work, dental professionals receive an additional 2-3 years of training, on top of their rigorous medical studies. They have dedicated their lives to finding ways to straighten teeth and align the bite effectively and safely. Their education gives them the ability to assess, diagnose, and treat dental problems and irregularities. 

Mail order orthodontics use one method to align teeth, where dentists and orthodontists have several tools and solutions at their disposal to help you achieve a beautiful and healthy smile. If you want to give mail order orthodontics a try, it’s best to talk to your dentist first. They will support you as the patient, but can give you valuable information about how to use the mail order service to achieve the best results without compromising your smile goals or dental health. However, if you need significant work to achieve your goals, your dentist may advise against mail order orthodontics. 

In-office, professional orthodontic treatment will be most effective in aligning your teeth and giving you the best value for your investment in a straighter smile. If you’re concerned about costs, there are financing options that can help you affordably reach your goals. Talk to your dentist before starting any orthodontic treatment to get an assessment of your dental health and see what option would be best for you. 

If you have questions about mail-order orthodontics like the Smile Direct Club, don’t hesitate to give Creason, Weber & Mountford a call. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have, and even schedule an appointment so we can get a closer look.

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!

What’s the Deal With Tongue Scraping? Should I Be Doing it?

What’s the Deal With Tongue Scraping? Should I Be Doing it?

Tongue scraping is a dental hygiene technique that’s gaining popularity across social media channels. It claims extreme benefits such as defeating bad breath, eliminating bacterial buildup, preventing cavities and improving dental health. If you’ve heard mentions of it you might be wondering — what is tongue scraping exactly and is it worth the hype? We’ll discuss what tongue scraping is and what studies actually prove about the practice, whether you should stick to traditional routines or add something new to your brushing regiment.

What is tongue scraping?

Tongue scraping is a hygiene practice that involves using a rounded plastic or metal tool to remove extra food particles, dead cells, and bacteria from the surface of the tongue. It is intended to remove the bacteria responsible for tooth decay and bad breath. 

Many people have added tongue scraping as an extra step in their dental hygiene routine, others do it after meals instead of brushing, and still others say it improves the appearance of their tongue — but is it actually working? And could it be a replacement for other forms of cleaning?

What Dentists Say About Tongue Scraping

Dentists say that while tongue scraping probably won’t have adverse effects on your health, most studies show inconclusive or insignificant results of regular tongue scraping for reducing odor or bacteria. There isn’t a clear trend that demonstrates incorporating daily tongue scraping will lower your chance of getting a cavity or that it removes particles responsible for bad breath.

Dentists agree that a greater focus on cleaning all areas of the mouth is beneficial for your health and that taking good care of your tongue is important. For tongue scraping to really remove enough particles it would have to be performed many times per day, but should never replace regular brushing and flossing. 

Still, since there are few side effects, dentists don’t discourage patients from trying it out and seeing if it works for them. If you do experiment with tongue scraping, take care to sanitize the scraper before and after use and make sure there are no sharp points that could cut or abrase the tongue. Of course, remember to keep up with your regular dental hygiene routine.

What You Need to Defeat Bad Breath

While some claim tongue scraping to be an excellent way to get rid of odorous or unwanted particles, there are more effective methods for keeping your mouth clean and healthy. 

Twice Daily Brushing

Regular and thorough brushing of all teeth is the first defense against bacteria and tooth decay. You should brush at least twice per day for a minimum of two minutes. Use a toothbrush that allows you to reach all areas of the teeth, carefully around the gums, and even over the surface of your tongue.  

Regular Flossing

Flossing is a great way to get at particles that hide between teeth. You should floss daily, but it’s easier to make it a second step to brushing in the morning and evening. Flossing removes dangerous plaque before it turns into tartar and can help keep your teeth cavity-free. If you don’t want to use floss, there are alternative methods like using a water flosser which can be gentler on sensitive gums while also easier to navigate around permanent retainers or braces. 

Drinking Water

Drinking recommended amounts of water throughout the day can also relieve bad breath. Regular intake of fluids is not only good for the rest of your body but is also excellent for dental hygiene. Drinking water pushes food particles out of the mouth and cleanses the tongue’s surface. It works to maintain a balance of healthy bacteria in the mouth while driving out the bad.

Dental Cleanings

Of course, the best way to make sure your mouth is as healthy as it can be is by visiting your dentist regularly. Your dentist can remove dangerous plaque buildup and tartar before it threatens your teeth and gums with cavities or disease. Cleanings and annual fluoride treatments defeat lingering bacteria that brushing and flossing didn’t remove. If you’re concerned that an underlying issue might be causing a persistent problem with bad breath, your dentist will be able to help investigate and provide solutions.

While tongue scraping won’t necessarily give you better breath, a regular dental checkup will! Give us a call at (616) 842-0822 or schedule your next appointment online with Creason, Weber & Mountford today to make sure your dental health is in check.

How to Soothe Your Teething Baby

How to Soothe Your Teething Baby

A teething baby can be a terror: screaming, crying, irritable, and gnawing on anything he or she can find. Like all growing pains, you can’t make the teething process completely pain-free for your baby (or yourself), but there are things you can do to ease the discomfort of teething. Here are a few simple at-home remedies you can employ to soothe your teething child:

 

Frozen washcloths

Mothers have been using this method since refrigeration became a thing, and for good reason: it works. Place a damp washcloth in the freezer for a little while—not until it’s frozen solid, just until it’s cold and slightly stiff—then give it to baby to chew on. This kills two birds with one stone because, teething babies like to chew on things and the cold helps reduce swelling and pain. You can also try freezable teething toys, as well.

 

Apply ice

In addition to using frozen toys and washcloths, you can also ice the gums directly for short period of time. Just like for other injuries, icing the area can reduce swelling and pain.

 

Baby Orajel™

Baby Orajel™, benzocaine, and other oral numbing agents numb the gums, which reduces pain. Ensure that if you use these products, that they are specifically formulated for infants, as the adult versions of these products may be too strong for babies.

 

Clove oil or clove tea

Clove oil works as an anesthetic, much like over-the-counter oral numbing products. Apply diluted (it’s highly concentrated and strong, otherwise) clove oil directly to baby’s gums for teething relief. Clove tea is also a soothing agent that you can apply to the baby’s gums, or give to the baby by soaking a washcloth in the tea and letting the baby chew on it.

 

Chamomile tea

Another soother. Brew some chamomile—ensure that it’s caffeine-free, though—and either give it to baby in the form of a soaked washcloth to suck on or gnaw, or rub it onto the gums gently with your finger.

 

Teething toys

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but there are a variety of toys designed specifically for teething babies to chew on. That way, they’re not chewing on things they shouldn’t be, like dog toys and old shoes (if this isn’t your first kid, you know, it happens).

 

Teething jewelry

If baby won’t stop chewing on your hair or trying to eat your necklace, try teething jewelry. There are jewelry options with silicone and wooden beads that are safe for children to chew on—and some of them are even cute!

 

If you’ve got questions about your baby’s new teeth, or it’s time for your baby’s first checkup, set up an appointment with Creason, Weber & Mountford Family Dentistry!