Author: Saving Smiles

Often in the dental office we hear “I have TMJ”. TMJ actually refers to the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint located on both sides of the jaw and attaches the jaw to the rest of the skull, so we hope you have TMJ! However, when a person has a problem with the joint it is called temporomandibular disorder or TMD for short.

It is very common for people to have a popping or clicking of one or both of these joints, as long as there is no pain associated we recommend just monitoring for changes.

However, if you are experiencing pain with regular jaw movement don’t hesitate to have your dentist check the joints. You may also experience frequent earaches, stiffness in the jaw muscles or a change in how your top and bottom teeth fit together. They may recommend having a custom night guard made and seeing a chiropractor or physical therapist to work with the joint and facial muscles.

If all of these options have been tried the next step is to set up an appointment with an oral surgeons who specializes in treating TMD.

Almost anyone who has dental work that needs to be done knows there is a chance that they will be “numbed up” by the dentist. But a common misconception people have is that they will get Novocaine as the numbing agent. Movies, television, and popular culture has Novocaine implanted in our minds as the only thing dentists use to get people numb.

Dentists no longer use Novocaine to numb patients, but rather products like Lidocaine and Septocaine. Novocaine is no longer used due to the increased time it takes to work, how long it is effective and its chances of causing allergic reactions.

Lidocaine and Septocaine are our preferred anesthetics due to their faster onset time, longer acting time and very minimal chance of allergic reactions. Both are clinically safe and provide a level of numbness beneficial to both patients and the dentist. Common side effects of Lidocaine and Septocaine are numbness (could last for a couple hours), drooling and bad taste (very bitter tasting stuff).

We are so excited to have Dr. Kenny join Saving Smiles!

Dr. Kenny grew up in Sioux City, Iowa. He went to Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska for his undergraduate degree followed by the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics in Iowa City. Dr. Kenny is a member of the American Dental Association.

Dr. Kenny enjoys long walks with his fiancée Sarah and their 2 dogs (a Golden Retriever named Buike (Boo-key) and a Dachshund named Theodore), being at the lakes, spending time with friends and family and he is an avid University of Kansas Jayhawks fan.

Please help welcome Dr. Kenny at your next visit!

 

We are excited to announce that Jacque has joined our team of Assistants!

Jacque grew up in Fargo, North Dakota and graduated from Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Moorhead, Minnesota with a degree in Dental Assisting. Her favorite part of being a Dental Assistant is helping people every day and meeting new people.

She is married and has 3 kids: Talayna (3), Arissa (1.5) and Koen (6 months). She has 2 dogs – Smokey and River. Jacque enjoys spending time at the lake with her kids and doing craft projects. She volunteers with Diamond in the Ruff Pet Rescue by helping with events and fostering dogs.

Please help us welcome her on your next visit!

We are excited that Allie has joined our team of hygienists!

Allie grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota and graduated from the Dental Hygiene program at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton Her favorite part about being a Registered Dental Hygienist is meeting and getting to know people and educating and helping patients.

Allie and her husband Aaron have a daughter named Lennon (4.5) and a son named Boden (3). She enjoys traveling, spending time with family and being outside. Please help us welcome her on your next visit!

A dental crown is a cap or cover that is put over one of your existing teeth. Crowns are used to protect a weak tooth, fix a broken tooth, for cosmetic reasons, hold a bridge in place and to cover a dental implant. A crown does not mean you need a root canal! However, if a tooth has a root canal, it needs a crown. A crown is not a “fake tooth” as your natural tooth is still underneath the crown. The natural tooth has to be trimmed down on the sides and top of your tooth so that the crown can be fabricated by the dental lab to fit properly in your mouth.

Because your natural tooth is still under that crown, cavities can develop where the tooth and crown meet, so it is important to brush and floss ALL your teeth! Crowns have come a long way in terms of aesthetics. They no longer need a metal base and are made to look much more natural, coming in a wide variety of shades. You can even set up to have a custom shade match at the dental lab to get the best match to your natural adjacent teeth.

 

 

If you have silver (amalgam) or gold fillings, you may have considered having them replaced with tooth colored fillings (composite). Dr. Johnson does not recommend replacing this type of filling material if it is just for aesthetic reasons. Often insurance won’t cover the procedure to change to a composite filling if it is for a cosmetic reason.

Some patients have concerns about mercury being present in amalgam material. Many studies have been done showing that the filling material is safe for patients to have in their mouths. There are several metals that make up the amalgam material and when they combine, the mercury is biologically inert.

It is important to remember that anytime Dr. Johnson has to drill on a tooth, it is a type of surgery. If he were to replace a gold or silver filling with a tooth colored filling, he has to remove the tooth structure around where the old filling was to place a new filling. Anytime a tooth is worked on it can cause damage to the tooth, requiring more dental treatment.

Dr. Johnson and our team monitor all teeth for signs of decay, wear and cracks. When the time comes for a filling to be replaced for any of these necessary reasons, we would recommend replacing a silver or gold filling with a tooth colored (composite) filling.

Here is a link from the American Dental Association on what others have to say about amalgam fillings:

https://www.ada.org/en/press-room/press-kits/dental-fillings-press-kit/dental-amalgam-what-others-say

Danielle_Saving-Smiles-Dentistry_Fargo-North-DakotaWe are excited to announce that Danielle Hewson has joined our team as the Practice Manager! When asked what the best part of her job is, Danielle says that making someone else’s day, whether its a random act of kindness or just giving them a smile.

Danielle was raised in Horace, North Dakota where she currently resides with her husband JD, two children Jade & Jaelyn and their dog, Lulu. She volunteers at the Cares for Kids Radioathon and also at the Concordia and NDSU dance marathons. In her free time, Danielle enjoys creating memories with her family, shopping and attending concerts with her sisters.

Please make sure and say hi to Danielle at your next visit!

People often wonder why it is necessary for their dental office to review medical history and current medications at every dental visit. There are hundreds of medications on the market that list dry mouth as a possible side effect.

If a patient develops dry mouth, this means their body is producing less saliva and this puts them at a higher risk of developing cavities. There are both over the counter and prescription options to help prevent cavities and lessen that dry mouth feeling that can be very uncomfortable. One can also increase their water intake, decrease caffeine and alcohol intake, suck on sugarless candy and quit tobacco use.

If you have dry mouth issues, please give us a call at 701-237-4297 to see how we can help!

 

Why does Dr. Johnson have you stick your tongue out during an exam?

One of the most effective ways to diagnose oral cancer at an early stage is for a dentist to perform a quick oral cancer screening during your regular dental exam. Dr. Johnson looks at the lips, inside of the cheeks, gums and roof of the mouth. He also uses a piece of gauze to hold onto the tongue to get a good look at the sides and underneath the tongue during his exam.

If anything looks unusual, Dr. Johnson will have one of our team members take a picture utilizing an intraoral camera. Then we will have you return two weeks later to re-check the area. Typically, if it’s a spot that has had some sort of trauma it will heal in that two-week period. If there is not an improvement, we will help you schedule an appointment with one of the local oral surgeons to do a consult. The oral surgeon will utilize their specialized training to examine the area and complete a biopsy if necessary.

Risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco use (both smoking and chewing), frequent and heavy alcohol use, certain types of HPV and prolonged sun exposure. However, a patient with none of these risk factors can still be diagnosed with oral cancer!

If you have noticed anything abnormal in or around your mouth, please call and make an appointment or mention it at your next visit!

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