Author: Saving Smiles

Do your teeth hurt when you eat ice cream or drink hot coffee? If you answered yes, you might have sensitive teeth.

Tooth sensitivity affects many people. It can show up suddenly or progress slowly over time. Unfortunately, some people are simply predisposed to having sensitive teeth. Fluoride treatments, tooth pastes and oral products specifically geared towards treating sensitivity can help.

Listed below are some causes for sensitive teeth and possible treatment options:

Grinding Teeth

If you are grinding your teeth, it can cause the protective enamel of the tooth to thin and chip. This decreases the barrier between the living tissue within the tooth, allowing for temperature changes to easily transmit to the nerve of the tooth. One way to treat grinding is to have a night guard made by your dentist. It will also help relieve some of the stress and strain placed on the teeth, including the small ligaments which hold the teeth in place.

Poor Mineralization of Teeth

Minerals like fluoride help strengthen the protective enamel layer of the teeth. As with grinding, poorly mineralized enamel will wear and chip creating less of a barrier with food or drink, triggering the sensitivity. 

Improper Bite or Trauma

When teeth suffer trauma it can cause hyper sensitivity to teeth. If someone has an improper bite, it can result in individual teeth taking on more force than they are designed to. These excessive forces and hyper sensitivity can present as general sensitivity with the teeth. Braces can be used to correct a bite and a splint or occlusal guard can be made to help alleviate some of the forces on a tooth/teeth that have experienced trauma.

Gum recession

Recession of the gums can expose the root surface of the tooth, which is much more sensitive than the crown of a tooth. Increased sensitivity is due to the fact that the root surface of a tooth has no protectant enamel layer. Sensitivity products can help reduce sensitivity, but one of the best treatments is gum grafting, where by the root surface is once again covered with gum tissue and therefore not exposed directly to irritants. 

It is always best to discuss your tooth sensitivity issues with your dentist so they can direct you towards the most successful course of treatment for your teeth.

Dr. Johnson reviews x-rays for cavities, signs of infection and other abnormalities that may be present in the bone surrounding the teeth. Even if nothing currently hurts for a patient, x-rays allow Dr. Johnson to catch and treat any issues BEFORE they become a problem. If we wait to take x-rays until something hurts, it is often a more expensive fix and may involve seeing a specialist at another office.

Bitewings, which show the back teeth, are updated every 12-24 months. The panoramic x-ray that goes all the way around the head lets us see a patient’s teeth, supporting structure and upper and lower jaw bones, is typically updated every 5 years. Every patient is different and x-rays may be required more or less frequently depending on dental history. A single x-ray of a tooth may even be needed if there is a problem or something looks suspicious upon a visual exam.

Smiley found us at our new location and was quite a character again this year! 

He must have seen Dr. Johnson in the newest Fargo Inc. magazine, because he clearly thought it would be funny to color all over his face in an older issue!

Apparently our masks work great as hammocks!

Smiley was back at it with a permanent marker and more of our dental supplies!

Smiley likes smiling. Smiling is his favorite! 
But I guess he likes brushing too!

Smiley should probably brush and floss his teeth a little bit more!



Another wonderful Saving Smiles holiday party is in the books! We had a photo booth, ate supper, played games (including spit on your neighbor and heads or tails) and had a white elephant exchange. So many laughs and such a great time!

The “Grotto” located in Hair Success and catered by the Tavern Grill is fabulous. They were able to accommodate us in their beautiful space at the last minute due to a fire in another venue we had previously reserved.

We can’t wait until next year to see what white elephant gifts make it back to the party!

All of our operatories have a special camera, that looks like a wand, designed to take pictures of the inside of the mouth. We may request to take pictures for the following reasons:

– Broken or cracked fillings or teeth
– A suspicious lesion that Dr. Johnson would like to monitor or refer to a specialist
– Before and after pictures of dental treatment

The cameras are a great tool for us to show patients what we see. The photos are saved in patient charts so we can reference them later and there is no additional charge for the photos!

Hygienists use a small periodontal probe to assess the health of your gums, including any signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease, at your regular cleaning appointments.

Gingivitis is gum inflammation. Permanent damage typically hasn’t happened when are first diagnosed with gingivitis and it can be reversed with regular dental visits, brushing twice a day and daily flossing. If gingivitis progresses and goes untreated, it can permanently affect the support around the teeth and cause periodontal (gum) disease.

The probes hygienists use have markings in millimeters (mm) and measure pocket depths around the teeth. Here are what the measurements indicate:

0 – 3 mm & No Bleeding – Healthy gum tissues do not bleed, so just keep up the good work! Your gums look great!

1 – 3 mm & Bleeding – Bleeding gums are an early sign of gingivitis. Better home care, including daily flossing, should get you back on track!

3 – 5 mm – This may be a sign of periodontal disease. We will talk about recommended home care and possibly more frequent dental visits.

5 – 7 mm – This is an indication of bone loss and moderate periodontal disease. More frequent cleanings and additional treatment might be recommended, including a possible referral to a periodontist. Home care will also be discussed.

7 mm + – This shows advanced periodontal disease. A periodontist will be included in your treatment plan to hopefully save any teeth in question.

The measurements are recorded in your patient chart and are reviewed annually. REMEMBER, brushing twice per day and daily flossing can help keep prevent gingivitis and gum disease!

A sealant is a thin tooth-colored material placed on the chewing surface of back permanent teeth to help prevent cavities by filling in the deep grooves of the teeth. According to the American Dental Association (“ADA”), sealants can reduce cavities on permanent molars by 80%.

Dr. Johnson typically recommends sealants on the 6 year and 12 year molars right after permanent teeth have come in. Sealants can be placed by our hygienists following this quick process:

  1. We dry the tooth/teeth
  2. The material is placed
  3. A special light is used to harden the material

 

There are no needles involved, so it is a quick and painless process. Also, there are no restrictions on eating or drinking after the appointment. Sometimes sealants can wear down over time, but Dr. Johnson will touch them up, as needed, at no additional charge.

 

 

 

 

Starting on January 1, 2019, all North Dakota Blue Cross Blue Shield (“BCBS”) dental plans will still be managed by BCBS, but United Concordia will process the claims. Don’t worry, Saving Smiles was one of the first in the area to sign up and is already in-network with United Concordia!

New cards will be issued for the BCBS/United Concordia plans and will still have the BCBS logo, but the ID number will have 12 digits (previously had 9) and the back will say that claims go to Harrisburg, PA. Federal BCBS will maintain the same ID number, but claims will also go to United Concordia.

Employers may choose to leave BCBS and switch to another plan all together. In that instance, we are also still in-network with Delta Dental, Health Partners, Cigna PPO Plans, Total Dental Administrators and most plans with Metlife, The Guardian, Ameritas, Humana and Always Care.

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