Dental Health Tips

As we dive into 2020, most of us are starting to think about our New Year’s Resolutions. A good number of us are focusing our goals this year on trying to be happier and healthier. Have you considered your oral health to be an important part of that goal?

Floss and Brush for 2 Minutes, Twice Daily

Brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes and flossing once a day is instrumental in keeping yourself healthy. This protects your teeth from decay and gum disease. Only flossing can remove the plaque that builds between teeth and below the gum line. Diseases of the mouth can affect the rest of your body; i.e. gum disease can be linked to diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even premature births.

Drink More Water

We have all heard that we should drink 8 8-ounce glasses of water each day. It is common knowledge that it aids in weight loss, helps prevent kidney damage and delivers oxygen throughout the body. People tend to forget that it has benefits for your oral health as well. Drinking water, especially with fluoride, is one of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do to prevent cavities as it washes away left over food and residue that cause decay. It also dilutes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth that wears away enamel which can lead to decay.

Conquer Your Dental Anxiety

Seventy-five percent of adults in the United States are estimated to suffer from some form of dental anxiety. In some cases, this means that people are not visiting their dental office twice a year as recommended. We suggest twice a year because it allows the dentist to monitor oral health, which can help prevent any dental health problems before they cause discomfort or require more comprehensive or expensive treatment. Take the first step and make an appointment for a cleaning. This will be a great introduction to the team at our office and we are excited to help you achieve better oral health!


Smiling at another person releases endorphins in your brain. Endorphins are chemicals produced by the body to relieve stress and pain. This can lead to an increase in your own self-esteem as well as helping others feel better about themselves. By smiling at others, you will ignite a positive environment. Which in turn, will make you want to take better care of yourself and will help you to focus on your smile. By focusing on your smile, it will be easier to follow each and every one of these steps to achieve greater oral health in 2020!

Earlier this summer we explained what a crown is and why it might needed. For Dr. Johnson and Dr. Kenny to create a great fitting crown, extra steps are required. Here is what to expect when you come in for those appointments:

First, the assistant will take a mold of your tooth before any work is done. This mold will allow your temporary crown to be made. If the tooth is broken, don’t worry! We have pre-made crowns on hand, but our assistants can really work some magic to create a great temporary crown even if the tooth is broken. The assistant will also take this time to review your medical history, the treatment plan and take a blood pressure reading before the doctor comes in. The doctor will get that tooth numb, just like they do for fillings.

Next, the doctor will trim down the top and sides of the tooth to allow enough space for the lab to fabricate a crown to fit properly over your existing tooth. Depending on why your tooth needs the crown, the doctor may need to do what is called a build-up. This means material is being added back to the tooth to have enough solid structure for the crown to be cemented on. After the doctor is happy with the shape of the tooth, he will place some special cord just under the gum line. You may feel some pressure while the cord is being placed, but this insures a great impression for the lab and will be removed after the impression is completed.

The impression is up next. This is what the lab needs to make the crown custom-fit to your mouth. Thankfully we can utilize our scanner to take these impressions digitally and send the scans directly to the lab. At this point the doctor is done! The assistant will take over and make your temporary crown and go over any necessary after-care instructions.

When you return for the permanent crown, it is typically a much shorter appointment. Best of all, rarely does the doctor need to numb up the tooth! The assistant will remove the temporary crown and try in the permanent crown. The doctor will check it over making sure the fit is perfect before cementing it into place. We recommend nothing to eat or drink for 1 hour after your appointment, but then you’re good to use it like a regular tooth!

With the holidays just around the corner we can’t help but think of all the delicious foods that go along with these fun gatherings. Many of the traditional dishes are high in sugar but this Cauliflower Stuffing recipe from is a great alternative to lighten up the meal:


1 ½ tbsp olive oil

1 c. diced onion (about half a large onion)

1 c. chopped celery

1 ½ tbsp mince garlic

6 c. cauliflower, cut into small, bite-sized florets

2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced, plus additional for garnish

1 tsp poultry seasoning

½ tsp ground sage

½ tsp sea salt, plus more to taste

½ tsp black pepper, to taste

½ c. low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth


1) Heat olive oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add in the onion, celery and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is golden brown and tender, about 8 minutes.

2) Reduce heat to medium and stir in cauliflower. Cook until the cauliflower just begins to soften and brown, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.

3) Add in the parsley, poultry seasoning, sage, salt and pepper and cook one minute.

4) Stir in the broth, cover and cook until the cauliflower is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.

5) Season with salt if needed, garnish with additional parsley and enjoy!

Find the full recipe here:


Did you know that babies are at risk of getting cavities while they’re still using a bottle? Unfortunately, there is a type of cavity commonly seen in dental offices called “baby bottle decay” and occurs when the teeth are exposed to frequent sugary liquids. As a parent you want to do what’s best for your child and may not realize that milk, formula and juices are all hidden sources of sugar that can cause damage to those brand new teeth.

It is recommended to never put a young child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup with anything other than plain water. While asleep, the body produces less saliva so when exposed to liquids with right before bed or after they’ve laid down for a nap or for the night offers the perfect time for cavities to begin forming on teeth.

Get your infant used to their mouth getting cleaned by wiping the gums with a warm washcloth. As soon as teeth erupt introduce brushing with a kid-size toothbrush and small circular motions on the teeth. Before the child is old enough to spit you can use a fluoride-free toothpaste but make the switch to fluoride toothpaste as soon as you trust they won’t swallow the extra toothpaste.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s teeth please don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Johnson, Dr. Kenny or the Saving Smiles Dentistry team.

As pumpkin-flavored treats and drinks come back into season this fall, keep in mind that most contain a great deal of sugar. However, consuming pumpkin in its natural form can actually be good for your oral health.

Pumpkin is high in magnesium which helps to strengthen enamel on teeth. It also contains Vitamin A, C and Zinc which promote gum health. Enjoy this delicious and healthy pumpkin soup recipe:





6 cups of chicken or vegetable broth

1½ teaspoons salt

4 cups pureed pumpkin

1 medium-sized onion

½ teaspoon thyme

1 clove garlic

5 whole black peppercorns

½ cup heavy whipping cream

Sprigs of fresh parsley


Chop up the onion and mince the garlic. Heat the stock in a pot on the stove, adding the salt, pumpkin, onion, thyme, garlic and peppercorns. Once the broth starts boiling, lower the heat and simmer without a lid. After 30 minutes, pour the contents of the pot into a food processor and blend until smooth. (You may have to split it up into small batches.) Once everything is blended, return the liquid to the pot on the stove and simmer for another half hour, stirring in the heavy cream. For flavor and color, add a sprig of fresh parsley while serving.

Have you completed all of your back-to-school shopping for the kids? With the hustle and bustle of the school year beginning, we wanted to take a moment to remind you of our custom sports mouth guards.

A custom fitted mouth guard made in our office helps protect not just the teeth but also the jaw, in case of an accident. Our mouth guards provide a more comfortable, less bulky fit as well as better protection when compared to generic “boil and bite” options available in sporting stores. Not only will your kids protect their teeth but they will be able to choose from a selection of colors!

For your convenience, the custom-fitted mouth guards are made right here at the office and only cost $38.00. These guards only require a quick 10-minute appointment for our staff to take your child’s impression and are usually ready for pick-up in just a couple of days.

Please call us today to get your child’s 10-minute appointment scheduled!

An individual’s health can be severely impacted if they do not maintain a healthy oral cavity. One of the most common health effects directly related to the health of the oral cavity is malnutrition. People with many missing teeth and constant dental pain typically eat less than individuals that have most of their teeth. Malnutrition has been shown to lead to increased chances of dementia and/or depression and severe illness.

Other less well-known health issues that can be caused by poor oral health include:

Endocarditis: The infection of the internal lining of your heart valves or chambers. The bacteria that cause the infection come from various areas of your body, including bacteria that colonizes in your mouth.

Cardiovascular disease:  This is an area of constant research. Currently, it is suggested that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke may be associated to inflammation and infection that oral bacteria can cause.

Pregnancy and birth complications: Periodontal disease has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.

Pneumonia: Certain bacteria in your mouth can be pulled into your lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.

Here are a couple of ways you can protect your oral health:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice daily using a soft bristled brush and fluoridated toothpaste
  • Floss daily
  • Use alcohol-free mouthwash to help remove food debris
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3 months
  • Schedule routine dental check-ups and cleanings
  • Limit sugar in your diet
  • Avoid tobacco use

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).

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.



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