Dental Health Tips

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.

 

 

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

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!

With the arrival of spring and warmer weather, comes opening day for Major League Baseball on March 28th! People often only think of mouth guards for full-contact activities like football and hockey. However, accidents happen in any sport and a baseball to the face can cause a lot of damage!

We offer custom sports mouth guards for just $38! 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.

We offer a variety of color options and it only requires a quick 10-minute appointment for an impression to be taken! Our team will then fabricate the custom mouth guard within a couple of days. Please call us for any questions you have or to set up an appointment for your custom sports mouth guard!

We invested in a 3Shape Trios scanner last year to assist in making crowns, bridges and other appliances for our patients. The Trios is a digital intraoral scanner that allows us to send detailed images directly to a local dental lab to fabricate crowns and bridges for our patients.

By utilizing the scanner to take digital images, we can get the lab the information they need with patients not having a mouth full of the messy, uncomfortable impression material.

When asked why he prefers to utilize a dental lab to make his crowns and bridges, Dr. Johnson says that the dental lab makes them by hand and the material is stronger than what is available for other options such as in-office “same-day” crowns.

In honor of February being National Children’s Dental Health Month, we have put together some brushing tips for kids:

  • Kids should start brushing as soon as teeth emerge through the gum tissue. They should brush teeth twice a day with training toothpaste. Be sure to help your kids brush, so their teeth are being cleaned thoroughly.

  • For kids 3-6 years old, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and brush two times daily. Remind them not to swallow the toothpaste and practice spitting out any extra.

  • Once kids have teeth that are touching, it’s time to start flossing daily!

There are many toothbrush options for kids including both manual and electric. Some even play songs or light up! Kids may be more interested in brushing and flossing if they get to help pick out their toothbrush.

There are also handled floss picks designed just for kids that come in fun colors and fruity flavors. These floss picks make it easier to help kids get between teeth. String floss works great too, but find what works best for the kid is what is most important!

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.

tooth pain - Saving Smiles Dentistry - Fargo North Dakota

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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