Dental Health Tips

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:

 

 

 

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

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.

 

 

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!

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