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Seasonal Allergies? Take Care Of Your Smile

May 29th, 2019

SPRING IS ON THE HORIZON and we couldn’t be more excited! Chirping birds, blooming flowers, and warmer weather are just a few of the things we look forward to when spring comes around. We have to admit though, there is one thing about the season that’s not particularly appealing, and that’s allergies.

Be Aware Of These Dental Side Effects During Allergy Season

Many of you have experienced it, red, itchy and watery eyes and the constant sneezing and congestion. The effects of seasonal allergies can go even further, however, and may even affect your oral health! Here are some mouth-related symptoms to be on the lookout for when seasonal allergies strike.

Tooth Pain

When your body reacts to allergens in the air, you often end up with congested sinuses. Sinus pressure in the maxillary sinuses can sometimes cause the upper molars to ache. Treating your allergies and the congestion should relieve tooth pain. If the pain persists, however, make an appointment with your dentist. It’s important to make sure any aching teeth aren’t the result of tooth decay.

Bad Breath

All that mucus your body is creating can also be bad news for your breath. When you’re congested, mucus from the sinuses leaks into the back of the throat–we call this “post-nasal drip.” Not only can post-nasal drip lead to a sore throat, it can also be the cause of persistent bad breath.

Dry Mouth

Many of you will reach for antihistamines to keep your allergies under control this spring. As helpful as they are, they can often lead to an unpleasant side effect: dry mouth. Saliva is our number one defense against cavity-causing bacteria, so when your mouth is dry, you have a higher risk of developing tooth decay.

Protect Your Mouth This Spring

We want your mouth to stay healthy, even during allergy season. Here are some helpful tips to help you protect your mouth this spring:

  • Continue to practice good oral hygiene. Brush at least twice a day, and floss on a daily basis!
  • Take allergy medication as recommended by your physician, but remember to drink plenty of water to compensate for dry mouth.
  • Try gargling with salt water to help with congestion. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a full glass of warm water and gargle for a few seconds before spitting it out.

Don’t Let Allergies Get The Best Of You

We know how difficult spring can be for some of our patients because of allergies. Keep practicing good oral hygiene and call us if you need anything! We’re here to get you through allergy season with a smile on your face.

Thank you for ACHOO-sing our practice! (Bless you!)

Relief For A Burned Mouth

May 8th, 2019

HAVE YOU EVER SAT down to a plate of lasagna from your favorite Italian place and immediately taken a huge bite without waiting for it to cool down? Or taken a swig of hot chocolate too fast? Maybe it wasn’t lasagna or hot chocolate for you, but we’ve all burned our tongues or the roof of our mouths on foods or drinks we love, and we’ll all probably do it again. We want to make sure you know what to do for your mouth when that happens.

Step 1: Get rid of it!
What you do immediately after burning your mouth will determine how quickly you recover, so instead of persevering with your hot food or drink, you need to get it out.  Nobody wants to spit out their food at the table, but you can discreetly use "the napkin trick" to just put your napkin up to your mouth as if you are wiping it and get the superhot food out.  If you burnt your hand on the oven, you wouldn't say "well I'd better finish what I started!"  You'd jerk your hand away.  So don't let politeness make your injury worse.

Step 2: Drink Cold Water
Next, just like you should run cold water over that burned hand, cold water will stop the cooking of your tongue as well.  Take a big sip of cold water and let it sit in your mouth for a minute before you swallow.  Do that a couple times.  You can even suck gently on an ice cube.  Again, we all worry about making a scene, but likely nobody will notice you are applying first aid, but you!

Step 3: Keep Things Cool
After administering your first aid, you want to be gentle with this area over the next few days while it heals.  Soft, cold foods will help to numb the sting of the burn, so open up the fridge and grab a yogurt, fruit cup, or applesauce. It might even be a good reason to spring for a smoothie or some frozen yogurt, and make sure to keep drinking cool water as well.

Step 4: Keep it Clean
Your mouth is just full of bacteria, which makes it hard to keep a mouth wound clean.  And that makes it take longer to heal.  So do the best you can with homecare.  As much as you might not want to brush the teeth right next to that burn, just do so gently (avoiding the burned gums or tongue) and make sure you floss.  The cleaner you keep your mouth the faster it can heal!

Step 5: Tasty Relief
Well, this may be the one time you hear your dentist advocating for a dab of honey because those sticky sugars can be hard on teeth, but believe it or not, it can speed up wound healing in your mouth or on your skin!  Turns out grandma's remedy had some truth to it! Sugar is a quick source of energy for the cells that are trying to heal, and studies have shown that honey is even more effective at promoting healing than sugar. Just make sure to drink some water afterward to rinse away any sweet residue.

Step 5: Pain Medication
For particularly bad mouth burns, these measures might not be sufficient to relieve the pain. At that point, it becomes a job for over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Luckily, oral tissues heal more quickly than any other part of the body, so even a particularly painful burn to the tongue should be gone within a few days.

Burning Tongue Syndrome And Your Dentist
Some people feel like they have a burned tongue even when there is no actual burn, a chronic condition known as burning tongue syndrome. If you’re feeling the burn for no apparent reason, schedule a dental appointment. Otherwise, follow these steps to get your burned tongue feeling good as new as soon as possible!
We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment!

Ever Wonder How Teeth Whitening Works?

April 9th, 2019

IT IS NOT UNCOMMON for your teeth to lose their luster over time, which is why so many people are interested in whitening them!

Teeth Get Yellow For A Number Of Reasons

Teeth becoming yellow over time is as normal as graying hair–it is a natural part of the aging process. As we get older, our tooth enamel begins to thin due to everyday wear and tear. This causes the layer beneath our enamel, called the dentin, to show more, giving our teeth a more yellow appearance.

There are other factors that can cause teeth to yellow other than aging however, such as:

  • Tobacco use
  • Food and drink
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Dental trauma
  • Certain medications

If you want to prevent your teeth from yellowing as best you can, we suggest you change some of your lifestyle habits. If you use tobacco in any form, quit. Consume acidic food and drink in moderation and monitor your intake of beverages that can stain your teeth such as wine, coffee, tea, soda, etc. And as always, brush up on your oral hygiene habits and make sure you’re getting frequent cleanings!

The Way You Whiten Your Teeth Depends On The Stain

There are two types of stains that you can have on your teeth. Surface, or “extrinsic” stains, caused by smoking and diet occur on the surface of the enamel. “Intrinsic” stains are deeper, and happen inside the tooth.

You can remove surface stains on your teeth by using a whitening toothpaste. These kinds of toothpastes usually contain special abrasives that gently polish the teeth as well certain chemicals that can help break down stains. These toothpastes can be tough on tooth enamel, so make sure to always read labels when using them–some should only be used temporarily.

Intrinsic stains can’t be helped by whitening toothpastes. To get that brighter smile, you’ll need to actually change the color of your teeth. You can do this using a bleaching agent. The bleaching agents most products use are hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These chemicals break stains into smaller pieces, making their color less concentrated and leaving your teeth much whiter! Some of the most common ways to bleach your teeth are whitening strips and gels, tray-based tooth whiteners and in-office whitening services supervised by a dentist.

We Would Love To See You At Our Office

At our practice, we offer in-office whitening that will get you the white smile you’ve been dreaming of in half the time or less than other whitening options. We will also carefully monitor the whole process to ensure its safety and efficacy.

Or, if you’re looking to use a tray-based whitening system, we can customize your mouthpiece to exactly fit your teeth! This will protect the soft tissues of your mouth, especially your gums, as well as ensure maximum contact between your teeth and the whitening solution.

Either way, we’d love to see you, whether that’s for a cleaning, checkup, or whitening treatment!

Have any questions? Call us or let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading our blog!

Take Care Of Your Furry Friend’s Smile!

March 28th, 2019

WE TALK A LOT ABOUT what you need to do to keep those teeth of yours healthy and beautiful. While you’re taking care of your smile, don’t forget about your pet’s! Your furry friend’s teeth need to be cared for as well.

Keep Up On Your Pet’s Dental Health

You probably don’t think about checking your dog or cat’s mouth very often, but it’s important that you do. Dental problems can often lead to other health problems in your pet, not to mention they can be painful and costly. As with our own teeth, prevention is key!

Here are some things you should do to keep your furry friend’s mouth healthy:

  • Have your pet’s teeth checked and cleaned at least once a year by a veterinarian
  • Make sure your dog or cat is on a nutritious diet that is good for their teeth; your veterinarian will help you know what kind of food is best
  • Chew toys are great for scraping plaque off of your dog’s teeth and can be a great supplement to tooth brushing!
  • Special Note from Drs. Powell and Tiller:  Speaking of chew toys, we have patients come in easily once a month with a dog-chewed dental appliance.  They seem to LOVE your night guards, mouth guards and retainers as much as they love you, so keep them out of your dog's reach - they make for very expensive and inconvenient chew toys!

There are many products out there that can help keep your pet’s teeth healthy and breath fresh. Talk to your veterinarian about what might be best for your pet.

Healthy Smiles Make It All Worthwhile

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association(AVMA), 70 percent of cats and 80 percent of dogs have some kind of oral disease by the age of two or three. That’s why attending to your pet’s oral health on a daily basis should be as normal to them as their daily walks.

After enough practice, they may even look forward to toothbrushing time! And while brushing your pet’s teeth may be a lot of work, just remember, healthy smiles make all that work worthwhile.

We’d love to see your pets’ smiles! Snap a photo of you and your pet showing off your pearly whites and post it to our Facebook page!

Thank you for reading our blog and supporting our practice.

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