The Columbian's Best of Clark County Contest is On!

It's that time of year again! 

The Columbian is hosting their 11th annual Best of Clark County contest, and Gentech Dentist is IN IT to WIN IT! 

Please take the time to nominate Gentech Dentist for Best Dentist! We won Best Dentist in 2013 & 2015, but came up just short (in the top 3) for the last two years. 

The Columbian is hosting the Best of Clark County Contest for 2018!Nominating is easy!

  1. Go to The Columbian's Best of Nomination page
  2. Type "Gentech Dentist"
  3. Enter your name & email
  4. Scroll down and click 'Submit'

FIRST nominate, THEN vote. Nominations end at 11:59pm on Monday, February 26th! Only the top 5 dentists go through to the final voting stage. We appreciate your help to us get there! #BOCC18

February is National Children's Dental Health Month

Did you know that childhood cavities can affect your child's permanent teeth?

Do you know when you should take your child to their first dental appointment?

What is the best way to prevent cavities in children?

Check out the infographic below for some great tips, as well as our previous blog post for more info on children's oral care. Schedule your child's appointment online here:

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Saliva: Oral Health's MVP

Saliva_sm.jpg

The Importance of Saliva

Saliva is such an ordinary thing that you probably haven’t given it much thought, but it’s actually as important to the healthy function of our mouths as oil is to a working car engine. Saliva is an essential component of our ability to eat, taste our favorite foods, and speak. It’s crucial to a healthy immune system, and it’s our first line of defense against many oral health problems.
 

Saliva Production And Stages

In a healthy mouth, saliva is produced continuously by the salivary glands, which are located under our tongues and in our cheeks. These glands produce between two and six cups of saliva every day! Saliva is 98-99 percent water, and the rest consists of proteins, digestive enzymes, antimicrobial factors, and electrolytes.

Depending on where food is in the digestive process, saliva goes through a few different stages: cephalic, buccal, oesophageal, gastric, and intestinal. When you smell something delicious and your mouth waters, that’s the cephalic stage! Actually eating moves it to the buccal stage, which helps us swallow food. The oesophageal stage helps move swallowed food down the esophagus.

The last two stages are less pleasant, but still important. If you’re about to throw up, your salivary glands work overtime in the gastric stage so that the stomach acid won’t do as much damage when it comes up and out with the partially digested food. The intestinal stage is similar, activating when the body doesn’t agree with food that reaches the upper intestine.

Saliva And Oral Health

There are many reasons we have saliva, but the most important role it plays for your teeth is keeping your mouth’s pH balanced, and flushing away remnants of food to keep everything clean. Eating food tends to make our mouths more acidic, and even though the enamel on our teeth is the hardest substance in our bodies, it only takes a pH of 5.5 to start dissolving it. Many of the foods we eat are far more acidic than that, which makes saliva critical in protecting our teeth.

The antimicrobial factors in saliva also fight bacteria, protecting us against gum disease and bad breath. Growth factors in saliva are why injuries in your mouth (like a burned tongue or a bitten cheek) heal faster than injuries elsewhere on the body. And those are just the benefits to oral health, but saliva does much more.

When The Spit Runs Dry…

All of these benefits are why dry mouth is such a serious problem. It can happen for a number of reasons. Our mouths tend to go dry in stressful situations. We also tend to produce less saliva in old age. Drug use, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all cause dry mouth as well. Unfortunately, many prescription medications cause dry mouth as a side effect.

Let’s Get That Mouth Watering!

If you’ve been experiencing dry mouth for any reason, schedule an appointment with us. We can discover the cause and get that saliva flowing again so that you won’t miss out on any of its great health benefits!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

4 Things to Know About Caring for Temporary Crowns

Dental Crowns

If your dentist has scheduled you for a root canal and crown placement, you will likely need to have a temporary crown placed over your tooth before having the permanent crown cemented. While you’re waiting for the permanent crown, a temporary crown allows you to eat normally. 

Watch What You Eat

Avoid hard and sticky foods if you have a temporary crown in, waiting for your dental crown to come in

Temporary crowns are held in place with cement, but it’s not as firm as the cement used for permanent crowns – after all, your dentist will need to be able to easily remove it in a few weeks in order to put the permanent crown in place.

Avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the temporary crown is located. Also avoid sticky or hard foods that might crack the crown, or pull it out of your mouth.

Don’t Neglect Brushing and Flossing

You may be tempted to avoid brushing and flossing around the tooth with the temporary crown, but resist the temptation.  The seal isn’t as tight as it would be on a permanent crown, and food particles or bacteria could get underneath the temporary crown and cause cavities on the prepared tooth. Normal brushing and flossing should not be enough to dislodge the crown. 

Know What to do If the Crown Comes Off

Dental crowns can come in different shapes, sizes, and materials.

If your temporary crown pops off, try to gently slide it back in place. If you can’t, or if you lose the temporary crown, contact your dentist to have the crown replaced. 

Don’t try to finish out the time until your permanent crown placement without the temporary crown in place. Not only will the tooth underneath be sensitive to cold and hot temperatures (potentially painful without it), your tooth might also move without the temporary crown to stabilize it. This could cause problems when it’s time to place the permanent crown. 

Don’t Put Off Your Next Appointment

Temporary crowns are designed to only last for a short amount of time, so it’s important to keep your next appointment to have the permanent crown put in place. You shouldn’t have the temporary crown for more than two or three weeks. 

If you have questions about temporary crowns, don’t hesitate to bring your concerns up to your dentist. If you’re in need of crowns or other dental work, contact us to schedule an appointment.

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3 Things Baby Boomers Need to Know About Oral Health

Aging and Oral Health

One inescapable fact of getting older is that you end up having to deal with health problems that you never had to deal with before. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re in poor health, just that your health needs have changed as a result of aging. Your nutritional needs are different, your sleep needs are different, and your activity & exercise needs are different. It should come as no surprise that your dental health needs are different as well. 

Dry Mouth Is More Than Just a Minor Problem

Oral health problems in baby boomers

Dry mouth is not an uncommon experience for baby boomers.

You may experience dry mouth more frequently than you did in your younger years. You may be tempted to brush this off as an annoying, but minor, irritation. However, dry mouth can be a big problem for your dental health. Your mouth uses saliva to wash bacteria away from your teeth – if you don’t have enough of it, decay-causing bacteria has more of a chance to cause cavities in your teeth. Increased bacteria in your mouth can also lead to more painful tooth infections.

Dry mouth isn’t just a normal aspect of aging. If you’re experiencing dry mouth, it has a cause. It could be caused by a medication, for example, or by hormone fluctuations. Getting to the root cause of your dry mouth can not only make you more comfortable, it can prevent major dental problems in the future. 

Age Is A Risk Factor For Oral Cancer

When most people think of oral cancer, they think of smoking, and it’s true that smoking is a significant risk factor. But there are other risk factors, and age itself is one of them – one that you have no control over.

Oral cancer is very survivable if it’s caught early enough. It has an 83% survival rate if caught before it begins to spread. Once it spreads past the closest lymph nodes to faraway parts of the body, that rate drops to just 38%. Regular oral cancer screenings can help ensure that if you do develop oral cancer, it’s caught during the oral stages when it can be more easily and successfully treated. 

Gum Disease Can Lead to Other Serious Health Conditions

Oral health problems don’t just stay in your mouth – they affect the rest of your body as well. Gum disease is a prime example. If you suffer from gingivitis, your risk of serious conditions like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes all increase significantly. It’s more important now than ever to work with your dentist to keep your gums healthy, and to address early signs of gum disease right away. 

What is dental plaque?

You know that good dental hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing, is an important part of preventing cavities, decay, and other tooth problems. You probably have even heard about the importance of removing plaque from your teeth. But what is plaque? Where does it come from? What does it do? 

It’s Alive!

What is plaque?

Flossing doesn’t just remove crumbs caught between your teeth. It also removes tiny bacteria living there.

If there’s anything that should inspire you to brush your teeth more consistently, it’s the idea of tiny living things growing on your teeth. And guess what? That’s just what plaque is.

Dental plaque is what’s known as a biofilm. Biofilms are sticky coatings made of microorganisms that adhere to each other and to a surface. In the case of dental plaque, the microorganisms are bacteria that inhabit your mouth. 

How Plaque Grows

Plaque is always forming on your teeth. The process works like this:

  • First, a layer of saliva, called the dental pellicle, forms on the surface of the teeth.
  • Soon, bacteria begin to bind themselves to the pellicle. 
  • Once attached, the bacteria begin to multiply, spreading to other parts of the mouth.
  • The bacteria begin to form microcolonies, and they secrete a protective coating known as the slime layer.
  • The microcolonies grow larger and more complex.
  • The film develops its own rudimentary circulatory system. 

The only way to interrupt the cycle is by brushing the plaque off of your teeth. And don’t underestimate the importance of flossing as well. Even if your teeth are perfectly straight, the surfaces on the sides of your teeth are covered by other teeth, and your toothbrush’s bristles can’t reach in-between them. Flossing is the only way to remove plaque from these areas. If your teeth are crooked, you may have even more overlapping tooth surfaces that require plaque removal.

What Happens When Plaque is Not Removed?

Tools for removing plaque and tartar.

If you don’t remove plaque with your toothbrush, your dentist may need stronger tools to get the job done.

 If you don’t remove the dental plaque from your teeth, the bacteria have free reign to continue to grow. They feed on the same food particles and beverages that you put in your mouth and convert sugars and starches into enamel-eroding acids. 

Over time, the plaque that’s not removed can harden. This happens when the plaque absorbs minerals that are in your saliva. This harder, more difficult to remove plaque has a different name: tartar. While brushing and flossing can clean the plaque off of your teeth, tartar is a more intractable problem. Plaque is sticky, but soft enough to come off on your toothbrush or floss. Tartar usually needs to be removed with special tools at your dentist’s office. 

Plaque and tartar not only form on the visible surfaces of the teeth, they also form just below the gumline. If you don’t regularly brush and floss, the plaque and tartar that build up under your gums can eventually cause gum disease. This is a serious problem, as gum disease is linked to several dangerous health problems, like heart disease and strokes. 

You can fight plaque by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once daily, as well as with regular visits to your dentist. 

Options for Treating a Diastema (Tooth Gap)

Have you ever wondered whether or not there’s a word for the gap or space between your two front teeth? There is! A space between two teeth is called a diastema, and when the gap occurs between the two front teeth—one of the most common places—it’s called a midline diastema. The good news: we have a couple of different ways to treat it!

Braces can treat a tooth gap

Braces

It’s logical—braces are meant to move and straighten teeth, and moving the two front teeth together can close a diastema. Braces can be a good choice when you have a large gap, or when you have other orthodontic problems that would also require braces to fix. 

Something to keep in mind -you will probably have to wear full sets of braces on your top and bottom teeth. That’s because if you move some of your teeth, it affects your whole mouth, so you’ll need braces to ensure that all your teeth end up in the right place. 

If your dentist recommends braces for your diastema, that might not be the only treatment that you need. For example, sometimes the gap occurs because the teeth on either side of your two front teeth—the lateral incisors—are undersized. So you may need crowns placed over these teeth to enlarge their size as well as the braces. 

Veneers or Dental Bonding can treat a tooth gap

Veneers or Dental Bonding

If you have a minor diastema and no other dental problems, you may choose to have it treated with a cosmetic procedure, like veneers or dental bonding. Veneers are tooth-colored coverings installed over your teeth. They can be made slightly wider on each side in order to close the gap. Dental bonding involves adding a tooth-colored putty-like bonding material to your teeth to close the gap. 

Veneers are the more expensive option, but they also last longer than dental bonding. Applying veneers involves removing a top layer of enamel from your natural teeth. Because of this, veneers are considered a permanent procedure—if the veneers fall off or become damaged, you’ll have to have them replaced. Bonding, on the other hand, is not as permanent. 

If you have a midline diastema, talk to your dentist about your options for treatment, as well as whether or not any treatment is actually needed.

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Don't Let Holiday Foods Ruin Your Smile

The holiday season can be a busy and sometimes frustrating time of year, but there’s nothing like sitting down to a delicious holiday meal with loved ones to remind you of how much you have to be thankful for. The familiar food is one of the best things about the holiday season. But what is that Thanksgiving dinner doing to your smile? Unfortunately, some of the things that you’ll find at your holiday feast aren’t great for your teeth. Take a look at some holiday foods you should skip or eat in moderation, and find out what to make instead. 

Stuffing can cause creat cavity-enducing bacteria.

Stuffing

You probably know that stuffing isn’t great for your waistline, but many people don’t suspect that it could be bad for their teeth. The problem with stuffing is that it’s bread-based. When you eat bread, the saliva in your mouth turns the bread into a gummy, paste-like substance that coats your teeth and doesn’t come off easily. As the bread breaks down further, the starches are converted to sugars that feed cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth. 

Consider replacing stuffing with a savory side dish, like mushroom and eggplant casserole. You can also replace it with quinoa, which is full of tooth-strengthening minerals like calcium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphate. Prepare the quinoa in cooking broth from your turkey to give it that holiday flavor. If you can’t do without stuffing, consider replacing white bread cubes with whole grain bread – whole grains don’t break down as easily and are less likely to damage your teeth. 

Canned Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a holiday favorite for a good reason. It’s sweet, tart, a great complement to turkey, and its bright red color fits in with the holiday theme. You can even save time by buying conveniently prepared sauce in a can. 

Unfortunately, canned cranberry sauce is packed with sugar, and has very few of the healthy nutrients that make fresh cranberries a superfood. Your best bet is to skip the canned stuff and find a simple recipe using fresh cranberries. That way, you can measure the sugar yourself and keep it to a minimum, and the dietary fiber that you’ll get from the fresh berries may actually help reduce tooth decay. 

Candy Canes

Candy canes can wreck havoc on your teeth!

Candy canes serve a dual purpose. Not only are they a sweet treat to munch on after a meal, they also make great Christmas tree decorations. But it’s important not to underestimate the toll that these striped sweets can take on your teeth. 

Candy canes have at least three strikes against them. They’re full of sugar, they’re sticky (so the sugar stays on your teeth longer), and on top of that, they’re hard enough to chip a tooth or damage your dental work with an unlucky bite. 

If you still want to decorate with candy canes, that’s fine, but you may want to avoid eating them. However, a dish of sugar-free peppermint gum can make a great after-dinner offering. The peppermint helps soothe overfull stomachs, the chewing stimulates saliva production, which can help wash bacteria and food particles off of your teeth, and you can still enjoy the same sweet taste. 

If it’s been more than six months since your last dental exam, protect your teeth by scheduling your next checkup before we head into 2018! 

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2017 Halloween Candy Buyback Results

- - -THE RESULTS ARE IN! - - -
This year's Halloween Candy Buyback brought in 756 pounds of candy!! That's heavier than a gorilla and black bear combined!

A huge thank you to our patients for participating in this great cause. Operation Gratitude will be happily sending out these goodies to our troops overseas. Check back later this week to find out who will win our raffle prize, the iPod Touch!

Will Osteoporosis Prevent Me From Getting Dental Implants?

Osteoporosis and Dental Implants

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes you to lose bone mass. This condition affects bones all over your body. If you have osteoporosis and also suffer from tooth loss, you may wonder if your osteoporosis will prevent you from getting dental implants. After all, dental implants must fuse to the jaw bone in order to implant successfully. If your jawbone is weak or has lost mass, will it be able to handle dental implants? Take a look at what you need to know. 

Examining Your Jaw

 When determining whether you’re a candidate for dental implants and creating your treatment plan, one important step in the process is a close examination of your jaw. Your dentist will use high-tech, sensitive imaging equipment to look closely at your jaw bone and determine its density. osteoporosis and dental implants

Those images will help the dentist decide whether or not your jaw can handle dental implants and what interventions you might need. Implants come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If you have some bone loss in your jaw, you may need a smaller sized implant than you would get if you didn’t have bone loss. The dentist can also perform bone grafts if necessary, to build up your jaw bone so that it can support dental implants. 

Considering Medication

dental implants and osteoporosisDental implants must fuse with the bone underneath your gums. Some medications can delay that process. 

If you have osteoporosis, you may already be taking medication for the condition. One class of medication used to treat osteoporosis, known as bisphosphonates, are commonly used to slow the progression of bone loss. While this is good for you, these medications also have an unfortunate side effect—they can hamper the ability of your bone to heal after surgery. 

Studies have found that in patients taking bisphosphonates, placing dental implants immediately after removing the natural teeth can increase the chances of success. Missing teeth can cause bone loss in your jaw over time, especially when you have osteoporosis, so it’s better not to wait. 

Even if you’re already missing teeth and can’t have the implants placed right away, patients taking bisphosphonates may still be able to successfully receive dental implants. However, it’s important to let your dentist know that you’re taking these medications so that they can monitor your recovery. Recovery might take longer than it would if you weren’t taking bisphosphonates, which could put you at greater risk of complications. 

Can I get a dental implant if I have osteoporosis?

In general, dental implants are a highly successful type of surgery. Osteoporosis adds an additional layer of complexity to your treatment but doesn’t rule out the possibility of successful dental implant surgery. The best way to ensure success is to inform your dentist about your condition, medical history, symptoms, and medications. 

Together, you and your dentist can weigh the pros and cons of dental implant surgery and create a treatment plan that is most likely to result in successful dental implants. Don’t let your osteoporosis diagnosis stop you from considering dental implants for tooth replacement. 

If you’re interested in tooth replacement, make an appointment to talk to your dentist as soon as possible. Contact us to see all of the services we provide.

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