pregnant woman brushes teeth

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

Finding out that you’re pregnant is one of life’s most joyous (and scary) events you can endure. Everyone at our dental office in Memphis wants to send plenty of well wishes to all of the parents out there who are expecting a blessing of their own.

We wanted to set aside this blog to talk to the moms out there. Because whether you’re new to pregnancy and experiencing every special moment for the very first time, or a seasoned parental pro who knows exactly how this all goes, it’s essential not to put off your upcoming cleanings or treatments. We understand pregnancy brings up a lot of new concerns about your health and wellbeing, including taking care of your smile. Let’s talk about some of the most common concerns we hear from our patients about going to the dentist during pregnancy.

Common Concern #1: What if I need dental X-rays? Are they safe?

Most dental offices are equipped with state-of-the-art digital X-rays, eliminating the possibility of  overexposure to harmful radiation for you and your baby. If you’re experiencing a dental issue, it’s advisable to get the necessary X-rays to fix the problem before it poses any risk of harming your developing fetus.

Common Concern #2: My gums are really bleeding. Should I call my Memphis dentist?

If you’re pregnant and reading this, there’s no doubt in our mind that you would agree that being pregnant can change your body, usually in part due to fluctuations in your hormones. The American Dental Association says that as many as 50 percent of pregnant women can develop “pregnancy gingivitis.” It usually goes away after your child arrives, but it’s important to brush and clean your teeth regularly. If still concerned about bleeding in your gums, you can always reach out to us for help.

Common Concern #3: I’ve got morning, afternoon, and night sickness. Should I tell my dentist?

Sickness and vomiting during pregnancy are one of the most common side effects that most women tend to experience early on in their pregnancy. When you get sick, excess stomach acid can eat away at your tooth enamel leading to decay. Remember these helpful tips you can use at home to help protect your teeth from acid:

  • Wait to Brush. Brushing immediately after vomiting can lead to damage. Acid weakens the enamel, and if you brush while the enamel is soft, you can cause scratches that bacteria can hide in. So wait at least an hour after getting sick to brush.
  • Rinse with Water. While you’re waiting for the right time to brush, it’s a good idea to rinse your mouth out with water initially. Swishing water around in the mouth and spitting it out can remove a lot of acid.
  • Keep Drinking Water. You’re already drinking a lot of water, so keep on doing it. The more water you drink, the less acid will stick around in your mouth.
  • Scrape the Tongue. Don’t forget about your tongue. After vomiting, get a tongue scraper and gently run it down your tongue. You can successfully remove a lot of acid that would actually end up on your teeth.

If you’re really having a hard time and are worried about your smile, contact our dental office in Memphis as soon as you’re feeling up to it. Seeing your dentist is crucial during your pregnancy, so let us work with you to determine what your needs are and how to proceed with your care during this special time in your life. We’re always here to help!

dentist examines x-ray

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

Your tooth is throbbing, and you’re in a lot of pain. It’s unlike any pain you’ve ever felt before, and it’s definitely worse than a typical toothache. What could be going on? You may have an infection called an abscess. Besides the pain, the team at our dental office in Memphis wants you to know other signs that could indicate an abscessed tooth.

What Exactly is An Abscessed Tooth?

Before we launch into some of the usual signs and symptoms of an abscessed tooth, let’s take a closer look at what it is. An abscessed tooth is a deep tooth infection that has spread into the root. The infection begins inside the tooth in an area known as the pulp chamber. The pulp chamber houses the tooth’s nerves. As the infection grows, it moves into the root and eventually the bone. This will cause severe pain.

Signs of an Abscess

We already know that pain is a warning sign of a problem. But there are a few other symptoms that could help you identify whether the pain is caused by an abscess such as:

  • A dark, discolored tooth
  • Increased pain when pressure is applied
  • Swelling on the gums that resembles a pimple
  • A bad taste in the mouth
  • Swelling of the jaw or face

While pain is usually the most recognized sign of an abscess, there are times when an abscessed tooth doesn’t hurt or show any of the symptoms above. In those cases, an abscess is typically diagnosed by your dentist in Memphis at a routine appointment through dental x-rays.

What Causes an Abscess?

There’s no one single thing that causes a tooth abscess. Many times an abscess forms from an untreated cavity and when the decay seeps into the pulp chamber. An abscess can also be caused by a tooth injury or injury to the mouth, prior dental treatment such as a root canal, crown, or filling, or from too much tooth grinding or repeated clenching.

How to Prevent an Abscess?

The best way to protect yourself from an abscess is by taking good care of your teeth and overall oral health. This means brushing and flossing every day and maintaining regular visits to your dentist in Memphis at least every six months.

Tooth pain, and especially pain caused by an abscess, can take its toll on you. If you’re experiencing any pain or signs of an abscessed tooth, call our dental office in Memphis as soon as you can. The earlier you seek help, the more successful treatment can be.

oral cancer awareness

Posted by & filed under Oral Cancer, Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and our dental office in Memphis wants to encourage all of our neighbors to get regular dental exams to check for signs of this scary disease. The truth is, oral cancer treatment is more successful the earlier that symptoms are detected. It’s important to know the common symptoms of oral cancer so you can seek treatment fast if you do notice anything that might be concerning.

Signs of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can affect many areas of the mouth including the lips, gums, cheeks, tongue, or the top or bottom of the mouth. Symptoms can include:

  • A sore that doesn’t go away
  • Irregular areas such as lumps, rough spots, or erosion
  • Red or white patches
  • Pain or numbness
  • Difficulty chewing, speaking, or swallowing

If you’re worried about any concerning areas in your mouth, schedule an appointment with your Memphis dentist as soon as possible.

What Causes Oral Cancer?

While anyone can develop oral cancer, there are several lifestyle factors that can increase the risk. For example, those who drink a lot of alcohol and those who smoke are more likely to get oral cancer than social drinkers and non-smokers. Age can also contribute to someone’s oral cancer risk, as those over 50 years old tend to get oral cancer more often than their younger counterparts. However, more recently the younger population has been put at greater risk of oral cancer due to the increase of HPV (human papillomavirus).

How to Reduce Your Risk of Oral Cancer

Even though there is no concrete way to avoid oral cancer, there are things you can do that can greatly reduce your risk of developing the disease.

  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Don’t smoke or use any tobacco products
  • Use a lip balm that contains sunscreen
  • See your dentist

An oral cancer screening should be part of your routine dental cleaning. If you’re not sure if you’ve ever been screened for the disease, ask your dentist.

For more information about oral cancer, or if it’s been more than six months since your last dental exam, we welcome you to call our dental office in Memphis to schedule an appointment today.

man with missing tooth

Posted by & filed under Dental Implants, Oral Health, Restorative Dentistry.

Your Memphis dentist knows what it’s like to lose a tooth. Sometimes there’s a little pain. Sometimes you might feel embarrassed. Sometimes you’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time and then “smack” your tooth gets knocked out. Trust us when we say it happens (and it’s probably more than you think).

What Are Some Common Tooth Replacement Options?

We get excited about dentistry because there’s so much state-of-the-art, advanced technology available today to make getting the care you need more comfortable and less time-consuming. It’s important to call your dentist in Memphis as soon as you lose a tooth. If you’ve been missing one (or a few) for a while, that’s ok, too!  We’re here to help.

Dental Implants

One of the coolest, most innovative ways you can replace a missing tooth is to use a dental implant.

  • How Can a Dental Implant Help Me? – A dental implant is a life-changing restoration that actually behaves like your missing tooth’s natural roots and functions just like a real tooth. It also helps keep your jaw bone healthy since it provides regular stimulation. Your dentist will first place the implant and then create a custom, tooth-colored crown that will be placed on top. The crown is shaded to look like your other teeth so nobody will even know it’s there. If taken care of properly, dental implants can last many years if not a lifetime.

Bridge

Sometimes a missing tooth or even multiple teeth can be easily fixed with something called a dental bridge. We can craft a custom restoration that blends seamlessly with your natural teeth and fills in the gaps all at the same time.

  • How Can a Dental Bridge Help Me? – A dental bridge can help fill gaps left behind by a missing tooth or teeth to give you a full smile. Bridges are usually made from two or more crowns that again are shaded to match your natural look. The restoration is then anchored to nearby teeth to hold them in place. Essentially, the dental bridge is bridging the gap. Sometimes bridges can be supported by dental implants depending on your individual case and desire.

Dentures

If you’re missing multiple teeth, there might be some benefit to you speaking to us about dentures. They can be expertly crafted to fit your mouth and take years off of your appearance.

  • How Can Dentures Help Me? – Dentures can be used to replace both upper and lower missing teeth. They’re created to be aesthetically and naturally pleasing, so no one will even know they’re not your real teeth. There are plenty of options to choose from, so it’s important to learn about your options and pick what works best for you and your busy lifestyle.

We understand what it’s like to be missing a tooth or several teeth. There are options that can help. Call our dental office in Memphis to schedule a consultation and together, we can create a plan for your treatment that works for your budget, your schedule, and your smile.

couple snoring

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles, Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry, Sleep Apnea.

Think back to the last time you woke up feeling refreshed and ready to take on your daily demands. It’s so nice to have the energy and mindful clarity to help you be productive and make the most of your day. Has it been a while since you felt like this? Does your bed partner complain because your snoring keeps them up at night?

Your Memphis dentist will tell you that if snoring is disrupting your life (and your family’s sleep), it might be time to consider learning more about something called sleep apnea. It could be the annoying (and dangerous) condition that’s keeping you and the ones you love from enjoying a peaceful, rejuvenating night’s sleep. Let’s take learn more about sleep apnea, its symptoms, and side effects.

What is Sleep Apnea?

If you think snoring while sleeping isn’t that common, think again! The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates nearly 90 million Americans are snoring away while trying to achieve a healthy night’s sleep. Sometimes snoring is just that, and people who have this condition are called “simple snorer’s” or primary snorers. This generally true for about half of the 90 million people sawing logs at night.

But for the other half, there’s a good chance they’re struggling with a more serious sleep disorder known as sleep apnea without even knowing it. Sleep apnea is dangerous because you can wake up as many as 100 times during the night, stop breathing, snore loudly, and struggle to regain a normal breathing pattern – and you don’t even know it!

Are There Different Kinds of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is usually classified in two distinctively different ways:

1) Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – This is, by far, the most common form of sleep apnea being diagnosed across the country today. If you or someone in your household is diagnosed with sleep apnea, it’s usually caused by a blocked airflow during sleep due to your soft tissue collapsing in the back of your throat. At our dental office in Memphis, we’ll always tell you to seek help if you or someone in your family continues to have issues with snoring.

2) Central Sleep Apnea – This type of sleep apnea is more difficult to diagnose because it involves a specific problem with how your brain signals your breathing muscles to respond. Unlike OSA, your airway isn’t blocked. In this case your brain fails to signal your muscles to breathe. Brain tumors, brain infections, and strokes are often to blame.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Even though snoring can be a big indicator of sleep apnea, it also wreaks havoc on your oral health due to dry mouth because everyone needs saliva in their mouth to help:

  • Rinse and cleanse your teeth to help reduce plaque build-up
  • Wash away food particles leftover from brushing and flossing
  • Remove dead cells that can lead to sore, infections, and bad breath
  • Neutralize acids that cause plaque and erode your tooth enamel

Our Memphis dental office will always go out of our way to keep you and your smile healthy. If you think snoring is affecting your teeth, don’t hesitate to talk to us. We’re always happy to help and answer any questions you may have.

sensitive tooth

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

The uncomfortable zings of pain associated with tooth sensitivity can be enough to keep you from enjoying your favorite hot or cold foods or beverages. But nobody wants to pass on their favorite treats because of sensitive teeth. At our dental office in Memphis, we have a few tips that can help ease pain caused by tooth sensitivity so you can get back to snacking on things such as ice cream, popsicles, hot tea, and steaming soup without fear of pain.

Tip #1 – Brush Carefully

One of the things you can do at home to help with tooth sensitivity is to brush gently. Scrubbing your teeth too hard can scratch and wear away enamel or even cause gums to recede. When this happens, the inner workings of the tooth, including the roots and nerves, can become exposed. If those nerves are then introduced to foods or drinks at extreme temperatures, you will feel the shooting pain of sensitivity. If the bristles on your toothbrush are jagged and pointing in various directions, you may be brushing with too much pressure.

Tip #2 – Use Soft Bristles

Similarly to brushing gently, using a toothbrush with soft bristles as opposed to hard bristles can also help protect enamel and gums from damage. Toothbrushes that have bristles that are too stiff can easily scratch enamel and push gums away from teeth again exposing roots and nerves to the elements.

Tip #3 – Select a Toothpaste for Sensitivity

There are tons of toothpaste options available to us at our local grocery stores. From various flavors to different benefits, choosing the right one can be confusing. If you’re living with sensitive teeth, look for a toothpaste that was designed to help ease sensitivity and try to avoid those containing sodium pyrophosphate.  

Tip #4 – Avoid Acidic Foods & Drinks

A diet that contains a lot of foods or drinks that are highly acidic greatly increases the risk of enamel erosion and, in turn, tooth sensitivity. The acid in foods such as citrus fruits and beverages like soda or juice can essentially eat away at enamel and expose the roots and nerves.

Tip #5 – Schedule an Appointment with Your Memphis Dentist

Even though there are several things you can try at home to reduce tooth sensitivity, there are times when your dentist should get involved. If you’re not seeing relief with any at-home remedies, schedule an appointment with your dentist to determine the best solution for you. Some common treatments for tooth sensitivity include fluoride, bonding, or a root canal and dental crown.

If you’re still experiencing sensitivity-related pain, we welcome you to call our Memphis dental office. We’re here to help.

heart health month

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Periodontal Disease, Preventive Dentistry.

We all know that it’s important to brush and floss regularly in order to protect our smiles from decay and cavities. But did you know that taking care of your oral health can also help protect your heart too? To celebrate American Heart Month, our dental office in Memphis wants to share some information about just how regular dental care can help your heart.

Oral Health & Heart Health Connection

Keeping your oral health in tip-top shape isn’t just about the mouth itself. In fact, many whole-body concerns including diabetes, kidney disease, certain types of cancer, and heart disease have been linked to oral health, and more specifically, gum health. For the purpose of this blog, we’re going to talk about heart disease.

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), gum disease has a direct connection to an increased risk for heart disease. But how can something that originates in the mouth find its way down to the heart? It’s pretty easy actually. When there’s a buildup of bacteria in the gums (gum disease) it has a direct route to the bloodstream. As the bacteria infiltrate the blood supply they can cause a surge in the amount of C-reactive protein (CRP) present. This is when the problems start. Too much CRP can cause:

  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Inflamed arteries
  • Heart attack

Recognize the Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease is a serious health problem that requires a diagnosis from your dentist in Memphis. If caught early, gum disease can be treated successfully before it has a chance to put the rest of your body at risk. Being able to recognize the signs of gum disease quickly can make all the difference. Some common signs of gum disease include:

  • Swollen, red, or tender gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Consistently bad breath
  • Chronic bad taste in the mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth

Any of these symptoms may be cause for concern, so if you notice any of these, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

The best way to protect yourself from gum disease and the whole-body concerns that can go with it is to practice good oral hygiene habits and see your Memphis dentist regularly. Dental cleanings and checkups every six months can help remove plaque and bacteria that your toothbrush alone can’t touch, which will reduce your risk of gum disease.

If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental visit, we welcome you to call our Memphis dental office to schedule an appointment today.

vitamins in palm

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles, Oral Health, Periodontal Disease, Preventive Dentistry.

Our bodies rely on the vitamins and minerals obtained through what we eat in order to function properly. Our mouth and teeth are no different. The truth is, in order to keep our oral health in good shape we need to make sure we’re getting enough of the right vitamins. In this blog, the team at our dental office in Memphis cover the most important vitamins you need to maintain good oral health and protect your smile.

Calcium

We all know that bones need calcium in order to grow and remain strong. But getting enough calcium is also crucial for building strong teeth. Calcium helps strengthen enamel which protects teeth from bacteria and lowers the risk of decay. Some foods that are packed with calcium include:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Broccoli

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important to oral health for several reasons, such as lowering the risk of infection and keeping enamel strong. Your body also needs vitamin D in order to properly absorb calcium. Find vitamin D in:

  • Canned tuna
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Egg yolks

Phosphorus

Similarly to vitamin D, phosphorus is also needed in order to give your body the biggest benefit from calcium. Calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus are a strong triangle of needed vitamins that all work together. You can get phosphorus from:

  • Salmon
  • Lentil beans
  • Beef

Vitamin C

Besides boosting your immune system so you can more effectively fight off germs, vitamin C also protects your gums and reduces the risk of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious infection in the gum tissues that can lead to tooth loss. Protect your gums by eating:

  • Citrus fruit
  • Potatoes
  • Cauliflower

The best way to make sure you’re getting enough of the vitamins that keep you healthy is to eat a well-balanced diet and include all food groups. However, if it’s tough to get vitamins through your diet, you can consider a supplement or multivitamin if appropriate.

Fueling your body with the proper mix of vitamins is a great way to protect your oral health. Of course, you still need to brush and floss daily and maintain regular dental cleanings at our Memphis dental office.  

woman with stress

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Periodontal Disease, TMJ Treatment.

It’s no secret that high stress can negatively affect our health. Prolonged periods of too much stress has been linked to heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, obesity, and difficulty in managing diabetes. But at our dental office in Memphis, we know that increased stress can also harm your oral health.

Gum Disease

Since increased stress levels can actually make our immune systems less effective, it can greatly affect our health, including our mouths. An ineffective immune system means more bacteria is left behind, which can find its way deep under the gums. When this happens, the chance for developing gum disease increases. If not treated by a dentist in Memphis, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, bad breath, and a whole host of other health problems such as heart disease.   

TMJ

Everyone reacts to stress in different ways. Some people bite their nails, others sweat a lot, and many people clench their jaws. Oftentimes these responses to stress are done automatically and without thought or awareness. But when someone habitually clenches their jaw over and over it can lead to some serious problems. Not only can repeated clenching damage teeth, but it can also cause severe jaw pain. Occasionally the pain is temporary, but other times it gets worse and is partnered with clicking, popping, or a locked jaw. If this occurs, it could be a sign of TMJ (or TMD) and treatment will be recommended.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are a potential oral health side effect of too much stress. While they aren’t necessarily dangerous, they can certainly be annoying and often painful. Even though there is no official known cause of canker sores, studies show that increased stress can play a role. Treatment isn’t usually needed as canker sores should go away on their own and aren’t contagious.

Reduce Stress

To protect your overall health and oral health from the dangers of too much stress, practice lowering stress and anxiety by following a few key tips such as:

  • Eating Well. Following a well-balanced diet fuels our bodies to function properly, and when our bodies are working as they should, it may be easier to keep stress levels low.
  • Working Out. Being active releases “feel good” chemicals in our bodies that make us feel happier and less stressed. Find an exercise program that you enjoy and stick with it!
  • Sleeping Enough. Getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep every night can help your body relax and replenish, thus decreasing stress and preparing you to tackle another day.

If you feel that stress may be affecting your oral health, we welcome you to call our Memphis dental office to schedule an appointment with us today. We promise that a visit with us will be anything but stressful.

frustrated woman

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles, Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

When it comes to dentistry, there are many common myths and misconceptions that could actually hurt your smile and oral health rather than help. At our dental office in Memphis, we believe in preventive dentistry and giving professional dental advice in order to protect your teeth. That’s why we want to debunk several of the most common dental myths we often hear about.

Myth: Root Canals Hurt

When patients are told that they need to have a root canal, the first reaction we usually get is fear over the pain they think they’re about to endure. The truth is, root canals have a bad reputation that just isn’t true. Many times when a root canal is needed it’s because a tooth has severe decay. This decay can cause some serious pain and sensitivity. Root canal treatment actually relieves that pain by removing infected parts of the inner tooth — the source of pain. A root canal is a common procedure done under local anesthetic and is completely pain-free.  

Myth: Lemon Juice Can Whiten Teeth

Thanks to the popularity of the internet and people from all backgrounds sharing “life hacks” on social media platforms, it’s not surprising to hear of DIY tooth whitening methods. One, in particular, that’s concerning to your dentist in Memphis is using lemon juice to remove tooth staining. In actuality, lemon juice is highly acidic and using it in an attempt to brighten your smile can cause irreversible damage to your tooth enamel. Once acid eats away the protective enamel, teeth are exposed to harmful bacteria and plaque. This increases your risk of cavities and decay.

Myth: Baby Teeth Aren’t That Important

Since baby teeth are meant to fall out, many people assume that it doesn’t matter when we lose them. However, quite the opposite is true. Baby teeth are important for several reasons including holding the space for permanent adult teeth, helping develop speech, and aiding in chewing. When baby teeth are lost before their natural time, nutrition can be affected, speech difficulties may develop, and teeth may start to shift and become crooked.

Myth: You Don’t Need to go to The Dentist if You’re Not in Pain

One of the biggest myths out there is that you only need to see a dentist when you’re experiencing a problem. In fact, seeing the dentist regularly can greatly help prevent a problem from ever happening. Regular dental cleanings and checkups can diagnose any problems early when treatment is easier and less expensive.

When it comes to your dental health, trust the professionals. If you have any questions about how to best care for your smile or if it’s time for a checkup, call our Memphis dental office to schedule an appointment today.