Posted by & filed under Restorative Dentistry.

dentures

Patients living with dentures are faced with a new set of menu challenges. Unfortunately, some foods just are no longer compatible. While having dentures is a great way to restore a natural, healthy look, they aren’t able provide the same stable durability and function of regular teeth. At our dental office in Memphis, we want our denture patients to always feel comfortable in their dentures every day, at every meal.

We’ve compiled a shortlist of just a few foods that have been known to be a problem for denture wearers, along with some alternative choices that are deliciously denture-friendly.

  1. Avoid Sticky Situations

We don’t really like to see any patient constantly snacking on chewy, sticky candy. But for people with dentures, it’s almost certain that sticky stuff will lead to serious dentures problems.

  • A Better Option: If you absolutely need to indulge in a sweet treat, try sugar-free gum that’s specifically designed for dentures.
  1. Say No to Your Cup of Joe?

OK, so this is a bit tricky. We know how important that morning cup of coffee can be to getting your day kickstarted. Your dentist in Memphis is not going to tell you to give it up altogether, but it’s best in moderation. It can potentially cause staining and can also be dehydrating, leading to dry mouth. (That’s not helpful when you have dentures.)

  • A Better Option: Trying lessening the caffeine intake or completely switching over to decaf. If this isn’t an option, just be sure you’re getting enough additional fluids to help keep salivary glands functioning properly. If your mouth isn’t moist, the friction from dentures can be irritating to you and your gums.
  1. Don’t Go Nuts

Nuts and dentures don’t work well together. Tiny, painful pieces of nuts can get lodged under partials or dentures, making them uncomfortable and unstable.

  • A Better Option: Pitted olives are easier to chew and even contain heart-healthy fats. You can also try fresh, seedless grapes and berries.
  1. No Need For Seeds

Try to avoid seeded breads and crackers. Pesky little poppy seeds can get stuck under your dentures and be a real pain.

  • A Better Option: Try whole grain breads where the grains are baked inside.

At our Memphis dental office, we see a lot of patients have great success with a variety of different kinds of dentures. It’s just a matter of making them work for you, and making an effort to avoid possible problems — especially with the foods and drinks you consume. If you have any questions about denture care, please don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Accepting patients from Memphis, Germantown, Cordova and the surrounding areas.

Posted by & filed under Oral Health.

toothbrushes

Are you delaying swapping out your frayed toothbrush for a new model? Well, don’t be! Our Memphis dental office wants you to know that it’s in the best interest of your oral and overall health to make the change to a new toothbrush. We understand that sometimes it’s easy to forget, so here’s a reminder to check the status of your brush.

It’s A Switch’y’ Situation

The wayward, battered bristles clinging to life on your favorite toothbrush are actually a lot less effective at helping your teeth get clean. The American Dental Association (ADA) has these helpful recommendations (and our dental office in Memphis couldn’t agree more):

  • Change your brush every three to four months.
  • Make the switch earlier if bristles start to breakdown.
  • Children need new brushes more frequently than grownups.

Breaking Down the Bacteria Connection

Some researchers and doctors say that toothbrushes create the perfect environment for bacteria to set up shop. The ADA says that toothbrushes are susceptible to bacterial transfer from the mouth or the air, but it isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. Why? Because our bodies are regularly exposed to germs and are uniquely equipped to defend ourselves from attack.

How to Keep Your Toothbrush Clean

There are few ways you can help keep bacteria in the bathroom at bay and away from your toothbrush.

  • Never share your toothbrush with anyone, even family members. Bacteria could be there no matter who you’re sharing with.
  • Use good ol’ tap water to rinse away unwanted debris and leftover toothpaste that can give bacteria something to grab onto.
  • Keep your toothbrush standing upright when not in use for maximum germ-free storage and the benefits of a good air-drying.
  • Separate your family’s brushes when they’re not being used.
  • Steer clear of toothbrush covers that can create an arid environment where germs can easily multiply.

Your Memphis dentist knows how important it is to keep your smile healthy. The same goes for your toothbrush. By making the change regularly and storing it properly, you can ensure your teeth are getting the thorough, germ-free cleaning they need to stay strong.

Accepting new patients from Memphis, Germantown, and Cordova.

Posted by & filed under Preventive Dentistry.

straw

Our dental office in Memphis wants to share a little known secret with you, and it’s something so easy, so common, and even may seem a bit silly, but can do wonders to help keep your smile healthy. It’s a straw. And when you choose to use a straw instead of sipping drinks straight from a cup, it can actually help keep bacteria and cavities from damaging your teeth.

Learn more about straw power by digesting these interesting facts. Our Memphis dental office is pleased to share them with you as another way you can help protect your teeth from decay.

Straw Fact #1 – Help Keep Teeth Stain-Free

Using a straw when enjoying your favorite beverage is good idea to help protect teeth against common staining, especially when there’s long-term exposure to dark-colored drinks like coffee and tea that are consumed daily. By using a straw, you can help avoid constant and direct contact with your front teeth and do your best to keep your smile white.

Straw Fact #2 – Great Exposure Control

Much like protection your teeth from stains, using a straw can control how much direct exposure drinks have on your smile. It’s all about directing these materials away from your teeth. Even though some contact does occur, it’s minimized when you’re slurping through a straw. This means less bacteria and sugar actually stick to your smile which limits the likelihood of decay.

Straw Fact #3 – Increased Chances of Avoiding Germs

Did you know cups, both at home and in restaurants, can host germs even if they look clean? You can avoid these germs and bacteria by sticking a straw in your cup instead of putting your mouth directly on it to sip.

Straw Fact #4 – Avoid Choking and Burns

Straws can be a real mouth and tooth saver when you’re drinking a hot beverage. These small, plastic tubes allow you to take in smaller amounts of liquid at a time which can help you avoid mouth burns and also reduce the risk for choking.

Your dentist in Memphis does everything possible to help you keep your teeth healthy. We hope you will do the same. Using a straw is just another simple change you can make to your daily routine that could help benefit your smile. Don’t forget to brush and floss too!

Accepting new patients from Memphis, Germantown, Cordova.

Posted by & filed under Oral Health.

over 50

There’s a common misconception that as we age, it’s inevitable that we’ll also lose our teeth. At our Memphis dental office, we’d like to squash that belief and give our older patients some good news. Research from the American Dental Association (ADA) concludes that Americans are keeping their teeth longer than ever before. While that’s great news, it’s important to know that the longer we keep our teeth, the more aware we need to become of some issues that are more prominent in those over 50.

Oral Cancer

Affecting nearly 45,000 Americans each and every year, oral cancer is a very serious concern that, if not treated proactively, could lead to death. While anyone can be affected by oral cancer, some risk factors that increase its likelihood include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and yes, age. Oral cancer rates have shown to increase in those over 50, and is most common in those between 60 and 70.

Gum Disease

Another serious problem, gum disease has been shown to not only affect the mouth, but the rest of the body as well. Research has demonstrated a positive connection between gum disease and heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer. This is concerning for the older population because 30% of those over the age of 50 have advanced gum disease.

Dry Mouth

A dry mouth is an unhappy mouth and usually means there’s not enough saliva production. Saliva is important to a healthy mouth since it helps wash away bacteria and keep teeth strong. Without it, teeth are at increased risk for attack. This is a concern for everyone, but more so for people 50+. Many times dry mouth can be a result of medication, and as we age, the use of medicine is more prevalent. Make sure to talk with your dentist about all the medications you take.

These common problems can all cause tooth loss if not caught and treated early. The best way to do your part to help keep your teeth healthy for as long as possible is to make sure to visit your dentist in Memphis twice a year and maintain proper oral hygiene at home.  

If you’re worried that you may have any of the issues discussed, even if you’re not 50, we recommended scheduling an appointment with our Memphis dental office as soon as possible. We’ll discuss your concerns and determine the best treatments to help you keep your teeth healthy for as many years as possible.

Accepting patients from Memphis, Germantown, Cordova.

Posted by & filed under Oral Health.

gluten

Many people choose to eat a gluten-free diet, but there are some individuals who don’t have a choice. Those with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity become seriously ill when gluten is consumed, so they avoid it as much as possible. Predominantly, celiac disease affects the gastrointestinal tract, but at our Memphis dental office, we know it can also be dangerous to oral health.

What is Gluten?

In short, gluten is a mixture of proteins that are found in rye, wheat, and barley. It helps food stay together and keep their shape. Many foods, drinks, and even condiments contain gluten, although gluten-free alternatives are on the rise.

The Effects of Gluten on Oral Health

When someone with a gluten intolerance eats something containing gluten, their immune system reacts abnormally and doesn’t allow the absorption of certain vitamins, including vitamin D. This is concerning for teeth because vitamin D helps build strong enamel. Without vitamin D and without the protection of enamel, teeth are left exposed to decay and other oral health problems. According to a study by the European Journal of Internal Medicine, 85% of those with celiac disease have enamel damage. What’s even more concerning is that once enamel is gone, it doesn’t come back.

Other Oral Health Concerns

Enamel loss due to a lack of vitamin absorption is only one concern for gluten-sensitive people, although a pretty big one. Additional oral health concerns due to gluten ingestion include:

  • Chronic canker sores
  • Swollen, red gums
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Teeth that are thin or look transparent
  • Pitting in the teeth
  • Misshapen teeth

What Can You Do?

If your teeth have lost the protection of their enamel, they’re discolored or misshapen, or are at risk for falling out, whether due to celiac disease or not, there are ways to help. Dental implants can restore missing teeth permanently, cosmetic dentistry can transform tooth shape or color, and restorative treatments can bring teeth back to health and strength. Contact your dentist in Memphis to discuss which options may be best for you.

Accepting patients from Memphis, Germantown, Cordova.

Posted by & filed under Oral Health.

toothache

There’s nothing quite like the discomfort of a toothache. While the pain could be because of something small like a cavity, it could also be something serious like gum disease or infection. Whatever the reason may be, it’s important to call our dental office in Memphis as soon as possible so we can determine what’s happening and the best way to fix it. But what do you do if you get a toothache and can’t get to your dentist immediately?

At-Home Relief

If your toothache happens when you’re nowhere near your dentist, or on a weekend when they aren’t open, don’t panic. There are some ways you can ease toothache pain until you can schedule an appointment.

  • Cold Compress. Take a gel ice pack or a frozen pack of peas, wrap it in a shirt or towel, and gently hold it to the outside of the mouth near where it hurts. The cold helps reduce swelling and less swelling means less pain.
  • Salt Water. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water, focusing on the painful area. Don’t swallow it! Salt water naturally pulls any liquid in the area away, relieving pressure on the nerves and easing pain.
  • Floss. Gently wiggle floss in between your tooth and up into the gum line. This can help dislodge any pieces of food that may be wedged tightly in the crevices, which may be causing the toothache.
  • Antiseptic. Buy an over-the-counter antiseptic with benzocaine and apply it directly on the tooth and gum. The benzocaine numbs the area, giving you temporary relief.

Never Get a Toothache Again!

Well, we may have exaggerated a bit. While there’s no way to completely guarantee you won’t ever get another toothache, there are things you can do to greatly reduce your chance of one. First, make sure you’re brushing twice a day and flossing everyday. Good oral hygiene at home is half the battle in keeping your mouth healthy and free of toothaches. Next, see your dentist in Memphis twice a year. Dental cleanings and exams every six months help catch any decay or other toothache-causing culprits before they have a chance to become painful.

Our Memphis dental office is here to help you in case you do get a toothache. But we’re also here to help you avoid it in the first place with preventive dentistry and gentle treatments for any problem we may find. Whether you’re struggling with toothache pain now, or it’s been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist, call us to schedule an appointment today.

Accepting patients from Memphis, Germantown, Cordova.

Posted by & filed under Oral Health.

ecig

There’s a fairly new alternative to traditional smoking without the side effects of stinky clothes and bad breath. E-cigarettes, also known as vaping, has gained in popularity since first appearing the U.S. in 2007. Some use e-cigarettes as a method to help quit smoking. Others just pick up the habit having never been a smoker before. But at our Memphis dental office, we wanted to know if these electronic cigarettes are safe, or if they pose similar, or worse, threats to oral and overall health. So we researched it, and here’s what you need to know.  

What We Know

Unfortunately, we don’t know much about the potentially harmful side effects of smoking e-cigarettes. Even though they’ve been selling like crazy and are becoming so widely used that some places of business had to put up signs stating they’re prohibited, research regarding their safety is limited.

Some of the research that has been done on the effects of e-cigs and oral health found both some positives and some negatives. The positives of using e-cigarettes as opposed to regular cigarettes include no bad breath, no plaque calcification, and no yellowing of teeth. However, the risk for periodontal disease is still there. Nicotine has a tendency to reduce blood flow to the gums, and without proper blood flow, the mouth’s ability to fight off bacteria diminishes and the likelihood of gum disease increases. There’s also been reports of pneumonia, rapid heart rate, congestive heart failure, and airway resistance.

E-cigarettes have claimed to be a successful way to quit smoking, and we can understand why they’re an attractive alternative to tobacco-filled cigarettes. They have the nicotine craved by smokers, yet fewer byproducts. However, studies contradict the effectiveness of e-cigs as a smoking cessation method. For example, one study concluded that e-cigarettes helped current smokers reduce the amount of cigarettes they smoked by about half, while another suggested that smokers who use e-cigs are 59% less likely to quit. Before you decide to use e-cigarettes as an aid to quit smoking, consider trying another option such as:

  • Limiting yourself to a certain number of cigarettes a day, then continue to decrease over time.
  • Try using a nicotine replacement that’d been approved by the FDA.
  • Research different ways other people have quit. You can start by visiting the American Lung Association.

If you’re a smoker, we encourage you to try quitting for both your oral health and your overall health. We also recommend seeing your dentist in Memphis every six months so that if a problem like oral cancer or gum disease does arise, it will be caught and treated early.

Accepting patients from Memphis, Germantown, Cordova and beyond.

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles.

root canal

Your tooth hurts. A lot. But what does it mean? Whenever there is tooth pain, it’s your body’s way of telling you something isn’t right. Tooth pain could be a sign of any number of things including decay or a chip or break. But sometimes, tooth pain could be a sign that you may need a root canal. Our Memphis dental office can help you determine if that’s the case.

Signs You May Need a Root Canal

We’ve already established that there’s pain involved. Oftentimes a lot of it. But just because there’s pain doesn’t automatically mean you need a root canal. The pain is usually different than other types of tooth pain and it’s likely accompanied by other symptoms including:

  • Gum pain and swelling
  • A pimple-like bump on the gums by the painful tooth
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Worse pain when chewing or applying pressure
  • Hot/cold sensitivity that doesn’t go away once the food or drink is removed

What’s Done During a Root Canal?

If you are experiencing the symptoms above, you will probably need to get a root canal. Don’t worry. Even though the root canal process has a bad reputation of being extremely painful it actually helps relieve the pain caused by deep infection or decay. But what does that even mean? Let’s walk through the process.

  • Your dentist in Memphis will first numb the area to limit any possible discomfort
  • Once the numbing agent takes effect, a tiny hole will be made in the tooth.
  • The dental team will then access the pulp chamber located inside the tooth. The pulp chamber is where the actual canals are. Nerves, pulp, and blood vessels are found inside those canals.
  • All of the canal contents are thoroughly cleaned out then the pulp chamber and canals are sealed.
  • Finally, the tooth is capped with a restoration which is usually a dental crown.

Reduce Your Risk

There are two things you can do to minimize your risk for needing a root canal. First, make sure you brush and floss every single day. This helps remove bacteria that can lead to decay. Second, always get a dental cleaning every six months. This cleaning is more thorough and removes more stuck on plaque than what you can do at home.

If you do think you need a root canal, don’t wait around for the pain to go away on its own, because chances are, it won’t. Instead, call our Memphis dental office to schedule an appointment as soon as you can. We’ll check out what’s going on and determine if in fact a root canal is the most appropriate treatment for you.

Accepting patients from Memphis, Germantown, Cordova.

toothpastes

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles.

You go to the supermarket in search of a toothpaste that not only freshens your breath, but also protects your teeth. In the healthcare aisle, you’re assaulted by boxes and boxes of multicolored toothpastes in a variety of flavors. How do you know which one to choose? Our Memphis dental office can help you find which is right for you.

For a Whiter Smile…

Foods, drinks, age, and some habits can all contribute to a dull, dingy, or even yellowish smile. Sometimes, a whitening toothpaste can take the edge off of discoloration. The most effective whitening toothpastes contain mild abrasives that contain magnesium carbonate or calcium carbonate. If your whitening toothpaste isn’t quite giving you the boost you’re looking for, veneers or a professional whitening treatment can help.

For Extra Cavity Protection…

Some people tend to get more cavities than others. If this is the case for you, make sure your toothpaste has fluoride (tip: most do). Fluoride is a natural occurring mineral that coats teeth and helps keep damaging bacteria off.

For Those Who Are Sensitive…

When we say sensitive, we aren’t talking about emotions. We’re talking about those who have sensitive teeth and experience pain when heat or cold are introduced into the mouth. As long as cavities or a root infection is ruled out, chances are those who suffer from sensitivity are brushing too hard or with a toothpaste that’s too abrasive. If you fall into the sensitive category, look for a toothpaste with ingredients like strontium chloride or potassium nitrate, both of which can help desensitize your teeth or gums.

Look for the ADA Seal of Approval

Toothpastes that earn the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval have been tested and the ingredients were shown to do what the box says they’ll do. So no matter if you’re looking for a sensitivity blocker, cavity fighter, or tooth whitener, make sure to scope out that seal before making a purchase.

Although that toothpaste aisle can seem intimidating with its rainbow boxes of possibilities, there is a toothpaste for everyone. Your dentist in Memphis can help determine your specific needs and recommend a toothpaste that fits your oral health goals. Just make sure that you use it each and every time you brush — which should be twice a day.

If you’re not sure you’re using the right toothpaste for you, or you’re looking to schedule your next dental cleaning and exam, call our Memphis dental office. We’ll be happy to help.

Accepting patients from Memphis, Germantown, Cordova.

avoiding

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles.

The benefits of regular dental exams and cleanings are applicable to everyone from women and men to children. Yet, according to research, American women are ⅓ more likely to get preventive dental care than men. At our Memphis dental office, we wanted to know more about our male patients, and even those who we may not yet have the pleasure of knowing, so we explored a few reasons why men seem to avoid going to the dentist.

The Academy of General Dentistry surveyed several dentists and asked them why men tend to forego regular dental visits. The results include:

  • 18% blamed busy schedules
  • 30% said men are more embarrassed or afraid to go to the dentist
  • 45% believed men don’t see a need to visit the dentist

We found a few other reasons, too. Men tend to avoid preventive dental care and rather just go to the dentist when there is a problem, even though the problem itself may have been avoidable through regular dental cleanings and exams. Additionally, societal norms insinuate that men should “tough it out,” and visiting a doctor may be perceived as a sign of weakness (which, for the record, isn’t a weakness, it’s smart).

Why Are Regular Dental Appointments Important?

Visiting the dentist at least twice a year is crucial to maintaining a healthy mouth and a healthy body. Many oral health problems affect overall health, and if not caught and treated early, some of these issues can be severe. Scheduling and keeping appointments with your dentist in Memphis can help keep these serious, scary problems away or at least catch them before they have a chance to affect the rest of the body. Some of these concerns include:

  • Oral cancer that can affect the lips, tongue, throat, and cheeks
  • Gum disease which can increase the risk for heart disease
  • Sleep apnea which commonly leads to high blood pressure

Besides keeping your mouth and body healthy, dental appointments can also be used to discuss anything about your smile that you may not like. If you’re embarrassed to smile or are missing teeth, there are plenty of options available to get you a smile you’re confident of including whitening, veneers, dental implants, bridges, and so much more.

If you know a man in your life who has been avoiding dental care for whatever reason, we encourage you to to have him call our Memphis dental office to schedule an appointment. Even if he hasn’t seen a dentist in years, we don’t guilt trip our patients. In fact, we celebrate the important things — the fact he made an appointment and is taking the right steps towards better health.

Accepting patients from Memphis, Germantown, Cordova.