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Altoona IA Dentist | Should I Be Using a Tongue Scraper?

In addition to brushing your teeth twice each day and flossing at least once, it is also important to take good care of your tongue. Bacteria can build up on your tongue throughout the day. For some patients, using a tongue scraper can be the best solution for a cleaner, healthier tongue.

Should You Be Using One?

The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) found scraping your tongue results in a noticeable decrease in the sulfur compounds which can lead to bad breath. According to a study in the Journal of Periodontology, tongue scrapers reduced these compounds by 75%, while using a standard toothbrush only reduced 45% of sulfur compounds. Choose a method that works best for your mouth, but make sure you are taking care of your tongue.

What Do They Do?

While they may help alleviate bad breath, scraper’s main function is to clean off debris and bacteria from your tongue. Your toothbrush is designed to effectively clean teeth, but the surface of your tongue is very different from that of your teeth. A tongue scraper may provide a more thorough cleaning for your tongue.

How Do I Use One?

Start by washing out your mouth. When you are ready clean your tongue, place the scraper in the back of your mouth, and gently pull it forward. Make sure you are scraping all areas of your tongue, but do not push so far back that you gag. You will want to rinse your mouth after you are done. Be sure to clean the scraper when you are finished.

While you might not be used to cleaning your tongue, it can be an effective solution for bad breath and bacteria caused by food. At your next appointment, ask about other ways of keeping your tongue clean and your mouth healthy. Keeping up with your daily oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing is crucial to maintaining your oral health and preventing unhealthy bacteria.

For more tips on a healthy mouth or to schedule your next visit to our Altoona dentist, please contact Altoona Dental. We look forward to seeing you.

 

Altoona Dental
Phone: (515) 967-4211
107 8th St. SE
Altoona , IA 50009

Altoona PA Dentist | Root Canals – Debunking the Myths

 The internet is fraught with myths about everything. In this “information age” you might think it would be easy to find the truth, but that’s not always the case. Dentistry is no different. It’s no surprise that dental myths are abundant, especially in regard to some of the more intimidating procedures. However, advancements in dental technology have made it possible to receive the advanced care you need with little to no discomfort. Here are some common myths you might hear about root canals debunked. Contact our dental office to learn more.

Myth 1: Root canals are painful.

Long ago, this might have been the case. However, modern advancements in the techniques and technology available to dentists have made this procedure quick and relatively painless. In fact, the damaged tissue often causes more day-to-day pain and discomfort than the procedure itself will!

Myth 2: Root canals can cause illness.

In the 20th century there was a popular misconception that a root canal could put you at risk of developing illness or an infection. Not only has this been definitively disproven, but root canals have actually been shown to help prevent illness. According to a study published in a journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery), root canals can lower your risk of certain cancers by up to 45%.

Myth 3: Extraction is a better option.

When possible, it’s always preferable to keep your natural teeth. In addition to the inconvenience of dealing with a missing tooth, removing teeth can cause the surrounding ones to loosen and shift over time, possibly necessitating more procedures in the future. The success rate of a root canal treatment is extremely high and the tooth itself, with proper care, can last for a lifetime.

Don’t let misinformation about dental care stop you from receiving the treatments you need. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment and set the record straight on root canals.

Altoona Dental, Inc.
Phone: (515) 967-4211
107 8th St. SE
Altoona, IA 50009

Altoona PA Dentist | Healthy is the New Beautiful

 Cosmetic dentistry has been around for ages. We’ve noticed that now, more than ever, people are concerned with overall wellness in addition to a beautiful smile. In past years, we had many patients come to us seeking whitening and seeming unconcerned with ridding their smile of infection and decay. 

More recently, however, mainstream news has joined our efforts to educate the public on the oral & overall health connection. This has led to patients seeking care that will contribute to overall wellness. We’ve experienced a surge in questions such as: 

· Does periodontal disease really increase my odds of heart disease?

· Does untreated decay lead to root canal therapy and risk eventual loss of the tooth? 

· Do oral lesions signify potential oral cancer? How is that screened and treated? 

This increase in “Dental IQ” is leading to more comprehensive care for our community. It’s allowing us to provide dentistry which we know is in the best interest of our patients. Dentistry is not only about the aesthetic appeal of your smile. As many of our patients have been learning, valuable overall health benefits go hand-in-hand with preventive and restorative dental care. 

If you’re seeking a dentist that contributes to your overall health and wellness, contact us today

Altoona Dental, Inc.
Phone: (515) 967-4211
107 8th St. SE
Altoona, IA 50009

Altoona PA Dentist | Can You Inherit Oral Health Issues?

Most serious oral health issues can be prevented by maintaining an effective routine of dental hygiene and in-office care. However, you could be at higher risk for some oral illnesses due to hereditary factors. Awareness and proper treatment can help minimize these risks. Here are a few of the most common oral health concerns that are affected by genetics.

Tooth decay – One of the most common oral issues, some tooth decay has been linked to a genetic deficiency of a protein called DEFB1. If your parents experienced an unusually high rate of tooth decay, then you may want to be more vigilant regarding your own dental care.

Oral cancer – Certain genetic factors can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Our doctor recommends annual oral cancer screening for early identification and treatment. In addition, certain lifestyle choices, such as quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption, can help reduce your risk of oral cancer.

Periodontal disease – Recent research has found that some forms of gum disease may be linked to mutations in genes that affect immunity and inflammatory response.

Misaligned or supernumerary (extra) teeth – Genetics can play a role in having misaligned or even extra teeth. The size of your jaw is determined mostly through heredity, and is the most common reason for an overbite, underbite, or dental crowding.

Canker sores – In most cases, canker sores are an isolated reaction to fatigue, stress, or menstrual cycles. However, there are certain inherited diseases that count canker sores among their symptoms. Crohn’s disease and Celiac sprue are two such conditions.

While you may not be able to avoid hereditary oral health issues entirely, we can help minimize or even reverse their effects with proper treatment and care. If you suffer from any of these inherited conditions, contact our office for an oral health evaluation. We can help.

Altoona PA Dentist | 3 Ways to Fix a Chipped Tooth

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Chipping a tooth could be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to fix a chipped tooth. We will recommend a solution based on your particular needs. Here are three options we may provide you:

1.      Dental Bonding

Bonding is a quick and easy solution for most small, cosmetic chips. In the bonding process, the remaining enamel on the tooth is first roughened in order for composite to better adhere to the tooth’s surface. Composite is then shaped to replace the chip and hardened with a dental curing light, instantly solidifying the material. Typically, bonding can last up to ten years with proper care.

2.     Porcelain Veneers

If the tooth was fully cracked or there was significant damage to the tooth, veneers may be recommended. Also, if you have chipped a tooth several times or wish to repair the tooth’s color, getting veneers may be the best option.

A veneer uses porcelain material that covers the front surface of your teeth, giving them a natural look while also providing strength comparable to natural tooth enamel. In order to apply a veneer, a small amount of existing tooth structure is removed to make room around the affected area. Then, we will take an impression of the tooth to use in making the permanent veneer and place a temporary veneer.

Once the permanent, porcelain veneer arrives, the temporary veneer is removed and the area around the tooth is cleaned. We will then place the adhesive and set in the new veneer for exact fit. Finally, the veneer is light cured and you will have a natural, beautiful smile.

3.     Dental Crowns.

Dental crowns are a “cap” that covers your tooth. A crown restores a tooth back to its normal shape, size, and function. Crowns are best-suited when a large portion of the original tooth is missing, or when the tooth is significantly damaged, causing pain when chewing or drinking. They are an effective solution to repair the shape and look of your tooth quickly, preventing further damage from tooth decay or exposed nerves.

If you have a chipped tooth, contact us as soon as possible. We have a number of solutions to fix any oral health issues that arise from chipping or cracking a tooth. We will provide a customized plan for you based on your needs.

Altoona IA Dentist | Don’t Miss Your Screening

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Oral cancer does not discriminate. It affects those of all ages, genders and races. Smokers do develop oral cancers at higher rates than non-smokers. However, this does not absolve the rest of the population from being at risk, as well.

It’s incredibly important to keep to your recommended schedule of oral health examinations. By visiting your general dentist at least twice per year, it is much more likely that our dental team will be able to identify potentially cancerous lesions in early stages. As you may know, the key to survival of most forms of cancer is early detection. Oral cancers are treatable, especially if caught before displaying obvious signs. The best results occur when oral cancer is identified and treated during early stages.

If your general dentist identifies a lesion that appears to be irregular, he or she may refer you to our team. We’ll recommend the next steps. Once pathology has been identified, we can proceed with treatment if necessary.

We will complete a biopsy to confirm whether a lesion is cancerous. It is not possible to confirm an oral cancer diagnosis without a biopsy. For this reason, try to refrain from making assumptions until we have confirmed your diagnosis. If it’s been more than 6 months since your last appointment or if you have noticed a lesion, bump or irregular patch of skin that doesn’t heal within a few days, consider an oral cancer screening by your general dentist. Know that your dentist will provide you with advice and may refer you to our team for a closer look.

If you have considered skipping the recommended dental visits that provide your first line of defense against oral cancers, please reconsider. It could save your life. Contact us today to schedule your next visit to our office.

Altoona IA Dentist | Preventing Enamel Erosion

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Do you have white spots on your teeth? Are your teeth quite sensitive? Do your teeth have cracks, chips, or indentations? If yes, then you may be experiencing enamel erosion.

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. It is the clear coating that protects your teeth. However, being the strongest substance in the body does not mean it should be neglected. Enamel can erode. Without the protection of enamel, you not only risk developing decay, but also abscesses, tooth pain, and even tooth loss.

What Causes Tooth Enamel Erosion?

There are several factors that cause tooth enamel to erode, some of which are the result of everyday actions. Sugars and acids can wear down enamel. If you regularly drink soft drinks or sugary fruit drinks, you may be damaging your teeth. To protect your teeth, limit your consumption of such drinks. Alcohol can also erode enamel, as well as a diet that is high in sugary or starchy foods. The bacteria in the mouth can transforms starches and sugars in foods such as bread into damaging acid.

Other factors include acid reflux, recurrent vomiting, gastrointestinal problems, genetically inherited conditions, grinding your teeth, even brushing too hard or not flossing properly. All of these impact the health of your enamel, and, ultimately, your teeth. Once the enamel is worn or chipped away, it cannot be replaced.

Keep the sweets from becoming everyday treats, replace white breads with whole grains, and try eating more cheese and yogurt to bolster the calcium in your saliva to keep the acids in check.

How Can Enamel Erosion Be Prevented?

In addition to exercising moderation with soft drinks, alcohol, sugars and starches, and, of course, taking extra care with regard to medical conditions and your tooth care regimen, there are a few extra things you can do to protect your smile. Saliva can neutralize harmful acids in your mouth. By drinking water and chewing sugar-free gum, you can boost saliva production.

Keep the sweets from becoming everyday treats and replace white breads with whole grains. Add more cheese and yogurt to your diet. Not only are both foods high in calcium, but they also help neutralize harmful acids in your mouth.

Tooth enamel is essential for maintaining a healthy smile. Be mindful of what you eat and drink. Enamel erosion may also be the consequence of other complications such as excessive teeth grinding or acid reflux. Regular visits to our office allow our team to provide a full examination. If we detect that your enamel is eroding, we will discuss potential causes and solutions.

To schedule your next visit to our office, please contact our team today.

Altoona IA Dentist | Oral Hygiene at Work

Do you brush your teeth after lunch? If you’re one of the millions of people who work outside the home, chances are you don’t have the time or resources to brush during the day. However, not being able to brush doesn’t mean you can’t protect your teeth at work.

Grab a drink of water. When you finish eating, get a drink of water. Swish the water around in your mouth, then spit or swallow it. Water helps to remove small particles of food that can remain on your teeth after your meal or snack.

Chew sugarless gum. There are certain types of sugarless gum that are approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) as good for your oral health. The reason for this is that chewing stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth. That saliva washes away food particles and helps to neutralize acids on your teeth.

Limit time drinking coffee or soda. Coffee, soda, tea, and many other beverages contain high levels of sugars and acids. The more time you spend sipping your drink, the longer your teeth are exposed to these sources of decay. Instead of spending an hour taking small swallows, drink quickly to limit exposure, then rinse your mouth or switch to water to help counteract the effects.

Brush and floss when you can. Try to keep to a regular routine of good oral hygiene practices when you are at home. Brush at least twice daily, for two full minutes each time. Floss or use an interdental cleaner of your choice once a day. Keep your recommended appointments to have your teeth cleaned and evaluated by our team.

Taking care of your teeth doesn’t have to interrupt your workday. Keeping these simple tips in mind can help protect your mouth from tooth decay, periodontal disease, and other oral health issues.

To learn more ways to preserve your oral health, talk to our team during your visit. Contact our office to schedule your next appointment today.

Cosmetic Dentist in Altoona | Dry Mouth – Not Just a Nuisance

Normal flow of saliva provides lubrication for swallowing and begins the process of digestion while you chew. Saliva also protects your teeth by neutralizing and washing away acids, sugars, and other particles left behind after eating. From time to time, we all experience some amount of dry mouth. Hot weather, exercise, and dehydration can all cause a temporary decrease in saliva production. However, if you have chronic dry mouth, or xerostomia, you could be at risk of serious oral health complications.

Some of the oral health issues commonly associated with dry mouth include:

  • Much higher rates of tooth decay
  • Oral yeast infection
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Constant sore throat
  • Soft tissue infections
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Denture discomfort

The most common cause of chronic dry mouth is medication. More than 400 over-the-counter and prescription medications include dry mouth as a frequent side effect. Dry mouth is also associated with stress, autoimmune and other systemic diseases, hormonal changes, radiation or chemotherapy treatment for cancers, and salivary gland disease.

You may find relief from dry mouth through a variety of methods. Some easy options to help alleviate your dry mouth include:

  • Increased water intake
  • Sugar-free candies or gum
  • Artificial saliva, as recommended by doctor or dentist
  • Alcohol-free mouthwash
  • Limiting alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated soft drinks
  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home
  • Change in medication, only as directed by doctor

Brush and floss regularly to help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other complications.

If you are experiencing dry mouth, make an appointment and be sure to tell our team. We will review your medications and perform a thorough dental exam to check for any potential underlying oral health issues.

For more information about dry mouth, contact our office.

Dentist Altoona, IA | Filling in the Gaps: Your Options for Missing Teeth

Are you embarrassed to show your smile because of missing teeth? For many people, missing teeth can create a feeling of diminished self-confidence. Modern dentistry can not only replace the gaps in your smile, our team can also create long-term replacements that look and feel just like your natural teeth. You have options. Here are a few of the most common tooth replacement solutions.

Dentures
Dentures are a solution for those who have lost many or all their teeth. They create a realistic, aesthetically pleasing smile. They are ideal for patients that are missing multiple teeth on either the top or bottom. Our team will start by taking an impression of your mouth. We will then send the impression to a lab for a customized set of dentures to be created. Once your dentures are ready, we will ensure a proper fit and make any necessary adjustments. Dentures should be cleaned regularly with a non-abrasive cleanser. Our team will provide you with all the information you need to take care of your dentures.

Bridges
You may have heard of dental bridges referred to as partial dentures. Dental bridges are a replacement solution for one or more missing teeth. They help prevent your existing teeth from shifting into the empty gaps of your missing teeth. Bridges utilize your surrounding teeth as an anchor for your replacements. Our team can match the bridge to look like your natural teeth; no one will even notice the difference.

Dental Implants
Dental implants are a long-lasting tooth replacement option. Unlike dentures, which may require replacement, dental implants can last a lifetime with proper care. Our team will ensure your gum tissue is healthy enough with adequate bone support to anchor the implant. For some patients, additional preparations may be necessary such as a bone graft to guarantee your implant has a strong, stable foundation.

The gaps in your smile can be filled. Our team can help you decide on a tooth replacement solution based on your individual needs. It is important to fill the gaps of missing teeth to prevent deterioration to your gums and the shifting of teeth into these empty spaces. Additionally, tooth replacement solutions such as dentures, bridges, or implants can help improve your speech and comfort.

If you are missing teeth, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our team.