Don’t Let Holiday Stress Affect Your Oral Health

holiday stressLate November is when we gear up for a few weeks of feasts, family, fun, shopping, and all that the holiday season brings. Between arranging schedules to see everyone you need to see, fitting in all the parties you’ve been invited to, cooking large meals, and everything in between, it’s no wonder that stress levels tend to soar this time of year. As we all know, stress can affect our overall wellbeing. But at our dental office in Sacramento, we also know stress can jeopardize oral health, too.

What’s With The Jaw Pain?

Our bodies react to stress differently, and we aren’t even aware of some of the things it does when stressed.  Clenching and grinding our teeth tends to be one of those things. When we grind our teeth against each other, the forces put on the teeth can cause them to chip, crack, or break. Clenching can do the same thing, but it also affects the jaw. Habitually clenching our teeth may cause serious jaw pain and, if left untreated, long-term TMJ problems. If you’re experiencing clicking or popping in the jaw joint, jaw pain, or occasional jaw locking give your Sacramento dentist a call.

Gum Disease

The main causes of gum disease usually include improper oral hygiene, dry mouth, or smoking. But one of the lesser known risk factors to developing this serious oral health problem is stress. Research has shown a strong link between prolonged stress and a higher risk of gum disease. Gum disease is a health problem that originates in the mouth but also can affect the entire body. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, heart disease, and other serious health problems.

Stay Calm, Stay Healthy

At our Sacramento dental office, we know that life can be super stressful, especially during the holidays. If you find your blood pressure increasing and your anxiety levels rising, try a few of these tips to relax and keep yourself healthy.

  • Eat Well. Fueling your body with the nutrients it needs can keep energy levels high and ready to tackle anything that comes your way.
  • Sleep Often. During the holidays we try to shove so many things into our schedules that sleep is usually the first thing we sacrifice. However, getting enough sleep every night can help ensure your body will stay healthy enough to enjoy all the holiday festivities you have planned.
  • Exercise Regularly. Hit the treadmill, go for a walk, attend a class — whatever you choose to do, make sure you exercise regularly. Exercise is naturally stress reducing, so don’t skip your workouts

The team at our Sacramento dental office wish you and your family a happy, healthy holiday season!

Scared of the Dentist? Let Us Help!

woman afraid of the dentistYou have a dental appointment early tomorrow morning…and you can’t sleep. You toss and turn in bed, you feel tense and can’t seem to relax, you start sweating, your heart starts pounding, and you may even start to feel nauseated. Does this sound like you? If so, you’re one of an estimated 80 million Americans that suffer from dental fear. The dental team at our dental office in Sacramento understands that dental fear is very real and very hard to overcome, but we’re here to try to help.

Top 4 Causes of Dental Fear

Before we launch into some tips that can help ease your fear of the dentist, it’s important to take a look at some of the most common reasons why people have dental fear.

  • Pain
  • Loss of Control
  • Embarrassment
  • Negative Experience

All of these reasons may keep patients from maintaining regular visits with their dentist in Sacramento, and that’s concerning.

Regular Visits Are Important

According to the Dental Fears Research Clinic in Seattle, nearly 20% of Americans will only see the dentist when it’s absolutely necessary instead of taking a preventative approach to oral healthcare. While visiting the dentist may be uncomfortable and cause a lot of stress, seeing your dentist bi-annually can really help keep more involved treatments to a minimum and, in turn, lower anxiety typically associated with the dental office.

Overcome Your Fear

When a fear or anxiety is so strong, it may seem as if all hope is lost and you’ll never overcome it. But give yourself some credit. By opening and reading this blog, you’ve already taken the first step to understanding your fear and how to help alleviate it. Below we highlight our guide to overcoming dental fear. We hope it helps you continue to learn more about your fear and gives you some hope.

  • Talk with friends and family to get a list of potential dentists. Then pick up the phone and call them. Notice the feeling you have on the call and how your concerns are addressed before you even step into a dental office.
  • Take your pick of all the offices you spoke with and call them back to schedule a new patient appointment. Remember to be open and honest on that call about your dental fear so the team is prepared at your visit.
  • Bring a friend or family member to that first dental appointment, preferably one without a dental fear. Just knowing you have a trusted person with you can really help you relax and feel comfortable.
  • Distract yourself by bringing some music and headphones or talk with your dental team about any amenities they may have to help ease stress such as blankets, sunglasses, or noise cancelling headphone.
  • Always be honest with your Sacramento dentist and dental team. Dental professionals are committed to both your health and overall comfort and they should be willing to help you relax so you can get the best care.

If you’d like to come into our Sacramento dental office for a visit, we welcome you to give us a call. We’re always happy to see new patients and are dedicated to providing gentle dentistry in a relaxing and calm environment.  

October is National Dental Hygiene Month

hygiene appointmentWhen most people think of October, we doubt they immediately think of their teeth. In fact, they might not think about teeth at all except if a piece of Halloween candy does some unexpected damage. That’s where we’re a little different. At our dental office in Sacramento, when we think of October, we think of National Dental Hygiene Month, our dental hygienists, and their dedication to keeping patients’ mouths healthy.

About National Dental Hygiene Month

Every October, the dental community celebrates National Dental Hygiene Month. Sponsored by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program (WOHP), National Dental Hygiene Month is designed to increase awareness of how proper dental hygiene is crucial to maintaining a healthy mouth and healthy body. According to the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH) there is a link between oral health and several whole body concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and others.

The Daily 4

The main focus of National Dental Hygiene Month this year is on the top four necessary components of a proper at home oral hygiene routine. These four aspects include:

  • Brushing
  • Flossing
  • Rinsing
  • Chewing

Read on to learn more important information from your dentist in Sacramento.

Brushing

We all know we should brush our teeth everyday, but according to American Dental Association (ADA), there are certain guidelines you should follow to get the most out of your brushing routine. Make sure to brush twice a day for two minutes each. You should select a soft-bristled toothbrush and a small, gentle circular motion instead of a back and forth scrubbing technique to reduce potential damage to your enamel.

Flossing

Sometimes we’re asked if flossing is really necessary. The short answer? Absolutely. Why? We’re glad you asked. When you only brush your teeth and don’t floss you’re missing out on cleaning about 35% of each tooth. That’s a lot of opportunity for bacteria to get comfy and start the decay process. Make sure you’re removing as much bacteria and plaque as possible by flossing in between each tooth and up under the gum line.

Rinsing

Mouthwash may seem like an unnecessary part of an oral healthcare routine. However, the right product can help reduce bad breath, gingivitis, decay, and plaque. Look for one that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. This means the product has been scientifically tested and evidence supports the claims made on the label.

Chewing

Brushing your teeth after you eat is ideal, but we realize that may not be possible for everyone all the time. When you can’t brush after a meal, chew a piece of sugarless gum instead. Chewing gum helps produce saliva which aids in neutralizing bacteria that may be left over from your meal.

We encourage every one of our patients and neighbors to follow The Daily 4 diligently for a healthy, happy mouth. However, it’s still important to maintain dental cleanings and bi-annual appointments with your dentist. These visits help remove stuck-on plaque or tartar that you just can’t get at home and ensure there are no problems lurking in your mouth. If you’re looking for a new dental team, we’re always accepting new patients and would love to see you. Give our Sacramento dental office a call to schedule an appointment.

How Do I Find a New Dentist?

smiling male dentistNobody necessarily wants to embark on the journey of finding a new dentist. But occasionally, it’s just what we have to do. Longtime dentists retire, jobs require us to move, and a variety of life’s situations sometimes make it necessary to seek out a new dentist. However, finding the right new dentist can be a difficult process. With so many practices in your neighborhood all offering similar services, how do you know which dentist to choose? Follow this handy guide below to help find the best dentist in Sacramento for you.

Ask for Recommendations

When starting your search for the right dentist, begin by asking friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers. See which dental offices in Sacramento they visit, ask what they like about their dentists, and find out whether or not they’re located conveniently to home or work. Compile a list of options and hit the internet to do some research on your own. Look at each office’s website, see what services are offered, read up on the doctor and team, and don’t forget to check out their reviews either on their website or on online review platforms like Google. This will help you narrow your list to a few options.

Make Some Calls

Once you have your list of prospective dentists, pick up the phone and start calling them. During these conversations, be open to asking questions that will provide you some insight into the practice philosophy, treatments offered, and overall personality of the office. Some of the basic questions you can ask include:

  • “What is the dentist’s level of training?”
  • “What type of amenities does the practice offer to make treatment more comfortable?”
  • “What should I expect during my first visit?”
  • “How do you handle insurance and financials?”

Schedule an Appointment

After your initial call with each office, you should have a pretty good idea of which practice stands out to you the most and which may be a good fit. The next thing you should do is schedule a consultation or new patient appointment. There’s no better way to ensure you’ve found your new dental home than to get into the office and check it out. During your visit, note things like cleanliness, friendliness, time-sensitivity, and thoroughness. After this first visit, you should know whether that dentist and office is best for your needs, or that you need to keep looking.

If you’re searching for a new dentist, we invite you to call our dental office in Sacramento. We’ll answer any questions you may have and provide you with any information that will help make your decision easier.

4 Habits That Are Destroying Your Teeth

woman biting her nailsEven if you brush twice a day, floss each night, and visit our dental office in Sacramento at least twice a year, you may be doing other things that could be damaging your smile… and you may not even know it. Today we’d like to talk about some of the most common smile-damaging habits and offer ways to help you break them.

Brushing Your Teeth

Yes, your dentist in Sacramento just said that brushing your teeth can be causing damage to your smile, but there’s a catch. Brushing your teeth too hard can cause gums to recede. Once the protective gum tissue pulls away from the tooth, you can experience painful sensitivity and, if left untreated, could eventually cause gum disease or even tooth loss. Avoid using a back and forth scrubbing motion and focus on brushing in soft circles. Also, make sure you’re using the right toothbrush for you. Usually a soft bristled brush is best.

Biting Your Nails

This is one of two habits that’s not only dangerous for your oral health, but also your overall health (we’ll get the other one is just a bit). Nail biting can introduce all sorts of bacteria that are hiding under nails into your system. And as we know, bacteria isn’t good and can make us sick. In reference to your oral health, biting your nails can lead to jaw issues as well as tooth damage. The position your jaw is in while nibbling on nails can place unnatural pressure on the joint. Doing this repeatedly over years can result in jaw pain or TMJ/TMD. Nails are also made of a hard material, and hard material doesn’t mix well with teeth. Biting nails can lead to chips or cracks in your teeth. To help you break the habit, try using a bitter-tasting nail polish (it even comes in clear if you’re not into colorful nails) to make putting nails to mouth less appealing.

Smoking or Using Tobacco

We mentioned we’d be talking about another habit that’s both dangerous to oral health and overall health… smoking or any type of tobacco use.. It’s fairly common knowledge that using tobacco can lead to all sorts of health problems, but it can also cause some pretty scary oral health issues. Not only can tobacco in any form cause yellow teeth, it can also increase risk for oral cancer or gum disease, which bring on a whole set of problems of their own. We encourage anyone who uses tobacco to try to quit. We know it’s incredibly hard, but we know you can do it.

Clenching and Grinding

Clenching and grinding teeth typically occurs as a response to stress, but it can also happen subconsciously during sleep. No matter when it happens, the results are usually the same. People who clench or grind their teeth tend to experience jaw pain and suffer from TMJ/TMD. What’s more, damage to teeth or dental restorations can also occur. Most times, relief is found by using a nightguard which keeps the teeth from rubbing together or the user from biting down forcefully.

Even though our Sacramento dental office is all about preventing dental problems before they arise, we know that issues will still occur, sometimes as a result of any of the habits listed above. If you ever encounter a problem with your smile, we always welcome you to give us a call.

Receding Gums: Causes & Treatments

woman with receding gumsIf you’ve ever noticed gum tissue appear to creep up higher and higher over time, showing off more and more of the actual tooth, you’ve seen gum recession in action. Really slow action, but nonetheless, you’ve experienced it. Gum recession is incredibly common and can be treated. But our dental office in Sacramento wants to emphasize that just because it’s treatable, doesn’t mean you should let it go. It can be painful and be a sign of more serious problems.

Why is Gum Recession Concerning?

Besides helping to hold teeth in place, one responsibility of gums is to protect the roots of teeth. When gums start to recede, it leaves the roots exposed to the elements, making teeth sensitive and painful. If gum recession is left untreated, it will only lead to more serious and often painful problems including:

  • Severe inflammation
  • Increased susceptibility to bacteria
  • Erosion of bone and supporting tissues
  • Rotting teeth that will fall out

Top Causes of Gum Recession

There are a variety of things that can cause gum recession. While we can list multiple reasons here, the main culprits include:

  • Roughly brushing or using a hard-bristled toothbrush
  • Tooth grinding
  • Tobacco use
  • Genetics
  • Gum disease

Signs of Gum Recession

Gum recession is a slow process, and the best way to catch it early is to maintain regular visits with your dentist in Sacramento. In between appointments, keep an eye out for:

  • Teeth that appear longer
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Little indentations on the teeth near the gum line

Gum Recession Treatment

Treatment can vary greatly depending on the severity. Sometimes a new toothbrush and better flossing habits will keep it from progressing. For more serious cases, a deeper dental cleaning called scaling and root planing may be appropriate. People who have let the recession progress for a long time may need to explore a surgical option.

Gum recession isn’t something to take lightly. If you’re experiencing it yourself, we welcome you to call our Sacramento dental office. We’ll talk about your oral hygiene habits, examine your mouth for any other problems, and discuss the best treatment option for you.

What Your Teeth Are Trying to Tell You

young woman smilingDid you know that your teeth actually tell a fairly accurate, somewhat detailed story about who you are? They can give away your age, your hygiene habits, and so much more. At our dental office in Sacramento, we love meeting and treating smiles of all ages for this very reason. Now let’s take a moment to find out what your teeth are trying to tell you!

What’s Your Dental Identity?

The way your teeth are shaped and even positioned can reveal the details about your personal dental identity. Here’s how it all breaks down:

  1. Central Incisors – These bad boys are always front and center acting as your front teeth. They also reveal your age. Younger people tend to have rounded corners on their incisors, while the other generation will have short more square-shaped teeth.

  2. Lateral Incisors – Meet your front tooth’s next door neighbor! Like the rest of your teeth, they need to look good and function well help you break down food and stay healthy. Did you know they also reveal your gender? Our Sacramento dental office has found that these teeth tend to be more rounded in women while men’s laterals are square and long.

  3. Canines – Last but not least are your canines! They’re next to your laterals and, while their name may suggest otherwise, should not resemble the fang-shaped teeth commonly found on our furry friends. It’s been said that these teeth have the ability to tell someone about your personality, depending on their unique shape. Pointier, longer teeth can signify aggression. Flattened or rounded tips show passiveness. Smaller teeth can indicate shyness.

Are Your Teeth Feeling The Grind?

Do you grind your teeth? Do you maybe grind your teeth in your sleep and not even know you’re doing it? Well, if so your teeth can tell the truth! Grinding or bruxism is usually a sign of stress, anger, and anxiety. Your teeth may be showings signs of wear such as chips or breakage, this could mean you’re grinding whether or not you even know you’re doing it!

Aside from personality traits, gender, or habits, your smile really does say so much about who you are. That’s why your dentist in Sacramento wants to make sure your teeth are always healthy and functioning at peak performance. Do you have questions about what your teeth may be trying to tell you, or just want to learn more? Give us a call!

5 Favorite Treats That Can Crack Teeth

biscottiThere are a lot of things that can cause tooth damage. We’ve seen cracked teeth from sports injuries, loose teeth caused by clenching and grinding, and there’s always the chance for us to treat someone for a simple cavity. But at our Sacramento dental office, it’s also pretty common for us to have patients come in with tooth damage caused by eating. There are several types of foods that are most often responsible for these types of cases, so we’ve put together a list of some of the top culprits for you to help you avoid tooth damage from foods.

  • PopcornNotoriously viewed as the #1 worst food for teeth, popcorn can seem harmless, but the danger tends to hide within the puffy, airy, buttery treat. We’re talking about the kernels. These sneaky, hard bits of popcorn can cause some serious damage if bitten on, so snack away carefully.
  • BaguettesWhen we talk about bread, we typically think about soft, easily chewable sandwich bread. But there’s another type out there that isn’t so easy to nibble. Baguettes have a hard, crispy texture that’s hard to rip and difficult to chew and it can cause some problems for teeth and dental restorations.
  • Olive PitsAny type of food that naturally contains a pit or a seed, like olives, is dangerous to your teeth. While oftentimes the pit is removed, there are occasions when it’s not. Since we may not know when the pit is gone, we recommend eating these types of foods with caution as to not quickly bite down and crack a tooth.
  • CandyIt’s pretty well known that candy isn’t great for teeth, but some types of candy are worse than others. Sticky candy like caramels aren’t only tough to chew, they can loosen fillings and other dental restorations. Hard candy isn’t much better. Although it’s meant to be sucked down and softened to a manageable size, sometimes we become impatient and start chewing right away. This can break teeth.
  • Ice CubesIce cubes are hard by nature and can be useful when helping to cool down a drink. But we should never chew on them. Eating ice can cause teeth to chip or even to sustain tiny cracks. These cracks may remain unnoticeable, but over time, they’re a great place for bacteria to hide and eat away at enamel creating cavities.

We want our patients to enjoy what they eat, so we’re not asking you to avoid these foods altogether. We’d just encourage you to use caution when eating them to reduce your risk of damage. If you do happen to crack a tooth with a popcorn kernel or lose a filling thanks to a caramel, give our dental office in Sacramento a call. We’ll be glad to help.

Understanding Dental X-Rays

male dentist examining x-rayWhen you come to your appointments at our dental office in Sacramento, there’s a good chance we may recommend taking some x-rays of your mouth. And for good reason. Dental x-rays are critical in helping us detect a number of potential oral health problems early, often making treatment easier and more affordable. What our patients may not know is there are various types of dental x-rays that are appropriate to help diagnose different issues. In this blog, we cover some of the most common types of dental x-rays and why dentists use them.

Two Main Categories of X-Rays

When referring to dental x-rays, or radiographs, we are either referencing intraoral x-rays or extraoral x-rays. Extraoral x-rays take a view of the entire mouth structure, including the teeth, jaw, and skull while intraoral x-rays are more about the details of each tooth. Each category of x-ray is beneficial in its own way, depending on what your dentist in Sacramento is looking for.

Intraoral X-Rays

Since intraoral x-rays show such a detailed view of the teeth, they’re great at helping dentists identify specific problems that otherwise would be undetectable including:

The most common type of x-rays taken at most dental offices fall into the intraoral category and are known as bitewing x-rays. Bitewings x-rays are used so frequently because they can successfully detect even the tiniest cavity that the naked eye wouldn’t be able to see. When caught early, cavities are much easier to treat.

Extraoral X-Rays

The images produced from extraoral x-rays often show the bigger picture and look at the entire anatomy of the mouth and skull. Extraoral x-rays can help examine:

  • Tooth Growth & Development
  • The Relationship Between the Teeth & Jaw
  • Impacted Teeth

If you need an extraoral x-rays, you’ll most likely have a panoramic x-ray taken. The photos from a panoramic x-ray show the entire mouth and are helpful in diagnosing problems with your jaw joint (TMJ), developing wisdom teeth, or even a tumor.

Dental x-rays are incredibly safe as they emit a low amount of radiation. But that doesn’t mean you should go crazy and get as many as possible. How often you should get dental x-rays taken depends on your age and your oral health. If you’re at higher risk for decay, our Sacramento dental office may recommend x-rays at each visit twice a year. If not, we may only suggest them once a year. Either way, having x-rays of your mouth completed regularly will help keep your smile healthy.

5 Reasons You Can’t Get Numb at The Dentist

get numbAt our dental office in Sacramento, we always want to ensure our patients’ comfort. One of the ways we do that is by numbing the area we need to work on before we begin treatment. But sometimes we encounter someone who has difficulty getting numb. Why is that? We have some possible explanations.

Hot Tooth

Having a ‘hot tooth’ is a dentist’s way of saying your struggle to get numb may be caused by a particularly painful tooth. When a tooth is causing you a lot of pain, your nerves change. They can either become overactive, therefore needing more anesthetic to calm it down, or they can actually develop additional pain receptors. More nerves means the need for more numbing agent.

Movement During Administration

We understand the thought of getting a shot of anything isn’t very pleasant, especially when that injection is going into your gums. But it’s really important that you try really hard to stay really still. If you squirm or jerk away suddenly, your dentist in Sacramento can miss the nerve, requiring additional injections to get properly numb.

Missed Target

While we all like to think we hit the bullseye 100% of the time, the truth is, we’re human. Unfortunately, sometimes that means we miss the target. Most dentist are trained so well that they hit their mark the majority of the time. But if you aren’t getting numb, we may recommend taking another try.

Your Body

Everyone is different, and just like how some people react differently to medications, anesthetics can do the same thing. Sometimes your body removes the numbing agent from your system too quickly, making the numbness wear off faster than we’d like. Other times, your body’s removal process is lightning fast, meaning you may not get numb at all.

If you have a history of being unable to get numb prior to a dental procedure, try to relax before your visit to our Sacramento dental office. We’re here to help ease any concerns you may have and we’ll do whatever we can to help keep you comfortable throughout your visit.