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.

In Case of a Dental Emergency, Read This Blog

dental emergencyThe last thing anyone ever wants to deal with is a dental emergency. Dental emergencies, like any type of unexpected issue, can be scary, painful, and even confusing as to how to handle them. At our dental office in Sacramento, we want to help our patients and neighbors understand different types of dental emergencies and what to do if any happen to them.

Common Dental Emergencies & What to Do

Before we talk about what you can do at home in case of a dental emergency, there’s one thing you should always do first. If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, call your dentist in Sacramento as soon as you can.

If you can’t get in to see your dentist immediately, try some of the tips to relieve some of the most common dental emergencies:

  • Knocked Out Tooth – A knocked out tooth has a higher chance of being saved if it’s put back into the socket within an hour, so it’s important to act as quickly as you can. After you find the tooth, only touch the crown (the white part). Contact with the roots can cause even more damage. Try putting it back into the socket without using too much force. If you can’t, put the tooth in milk or store it under your tongue with some spit and get to a dentist.
  • Lost Filling – Losing a filling can be painful and the best thing you can do is get something into the hole. Head to a drugstore to buy over-the-counter dental cement and pack the area where the filling used to be. If you can’t find dental cement, sugarless gum is another temporary option. Whatever you do, don’t use anything with sugar, it’ll make the pain worse.
  • Chipped or Broken Tooth – Find any piece of the tooth that you can and rinse them with water. You should also give your mouth a good rinse as well. Stop any bleeding by applying pressure with a piece of gauze and use a cold compress to reduce pain.

Avoid a Problem

The best way to avoid a problem is to prevent a problem. How? We’re glad you asked! First, make sure you’re maintaining regular visits with your dentist in Sacramento at least twice a year. Regular appointments can help catch any problems before they become an annoying, and possibly painful, emergency. Next, be aware of things that may lead to an issue. For example, popcorn, sticky foods, and hard, crunchy snacks are notorious culprits of dental emergencies. Avoiding them can reduce your risk of a dental problem.

 
If you’re looking for a new dentist, are experiencing a dental emergency, or are new to the area, we welcome you to make an appointment at our Sacramento dental office. We’re here to keep smiles healthy and help those experiencing an emergency get relief.

 

“What Do I Have to Do to Be a Dentist?”

become a dentistConsidering a career as a dentist? We may be biased, but the team at our dental office in Sacramento thinks it’s the best job you could have. Dentists, dental assistants, and dental hygienists are an important part of a total healthcare team, and are crucial to keeping patients healthy. Not only that, but they can also be responsible for transforming smiles and giving people a confidence boost which affects their lives as a whole. If you’d like to experience the rewarding feeling we get each and every day, dentistry may be right for you.

Will You Enjoy Being a Dentist?

Before we go into the specific steps on how someone becomes a dentist, it’s important to discuss the qualities and interests one should possess in order to be happy in this field. First, an interest and excellence in the sciences is recommended. Dentistry and the courses required to become a dentist are highly science focused, so it’s crucial to have an organic attraction to science. Second, dentistry is also incredibly artistic, so you should be good with your hands and be incredibly dexterous. Lastly, you should have a desire to help people — both in terms of health and beauty.

The Steps to Become a Dentist

After you’re able to identify that the basic, underlying characteristics of being a dentist interest you, you can start to outline the steps you need to take to become a dentist.

  • Complete Your Bachelor’s Degree. While you can get your Bachelor’s in anything, you’ll be one step ahead if you focus on biology, chemistry, physiology, and other sciences.
  • Score Well on the DAT. Following undergraduate school, you’ll need to take the Dental Acceptance Test and score well to be considered for dental school.
  • Go to Dental School. Typically, dental school lasts four years and includes a combination of classes and clinical work.
  • Take Your Board Exams. Before you can practice dentistry, you’ll need to pass the National Board Dental Examinations as well as any other requirements necessary for the state you wish to practice in.

“Will I Be Able to Find a Job?”

While the job hunt is always a daunting task no matter which industry you decide to enter, there’s some good news about the rising need of dentists from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job availability is projected to grow at 18% through 2024, more than double the average growth for other careers.

If you’re seriously considering a career as a dentist, our Sacramento dental office recommends that you perform research on what dentists do and what your job environment could look like to see if it’s something that will make you happy.