What Causes Tooth Sensitivity & How is it Treated?

With the weather changing, many may notice that the cold air is causing a sharp pain at the base of a tooth. This could be the result of tooth sensitivity, but what exactly does that mean?

Tooth sensitivity can occur for many reasons

Cementum.png

The leading cause of tooth sensitivity is the erosion of enamel and cementum. Your enamel is a hard substance that covers the surface of your tooth. Its job is to protect the tooth above the gum line from everyday life. The job of the cementum is quite similar except its responsibility lies beneath the gum line. The cementum covers and protects the roots as well as a more delicate layer of the tooth known as the dentin.

 

Dentin has small fluid-filled tubes that connect directly to nerve endings underneath the gum line. When the cementum is eroded, the dentin has a higher exposure to the elements. Which causes pain and sensitivity to hot and cold components that may not have been there before.

 

Fear not, having sensitive teeth is very common and treatable. The treatment you receive is based on what is causing the sensitivity. Common treatments are:

 

  • Desensitizing toothpaste: After multiple uses, it starts to block the pain linked with sensitive teeth.Hot vs Cold.png
  • Fluoride: This treatment is applied by your dentist to different parts of your teeth to help strengthen your enamel.
  • Root Canal: If decay is present in the root. Your tooth will be cleaned out and packed with a filling. After that, a crown is set on top to protect the tooth from further damage.
  • Surgical Gum Graft: This is used when root exposure is the cause of sensitivity. Soft tissue is taken from another part of your mouth and used to fill in the gaps. Since there are many types of gum recession, your oral surgeon will recommend which solution is best for your health.

With sensitive teeth it is very important to not neglect your dental hygiene; this can cause your condition to get worse as well as running the risk of developing (or worsening) gum disease. Remember to brush twice a day, floss at least once, and come in for your checkup twice a year. If you are experiencing pain due to tooth sensitivity schedule an appointment for yourself right away!

 

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

10 Things To Keep Your Teeth Thankful

It’s the time of the year where we all think a little longer about what we’re thankful for. Whether it’s having a warm place to sleep, a good job, food in our bellies, or having our favorite people around for the holidays. Everyone has something that fills them with gratitude, but have you ever wondered what your teeth are thankful for?

Our teeth do a lot for us on a daily basis. Between being the starting point for digestion and maintaining your facial structure -day or night, your teeth are always on the clock. Which means you should be too when it comes to taking care of them. Here are 10 helpful tips and tricks for keeping your teeth happy, healthy, and thankful this Thanksgiving!

 

  1. Body (1).pngBrush your teeth twice a day: This is crucial for keeping your teeth thankful as well as intact. When you go to bed without brushing you’re wallowing the bacteria on your teeth to sit and harden all night. This can lead to plaque, tartar, and even gum disease. This is why it’s super important to brush your teeth in the morning and before you go to bed for at least 2 minutes each time.

 

  1. Flossing at least once a day: It’s as important as brushing. The bristles on your toothbrush aren’t small enough to get into those little spaces between our teeth. When you don’t floss plaque starts to build up in those little crevices. The longer it sits there the harder it is to remove and then it becomes easier to develop gum disease. Flossing can be difficult, especially with children, ask us about recommended alternatives to traditional floss string.

 

  1. Minimize acidic drinks: Beverages such as fruit juices and sodas all have very low PH balances. Which means they are more acidic and break down the shiny, smooth layer of protection on your teeth called enamel. It’s your enamel’s job to protect your teeth from plaque and tartar. When the acid eats away at it you lose that protection and it doesn’t grow back. It’s best to limit these drinks to special treats and drink lots of water immediately after.

 

  1. Beware of sugary foods: Whether its candy or foods that have a high amount of sugar in them, the bacteria in our mouths pair with that sugar and turn it into acid. The acid then eats away at your enamel, which we covered in No.3. It’s important to limit these foods as well as drink water after, you also want to wait 30 minutes before brushing after you eat or drink sugary things. This helps avoid grinding the acid deeper into your enamel.

Body (2).png

  1. Avoid tobacco: Not only can smoking and chewing tobacco turn your teeth yellow, but it also puts you at a higher risk of tooth loss, developing gum disease, and oral cancer. Tobacco damages the gum line around your teeth leaving pockets where bacteria, plaque, and tartar easily build up. Once those pockets are festering, the bacteria starts to eat away at your bone structure.

 

  1. Only use your teeth for chewing: A lot of people have the bad habit of opening bottles, cracking nuts or seeds, ripping open packages, and doing other things with their teeth. This can lead to cracked or broken teeth and even mouth sores. Remember to only use your teeth for chewing and if you have a cracked or broken tooth call your dentist right away. Teeth don’t fix themselves!

 

  1. Research before poking the hole: An oral piercing, much like any piercing, can make you feel great about yourself but have you thought about the potential harm? Your mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria and when you introduce a healing wound to it, there are endless amounts of infections you could get if the piercing is not taken care of properly. There is a risk of uncontrollable bleeding and nerve damage. You are also at risk for chipping or breaking teeth, and swallowing or choking on balls or studs if they come loose. Be sure to do the research and only go to a licensed and reputable piercer.

 

  1. Protect your teeth: Injury can happen in any physical activity which is why it’s very important to wear a mouth guard if you play any sports. The mouth guard protects your tongue, teeth, cheeks, lip lining, and gums from serious injury. Ask us about which mouth guard works best for your sport.

 

  1. Drink water: Water has lots of benefits not limited to keeping us alive. When you drink water between meals and brushing it helps to rinse away some of that harmful bacteria. It also helps to prevent dry mouth while strengthening your teeth and gums!

 

  1. Visit your dentist at least twice a year: Seeing your dentist twice a year is crucial to your dental health. Get cleanings, check for gum disease, and make sure everything is working the way it’s supposed to.

 

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

The Impact of “Scary” and “Sweet” Candy on Your Teeth

It’s finally that time of the year, the leaves are falling, the weather is getting cooler, and Halloween is right around the corner! With the spooky season rapidly approaching you should know which candies are “scary” for your teeth and which ones are “sweet”.

The “Scary” Candy

  • Sticky and gummy candies (Laffy Taffy, gummy bears, caramel)
  • Hard candy (jawbreakers, lollipops, Jolly Ranchers)
  • Sour candy (Lemon Heads, War Heads, Sour Patch Kids)
  • Popcorn balls

These “scary” candies can cause a whole monster of problems from enamel loss to tooth damage. The sticky/gummy candies adhere to your teeth giving the sugar time to seep into all those nooks and crannies. beware-candy.jpgHard candy sits in your mouth slowly coating your teeth in sugar and can crack or break teeth as you chew them. The sour candies are super acidic and break down the enamel, weakening your teeth and making them more susceptible to cavities. Treats like popcorn balls have sharp kernels that can cause bleeding gums and other painful sores in your mouth.

The “Sweet” Candy

  • Semi-Sweet and dark chocolate
  • Candy bars with nuts
  • Any fun-sized candy bars

Now, any candy not in moderation can be harmful. However, these “sweet” candies are a safer bet for your teeth and gums. The chocolate and candy bars with nuts can be quickly and easily rinsed out with saliva or water. The fun-sized candy bars are smaller portions which means less sugar while satisfying your cravings!

Speaking of sugar, it can have a pretty sinister effect on your teeth, enamel and your gums. In our mouths, we have bacteria that when introduced to sugar, creates acid. Sugar also lowers the PH balance in our mouths making it more acidic. This acid can bond to and erode your enamel, Scary right?demineralization.jpg This process is called demineralization, luckily our saliva is a base, so it helps prevent and restore some of the damage done in a process called remineralization.

Over time this acid wears our enamel down so much that the sugar can seep into our teeth causing cavities. When these cavities are left untreated, they can lead to tooth decay and tooth loss. According to the ADA (American Dental Association), 91% percent of Americans over 20 have had cavities and 27% of them have experienced tooth decay.

Those are some spooky statistics! Thankfully there are some steps you can take to prevent the sugar from doing too much harm to those pearly whites. We suggest that after eating those “scary” treats, you chew some sugar-free gum. The sugar-free gum absorbs some of the acidic gunk stuck to your teeth, lessening its harmful effects on your enamel. It is also wise to wait at least 30 minutes after eating before you brush. This keeps the sugar and acid from being ground into your enamel which can cause even more damage.

Always remember whether the candy is “scary” or “sweet” to eat in moderation, AND brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day also helps. Keep those beautiful teeth happy and healthy, schedule your dental check-up today!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

Navigating the Holiday Table

Can you believe it; the holiday season is already here! It’s time to start digging out family recipes, decorations, and all those holiday goodies buried in your closet. Schedules are everywhere from family gatherings to local festivities. Peppermint, gingerbread, and pumpkin are holiday classics! What is your favorite holiday dish? We all know that sugary foods and drinks may rot our teeth, but most don’t know what foods can be beneficial.  So here’s a list of those that might actually surprise you.

  • Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables
    • Carrots
    • Celery
    • Broccoli
    • Kale
    • Okra
    • Apples
    • Pumpkin has magnesium which takes care of your enamel. Pumpkin seeds have iron and help keep your tongue healthy.
  • Cheese and Dairy
    • Plain yogurt
    • Cheese has a lot of protein and calcium which is good for enamel.
  • Seafood
    • Salmon
    • Mackerel
    • Eel
    • Tuna
    • Most seafood has fluoride.Food

Fun Facts

  • Nuts have calcium along with phosphorous that helps strengthens enamel.
  • High fiber triggers your flow of saliva.
  • Whole grains have B vitamins and iron, keeping your gums in tip-top shape!
  • Dark chocolate has polyphenols which are a natural chemical that limits bacteria.

Sources: Colgate, Oral-B, and Medical Daily

Healthy Holidays Recipe

Yes, there are health benefits to these foods and drinks but it’s important to remember: MODERATION IS KEY! So enjoy your favorite holiday foods and indulge in a bit of guilty pleasure.Moderation

We wish you happy holidays and good cheer!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

4 Tasty Foods That Are Actually Horrible for Your Teeth

Even those with outstanding oral hygiene can fall victim to a few unknown cavity causing culprits. Some of our favorite treats, while seemingly healthy, can be responsible for tooth stains, bad breath and other forms of mouth destruction.  Most tooth-conscious consumers already know to limit sugar and steer clear of things like soda and hard candies to keep their dental hygiene top notch. But, here are a few surprising snacks just as capable of damaging your smile.

  1. Pickles

PicklingPickles? Yes, while not typically considered something to avoid for oral health, pickles are soaked in vinegar during the pickling process.  Vinegar is highly acidic, and acid is notorious for quickly wearing down tooth enamel. So, it’s important to keep this in mind when eating anything pickled. Drinking water or rinsing your mouth can help clear some of the acid once your meal’s over.

 

  1. Peanut Butter

You either love it or hate it. You may even be particular in how you eat it, straight from the jar or only in a sandwich… Have you ever tried it with pickles? This childhood staple can be a healthy snack when opting for the “no added sugar” variety. Sugar helps peanut butter better grip your teeth. While it may take some getting used to, it’s a healthier choice all around.

  1. Dried Fruit

In small doses, dried fruit is a healthy alternative to sweets such as chocolate bars and Dried Fruitice cream. However, dried fruit has high sugar content, and is often sticky making this treat more likely to get caught in between your teeth for days. When something high in sugar is stuck in your teeth it feeds the bacteria and contributes to dental erosion. Checking nutrition labels can help you weigh the best choice for your sweet tooth.

  1. Crackers

This appetizer favorite is not typically associated with dental problems, yet consuming refined carbs is a known cause of inflammation. The significance here is that inflammation can be linked to a number of dental dangers such as gingivitis and other stages of periodontitis. Limiting carbs such as white bread and pasta, pretzels and white rice can be a treat to your weight, overall health and your smile.

Regular dental check-ups with a dedicated hygiene routine will keep your smile on a healthy track. At a glance, it looks like limiting sugar in all forms is what it’s all about. Remember sticky and pickled foods also pose a risk. No need to stress. While your teeth may thank you for cutting out these items entirely, moderation and awareness will serve you best.

 

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

4 Risk Factors of Gum Disease to Discuss with Your Dentist

Have you ever had something caught in your teeth for days? It’s likely because it was lodged deep between a tooth and your gums. That gum tissue is what keeps our chompers in place. There are three stages of gum disease and all are treatable.

gingivitis_2The mild form of gum disease is Gingivitis. This is where plaque and other byproducts irritate the gums. It makes them swollen, tender, and more likely to bleed. Periodontitis is stage two. The gum tissue starts deteriorating as it detaches from the teeth forming pockets around the roots. This leaves teeth exposed and more susceptible to decay. Finally, Advanced Periodontitis can set in. Tooth pockets get deeper as the severe gum recession leads to bone loss causing loose teeth.

Common Risk Factors of Periodontal Disease

  • Genetics – it’s hereditary and some of us are just unlucky! While you may be more susceptible to periodontitis, having a good oral hygiene routine with regular dental visits can help your smile stay healthy. Talk to us about finding the right balance for your needs.
  • Health – underlying medical conditions like diabetes and Crohn’s disease, as well as lowered immunity from illnesses and treatments often affect gum tissue. Medications, hormonal changes and obesity are also culprits and should be discussed.
  • Bad Habits – chewing on ice, not brushing or flossing daily and using tobacco are the most common behavior changes we encourage you to ditch. However, substance abuse and a diet lacking in vitamin C will also impact your smile.
  • Stress – it’s inevitable. But keep an eye on exactly how much it’s weighing you down. High levels or chronic stress can lead to poor hygiene habits. Anxiety can also lower your immune system from effectively fighting off bacteria that causes gingivitis (stage 1).

When to Seek Help

Common red flags of gum disease include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Gums look bright red
  • Teeth wiggle

There’s no home remedy to cure gum disease. Only professional treatment can help, so call and schedule an exam today 775-465-2388.

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

Deep Cleaning: What it means to you.

General-Title.png

You’re a good person – you pay your taxes, pick up litter, and make it to the dentist every 6 months. Now you’re being told you may need a deep cleaning…but don’t you clean your teeth every day? And isn’t a deep cleaning what the dentist always does? Not quite, although we know it can sometimes feel that way.

A regular dental cleaning is what you are accustomed to receiving every 6 months. The intention of this visit to the dentist is to maintain your healthy gums and give your teeth a little extra attention when it comes to matters of plaque and tartar, which can be difficult to remove fully with a toothbrush and floss alone. The odds are that if you are brushing and flossing every day, and taking any other steps recommended by your doctor, a regular dental cleaning is the perfect addition to your regular care that will keep your smile happy and healthy.

Deep cleaning, a necessity?

A deep cleaning, on the other hand, is what becomes necessary when the health of your teeth and gums become jeopardized by gum disease, also known as periodontitis.  To put it in perspective, your gums are supposed to have tight and healthy seals around your teeth to protect them and keep them firmly in place. A standard part of your regular cleaning is your doctor using a diagnostic tool called a periodontal probe to ensure this is the case; the probe is used to measure the depth of the space between your gums and teeth. Typically 1-3mm is considered normal, and there should be very little or no bleeding at all. Upwards of 4mm is a sign that you are developing ‘pockets’, which are a space between the teeth and gums that becomes prime breeding ground for bacteria and tartar buildup. Plaque that is not brushed and flossed away left on the teeth for more than 24 hours can become tartar, which only your dentist can remove. Left unattended, these pockets can deepen and compromise the tooth and the surrounding bone structure. If the dentist uses the probe and measures 4mm or more, and/or there is significant bleeding and signs of inflammation, then a deep cleaning will be scheduled to help you get your smile back on track.

Deep cleaning is not a scary process. 

Oftentimes, your dentist will break the cleaning into two separate visits to most effectively treat your mouth, this is especially important if your entire mouth needs attention so that you’ll be numbed in only smaller sections of your mouth each time, making for a completely comfortable process and quick recovery. The most common forms of treatment are called scaling and root planing. The process of scaling involves using a professional tool to remove plaque and tartar from both the surface of the teeth, and the pocket area that has been created between your teeth and gums. A scaling instrument, on the other hand, removes plaque and tartar from the surface of the root of your teeth, which is below the gum line and not visible. These tools are the only thing that can removed built up plaque, as even floss cannot reach far into deepened pockets. The good news is they do a wonderful job of cleaning up any tartar that has built up beneath the visible surface.

Periodontitis is a progressive disease, and left unattended can turn into a much more serious problem. Fortunately, the treatment is typically straight forward and as long as you follow the doctor’s aftercare instructions, the bacteria should be reduced to manageable levels and your gums should return to normal and lose any signs of redness. If you are feeling pain or sensitivity in your teeth, have red and/or puffy gums, or are experiencing bleeding during normal brushing and flossing – call us. The sooner periodontitis is identified the easier it is to treat and the less expensive it is for you, if you have any concerns about your oral health just remember that a professional evaluation is never harmful and may offer you some great information.

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

Dental Health and Pregnancy

Blog Title-ExpectingPregnantLady

Pregnancy changes a lot about the female body, which is no surprise considering all the physical and hormonal effects that take place over the course of those 9 months. All that considered, the profound connection between pregnancy and dental health can still be a shock to many.

As an example, the rapid surge in hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, can alter the manner in which gum tissue reacts to plaque. Plaque buildup affects everybody, so it’s always important to make sure your teeth are being cleaned thoroughly. However, ‘pregnancy gingivitis’ is a condition that affects the vast majority of mothers-to-be and should be carefully monitored. Prevention is always more useful than treatment, and for that reason we encourage a diet high in Vitamin C and B12 – don’t forget, baby’s teeth are developing too so it’s important to have a diet that’s nutritious for your teeth and theirs! Be sure to brush twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste and floss each evening as well.

In addition to ‘pregnancy gingivitis’, pregnant women are also at risk for ‘pregnancy tumors’. These tumors are inflamed, but non-cancerous, growths that may develop when the gums become swollen and irritated. Usually the tumors will resolve themselves post-birth, but if you find one and it’s uncomfortable or painful, don’t hesitate to call our office so we can help you proceed with the right treatment for you.

In general, if you are either currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you should always let your dentist know immediately in order to best proceed to minimize the risk of pregnancy-related complications. If needed, most procedures can be performed during pregnancy, particularly if you are in pain or have any concerns. However, we do not recommend any elective procedures until after the baby’s birth in order to minimize health risks to you or the child. Pregnancy does come with health concerns to be monitored, but as was the case before you received the news about your bundle of joy, consistent and thorough cleaning is always your best bet. Above all else, relax and enjoy this special time!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

The Importance of Dental Hygiene and Back to School

importanceAh, the hustle and bustle of going back to school!

As we head back into school mode, there are lots of things on the “to-do” list to get done before the first day rolls around.  Every student should be equipped with these essentials:

  • Backpack
  • Notebooks
  • Markers, pens, pencils
  • Dental cleaning

Dental cleaning?!?  Yes!  Healthy teeth, gums and proper dental hygiene are as crucial as everything else on the list in preparation for the coming school year.

Studies have shown dental related issues are a main reason that children miss school. If you maintain and stay on top of your oral health care you are setting yourself up for future success! There is no age limit when it comes to having a healthy mouth and smile.*

As your first day of school swiftly approaches, no matter what grade you are going into, first impressions are always looming in the back of your mind.  And first impressions are huge!  No one needs to have a big chunk of cereal in their teeth or stinky breath on their first day back. Your buddies will never let you live it down. When your teeth are well taken care of, brushed, flossed, with clean fresh breath, you are well on your way to a GREAT first impression!

A friendly smile says a lot about a person.  When you have a clean, attractive smile you’ll exude confidence. When you are feeling confident, you promote a positive sense of self which can help spark a conversation or attract another person’s attention.  You’ll have a lunch buddy in no time!

Not to mention, those school pictures that wind up being permanent fixtures in the yearbook (and on your fridge at home). With a dashing smile, you will have no regrets when you look back years later and think, “Man!  That is one good looking smile!”

If you are due for a dental cleaning and polish, now is the perfect time to go in for an appointment!  This goes above and beyond your daily standard brushing and flossing.  A good dental cleaning will remove all of the plaque or tartar buildup that may have accumulated over the past few months.  Any sort of gingivitis will be examined and taken care of. A nice polishing of your teeth will finish up your look.  Afterwards, your teeth will feel AMAZING!  Your teeth will literally be squeaky clean!  There is no better feeling than a smooth fresh tooth surface.

We all get those first-day jitters when going back to school.  It’s completely natural.  But when your alarm clock goes off the morning of your first day back, you eat your breakfast, gather your belongings, and you brush and floss your teeth, you will have one less thing to worry about before you get to class!

So just remember, before you walk out the door for your first day of school, make sure that you have spent at least two minutes brushing those pearly whites, flossed each and every tooth, and maybe even given a quick once over with some mouth rinse.  You are bound to have a great first day back with smiles all around!

*Source:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21330579

Smith Valley Smiles
2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

7 Serious Health Concerns That Also Affect Your Teeth

Mouth and Body Go Hand-in-Hand

Did you know that poor oral health care can be the cause of many different health issues within your body itself?  There are many connections between taking care of your mouth, teeth and gums and the rest of your body.

People with gum disease have a 40% increased risk of developing a chronic health condition. Bacterial build up on your teeth and gums give you a greater probability of infection which may then spread throughout other areas of your body.

Common Health Issues That Affect Oral HealthJune FB Candy (6)

  • Diabetes: causes oral inflammation and affects the body’s ability to process sugar.
  • Heart Disease: about 91% of those with heart disease are also found to have periodontitis. Inflammation in the mouth corresponds with the inflammation of blood vessels which then leads to less blood flow causing an increase in blood pressure.  There is also a chance of plaque that is attached to the blood vessel itself, breaking off and traveling to the heart and/or brain resulting in a heart attack or stroke.
  • Issues during Pregnancy: pregnant women with gum disease run the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and susceptible to developmental issues such as learning disorders, lung and heart conditions.
  • Osteoporosis: osteoporosis, like periodontitis, causes bone loss. It’s common for those with osteoporosis to also have some degree of gum disease.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: those with rheumatoid arthritis battling gum disease have found gum disease treatment may also reduce overall body pain in regards to their arthritic symptoms.
  • Smoking: bad for your health, both overall and oral.  Nicotine interferes with your gums’ ability to fight infection.  This also extends the recovery period for those gum infection treatments.
  • Obesity: those with 20% or higher body fat percentage have been linked to rapid progression of gum disease.

Taking excellent care of your oral health has a positive domino effect for the rest of your body.  Same can be said with your body – taking care of your health and body can positively affect your mouth, teeth and gums.
If you care about your health and yourself, you in-turn need to care about your mouth.  Be true to your teeth, or they will be false to you!

Smith Valley Smiles
2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388