Did you know that there are three types of cavities? Keep reading to learn about the three types of cavities, and how you can avoid them!
Smooth Surface Decay
This cavity is probably one of the easiest to prevent, and maybe even to treat. These occur on the smooth parts of the tooth (hence their name) and come from plaque and bacteria that sits too long on the tooth. You may be able to prevent these by practicing good oral hygiene. Flossing in particular can cut down on the time that plaque sits on the teeth, thus preventing this type of cavity. Keep in mind that if conditions are right, you may be able to treat a cavity of this type with fluoride, so make sure to ask your dentist what’s the best treatment for your cavity.
Pit and Fissure Decay
These cavities occur on the chewing surface of your back teeth, where your teeth are a little more flat than sharp. Your molars are not perfectly flat, and these fissures help you break up your food properly as you chew. As a result, these fissures and pits in the teeth can be exposed to plaque and bacteria in food or drinks that sits around longer than it should. These cavities are often preventable, especially if you are good at remembering to brush your teeth twice a day.
This kind of cavity occurs at the root of the tooth, where decay can cause some serious damage. These cavities are often seen in older people, especially those who have instances of receding gums. This is because as the gums recede, they expose the root of the tooth that was previously protected. This new exposed part of the tooth is thus in danger of developing new cavities as it is exposed to more food, sugar, and acid that lingers in the mouth after eating. Though the cavity occurs on the root of the tooth, it’s often on the surface of the root (not at the very bottom of the root).
Regardless of the type of cavity you have, seeing a dentist early can help you avoid complications. If you feel like you may have a cavity, or are due for your half-yearly cleaning, call us today at (208) 322-1112 to schedule a consultation.
Dental issues can sometimes be written off as purely cosmetic, but there’s nothing further from the truth. Did you know that a tooth that has had a root canal or has been damaged in a sports injury can cause more trouble down the road than you bargained for? One of our patients had a root canal as a young adult, and never got around to getting a crown. She figured that her tooth had stood up to regular use for a while, so what was the rush in spending more time and money at the dentist? Then, she was on vacation in Europe when she regretted that decision. While biting down on a tortilla chip, she broke that weakened tooth and had to spend the next week of travel chewing on one side of her mouth.
Thankfully, our patient came right to us when she got home and was able to get a crown placed on her broken tooth. She was lucky enough not to experience pain during her trip, but that doesn’t mean we’ll all be that lucky. Our recommendation is to always prepare for the worst. Why take chances on a damaged tooth when you can avoid the hassle that comes from an emergency visit?
Keep reading to learn more about two ways we can help prevent future damage to teeth: veneers and crowns.
Crowns are used when a tooth has been through a larger trauma, like a root canal or a large break. If a tooth is badly decayed or damaged, chances are that part of the tooth will need to be removed to save the tooth as a whole. Placing a crown can help strengthen the remaining portion of the tooth, preventing damage to the root of the tooth.
Dental veneers can be thought of as lighter versions of crowns. In general, they operate the same way. Veneers cover teeth, while retaining more of the tooth underneath. They can cover chips, cracks, discolored teeth, and even can be used to fill in gaps between teeth. Veneers can be color-matched to your existing teeth and are often almost impossible to identify as such after they’re placed.
Losing or damaging your teeth can be an upsetting experience, so don’t delay if you’re looking for advice about how to fix your smile. Give us a call at (208) 322-1112 to schedule a consultation today.
- Published in Cosmetic Dentistry
Eyes are the window to the soul, but did you know that teeth say a lot about you, too? By now, we’ve all heard that our dental beauty affects how people view us and grants us either a favorable or unfavorable first impression. To be honest, physical beauty shouldn’t grant some of us better chances at a job, or more options when it comes to love. When it comes down to it, teeth are a part of you, and you’re the one that matters when it comes to happiness with your smile.
Keep reading to learn how eating for your teeth can be an easy way to improve your overall health.
None of us is perfect, but improving dental care is one of those goals we will always support. Why? Because taking care of your teeth causes a ripple effect on the rest of your health. Consider this: if you eat to take better care of your teeth, what happens? If you’re eating more leafy greens to get more calcium (to build enamel in strong teeth), you’re also benefiting from more folic acid in your diet. Calcium is also a well-known bone-builder, so eating more dark, leafy greens can cause a healthy change of tides throughout your whole body.
Why stop at food? The things we drink affect our teeth and overall health just as much as the things we chew. Wine can stain our teeth, soda can leave sugary deposits behind that can turn into cavities. If you’re trying to cut down on sugary sweets and drinks to stay cavity-free, then your blood sugar is lowered, your insulin doesn’t spike as much, and you’re not as likely to gain extra weight that comes from those extra calories.
We recommend drinking water to help clean away tiny bits of food after eating, rather than soda that can cause more harm than good. If you love soda, don’t despair. Try to cut down your consumption by choosing smaller drink sizes, or simply finishing off a meal with a few sips of the complementary water that often comes with your food at a restaurant.
If you’re still working on improving your dental health, we can help. Give us a call today at (208) 322-1112 to schedule a consultation and learn more about dental health.
- Published in Family Dentistry
We at Centennial Dental Center had thought we’d heard it all when it came to teeth, but boy were we wrong! Recently, a patient called us to ask some questions, but it wasn’t about a chipped tooth or our TMJ treatment. It was something she’d done herself, something we thought we’d never hear from a patient. But she was obviously uncomfortable, and with reason, when she said she’d left some teeth whitening strips for TWO HOURS!
Our poor patient said her teeth were so sensitive she couldn’t eat, and could barely drink water. So, before you make the same mistake, keep reading for some very important safety tips regarding teeth whitening.
- Come see us first to make sure your teeth are in the best shape for whitening. If you have a cavity, sensitivity, or veneers there might be a complication with teeth whitening. A simple cleaning might help remove some stains before you even start! To make sure your teeth stay healthy and vibrant, give them the best treatment beforehand.
- Do your research. Each brand uses a different amount of the active teeth whitening ingredients. Depending on if you have whitened your teeth before, you might be able to handle a higher level of active ingredients (either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide). Not sure which way to go? Call us and we’ll help you make a good decision.
- Follow the directions on the box. Please read all directions on the box and follow them to a T. Set a timer so you don’t accidentally leave teeth whitening strips on for too long. If you feel like you need more time to get the results you want, try planning out multiple uses (again, according to the directions) or call us for a customized teeth whitening service!
We’ve also learned that the teeth-whitening strips you find at the grocery store aren’t the best fit for everyone. They’re just a little too short to reach all the visible teeth when some people smile. Also, we’ve heard that they can sometimes miss the edges of the teeth if they aren’t applied just so.
For the best results, we recommend a professional, customized teeth whitening service. Did you know that we can help you brighten your smile from the comfort of your own home? Give us a call at (208) 322-1112 to schedule a consultation about our at-home teeth whitening system today!
- Published in Teeth Whitening
We hear this all the time from the new parents in our social circles, “She just got her first tooth, so it’ll be awhile before we need to bring her in to see you.” But, did you know that the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry actually recommend that your baby see a pediatric dentist within six months of his or her first tooth coming in? If your little tyke is close to his first birthday, don’t bother waiting the six months and bring him in for a birthday check-up. By having your child’s first visit at the family dentist sooner rather than later, you can help set him up for good dental health.
Avoid Tooth Decay
If you have even one tooth, you can get tooth decay. We don’t like to see decay ever, but it’s especially tough on little kids because they’re forming their dental habits. We want to avoid tooth decay in baby teeth (also called primary teeth), because it can sometimes lead to a higher risk of tooth decay in adult teeth.
By bringing your baby in early (within six months of his first tooth erupting, but before his first birthday) we can help set up a future with good dental health. For example, we can help you learn how to brush their teeth properly as well as discuss overall best health practices. Did you know that you shouldn’t let your baby fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth? The milk can pool around their teeth and start causing problems even at such a young age. Limiting sugary drinks and snacks can also help set up your baby’s great dental health.
A Few Tips To Make Your Visit Even Better
- Try to schedule a morning appointment, or when you know your child will be well-rested and cooperative.
- Never use a trip to the dentist as a punishment for behavior.
- Avoid bribing your child to go to the dentist.
Keep your child’s dental health top-notch by encouraging a positive association with the dentist and set them up for a healthy dental future!
Haven’t set up your baby’s first dental appointment? Give us a call today at 208-322-1112.
- Published in Pediatric Dentistry
If you have kids worrying is one of the daily duties that seem to come with the job of parenting. And if your child isn’t still in the crib, you may be wondering/worrying about thumb sucking. Is he or she sucking their thumb too much? Should they have stopped by now? Are they damaging their teeth?
In the Idaho Statesman, “Peanuts” and Linus may have a place, but he’s no role model. Still, you don’t have to worry too much; thumb sucking usually passes before children hit preschool age.
Here’s the deal on thumb sucking and its affect on the teeth from Dr. Wright.
What is normal thumb sucking?
Thumb sucking is a natural comfort behavior of a child. Sometimes during an ultrasound, you can see a fetus in the womb sucking his or her thumb. Thumb sucking can help a child feel secure and happy, and it can be soothing when there is anxiety such as when the child is separated from his or her parents. Thumb sucking or pacifier use can also help a child fall asleep.
How long can it go on?
Parents wonder about thumb sucking and when it should end. This is no time to be like Linus van Pelt, carrying around a blanket and thumb sucking well into elementary school. The American Dental Association recommends discouraging thumb sucking by the age of four. By this time, prolonged sucking can begin to affect the proper development of your child’s mouth, jaw, and teeth. Continued thumb sucking can cause the permanent teeth to be misaligned, and that only spells the need for orthodontics later on.
If it continues into the five or six-year-old age the pressure from sucking will lead to changes in the mouth and teeth. The ADA says that the front teeth may begin to jut forward and the child’s bite will begin to open, meaning the upper and lower teeth won’t be able to touch. As the permanent teeth descend, they will start to become misaligned.
So, how do I break the habit?
OK, so maybe it’s time to help break the habit. There’s no need to put a couple drops of hot sauce on the thumb, as your neighbor may have touted as the perfect thumb-sucking breaker. Usually the best way to get your kid to stop sucking their thumb is to ignore the behavior. In most cases, kids just stop sucking their thumb one day. They usually start to understand that there is a point where sucking their thumb isn’t cool in certain social situations or when they compare to other kids.
Still, if it endures, try these tricks:
- Offer a pacifier to infants. They are easier to take away, obviously.
- Establish a chart and reward system, plotting progress on quitting.
- Encourage and praise all attempts to stop thumb sucking in your child.
Still have questions about thumb sucking and your child? Call us at Centennial, (208) 322-1112, and ask away.
- Published in Pediatric Dentistry
May is Older Americans Month, and this is a great opportunity to discuss dental problems that often occur in men and women who are 65 or older. Routine dental exams and cleanings are the best way to keep your smile healthy at any age, but you may be surprised about some of the things that can affect your teeth and gums.
The Return of Cavities
Like acne, cavities are perceived as being a problem that only occurs in younger patients as they learn good oral hygiene habits, but cavities are a common problem amongst older patients. After age 60, we enter what is considered the second stage of cavity development in our lifetimes.
The Culprit? Dry Mouth
Hundreds of medications result in dry mouth as a side effect. Without proper saliva levels, your teeth and gums are more vulnerable to bacteria, food particles, plaque and tartar. Some medical conditions also cause dry mouth, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. If you are taking care of a parent or grandparent who has been diagnosed with one of these conditions, pay special attention to their oral hygiene. Because of how dry mouth affects your smile, you should tell your dental hygienist about any changes to your medications and health, even if those changes seem minor.
Tips for Treating Dry Mouth in Older Patients
The medications that you take for cholesterol, anxiety, blood pressure and other conditions are important for your health and quality of life, so you can follow some tips to keep your mouth hydrated.
- Drink more water, even if you do not feel thirsty. Always keep a bottle with you.
- Ask your dentist about dental varnish or fluoride gel to protect your teeth from cavities.
- Keep a supply of sugar-free lozenges or gum handy to stimulate saliva production.
- Change your diet to reduce the amount of fruit juices, coffee, alcohol and sodas. Replace these with water. You can add some flavored electrolyte powders to give it flavor.
- Use a humidifier at home. This will keep your sinuses moist as well.
Learn More About Oral Hygiene for Older Patients. Contact Centennial Dental Center.
To learn more about dental services for older patients, dental implants, TMJ treatment and our other services, contact Centennial Dental Center to schedule an appointment. You can contact our office in Boise directly at (208) 322-1112.
The mouth is one of the most sensitive areas of our bodies, and finding something unusual is the reason for concern. A dental exam is the best way to find out more about your bump, and you should take some steps to ensure that the problem does not get worse.
What Causes Bumps in the Mouth?
The cheeks and gums are prone to small injuries while your teeth are chewing foods, so finding a sore or tender area is fairly common. Some of the more surprisingly reasons that people develop bumps in the oral cavity are:
- Injured saliva ducts
- Sore caused by biting your cheek
- Digestive issues
- Trauma to the mouth
What are Types of Bumps Require Treatment?
- Oral thrush that develops when a certain type of fungus grows inside the mouth. The sores typically appear as whitish spots or bumps on the tonsils, upper palate, cheeks, and gums. The spots or bumps may increase in size. Infants, older patients and those with compromised immune systems are at the highest risk for oral thrush.
- Fever blisters, also known as cold sores, look like little blisters on the edge of the mouth, inside the cheeks or on the lips. Fever blisters cause a great deal of discomfort, especially when chewing or talking.
- Canker sores are found on the gums along the bottom of the teeth, on the inside of the cheeks and the upper palate. The sores have a red border that surrounds a white center. As the condition progresses, the sore may grow larger, or you may develop several sores that are clustered.
- Abscessed teeth can cause small red bumps on the gums near the infected tooth. The condition requires immediate attention by an oral healthcare provider to stop the infection from spreading and causing damage to the bone.
- Leukoplakia appears as white bumps at the entry of the throat. Patients who smoke and have digestive problems typically develop these types of bumps.
- Oral cancer causes bumps on several areas of the mouth, such as under the tongue, upper palate and on the inside of the cheeks.
Do You Have an Unusual Bump in Your Mouth? Contact Centennial Dental Center.
If you have a bump in your mouth or would like to learn more about dental cleanings, same day crowns, and our other services, contact Centennial Dental Center to schedule an appointment. You can contact our Boise office directly at (208) 322-1112.
- Published in Dental Exam
We spend a great deal of time interacting with other people. Social situations and business environments put us within other people’s personal spaces, so having bad breath can be uncomfortable for all involved. Understanding what is causing your bad breath helps you find a remedy and know when it is time for a dental exam.
The Breath Test
One of the most common techniques that is used for checking for breath odor is exhaling into a cupped hand and smelling the results. Does this really work? Not necessarily. Your mouth and nasal cavity are connected, and your brain is trained to ignore less obvious aromas, such as what might be found briefly after exhaling into your hand. A better technique is to follow a few steps:
- Test your saliva by licking your wrist and letting it dry.
- Use a spoon to collect saliva from your tongue. Pull the spoon gently from back to front and examine what appears on the spoon. If you notice a whitish substance, you may have halitosis. Sterile gauze can be used instead of a spoon.
Why Your Breath Smells
Before you panic about having bad breath, first ask yourself if you have eaten any foods that may cause the offensive odor. You should also consider your oral hygiene habits. Food particles and bacteria in the mouth can cause bad breath. A good brushing and flossing followed by an antiseptic mouth rinse may eliminate the problem. Dehydration may also give you stinky breath, so try increasing your water intake for a few days.
Dental Problems that Cause Bad Breath
If home remedies do not give you fresher breath, you may have a dental condition that requires treatment.
- Periodontal disease
- Yeast infections
- Dentures and other appliances that do not fit properly and allow bacteria to grow
- Dry mouth
Having your teeth and gums evaluated by a dentist is the best way to diagnose conditions that contribute to bad breath.
Learn More About Dental Exams and Chronic Bad Breath. Contact Centennial Dental Center.
To learn more about treatments for bad breath, dental exams, teeth whitening, dental implants and our other services, contact Centennial Dental Center today to schedule an appointment. Our office is in Boise, and you can contact us directly at (208) 322-1112.
For more than 200 years, the tradition of spring cleaning has been followed by households around the world. The season was chosen as the perfect “tidy up” time of year because winter left behind layers of soot, grime, and dust. If you participate in this annual rejuvenation of all things homey, this is also the perfect time to shine up your smile with a professional dental cleaning.
Is Brushing and Flossing Enough to Keep My Smile Healthy?
Brushing and flossing are excellent oral hygiene habits to develop, yet even a perfect technique may leave behind small amounts of food particles, plaque, and bacteria. Professional dental cleanings remove any remaining build-up at the gum line and in those hard-to-reach places, such as behind your back teeth.
How Often Should I Have My Teeth Cleaned?
You should have a dental cleaning at least twice each year. If you have periodontal disease or deep pockets around your teeth, your hygienist may recommend cleanings every three months. Most insurances cover two cleanings per year.
Are Other Treatments Performed During My Dental Cleaning?
The dental cleaning is part of a comprehensive exam that helps identify any oral health problems. You may work only with the hygienist, or the dentist may also check for cavities and other concerns. X-rays may be taken during one of your cleaning appointments each year. We also take the time to provide education on ways that you can improve your at-home care.
What is Root Planing and Scaling?
Root scaling and scaling is a type of dental cleaning that goes below the gum line. The treatment is recommended for patients who have signs of periodontal diseases, such as:
- Swelling of the gums
- Bone loss
- Loose teeth
- Light-colored gums
- Exposed roots
Left untreated, periodontal disease can cause tooth loss, and you may need an implant to replace the tooth.
Is It Time for Your Spring Dental Cleaning? Contact Centennial Dental Center.
Contact Centennial Dental Center to schedule your spring dental exam and cleaning and to learn about cosmetic dentistry, treatment for TMJ, same day crowns and our other services. If you prefer, you can contact our office in Boise directly at (208) 322-1112.