How To Prevent Cavities & Tooth Decay

Cavities, often referred to as tooth decay, are tiny holes that develop in the hard surface of your teeth. They are most common in children and teenagers, but they can affect everyone including infants and toddlers. Take a closer look at what causes cavities and how you can prevent them.

Causes of Cavities

Cavities typically occur as a result of poor oral health habits but other various factors can increase the risk of getting a cavity, including:

  • Dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when there is a lack of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps wash away food stuck on the teeth and it counters the acid produced from bacteria in the mouth, which reduces the chance for cavities.
  • Foods and drinks. Certain foods aren’t as easily washed away from saliva, making them more likely to cause decay. Foods you should limit include: ice cream, honey, sugar, soda, cake, chips, cookies, and hard candy.
  • Constant snacking or sipping. Drinking or eating frequently throughout the day results in increased bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria produce the acids that attack tooth enamel.
  • Lack of fluoride. Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps prevent cavities and can reverse the early stage of tooth decay. Use a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash to help reduce your chance of cavities.

Cavity Prevention

Regular dental visits and daily brushing and flossing are the best protection against cavities. But, cavities left untreated get larger and larger, affecting the deeper layers of your teeth. Deeper cavities result in higher chances of experiencing severe toothache and infection. So, when it comes to cavities, prevention is key. Below are some of our cavity preventions tips:

  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste. Brush and floss twice a day, ideally after each meal.
  • Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Professional teeth cleanings remove plaque that builds up overtime which isn’t removed by regular brushing and flossing. Going to the dentist twice a year is one of the best cavity prevention options.
  • Dental sealants. Sealants protect the tooth enamel from harmful plaque and bacteria.
Learn More About Fillings and Sealants

What Is The Best Teeth Whitening Option?

Teeth can become discolored for a variety of reasons and many people want their teeth to be bright and white, so they look into teeth whitening. When it comes to getting a brighter smile, you can whiten your teeth at home or get a professional treatment. At home whitening typically includes over-the-counter products like whitening strips, pens, or toothpaste. Professional whitening includes custom-made whitening trays you take home or an in-office appointment. What might work best for some, might not necessarily work best for another. So what’s the best teeth whitening option for you?

Both over-the counter and professional treatments use peroxide bleaching agents as the main active ingredient. The difference between each option is the amount of peroxide it contains. Over-the-counter solutions use 3 – 20 percent where professional solutions contain 14 – 43 percent. Solutions with higher amounts of peroxide should be left on for a shorter amount of time. Keeping the solution on longer will dehydrate your teeth and make them more prone to sensitivity.

Professional Whitening

Professional teeth whitening options are much safer and more effective. Additionally, it ensures that all of the proper precautions are taken. So, when it comes to protecting your gums, the whitening agent only gets on your teeth.

At-Home Whitening Products

Over-the-counter products are cheaper, generally take longer to see results, and have limitations depending on your tooth color and health prior. If used incorrectly, at-home teeth whitening kits can lead to burned gums, tooth sensitivity, or pain. It’s always best to talk with your dentist to decide the best treatment option for you.

If you choose to go for an over-the-counter solution, we recommend that you use one from the list of bleaching products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Bleaching Products with ADA Seal of Acceptance Learn More About Teeth Whitening

What Are the Pros and Cons of Dental Implants?

One of the hottest topics in dentistry today is the use of dental implants. Implants have certainly revolutionized the field of replacement teeth. If you are considering tooth implants for missing teeth, you need to know the facts. There are pros and cons of dental implants that are carefully weighed by your dentist before surgery can be scheduled.

Research continually shows that dental implants are the best long term solution to replace missing teeth. However, like any type of surgery, there are advantages and disadvantages.

Cons of Dental Implants

No procedure is right for everyone, including dental implants. While there are some risks associated with dental implants, they are relatively mild. The disadvantages include:

1. You have to meet a set of requirements

In order to have dental implant surgery, you first have to meet certain criteria. As the procedure involves anchoring the implant to your jaw bone, if you’ve experienced significant bone loss as a result of losing teeth, there may not be enough for the dental implant to be successful. You also have to be in good health so your jaw bone can fully recover.

2. The cost of the procedure

While dental implants are the best long term solution for tooth loss, they’re not always the most cost effective. However, dental implants are well worth the price for the comfort, confidence and natural feel they give you.

3. The procedure can be lengthy

Dental implants are not a quick fix and can take several months to complete. If you’re replacing an existing damaged tooth, this will first need to be removed. Your dentist will then need to prepare the tooth site before fitting the implant anchor. Once the anchor has been fitted, you’ll need to wait several months while it heals and the surrounding bone grows. The final stage of the procedure involves placing the artificial tooth.

Pros of Dental Implants

While there are some drawbacks to dental implants, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

1. They look and feel like natural teeth

Dental implants have the appearance of real teeth. In fact, once your implant has been fitted, you’ll hardly be able to tell the difference between your replacement tooth and your real teeth. Implants also won’t feel any different from your regular teeth. Since the implants are anchored to your jaw, they’ll feel just as strong as your regular teeth too.

2. You can eat and chew with ease

Unlike dentures, implants won’t feel any different than your regular teeth when eating and chewing. Once the dental implant procedure is complete, you can eat what you want! Whether you fancy crunchy snacks, chewy foods, or hot or cold drinks, you can eat and drink without concern — just remember not to overdo the sugary treats.

3. Dental implants can last a lifetime

Implants are a long-lasting tooth replacement solution. You may need to replace the crowns every 10-15 years, but if you look after the implants, they can last a lifetime.

4. They’re easy to take care of

You should take care of your implants the same way you would take care of your regular teeth with daily brushing and flossing, regular dental checkups and a healthy diet.

5. They prevent bone loss

Dental implants are anchored into your jaw, similar to your real teeth. The screw thread of the implant acts as the root of a natural tooth, so with dental implants, your jaw bone remains strong and you won’t experience bone loss.

You can see that the advantages heavily outweigh the disadvantages. Dental implants have been proven to be a great option for people who suffer from tooth loss. We always want to make our patients look and feel great, and dental implants is a great way to do that. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have, so contact us today!

Learn More About Dental Implants

Insights On Invisalign and Other Clear Aligners

Braces can feel like a bit of a contradiction. You want a clean, straight smile, but you first have to wear a highly visible device on your teeth for months on end. You want a well-aligned bite, but for a while braces make some day-to-day tasks, such as brushing teeth and eating some foods, more difficult.

Fortunately, for those who want to show off their pretty pearly whites as they go AND show off the results of their realignment as soon as possible, one option is clear plastic removable aligners such as Invisalign aligner systems.

The Benefits of Clear Aligners

Clear aligners, as their name suggests, are clear plastic devices intended to straighten your teeth over time. They are nearly undetectable by observers. Not only are they more difficult to see (getting you closer to being able to show off that perfect smile), but they can be taken out temporarily when needed, allowing you to brush your teeth or eat without distraction.

The Clear Aligner Fitting Process

For most clear aligners, including Invisalign systems, your dentist will take a mold of your teeth and send it in. From there, orthodontic experts will determine the difference in positions between where your teeth are and where you want them to be and will create several stages of aligners to gradually move your teeth into the desired position. You’ll have to wear the aligners most of the time—about 22 hours a day. At certain points in the process as your teeth change position, you’ll move on to the next device, switching them out until your teeth are right where you want them to be.

Alternatively, there are kits you can order to take a mold of your teeth at home. This is an overall less expensive process, but you aren’t likely to achieve the same results and you lose the benefit of your dentist’s expertise. Clear aligners may not be the best solution for you, so it’s best to consult your dentist beforehand if you decide to go this route.

How to Pay for Clear Aligners

Depending on the degree of work your teeth need, an Invisalign clear aligner treatment can cost between $3,000 and $7,000. According to Invisalign’s website, your insurance may be able to pay as much as $3,000 of the cost. For the amount your insurance doesn’t cover, you have some options.

Many dentists offer payment plans, which allows you to split a large bill into smaller payments over time. This makes payment much more manageable for some people and can be useful in emergency situations when you don’t have time to save money for the treatment before you begin.

Of course, if you can save the money ahead of time, that’s probably the better option. If you’re planning to save up for an Invisalign clear aligner treatment or something similar, you may want to consider opening a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). Accounts such as these allow you to take a certain amount of money out of your paycheck, pretax, to pay for some expenses—including, in some cases, clear aligners. The types of accounts you’re allowed to open and the amount of money you can put into them will vary depending on your situation, so talk to your bank or another financial professional about your options.

For those who can use them, clear aligners such as Invisalign can be the least intrusive solution for straightening teeth. It’s nice not to have to worry about the looks and inconveniences of traditional braces! The initial cost of clear aligners may seem daunting, but options are available to help pay for them. If you have any questions about clear aligners or other methods of straightening your teeth, please give us a call at (614) 799-5576 . We’ll be happy to walk you through your options and help you find the best possible solution for your smile.

Learn More About Invisalign

Dental Assistant vs. Dental Hygienist: Understanding the Difference

The general public, including dental patients, typically do not quite understand the difference between a dental assistant vs. a dental hygienist. Sometimes we are all referred to as “dental technicians,” “nurses,” or “those girls.” Here at Dental Reflections Dublin, we feel it is important for our patients to know what roles we play and to understand the key differences between the 2.

Dental Assistant

A dental assistant is like the dentists “right-hand man” or woman for that matter. Programs or schooling for dental assisting is typically offered either at a vocational school- which you take part in during high school, or a career/technical program. A dental assistant can take x-rays, update a patient’s health history, obtain vitals, take dental impressions, do dental charting, place topical anesthetic, assist during dental procedures such as crowns, fillings, bridges, implants, extractions and more. They are multi-talented and fast workers. It is entirely optional for a dental assistant whether or not they become state board certified. If they choose to do so, they can advance in the profession and become licensed in additional areas of dentistry to be able to do more independently chairside. A dental assistant is a crucial aspect to a dental practice and is needed to make sure operations flow smoothly and seamlessly.

Dental Hygienist

A dental hygienist must obtain a minimum of a 2-year degree from college, and pass all three parts of their state board exam to practice (work). A dental hygienist can also take x-rays, dental impressions, update health history, obtain vitals, dental charting, and place topically. What they don’t do is assist the dentist. What they do in addition to a dental assistant is professional dental cleanings, administer nitrous oxide, injections to numb patients (separate board exam), in-depth patient education, and nutritional counseling. They basically have their own column of patients, and the doctor does the exam at the end of each appointment to check for cavities. So, they do work more independent.

Both are great professions and are unique in different ways. The ultimate goal is to make every patient experience phenomenal by building rapport, addressing any questions or concerns, and keeping them reflecting their best.

Be “Teeth Ready” for Back to School

Back to school is approaching fast and we want to give you the best tips to keep your child’s teeth healthy. First things first – get their checkup visit in before school starts! You want to be sure they don’t have any active decay or cavities in their mouth! According to the CDC, about 1 of 5 (20%) children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth. The issue seen here is studies also show that children with active decay have issues with eating, speaking, playing and learning while at school. This is why preventative dental care is so important.

Check-up Visit

At your child’s checkup visit to the dentist, we can offer services that get them back to school ready. We assess their need for sealants to prevent cavities, apply a fluoride treatment to strengthen the enamel, and give tips on nutrition and brushing and flossing. We emphasize the importance of brushing twice a day for two minutes. We apply a disclosing solution to highlight missed areas while brushing so they know where to focus at home to effectively remove all the plaque. We also give them the tools they need if they are in braces to properly care for their teeth while at school which is a necessity.

Healthy School Lunches

This is a big one for children’s dental care. Fill your child’s lunchbox with foods high in fiber, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and even nuts and cheeses. These are all teeth-friendly and help promote a healthy pH in the mouth to prevent cavities. Avoid juices, sodas, sports drinks, dried fruits, fruit snacks and any other sticky, high sugar foods. Water and milk are best to drink. Pretzels and chips aren’t the best for the teeth, but other healthy choices listed above can offset and help remove the particles from the teeth better. They also dissolve more with saliva alone as compared with sticky, high sugar foods.

Vending Machines

This is another tough one. Vending machines are slowly improving to offer snacks that have a positive impact on children’s dental, but we aren’t there yet. Vending machine foods are filled with preservatives. Avoid candy bars, chips, sports drinks, energy drinks or soda. Sipping on anything but water throughout the day can significantly increase a child’s risk for decay. We see it all the time. Propel has water with electrolytes that is safe to drink with no added sugars or sweeteners. Other brands are coming out with their own versions as well.

Sports Mouthguard

Finally, it is important to protect your child’s teeth during any physical contact sport. This includes but is not limited to lacrosse, basketball, football, wrestling, and hockey. More and more schools are making this a requirement and make it a must that the guard be colored so the coach can see it in the mouth. A custom sports guard is well worth the money and protection, still allowing your child to talk and play as they normally would during a game vs. walking in our doors with a tooth in their hand. (Yes, we have seen it).

Whatever your dental needs are for your children, we can help! Call us today at Dental Reflections Dublin to schedule your child’s dental appointment and we will be sure they are back to school ready!!

4 Signs You May Have Sleep Apnea

Do you find yourself tossing and turning throughout the night? What about during the day? Do you feel exhausted and like you need a nap on the daily? Most people think of only old, overweight men that develop sleep apnea. You would be surprised how many people we see that are fit, skinny, young and females that have mild to moderate forms of sleep apnea. This condition is not something you want to ignore, as it lowers your quality of life and you may not realize how good our bodies are designed to feel. Read up on some signs that could point towards sleep apnea that you may never have thought to blink twice about.

1. Morning Headaches and Jaw Pain/Tension

Since we are only listing 4 signs today, we figured we would combine these together since they kind of go hand in hand. If you find yourself waking up with headaches in the morning, this could mean you are clenching and grinding at night. This is a result of not getting enough oxygen when you sleep. Your body is fighting for air because your airway is blocked, causing the clenching and grinding. This leads to morning headaches, tooth and jaw pain, and tension, including tooth sensitivity.

2. Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux at night when you lay down to sleep is another sign of sleep apnea. It is very common to see a patient in the dental chair that complains of acid reflux and it is evident in their teeth as well. The acid breaks down the enamel, exposing the underlying tooth structure- dentin which leads to tooth sensitivity and excessive wear on the teeth. This can also cause issues with the lining of the esophagus and severe stomach issues if left untreated.

3. Depression

If you feel depressed on the daily and have other signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, that may be the explanation for it. When your body is not getting enough oxygen at night while you sleep, the result is depression. This is due to the stress and your body not being able to compensate for the lack of oxygen. It is common to see patients with untreated sleep apnea taking depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure medications. It is also common for these patients to come off of these meds after treating their sleep apnea.

4. You Snore or Gasp for Air

Have you ever noticed yourself waking up from a loud snore? What about your heart racing and feeling short of breath? Maybe your bed partner is tapping you to change positions due to keeping them up at night. Sleep apnea is typically at its peak when lying on your back. When you turn to your side, it allows your tongue to be at a more relaxed state, not blocking your airway and able to take in more oxygen. If you find yourself gasping for air in the middle of the night, or snoring loudly on a nightly basis, it is time to address it.

Here at Dental Reflections Dublin, we offer comprehensive treatment, assessing the patient as a whole, to be able to recognize signs of sleep apnea. We offer an at-home sleep study and alternative treatment options to a CPAP for mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea. Call us today for a consultation at 614.799.5576.

Wisdom Teeth Removal: To Keep or Not to Keep?

Everyone always dreads the recommendation wisdom teeth removal. But why? Well let’s face it, no one likes to have surgery or be put under. The only part of that the general public enjoys is watching videos of people coming out of their anesthesia. The real question is: why do some people get to keep their wisdom teeth, and others don’t? What happens if my dentist tells me to get them out and I don’t? Believe it or not, we recommend things for a reason. We are all about PREVENTATIVE dental care which means prevent something wrong before it happens. Here’s the scoop on those “extra teeth” we don’t really need.

What happens if I don’t get them out?

If your dentist is recommending the wisdom teeth come out, you really should get them out. We typically address the wisdom teeth around junior/senior year of high school, or age 17-18. This is when we have a good idea of whether or not a person has room for them or not. We take a panoramic x-ray that circles around your head and shows us all your teeth, including the roots and surrounding bone. This shows us how many wisdom teeth there are and if the roots are developed enough to have them extracted and if the patient does, in fact, have enough room to keep them. Some patients only have one wisdom tooth or none (lucky!!). We have seen some with 8. That’s right, and they grew two sets.

What Age Should You Remove Your Wisdom Teeth

The younger the wisdom teeth come out, the better. The bone is more flexible, and the healing time is faster. Delaying having them out can cause cysts to develop around the teeth, leading to infections and more invasive surgeries. We have seen it: 25-year-old male presents with pain on the lower left. We had recommended the wisdom teeth come out at age 18 due to shortage of space.

A Patient Who Didn’t Get Their Wisdom Teeth Removed

All four teeth were impacted (under the gums). The patient developed a cyst on the lower left wisdom tooth and was referred to the oral surgeon immediately. The bone had to be scraped out under the tooth and sent in for a biopsy. The extra scraping or debriding, along with the biopsy bill, led to the patient having a much longer recovery and more out of pocket costs. Thankfully the cyst was benign, and no further action had to be taken. Thank goodness this was caught early because if left untreated, could have caused a hold in the jaw. The risks of surgery highly outweigh, keeping them, and not being able to predict what the future holds. If they do happen to come in the mouth, we typically see gum problems and cavities develop due to hard to access areas.

Why do some people have a room and get to keep them?

Like we said earlier, every single patient is different. Some people have large mouths, and the gum tissue is healthy around the wisdom teeth, and they can keep them super clean. We also see a lot of cases where a patient had 4 teeth out for braces due to crowding, but later grew and had room for the wisdom teeth to come in and stay. Trust us when we say this: If we truly believe you have room to keep the teeth and keep them healthy and predict they will not cause issues down the road; we will absolutely recommend keeping them. The thing is, the average person, unfortunately, does not have room and needs to get them out.

At Dental Reflections Dublin, we typically refer all of our wisdom teeth extractions to an oral surgeon, who specializes in removing these types of teeth. Wisdom teeth can be unpredictable and come in different sizes and shapes, so we feel most comfortable with our patients in the hands of a surgeon, who extract teeth all day long. Recovery is the same whether having one or four removed at the same time, so we recommend all 4 to keep it to one procedure. An oral surgeon can address any questions or concerns you may have about recovery, sedation options, and the procedure itself.

National Dental Hygiene Month

October is National Dental Hygiene Month which means we are talking about all things preventative care. This includes your toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, floss picks, tongue scraper, mouthwash and more. Dental Hygienists pride themselves on oral hygiene instruction so we want to share with you what they share with their patients on a daily basis.

Oral Health Care Routine

Did you know spending just about 5 minutes a day can save you hundreds upon thousands of dollars over the years? That’s right – if you set aside 2 minutes, twice a day to brush and about a minute for some floss and mouthwash – you will be doing yourself a huge favor. This routine ensures the best preventive dental care you can give your teeth and gums, keeping them healthy and preventing the need for fillings, crowns and gum treatments. Did you know more people lose their teeth due to gum disease than cavities? Yes, it’s true, you can lose all of your teeth without ever having a cavity in your life.

Why Do I Need to Brush and Floss?

Most people don’t realize the importance of flossing. It’s actually just as important if not MORE important than brushing. Foods we eat can help remove the plaque from our teeth as we chew and mash our food up. There is no physical way to clean out the plaque, bacteria and food particles that settle UNDER the gumline other than flossing. We aren’t talking about a Waterpik or toothpicks. We are talking about that good ol’ fashioned piece of string you wrap around your fingers and use in the mouth. Here are some tips on proper brushing and flossing techniques.

Brushing 101

You can brush for 10 minutes and miss the gumline. Keeping the teeth clean is all about technique, not the brand of toothbrush or flavor of toothpaste you are using. It is critical to use the proper technique to remove plaque most effectively. It’s like getting the most bang for your buck. Make those 2 minutes count and angle that toothbrush at a 45-degree angle near the gum line. Look in the mirror and see your bristles getting up by your gums where your teeth touch them. This is where the plaque settles. Go in a circular motion while using overlapping strokes. Go over the same areas more than once. Plaque forms on the teeth in layers so one swipe doesn’t do the trick. You need to go over the same areas multiple times to get all the layers.

Flossing

Flossing is a whole other challenge. We get it, it’s a pain. The key is – get a piece from about your fingertips to shoulder when your arm is straight out. Then wrap the floss around your middle fingers, evenly on each side until you have about 6 inches remaining in between the 2 fingers. Now use your thumbs and index fingers to actually slide the floss in between the teeth. You should only have about an inch when you place your thumbs together to insert the floss between the teeth. Once you are in between, angle side to side in a “C” shape motion hugging each side of the teeth to ensure plaque removal. Get down to the base of the gumline. This takes practice, but practice makes perfect!

No matter what other additional aids you are using from a daily mouthwash, tongue scraper, soft picks for in between meals or a Waterpik, you will make your hygienist proud and your teeth will thank you. Remember, just 5 minutes a day, to keep the cavity bugs away. For family dentistry in Dublin, Ohio, contact us today!

Brushing Your Little One’s Teeth

We all know you are supposed to start brushing your kid’s teeth upon first tooth eruption. But how on earth do you brush their teeth and get them to open and cooperate? Especially once they get all 20 teeth in and you have to get wayyyy in the back??? We know, it’s a challenge. It can be stressful and frustrating. The last thing you want is to say forget it, I can’t do it, and then they have 10 cavities at their first check-up visit. I know, I know, 10 sounds extreme but we have seen it and it’s not uncommon when parents give up on brushing their child’s teeth. In this article, our team at Dental Reflections Dublin discusses a few tips and tricks to brushing your little one’s teeth.

Fluoride Toothpaste

Step one: use fluoride toothpaste. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends a rice size amount of fluoride toothpaste upon first tooth eruption. Yes, we know your 6-month-old can’t swish and spit out the toothpaste, which is why a rice size smeared into the toothbrush is recommended. Tom’s natural strawberry toothpaste with fluoride is a great option. Even if a child swallows a meniscal amount of fluoride, it will not harm them and is very safe.

Swaddle

Having trouble controlling your child’s hands, arms and legs? One of our favorite tips is to have the child’s toothbrush ready on the counter with toothpaste. After bath time, grab them out of the bath and wrap/swaddle them up in a towel while their arms are down. Sit down on the toilet seat lid and place the child on their back across your lap and grab the toothbrush. Tilt their head down a bit and boom – you have control and can get the toothbrush in the mouth to brush. It is a bonus if they are mad and scream and cries so that they open big and you can see what you are doing. Sing a fun song while you are brushing and tell them how good of a job they are doing even if they are screaming. After every night of the same routine, they will start to listen to the song and learn it, knowing you will brush their teeth whether they like it or not. It’s just like anything else they have to do that’s mandatory – it’s not an option. It’s truly all about what you make it. It gets really fun when the child hears your song every night and starts to sing it when they learn to talk. Would you rather take a minute to brush your child’s teeth while they are mad or spend hours with your child at the dentist getting their cavities filled?

Stand, Chin up, and Head Back

Once a child is old enough to listen and follow directions, have them stand in front of you on a stool in the bathroom in front of the mirror. Have them tilt their chin up high and rest their head back on your chest. Cup their chin with one hand while brushing with the other while the child opens wide. This gives full sight of brushing all surfaces of the teeth including outsides by the cheeks, the grooves where they chew and the insides down by the tongue and near the roof of the mouth. This position also allows you to see to floss a child’s teeth which is important once the floss clicks in and the teeth start to touch. Once most children reach toddler age, they want to take a turn too. Great! Let them practice and take a turn but be sure to follow up after even if it looks like they are doing a good job. It’s a good idea to pull the cheeks up/down to see the toothbrush brushing the gumlines where the plaque tends to settle. It is important to help a child brush until they can tie their own shoes. This is when they have better dexterity and can be trusted with good technique. Most importantly, don’t forget the song you started singing when your toddler was a little baby.

For family dentistry in Dublin, Ohio, contact Dental Reflections today. Questions? Just give us a call. Our team is happy to help!