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National Candy Month

June 26th, 2018

June is National Candy Month, so what better time to discuss the impact that sugary treats can have on your teeth?

We know that many of our patients love candy...in fact, we do too!  However, knowing some tips and alternatives in order to minimize the damage that candy can cause is always helpful.

Let's start by addressing some of the worst aspects of candy:  The longer candy is in your mouth, the more damaging it can be.  Hard candy that you suck on falls into this category.  Instead of eating the candy within a couple minutes, and then allowing your saliva to start to neutralize and wash it away, sucking on hard candies for long periods of time, allows your teeth to be continually bathed in sugar. Alternatively, if you eat hard candy quickly and crunch down on it, you risk fracturing a tooth, filling or even a crown!  If you've got to satisfy your hard candy fix, opt for a hard candy with an alternative sweetener (something not made from sugar, such as Xylitol) and don't bite down on it.

Chewy and sticky candy can also wreak havoc in your mouth.  The stickier and chewier candy is, the more it bind to your teeth, especially all of those little grooves on the chewing surface of your molars.  Again, the longer the sugars are present in those little grooves, the more likely that the sugars will cause damage.  Also, chewy and sticky candy can bind to permanent crowns and pull these off rather easily.  Avoiding chewy and sticky candy altogether is probably your best bet here.

"Is gum chewing OK for my teeth?" is a question we get often.  Chewing gum that has the sweetener Xylitol in it, can actually fight cavities!  Your best bet is reading the label on gum to see if it contains Xylitol or real sugar.  The downfalls to gum chewing (even with Xylitol in it) can include the gum binding to crowns and pulling them off.  For some people, chewing gum can exacerbate the tightness of their chewing muscles, causing pain and discomfort.  If you're going to chew gum, choose one with Xylitol in it.  If you notice your jaw joints and jaw muscles are feeling tight or painful, stop chewing gum for a few days a give your muscles and joints a break.

We hope that your June is filled with delicious treats in celebration of National Candy Month, but proceed with caution!

Teeth Whitening

June 5th, 2018

Whether there is a big occasion coming up, or you are just wanting to freshen up the esthetics of your smile, teeth whitening can be a great option for you.

We will discuss several different options to whiten your teeth in this blog.

The most well-known are whitening strips, that can be bought over the counter.  These typically have a lower strength of Hydrogen Peroxide, which is the active ingredient, than whitening options used professional by dentists.  The greatest benefit to this option is the ease of purchasing.  Most grocery stores sell these types of strips in the dental care section.  However, a major downfall to the strips is the one-size-fits all model.  People have very different sizes and shapes of teeth and with an over-the-counter strip, you are not getting a custom fit of the strip, thus may not achieve optimal results.

A second option is In-Office Whitening, where you schedule an appointment at our office to have your teeth whitened in approximately 2-3 hours.  Most of the time during the appointment, you are relaxed and reclined in the dental chair and can be watching our TVs over head to pass the time!  The benefits to In-Office Whitening are an all-at-once result and no further steps or time are needed at home.  This is a great option prior to a big event, such as wedding, or for the super busy person that just doesn't have time to put towards whitening at home.  One downfall to the in-office whitening, is an increased chance of post-operative sensitivity.  Since In-Office Whitening uses a higher percentage of hydrogen peroxide, you may experience more sensitivity.  However, we always offer our patients that are completing In-Office Whitening, custom fluoride trays to use for sensitivity afterwards.  In most cases, the sensitivity goes away within a couple days.  The fluoride trays, can also then be used for custom at-home whitening in the future!

A third option is At-Home Whitening with custom trays made by our office.  We offer this option *AT NO CHARGE* to all of our patients after they have completed their recommended dental treatment.  In addition, we give one tube of whitening gel to our patients at their cleaning visits, so they can maintain the shade of their smile.  This option is nice, as you, the patient have control over the final shade achieved and have more control over post-operative sensitivity.  If you have achieved your desired shade, you can simply stop using the gel and save it for another time.  Also, if you begin to have sensitivity, you can take a few days off, until it subsides and then try again.  The biggest downfall to this option, however, is the amount of time it takes.  Depending on the percentage of whitening gel you are using, the whitening session can take anywhere between 30 minutes to over night.  In addition, two dental appointments are needed (approximately 15 minutes each) to first, take impressions for the custom trays and second, to deliver the custom trays and ensure proper fit.

We never recommend whitening with any of these methods if you have active dental decay, as this can increase your chance of sensitivity, and can progress the decay at a quicker rate.

We would love to see you at the office soon, for either In-Office Whitening or impressions for At-Home Whitening with custom trays!

https://www.stevensfamilydental.com/teeth-whitening

Lost Your Temporary Crown?

May 19th, 2018

Oh no!  It's Monday morning, you're on the way out the door, but before you leave you decide to grab a quick snack.  You reach for that leftover bagel on the counter top, begin chewing and the next thing you know, something feels different in your mouth.  Your tongue scans around everywhere and it's then that you (and your tongue) notice that the tooth you recently had dental work on feels different.  You feel something hard in your mouth and spit it out...it's the temporary crown!  What should you do next?

Losing or breaking a temporary crown is unfortunately something that can happen during the period of time between the crown preparation appointment and the crown cementation appointment.  The temporary crown is formed with a temporary material and is cemented with a temporary cement.  The reason being, that when you return to the office for your permanent crown fitting and cementation, we would ideally like to remove the temporary crown with ease, by either gentle pulling it off, or cutting it off.  There is a fine line between having a temporary crown that stays on between visits and having a temporary crown that is then easy to remove in order to fit the permanent crown.

If your temporary crown comes off, first assess if you are having any pain.  If your tooth has had a root canal prior to the crown, you likely will not feel much at all, since the tooth no longer has a nerve.  If your tooth has not had a root canal, you may experience some or no sensitivity, especially to hot, cold or air.  Second, try to get to a mirror where you can see your tooth and attempt to place the temporary back on the tooth.  The temporary crown is a custom fit on your tooth and is like a puzzle piece, in that it only fits one way.  DO NOT bite it into place, but instead try to fit it onto your tooth with your fingers.  As your family dentist in Lakewood, CO, we advise you at this time to call the office and we will help guide you on next steps.  Office Contact Information   Of course, If you feel uncomfortable trying to or can't place the temporary back on, please also call the office and we can help guide you with next steps.

It is important that a temporary crown is on a tooth that has been prepared for a crown as much as possible.  The temporary crown protects the underlying tooth structure, as well as maintains the space between the adjacent and opposing teeth.  Even a temporary crown that has been off for a few days can make for a situation where the permanent crown has to be remade.  The new permanent crown may not fit between the teeth anymore, due to the adjacent teeth moving.  Teeth move surprisingly fast, so it's best to call the office if you have a temporary crown come off or break.

Crown Information

National Children's Dental Health Month

February 16th, 2018

The month of February is National Children's Dental Health Month.  The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends that a child see a dentist for their first visit by age one, or six months after their first tooth erupts, whichever happens first.  At Stevens Family Dental, we love seeing patients of all ages and encourage you to bring in your children for regular check-ups.

We have found that children who are familiar with the office and our team from a young age are more comfortable coming into the office when there is a more emergent situation, like trauma to a tooth.  It helps when the emergency dental visit isn't the first dental visit to our dental office.

At our children's dental check-up visits, we review home-care tips with parents and kids (age-appropriate).  We also polish teeth, place fluoride and take x-rays if warranted.  If you have any questions about what the first dental visit would be like for your child, don't hesitate to contact our office.

 

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