The Ultimate, Answer all of your dental questions page!
Between all of the amazing team members we have in Magnolia Dental, we have come across almost every question out there! Guess what? We love to answer these questions – we (me in particular) are dental nerds and we know teeth! So, in order to better serve our patients and community, I wanted to create a section that would address some of the most common questions. If you don’t see the answer to your question, feel free to email me at DrMacy@magnolia.dental and I will be more than happy to do my best to answer your question. Better yet, give us a call at 903.603.4406 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find a time that is perfect for you to visit!
What about mouth rinses?
If you watch much television, you will see a lot of commercials that claim using the right mouth rinse will cure any problem in your mouth! It is crazy to me how convincing those commercials cam be, and still be so wrong. Certainly, there is some research that shows that mouth rinses can be beneficial for freshening your breath and potentially reducing some bacteria in your mouth. Will it replace flossing and brushing? Absolutely not!
Will whitening hurt my teeth or damage them?
Who wants white teeth? I want white teeth, you want white teeth, we all want white teeth! The one question I hear frequently from my patients is if whitening will damage or hurt their teeth? Will it make them easier for cavities to form or damage the structure of the teeth? The short answer is NO! That is great news, right? There are some other factors to consider though when we discuss whitening, so, let’s spend a few minutes reviewing those.
Most products you can get in Walmart or Brookshire’s are going to be toothpastes with a higher abrasive content to them … meaning they are better for removing surface stain and helping to whiten your teeth to some extent. But…toothpaste with ‘whitening power’ typically doesn’t have enough bleaching concentration to whiten internal staining of teeth.
The materials we use in our custom whitening – either in office whitening or custom trays – uses a bleaching product at a higher concentration. When we clean your teeth in the office, we address any external staining and we can then use a custom whitening to address those deep stains in the teeth caused by coffee, tea or wine.
The one aspect that we have to be careful with on custom whitening is in regards to the application of the whitening gel. Many times, I see patients get excited about whitening their teeth and want them as white as fast as possible! Rightfully so too I might add! So, the thinking becomes if a little whitening gel is good, more must be better. Sometimes people use too much gel when whitening their teeth at home. This leads to the extra whitening gel oozing out of the custom trays and onto the gum tissue, which leads to inflammation and redness. Also, all of that extra gel is then wasted and isn’t whitening your teeth – thus defeating the purpose. When the gums get irritated, the best thing to do is to take a break from whitening for a couple of days and rinse with some warm water with a small amount (1 teaspoon in 8 ounces of water) a couple of times a day. This will allow the gum tissue to heal and recover.
Since custom whitening will lead to such fast changes in the color of your teeth, I do commonly see some cold sensitivity afterwards that can last a couple of days. Fortunately, our bodies have a remarkable ability to heal, and, taking a day or two off of whitening will allow the sensitivity to go away quickly. After the sensitivity has cleared up, you can then resume whitening being extra careful to avoid overloading the trays and following the directions carefully.
If you would like to learn more about whitening your teeth and/or addressing things that you don’t love about your smile, I would encourage you to call us to schedule some time to visit. The best way is to give us a call at 903.603.4406 or email us.
You can also visit our Facebook page, YouTube channel or Instagram.
How do I get my dentures to stay in?
This is a common question that we hear at Magnolia Dental, and, it is a challenge that we love to help our patients overcome. While I love finding the right option for our patients when it comes to replacement teeth, I understand there are limitations to what I can do with a traditional denture or removable bridge/partial denture, which is basically just a piece of plastic that is supposed to sit on your gums or snap on to your adjacent teeth. This frequently makes it hard to chew, speak or laugh and live a life that everyone wants. Commonly, I see situations where patients can’t eat the food they want to because their artificial teeth rub or come out when they chew. Even worse, they may have experienced a situation where they were at a party or dinner and had the horror of their denture coming out or coming loose. I even had one patient that lost her denture when she was at a local water park!
The absolute best way to overcome this is to schedule a visit to discuss dental implants. I like to think of these as replacement roots. By placing implants in your jaw bone, this gives me the opportunity to take your loose and floppy denture and convert it to a permanent set of teeth or a denture that is securely anchored in place! What does this process look like? That is a great question, and the best place to start is to call us at 903.603.4406 or email us HERE to schedule a time to review your options. I know it is essential that we give every patient the very best treatment options available. The first step is to schedule the consultation where we will take a three-dimensional CT scan, which will show you the shape and size of your jaw bone, the options available for implants, and, what is involved with the process.
Maybe you aren’t ready to look into dental implants, but, you are still frustrated with your poorly fitting denture – what to do? There are other options available like same day lab relines, where we can take your existing denture, and add acrylic to fill any voids or spaces that have been created as your jaw bone shrunk over time. This will help to eliminate a lot of the rocking and sore spots commonly associated with loose dentures. In addition, since we have our onsite denture lab, we don’t keep your denture for a couple of days, we are able to offer same day relines and denture repairs! This allows the correction of a poor fitting denture without having to go without teeth for several days.
I had an implant placed, but my implant or healing cap fell out.
My implant just fell out! Wow, that would be a scary situation, and while it is possible, it is highly unlikely. When placing implants, I typically use two parts … the implant or root replacement component goes in the jaw bone below the gum tissue – this part sits flush or even with the bone level. So, in order to keep the tissue from covering up the implant, I often place what is a called an extended healing cap. This part screws into the implant (root replacement) and extends to the gum level or slightly past. I don’t like to tighten these too much at the time of surgery;
we don’t want to apply stress to the implant and the bone surrounding it. So, a healing cap can become loose following surgery. Fortunately, this does NOT damage the implant or tissue. If this were to happen, just give us a call, and we can easily put the cap back in place. This is a very easy problem to overcome, and we will get you right back on track to healing and getting closer to your new tooth or teeth!
I just broke a tooth – what do I do?
Snap! That wasn’t a piece of granola you just bit down on – that was your tooth that just broke off. This is a common problem, especially if we have teeth with several large old fillings where the teeth have broken and/or fractured around the filling. Those old silver fillings are great at filling the space, but, they are just like concrete – they don’t do anything to hold the tooth together, but rather, just fill that hole!
First off, are you in pain? If not, that is something we can be thankful for. The biggest risks associated with fractured teeth include exposed nerves and/or fractures that extend through the tooth and into the root below the bone – both of these situations are BAD! If you aren’t in pain, the tooth may have fractured off a layer of enamel with no nerve exposure. There is still risk of further fracture of the remaining tooth or bacteria invading the exposed inner layers of the tooth. So, even though you don’t have pain, at least give me a call so we can look at the fractured tooth to evaluate your options with you.
If you are in pain, this could be an indication there is a significant fracture with nerve exposure. There are numerous layers to the tooth, and, each fracture is different. So, the best thing to do with a tooth that is in pain following a fracture is to avoid chewing on it. Take some over the counter medication, such as Tylenol or Advil, to help ease the pain and then give us a call so we can see how we can help you.
Fractured teeth are a lot like a crack in your windshield – they will start out as a small crack and will only get worse. Sadly, it is impossible for me to predict when that small fracture is going to expand into something more serious, but, I do know that they will. Often times, it is the worst time like just before Thanksgiving or when you are getting ready to go on a cruise!
So, don’t ignore those fractured teeth! Give me a chance to evaluate the tooth, discuss options with you and to come up with a plan to avoid something more serious like an exposed nerve or tooth that has to be pulled!
Give Magnolia Dental a call at 903.603.4406 or email us (www.magnolia.dental).
You can also see our Facebook page, YouTube channel or Instagram!
What is the best toothpaste to use?
That is a question I am commonly asked, and, rightfully so. If I go to the local grocery store, there are seemingly a mile of options for tooth paste to choose from. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which soap you use when you wash your car or truck. You can use the most expensive soap or a cheaper soap, and the car or truck will be clean when you finish. What matters the most is the actual scrubbing motion you use to clean the vehicle!
It is the same for your teeth – the tooth paste alone won’t clean your teeth, but, rather, good brushing motions and technique is what matters most. So, I encourage patients to buy the flavor of toothpaste that they like and the one that is on sale! Just make sure that it has fluoride in it, and you are good to go.
I just had my wisdom teeth removed? What should I do now?
Wisdom teeth seem to be a rite of passage – something we almost all get to deal with at some point. So, you just had your wisdom teeth removed – what should I do or not do? The first thing is to look at those post-operative instructions we sent you home with – that can be a wealth of information and summarizes what to do and not do. But, maybe you are like me and you lost it, misplaced it, or who knows what! In that case, let’s review some guidelines.
For me, I want for you to start icing your face as soon as possible – this can be a reusable ice packs from the store, frozen peas in a bag, or just crushed ice in a zip lock baggie. I want you to ice for 15 minutes with a tissue between the ice pack and your skin so we avoid damaging your skin. After icing for 15 minutes, let your skin rest for 30 minutes and then ice again. Icing helps to reduce the amount of swelling and inflammation around where your wisdom teeth were. This will lead to less pain and a faster healing response – which is a great thing. I like for you to make sure you ice for the first 2 days.
In addition to icing after your appointment, we want you to keep gauze in your mouth to help slow down any bleeding for the first 6-8 hours. Each patient is different, but, you will typically want to change the gauze every 15-30 minutes, or until the gauze is saturated. You can expect some slow oozing from the surgical site, but, firm pressure with the cotton gauze and resting will help a clot form quickly.
Pain control is very important following any surgical procedure, and especially when dealing with tooth removal. It is much better to start your prescribed pain medication BEFORE the numbness wears off – this is a KEY step and will help the next 1-2 days go much faster. Pain is much easier to control if we get ahead of it, versus waiting until you are starting to get sore and then trying to take the medication to get the pain under control. I typically recommend taking the medication for the first 24 hours, regardless of the pain level you are experiencing. This time frame will work to make sure you are comfortable and allow you to heal quickly. Of course, if you are experiencing any issues with the medication such as nausea or dizziness, please check with me or your pharmacy.
Hopefully the above information will be helpful in answering some of the questions you may have regarding what to do after having a wisdom tooth removed. If you feel you have a sick tooth that may need to be removed or I can be of any help, please give Magnolia Dental a call at 903.603.4406 or email us here.
You can also find out more information on our Facebook page, YouTube channel or Instagram.
I just had a filling done, and my tooth is sensitive?
Ouch!! Ever since I had that filling replaced or cavity filled, my tooth is sensitive to chewing pressure and/or cold liquids! Why is that? There are numerous possibilities, but, let’s spend a couple of moments reviewing the most common causes.
When we have a large cavity in a tooth, there are tons of bacteria in the deepest part of that cavity slowly breaking down your tooth – this leads to a swelling in the nerve tissue which can cause sensitivity to sweets and sometimes cold liquids/food. When I clean the rotten tooth and bacteria out of the tooth, this can lead to more irritation within the nerve tissue. After I clean out the cavity, the tooth takes time to heal. Each tooth responds differently to the therapy, and, sadly, no one can predict which way it will go.
The vast majority of the time, we see some sensitivity that lingers for a couple of days, and then it heals quickly. The larger the cavity, the higher chance we will see lingering irritation in the tooth. Sometimes, the extensive damage caused by the bacteria in the cavity will be too much for the body to overcome, even with the best treatment, and, we are forced to remove the sick nerve tissue with a root canal. This is why it is very important to identify cavities when they first form.
Another potential cause of sensitivity is that the filling may be a little too tall for your bite. I commonly see this when we are completing several fillings at the same time, and, we have several areas of your mouth numb. In addition, those longer appointments typically mean that you have opened and closed your mouth several times, leading to your jaw muscles getting tired and tight. This makes it difficult for us to find your normal bite until the numbness and muscles have relaxed. So, while I work very hard to make sure we have the filling shaped correctly for your bite, sometimes we may be off slightly which can cause irritation in the tooth. This is a very easy issue to treat, and, it isn’t something that I want you to “wear down” or get used to. We can easily go in and reshape the filling material so that is in harmony with your bite. You would be surprised at how much a small polishing of the filling material makes all the difference with your teeth!
As always, I encourage you to give us a call at 903.603.4406 or email us here. You can also visit our Magnolia Dental Facebook page, YouTube channel or Instagram.
I just had a tooth extracted? What do I do or not do?
Help! I just had a tooth removed today or yesterday, and I don't know what to do! Who can blame you! You just went through a potentially scary procedure and had to have a piece of yourself removed – no matter what we do to make this as easy as we can, it is a stressful and scary process. So, who can blame you if you don’t remember what you should do or not do? What you should avoid and what to expect.
So, let me spend a few minutes reviewing what to expect, what to do, what not to do, and how to ensure that you will heal as fast as possible with minimal complications. First, let’s discuss what you should expect following removal of a tooth.
Removing a broken, infected or sick tooth does help to remove a source of pain in your body, but, at the same time, it creates a potentially large hole in your bone that the body has to work hard to heal. Immediately following your appointment, we recommend that you keep firm biting pressure on your gauze or cotton in the area where the tooth/teeth were removed. This will help to stop the bleeding and create a good clot in the area. It is just like when you have a cut on your hand, applying pressure will help to create a clot in the area and jump start the healing process. You should keep the cotton/gauze in your mouth until the bleeding has stopped or significantly slowed. One key note to remember – the slight oozing from the extraction site will mix with your saliva and make a little blood look like a lot of blood. So, using the cotton/gauze as your guide will help you determine when you can remove the cotton/gauze. If the cotton comes out with just some red or pink, then that is a good indication that the bleeding has slowed and the clot is developing well. If you remove the cotton and it is a dark red throughout, then, that tells you that you need to continue with biting pressure to help with clotting. In cases where the clot is having a hard time forming, you can take an instant tea bag (such as Lipton Tea) and wet it and bite on that. There are some natural components in the tea that will help with clot formation.
Now that we have the clot formed, what do we do next? PAIN management is key! I don’t want you to be in pain, and we want to minimize any discomfort you have. With that in mind, it is important that you stay ahead of the pain. It is much easier to keep the pain from flaring up vs. trying to get “break through” pain back under control. In order to do this, I ask that you at least take your pain medication or Advil for the first 24 hours as we prescribe. This is important so that the pain doesn’t flare, but, rather, we keep it from becoming significant. An added benefit to medications such as Advil/Ibuprofen/Motrin/Aleve is that they are in the NSAID family – meaning they help to reduce pain by reducing the amount of inflammation in the body. Reducing the inflammation helps to lower the amount of discomfort you will feel and also to speed up the healing process.
Your diet should consist of softer foods that will not have a tendency to get stuck in the extraction site or cause damage to the surgical site. This is especially important if we have placed sutures or a membrane following implant or grafting surgery. The amazing thing about the mouth is how fast it heals, but, I want to make sure we don’t damage the surgical site and delay healing. Some excellent options for soft foods include ice cream, jello, mashed potatoes etc. In particular, we want to avoid foods like chips, pretzels, popcorn, and anything that requires a lot of chewing like tough meat. I also like you to avoid carbonated beverages like soda, and, to avoid the use of a straw for the first 4 days. Tobacco usage should be avoided for the first 5 days.
You should be careful to limit your physical activity for the first 72 hours to allow the clot time to fully mature. It is helpful to keep an ice compress on the surgical side of your face for 15 minutes on and 30 minutes off … rotating in order to keep swelling and inflammation minimized. The first couple of nights it is good idea to sleep with an extra pillow or two to keep your head elevated.
In the cases a patient may feel wonderful for 2-3 days, but then start to develop an aching pain, bad taste or odor. In this case there may be a dry socket developing, which is caused by losing the clot in the extraction site. When the clot is lost, the bone is exposed in the extraction site which can lead to significant pain. While dry clots will heal on their own, I prefer to have you come in for us to evaluate the site, apply some medication to help promote healing and to provide any necessary prescriptions in order to make sure you are out of pain.
While extractions can and often are scary, and sometimes the healing is challenging, removing the sick or infected teeth will get you on your way to a healthier mouth. It is very important to myself and the whole team at Magnolia Dental that we work to help you through this process. If you have any questions, please give us a call at 903.603.4406 or email us here.
Thank you, and make sure to visit our YouTube channel, Facebook page or Instagram.
I just had a root canal? What should I expect? Or I think I need a root canal!
A root canal is one of those procedures that people think they are going to hate! Typically, wisdom teeth and root canals are the horror stories people love to tell about dentists! To be honest, I think most of those stories I have heard are horror stories! When I hear some of the experiences patients or their loved ones have gone through, it makes me cringe! Let me say though, root canals shouldn’t be like that at all!
They are one of the easier procedures that you can have, and you should experience little to no pain during a routine root canal. Let’s visit a little bit about what a root canal actually is; I certainly had no idea of what a root canal was before dental school.
When a tooth has a large cavity, the bacteria or bugs in the cavity will invade the middle of your tooth, where the nerve tissue of the tooth is. When this happens, those bacteria begin to cause significant pain in the nerve tissue. As bacteria continue to grow and increase, they will cause the tissue to die and begin to rot inside the tooth. This leads to what is commonly called a tooth abscess. Often times, patients will begin to develop swelling and significant pain as the infection worsens. Unfortunately, the body cannot reach this infection inside the tooth to heal it, which leads to more infection which eventually expands outside of the tooth into your bone and gums. In order to treat this infection, there are two treatment options:
- Removal of the infected tooth – extracting the whole tooth removes the source of the infection and will allow the body to heal the site. Sadly, this also create a large void where the tooth was, which can lead to more costly options to replace the otherwise healthy tooth.
- Non-surgical endodontic therapy “root canal” – with this treatment option, I first make sure you are completely numb and comfortable. After verifying you are comfortable, I remove the broken-down portions of the tooth. We often place what is called a dental dam – this is a small rubber piece of plastic which keeps the bacteria present in the infected tooth out of your mouth. After the tooth is safely isolated, I will use several small instruments to gently remove the infected tissue out of the roots of the tooth. After I remove the sick tissue, we will place a filling material to seal the roots off so no bacteria can reinvade those areas. Commonly, we will then place an all porcelain crown to seal and the strengthen the chewing surface of the tooth.
In most cases, my preference is to go with option number two. Root canal treatment gives us the ability to restore an otherwise healthy tooth and eliminate the source of the infection. In addition, root canals have little to no post-operative pain as the body is not working hard to fill a large hole in your gums and bone (which an extraction leads to). Often times, patients may choose to take Advil or ibuprofen to help with some post-operative discomfort from the injections and treatment. Rarely do I need to prescribe any pain medications following a root canal.
What if after evaluating your options, you and I decide together that a better option is to remove the tooth and replace it with an implant? I have many patients that prefer this approach; one downside to this option is a larger investment of time and financial resources. This is due to the additional steps involved with removing the infected tooth, replacing any lost bone due to the infection, placing the implant and then the crown on top of the replacement root (implant).
In some cases, I have patients that may ultimately want an implant, but, they are not immediately ready to proceed with the implant placement. In those cases, we will complete a procedure called socket preservation. If we remove a tooth but don’t take steps to avoid bone loss, the bone will slowly heal causing a defect and depression in the jaw bone. Think about bone loss like this. If you removed a fence post but and just left the hole in the ground, over time, the dirt around the hole is going to fall into the hole and fill it up part way. This will leave a low spot where the dirt settles, and, can be a great place to roll your ankle! In socket preservation, we place material back where the root was to preserve the adjacent bone, which gives the bone something to grow back onto, thus greatly reducing the risk of a defect developing. This is an easy step to take, and, something that I encourage all patients to consider anytime they are removing a tooth.
If you think you may need a root canal, or you just had one and you aren’t sure what is going on, give us a call at 903.603.4406 or email us to visit with us. You can also visit our YouTube Channel, Facebook page or we are on Instagram also.
I just had a temporary crown that fell off what do I do now?
Yikes! My temporary crown just came off and I don’t know what to do! This can be a situation many patients find themselves in, and, don’t fret, there are several easy solutions. First off, let’s review the purpose of those temporary crowns. The temporary crown is made of a plastic material and is glued on with a temporary cement … meaning the temporary crown is supposed to come off. Temporary crowns stay in place most of the time, but, sometimes nature has other ideas.
The temporary crown serves the following purposes:
- Seal your tooth off from the food and bacteria in your mouth
- Hold the adjacent teeth in place so they don’t shift to fill the space – VERY important
- Seal your tooth off so cold and hot liquids don’t irritate the tooth
- Give you something you can smile with and function daily!
As you can see, these small pieces of plastic are important and serve lots of important functions. So, if your temporary crowns breaks or comes loose, I always want you to call us, and we can easily put the temporary crown back in place. Trust me, we don’t mind, and we would rather you call us then go without i
What if I am out of town or I can’t come in to see you? In that case, one easy solution is a trip to Walmart or a pharmacy to pick up some temporary crown cement … this will allow you to seat the crown back in place temporarily.
If you are unsure, just give us a call at (903) 603-4406 or email.