Posted by & filed under Dental Emergency, Oral Health.

A dull and achy throb. A sharp zinging pain. A swollen face and unbearable agony. These are some common ways our patients have described a toothache. Even though nobody ever wants to experience a toothache, your dentist in Evansville knows that, unfortunately, they happen to just about everyone at least once. While the cause behind each toothache can differ from person to person, there are few common causes of tooth pain that may explain why you’re feeling what you’re feeling. 

Top 5 Causes of Tooth Pain

There are countless reasons why someone may have tooth pain, and the best way to find out what’s truly causing your specific pain is to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Evansville. However, in the meantime, here are a few possible explanations for what may be going on in your mouth. 

  • You have a cavity. A tiny cavity may not cause any pain, but the longer a cavity goes untreated, the more likely it is that it will get bigger and cause pain. Cavities can usually be treated with fillings but if they’re too big or too deep, you may need a root canal to relieve the pain. 
  • You have an abscessed tooth. An abscessed tooth is an area of infection that can cause pain and can occur in various places throughout the mouth. Pain associated with an abscess can feel throbby and you may even feel it up into your jaw or ears. 
  • You lost a filling. Any number of things can cause a filling to become loose and fall out. When this happens, the inner workings of the tooth, including the nerves, can become exposed. This can cause pain, but it doesn’t always. You may actually notice increased tooth sensitivity or actually feel the hole before you get a toothache. 
  • You cracked a tooth. A cracked tooth can happen as a result of trauma or constant tooth clenching or grinding. You may not even be able to see the break or crack but if it’s deep enough or not treated, it can cause pain. 
  • You have gum disease. We know we’re talking about tooth pain and not gum pain, but the truth is, the two can be difficult to tell apart. Gum disease can first show signs as swollen gums and pain that can seem like tooth pain. It’s important to treat gum disease sooner rather than later because as the disease progresses it becomes harder to treat and can lead to whole-body health concerns, increased pain, and even tooth loss. 

Remember, this is not an all-inclusive list and the cause of your toothache may be something not listed here. Schedule an appointment with your dentist so you can get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. 

Relieving Toothache Pain

Even though you still need to see your dentist in Evansville, there are a few ways that have been known to help patients relieve tooth pain including: 

  • Oral Anesthetic. We always recommend having an over-the-counter oral anesthetic in your medicine cabinet for unexpected toothaches. This numbing agent can give you brief periods of toothache relief. 
  • Oil of Cloves. If you’re looking for a more natural option, look no farther than oil of cloves. Working much like over-the-counter anesthetics, oil of cloves can temporarily ease tooth pain. 
  • Salt Water. This trusted remedy for sore throats also works for tooth pain. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water a few times throughout the day to dry out any fluid buildup that may be putting pressure on your nerves and causing pain.
  • Ice. If you have swelling, wrap a cold compress, a frozen bag of peas, or plain old ice in a cloth and apply it to your face to reduce swelling. It can stay there for up to 15 minutes, then make sure to remove it for at least another 15 before reapplying.  
  • Anti-inflammatories. Anti-inflammatories do just as their name suggests — they reduce inflammation and, as a result, pain. If you can take the over-the-counter pills, use them only as directed. 

We never want anyone to experience the discomfort of a toothache, but we’re happy to be here to help if one does pop up. Call us to schedule an appointment and get relief quickly.

Posted by & filed under Dental Hygiene, Oral Health.

Do you find yourself covering your mouth when you laugh? Or maybe you hide your smile in photos because you’re embarrassed by the color of your teeth. Tooth discoloration and tooth staining are some of the main reasons people go out of their way to avoid showing their teeth. While there are plenty of reasons why your teeth can be stained, from health issues to medications and even things like coffee and wine, your dentist in Evansville wants you to know that there are also ways you can stop staining in its tracks. 

Quit Smoking

Perhaps the top cause of tooth discoloration and unsightly staining is smoking. The tobacco and other ingredients in cigarettes are known to coat teeth and cause yellowing. Additionally, since smoking is usually a habit that’s done several times throughout the day, teeth are constantly exposed to the staining ingredients, making the stains more severe and harder to remove. Your dentist in Evansville supports quitting smoking – as it’s a leading cause of additional oral health problems such as oral cancer.   

Eat Foods that Help

We all know that certain foods and drinks can cause tooth staining such as red wine, tea, coffee, soda, and even pasta sauce. But there are also some foods that can actually help reduce staining. Snacking on crunchy vegetables and fruits, and even some types of cheese gently scrub the surface of teeth and can effectively remove some staining in the process. 

Brush After Meals

One of the best things you can do for both the appearance of your smile and the health of it is to brush your teeth twice a day. However, brushing your teeth after meals, in addition to brushing in the morning and at night, can go even further in preventing staining and decay. After all, the sooner you’re able to remove anything that can cause staining, the less of a chance it has to discolor your teeth.  

Swish, Rinse, & Chew

For those times when you can’t brush your teeth after eating, the next best thing you can do is swish and rinse your mouth out with water. Water will help wash away any lingering staining agents before they have a chance to settle in and cause discoloration. If you want to take it one step further, chew sugarless gum to remove even more food particles.

Choose a Straw

A simple way to reduce the risk of tooth discoloration when drinking tooth-staining beverages is to sip them through a straw. Straws essentially allow the liquid to bypass teeth and lowers the likelihood of staining. There are several reusable straws you can buy and carry with you in case you run into a situation where straws aren’t available. 

Even though there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of staining, tooth discoloration can, and does, still happen. In this case, there are several cosmetic dentistry options available to reverse discoloration and whiten teeth. From tooth whitening treatments to dental veneers, your dentist in Evansville can help find the best cosmetic dentistry for you. 

Stop covering your smile for pictures or when you laugh. Call us today to figure out how you can get the white smile you deserve. 

Posted by & filed under Dental Hygiene, Oral Health.

Your dentist in Evansville will often ask you things about your overall health as well as your habits, and with good reason. But there are times when patients aren’t comfortable sharing some aspects of their life with their dental team and instead try to keep these things a secret. However, we have a secret of our own — we most likely already know your secrets. 

There are some things your dentist can tell you about you just from looking at your teeth, even if you don’t volunteer that information with them. Let’s take a look at some of the things your dentist in Evansville may notice about you and your habits. 

  • You’re a Nail Biter

Why would your dentist care if you nervously or habitually bite your nails? Well, nail biters often have tiny chips or cracks in their teeth that may be invisible to the naked eye but can show up on dental x-rays. These cracks provide a great place for bacteria to nestle in and increase the likelihood of decay. Nail biters may also suffer from TMD or TMJ thanks to changes in their bite. TMD/TMJ disorder can be a painful condition that may also lead to headaches and increased jaw pain or jaw clicking. 

  • You’re a Smoker

One of the most common habits patients try to hide is being a smoker. They’ll use perfume, mints, mouthwash, and everything in between to try and cover up the smell of cigarettes. But the truth is, your dentist in Evansville can probably still tell that you smoke. You see, cigarette smoke doesn’t just disappear. In fact, the smell can seep into the soft tissues of your mouth and linger around long after you light up. Additionally, smokers tend to have telltale tooth staining as a result of the nicotine.  

  • You Don’t Floss as Much as You Should

We know that you don’t like to floss, nobody does. But it is incredibly important that you do your best to floss every day. If you don’t, and you save your annual flossing session to the day before or the day of your appointment, we’ll know. Patients who avoid flossing often have swollen, red gums that bleed almost as soon as their appointment begins. Bleeding gums are unhealthy gums and may be a sign of gum disease. 

  • You Don’t Brush Often Enough

Similarly to flossing, your dental team will also be able to tell if you don’t brush your teeth often enough or even if you brush too hard. Those who don’t brush the recommended two times a day will often have larger areas of tartar buildup and puffy, red gums. Additionally, if you brush too hard you may have gum recession or worn enamel which can cause tooth sensitivity and increase your chances of cavities. 

We encourage you to always be honest with your dentist in Evansville and every member of your healthcare team. If we don’t know about certain things that can affect both your health and your treatment, you won’t get the best care possible for you. We understand that some things may be embarrassing to share, but it’s important to know that your dental team is only here to help you, not to judge you. 

Posted by & filed under Gum Disease, Oral Health.

Every time you visit your dentist in Evansville you will most likely review your health history and discuss any changes that may have happened since your last appointment. This is an important part of making sure you get the best dental care, but why? Your dentist needs to know what may be going on in other areas of your body because sometimes whole-body problems such as diabetes can increase your risk of dental problems. During this Diabetes Awareness Month, we want to share a few reasons why diabetics may need more dental care than non-diabetics. 

Diabetes & Gum Disease

One of the main reasons diabetics may need more dental care is because of the strong link between diabetes and gum disease. In fact, diabetics are at greater risk for gum disease than those without diabetes. Gum disease is an infection that affects the gum tissues. It’s caused by an increase in bacteria that have worked their way up under the gum line. Gum disease can put someone at risk for tooth loss and whole-body problems such as heart disease. But that’s not all. Gum disease, like any infection, can also cause blood sugar levels to increase, making diabetes more difficult to manage. 

Caring for Your Oral Health

Because of the increased risk of gum disease, your dentist in Evansville recommends that diabetics commit to following good oral hygiene habits. The best way to protect your teeth is to brush for two minutes every day and gently scrub your tongue to remove bacteria. Additionally, make sure you floss daily. Choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride for added defense, brush in gentle circles, and use a brush with soft bristles. This will help thoroughly clean your teeth without damaging them. And as always, make sure you also see your dentist every six months. 

Measure Blood Glucose

The 30 million Americans living with diabetes know just how important it is to measure their blood sugar regularly. They also know that keeping blood glucose levels in check is crucial to protecting their health. Your dentist in Evansville encourages all diabetics to measure and record their blood sugar levels daily. Your dental team may even ask for the results of some of your diabetes blood tests (the A1C or fasting blood glucose) or about your need for antibiotics before and after dental treatment for uncontrolled diabetes. 

Eat Healthy, Stay Healthy

Avoiding or limiting sugary foods is an everyday part of a diabetic’s life, and it should come as no surprise that this can help protect your teeth, too. But eating healthy goes beyond restricting sugar. Diabetics can benefit from choosing fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Of course, we always recommend working with your doctor to find a diet plan that’s right for you. 

The team at our dental office in Evansville believes in caring for our patients’ overall health. This means asking for health history, changes in health, and changes in medication. If you’re diabetic, sharing this information can help us better protect your oral and overall health.

Posted by & filed under Dental Hygiene, Oral Health.

We all know that good dental care helps protect teeth against cavities. But did you know that maintaining good oral health can also help protect overall health? In fact, research continues to show us that dental care is key to a healthy body. Join your dentist in Evansville as we take a look at some of the ways oral health is connected to overall health. 

Gum Health 

When many of us think about dental care we immediately think about teeth. However, we can’t ignore the gums. Gum pockets provide an ideal place for bacteria to hide, and while some of the bacteria found in the mouth are harmless, some can lead to some serious problems including gum disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, study upon study is showing a strong connection between gum disease and many whole-body issues such as: 

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Low Birth Weight
  • Premature Births
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Stroke

How Does This Happen?

The mouth is the first part of both our digestive and respiratory systems, and when an infection such as gum disease affects the mouth, it can easily transfer throughout the body and increase the risk of some of the concerns above. This is why it’s so important to take care of your oral health. Proper brushing and flossing, as well as seeing your dentist in Evansville regularly, can help remove dangerous bacteria and protect your overall health.

Teeth Matter, Too

While there’s a clear connection between gum disease and overall health problems, we can’t forget about our teeth. When you think about it, our teeth definitely play a role in our overall health, too. If we do not take care of our teeth, the plaque and bacteria buildup will lead to gum disease and increase the risk of those larger healthcare concerns. But that’s not all. Our teeth help us chew and allow us to eat a well-balanced diet. Proper nutrition helps fuel our bodies and provides key nutrients we need to stay healthy and fight off germs and bacteria. Limiting the amount of sugar you consume, drinking plenty of water, and using the “Food Plate” guidelines are all good places to start.  

Remember, your dentist in Evansville is a key part of your healthcare team and can not only help keep your teeth healthy but can also help protect your overall health. Make sure to brush and floss every day and keep your dental appointments every six months. 

Posted by & filed under Dental Hygiene, General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

One of the most important parts of your regular dental visits is the time you spend with your dental hygienist. After all, these caring and invaluable team members provide preventive dentistry to each and every patient which helps keep their friends and neighbors healthy. So it only makes sense that there’s an entire month dedicated to dental hygienists, appropriately named National Dental Hygiene Month. Each October, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and Colgate sponsor the event that celebrates these dental professionals, and it’s certainly a celebration that your dentist in Evansville can get behind. 

More Than a Cleaning 

Yes, dental hygienists are responsible for cleaning patients’ teeth and removing plaque and tartar buildup. But they’re also responsible for much more. Dental hygienists are often the first person you’ll meet at a dental office, and they’re usually the team members that you’ll spend the most time with. So let’s take a closer look at all of the things your dental hygienist may be responsible for (note: hygienists can have different duties depending on state regulations).   

  • Understanding Your Overall Health: Since your hygienist is often the first person you’ll see when you visit your dentist in Evansville, it’s important that this person knows your oral and overall health history. Your hygienist will often review any paperwork you filled out, ask you questions about your oral hygiene routine and your overall health, and get to know you as a person. Understanding you and your overall will help them provide you with individualized care.  
  • Cleaning Your Teeth: As we’ve already mentioned and as we all already know, dental hygienists will gently remove plaque and tartar buildup, floss, and polish your teeth for a squeaky-clean feel.
  • Protecting Your Smile: As your hygienist cleans your teeth, they’ll also be looking for any areas of concern. If they find anything, they’ll let your dentist in Evansville know during your exam. Additionally, dental hygienists may apply fluoride or sealants to help protect teeth from decay or sensitivity. 
  • Educating Patients: Patient education is another key responsibility of dental hygienists, and it’s one that many hygienists really like. Hygienists are passionate about oral healthcare and they’re happy to provide patients with tips on how to properly brush and floss.

The next time you’re due for a dental cleaning, make sure to thank your dental hygienist for all they do to help keep your teeth and overall health protected. If you have questions about oral hygiene, from finding the best toothbrush to how to eliminate bad breath, don’t hesitate to ask your hygienist. They’ll love to help.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

Cancer and chemo are two C-words that can create a lot of fear, and rightfully so. Cancer as a whole is an incredibly common disease. In fact, nearly 1.8 million Americans will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year alone, and over 600,000 will die. But thanks to research and medical advancements, cancer treatments and survival rates have continued to improve. Even so, chemotherapy remains one of the most commonly used cancer treatments, and it can be really effective at killing cancer cells. But at the same time, your dentist in Evansville knows that chemotherapy can also cause some unwanted side effects to oral health.  

Side Effects of Chemo

Some of the most common side effects of chemo are the ones we all tend to think of when we hear the word chemo such as hair loss, fatigue, and weight change. But there are some side effects that aren’t as obvious or as well known that can affect both overall health and oral health alike, including: 

  • Dry mouth
  • Pain while eating
  • Difficulty talking or swallowing
  • Burning or swelling of the tongue
  • Increased chance of infection 

As with any medication’s side effects, chemotherapy side effects can vary from person to person. 

What’s Your Dentist Have To Do With It? 

When many people think of cancer treatment, they immediately think of their oncology doctors. But they should also consider their dentist in Evansville as a crucial part of their cancer treatment team. Your dentist can help reduce the risk of chemotherapy’s side effects on oral health and help treat them if they do occur. 

  • Start Early

Seeing your dentist about one month prior to beginning cancer treatment can help establish a strong base for successful treatment and help reduce unwanted side effects. In fact, a healthier mouth can mean the difference between cancer treatment progressing as scheduled and needing to stop treatment due to infection or other problems. At this appointment, your dental team will conduct an in-depth oral exam, perform thorough deep teeth cleaning, and treat any issues we may find. We’ll also talk about the best at-home oral healthcare routine to keep your mouth healthy during treatment. 

  • Visit Often

Everyone should see their dentist in Evansville every six months, but those undergoing cancer treatment may need to visit more often, especially if they experience any of the symptoms above. After all, the earlier any side effects are treated, the better. For example, if chemo attacks your white blood cells and your body is no longer able to fight off gum disease, your dentist will want to begin treating that infection sooner rather than later and before it has a chance to affect the rest of the body. 

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, make sure to include your dentist as part of your healthcare team.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

Our gums are an important part of our oral health. After all, they help hold our teeth in place and protect the tooth roots. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we want to see them when we smile, no matter how important they are. Nonetheless, there are some people whose gums show more prominently than others. This is known as a gummy smile. Now while there typically aren’t any problems associated with a gummy smile, they can make some feel self-conscious. When this is the case, your dentist in Evansville has some options to help. 

Causes of a Gummy Smile

Before we dive into some of the cosmetic dentistry options that can fix a gummy smile, it’s important to know what can cause it in the first place. Some of the most common causes of a gummy smile include: 

  • Abnormal Tooth Eruption

One of the most common causes behind a gummy smile is the way the teeth develop and erupt. When there’s too much growth in the gum tissue it can expand up and over, essentially hiding teeth. This can create the appearance of short teeth and a gummy smile. However, oftentimes the teeth are fully developed and can be uncovered. An abundance of gum tissue can be genetic or can be a result of medication of an infection in the gums. 

  • A Bad Bite

At your dental appointments, your dentist in Evansville will ask you to bite down and touch your top teeth to your bottom teeth in order to check your bite alignment. This can help identify several things such as a potential problem with your jaw. A bad bite may also be the reason behind a gummy smile. For example, if the upper jaw protrudes too far outward can create a gummy appearance.

  • Hyperactive Upper Lip

While something called a hyperactive upper lip may seem silly, it’s a very real thing. Sometimes the muscles in the upper lip and under the nose are too active. Over time, this overuse can bring the top lip up too high, exposing the gums. This cause of a gummy smile is often hereditary. 

Your dentist in Evansville will need to know the root cause of a gummy smile in order to recommend the best treatment for your specific situation.  

Gummy Smile Treatment

Treatment of a gummy smile can vary greatly depending on the case. But some of the most common solutions are: 

  • Scaling & Root Planing

If the cause of a gummy smile is an infection, your dentist will probably recommend beginning with a scaling and root planing deep cleaning. This treatment can be very effective at removing infection and reducing inflammation that may make the gums appear larger than normal. If scaling and root planing treatment doesn’t give a patient the result they desire, there are additional treatments available. 

  • Crown Lengthening/Gum Recontouring

Other common and often successful treatments for a gummy smile are crown lengthening or gum recontouring, which are pretty much exactly what they sound like. These procedures remove excess tissue around the teeth and restructure the gum line allowing more of the white enamel to show. 

  • Orthodontics

A gummy smile caused by a bad bite may best be treated through orthodontics, including traditional braces or clear aligners such as Invisalign or ClearCorrect. Orthodontics can also help fix a bad bite in general and may relieve jaw pain or other oral health problems related to a bad bite. 

If you notice more of your gums showing when you smile, laugh, or talk, and it bothers you, schedule a consultation with your dentist in Evansville.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

When many of us think about losing our teeth, we may assume that this is something that just happens as we get older. But, according to the American Dental Association, more Americans are keeping their teeth longer than ever before, which is great news! However, this doesn’t just happen naturally and there are things we need to do to increase our chances of keeping all of our teeth for life. Because of this, your dentist in Evansville wants to share some of the most common things that cause teeth to fall out so you can do everything you can to avoid them. 

  • Gum Disease

The number one cause of tooth loss in American adults is gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Gum disease occurs when bacteria work their way up under the gum tissue and settle in, causing an infection. This infection can be treated if caught early, but if it’s not taken care of, it will begin to destroy both the gum tissue and the jaw bone — both of which help hold teeth in place. Without this support structure, teeth will become loose and eventually fall out. 

  • Cavities

Almost all of us have experienced at least one cavity and know the discomfort that can come along with it. The reason cavities hurt is that a cavity is essentially a tiny hole in a tooth that may affect the inner workings of the tooth where the nerves and roots are held. The result is the all too familiar zing of tooth pain. Cavities can be treated quickly and easily by your dentist in Evansville if they’re caught early. However, when they’re left untreated, cavities can destroy a tooth from the inside out and either require a root canal or result in a lost tooth. 

  • Accidents or Trauma

Even if you take perfect care of your teeth you may still experience tooth loss as a result of an accident or trauma. Tooth loss is an incredibly common side effect of many sports injuries and even car accidents or falls. While we can’t do much to completely avoid accidents or trauma to our teeth, we can take certain preventive measures such as wearing a mouthguard every time we play a sport. 

  • Whole-Body Health Concerns

Other common causes of tooth loss in adults don’t initially appear to have anything to do with the mouth and actually originate and directly affect other areas of the body. However, there is a strong correlation between what happens in our bodies and what happens in our mouths. Therefore, there are several whole-body health concerns that can increase the risk of tooth loss, such as: 

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Poor Diet
  • Arthritis

Nobody wants to experience tooth loss, but the good news is there are some simple things you can do to give yourself the best chance of keeping your teeth for life. Make sure you brush and floss your teeth every single day, avoid smoking or using tobacco products, and of course, see your dentist in Evansville at least every six months for regular checkups and cleanings.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

You’ve been told that you need what’s often referred to as the worst dental treatment out there — a root canal. Those two words can make any dental patient retreat in fear, and we understand why. However, while you may be feeling uneasy or flat out scared, it may help to know that the root canal’s reputation of being a painful and terrible treatment is old-fashioned and inaccurate. Join your dentist in Evansville as we shed some truth about root canals. 

Do Root Canals Hurt? 
Let’s get right to the point and address the most common question surrounding root canals – Do they hurt? Historically, root canals have had a reputation for being painful. But the truth is, root canals help stop pain. When your dentist in Evansville recommends a root canal treatment it’s usually because there’s decay or infection so deep inside your tooth a regular filling won’t fix it. Oftentimes when this happens, you will be in pain as the infection or decay has touched the tooth’s inner nerves. A root canal will remove this infection and relieve pain. And thanks to advancements in dental technology, the treatment formally known as painful, awful, and terrible suddenly becomes no big deal. 

What is a Root Canal?
Next, let’s take a closer look at the procedure itself because sometimes knowing what’s happening during treatment can alleviate concerns and fear. During a root canal, your dentist in Evansville will:

  • Begin by thoroughly numbing the area to reduce or even completely eliminate discomfort. 
  • Make a teeny, tiny hole in the tooth (don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing) to access the inner workings of the tooth. This is where the pulp chamber and tooth canals are located. Inside the canals are nerves, pulp, and blood vessels.
  • Once visible, your dentist will clean out all the stuff inside the inner tooth canals. Again, you’re still totally numb. 
  • After the canals are cleaned out, the pulp chamber and canals are sealed to close them off to any more bacteria. 
  • Finally, many times your dentist will prepare and place a dental crown on the treated tooth. This further protects the tooth and reduces the risk of more damage. 

How Do You Know if You Need a Root Canal? 
The aforementioned tooth pain is a key first sign that you may need a root canal. However, please note that tooth pain can be caused by any number of things and doesn’t automatically mean a root canal is in your future. Talk to your dentist in Evansville to find out the cause of the pain and find the best treatment for you. Other signs that you may need a root canal can include, but are not limited to: 

  • Gum pain and swelling
  • A pimple-like bump on the gums by the painful tooth 
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Worse pain when chewing or applying pressure
  • Hot/cold sensitivity that doesn’t go away once the food or drink is removed

If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can to get properly diagnosed and relief sooner rather than later. And if you’re told that you need a root canal, don’t sweat it, you have nothing to fear.