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dental veneersThere are many of us who are unhappy with the smile we were born with. But luckily, there’s the wonderful world of cosmetic dentistry to help transform smiles. At my Evansville dental office, you’ll have plenty of cosmetic options to choose from, but today, we’d like to talk about one of the most popular choices: dental veneers.

Dental veneers are super-thin porcelain coverings adhered to your existing teeth. They are designed to enhance your smile and can even result in an instant smile makeover. In fact, dental veneers are so versatile, they are used to:

  • Brighten dull or stained teeth
  • Fix gaps
  • Help repair crowded or crooked teeth
  • Restore chipped or broken teeth
  • Enhance teeth that appear too small, too big, or misshapen

Choosing veneers to get the smile of your dreams is an option that could eliminate the need for multiple treatments. For example, instead of braces, bonding, and whitening, veneers can achieve the same results in fewer visits. The goal of dental veneers is to create the smile of your dreams and the process is a perfect mix of science and art. Your dentist in Evansville will match the veneers to your current or ideal shade of white, shape them to compliment your other teeth, and apply them artfully for a natural-looking transformation.

So if veneers can do so much, the process should be complicated, right? Not at all!  Your individual plan will begin with a consultation, at which you’ll talk about your goals and your desired results. Once a plan is established, your first appointment may include prepping, or removing a thin layer of the surface of each tooth to allow space for the wafer-thin veneer shell. If needed, temporary veneers will be fitted while the permanent ones are being constructed in a lab. When finished, the permanent veneers are adhered, or bonded, to your teeth, resulting in a total smile transformation.

If you think veneers are right for you, or if you’d like to talk about the best way to get the smile you’ve always wanted, give my dental office in Evansville a call today. We’ll schedule you a consultation and work together to discuss the best treatment for you.

Serving patients in Evansville, Newburgh, and Tell City.

 

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i lost a fillingFrom eating something sticky to grinding your teeth, many things can cause your filling to become loose, crack, or even fall out. Although nobody ever wants to lose a filling, it’s a pretty easy fix, and there are even things you can do to help it before you get to my Evansville dental office.

Prevention

The best way to avoid dealing with a lost filling is to try your best to prevent it in the first place. While sometimes unavoidable, there are things that can cause your fillings to become loose, crack, or fall out include eating sticky or hard foods, grinding your teeth, or clenching. To avoid losing a filling, limit the amount of teeth-damaging foods you eat, and visit your Evansville dentist if you clench or grind as you may be causing more damage than simply losing a filling.

The First Step

If you do lose a filling, the first thing you should do is call my dental office in Evansville immediately. My team will get you scheduled in our earliest opening and we’ll bring you in for an exam. During the exam, we’ll talk about how you lost the filling and what the best options are for restoring your tooth. In some cases, we can place another filling. If the filling was large, we may need to consider another treatment option like a crown. Although a lost filling is not always a dental emergency, it’s still really important to call us as soon as you can. While you’re waiting for your visit, there are some things you can do on your own to help.

What You Can Do

After you’ve called to schedule your appointment, it’s important to keep your tooth as clean as possible. A tooth with a lost filling can trap food deep in the grooves and can cause bacteria to build up. After eating, gently brush the tooth where the filling used to be and even swish with some warm salt water. If you have some pain or sensitivity, the pulp of your tooth is most likely exposed. You can help decrease discomfort by taking a pain reliever or by filling the space with a temporary filling material that contains zinc oxide. These fillers are typically found in most pharmacies. If you do choose to fill the space with an over-the-counter filling material, remember that it is a temporary solution and you should still keep your appointment.

If you’ve lost a filling, don’t hesitate to call my Evansville dental office as soon as possible. We’ll talk about the best options for you and get you back to smiling in no time.

Serving patients in Evansville, Newburgh, and Tell City.

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wisdom toothWhile some of us are born without wisdom teeth, which are not connected to your level of actual wisdom by the way, others develop four “third molars.” Often times it’s suggested that these so-called wisdom teeth be removed. Whether it’s due to impaction or overcrowding, wisdom teeth removal is actually pretty common. At my dental office in Evansville, we want to make sure all of our patients understand that there are important reasons we often recommend wisdom teeth removal.

Getting your wisdom teeth taken out is such a common procedure that over 90% of Americans undergo the surgery. But why is it important that these late-blooming teeth come out? Can’t they just stay in there? Sometimes they can, but if it’s recommended that they be removed, it’s to keep you from additional problems.

The top reason most wisdom teeth need to be removed is the lack of room remaining in the mouth. If there isn’t enough room for the teeth to fully erupt, they can remain partially or completely under the gum line. If they stay this way, the chance that they could become trapped in the bone increases. Once the teeth are “stuck” in the bone, they are considered impacted. Most dental professionals try to keep wisdom teeth from getting to this stage, which is why they’re typically removed in our early teens.

If your wisdom teeth do become impacted, your Evansville dentist will talk to you about whether it’s appropriate to have them removed. If the teeth have broken through the gums but don’t have enough room to fully erupt, they’re actually known as partially impacted, and are almost always removed because they become difficult to care for and can lead to greater oral health issues down the road.

Another reason wisdom teeth need to be removed is that these teeth are waaay back there, making them difficult to care for properly. This means that your wisdom teeth are at increased risk for things like gum disease and cavities. If your wisdom teeth have already erupted, it’s important that you visit my Evansville dental office so we can check for any decay or disease. If anything troublesome is found, the most logical solution may be to remove them and avoid further issues.

The only way you should keep your wisdom teeth is if you have plenty of room, they’re healthy, and you’re able to care for them properly. If checkups at my dental office in Evansville show that your fully erupted wisdom teeth are becoming unhealthy, or that your yet-to-erupt teeth will not have enough room, we will probably recommend getting them removed to keep your mouth in it’s best, most healthy shape.

Serving patients in Evansville, Newburgh, and Tell City.

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protect your teeth this summerSummer is a time for soaking up the rays and getting a healthy dose of vitamin D (don’t forget the sunscreen!). But while you’re relaxing poolside in the summer sun, be careful of some heat-busting snacks that can cause smile-damaging results. At my dental office in Evansville, we’re all about enjoying your time in the sun, but we want to make sure that you’re aware of some dangerous summer snacks and suggest some healthier alternatives.

As we’ve talked about in previous blogs, foods that are sticky or chewy are never a good choice for your teeth. Some more commonly eaten sticky foods are dried fruit or fruit snacks. These chewy snacks are not only high in sugar, their sticky nature also causes the sugar to linger around in the mouth longer, potentially causing some unwanted tooth damage. Sticky foods in general are also guilty of damaging tooth restorations or fillings. When you can, it’s best to stay away.

Another common summer treat that your Evansville dentist suggests avoiding, or at least enjoying in moderation, is barbeque. Barbecue sauces often contain a lot of sugar, vinegar, and sometimes even dye. The dye that’s typically used in barbeque sauce can contribute to staining or discoloration of your smile, and while we already know that sugar is bad for your smile, acids, like vinegar, are also dangerous for your grin.

Citrus fruits including oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are also highly acidic and can lead to damage of the enamel and can promote tooth decay. Since these fruits are high in vitamin C and so thirst quenching, we don’t expect you to avoid them. Just remember that after you enjoy some orange slices, you should rinse your mouth with water to neutralize the acid.

When it comes to quenching your thirst, always choose water over any sugary beverage like soda, sweet tea, or sports drinks. Since people are often more active in the summer, they’re more likely to turn to a sports drink like Gatorade. If you need an extra boost of electrolytes, drink these types of beverages sparingly and avoid swishing them around in your mouth.

So what snacks are all right to eat? Veggies like celery or carrots are excellent foods for your body and your smile;, try some proteins like nuts and turkey; and don’t forget to swing by the dairy aisle to pick up some calcium rich cheese or yogurt that are not only good for your bones, they’re also good for your teeth.

This summer, while you’re enjoying the sun, make sure you’re also enjoying some smile-friendly foods. Next time you’re shopping for food, all of us at my Evansville dental office urge you to make sure to add some smile-friendly items to your list. They’ll not only be delicious to eat, they’ll also keep your mouth healthy all summer (and year) long.

Serving patients in Evansville, Newburgh and Tell City.

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sleep apneaWhen people sleep in the same room, there’s always a chance that someone will not get a good night’s sleep. Whether it’s because one of the individuals steals the blankets, or the other one is a loud snorer, co-sleeping can sometimes be less than ideal. However, with all of the possible causes of a restless night, only one can actually kill you. At my dental office in Evansville, we want to create awareness for one of the scariest disorders that can haunt our sleep: Sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a term used to describe what happens when an individual stops breathing, sometimes several times, during the night. Often confused with simple snoring, sleep apnea is a dangerous disorder that can lead to some pretty scary health problems. Unfortunately, it is often times not sufferers who realize they have this disorder, it’s the person they share a room or bed with.

Sleep apnea has been linked to:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Car accidents caused by drowsy driving
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • And much more

While sleep apnea has a strong correlation with obesity, even some fit individuals can experience it. Sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues in the back of the throat collapse, making it difficult for an adequate supply of air to get through. This often causes the sleeper to awake suddenly, gasping or choking for air. What’s even scarier is that this can happen several times a night and can cause people to stop breathing completely, sometimes for a few minutes at a time.

Some other common symptoms of sleep apnea besides snoring can include excessive daytime sleepiness and even unintentionally falling asleep during the day, feeling as if you never get enough sleep, waking up choking or gasping for breath, and chronic fatigue. All of these symptoms don’t need to be present to indicate sleep apnea and only a sleep study can officially diagnose the disorder.

Once your disorder is diagnosed, there are a few treatment options available. From a CPAP, which is a mask that’s worn during sleep and forces air into the nose or mouth, to a mouthpiece worn at bedtime to keep the airway open, at my Evansville dental office, we urge anyone who has any symptoms of sleep apnea to undergo evaluation and follow the treatment that’s right for them. Don’t settle for sleeping with a killer; get checked and start treatment as soon as you can.

Serving patients in Evansville, Newburgh and Tell City.

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dental urban legendsNothing bugs us more than when people make up stories to try and scare others. We’ve all heard of urban legends, and some of us may have even fallen victim to believing them. What concerns all of us at my Evansville dental office are the legends that cause misconceptions about dentistry and the fact that, if believed, could cause people to avoid dental care.

One of the most common dental urban legends out there is one that says root canals are super painful when, in fact, they’re really not a big deal. Those who have had a root canal often say that there was little or no pain involved in the procedure. Where the misconception of pain comes into play is before the procedure even happens. Root canals are needed when there is an infection or deep decay and, as a result, a lot of pain. What your Evansville dentist wants you to know is that a root canal is a way to relieve the pain, not cause it.

Another tale that’s well-know is that baby teeth aren’t important. Many people think that if a baby tooth falls out prematurely, or gets a cavity, that it’s not a big deal. In fact, baby teeth are important, as they hold the place for your permanent teeth. If they fall out too soon, or if they become infected or decayed, the natural eruption and placement of your permanent teeth could be altered, leading to greater dental problems down the road.

Lastly – and this one is really important – is the belief that if gums bleed, it’s not a big deal. At my dental office in Evansville, we try to educate our patients on the fact that bleeding gums are a sign that something is not right. Healthy gums don’t bleed unless you’re brushing or flossing too roughly. Bleeding gums often mean that you have developed gum disease or even gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis could lead to periodontitis and eventually loss of teeth.

Don’t let common dental urban legends keep you from a strong and healthy smile. If you hear of a dental story that you think may not be true, just call my Evansville dental office. We’ll be sure to set the story straight, relieve any fear you may have, and get your smile strong and healthy.

Serving patients in Evansville, Newburgh and Tell City.

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dental emergency while on vacationYou’ve finally made it to your destination. You’re ready to relax, and your vacation has officially started. All of a sudden, it happens. An unexpected dental problem pops up from nowhere and threatens to ruin your hard-earned time off. But don’t worry, tips from my dental office in Evansville can help get you back to smiling – and back to that hammock.

A dental emergency can mean anything from a chipped tooth to a lost filling, a knocked out tooth to a toothache. But just because a problem in your mouth occurs when you’re not at home doesn’t mean that you can’t fully enjoy your vacation. There are several ways you can resolve or ease a variety of dental problems even when you’re away from your Evansville dentist.

Dental Problem: Broken/Chipped Tooth

How to Help It: Rinse your mouth and any tooth pieces with warm water. If you’re bleeding, use a piece of gauze and apply pressure to the area until the bleeding stops. A cold compress can help reduce pain a swelling. Simply hold it to the outside of the mouth.

Dental Problem: Lost Filling

How to Help It: Using either a piece of sugarless gum (one with sugar will cause pain!) or a dental cement that you can find at a drugstore, fill the cavity until you can get to a dentist.

Dental Problem: Knocked Out Tooth

How to Help It: If you can find the tooth, do not touch the roots! Hold it by the part that’s usually exposed in your mouth to keep damage minimal. Rinse the tooth with warm water and try to put the tooth back in place. If you can’t get it back in, put the tooth in some milk (it’s best for preserving the tooth) and find a local dentist. It’s important to get the tooth back into the socket within an hour in order to save it.

While these tips can help you get back to your vacation, perhaps the best way to avoid a dental problem while out of town is to get a checkup before you leave. At my Evansville dental office, we will make sure your mouth is in its best shape and that there aren’t any potential dangers just waiting pop up as soon as you lay down your beach towel. You can also help protect your teeth by avoiding dangerous snacks like popcorn, sticky candy, and chewing ice.

If you’re planning a vacation, schedule a pre-trip appointment at my dental office in Evansville.

Serving patients in Evansville, Newburgh and Tell City.

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tips for soothing a toothache

Almost all of us have experienced a toothache. The pain and inconvenience often associated with a toothache is enough to really put a kink in your plans and your life. And while we’re always happy to help relieve toothache pain at my Evansville dental office, a toothache can also strike on a weekend or at night when we aren’t open. If this happens, here are some tips you can try to help ease the pain of a toothache.

Before we launch into what is alright to use for a toothache, all of us at my Evansville dental office feel strongly that we need to urge you to not try one common remedy. People often place Aspirin directly to the painful area. Don’t do this! Since Aspirin is an acid, it can burn your gums and cause greater harm to your mouth. If you’d like to use a pain reliever like Aspirin, just swallow it.

Some at-home remedies you can try include:

  • Onion: Some people believe that a piece of raw onion placed on the affected area can ease the pain of a toothache. However, this remedy will probably cause you to have onion breath.
  • Salt Water: Mix a cup of warm water with a tablespoon of salt and swish it around in your mouth. The mixture can actually pull the fluid away from the affected area and reduce pressure on the nerve endings. Do not swallow the mixture. Repeat as needed.
  • Cloves: Oil of Cloves is actually a common ingredient in a lot of dental products. It has antimicrobial properties as well as pain-relieving properties that can help reduce a toothache. All you need to do is mix 2-3 drops of clove oil with olive oil or another cooking oil and soak a piece of cotton with the liquid. Then place the cotton on the bothersome area and bite down.

Although these few tricks may help with your pain, it’s important to know that a toothache is your mouth’s way of telling you that something is not right. Please don’t ignore it! It’s never wise to assume that easing the pain is enough. In its early stages, a toothache could be the result of a minor dental problem that’s easily fixed by your Evansville dentist. If let go, a simple problem can turn into something major and can even begin to affect the rest of your body.

If you’re experiencing a toothache, don’t assume that it’s not a big deal and don’t let it go! Call my Evansville dental office as soon as you can. We can help you determine what’s causing the pain and get it fixed for a healthy, pain-free smile.

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why we grind our teethAre you a chronic teeth grinder? Not really sure if you are or not? It’s not surprising: of the roughly 30 million people teeth grinders out there, very few realize that they grind. A common reason could be that teeth grinding or clenching is often done either while sleeping or subconsciously throughout the day. And while it may not seem like a big problem, at my dental office in Evansville, we consider tooth grinding a huge issue. Here’s why.

Tooth grinding, or bruxism, can cause severe damage to your teeth and your mouth. Broken restorations and fillings, damaged teeth, lost enamel, and tooth sensitivity are only some of the problems associated with severe bruxism. Chronic tooth grinding or clenching can also lead to more serious problems like jaw dysfunction or temporomandibular disorder (TMD). This is what makes visiting your Evansville dentist so important if you’re experiencing symptoms of being a bruxer.

Symptoms of chronic tooth grinding or clenching include:

  • Contractions of the jaw muscles
  • Pain in the jaw joint
  • A grinding sound at night as described by your bedmate
  • Pain in the face
  • Morning headaches
  • Damaged or broken teeth

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, please call my Evansville dental office as soon as you can. It’s important that you seek proper dental care if you are suffering from the pain associated with bruxism so we can diagnose your problem and determine how to properly treat you.

At our dental office in Evansville, we’ll examine your mouth, talk about what you’re experiencing, check your bite, and take x-rays of your jaw and mouth. An in-depth exam will allow us to see exactly what’s going on, determine how severe your bruxism is, and decide on the best way to treat it.

There are several treatment options available for bruxism. Depending on your needs they can include onlays or crowns to reshape the bite surfaces of your teeth, and a mouth guard that fits over your smile and prevents further damage.

Whatever your unique needs may be, my Evansville dental office can help diagnose your bruxism and determine the best treatment for you. The pain associated with tooth grinding doesn’t need to be chronic. Give us a call today. It’s the first step to a better, pain-free smile.

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diet soda is as bad as meth

We all know that sugary drinks like soda aren’t the best for your smile. And in an attempt to avoid the sugar, calories, and caffeine in regular sodas, we often turn to diet soda to quench our thirst. However, at my Evansville dental office, we want you to understand that even these sugar-free drinks can be just as bad, if not worse, for your teeth.

In fact, a study conducted in 2013 and published in the Academy of General Dentistry journal, General Dentistry, showed that excessive consumption of diet soda can have the same effect on your teeth as using illegal drugs like methamphetamine and crack cocaine.

In the study, the damage in the mouths of three individuals – a current methamphetamine user, a former cocaine addict, and an excessive diet soda drinker – was compared. The results showed that each of the mouths experienced similar damage, including tooth erosion, caused by high acid levels.

Soda, regular or diet, is highly acidic. And so are the ingredients in illegal drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine. The more food, drinks, or anything else with high amounts of acid that we put into our bodies, the more damage will be caused. Without tooth enamel, we’re more susceptible to cavities, sensitivity, discoloration, and damage. For this reason, I not only encourage everyone at my dental office in Evansvilleto put the soda down and drink more water, but also to keep up with regular dental appointments.

If you’re addicted to soda, already have damage caused by excessive intake of soda, or even have damage caused by past drug use, it’s time you see your dentist in Evansville. We can monitor your habits and make recommendations on how you can get your smile healthy and looking the way you want it to.