Tooth Extractions: 4 Steps to an Easy Recovery

There are more than seven billion people in the world, and every one of them has a set of teeth—32 of them, in fact. Unfortunately, from time to time, some of them have to go. It’s not something anyone’s looking forward to. After all, your teeth have all been with you for years, reliably chewing anything you asked them to. Most of us are pretty attached to them!

Many patients dread the recovery period after an extraction, but as long as you know how to take care of yourself, an extraction can be one of the least troublesome medical events of your life. Today, we’ll tell you what you can expect, and what you can do to make your recovery as comfortable as possible.

The main concern in the period after a tooth extraction is the possibility of a dry socket. This is when a blood clot fails to form over the extraction site, or when the clot comes loose and exposes the wound, possibly even leaving the bone underneath exposed. Fortunately, it’s not incredibly common (it occurs in less than 5% of routine dental extractions).

The pain of a tooth extraction can be avoided by following these steps.

Step 1: Clear your schedule

The most important thing you can do to prepare for this procedure or any other is to make sure you’re ready for the recovery period. If you were thinking about going on a ten-mile bike tour or pushing a new one-rep-max at the gym, you’ll have to postpone it. Clear your schedule of strenuous physical activity for a few days after the extraction, so you don’t risk loosening the clot before it has a chance to heal.

Step 2: Stock up on soft foods

Avoid eating anything you’ll have to chew or suck. Stock up on soft foods like yogurt and applesauce. Or you could make a smoothie—but be careful not to use a straw. Sucking up any liquid may dislodge the clot and leave the wound exposed. Eggs can work too, if you’re craving something a little more substantial.

Step 3: Manage your pain

After the procedure, your poor gums are going to need a bit of babying. You’ll probably want a painkiller of some kind. The extraction site might not hurt badly right away, but you can manage the pain best by taking a Tylenol or similar drug early. The pain likely will increase for the first three days or so, but don’t worry, that’s normal. If pain continues to increase after the third day or doesn’t decrease, it’s possible you have a dry socket. Contact your dentist, and they’ll decide how to handle things from there.

Step 4: Be gentle with your teeth

Your nighttime routine will have to change, too. For the first two days, avoid rinsing out the extraction site so the wound can heal. After that, you should rinse gently with warm salt water to encourage healing. Brush your teeth gently but avoid teeth right next to the extraction site for the first couple of days. Even after the first couple days, be very careful not to brush the site itself. When it’s time to go to bed, it’s best to prop your head up with an extra pillow or two.

Tooth extraction is a little uncomfortable for the first few days. But with just a little care, you can minimize the pain, and your teeth will be chewing reliably for you once again in no time. The key is to be patient with the healing process and gentle with your mouth for a few days. Putting up with the pain and inconvenience of an extraction is much better than living with the pain and infection risk of a cracked or impacted tooth!

Normandy/Lakewood Dentistry is here to support you through extractions and all your dental needs. If you’re having tooth pain, or if you have questions about tooth extraction or any other procedure, call our Normandy location at (904) 877-5855 or our Lakewood location at (904) 595-3818, and we’ll do everything we can to help.

Sedation: Making Your Dental Procedure as Comfortable as Possible

As we get older, we figure out that many things we didn’t like as children really were for our own good. Sometimes, we even end up liking some of those things, such as vegetables or early bedtime. But let’s be honest – sometimes when you’re sitting in your dentist’s waiting room listening to a poor eight-year-old boy throw a fit, you’re right there with him. Dental visits rarely end up being anyone’s favorite thing to do!

Even if going to the dentist doesn’t terrify you, the idea of a dentist visit can be nerve-wracking and uncomfortable for some people. About 15% of Americans are so intimidated by going to the dentist, they avoid it altogether – unfortunately for their teeth. Waiting to go to the dentist, or never going, can turn small dental issues into bigger, more complicated problems that are potentially more painful, too.

At Normandy/Lakewood Dentistry, we want you to know we understand coming to see us can seem intimidating, and we are committed to making your visit as comfortable as possible. Among other things we do to welcome you to our office, we can make most procedures relatively painless, thanks to the power of modern medicine.

Usually, a local anesthetic is enough to manage your pain. However, for some people pain isn’t the only concern. Patients who suffer from anxiety, for example, may be concerned the discomfort of a procedure will cause elevated anxiety. If that’s the case for you, don’t worry! Sedation can make your visit a breeze!

Controlling Dental Pain: Local Anesthesia vs. General Anesthesia vs. Sedation

Dentists use three primary methods to manage patients’ pain and stress during procedures:

  • Local anesthesia: numbs the immediate area being worked on
  • General anesthesia: makes you unconscious for the duration
  • Sedative medication: calms you – dentists can choose different levels of sedative

Local anesthesia is applied with a swab or syringe directly to the skin or muscle in the area the dentist plans to work on. Some sedatives are released into the patient’s bloodstream through a needle or catheter inserted into a vein. Unlike general anesthesia, where the patient is entirely unconscious and may need assistance with their breathing and heartbeat, sedative medication can leave the patient in a semi-conscious state. This means the patient can respond to verbal commands and doesn’t need to be watched as closely.

Many sedatives leave the patient with no memory of the procedure, so they don’t have to worry they will have traumatic memories of the procedure. A combination of local anesthesia and sedative medication makes a patient’s experience both painless and more emotionally comfortable.

Oral sedatives (by mouth) often simply calm a person’s nerves a bit. These sedatives leave the patient fully conscious but help them relax during the dental procedure.

The type of sedation a dentist uses depends on individual needs of each patient.

Going to the dentist may not ever be one of your favorite things, but at Normandy/Lakewood Dentistry we have ways (including sedation) to ensure your dental visit is as comfortable as possible. If you have questions about how we can accommodate you during your visit, or if you have specific questions about any procedure, give us a call at (904) 877-5855 for our Normandy location or (904) 595-3818 for our Lakewood location, and we’ll be happy to ease your anxiety!

Take Care of Your Teeth With Regular Dental Checkups

Regular dental care is so important, not only for your dental health, but your overall health as well. It is generally recommended that you should get a checkup once every six months. However, depending on your dental history, your dentist might ask you to come in more.

Typically, dental checkups are easy and painless. Nonetheless, it is always good to know what to expect when going in for your regular checkup.

How You Can Prepare

If you’re looking for a new dentist or if you’re scheduling your first adult cleaning, ask your family and friends for recommendations. Take into consideration the location of the office and if they participate in your dental plan. If you don’t have a dental plan, make sure you take a look at the office’s membership plan and if it fits your needs.

Talk with the dentist if you’re anxious about your visit and communicate what they can do to help make you more comfortable.

What You Can Expect

No matter where you go for your checkup, you can expect several things to happen.

  • Cleaning. A dental hygienist will typically bring you back and begin cleaning your teeth. Using a small mirror and tool called a hand scaler, the hygienist will remove all the plaque and tartar from your teeth.
  • Expert Flossing. Even if you floss regularly at home, nothing can beat an expert flossing session with a dental hygienist. They can get deep between your teeth and locate any problem spots where you might bleed at the gums.
  • Applying Fluoride Treatment. Fluoride treatment is used as a protectant for your teeth to help fight against cavities for several months. Your dental hygienist may ask you what flavor you like best. They’ll then place the foamy gel (or sometimes a sticky paste) into a mouthpiece that fits over your teeth. It’s usually left on your teeth for one minute. Besides the foamy gel, fluoride varnish is also painted onto the teeth with a small brush. Fluoride varnish will harden when in contact with saliva, so you can eat and drink immediately after.
  • X-Rays. At some of your dental checkups, you might get x-rays done on your teeth. This is to look for decay, gum disease, or other dental problems. X-rays expose you to radiation so in order to avoid having them done more than necessary, bring copies of previous X-rays with you when you’re visiting a new dentist.

What To Do In Between Regular Dental Checkups

After your exam, the dentist or hygienist will discuss your oral health, including your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health problems, and preventive measures you can take to improve and protect your oral health. Be sure to take care of your teeth and gums in between your regular dental visits. Plaque is always forming on your teeth, but you can manage it by brushing and flossing regularly. Make sure to schedule your next appointment to ensure you keep on track with your checkups.

 

Regular dental checkups are a must to keep a healthy and clean mouth. Remember to talk with your dentist about any issues you are having with your teeth right away. Here at Normandy/Lakewood Dentistry, we’re always here to help you. Call our Normandy Dentistry office at (904) 441-5908 or our Lakewood Dentistry office at (904) 569-6131 to get an appointment for a dental checkup. The key is to keep going back to the dentist for regular teeth cleanings to prevent problems altogether. By understanding what is going on in advance, you’ll feel more at ease and maybe even look forward to visiting your dentist!

The Pros and Cons of Cosmetic Dentistry

Many of us are obsessed with the way our teeth look. Think about it. What’s the first thing you notice about a person? For most of us, it’s the person’s teeth. Nevertheless, even though a lot of us are obsessed with teeth, ⅓ of Americans are dissatisfied with the way their teeth look.

That’s where cosmetic dentistry comes in. Cosmetic dentistry can help improve your smile and overall dental health. However, there are pros and cons to cosmetic dentistry so we’ve compiled a list to help you decide whether it’s the right choice for you.

Cons of Cosmetic Dentistry

Teeth Sensitivity
While there are many good effects that come with cosmetic dentistry, there are also some that aren’t so great. Whitening your teeth can make your teeth sensitive to temperature, and you’re also encouraged to stay away from foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, such as coffee or berries.

When getting a crown, a dentist has to drill into your tooth, which can lead to gum recession and sensitivity. Implants have also been known to cause infections and post- surgery bleeding.

Permanence
Many of these procedures are permanent. You have to be completely certain that this procedure is right for you and it’s something you absolutely want because there’s no turning back once it is done.

Price
Many people don’t just have a disposable income available for cosmetic dentistry procedures, so price can be a major con for some. For instance, veneers can cost anywhere between $925 and $2,500 per tooth. Braces can cost up to $5,000 or more. Financing and insurance can help cover these costs, but not everyone has these options.

Pros of Cosmetic Dentistry

Health Boost
Kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, and even oral cancer are some serious consequences of bad oral hygiene. Gum disease and tooth decay are also issues to worry about with poor oral care. After receiving cosmetic dentistry, there is more motivation for the individual to take good care of their teeth, leading to a happier and healthier person.

Confidence Boost
The most obvious benefit of cosmetic dentistry is the confidence boost one gets from having a brighter, straighter smile. After any cosmetic dentistry procedure, you are guaranteed to feel better about your teeth. No more uncomfortable social situations trying to hide your smile.

Looking Younger
Having healthy teeth can help make you look younger. A youthful smile lights up your entire face and can completely change your outlook on life. Not only will you look younger, you’ll also feel younger, which is just as important.

Set up an appointment by calling Normandy Dentistry at (904) 441-5908 or Lakewood Dentistry at (904) 569-6131 to talk with one of our dentists about if cosmetic dentistry is right for you. We’re here to answer any and all of your questions to help you make the step for better oral health and a more confident smile.

Improving Your Smile

Your smile is one of the first things people notice, and if you’re not confident in yours, it can be a cause for low self esteem and insecurities. That’s where cosmetic dentists come in. Cosmetic dentists are here to help you be confident in your teeth and smile.

There are lots of things cosmetics dentists can do to make you love your smile. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of just some of the reasons why you should visit a cosmetic dentist.

Straightening Teeth

Crooked or misaligned teeth are really common for most people, but not everyone had braces in middle school. Now you might be an adult and don’t want to go the traditional teeth straightening route. That’s where your cosmetic dentist comes in.

We can provide you with different methods of straightening your teeth, including but not limited to, clear braces, Invisalign, and veneers. These options give you a way to straighten your teeth without the pain of braces and the hassle of going to an orthodontist.

Replacing Missing Teeth

Got some missing teeth? No worries! Cosmetic dentists have a variety of ways to fill gaps and missing teeth. These include crowns, implants, dentures, bridges and more. No matter how you lost your teeth, we can help get your smile complete again.

Whitening Your Teeth

Everyone wants that million dollar smile that sparkles when you show it. Getting whiter teeth can help you have brighter teeth. Having your teeth whitened by a professional is safer and more effective than doing it yourself at home. It can also last longer.

Whitening your teeth is one of the more popular ways to improve your smile and dentists offer a wide variety of ways to do it. There are several methods your dentist can try, and they can even provide you with take home kits. Talk with us to find out what method is best for you!

Tooth Reshaping

Some people don’t love the shape of their teeth, whether they are pointy or oddly shaped or whatever the reason may be. Reshaping your teeth can help get you that straight, even tooth look. Most people opt for the veneer route if they want to change the shape of their teeth, but talk with us and we can decide the best option for you.

 

No matter if it’s a small change or a big change, cosmetic dentists can help give you confidence in your smile again. Call us at 904-877-5855 for our Normandy location or 904-595-3818 for our Lakewood location to set up an appointment to talk with our dentists about what we can do to get you loving your smile again.

The Different Types of Cosmetic Dentistry

What’s the first thing you see when meeting someone new? Oftentimes, it’s their smile. And if someone doesn’t have a perfect smile, it can be a source of insecurity for them. Luckily, there are ways to help you fall in love with your teeth.

Cosmetic dentistry is dentistry aimed at creating a positive change to your teeth and your smile. Whether your teeth are chipped, stained, misaligned, or worn, cosmetic dentistry can improve your smile and your confidence. Here are just a few ways cosmetic dentistry can help.

1. Teeth Whitening

Whitening your teeth is one of the most common and quickest ways to change your smile. This is the perfect solution for someone who doesn’t need anything more than a bit of brightening for their teeth or someone who isn’t quite ready for a huge commitment.

Fortunately, teeth whitening can be done in a dentist’s office, or it can be done at home. However, it’s wise to get the bleach from your dentist to make sure you’re getting the safest and best product.

2. Dental Veneers

Veneers, the gold standard for cosmetic dental procedures, are thin, custom made shells of tooth colored porcelain that cover the front surface of the teeth. About a half- millimeter of enamel from the tooth is gently shaved and then an impression is taken. Then, the impression is sent to a dental lab for custom veneers.

While you’re waiting for your permanent veneers, you’ll have temporary ones. Once you get your permanent set, they’ll be cemented to the front of the teeth and you can change the size, color, shape or length.

3. Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is a great option for people who have deeply stained or chipped teeth. During this procedure, a tooth- colored, putty- like resin is applied to the tooth and hardened with an ultraviolet or laser light, bonding the material to the tooth. Your dentist can then trim, shape and polish it.

4. Enamel Abrasion

This procedure is a way to remove discoloration. The procedure uses a fine pumice in a micro-abrasion machine to remove surface stains. While this process doesn’t work for stains inside the tooth or intrinsic stains, it works wonders to remove stains caused by things like tobacco, wine, coffee and berries.

5. Invisalign Braces

These are perfect for not only kids, but adults as well because no one can tell you’re wearing them! They’ll help you get the perfect smile that you’ve always wanted.

While they’re great for straightening teeth, they also help with chronic pain caused by misalignment, such as headaches.

 

Whatever you want to do to improve your teeth, we’ve got you covered. We want all of our patients to be confident in their smiles. If you have any questions about different procedures used for cosmetic dentistry, please reach out to us at 904-877-5855 for our Normandy location or 904-595-3818 for our Lakewood location. We’ll get you set up with an appointment and our team will get you the right process for your needs.

Introduction to Different Types of Dentures

Dentures are a normal, everyday part of life for many people all over the world. In fact, we know they’ve been in use for thousands of years! The oldest record of denture use dates back to 700 BC in Northern Italy, and they were used throughout the years of the roman empire. So, if we’ve talked with you about dentures or you suspect you will need them, know that you’re not alone! Men and women have been wearing dentures through some of the most momentous events in history.

The cosmetic benefits of dentures are obvious, but they also can help people eat and speak, which is why they’ve been so popular for so much of the world’s history.

Did you know there are many different types of dentures? No matter how you lost your teeth, there’s a set of dentures that can help you look and feel normal again.

Here are some examples of the different types of dentures you and your dentist might decide to use, depending on your individual situation:

Full Dentures
When you hear the word “dentures”, you probably think of these. Full dentures are used to help a patient who’s lost most or all of their teeth. This type of denture needs to be custom-molded to your gums, so we may need to remove existing teeth if some are still left in place in your mouth. After your dentures are properly fitted, an adhesive is used to hold them in place over the course of each day. You’ll take them out and clean them every night.

Partial Dentures
Not every case of missing teeth is extreme enough to require a whole new set of dentures. When only certain portions of your teeth are missing, we may evaluate it together and consider a set of partial dentures. These not only help your teeth look natural, but also keep your remaining teeth from slowly drifting out of place and becoming crooked. Partial dentures are made of (1) a pink artificial root that matches the color of your gums, (2) false teeth to replace the missing ones, and (3) sometimes a clip or wire to hold everything in place.

Implant Supported Dentures
If you want your new smile to have a more solid foundation, you might consider implant-supported dentures. This style of denture includes four implants — titanium posts that fuse to your jawbone — which allow you to snap the dentures in and easily take them out for cleaning. The process of fitting and preparing implant supported dentures is more involved than fitting a set of traditional dentures, but the result is very convenient. This type of denture does not require the use of adhesive.

Our Goal is Your Beautiful Smile

We can help you find the right type of dentures for you, no matter what your situation. Modern dentures are more comfortable, convenient and realistic than ever before — the result of more than two thousand years of innovation! If you believe dentures might be a right fit for you, give us a call at (904) 441-5908. We’ll be happy to talk with you about the different types of dentures and what the fitting will entail, so we can get your smile to look the way you want it to.

Invisalign® Systems and Other Clear Aligners: A Path to Better-Looking Teeth

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

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

The Benefits of Clear Aligners

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

How to Pay for Clear Aligners

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

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

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

The Clear Aligner Fitting Process

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

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

 

For those who can use them, clear aligners such as Invisalign systems can be the least intrusive solution for straightening teeth. It’s nice not to have to worry about the looks and inconveniences of traditional braces! The initial cost of clear aligners may seem daunting, but options are available to help pay for them. If you have any questions about clear aligners or other methods of straightening your teeth, please give us a call at (904) 441-5908. We’ll be happy to walk you through your options and help you find the best possible solution for your smile.