Are You Afraid of the Dentist?

If you’re one of the many people who are afraid of going to the dentist, then watch our latest video explaining how sedation dentistry can help you overcome your fears. We’ll review our two sedation options of nitrous oxide and oral sedation – Triazolam (Halcion).

Schedule your next appointment at one of our two offices with no fear!

 

Take Care of Your Teeth with Regular Dental Checkups

Tooth Decay & How to Prevent Cavities

Cavities, often referred to as tooth decay, are tiny holes that develop in the hard surface of your teeth. They are most common in children and teenagers, but they can affect everyone including infants and toddlers. Take a closer look at what causes cavities and how you can prevent them.

Causes of Cavities

Cavities typically occur as a result of poor oral health habits but other various factors can increase the risk of getting a cavity, including:

  • Dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when there is a lack of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps wash away food stuck on the teeth and it counters the acid produced from bacteria in the mouth, which reduces the chance for cavities.
  • Foods and drinks. Certain foods aren’t as easily washed away from saliva, making them more likely to cause decay. Foods you should limit include: ice cream, honey, sugar, soda, cake, chips, cookies, and hard candy.
  • Constant snacking or sipping. Drinking or eating frequently throughout the day results in increased bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria produces the acids that attack tooth enamel.
  • Lack of fluoride. Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps prevent cavities and can reverse the early stage of tooth decay. Using a fluoride mouthwash is recommended.

Cavity Prevention

Regular dental visits and daily brushing and flossing are the best protection against cavities. But, cavities left untreated get larger and larger, affecting the deeper layers of your teeth. Deeper cavities result in higher chances of experiencing severe toothache and infection. So, when it comes to cavities, prevention is key. Below are some of our cavity preventions tips:

  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste. Brush and floss twice a day, ideally after each meal.
  • Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Professional teeth cleanings remove plaque that builds up overtime which isn’t removed by regular brushing and flossing. Going to the dentist twice a year is one of the best cavity prevention options.
  • Dental sealants. Sealants protect the tooth enamel from harmful plaque and bacteria.
Learn More About Fillings and Sealants

 

What are Dental Sealants and are They Worth It?

Are Dental Implants Safe?

Dental implants have become many dentists’ go-to procedure for replacing missing teeth. Dental implant surgery replaces tooth roots with metal, screwlike posts and replaces damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function much like real ones. This surgery is a great alternative to dentures and can offer an option when a lack of natural teeth roots don’t allow building denture or bridgework tooth replacements.

What are the risks?

Like any type of surgery, there are a few risks to getting dental implants. However, the problems that come with dental implant surgery are rare and typically minor and very treatable. Risks include:

  • Sinus problems, when dental implants placed in the upper jaw protrude into one of your sinus cavities
  • Injury or damage to surrounding structures, such as other teeth or blood vessels
  • Nerve damage, which can cause pain, numbness or tingling in your natural teeth, gums, lips or chin
  • Infection at the implant site

The advantages of using dental implants

Dental implants are one of the most reliable dental procedures with a 95% success. They also offer advantages that other missing teeth solutions do not, such as:

  • Appearance – Implants look and feel like your natural teeth.
  • Speech – No need to worry about slipping dentures or loose bridges that can cause slurred speech.
  • Comfort – Implants are permanent and stable, so no chaffing or discomfort will happen like with dentures.
  • Oral health – Implant placement does not require modifying surrounding teeth as a bridge does. Also, implants stop bone deterioration and stimulate healthy bone tissue growth.

Dental Implant Procedure

When considering having a dental implant procedure, a patient will typically go through the following steps:

  1. First, the patient will go through a thorough exam and consultation with the dentist. The dentist will then make an individualized treatment plan.
  2. At the next appointment, the team will place your implant, which acts as a substitute tooth root.
  3. Then, the tooth is given time (about 2-3 months) to heal and integrate with the bone tissue.
  4. Once the implant has bonded to the bone tissue, a small connector called an abutment is attached to the implant.
  5. Impressions are taken of your teeth to create either a custom crown to replace one tooth or an implant-supported bridge or denture for multiple missing teeth. Crown restorations are custom tinted, so they blend in beautifully with your natural teeth.
  6. The finished crown, bridge, or denture is attached to the implant(s).

Once you get the finished implant, your new teeth are ready to use! If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at (904) 877-5855 for the Normandy office or (904) 595-3818 for the Lakewood office. We want your implants to look and feel like real teeth and you smile looking its best!

Implants Can Help Preserve Bone

Oral Health Tips For Seniors

No matter your age, good dental hygiene is important in minimizing the chance of cavities and other oral health problems. As you age, it becomes even more critical that you care for your teeth. Even more so if you have a health condition such as heart disease or diabetes. Normandy/Lakewood Dentistry is here to help you prevent oral health problems throughout every stage of life. Below are just a few of our oral health tips for seniors and caring for your teeth as you age.

Maintain regular dental visits

Getting your teeth and gums checked regularly is very important, even if you wear dentures, catching any oral health problems early and helping prevent future issues. Keep in mind that Medicare doesn’t pay for routine dental care so you may want to look into private dental insurance.

Brush, floss, and rinse daily

Brushing and flossing each day with a fluoride toothpaste and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash removes plaque from your teeth and reduces the chances of tooth decay or gum disease.

Watch for changes in your mouth

Your risk of getting oral cancer increases with age. If you see any spots, lumps, white or red patches, or if you’re experiencing difficulty swallowing or chewing, numbness on your tongue, or swelling of your jaw—contact us right away.

Avoid tobacco

According to the CDC “smoking tobacco products (including cigarettes and cigars) causes almost nine of every 10 cases of lung cancer, but smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body”, including the mouth and throat.

Ask your doctor about dry mouth

Dry mouth is the result of not having enough saliva to keep your mouth wet, and makes it harder to talk, eat, and swallow. If your medication is causing dry mouth, ask your doctor if there is any substitution that doesn’t produce dry mouth.

Care for your dentures

Dentures require special care, including using a deep-cleaning solution to soak off food remnants from the denture. Dentures can make life easier for many seniors, but you have to keep up with their care.

Caring for your teeth as you age doesn’t have to be challenging! We’re here to help with any questions or concerns you may have about aging and oral health. Contact us today.

Taking Care of Your Teeth as You Age

Is A Custom Mouth Guard Right For Me?

Mouth guards are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Even though mouth guards may look similar, they can provide different functions. They can be used for preventing teeth grinding, reducing snoring, sleep apnea relief, and protecting your mouth when playing sports. There are three different types of mouth guards: stock, boil and bite, and custom. Learn more about each option from our mouth guards service page.

Prevent Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding can cause soreness, tenderness, and tightness in the muscles of the jaw, neck, and face, commonly resulting in tension headaches. Mouth guards worn while you sleep prevent the bottom and top teeth from clenching together so damage does not occur. Custom mouth guards are recommended to prevent teeth grinding because they provide the best fit for your teeth, last longer over time than stock or boil and bite mouth guards, and will be the most comfortable option for you while you sleep.

Reduce Snoring or Sleep Apnea Relief

Snoring occurs when air flows past the relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate when you breathe. While sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. There are two different types of mouth guards, or oral appliances that can be used for snoring and/or sleep apnea:

Mandibular advancement device (MAD): This works by pushing the lower jaw forward to open your airway while you sleep.
Tongue retaining device: This works by gripping your tongue to prevent it from falling into the back of the throat.

These oral appliances must be fitted by a dentist and worn in your mouth at night. There are many over the counter mouth guards that claim to prevent snoring or help sleep apnea, but the best course of action is to consult with your dentist or doctor to see what is right for you.

Sports Mouth Guards

Sports mouth guards can help prevent damage to the face and minimize the risk of broken teeth or injuries to your face, jaw, tongue, and lips. Certain sports have higher risks than others. It is very important to wear a mouth guard if you play any of the following sports: football, boxing, hockey, or wrestling. Basically, when it comes to mouth guards, the better the fit, the better the protection. Stock mouth guards are the least expensive option for protecting your teeth while playing sports. Boil and bite mouth guards are slightly more expensive but they provide a better fit, reducing the risk of injury. Custom mouth guards will provide the most protection as they will have the best fit/coverage of your mouth.

We know you have many options for mouth guards, if you are not sure if a mouth guard will help you or if you would like a custom-fit mouth guard consultation, contact us today!

What Should You Know Before Getting Veneers?

What to Know Before Getting Dental Veneers

When it comes to improving your smile, veneers are one of the most effective solutions. They give you a fresh, new look without having to undergo something invasive like cosmetic surgery. These thin shell-like shells are made of porcelain and are attached to the front of teeth. There are many reasons why you might want to get a denture — from needing replacement teeth because of injury or an extracted tooth, to making your existing teeth look better and more uniform.

Like any type of procedure, there are some things you should know before getting dental veneers.

What You Can Expect When Getting Veneers

Getting dental veneers is a multi- step process that can take several weeks and a couple visits to your dentist.

Your dentist will evaluate your smile, then determine whether you’re a good candidate for veneers and discuss the plan for moving ahead. If you need any fillings or dental implants, these will have to be taken care of first.

Then, your dentist will prep your teeth by shaving a very thin layer of enamel off the front of your teeth. They will then take an impression of your teeth and create temporary veneers that will stay on your teeth until the permanent veneers are finished.

Once the final porcelain veneers are sculpted, you’ll return to the dentist to have them applied. The temporary veneers are removed and a bonding cement is applied to your teeth. Then, the permanent veneers are carefully installed and you’re ready to dazzle people with your new smile!

Caring for Your Veneers

After your procedure, your mouth and gums will likely be sore for a few days. The discomfort is completely normal and will pass as your mouth heals, but have some Tylenol on hand, just in case.

You should care for your veneers, just like you would your regular teeth- brush them twice a day and floss regularly. You should stay away from foods that might chip or crack your teeth. The better you take care of your teeth, the longer your veneers will last.

Most veneers will last 20 years, which, at that point, you’ll need to look into getting a new set due to regular wear and tear. If your veneers are damaged earlier than that, you will probably need to look into fixing them sooner.

Veneers Aren’t For Everyone

Getting veneers is an investment, so you’ll need to make sure that your finances are in order, or your insurance will help cover the cost.

Some other reasons why someone might not be able to get veneers are because they have a habit of teeth grinding, they have a crossbite or underbite, gum disease, poor oral hygiene, or severe tooth crowding.

If you’re wondering if dental veneers are a good choice for you, talk with your dentist. They’ll walk you through the steps of getting veneers and talk with you about if you’re a good candidate or not.

Give one of our offices a call today and we’ll get an appointment set up to discuss the possibility of you getting veneers!

Who Qualifies as a Good Candidate for Dental Veneers?

Laughing Gas Eases Dental Procedures: We’re Not Joking!

By now, most people have heard dentists often use nitrous oxide – laughing gas – to make procedures more comfortable for their patients. But many people don’t know exactly what laughing gas is or what it does. At Normandy/Lakewood Dentistry, we offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) as a sedative for any procedure for one low cost, because we know dental fear is no laughing matter!

Our patients sometimes want us to answer questions about the gas before they decide it’s right for them. Some even ask, “If I’m laughing, won’t it be hard for the dentist to work on my teeth?” Though it’s called laughing gas, you won’t actually double over with belly laughs – you’ll just be less worried about what’s going on inside your mouth. You’ll still be awake and more-or-less alert, so if the dentist needs to ask you to tip your head a certain direction or open wider, you’ll be able to do so.

Above all, our patients want assurance that it’s safe. Nitrous oxide IS safe. It was first used as an anesthetic drug in 1844. Since then, modern medicine has perfected safe methods of delivery. Occasional use of nitrous oxide in small amounts for dentistry has no known side effects. It’s a tested and verified sedation choice used by thousands of dentists and their patients to take the edge off during dental work.

Laughing Gas is Easy and Comfortable During Procedures

Unlike other more-complicated methods of sedation used for complex or serious dental procedures, laughing gas is easy on both the dentist and the patient. Your dentist simply fits a special mask over your face and asks you to breathe in the mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. Before long, you’ll feel the effects of the gas.

Under the effects of nitrous oxide, you feel calm and comfortable. Some people feel as though their arms and legs are heavy, though you’ll be able to move them if the need should arise. The sense of calmness you get from the gas keeps your feelings of anxiety at bay. It also is likely to make you care less if you feel pain.

After your dental procedure is complete, the dentist removes the mask used to deliver the nitrous oxide, and the effects of the drug wear off quickly. Unlike with other sedation methods that put you further “under,” you’ll be able to drive yourself home shortly afterward your appointment without needing much time to rest.

For many years now, dentists have used this process to deliver calmness to dental patients using laughing gas. It’s accepted the world over as a safe, effective and fast way to make sure dental procedures cause as little stress as possible.

At Normandy/Lakewood Dentistry, we provide this important service, because we know dental anxiety is no joke. We want to make sure any visit to our office is as quick and comfortable as possible. If you have any questions about nitrous oxide/laughing gas sedation or want to schedule an appointment for any reason, just give us a call at (904) 877-5855 for the Normandy location or (904) 595-3818 for the Lakewood location and we’ll be happy to help!

Sedation: Making Your Dental Procedure as Comfortable as Possible

What are Dental Sealants and Are They Worth It?

By Dr. Joseph Lee

When you get a brand new cell phone, do you purchase a case to protect it? What if you knew with 90% certainty that you would drop your phone? As you probably already guessed, most people purchase some type of protection for their phone. It just makes sense.

Well, according to a study from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 92% of adults have had a cavity in their permanent teeth. In other words, 9 out of 10 people will get a cavity! Those are some pretty stacked odds.

Like a brand new cell phone, your teeth also come unprotected and as the research points out, without intervention the odds are super high that decay will happen.

Fortunately, sealants can seal and protect the natural pits and grooves of the teeth with a curable resin and help prevent cavities from starting. In fact studies have shown sealants to reduce cavity risk by over 70%! Waiting until after a cavity forms to do something will cost you at least 4 times more than a sealant. It’s also good to know that sealants do wear out and your teeth will need to be re-sealed from time to time. So the next time you visit your dentist, ask them if sealants would be a good fit for you.

To schedule your next appointment with Normandy/Lakewood Dentistry, contact one of our two convenient locations.

Pediatric Dental Care

How to Prevent the Gum Disease Known as Gingivitis

When it comes to your mouth’s health, it’s not only about having straight, white teeth. Having healthy gums is also a huge part of your oral well-being. Even if you are cavity free, it doesn’t always mean your gums are healthy.

One form of gum disease is called Gingivitis. It’s important to take gingivitis seriously as it can lead to much more serious gum issues, like periodontitis and tooth loss, if left untreated.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums, or gingiva. It commonly occurs because a film of plaque accumulates on the teeth. There are typically two types of gingivitis:

  • Dental plaque-induced gingival disease: This type of gingivitis can be caused by plaque, systemic factors, medication or malnutrition
  • Non-plaque induced gingival lesions: This can be caused by specific bacterium, virus, or fungus. It might also be caused by genetic factors, systemic conditions (including allergic reactions and certain illnesses), wounds, or foreign bodies such as dentures.

When plaque is not removed adequately, it can harden into tartar near the base of the teeth, near the gum. This has a yellowish color and can only be professionally cleaned and removed. This type of plaque and tartar irritates the gums, causing inflammation, which typically leads to the gums bleeding.

How do I Know if I Have Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is fairly common, and anyone can develop it. Symptoms of Gingivitis include:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Wiggly teeth
  • Gums that bleed easily

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk with your dentist. If Gingivitis is left untreated, it can lead to more serious oral issues.

How to Prevent Gingivitis

The number one way to prevent Gingivitis is to practice good oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth twice for at least two minutes a day and flossing at least once a day. Using an electric toothbrush can also help as they are better equipped to remove plaque in hard to reach places.

Visiting your dentist twice a year (every six months) to get a professional cleaning is another great way to prevent gum disease. Dentists and hygienists are able to remove plaque and tartar buildup that toothbrushes don’t always get.

Improving your overall health can also help prevent gingivitis. Improving your diet and managing your blood sugar are great for your gums.

 

We are here to help you and support you with all of your oral health needs. If you think you could have signs of gingivitis, call us today at (904) 877-5855 for the Normandy office or (904) 595-3818 for the Lakewood office. We are always happy to answer any questions you have and can schedule you for a visit.

Take Care of Your Teeth with Regular Dental Checkups

What are the Pros and Cons of Dental Veneers?

The Pros and Cons of Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are a very popular cosmetic dental procedure. For those who wish to improve the appearance of their smile, but do not have teeth that are in serious condition, dental veneers may be an excellent option.

Even though veneer treatment has proved to be a highly effective, safe and minimally invasive treatment, patients are constantly asking their dentists about the advantages and disadvantages of dental veneers.

Disadvantages

While there are a lot of great things about dental veneers, there are also a couple drawbacks. For example, getting veneers is a procedure that is irreversible. Once the doctor shaves down the enamel of your teeth, there is no turning back.

Shaving down that layer of enamel can also make your teeth more sensitive to hot and cold as the veneers are not thick enough to act as a barrier. Veneers are also not a good option for people with badly failing teeth.

Veneers have a shorter life span compared to dental restorations like bridges and crowns. If you’re looking for a long term solution, dental veneers might not be the right choice for you.

Advantages

While there are some disadvantages to dental veneers, there are also quite a few advantages. Veneers help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted by straightening and whitening your teeth. However, those are the most obvious advantages.

Another advantage is that veneers are also a more conservative dental restoration. A dentist only needs to remove a little enamel to accommodate a veneer. In contrast, a crown needs much more space. To accommodate a crown, a dentist may need to remove a significant portion of the enamel first.

Veneers are also versatile in that they can match a certain shade of teeth. There are also different types of porcelain that are strong enough to provide structural support to slightly damaged teeth.

 

If you’re looking to get veneers, it’s always a good idea to talk it over with your dentist to make sure you weigh the pros and cons. Your dentist can help you decide if dental veneers are right for you. Call us today at (904) 877-5855 for the Normandy office or (904) 595-3818 for the Lakewood office and we’ll set up an appointment to talk through the advantages and disadvantages.

The Different Types of Cosmetic Dentistry