Are Oral Piercings Safe? 

Snow Family Dentistry recognizes that piercing is a widely accepted form of self-expression, and that includes piercings in the oral cavity. However, the potential problems from piercings in the mouth can be numerous. If you’re thinking of placing a piercing in or around your mouth, talk to your Snow Family Dentistry dentist first. If you already have piercings- we are not judging you at all! Our team just wants to ensure that you stay safe, so if you experience any sign of infection, it is important to contact us right away. 

Oral piercings may cause:

  • Infection, pain and swelling. Your mouth is a moist environment, home to huge amounts of breeding bacteria, and an ideal place for infection. It’s also possible for a piercing to cause your tongue to swell, potentially blocking your airway.
  • Damage to gums, teeth and fillings. A common habit of biting or playing with the piercing can injure your gums and lead to cracked, scratched or sensitive teeth. Piercings can also damage fillings.
  • Hypersensitivity to metals. Allergic reactions at the pierced site are also possible.
  • Nerve damage. After a piercing, you may experience a numb tongue that is caused by nerve damage that is usually temporary, but can sometimes be permanent. The injured nerve may affect your sense of taste, or how you move your mouth. Damage to your tongue’s blood vessels can also cause serious blood loss.
  • Excessive drooling. Your tongue piercing could potentially increase saliva production.

If you already have piercings:

  • Contact your dentist or physician immediately if you have any signs of infection, including swelling, pain, fever, chills, shaking or a red-streaked appearance around the site of the piercing.
  • Keep the piercing site clean and free of any matter that may collect on the jewelry by using a mouth rinse after every meal.
  • Try to avoid clicking the jewelry against teeth and avoid stress on the piercing. Be gentle and aware of the jewelry’s movement when talking and chewing.
  • Check the tightness of your jewelry periodically (with clean hands). This can help prevent you from swallowing or choking if the jewelry becomes dislodged.
  • When taking part in sports, remove the jewelry and protect your mouth with a mouthguard.
  • See your dentist regularly, and remember to brush twice a day and floss daily.

At Snow Family Dentistry, we just want all of our patients to stay safe! If you have any questions or concerns regarding oral piercings, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Contact us today, we’re always here to help. 

Are Dental X-Rays Safe? 

Dental X-rays are a common diagnostic procedure, and are considered very safe. In fact, they use low doses of radiation and produce just a fraction of what you are exposed to in other imaging procedures. 

Who Needs Dental X-Rays?

Dental X-rays are used to help dentists see issues that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye, including: 

  • Areas of decay, like those in between teeth or under a filling
  • Bone loss associated with gum disease
  • Abscesses, which are infections at the root of the tooth or between the tooth and gum
  • Tumors
  • Changes in the root canal

Your Snow Family Dentistry dentist can also use X-rays to prepare tooth implants, dentures, and other similar treatments.

How to Determine Whether X-Rays are Necessary

The best way to minimize radiation exposure from dental X-rays is to make sure they are only done when necessary. There is no set schedule for dental X-rays; rather, it’s left to the healthcare provider to make an informed decision as to whether you, the patient, needs X-rays with their examination. Factors that your Snow Family Dentistry dentist will consider include:

  • Age
  • Stage of dental development
  • History of oral health
  • Risk factors for various conditions
  • Presenting symptoms

One study revealed that performing a careful clinical evaluation of the patient can reduce the need for X-rays as much as 43 percent without any increase in the rate of undiagnosed diseases. 

To further minimize your need for X-rays, if you have had them done at a previous dentist, make sure they are transferred to any new provider to eliminate the need for repeat procedures.

Looking for more information regarding dental X-rays? Contact Snow Family Dentistry today! 

 

 

 

Do I Need a Night Guard? 

Do you experience jaw pain? If so, you may be clenching and grinding your teeth at night while you sleep. If this is the case, a night guard may help you significantly. 

What is TMJ? 

TMJ or TMD is a disorder or pain of the temporomandibular joint. This joint group is located at the base of your jaw below your ears. It helps you open and close your mouth to eat and speak properly. However, when the teeth are misaligned or facial trauma occurs, the TMJ may come out of alignment. This can result in TMD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) as well as teeth grinding and jaw clenching, also known as bruxism. The long-term effects of these issues include weak or worn down teeth, shifting teeth, sensitivity, and eventually tooth loss. 

Signs You Might Need a Night Guard 

A night guard is often a highly effective treatment for TMJ and bruxism, as it provides a layer of cushioning between the upper and lower jaw. Some of the signs you need a night guard to protect your smile include the following:

  • Your jaw clicks, pops, or you feel a grinding sensation when you open and close it
  • Your partner or loved one has observed you clenching your jaw and/or grinding your teeth while you sleep
  • You wake up with jaw pain
  • You are dealing with increased tooth sensitivity
  • You frequently wake up with a headache
  • You have a chipped tooth or notice your teeth are wearing down

If a night guard is a good treatment option for you, your dentist will create one that is unique to your jaw to ensure that it fits properly. You will be advised to wear it every night while you sleep to provide maximum protection against TMJ and bruxism. 

For TMJ that is the result of misaligned teeth, orthodontic treatment options may include traditional braces or clear Invisalign aligners. 

No matter what method is right for you, the important thing is seeking relief sooner rather than later. Contact your Snow Family Dentistry dentist today to discuss TMJ/bruxism treatment!