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! 

 

What Is Gum Disease?

Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gum tissue and bones surrounding your teeth, and is an increasing health risk that requires professional treatment. But what is gum disease and how is it prevented? Keep reading to find out!

What Is It?

Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can eventually damage the gums and the bone surrounding the teeth.

Early Stages

In the early stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, the gums become red, swell, and bleed easily. The disease is still reversible at this stage, and can usually be eliminated by careful daily brushing and flossing. In the more advanced stages of gum disease, called periodontitis, the gums and bone that support the teeth become seriously damaged. If the disease is left untreated, it can eventually lead to loss of teeth.

Signs of Gum Disease

Any of the following conditions may indicate the presence of gum disease, and your Snow Family Dentistry dentist should be consulted. If your gums:

  • bleed when brushing teeth
  • are red, swollen or tender
  • have pulled away from the teeth

Or if one of the following conditions are present:

  • bad breath that doesn’t go away
  • pus between teeth and gums
  • loose teeth
  • a change in the way the teeth fit together when biting
  • a change in the fit of partial dentures

Remember that pain usually is not present in the early stages of gum disease.

How to Prevent Gum Disease

Gum disease can be prevented by taking good care of your teeth and by having regular Snow Family Dentistry dental checkups that include a periodontal examination. Here are some suggestions to help keep teeth, gums and supporting bone structures healthy:

  • Brush teeth thoroughly twice a day. This removes the film of plaque (germs) from the teeth. Be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush that is in good condition and anti-plaque toothpaste.
  • Clean between teeth every day. Cleaning between teeth with floss or interdental cleaners removes bacteria and food particles from between the teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Choose a variety of foods from the basic food groups, such as breads, cereals and other grain products; fruits; vegetables; meat, poultry and fish; and dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt.
  • Visit the dentist regularly. It is important to have regular dental checkups, which include a thorough periodontal exam. Professional cleaning is essential to prevent periodontal diseases.
  • Avoid use of tobacco.Tobacco use can inflame gum tissue and aggravate existing periodontal disease.

Why Choose Snow Family Dentistry

Think you may be in the early stages of Gum Disease? Schedule a free consultation with Snow Family Dentistry today!

What is Fluoride and What are the Benefits of Using It?

We’ve all heard of it- but what is fluoride exactly? What does it do for your teeth, and what’s the best way to consume it? Our team at Snow Family Dentistry has all the answers!

What is it?

Fluoride helps prevent cavities by strengthening tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the hard, outer surface layer of your teeth that serves to protect against tooth decay. Unfortunately, tooth enamel is under constant attack by acid-producing bacteria in our mouths. Your body rebuilds and re-mineralizes weakened enamel, but sometimes not well enough, resulting in tooth decay. Fluoride optimizes the remineralization process and takes the place of the hydroxl molecule, binding enamel to teeth more strongly.

The best ways to get fluoride:

  • Drink tap water
  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for two minutes.
  • Have your Snow Family Dentistry dentist apply fluoride to your teeth directly with a varnish, gel, foam or rinse.
  • Take a fluoride supplement prescribed by your dentist if your water supply isn’t fluoridated

Facts about fluoride:

  • It’s natural- Fluoride is a mineral compound found in the environment and is naturally present in rocks, soil and water. Many of the foods we eat contain small amounts of fluoride, including oatmeal, grapes, asparagus, seafood, etc.. Fluoride occurs naturally in the body, too, as calcium fluoride. It’s a nutrient we need to build strong bones and teeth.
  • Fluoride works all the time- It combines with your saliva so that your teeth are getting a constant fluoride bath. This provides continuous protection against bacteria.
  • It’s difficult to get enough fluoride by diet alone- Although fluoride is naturally present in water and in many of the foods we eat, the amount is small and varied. Even foods with the highest amount of fluoride contribute only 2% to 4% of daily adequate intake per serving.

 

Need help taking your dental care to the next level? Schedule a free consultation with Snow Family Dentistry today!

 

What to do if you have a dental emergency?

Dental emergencies come in many forms, and some are more urgent than others. How do you know what is serious and what isn’t? Continue reading to find out!

Lost Tooth

If your tooth gets knocked out, you need urgent dental care.

Generally, your chances to save the natural tooth decreases after 30-60 minutes. Here are some tips if your tooth has come out of the socket, and you can locate it:

  • Stay calm.
  • Contact your Snow Family Dentistry
  • Hold your tooth by the crown only, which is the part used to chew food.
  • Rinse your tooth in water. Do not rub or agitate your tooth, and do not use soap or chemicals. Do not wash any tissue still on the root of your tooth.
  • The best way to preserve your tooth is to hold it in the socket that it came from. If this is not possible, then place your tooth in a container of milk or your saliva.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm water.
  • Apply a cold compress to your face in the area of the injury.

What if your tooth can’t be saved?

If our experts can’t save your tooth, we will replace it with a dental implant.

Broken, Chipped or Cracked Tooth

Teeth can also crack while eating, especially if you bite into a hard piece of food, candy or ice cube. Typically, a tooth with a small chip can be fixed with a tooth filling and does not require urgent treatment if the nerve is not exposed. Also, a larger piece of a broken tooth may be restored with a dental crown.

Tooth or Gum Abscess

A pocket of pus that develops at the root of your tooth is known as a tooth or gum abscess, and can drain pus into your mouth. As a result, you may have a foul taste in your mouth.

Signs and symptoms that you have a tooth or gum abscess can include a consistent throbbing toothache, fever, foul smelling breath, swelling of the gums, jaw, or face. If left untreated, the infection can spread to other areas of the head and neck. You can also experience these symptoms without experiencing dental trauma. If this is the case, you may have tooth decay that has penetrated the inner pulp of your tooth.

If you think you have an abscess, you should get urgent treatment.

When to Contact Snow Family Dentistry

Some situations require an immediate visit to your Snow Family Dentistry dentist. In summary, you should see your dentist immediately if you have:

  • Swelling around your mouth or facial area
  • Knots or swelling in your gums
  • You are bleeding from the mouth
  • A loose tooth
  • You are in a severe amount of pain that doesn’t dissipate even after taking a pain reliever

Our highly trained team of experts at Snow Family Dentistry specialize in urgent care dentistry, and treat various dental emergencies with compassion and care. For more information regarding our services, please click here.

 

How to Boost Your Immunity

With everything going on during this unprecedented time, our team at Snow Family Dentistry put a list together of things you can do to boost your immunity.

Here are preventive measures you can take to optimize your body’s defense against infection and illness.

Consume Good Bacteria

Bacteria are everywhere: on our skin, hair and nails, and also inside our body. In our intestines, these organisms are called the gut microbiome. We don’t notice they’re there until they are changed or imbalances in the types due to illness or a condition give us symptoms such as gas or diarrhea.

Some research supports the use of prebiotics and probiotics to promote gut health by creating a healthier balance of bacteria type in your gut microbiome.

Eat plant-based foods and whole grains to get prebiotics. Prebiotics help create a healthy environment in the gut for the “good” bacteria to flourish, Fermented foods including yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi are good sources of probiotics.

Drink in Moderation

Drinking in moderation is okay, but consuming alcohol in excess can lead to the deterioration of your immune system. There’s evidence from both human and animal research that overconsumption of alcohol decreases immune reactivity, reducing the body’s ability to fight infection.

Exercise

Current guidelines advise Americans do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week. Research shows the immune system benefits from engaging in regular physical activity.

This is because exercise boosts the production of microphages, cells that attack the bacteria that can trigger some of the upper respiratory tract infections we get. And physical activity increases the circulation of many cells in our body that help fend off viruses and harmful bacteria.

Get Enough Sleep

A lack of sleep is frequently the culprit when people find that they’re getting sick more often or unable to fend off ailments. Seven to nine hours of sleep is recommended to restore your body fully.

Wash Your Hands

People with contaminated hands can infect themselves and other, leading to respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses. At Snow Family Dentistry, we recommend washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds.

You should wash your hands:

  • Before and after handling or eating food.
  • After sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose.
  • After shaking hands with another person.
  • After using the bathroom.
  • After touching an animal or handling animal waste.
  • After using public transportation.
  • After handling garbage.
  • After treating a sick person.

Why Choose Snow Family Dentistry

From our family to yours, we hope you stay and healthy during this pandemic. If you have a dental emergency or need a check up, please click here to contact us today.

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is divided into two different categories.

One type can occur in your lips, teeth, gums, the front two-thirds of your tongue, and the floor and roof of your mouth. The other type of oral cancer occurs in the oropharynx, which is the middle region of your throat that includes the tonsils and base of the tongue.

Research shows that early detection results in better treatment outcomes, and may help keep you or someone you love from becoming one of the 10,030 people whose lives may be claimed this year by the disease.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

It’s important to be aware of the following signs and symptoms, and to see your dentist if they do not disappear after two weeks:

  • A sore or irritation that doesn’t go away
  • Red or white patches on your gums
  • Pain, tenderness or numbness in your mouth or on your lips
  • A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth

Who Is At Risk?

Research has identified a number of factors that increase the risk of developing oral cancers. For instance, men are twice more likely to get oral cancer than women. Smokers and excessive alcohol drinkers older than 50 are also at a greater risk.

The human papilloma virus (HPV) which is sexually transmitted, has also been associated with throat cancers at the back of the mouth. HPV-positive head and neck cancers are related to the rise in throat cancers in non-smoking adults. HPV-positive head and neck cancers typically develop in the throat at the base of the tongue and in the folds of the tonsils making them difficult to detect.

How Can My Dentist Help Detect Oral Cancer Early?

During each exam at Snow Family Dentistry, Dr. Snow performs an oral cancer screen in and around your mouth to ensure early detection of anything abnormal.

If something unusual is found, you may be referred to a physician for additional testing, or Dr. Snow may choose to reexamine the area one or two weeks later before providing additional follow up. This will determine if the area in question healed on its own or if it needs further testing.

Why Choose Snow Family Dentistry

Do you think you may have oral cancer and want to get checked out? Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation today!

 

 

 

What Is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joints, also known as TMJ, are the joints and jaw muscles that make it possible to open and close your mouth. Your TMJ are located on each side of your head and work together when you chew, speak or swallow. The temporomandibular joints include muscles, ligaments, and your jaw bone, and also control the lower jaw as they move forward, backward and side to side.

Each TMJ has a disc between the ball and socket. The disc cushions the load while enabling the jaw to open widely and rotate or glide. Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working properly may result in a painful TMJ disorder.

Causes of TMJ Disorder:

  • Arthritis
  • Dislocation
  • Injury
  • Tooth and jaw alignment
  • Stress and teeth grinding

Diagnosis is an important step before treatment. Part of the Snow Family Dentistry dental examination includes checking your joints and muscles for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty moving. Depending on the diagnosis, your dentist may refer you to a physician.

How to help TMJ pain at home:

  • Eat softer foods
  • Avoid chewing gum and biting your nails
  • Modify your pain with heat packs
  • Practice relaxation techniques to control jaw tension, such as meditation

If you have tried the above mentioned techniques and are still experiencing pain, you may need to try a more permanent form of treatment. In some cases, your Snow Family Dentistry dentist may recommend fixing an uneven bite by adjusting or reshaping some teeth.

Why Choose Snow Family Dentistry

For over twenty years Dr. Paul Snow has effectively treated head and neck pain associated with TMJ. Dr. Snow has attended years of education to effectively help his patients that experience this common problem. If you experience TMJ, click here to schedule a complimentary consultation.

 

 

How Do Vitamins Help My Teeth?

Vitamins are very important for overall health. However, many people don’t realize the benefits vitamins can have on your teeth!

At Snow Family Dentistry, we know that vitamins can:

1: Build Enamel Strength

The vitamin K2, is critical for getting calcium to the surface of your teeth. Your teeth send out certain proteins when they need more calcium, and vitamin K2 activates those proteins, helping them carry calcium back to the enamel. However, this vitamin is not the only one needed for
calcium absorption. Other vitamins needed for good calcium production include:

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C

Vitamins such as vitamin D, A, and C can also help build enamel by improving mineral density and helping your body process and absorb other minerals such as phosphorus, which is another crucial building block of teeth.

2. Provide Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Gum disease is caused when bacteria, plaque, and tartar multiply along your gum line and your body fights back with inflammation. Unfortunately, this often turns into chronic inflammation, which can create pockets where the bacteria can continue to thrive. The more inflamed and painful your gums are, the less likely you are to clean around the gum line thoroughly.

Several vitamins, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E may provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Anti-inflammatory properties can help get the chronic inflammation under control while you and your Snow Family Dentistry dentist work together to eliminate the bacterial proliferation.

3. Build Gum Tissue

A vitamin C deficiency can result in a condition called scurvy, which can cause gums to deteriorate and loosen. Fortunately, you’re unlikely to fall that far behind on your vitamin C intake on a modern diet. But did you know that eating extra vitamin C-filled foods (such as colorful vegetables and fruits) can benefit your gums?

That’s because, in addition to working with calcium and providing antioxidant activity, vitamin C can actually help build connective tissues needed to keep the gums healthy. Vitamin C is an important ingredient when your body is building collagen, which it then uses to maintain and repair gum tissue, periodontal ligaments, and mucous membranes. 

Why Choose Snow Family Dentistry

The beneficial impact of vitamins can be a great complement to ongoing home oral hygiene and professional cleanings. If you are behind on getting your teeth cleaned, or just want a check up- click here to schedule an appointment today!