Does Sugar Really Cause Cavities?

You’ve probably heard it all your life: Eating sweets will rot your teeth. But while a diet high in sugar certainly promotes the formation of cavities, sugar itself isn’t the real culprit behind tooth decay. Continue reading to learn what does!

What Causes Cavities?

Dental cavities are formed when bacteria living in the mouth digest carbohydrate debris left on the teeth after you eat. Such debris might include the refined sugars found in cookies, candy and other treats, but can also come from healthy foods like whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

When digesting these carbohydrates, bacteria in your mouth produce an acid that combines with saliva to form plaque.

It’s plaque — not sugar — that leads to tooth decay. Plaque starts building up after every meal, and if it isn’t brushed away frequently, it can erode the hard, outer enamel of a tooth, resulting in tiny holes in the tooth’s surface. These holes mark the first stage of cavity formation.
Those tiny holes can do a lot of damage if left untreated. Eventually, the acid and bacteria in plaque can eat through the other layers of your teeth, as well — from the softer layer of teeth under the enamel, known as dentin, to the third layer (the pulp), which contains your teeth’s blood vessels and nerves. Cavities affecting the pulp of a tooth, as well as the bone supporting the tooth, can cause severe toothaches, sensitivity, pain when eating and abscesses in the mouth.

Need to Schedule an Appointment?

Do you think you may have a cavity? Schedule an appointment on our website or give us a call!

Can Flying Give You a Toothache?

Yes, flying can give you a toothache! Continue reading to find out why and how to manage this type of pain.

Why Flying Can Give You a Toothache

Flying can cause toothaches because your body experiences a pressure change with an increase in altitude, a condition known as aerodontalgia. You may notice a pain in your ears or get a headache for the same reason. However, you should only encounter pain in problem teeth; the changes in pressure throughout a flight shouldn’t affect your healthy teeth. Also note that though flying may bring your attention to a new issue or make pre-existing pain worse, it doesn’t have an effect on your tooth health. Flying doesn’t make issues such as cavities, loose fillings, and gingivitis worse.

You may also experience toothaches on a plane because of sinus pressure. If the discomfort you experience while flying is across all your upper back teeth, it’s likely a problem related to the sinus nerves near your jaw rather than an individual tooth problem.

Managing Tooth Pain While Traveling

It’s difficult to address tooth pain in the middle of a flight if you don’t come prepared. Follow these tips to help manage your pain before and during a flight.

Before Your Flight

Have you been struggling with some tooth pain? If so, try to see a dentist before your flight.

The altitude changes will exacerbate any problems you’ve been dealing with. A dentist can curb these issues, whether you need to have a cavity filled or a new mouth guard made. Moreover, he or she can give you some advice for managing your pain while flying. Ask your dentist about painkillers if you’ll be flying soon after an appointment, and take such medications roughly a half-hour before your plane is in the air.

It’s also worth checking in with a dentist if you have a history of tooth problems. Cracks, cavities, and issues with fillings can develop before you experience any pain, but they will lead to some discomfort while flying.

During Your Flight

If you came prepared with your dentist-approved pain meds, remember to take them before you leave and to take more when you can during your flight. Also note that your teeth will still be extra sensitive during this time. Avoid cold beverages and foods, and go for water instead of coffee, tea, and other acidic or sugary drinks. If you’re still recovering from dental surgery, bring extra gauze to handle any additional bleeding from your gums that may occur during the flight.

When to Take Extra Care of Your Teeth Before Flying

The building pressure while flying can cause air bubbles to develop in your teeth. You’ll notice a growing pain that mirrors the altitude changes if any of the following apply to your teeth:

  • Recent dental work: You should be fine to fly even if you’ve recently had dental work, including surgeries, done. However, if your teeth are still feeling sensitive, you may struggle with some discomfort while flying. Consult with your dentist about your flight before departing if possible.
  • Fillings: Older fillings and fillings that need to be refilled are causes for concern during a flight. Air can enter the space between the tooth and the filling. If the pressure changes faster than that air can equalize, then the air in the tooth will expand and cause some pain.
  • Cracked teeth: Similar to the problem with fillings, cracks are especially vulnerable to pressure-related pain. Air can enter these small spaces and then expand as you change altitude, causing some discomfort during your flight.
  • Early tooth decay: Your teeth may have felt fine on the ground, but if you’ve got tooth decay that you haven’t noticed, flying may lead to some new pains.
  • Already-sensitive teeth: There are several causes of sensitive teeth, including poor dietary habits (e.g., drinking too many acidic beverages) and a receding gum line. If you’re struggling with these problems before you get on a plane, you can expect an increase in tooth pain and sensitivity during your flight.

When You Should See a Dentist About Sensitive Teeth While Flying

It’s worth checking in with your dentist if you experience any pain in your teeth while flying — even if the pain disappears once you land. This is because healthy teeth shouldn’t become sensitive because of altitude changes. Here at Snow Family Dentistry, we can check for early signs of tooth decay and correct whatever caused your sensitivity before it gets worse. Give us a call or schedule an appointment on our website!

What Are the Effects of Thumb/Pacifier Sucking?

It’s common for babies and children to suck on their thumbs, fingers, or a pacifier. However, as natural as this reflex may be for babies and children, it can cause damage to their teeth and mouths if it is carried on for too long. Continue reading to learn the effects thumb or pacifier sucking has on children’s teeth!

What Are the Effects of Thumb-Sucking?

Thumb-sucking or sucking on a pacifier often helps babies calm themselves and then fall asleep more easily. However, if children are allowed to suck on pacifiers or on their thumbs or fingers after their teeth have begun developing, major problems can arise. Aggressively or even not aggressively, sucking on thumbs can ruin the alignment of teeth and create a need for costly dental work in the future.

Long term effects of thumb sucking beyond the age of 5-6 years include:

  • Teeth pushed around, causing an overbite or an underbite to form
  • A lisp formed because constant thumb sucking can affect the jaw bone positioning
  • Germs from thumb or pacifier attacking the body
  • Altered roof of the mouth

How Do You Help Your Child Stop?

One of the hardest parts of parenting can be helping your child to stop sucking their thumb or on a pacifier. However, if these habits are not stopped at the right time, serious dental problems and speech impediments can occur.

Parents can help their children stop by:

  • Setting strict rules as to when their child can use a pacifier or suck their thumb
  • Covering their child’s hands with socks while they sleep so that they can’t get to their thumbs
  • Asking a dentist to prescribe a bitter medication to coat their pacifier or their thumb with
  • Cutting the pacifier shorter or piercing it through to get rid of the satisfaction of sucking
  • Leaving the pacifier behind on a family trip or outing to break the habit
  • Taking all of the pacifiers away and quitting cold turkey

Thumb-sucking or using pacifiers are not inherently bad things for your children, but they can create unfortunate dental problems if these habits are not stopped at the right time. Use these tips to help your child before their teeth are affected.

 

Tips to Overcome Your Fear of the Dentist

Are you afraid of the dentist? If so, don’t worry- you’re not alone!  According to Colgate, around 40 percent of the population has a strong fear of the dentist. Some even have a fear so paralyzing that it prevents them from getting the dental care they need.

Without proper preventative cleanings, these people eventually develop serious issues that lead to pain or lost teeth. Fortunately, there are several options available for dealing with dentistry fear so you can get the necessary care your mouth needs. Continue reading to learn what they are!

Be Upfront with Your Dentist

The first step in dealing with your fear of dentistry is being honest with yourself and your dentist about these worries. Dentists understand that these fears are real, and they won’t dismiss your fears or judge you. Instead, they’ll work with you to come up with a plan that will help you feel more relaxed during your appointment.

Distract Yourself

Distractions are often a good way to help divert your attention away from the procedure. Consider bringing headphones and an iPod to listen to music. Even better, choose a new album so you’ll concentrate more on the new songs that you haven’t heard before. You can also use a stress ball or run through mental exercises, like counting by three or going over state capitals.

Here at Snow Family Dentistry, we offer movie glasses so you can distract yourself by picking a movie to watch while you receive treatment!

Bring a Companion

To provide some extra comfort, bring a close friend or family member that will support you. Oftentimes, simply having someone there who understands your feelings can give you all the reassurance you need. Also, try to get one of the first appointments of the day. That way, you won’t spend the entire day worrying it.

Try Self-Regulation Techniques

Self-regulation techniques can help you stay calm during dental treatments. One popular relaxation technique to try is deep breathing. Take a deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds, and then let it out very slowly to relax your muscles and slow your heartbeat. Meditation can also slow your heartbeat. Consider practicing a few weeks before your appointment to calm your nerves when you’re in the dentist chair.

Look for Therapeutic Support

If your fear is so intense that none of the previous techniques work, you can also turn to therapeutic support. Hypnotherapy has worked for some patients. Additionally, you can sign up for counseling sessions with psychologists who specialize in addressing phobias.

Having a fear of the dentist shouldn’t prevent you from getting the care you need! If you are a part of the 40% of the population that does, no worries! Here at Snow Family Dentistry, we pride ourselves in providing a relaxing and comforting environment for all of our patients. We will work hard to put you at ease and accommodate you in any way we can. Please call us at (480) 982-7289 to schedule an appointment today!

 

What is a Dental Bridge?

If you’re missing one or more teeth, there are several different options that you could choose to replace your pearly whites and regain your smile. Dental implants are the most modern and advanced methods of replacing missing teeth, but they’re also the costliest. If you’re looking for a more affordable tooth replacement option, a dental bridge may be the solution you’re looking for. So how exactly does a bridge work? Continue reading to find out!

What is a Dental Bridge?

A typical dental bridge is a set of two crowns with an adjoined false tooth in between. The crowns are supported by natural teeth or dental implants on either side of the gap. Traditional dental bridges are usually made of ceramic material or porcelain infused with metal.

There are also other kinds of dental bridges, such as a cantilever bridge and a Maryland bonded bridge.

What’s Involved in the Dental Bridge Procedure?

Getting a dental bridge is a process that involves two visits to your dentist.

At your first appointment, your dentist will prepare the crown sites by re-contouring them to give enough room for the crowns. Next, your dentist will use impressions of your teeth to create a three-dimensional model of the bridge, false tooth, and crown. A dental laboratory will use this model to create your prosthetics – and during the waiting period, you’ll be given a temporary bridge to protect your teeth and gums.

At your second appointment, your dentist will remove your temporary bridge and replace it with your permanent bridge. Your dentist may require you to come back for a few subsequent appointments in order to get the fit just right. Once it’s been determined that the bridge is properly fitted, you’ll be given a permanent cementing treatment to fix the bridge in proper position.

A dental bridge is a great way to restore your smile if you’ve lost a tooth. With proper oral hygiene, you can ensure that your bridge stays healthy for years to come. For more information about the dental bridge procedure, or to learn whether a bridge is right for you, call Snow Family Dentistry at (480) 982-7289