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Most Valuable Dental Treatments

January 13th, 2021

At Main Street Dental Clinics, we work to find a dental plan that will work best and most effectively for you. But we’ve found that three treatments tend to be the most common and useful. If you ever find yourself in any of the following situations, we suggest you look at these options.

If you’ve lost teeth due to trauma, fracture, or decay, dental implants are a great choice. With all the technology available to us now, dental implants look and function exactly the way a natural tooth would. They blend in perfectly and are custom made to fit you. They’re a great investment that will restore the balance to your smile.

If you struggle with stress and catch yourself clenching or grinding your jaw, you may want to consider a bite guard. Constant grinding of teeth is dangerous for fillings and crowns, as well as natural teeth. It can cause serious joint inflammation as well as headaches. Luckily, bite guards can be worn night or day (depending on what you need), and are a great way to prevent further grinding.

Finally, there’s teeth whitening. It’s not uncommon for patients to want to brighten their smile, and the best way to do it by far is with in-office tooth whitening. There are many DIY options out there, of course, but in-office whitening has greater benefits.

When the whitening gel is applied to your teeth, we make sure your gums are protected. The results are generally faster and last longer with this approach, as well. Other methods may work, but they typically don’t last as long; sometimes they may not fully whiten all areas of your teeth.

No treatment is as easy and free of challenges as it seems. You still have to care for implants like regular teeth, which means no skimping on brushing and flossing just because they’re fake. Bite guards must be worn regularly to be effective. They also must be customized for your teeth; otherwise, they can be uncomfortable.

Whitening may cause temporary sensitivity in some mouths. For others, genetics may prevent you from achieving the precise shade you want.

If you have additional questions, feel free to call our Rochester office. Our team is here to help you achieve your best possible smile!

Tooth Protection and Winter Sports

January 6th, 2021

Just because it’s cold out there doesn’t mean you’ll give up keeping fit and active! Winter is the season for some of our favorite team sporting activities, and when you’re donning your protective gear, don’t forget to protect your teeth as well.

  • Basketball

This sport actually tallies one of the highest counts of dental injuries. Running, jumping, and diving for the ball on an unforgiving court can lead to tooth and jaw injuries.  And for every ten men on the floor, it seems like there at least 50 flailing elbows in the paint.

  • Hockey

Notorious for the toll it takes on teeth, hockey is a game of sticks, ice, and whizzing pucks. And when your sport’s penalties include the terms hooking, slashing, and tripping, the more protection, the better.

  • Skiing

When you are flying down the slopes, combining powdery snow and speed, mouth protection is a good idea. This also applies to snowboarding and other snow sports.

  • Wrestling

Grappling and pinning in close quarters can lead to unintended injuries after accidental contact with the mat or your opponent.

Different uniforms, different equipment, and different playing fields, but all these sports have one thing in common—the easiest way to protect your teeth while playing them is with a mouth guard.

Mouthguards generally come in three forms:

  • Over the counter, ready-made appliances. These are available in drugstores and sporting goods stores, but might not be a comfortable fit as they are pre-formed sizes.
  • The “boil-and-bite” option is a mouthguard form placed in hot water. You then bite down to shape it to your mouth and teeth.
  • Custom mouthguards can be fabricated just for you through our Rochester office. These appliances are designed to fit your individual mouth and teeth, so provide a better fit and better protection. They are also usually more durable and more comfortable. If you wear braces, you definitely need a custom mouthguard to prevent an injury to your mouth or braces caused by an ill-fitting appliance.

Whether you play on a team or pursue individual athletic activities, keeping safe as you keep fit is your first priority. We would be happy to discuss your mouthguard options for any sport, any time of year.

New Year's Day Around the World

December 30th, 2020

New Year’s Day marks the beginning of the calendar year in most parts of the world. The holiday is celebrated on January 1st of each year. Customs and celebrations vary by country, religion, and even individual desires. Whether celebrated quietly or with gusto, the day brings the start of new opportunities for those that observe it.

United States and Canada

In both the US and Canada, celebrations begin on New Year’s Eve. At midnight on January 1st the New Year is welcomed with bells, horns, whistles, and other noisemakers. Fireworks are often part of the celebrations. In New York City, Times Square comes alive with revelers. In Toronto, there are large celebrations which may feature concerts, late-night partying, sporting events, and fireworks, with free public transit service during peak party times. Many individuals in North America greet the year by making resolutions for improvements in their lives.

China

In China, many people celebrate two forms of a new year. They may observe January 1st, but the traditional Chinese New Year is based on a lunar calendar. Parades with paper lanterns and dragons made from silk are a significant part of the festivities. Legends say that the dragon spends most of its time in hibernation so fireworks are used to keep the dragon awake.

Jewish Celebration

Jewish New Year’s observances begin with Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the New Year, and end with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This ten-day celebration is held in September or October, based on the Hebrew calendar. The New Year is not marked as much with loud celebrations as with personal insight to mend wrongs and resolve to better oneself.

Other countries and cultures also have different dates for New Year’s Day observances:

  • Vietnam observes the New Year in February
  • In Iran, the day is celebrated on March 21st
  • Islamic cultures often observe the tenth day of the month of Muharram
  • Russian Orthodox observers use the Julian calendar and celebrate on January 14th
  • Buddhist celebrations are held from April 13th through 15th

If you observe New Year’s Day by making healthy resolutions, include dental care in your plans with Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel. The health of your teeth and gums contributes to your overall health. Caring for your mouth now can prevent many dental problems later in life. Main Street Dental Clinics wishes you a healthy, prosperous, and happy New Year!

Common Emergency Visits: From lost fillings to broken dentures

December 16th, 2020

You never know when you're going to experience a dental emergency, but if you do, it should give you peace of mind to know that emergency dental care is available at our office 24/7. Whether you chip your front tooth playing softball, or your child knocks out a couple of teeth in a playground fall, receiving the emergency dental treatment you need is accessible and convenient.

If you're experiencing a dental emergency, our team at Main Street Dental Clinics is here to help you any time of the day or night. Dental emergencies should not be taken lightly, so don't delay. Contact our office as soon as possible. Common dental emergencies include the following:

Lost Fillings and Crowns

Fillings are used to repair cavities. Crowns, on the other hand, are used to cover broken or damaged teeth. Over time, it’s possible for both of these items to loosen and fall out. A lost filling or crown can be painful, because the exposed tissue may be sensitive. Hot and cold temperatures will cause discomfort. While a lost filling or crown might not be as severe a dental emergency as a broken or chipped tooth (most people respond quicker to pain than self-consciousness about their looks), you need to get it fixed as soon as possible.

Broken Dentures

If your dentures are broken, everyday tasks may become trying and arduous. If you can’t chew, swallow, or eat properly, the situation calls for emergency care. Depending on how damaged your dentures are, Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel may need to send out a mold of your mouth in order to have the manufacturer make a new pair. On the other hand, if the dentures are not damaged too badly, then we may be able to fix them in-house. If you're having problems with your dentures, you should give us a call as soon as possible.

From chipped and cracked teeth to lost fillings and broken dentures, dental emergencies come in all shapes and sizes. Emergencies are unexpected, but we want you to know that treatment is available, day or night. When your dental health is at risk, we are here to help. In the case of a dental emergency, don't wait; contact our Rochester office at your earliest convenience.

Does flossing hurt your gums?

December 9th, 2020

Ideally, it should never hurt when you floss your teeth. But if you haven’t flossed in a long while or don’t do it regularly, you may experience sore or bleeding gums. You should floss every day to avoid pain and maintain the best oral hygiene. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to make flossing a little more pleasant.

Be Gentle

If your gums are sensitive, take your time and be gentle while flossing. Rough flossing can lead to more irritation and soreness. Also, daily flossing should help your gums become acclimated to the practice, and as a result, irritation should decrease over time.

Use an Alternative Method

If you still feel discomfort after being gentle, an alternative method of flossing may work better for you. A water floss machine or Waterpik can dislodge food particles and plaque without irritating your gums. Also, some brands of floss have a soft coating that make them less harsh and harmful to your gums.

Many people tend to forget or skip flossing, but it is one of the most important steps your dental hygiene routine and shouldn’t be neglected. If you are consistent about flossing, your gums should become used to it and won’t be so irritated in time.

For more flossing tips, schedule an appointment at our Rochester office and ask Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel or a member of our team!

‘Tis the Season—for Healthy Dental Choices!

December 2nd, 2020

It might be the most wonderful time of the year, but if you’re dashing through the snow to an emergency dental appointment, you’re not feeling very jolly. And post-holiday, no one wants to start off their New Year’s Resolutions with “Get Cavities Filled.” How to survive the sweetest of seasons with enamel and fillings intact?

Candies and sweets would normally be on the naughty list, but we’re not Scrooges! Indulging in a treat or two is part of the holiday fun, and we have some advice for how to enjoy them guilt-free. But first, some treats are definitely more naughty than nice. Which are the ones that are better as decorations than desserts?

  • Candy Canes

If you’ve ever suffered a chipped or cracked tooth after an innocently biting down on a much-harder-than-expected piece of candy, you know that caution is in order. That’s why we tend to take our time with candy canes, letting them dissolve slowly in the mouth. Of course, the drawback to this strategy is that now we’re slowly bathing our teeth in sugar, encouraging the growth of plaque and cavity-causing bacteria.

Candy canes, peppermints, and other hard candies are potentially bad for your teeth when you crunch away, and definitely bad for your teeth if you let them dissolve slowly.

  • Gumdrops

Glistening, colorful gumdrops. Roofing your gingerbread house, trimming a gumdrop tree, or simply sitting in a bowl, they are one of the sweetest ways to decorate for the holidays. And when we say “sweet,” we mean that literally. Most gumdrops are basically made of corn syrup and sugar—and then rolled in more sugar.

But their sugar content isn’t the only problem. This is sugar in an extra-gummy form that sticks between our teeth and around our gums.

  • Toffees, Caramels, Taffy

They might come in lovely ribboned boxes, but these extremely sticky foods are not a gift to your teeth.

Not only do chewy candies stick to enamel, they stick to fillings, crowns (especially temporary crowns), and orthodontic wires and brackets. No one wants an unexpected trip to the dentist or orthodontist because dental work has been damaged or dislodged!

  • Gingerbread Houses

Nothing says the holidays like a gingerbread house—chewy, sticky gingerbread covered with hard sugar icing, gumdrops, and peppermints. Great for your décor; not so great for your dental health. Eat one gingerbread man if you’re in a spicy mood and leave your architectural masterpiece intact.

  • Fruitcake

If you need an excuse to turn down fruitcake, here’s a perfect one: most fruitcake is not great for your teeth. Candied fruit is, well, candied, and dried fruit is sugary, sticky, and chewy. There are delicious exceptions, of course, but even a delicious fruitcake is very high in sugar.

Well, this list wasn’t very jolly. So as a little holiday gift for you, here are some suggestions to help you enjoy your desserts in the healthiest way possible.

  • Be choosy.

Just like you search for the perfect presents for your family and friends, take the time to choose the perfect holiday treats for yourself. If you are worried about cavities, or have a temporary crown, or wear braces, or have cracked a tooth before, or are just generally concerned with your oral health, stay away from sticky, hard, and excessively sugary desserts.

What can you accept from your holiday hosts with a grateful (and relieved) smile? The occasional soft chocolate should be nothing to stress about—and if you make it dark chocolate, you’ll actually get nutritional bonuses like magnesium and antioxidants. Cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pies—yes, they are made with lots of sugar, but it is the holidays after all. Just be sure to follow our next suggestions to make that slice of cheesecake guilt-free.

  • Eat sweets with a meal.

Saliva does more than keep our mouths from getting dry. It also helps prevent cavities by washing away food particles and neutralizing the acids from food and bacteria, which damage enamel.

Eat dessert with a meal, and you benefit from increased mealtime saliva production. When you snack throughout the day, this acid-neutralizing ability is greatly reduced.

  • Rinse after eating.

Rinsing your mouth with water after a meal or a snack, especially a sugary one, also helps wash away the sticky sugars and carbs, which oral bacteria convert into acids.

  • Brush immediately. (Maybe.)

It’s always a good idea to brush right after eating—well, almost always. If you’ve been eating acidic foods like citrus or colas, the acids in the food can weaken your enamel just enough to cause some potential enamel damage if you scour your teeth immediately after eating. We often recommend waiting about 30 minutes to brush to give your enamel a chance to recover.

But every mouth is different. If you wear braces, or tend to get food stuck in your teeth or dental work, or have any other concerns, ask Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel for the best times and methods for holiday brushing.

You don’t want to ho-ho-hope that we can fit you in at our Rochester office to treat a cavity or a cracked tooth. Make your holiday dessert list and check it twice, and make sure you’re brushing and flossing more often if you’re indulging in seasonal treats—give yourself these two gifts, and you’ll be ringing in the New Year with a beautiful, healthy smile. Sweet!

Thanksgiving Trivia

November 25th, 2020

At Main Street Dental Clinics we love learning trivia and interesting facts about Thanksgiving! This year, Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel wanted to share some trivia that might help you feel a bit smarter at the holiday dinner table and help create some great conversation with friends and family.

The Turkey

There is no historical evidence that turkey was eaten at the first Thanksgiving dinner. It was a three-day party shared by the Wamponoag Indians and the pilgrims in 1621. Historians say they likely ate venison and seafood.

According to National Geographic, the dinner at the Plymouth colony was in October and included about 50 English colonists and 90 American Indian men. The first Thanksgiving dinner could have included corn, geese, and pumpkin.

Today, turkey is the meat of choice. According to the National Turkey Association, about 690 million pounds of turkey are consumed during Thanksgiving, or about 46 million turkeys.

The Side Dishes

The green bean casserole became popular about 50 years ago. Created by the Campbell Soup Company, it remains a popular side dish. According to Campbell’s, it was developed when the company was creating an annual holiday cookbook. The company now sells about $20 million worth of cream of mushroom soup each year, which is a major part of the recipe.

While there were likely plenty of cranberries for the pilgrims and Indians to enjoy, sugar was a luxury. What we know today as cranberry sauce was not around in those early Thanksgiving days. About 750 million pounds of cranberries are produced each year in the US, with about 30 percent consumed on Thanksgiving.

The Parade

Since Thanksgiving did not become a national holiday until Lincoln declared it in 1863, the annual parades were not yearly events until much later. The biggest parade that continues to draw crowds is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Beginning in 1924 with about 400 employees, they marched from Convent Avenue to 145th Street in New York City. Famous for the huge hot-air balloons today, it was actually live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo that were the stars of the show then.

However you choose to spend your Thanksgiving holiday, we wish you a safe, happy and healthy holiday with those you love.

Pregnancy: What should I know about my oral care?

November 18th, 2020

Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel and our team at Main Street Dental Clinics know this is an exciting time as you anticipate the arrival of your new little one. We want to take this opportunity to provide you with some important information pertaining to your oral health during pregnancy. Just as the rest of your body is changing, the amount of bacteria in your mouth also changes. Scientists don’t understand all the reasons why, but during pregnancy, your mouth is more susceptible to bacterial complications that could result in increased risk for gingivitis or periodontal disease. What researchers do know is the change in hormones creates a more favorable environment for gum infections and diseases when you are pregnant.

You may experience an increase in gingivitis, even while continuing with regular daily brushing and flossing, and routine semi-annual month cleanings. You will likely complain of increased bleeding of the gums with routine daily care and more tenderness in the mouth. This is due, in part, to the increased blood flow and volume that naturally occurs with pregnancy. There is a greater amount of blood flowing through your veins, which translates into slightly engorged gum tissues. If gingivitis prevails, you may also experience pain and tenderness. We can help you navigate through your specific needs.

Brushing your teeth two times a day may not be quite enough. Similarly, if you only floss on occasion, consider making this activity a daily habit. Mouthwash is also advised, or sometimes a mild saltwater rinse may feel better than a commercial brand. Consider other products with xylitol and a WaterPik for additional cleaning.

Finally, we now know that bacteria in the mouth circulate throughout the body. These harmful bacteria compromise your immune system and may increase your risk for respiratory illness and cause other strains on your immune system. Remember that nutrients as well as pathogens are shared with your baby. If you feel tired or tempted to slack on your home-care routine, remember the importance and implications of your daily decisions on how your care for your oral health.

Contact our convenient Rochester location if you have more specific questions. We’re here to help you!

Quit Smoking to Save Your Smile

November 11th, 2020

You have probably counted a hundred reasons to stop smoking. It’s unhealthy. It’s expensive. It annoys the people around you. You have to schedule your day around the next cigarette. But here’s reason number 101: Did you know that one of the many side effects of smoking is the damage it does to your smile?

Your Appearance

One of the most obvious results of smoking is the constant yellowing and discoloration of your teeth. Tobacco stains can take longer to remove with home brushing and whitening. And, while a professional cleaning and whitening will make a world of difference, all that good work is undone once you start smoking again.

More important, no smile looks its best with periodontal disease and tooth loss. Smoking has been linked to the presence of more harmful oral bacteria and higher occurrences of cavities and gingivitis (early gum disease). Periodontitis, or severe gum disease, is much more common among smokers. Tooth loss is also much more likely.

Healing after Dental Surgery

Smoking slows the healing process. It has been linked to a weaker immune system, so it’s harder to fight off an infection or to heal from one.  And because of the harmful effect of smoking on bone tissue, there is a higher failure rate for dental implants among smokers. Bone density can be so compromised that an implant is not even an option.

Healing after Extractions

If you have a tooth extracted, the formation of a blood clot at the site of the removal is essential to avoid a condition called dry socket. Dry socket can lead to pain, serious infection, and other complications. Luckily, this clot is resilient and pretty hard to dislodge—unless you apply suction such as sipping through a straw or drawing smoke from a cigarette.

Oral Cancer

Research has shown that smoking is the single most serious risk factor for oral cancer. The good news is that this risk is cut dramatically if you quit!

Let Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel help you maintain your smile. We can offer many more reasons to give up the smoking habit, and we are happy to offer suggestions for quitting during your next visit to our Rochester office. We want to protect your smile and your health as well. It doesn’t really matter which number on the list finally leads you to quit—every number on that list is your lucky number!

I have fluoride toothpaste and fluoridated water; do I need a fluoride treatment?

November 4th, 2020

Fluoride is a naturally found ion with a history of greatly reducing the incidence of tooth decay in children. However, over the past decade, people have increasingly consumed bottled water, most of which does not contain fluoride, and children are no longer getting the recommended dosage of fluoride. In addition, many areas do not add the optimum amount of fluoride to the town drinking water.

Everyone’s dental needs are different. The amount of fluoride a person needs is determined by age (children), tooth sensitivity, risk for cavities, and medical conditions. When a patient needs additional fluoride it can be applied in a foam or varnish.

Children receive additional topical fluoride because teeth in the early development stages have a higher mineral uptake. The future strength of the enamel depends on this. When a tooth absorbs the fluoride ion, it creates hydroxyapatite, a harder mineral compound than enamel alone.

Those who have a dry mouth from medication also need extra fluoride. A daily fluoride rinse and a semi-annual fluoride varnish treatment are standard. If you are on medicine for high blood pressure, anxiety, diabetes, depression, or cholesterol, you may fit in this category.

Cancer treatments can also greatly impact your oral health. Fluoride varnish treatments prior to, during, and after radiation and chemotherapy can be beneficial. There are other mouth conditions which coincide with cancer treatments which make it difficult to brush and floss daily, and can contribute to an increased risk for decay. An infection during cancer treatment can be especially harmful, which is why preventive measures are important.

Fluoride treatments, administered topically, are highly beneficial in preventing decay. Feel free to call Main Street Dental Clinics to schedule an appointment or if you have any questions.

Is dairy crucial to my child's oral health?

October 21st, 2020

Healthy eating, combined with regular physical activity, plays a vital role in your child’s health and well-being. Dairy foods are naturally nutritious, packed with ten essential nutrients that help your child feel good for life. But did you know that dairy is also great for your child’s dental health? Our team at Main Street Dental Clinics will tell you that, in addition to providing large amounts of much-needed calcium, dairy products also help fight cavities! Dairy products have a specific role to play in dental health as they contain a unique combination of special anti-decay nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, and the protein, casein. Cheese is especially useful, as eating a small piece of cheese after consuming sugary foods or drinks can help protect teeth and reduce the risk of tooth decay.

If you’d like to know more about the importance of dairy products in your child’s diet, or about any aspect of your child’s dental health, feel free to ask Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel at your next appointment!

Is Coffee Damaging Your Smile?

October 14th, 2020

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Many people have a cup, or two, or even three a day. It’s common to drink it in the morning to wake up and get ready for the day, as an afternoon pick-me-up, or just to catch up with a coworker or friend.

These days there are many different kinds of coffee flavors to enjoy, so it’s almost impossible for a person not to like it. But as delicious as coffee is, it’s worthwhile to be aware of the effects it has on our dental health.

Coffee contains a lot of tannic acid, which is what causes its dark color. Tannic acid ingrains itself into the grooves of tooth enamel, and that leads to serious stains. In addition to containing tannic acid, the fact that coffee is generally served very hot makes your teeth expand and contract, which allows the stains to penetrate even farther into the enamel.

Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel and our team know it’s not easy to kick the caffeine habit. If you find yourself needing a cup of joe every day, here are some helpful tips to consider:

  • Switch to decaf coffee.
  • Make it a habit to drink a glass of water with your coffee to rinse away the acid.
  • Try enjoying your coffee with a straw so the tannic acid makes less contact with your front and lower teeth.
  • Pop in a piece of gum after your coffee to help prevent a dry mouth.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you might find that setting a limit on the number of cups of coffee you have per week or even per day can be helpful. You are always welcome to contact our Rochester office to discuss potential whitening options as well. We’re here to help!

The Importance of Regular Dental Checkups

September 30th, 2020

When was the last time you paid Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel a visit? If you're like many people, chances are it was more than six months ago. We hear the reasons why people neglect regular dental visits all the time: lack of money or quality dental insurance, busy schedules, and fear. However, your twice-yearly checkups are so important for your dental health and for your overall health as well.

You may brush your teeth twice a day and even floss, and your teeth may feel fine, but regular dental checkups with Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel aren’t about addressing problems and reacting — they are about cavity prevention. No matter how much you brush and floss, there is still a chance that food or other debris can get lodged between your teeth, and there is also a chance that food and beverages can wear down your tooth enamel in between visits, making your teeth vulnerable to decay.

In addition to a thorough teeth cleaning and polishing, these regular visits help us detect and prevent the onset of tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. During your visit, we’ll check the health of your mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongue. We’ll also check old fillings and restorations, as these can wear away over time from constant chewing, grinding, or clenching.

It's important to know that the majority of dental problems do not become visible or painful until they are highly advanced. And, unfortunately, serious oral issues are painful and expensive to treat. A deep cleaning twice a year by our team at Main Street Dental Clinics is the best way to hit all the spots you may have missed with brushing and flossing and prevent any problems that may have gone unseen.

Make sure your teeth get the professional attention they deserve! If you’re overdue for your next cleaning, please give us a call to schedule an appointment at our convenient Rochester office!

Good Dental Hygiene Gives You Better Overall Health

September 23rd, 2020

What do you think of when you hear the term dental or oral hygiene? Brushing and flossing tend to come to mind, since that is what the terms imply.

What you might not know, however, is that good dental hygiene involves much more than just your mouth. That’s the tip of the iceberg … just a piece of the complex puzzle that is the human body.

Simply put, you cannot be fully healthy if you don’t have good oral health. Studies have shown that oral health and body health are closely linked and in fact almost impossible to define as separate phenomena.

Take gum disease, for example. It’s one of the most common dental infections, but it doesn’t just affect your gums. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, gum disease can be directly linked to more serious complications such as strokes and heart disease. Doesn’t that make you want to floss a little more often?

This goes the other way, too. Many oral events like sores, swollen gums, and dry mouth syndrome, which might seem fairly trivial and even harmless, may be signals of a much bigger problem: possibly leukemia, kidney disease, diabetes, or pancreatic cancer.

Now that you’ve been made aware of just how vital dental health is for your overall health (and vice versa), the best thing to do is what you’re probably already doing: making sure you brush and floss, as well as maintain a well-balanced diet. It’s also smart to keep away from cigarettes and tobacco, because both are known to contribute to periodontal disease.

In addition, be sure to keep getting your teeth cleaned every six months! If you’re due for a cleaning, give our Rochester office a call to schedule an appointment at Main Street Dental Clinics.

When snoring becomes more than just annoying: The dangers of sleep apnea

September 16th, 2020

Sawing wood. That’s what your wife calls it when you wake her up with your snoring. This type of scenario plays out in homes around the world, and couples have to find a way to make light of the nocturnal annoyance. Snoring can become more than just an irritating nighttime disturbance, however. It can be the first sign of a potentially serious sleep disorder.

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing repeatedly pauses throughout the night. Possible symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring loudly and feeling tired after a full night’s sleep.

Three health problems linked to sleep apnea

Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed and untreated, which puts you at a greater risk of developing health problems. While being robbed of quality sleep can take its toll on you, sleep apnea can also result in the following.

  1. High blood pressure. When you wake frequently throughout the night, it causes your body's hormonal systems to become unbalanced and go into overdrive. This results in high blood pressure.
  2. Heart disease. The disrupted oxygen flow caused by sleep apnea increases your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. The cutoff of oxygen makes it difficult for the brain to regulate the flow of blood in the arteries.
  3. Excessive daytime sleepiness. Daytime fatigue often results in impaired judgment and slow reaction times, and this may increase your risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Lifestyle changes like losing weight, avoiding alcohol, and quitting smoking are often enough to cure sleep apnea. Medical treatment is also a potential solution. Surgery, oral appliances, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which is a treatment involving a specialized breathing mask, are all possible ways to resolve the problem of sleep apnea.

If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea, or to schedule a visit with Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel at our convenient Rochester office, please give us a call! Our entire team at Main Street Dental Clinics look forward to giving you back a full night’s rest!

Suffer from Dental Anxiety? Not a Problem.

September 9th, 2020

If you suffer from dental anxiety, we understand that paying a visit to our office can seem like a nearly impossible mission. Regardless of what the root of that anxiety might be, we’re here to tell you that at Main Street Dental Clinics, you have no need to be nervous. Our office is dedicated to making your dental experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible.

One of the best things to do if you experience dental anxiety is call our office in advance to let us know. By notifying us in advance, you give us the opportunity to provide you with the dental care you need in the way you need it.

We can prescribe a relaxation medication for you. During your appointment, we can provide a little bit of laughing gas to put you more at ease, teach you some behavioral techniques for relaxation, and make sure you’re never in the dark about what’s happening.

If dental anxiety makes you feel embarrassed, please be assured that you’re not alone. Studies show that as much as 75% of adults suffer some degree of dental anxiety! It might be helpful to remember that your doctor’s goal is the same as yours: We are here to keep your oral health in check so you can be your healthiest self. We certainly don’t want to make you uncomfortable in the process.

If you have any questions about other ways in which we can accommodate you during your visits, please don’t hesitate to contact our Rochester office!

Mouthguard Q&A

August 19th, 2020

Today, Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel and our team at Main Street Dental Clinics thought we would talk about mouthguards, what they are, where to get them, and when to use them.

Q: What is a mouthguard?

A: A mouthguard, which is made of soft plastic, is a flexible, removable device that fits in your mouth and is adapted to fit comfortably to the shape of your upper teeth. A mouthguard will protect not only the teeth, but also your jaws, lips, tongue, cheeks, and gums, and should be worn anytime you are participating in full-contact athletic or recreational activities that may result in injury.

Q: How do mouthguards work? Why are mouthguards important?

A: A mouthguard works as a shock absorber to cushion your mouth from the effects of a blow to the face, head, or neck. Mouthguards protect teeth from not only fractures, but also hold the tongue, lips, and cheeks away from the teeth to avoid lacerations. Using a mouthguard as instructed by Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel can lessen the possibility of concussion and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dislocation while you are out on the court or field. Increasingly, organized sports are requiring mouthguards to prevent injury to athletes, and research shows most mouth injuries occur when athletes are not wearing mouth protection.

Q: When should I wear a mouthguard?

A: Whenever you are participating in an activity that involves a risk of falling or head contact with other players. This includes football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, and other competitive sports.

Q: How do I choose a mouthguard?

A: Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel and our team encourage you to choose a mouthguard that you can wear comfortably. There are several options of mouthguards you may choose from. First, preformed or what we call “boil-to-fit” mouthguards are found in sports stores. But your best choice is asking us for one during your next visit as we can fabricate a custom mouthguard for you at our Rochester office. A custom mouthguard will be more comfortable to wear and more effective in preventing injuries.

If you have any additional questions about mouthguards, please give us a call or ask us during your next visit!

When Is a “Cavity” Not a Cavity?

August 12th, 2020

Is this a trick question? After all, you probably already know quite a lot about cavities:

  • It all begins when bacteria-filled plaque sticks to teeth and starts to attack enamel. How?
  • Because the bacteria in plaque use the sugars and other foods we eat to produce acids.
  • These acids gradually weaken teeth by dissolving minerals which help make up our enamel (a process called demineralization).
  • Over time, a hole, or cavity, develops in the tooth surface.
  • Left untreated, bacterial decay can spread to the inside of the tooth, creating a more serious cavity.

Some cavities aren’t discovered until you visit our Rochester office, but sometimes there are clear signs that there’s a problem.

  • You have tooth pain or sensitivity.
  • Your tooth changes color in spots where the enamel has decayed.
  • You might even notice enamel loss when a cavity is large enough.

So, if you have any of these symptoms, it’s a cavity, right? It might be—but it might not. Sometimes, because the symptoms are similar, what we suspect is a cavity is really enamel erosion.

The bacteria-created acids weaken enamel. But it’s not just bacteria that subject our teeth to acids—we do it ourselves with our choice of food and drink. Acidic foods are one of the leading causes of tooth erosion.

Our normal saliva pH level is around a 7, which is neutral. Any number lower is acidic; any number higher is alkaline. Acidic foods have a low pH (the pH of lemon juice, for example, measures between 2 and 3), and can reduce our normal, neutral pH level. When saliva pH levels drop to 5.5 or lower, tooth enamel starts to demineralize, just as it does when exposed to the acids from oral bacteria.

Regularly snacking on citrus and other acidic fruits, wine, fruit juices, flavored teas, sour candies, and other acidic foods can cause enamel erosion. Especially erosive are sports drinks, energy drinks, and colas, because they contain some combination of citric acid, phosphoric acid and/or carbonation.

The symptoms of tooth erosion and damaged enamel can be very similar to those caused by cavities:

  • You suffer tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Your teeth appear discolored, as the enamel thins to reveal the yellowish dentin underneath
  • You notice missing enamel—your teeth become rounded or have little pits known as cupping

You call Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel right away if you suspect a cavity. Be just as proactive if you suspect erosion. Even though your symptoms may not have been caused by plaque and bacteria, acidic erosion from your diet leaves weakened enamel just as vulnerable to cavities and decay.

How to avoid erosion?

  • Enjoy acidic foods sparingly, or as part of a meal. This helps your saliva pH stay in the neutral zone.
  • Balance acidic foods with low-acid choices to help neutralize acids and restore a normal pH balance. (A good reason to pair wine or fruits with cheese.)
  • Use a straw! This simple solution keeps erosive drinks from bathing your teeth in acids.
  • Drink water instead of an acidic beverage, or drink it afterward to rinse your mouth. The pH of pure water? A perfect, neutral 7.
  • And what about brushing right after eating or drinking something acidic? Ask Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel if you should rush for your brush. We may recommend waiting 30 minutes or so after an acidic treat to give teeth time to remineralize after acids weaken them. Otherwise, brushing might cause more wear and tear on your enamel.
  • Finally, while foods are often the source of acid erosion, medical conditions can cause erosion as well. Talk to us about ways to minimize erosion while addressing your medical needs.

There’s no trick to it—watching your diet, brushing and flossing as recommended, using a fluoride toothpaste, and visiting Main Street Dental Clinics for regular checkups will help prevent tooth erosion. We can restore eroded enamel with bonding, veneers, or crowns if the erosion is serious. Better still is to catch erosion before symptoms appear to keep your teeth their strongest for a lifetime of healthy, beautiful smiles.

Troubles with Cementum? Prevent ‘Em!

August 5th, 2020

Our teeth are a lot more complicated than they look. Beneath that shiny white surface is an entire system of different cell tissues working together to keep each tooth vital and healthy.

  • Enamel, the protective exterior of the crown (the visible part of the tooth), is the strongest substance in the body and the first line of defense against damage to our teeth.
  • Dentin, the hard tissue under the enamel and cementum, has microscopic tubules that connect to the pulp.
  • Pulp, the tissue at the center of the tooth, contains the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue that keep the tooth alive.
  • Cementum, composed of connective tissue which forms the protective exterior of the root, also attaches to fibers in the periodontal ligaments which hold the teeth securely in the jaw.

Because cementum is below the gum line, it’s generally safe from the cavity-causing conditions that our enamel is exposed to every day. But there are still potential hazards that we should be aware of.

  • Cementum Erosion

With a name like “cementum,” it’s logical to assume that this is the hardest tissue in the body. Actually, however, that distinction goes to our enamel. And if even our enamel can be damaged by bacteria and plaque, cementum doesn’t stand a chance!

How does cementum come in contact with cavity-causing bacteria? Gums often recede as a natural part of the aging process, leaving part of the root exposed. Gum disease, failure to brush and floss regularly, and heavy-handed brushing can lead to early gum recession. The newly exposed cementum is now exposed to the same conditions, which cause cavities in our enamel. But a root cavity can be trickier to treat and, because the cementum is not as strong as enamel, can progress more quickly. And if a cavity reaches the pulp, a root canal could be necessary.

But the erosion of cementum doesn’t have to result in a cavity to cause discomfort. When cementum is removed, the dentin beneath is exposed. Dentin, you’ll recall, contains tiny tubes that connect to the pulp of the tooth. The result? Conditions such as heat, cold, even an intake of air can cause tooth sensitivity as they stimulate the nerves in the pulp. If your hot coffee or ice cream cone is suddenly causing you pain, let us know. There are treatments, which can reduce tooth sensitivity.

  • Gum Disease (Periodontitis)

In more severe cases of gum disease, the gums pull away from the teeth leaving pockets, which harbor plaque and bacteria. Left untreated, these pockets can become home to infections, which attack and destroy bone structure and connective tissue. Caught early, a treatment called tooth scaling and planing can help. In this type of deep cleaning, your dentist or endodontist will remove plaque and tartar and then smooth the root surface to make it harder for bacteria and plaque to stick. If the gums have receded too far, a gum graft might be necessary to protect the exposed roots.

  • Trauma

The same traumas that can damage teeth above the gum line can result in injuries below it. Chewing on hard objects (ice, hard candies, wooden pencils), bruxism (tooth grinding), and sports injuries or accidents can cause cracks in the cementum. If your root is split or fractured, it might be possible to save your tooth, but sometimes extraction is the best option.

So how do you protect your cementum, hidden as it is under your gum line? The same way you protect the more visible parts of your teeth!

  • Keep to a healthy daily routine of brushing and flossing. This will help prevent gum disease and keep gum recession at bay. Using a soft brush and brushing firmly but gently will remove plaque while protecting both enamel and cementum. If you notice tooth sensitivity, give us a call!
  • Come in to our Rochester office for regular dental exams. The best treatment for gum disease is prevention. When you come in for regular checkups, we are able to discover early signs of gum disease before it becomes a serious problem. If you are suffering from more advanced periodontitis, there are treatments available.
  • Safety first when it comes to your smile. If you chew on hard objects, talk to Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel about how to break the habit. If you grind your teeth, see us for solutions. If you play sports, let us know—often a mouthguard can help protect your teeth from injuries that could otherwise lead to more complex procedures or even tooth loss.

Maintaining your healthy dental habits is a lot like cementum—the foundation of a beautiful smile. Nothing complicated about that!

Detergent Foods: Clean your teeth while you eat!

July 29th, 2020

Did you know that there are certain foods you can eat which help to clean your teeth? We call them "detergent foods." In dentistry we look at the impact of food in three ways: the kind of food, how often it is eaten, and when it is eaten. Detergent foods should be the last piece of food you consume during a meal for best results. Think of them as the closest you can get to brushing your teeth.

A healthy diet is important for oral health as well as overall health, but here are some particular foods that can help clean your teeth and mouth:

  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Celery sticks
  • Popcorn
  • Cucumbers
  • Pears
  • Lettuce
  • Cheese

As you can see, detergent foods are usually foods that are firm and crisp. They act like scrubbers on and around your teeth and gums and bring your mouth's pH back to 7.0, which is optimal.

Which foods are the worst for your teeth?

Cookies, cakes, breads, chips, crackers, soft drinks, dried fruit, and candies (what many people’s diets are full of) provide carbohydrates (sugar) to the bacteria in your mouth causing an acidic environment and increasing the chance of cavities and decay. These foods are sticky and don't rinse easily from your mouth. Avoid letting these foods sit on your teeth after eating them.

It also depends on how often you consume these foods throughout the day. For example, if you drink soft drinks, it's best to have it all in one sitting instead of sipping it all throughout the day. Doing so causes the perfect environment in your mouth for bacteria to flourish and your saliva never gets the chance to neutralize its pH.

This is where detergent foods can come into play. When you're about to finish your meal, have an apple, celery stick, or carrot. It will act like a "natural toothbrush." Also, try to make these detergent foods the basis for snacks you have throughout the day.

Always remember, these foods are not a replacement for brushing and flossing. You still need good dental hygiene regardless of what you're eating! For more tips and tricks for ideal oral health, ask Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel the next time you visit our Rochester office!

How do I know when I have a cavity?

July 22nd, 2020

Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel and our team at Main Street Dental Clinics frequently field questions about cavities and what causes them. Patients will typically ask, “I brush twice a day and floss regularly, as well as rinse with hydrogen peroxide, so a cavity is unlikely, right?”

Not quite.

When cavities, also known as caries, are in their initial stages, people often will feel no symptoms, and they won’t experience any pain or discomfort. It’s not until the tooth decay has reached a certain level that patients begin to notice the signs. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may want to consider scheduling an appointment with Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel as soon as possible:

  • Dull or sharp toothache
  • Tooth sensitivity or mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot, or cold
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  • The presence of a sticky, tarry feeling when biting down
  • Puss or discharge around a tooth, especially when pressing on your gums
  • Visible holes or discoloration in your teeth (usually black or brown)

Cavities can happen at any time, to anyone, no matter how old you are. Routine dental care is important to prevent cavities or the onset of tooth decay, so it is important to visit Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel and our team at Main Street Dental Clinics for regular cleanings. If you are overdue for a checkup or think you may have a cavity, please give us a call at Rochester office to schedule an appointment.

Osteoporosis and Oral Health

July 15th, 2020

Today, Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel and our team at Main Street Dental Clinics thought we would examine the relationship between osteoporosis and oral health, since 40 million Americans have osteoporosis or are at high risk. Osteoporosis entails less density in bones, so they become easier to fracture. Research suggests a link between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw, which supports and anchors the teeth. Tooth loss affects one third of adults 65 and older.

Bone density and dental concerns

  • Women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to experience tooth loss than those without it.
  • Low bone density results in other dental issues.
  • Osteoporosis is linked to less positive outcomes from oral surgery.

Ill-fitting dentures in post-menopausal women

Studies indicate that women over 50 with osteoporosis need new dentures up to three times more often than women who don’t have the disease. It can be so severe that it becomes impossible to fit dentures correctly, leading to nutritive losses.

Role of dental X-rays in osteoporosis

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) released research that suggest dental X-rays may be used as a screening tool for osteoporosis. Researchers found that dental X-rays could separate people with osteoporosis from those with normal bone density. As dental professionals, our team at Main Street Dental Clinics are in a unique position to screen people and refer them to the appropriate doctor for specialized care.

Effects of osteoporosis medications on oral health

A recent study showed that a rare disease, osteonecrosis, is caused by biophosphenates, a drug taken by people for treatment of osteoporosis. In most cases, the cause was linked to those who take IV biophosphenates for treatment of cancer, but in six percent of cases, the cause was oral biophosphenates. If you are taking a biophosphenate drug, let Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel know.

Symptoms of osteonecrosis

Some symptoms you may see are pain, swelling, or infection of the gums or jaw. Additionally, injured or recently treated gums may not heal: teeth will be loose, jaws may feel heavy and numb, or there may be exposed bone. Some of the steps you can take for healthy bones are to eat a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, regular physical exercise with weight-bearing activities, no smoking and limited use of alcohol, and report problems with teeth to our office, such as teeth that are loose, receding gums or detached gums, and dentures that don’t fit properly.

For more information about the connection between osteoporosis and oral health, or to schedule an appointment with Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel, please give us a call at our convenient Rochester office!

Avoid Brushing After Every Single Meal!

July 8th, 2020

Here is some surprising yet worthwhile advice you might be hearing for the first time: Brushing after a meal can be incredibly bad for your teeth if you do it after eating certain foods.

Enamel is an extremely hard mineral on the exterior of each of your teeth. It’s actually the hardest substance in the human body: It’s even stronger than your bones! Its only weakness is that acids in the food we eat can easily destroy enamel.

Healthy teeth thrive in an environment that has the proper pH balance. That ensures your mouth doesn’t start the process of demineralization. That’s what happens when alkaline turns into acid, which attacks and softens the enamel on the surface of your teeth. Pores and fissures form, and that’s when the harmful bacteria go to work.

Our mouth’s pH level fluctuates depending on what we eat throughout the day. Examples of the most common highly acidic foods include citrus fruits, soda, and sugary foods. Highly acidic foods tip the balance of pH in your mouth from a healthy alkaline to a dangerous acid.

Can brushing your teeth immediately after a meal lead to even more damage? The answer is yes!

Eating highly acidic foods causes your teeth to be more susceptible. If you brush your teeth when they have been weakened by acids, even more destruction can happen to your enamel. Your toothbrush’s bristles will actually wear away some of your enamel. So it’s healthier to wait at least an hour after eating or snacking to brush.

Good preventive measures to take instead of brushing after you eat include:

  • Rinsing or drinking water
  • Chewing sugarless gum
  • Consuming dairy or non-acidic foods to conclude your meal

These practices help produce saliva, which in turn restores a healthy pH level in your mouth and coats the teeth with minerals they need.

Once you’ve allowed time for your mouth to be restored to a healthy pH level, you may brush your teeth as you normally would. Keep in mind that acidic foods can weaken the enamel on your teeth and take the right measures to prevent spiking pH levels.

Most important, don’t forget to wait to brush at least one hour after you eat!

Still have questions? Call our Rochester office and schedule an appointment with Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel.

Happy Fourth of July

July 1st, 2020

Every year, Americans all over the world celebrate the birth of the country and its independence on the Fourth of July. There are countless ways that people celebrate and they range from community parades and large scale gatherings to concerts, fireworks displays, and smaller scale celebrations among family and friends. For some people, July 4th is synonymous with baseball, while for others it is all about the beach of barbecues. However you celebrate, you can be sure that red, white, and blue is visible everywhere throughout the area.

The Beginnings of Fourth of July Celebrations

Although it wasn't officially designated as a federal holiday until 1941, the actual tradition of celebrating Independence Day goes back to the time of the American Revolution (1775 – 1783). At the time of the American Revolution, representatives from the 13 colonies penned the resolution that ultimately declared their independence from Great Britain. The continental congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence on July 2nd of 1776. Two days later, Thomas Jefferson's famous document that is now known as the Declaration of Independence, was adopted by delegates representing the 13 colonies.

First States to Recognize the Fourth of July

In 1781, Massachusetts became the first state (or commonwealth) whose legislature resolved to designate July 4th as the date on which to celebrate the country's independence. Two years later, Boston became the first city to make an official designation to honor the country's birth with a holiday on July 4th. In that same year, North Carolina's governor, Alexander Martin, became the first governor to issue an official state order stipulating that July 4th was the day on which North Carolinians would celebrate the country's independence.

Fun Facts About the Fourth of July

  • The reason the stars on the original flag were arranged in a circle is because it was believed that would indicate that all of the colonies were equal.
  • Americans eat over 150 million hot dogs on July 4th.
  • Imports of fireworks each year totals over $211 million.
  • The first “official” Fourth of July party took place at the White House in 1801.
  • Benjamin Franklin didn't want the national bird to be the bald eagle. He believed that the turkey was better suited to the coveted distinction. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson disagreed with him, and he was outvoted, so the bald eagle became the official bird of the United States.

For many, the tradition is something entirely different. Along the coastal areas of the United States, people may haul out huge pots to have lobster or other types of seafood boils. Others may spend the day in the bleachers at a baseball game, or at a park, cooking a great traditional meal over an open fire. No matter how or where you celebrate, one thing is certain: all Americans celebrate July 4th as the birth and independence of our country.

Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel and our team at Main Street Dental Clinics wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July!

How to Handle an Unexpected Dental Emergency

June 24th, 2020

Regardless of the type of dental emergency you experience, it is important that you visit Main Street Dental Clinics for emergency dental care as soon as possible. A chipped or cracked tooth requires professional attention, as bacteria may gather in these areas, potentially causing infection that could require a root canal. Remember, you may be capable of managing pain, bleeding, and swelling at home, but by visiting our office for immediate treatment, you can fight infections and minimize lasting damage to your mouth, teeth, and gums under the expert care of our emergency dentist.

24/7 Emergency Dental Care

Main Street Dental Clinics is proud to offer emergency dental care around the clock, seven days a week. Dental emergencies do not wait for regular business hours, and if you experience a serious dental emergency, you need immediate treatment. Whether you have a broken tooth or if you have bitten through your tongue, do not hesitate to visit us day or night. Until you arrive at our office, however, there are some helpful steps you can take if you encounter a serious dental dilemma.

Managing Your Dental Emergency

If a toothache is causing problems, you can probably keep the discomfort under control until our emergency doctor can treat you. Start by checking the gums that surround the affected tooth for inflammation, bleeding, or foreign objects. There may be food lodged in the gum that could be removed by flossing. You can control pain by placing a cold compress against your mouth, or by using an over-the-counter oral numbing agent.

More serious situations may be extremely time sensitive, and require immediate emergency attention. For example, if a tooth is completely knocked out, carefully clean it with water. Try to place the tooth back into its socket or briefly store it in a cup of milk if it will not fit back into the gum. Never pick up a tooth by the root or force it into the socket. Come straight to our office, as your tooth will need to be replaced within a short amount of time. Similarly, if you have bitten through your lip or tongue, the American Dental Association recommends carefully cleaning the area before coming as quickly as you can to our emergency dental office for treatment.

Remember, there is no reason you should live with discomfort. By visiting our Rochester office immediately in an emergency, you can take control of your oral health comfortably and safely.

How Does Dental Insurance Work?

May 27th, 2020

Fifty-eight percent of Americans visit the dentist at least once a year. The bulk of these will have some kind of insurance plan, which covers some (or all) of the costs associated with dental treatment.

Dental insurance, however, can be complicated. There are deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance. How much do you need to pay? What's covered in your plan? Where do you get your plan? This blog will answer these questions and provide you with all the information you need to know about dental insurance.

Why Do You Need Insurance?

Dental work can be expensive. Even a check-up can set you back around $300. Sure, this covers your exam, x-rays, and, perhaps, a cleaning, but finding this money every 6 months or so can be difficult. Dental insurance works in a similar way to other types of insurance, like car insurance. In simple terms, you make a "claim" on your dental insurance when you go to the dentist for a check-up or require specialist or emergency treatment. You will pay insurance premiums every month. Nearly every dentist in the United States accepts dental insurance.

How Does It Work?

There are various dental insurance plans on the market. Like you would do with car insurance or home insurance, you will need to find the best financial products based on your specific budget and circumstances. Dental insurance plans can vary considerably, so it's a good idea to do your homework and read all the fine print. Find out what's covered in your plan and talk to the insurer about how much it will cost you. You can usually apply for insurance plans online and receive your insurance documents via email.

What's Covered?

The majority of dental plans will cover preventative care, like cleanings and x-rays. These services, usually, won't require any additional cost. Other services, such as gum disease treatment, fillings, and extractions, might require additional expenses, depending on the insurance plan. These are known as "out-of-pocket expenses."

Does Your Employer Have Dental Insurance Plans?

Some companies offer dental insurance plans to their employees. This is a great way of getting the dental coverage you need for no additional cost. Again, there will be restrictions when it comes to "free" treatment and out-of-pocket expenses. Research suggests that 77 percent of Americans have dental benefits, usually from their employer. However, many people are unaware that they have these benefits or never use them.

Different Types of Dental Coverage

There are three main types of dental coverage in the US:

A Dental Health Maintenance Organization, or DHMO, provides you with access to various dentists that accept your insurance. Depending on the service, you won't pay any fees at all. However, you might not be able to visit a dentist who is not part of the insurance company's network. If you do, you could incur additional costs.

A Preferred Provider Organization, or PPO, also provides you with a list of dentists that accept your insurance. You can visit dentists who are not on this list, but expect to pay more in out-of-pocket costs.

A discount or referral dental plan provides you with discounts on dental services from a list of dentists. You won't receive any free services, but you will get discounts on dental care and treatments.

Understanding Dental Insurance Billing

When you visit the dentist for a check-up or other service, you will be billed at the end of the treatment. If you don't have to pay anything for the service because of your insurance plan, you will just need to sign the relevant documents. If you need to pay for the service, the dentist's office will bill you.

How Much are Premiums?

This all depends on the service you choose. Some dental plans will set you back around $200 a month, but the majority are far less expensive. You will need to pay premiums, however, even if you never visit the dentist.

"The monthly premiums will depend on the insurance company, your location, and the plan you choose," says Investopedia. "For many people, the monthly premium will be around $50 a month. This means that you're spending $600 on dental costs each year even if you don't get any work done."

Dental insurance doesn't have to be complicated. Follow the tips above and you can find a cost-effective plan that caters to your budget. Do your research and find the right dental plan that suits you.

Call us today to schedule a consultation or check-up. We’re happy to help you and your family on the road to better dental health!

Why Do My Teeth Tingle? 4 Reasons Explained!

March 19th, 2020

Teeth tingling is a prickling or stinging sensation in your teeth and might be accompanied by inflammation or bleeding gums. Usually, this is nothing to worry about, and your dentist will provide you with relief for the sensitivity.

There are a number of factors that cause teeth tingling, and making an appointment with your dentist will help you identify the source of the problem. Four reasons to why you might be experiencing teeth sensitivity that we'll cover include

  1. Pulpitis, or a toothache
  2. A worn tooth enamel
  3. Teeth grinding
  4. Gum recession

1. Pulpitis

Pulpitis, often referred to as a toothache, is an inflammation of the dental pulp — the connective tissues and cells in the center of your teeth. If the pulp comes into contact with irritants — such as impacted food in the gum, tooth decay or gum disease — you might experience a tingling sensation on your teeth.

Avoiding cold and hot food or taking an over-the-counter painkiller could reduce some of the pain. But it's best to visit your dentist, who will take an X-ray of your teeth and prescribe the right treatment. Sometimes, pulpitis can be reversed with a simple tooth filling.

2. Worn Tooth Enamel

Your tooth enamel — a hard substance that covers the crown of each tooth — can become worn down over time, causing your teeth to tingle. Acids from sugary drinks and processed foods often break away the enamel surface, making it more sensitive to irritants. Hard toothbrushes are another culprit of tooth enamel erosion, and you might experience a tingly sensation if you brush your teeth too hard.

[RELATED: Do you brush your teeth properly? Find out!]

Your tooth enamel could also be eroded due to

Unfortunately, you can't restore your tooth enamel after it's been damaged, but there are a number of ways you can take better care of your teeth. The American Dental Association recommends you use a soft-bristled brush for teeth cleaning, for example.

Another solution for ceasing wear on the enamel would be to limit your intake of sugary, acidic, and highly-processed foods. Switch to foods that promote oral health, such as cheese, leafy greens, and yogurt.

3. Teeth Grinding

Most people grind their teeth at some point in their lives. Regular teeth grinding, however, increases sensitivity and could damage your jaw bone. Bruxism — the medical name for teeth grinding — affects 10 percent of Americans, and is characterized by a clenching of the teeth, which usually occurs during sleep.

Oftentimes, teeth grinding is a result of stress or anxiety during the day. Other causes can include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, sleep apnea, too much caffeine, and depression. Bruxism sometimes can be a side effect of a new medication as well.

There are a number of treatments for bruxism, and many of these will stop any tingling sensation you experience. A dentist might recommend you wear a mouthguard, for example, or suggest muscle relaxation and breathing techniques to lessen the symptoms.

4. Gum Recession

Gum recession is another cause of teeth tingling. This occurs when the gum tissue pulls away to reveal more of the tooth, creating gaps between the teeth and gum line. When bacteria fills these gaps, you might experience mild sensitivity or a dull pain. Various factors cause gum recession, including genetics, vigorous tooth brushing, and poor oral health.

Even if you take care of your dental hygiene, you might still develop a receding gum line. "Some people may be more susceptible to gum disease," says WebMD. "In fact, studies show that 30 percent of the population may be predisposed to gum disease, regardless of how well they care for their teeth."

While your gums can heal, they cannot grow back. However, a surgical procedure called a gum graft can potentially reverse the damage of gum disease. Pinhole surgery is another procedure that's minimally invasive and will help to correct a receded gum line.

Seeing a dental hygienist for a regular cleaning could prevent gum recession getting worse. The hygienist will remove plaque and tartar from the root surfaces of your teeth, instantly destroying harmful bacteria. Better oral care, such as flossing, will prevent the bacteria from returning in the future.

What to Do About Tingling Teeth

Teeth tingling is more than a nuisance. It signals that there is an underlying issue with your teeth that you need to resolve. One in eight people experience tooth sensitivity in some form, according to a recent study. Only a dentist, however, knows how to fix the problem and prevent this unwanted sensation from getting worse.

The doctors at Main Street Dental can help with any questions or concerns you have about sensitive teeth. Request an appointment today!

Dental Insurance Waiting Periods

February 6th, 2020

If you haven't had dental insurance recently, you might be overjoyed at the chance to purchase coverage. Dental procedures can be expensive, and you may have even postponed care due to financial concerns. Before you run to the dentist for a root canal or porcelain crown, you should take a good look at your dental policy. Depending on your particular policy, you may well have a waiting period that limits coverage on some procedures for the first months or year after making your first premium payment. Before making a claim, you need to understand exactly what your policy covers and when that coverage kicks in.

Length of Waiting Periods

Dental policies differ wildly. Some dental policies have no waiting period on benefits. For instance, an employer-provided policy usually does not have any waiting period. Once the policy takes effect, the full benefits are available. A few private policies may also come with no waiting period, although they are usually more expensive plans. Unfortunately, many privately purchased policies, including those on the government healthcare marketplace, come with a waiting period that can range from six months to a year or longer. During this time, major dental work is not covered, and some basic procedures may not be either.

Major Dental Work

Major dental work is considered to be procedures such as crowns, root canals, bridges, dentures, and other complicated restorative work. If you need some advanced work done on your teeth, buying a policy doesn't guarantee that you can get that work done when you need it. That means you may end up paying full cost for a crown even though you are paying a monthly premium.

Once you've met the waiting period, your coverage will kick in; however, most policies only cover a percentage of the costs. In fact, they may still only pay 50% of these procedures even after the waiting period. Of course, it depends entirely on your particular insurance plan.

Your dental policy will likely have a yearly cap on it as well, which means that you may have to pay more out of pocket on items that are covered after the waiting period. Dentures, bridges and individual replacement teeth are costly. You can easily exceed a $2500 annual policy limit even with 50% or more coverage.

Preventative Care and Basic Procedures

The good news is that preventative care is usually covered during the waiting period, and if you have a policy, you should take advantage of these services. You can get your teeth cleaned and examined during the waiting period and have it covered under the policy's terms. Some basic procedures may be covered as well, either immediately or after a shorter waiting period, perhaps in three months versus six. In some instances, the work may be covered at 100% or require a reasonable co-payment. Again, the terms of various dental policies differ, even those offered by the same company.

To be certain that you are covered for a specific procedure, you should check with your insurance company before you see your dentist. That way, you won't have any unpleasant financial surprises when you get there.

Waiting Period Dental Care

If you need dental care during your waiting period, you should consult with a dentist. You can take advantage of your preventative exam and discuss whether you can afford to wait for a crown or bridge. If waiting will affect your other teeth or overall health, you need to find a way to proceed. Discuss your financing options with your dental professional.

Buying Coverage

Although dental waiting periods can be frustrating, going without any dental coverage at all can be harmful to your physical, financial and emotional health. Currently, the best and most affordable dental coverage comes through an employer's group policy. You can purchase individual policies, usually at a higher cost and often with a lower level of benefits. Still, just taking advantage of preventative care can keep you from developing serious teeth and gum issues.

Buying coverage now also protects you in the future. You may be problem-free currently but develop an issue six months or a year down the road. Dental insurance, even a less-than-stellar policy, can help you pay for the care you need.

When you have dental questions, you should take them to an experienced dental clinic. Main Street Dental Clinics are staffed with experienced professionals who understand the complexities of dental insurance and can help you plan your care. Don't ignore your dental needs. Consult with an expert dentist before you have a serious problem.

What Does Dental Insurance Normally Cover?

January 6th, 2020

Many Americans don't know what's covered in their dental insurance plans, and an invoice from their dentist's office often surprises them. Here's a guide to what's covered (and what's not) in the majority of dental plans.

What's Usually Covered

Typically, dental insurance will cover the following:

Check-ups

You will need to visit your dentist, usually twice a year. Your insurance plan will usually cover the cost of these check-ups, which means you don't need to pay any additional fees after the service.

X-Rays

If you require x-rays as part of your check-up, your insurance plan will usually cover these, too. X-rays will determine the overall health and condition of your teeth.

Cleanings

If you need a clean as part of your check-up, your insurer will often cover the cost of this service. A cleaning can remove any plaque on your teeth that might cause problems in the future.

All of the above treatments are preventative care procedures. These treatments won't fix any problems with your teeth and gums, but they can prevent you from having oral health issues in the future.

What's Sometimes Covered

This all depends on your insurer, but some dental plans will cover the following:

Fillings

You might require a filling to cover a hole in your tooth. This usually happens as a result of poor diet or oral hygiene practices. This is a simple, common procedure.

Crowns

You might require a crown to replace a damaged or decayed tooth. This process is a little more complicated than having a filling, but many insurance companies will cover the cost of this treatment. If they don't, you might have to pay for all (or some) of the procedure through out-of-pocket expenses.

Tooth Extractions

If you have a tooth that has been severely chipped or decayed, there's a chance you might need to have it removed. Like crowns, some insurance companies cover the cost of tooth extractions.

Root Canal

Root canals are far more common than you might think. In most instances, your insurance company will cover the cost of this treatment, which means you won't have to pay any additional fees. If your insurance company doesn't cover the cost of the above treatments, you may need to pay for a portion of the service through out-of-pocket expenses. Make sure to check and see what is covered by your specific plan.

What's Not Covered

Again, this depends on the insurance plan but, generally, insurance companies won't cover the cost of the following:

Orthodontics

If you need braces or other orthodontic work, your insurer might not cover the costs, especially if you are an adult. Some insurers might pay for some of the treatment, and you will need to pay for the rest. Other insurers will expect you to pay for the whole treatment.

Periodontics

Periodontics refers to the structures that surround the tooth. Unlike some of the procedures above, periodontal treatment can be costly and time-consuming. Most insurers will expect you to cover the cost of this treatment yourself (or at least the majority of it).

Cosmetic Dentistry

Again, insurers won't usually cover cosmetic treatments, such as veneers or teeth whitening. You can either choose to have one of these treatments carried out by your regular dentist or go elsewhere.

It All Depends on the Plan

What's covered in your insurance plan will all depend on the insurer. This is why it's important to do your research and read the small print before you purchase dental insurance. If you have insurance through work, find out what's covered — and what's not.

"Most plans follow the 100-80-50 coverage structure. That means they cover preventive care at 100%, basic procedures at 80%, and major procedures at 50% or a larger co-payment," says Web MD. "But a dental plan may elect not to cover some procedures, such as sealants, at all."

Find a dental plan that caters to your individual circumstances. This will provide you with peace of mind in the event of emergency treatment like a root canal or an extraction.

Military Dental Insurance Plans

November 27th, 2019

Are you an active duty member of the U.S. military or a retiree who has served? First, thank you for your service. We appreciate the sacrifices you and your family have made for our country. We owe you a debt of gratitude.

Here in the southeast Minnesota area, our service members, retirees, and their family members are an integral part of our communities. And Main Street Dental Clinics is proud to provide dental care to our military families. But we understand that many of you have questions about your available dental coverage. So, we’ve put together this overview to help answer some of your questions about military dental insurance and retired military dental insurance.

Tricare Dental Plan

As a member of the military, chances are that you’ve heard of Tricare. This is the predominant medical insurance offered to service members and their families. United Concordia administers the Tricare Dental Plan (TDP).

Who can get TDP?

TDP is available to the dependents of active duty service members. This voluntary dental insurance is also available to eligible members of the National Guard, the Reserve, and their family members. Covered individuals can seek dental services under Tricare within the U.S. and overseas. To be eligible, the family member’s military sponsor must have no less than 12 months remaining of their military service commitment. Unmarried children of service members age out of the plan at 21 years, or if they’re in college when they reach 23 years of age. Enrollment periods are 12 months long.

What are some of the Costs?

TDP costs include cost shares and monthly premiums. The premium amounts differ for single plans and family plans, and the military sponsor’s status determines the amount. Currently, the monthly premium for a single active-duty dependent plan is $11.39, and the family plan premium is $29.62. Reserve member premiums are higher.

Your cost-share is your out-of-pocket expense and varies depending on the type of dental service you receive. There are set contract year maximums and lifetime maximums that apply to certain services.

What does it cover?

TDP addresses preventative care, routine services, fillings, orthodontia, and other select dental care. Some examples include:

  • Exams and x-rays
  • Tooth extractions
  • Oral surgery
  • Root canals
  • Braces
  • Dentures and crowns
  • Some chronic conditions

How do you sign up?

You can visit milConnect to enroll online with a DFAS or DoD Self-Service account. You can also receive enrollment information by phone or USPS. Call 844-653-4061 within the continental U.S. to speak with a United Concordia TDP representative for more information.

Active Duty Military Dental Insurance

While you’re serving in the U.S. military, you typically access dental care on base from military dental professional providers. However, in some situations, you will need to reach out to civilian dentists for care. This may be due to the remote area where you’re located. Or you may need dental services that aren’t available from the on-base provider.

Referrals

Your military dental provider will give you a referral with an Appointment Control Number (ACN) to obtain services from a civilian dentist in-network via United Concordia. You can then contact an eligible dentist directly to set an appointment.

Remote Areas

If you’re stationed in an identified remote area – such as Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other sites located more than 50 miles from a military dentist – you can receive eligible routine care from civilian in-network dentists. Some services will require prior authorization.

Line of Duty Care – Active Duty Dental Program

Reserve service members may be able to receive LOD emergency dental care while on active duty if they’re injured, fall ill, or contract some form of dental disease and can’t receive ADDP care.

Retired Military Dental Insurance

The Tricare Retiree Dental Plan administered by Delta Dental was the dental insurance offered to military retirees and their family members for several years. But at the end of 2018, the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program replaced TRDP.

 

FEDVIP offers coverage under six national dental insurance plans and four regional plans:

  • Aetna Dental
  • Delta Dental
  • FEP BlueDental
  • GEHA
  • MetLife
  • United Concordia Dental
  • Dominion Dental
  • EmblemHealth
  • Humana
  • Triple-S Salud

Eligible retirees and their family members must sign up under the new program to receive coverage, even if they were already previously enrolled in TRDP. Benefits, rates, and premiums vary greatly, depending upon the carrier and plan you choose. You should view the options and compare them to determine what works best for your family.

 

[RELATED: Simple Tips to Reduce Everyday Wear and Tear on Your Teeth From Eating and Drinking]

 

If you reside in the southeast Minnesota area and you’re looking for a dental service provider, consider Main Street Dental Clinics. We offer a full range of family dental care, including emergency dental appointments. Contact us to schedule an appointment at your convenience.

Why Does My Tooth Feel Loose?

April 3rd, 2019

We live in a world where strong healthy teeth are a prized possession so it's no wonder people go to great lengths to enhance their teeth because, after all, it's one of the first things that people often notice about us.

What if your teeth aren't as healthy as you thought and you've noticed that one of them has started to feel loose? If this is what you are experiencing right now, understandably, you'll want to know why it's happening and what can be done about it. So, let's look at some of the common causes and solutions to an adult tooth feeling loose.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is the most common cause of loose teeth. It's caused by a build-up of bacteria and tartar around the gum line, which over time erodes away the tissue and bone. If this is the reason behind your loose tooth there are two things which can improve it. A deep clean is ideal and can fix the problem if the tooth is a little loose but in the case of a very loose tooth, the best form of treatment would be a splinting procedure as this supports the damaged tooth while the gums strengthen and heal around it.

Mouth Injury

Any trauma directly to the mouth or lower face can impact on your teeth and cause them to loosen. If your mobile tooth is a result of an injury of this kind, you may be tempted to wiggle it with your tongue. Try to refrain from doing this because it will only loosen it further. If you can leave it alone, the gum supporting the tooth should heal thus securing the tooth back into position.

Grinding

Grinding your teeth on a regular basis will not only damage the enamel around the tooth but over time it can loosen them as well. Many people who grind their teeth do it at night while they are sleeping. If this is the case it's best to wear a mouthguard at night as this will prevent further damage to your teeth and allow them to heal and repair.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition which is usually seen in women over the age of fifty. The disease affects bone density, causing bones and gums to weaken. This typically affects the bone in the gums and as a result, can lead to receding gums and even tooth loss. The best course of preventative action is to increase your calcium intake through foods or supplements as this will help to strengthen your jaw.

Medications

While prescribed medications are often beneficial, there can be side effects. Both prescribed steroids and acid reflux medications have been shown to cause calcium deficiencies which can weaken the jaw. If you suspect that a medication is affecting your teeth, discuss it with your physician and dentist to see what can be done.

Pregnancy

During pregnancy, a woman's hormones change and the surge of estrogen and progesterone can negatively impact the gums, causing teeth to become less rigid. While it is a cause for concern, the good news is that it's often temporary. Once you have had your baby and your hormones start to settle down, your gums should be restored to their pre-pregnancy state.

Visit Your Dentist

If one of your teeth has loosened it's always best to go and see your dentist. They will be able to examine and monitor the damaged area and recommend the best course of action.

What Dentists REALLY Think During Your Exam and Other Reasons Not to Be Embarrassed at the Dentist

April 1st, 2019

One-third of the U.S. population has skipped out on necessary dental treatments or preventive care due to anxiety or fear of going to the dentist. Are you one of the millions of Americans that avoid the dentist out of anxiety or embarrassment? Just know that you're not alone!

Dentists have heard and seen it all and are prepared to walk you through your worries, anxiety, and concerns in order to get you the care you need. The doctors at Main Street Dental take your comfort especially serious. But, you don't need to take our word for it. See what our patients say about the care we provide:

Blooming Prairie Reviews

Mankato Reviews

New Richland Reviews

Owatonna Reviews

Rochester Reviews

Besides having a caring and professional dental team on your side, it's comforting to realize what your dentist is really thinking during your appointment and that you have no reason to feel embarrassed.

4 Things Your Dentist Is Thinking During Your Dental Exam

Fear of pain and of being judged are usually at the top of the list of reasons that keep otherwise rational and health-conscious adults from going to the dentist. Despite the fact that the American Dental Association (ADA) strongly recommends a dental exam and professional cleaning every six months to a year to maintain your oral health and prevent tooth decay and gum disease, many people skip going to the dentist until something goes wrong. In extreme cases, dental phobias are so strong that people choose to live with pain, which can lead to serious oral and even bigger health problems.

But the good news is that it's never too late to go to the dentist, whether your last appointment was three, 10 or even 30 years ago!

If you are afraid that your dentist might judge you and your dental habits, remember that dentists are trained professionals whose career and livelihood revolves around helping you get the dental care you need.

Here are a few things dentists wishes you knew about what they're really thinking during your appointment.

1. They can tell if you've been flossing (so don't bother lying about it).

Dentists do not have a crystal ball that magically lets them in on your oral hygiene and lifestyle habits — your gums tell them everything they need to know. Rather than feeling guilty or embarrassed about the fact that you have been neglecting regular flossing, schedule an appointment for a checkup and cleaning to get an accurate assessment of your oral health, and go from there. Good oral hygiene habits do not have an expiration date — you can start any time.

While you're likely to hear the consequences of not flossing from your dentist, here's a quick reminder of what can happen if flossing isn't part of your dental hygiene routine:

  1. bad breath
  2. gum disease
  3. cavities
  4. tooth loss
  5. weight gain
  6. pneumonia

If you're concerned about your dentist noticing the lack of flossing you've been doing, just floss! It's not too late to start.

2. They wish you had come in sooner.

The longer you put off dental treatment, the more damage you are likely to have by way of tooth decay or gum disease. As medical professionals, dentists want what is best for your teeth and gums, and they are strong advocates of preventive treatment.

You may even be someone who takes care of your smile diligently; however, going to the dentist regularly is still essential for the health of your entire mouth. Dentists can detect problems that you might not see or feel. If you visit the dentist regularly, they will be able to take measures to prevent the problem from progressing. If you wait too long, there will be more time and money involved in fixing the issue.

Normally, people can get away with visiting the dentist twice a year. There are some groups of people, however, who should consider seeing the dentist more often. High-risk groups include:

  1. pregnant women
  2. smokers
  3. people with gum disease
  4. diabetics
  5. people with weak immune systems for bacterial infections
  6. people who are prone to getting cavities or plaque buildup

Don't put off seeing the dentist before it's too late. Visiting your dentist every six months will save time, money, and pain.

3. They wish you'd kick your smoking/sugar/alcohol habit.

The things that are bad for your general health are also bad for your teeth and gums. In addition to brushing and flossing every day and going in for preventive dental treatment, a healthy diet low in sugar and alcohol (and no smoking!) is also an important factor in your oral health. You may already know that eating and drinking too much sugar can lead to cavities, but alcohol dries out your mouth, limiting the flow of saliva that is essential to neutralizing harmful oral bacteria.

Smoking is proven to be damaging to your body, including to the health of your mouth. Smoking can lead to stained teeth, gum disease, tooth loss, and even mouth cancer. Smokers may find that they have bad breath more often than non-smokers. A short-term solution to this would be mouthwash to kill the bacteria in your mouth. Although, it won't cure the bad breath or any other oral ailment.

4. They're not here to judge you.

As health professionals, dentists aren't interested in judging you or making you feel bad. All they really care about is your oral health. Rather than worrying about what they might think of you on a personal level, think of dentists as partners who are on your side and working to protect your oral health.

The most important goal the doctors at Main Street Dental Clinics have is to provide comfortable and quality dental care to all patients. No set of teeth will come as a surprise to them. If it's been a while since you've seen the dentist, and you're in the southeast Minnesota area, request your FREE dental exam and X-rays here!

6 Things That Can Happen When You Don't Go to the Dentist

March 29th, 2019

Brushing, flossing, and proper nutrition are key for good health. But good personal dental habits may not be enough to prevent dental issues and disease. To maintain good overall health, you should include consistent dental visits. Failure to do so may have dire consequences.

Potential Effects of Insufficient Dental Care

Most people understand the most common consequences of avoiding the dentist. You may suffer from cavities and gum disease. And these issues can get far worse over time. The longer you delay dental care, the more damage you may suffer.

1. Tooth Loss

Untreated tooth decay and gum disease can lead to the loss of one or more of your teeth. Regular check-ups can identify problems before they advance to that point. But neglect and no dental treatment are a recipe for pain and loss.

2. Gum Disease

Long term neglect is a common cause of periodontal disease of the gums. If you’re ignoring tender, inflamed, and bleeding gums, you may be inviting periodontitis. Early intervention with a deep cleaning at the dentist can stop this disease in its tracks.

3. Oral Cancer

Screenings for oral cancer are a vital part of preventative dental care. Early detection may be helpful for the prevention of mouth cancer. These screening are even more important when you’re in a high-risk group. This includes smokers, heavy drinkers, and people with a history of extreme sun exposure.

4. Other Health Problems

Poor dental care can affect far more than the health of your teeth, gums, and mouth. Every part of your body is interconnected. Neglecting one system can have a detrimental impact on your overall health. For example, periodontal disease is linked to many diseases.

  • Heart disease: Research shows that oral bacteria may cause or worsen some cardiovascular conditions, like endocarditis and stroke.
  • Dementia: Many studies show a correlation between poor dental health and mental decline from conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Respiratory infections: Increased bacteria from periodontitis may cause more distress for those suffering from respiratory disease.
  • Diabetes complications: Inflammation from gum disease can worsen some symptoms of diabetes.
  • Pregnancy complications: Low fetal weight and early labor are possible consequences of periodontitis.
  • Infertility: Sperm health and the ability to conceive may take a hit from poor oral health.
  • Erectile Dysfunction: Research shows a link between chronic periodontitis and ED.
  • Osteoporosis: Brittle bones are another condition that may be linked to gum disease.

5. More Sick Days

Pain from toothaches and related illnesses have financial consequences. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources reported 20.5 million missed work days related to dental health problems. It impacts education, too. Statistics for missed school reveal that 51 million hours of school were lost to poor dental health in a single year.

6. Cosmetic Issues

Health issues are your most serious concern. But even if you’re lucky enough to avoid disease, your appearance may suffer. Cracked, chipped, and stained teeth are potential hazards of insufficient dental care. Bad breath may be an issue, as well.

Dental Care for Better Health

Visiting your dentist for regular check-ups and seeking dental treatment, when indicated, are key to better health. But even if you’ve neglected this care for many years, you can still benefit from a return to the dentist. Dentistry has undergone many advancements. Many treatment options are available for ailing gums. You may even still be able to save failing teeth with a root canal.

Implants and dentures can replace missing teeth and improve how you look and feel. It’s never too late to pursue good dental health, and an experienced dental professional can guide you.

Have you been avoiding the dentist for several years? The dental team at Main Street Dental is prepared to help you with your dental care needs. Contact our team today to schedule an exam.

What Does a Numb Mouth Mean?

March 25th, 2019

If you have a numb or tingling feeling in your mouth, tongue, lips or gums, it can be quite a strange and sometimes frightening experience. The good news is that a numb mouth is usually nothing to worry about and can be treated and relieved easily.

In this article, we'll take a look at some of the most common reasons for a numb feeling in the mouth and what you can do to relieve the problem.

What are the Symptoms of a Numb Mouth?

Numbness can be described as a loss of feeling or sensation in a particular body part. You may feel numbness in your leg if you have been sitting down for a long period of time or in your hand if you fall asleep on your arm. This type of numbness can usually be relieved by shaking out and moving that body part to get the blood flowing freely again to nerves and blood vessels. Numbness in the mouth, on the other hand, is a less common occurrence and may need further investigation or action.

Also known as perioral numbness, mouth numbness is an odd sensation, especially if it has occurred for no obvious reason. You may feel it on one side of the mouth, just the tongue or throughout the mouth. Unlike hand or leg numbness, it can sometimes take a little more time to find the cause of mouth numbness and the appropriate treatment. For this reason, it is often important that you follow up with your doctor or dentist as soon as you notice the problem.

Common Causes of Mouth Numbness

Mouth numbness is often caused by irritation or pressure to the nerves in the mouth. There are many different causes, including:

Allergic Reaction

If your mouth comes into contact with a food type, substance or chemical that your immune system recognizes as harmful, your body will react. Often, the first signs of an allergic reaction are swelling and tingling in the mouth. This is your body's way of telling you to stop ingesting the substance that is triggering this reaction.

Autoimmune Diseases

There are a number of autoimmune diseases that cause the body to attack itself. This can cause widespread inflammation in any area of the body including the mouth. If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease such as Multiple Sclerosis or Lupus, see your doctor immediately at the first sign of mouth numbness.

Infections

Viral infections such as shingles and bacterial infections like Lyme disease can result in nerve injury and inflammation in the mouth. If you are experiencing numbness or paralysis of the mouth or tongue out of the blue, make an appointment with your primary care doctor for further investigation. If you have recently received dental treatment, speak to your dentist in the first instance.

Cavities

A cavity in your tooth can also be the cause of mouth numbness. This occurs when the nerves in the lips or mouth become slightly inflamed. You should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further nerve damage from occurring.

Vitamin or Mineral Imbalance

Certain vitamins, such as vitamin D and vitamin B12 are essential to maintaining the healthy functioning of nerves. If you have a deficiency of either or both of these vitamins this can lead to nerve injury and damage. Conversely, mouth numbness can also be caused by exposure to too much vitamin B6.

A calcium deficiency can also cause tingling in the mouth and other symptoms such as muscle cramps and hyperventilation. In most cases, over-the-counter vitamin and mineral supplements are effective at treating these symptoms. See your healthcare provider for further guidance if required.

When to See a Doctor

If you have not recently received dental treatment and you experience sudden mouth numbness on its own or alongside other symptoms such as fever, facial or muscle pain or swelling, see your doctor for a diagnosis.

When it is an Emergency

It is rare that mouth numbness is caused by a serious condition, but if you have difficulty breathing, facial drooping or weakness in other body parts, you should call 911 immediately. Difficulty swallowing, trouble breathing, throat tightening and hives can all be signs of a severe allergic reaction. Again, call 911 immediately.

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