4 Steps to Decide If Cosmetic Dentistry Is Right for You

beautiful smiling woman

Are you looking for a West Chester dentist who can help you with your cosmetic dentistry needs? We hope you’ll take a minute to read this blog packed full of tips you can use to boost your knowledge about cosmetic dentistry and what kind of treatments are available today. We’ve put together some simple steps you can take to get started today.

Step 1: Ask yourself: “Will cosmetic dentistry give me my perfect smile?”

Just like the title of this blog suggests, it’s a good idea to really take an internal audit of your goals and feelings about cosmetic dentistry and what it can do for you. Do you often look at yourself and your teeth in the mirror and not like what you see? Are your teeth noticeably discolored or chipped and it embarrasses you? Do you have a broken or missing tooth that you’ve been putting off having fixed? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be a good idea to consider talking to a dentist in West Chester who can review your candidacy for a cosmetic transformation.

Step 2: Do your homework and know your cosmetic dentist.

The search for a cosmetic dentist doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Just be sure to check out a dentist’s website to get an idea of their office culture and credentials. You can always browse through before and after photos, read reviews, and check doctor bios for training and expertise.

Step 3: Decide what you’d like to change about your teeth.

What’s the one thing that bothers you the most about your smile? Is it the gaps between your teeth? Is it the staining from drinking too much coffee or tea? Are you just looking for a little boost to your confidence now that you’re finally able to enjoy life without a house full of kids? Whatever one of these questions resonate with you, just know there’s a cosmetic dentistry solution that will work for you. It’s just about finding out what treatment or procedures are going to give you the results you’ve been dreaming about.

Step 4: Research your possible treatment options.

There’s no surefire way to tell if you’re an ideal candidate for a cosmetic dentistry transformation until you see your dentist for a consultation. With all of the advancements in dental care today, there are so many options you can choose from to stay within your budget and exceed your goals. Some of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures performed across the country include veneers, whitening, crowns, bonding, recontouring, and more.

We hope you were able to learn a little something about cosmetic dentistry and how to get started in pursuing a change for your smile. If you’re considering cosmetic dentistry, we hope you set aside some time to check out our West Chester dental office. No matter how small or how big your dental needs may be, we’re ready to answer your questions and take the next step towards a beautiful, functional smile, and results you’ve always wanted.

We have three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

I’m Pregnant and Nervous About Seeing the Dentist. Help!

pregnant woman brushes her teeth

There are so many new questions and complications that can arise when you find out you’re expecting a little one. It’s such a beautiful time and moment in an expectant mother’s life, and we want you to be able to relax and enjoy all of the positive sides of pregnancy. Your Kettering dentist doesn’t want you to worry about taking care of your smile, no matter if you’re an existing patient or someone new who is looking for a dental family they can trust.

Let’s explore some of the dental-related questions or concerns some pregnant women seem to struggle with. We’ll show you how everything is going to be alright, no matter what your smile needs to stay healthy during pregnancy.

Helpful Tip #1 – Blame Your Hormones

One of the first things that happens when a pregnancy begins to develop is your hormones get all out of whack thanks to rising and falling levels of both estrogen and progesterone. In about half of all pregnant women, there’s a risk of developing something referred to as “pregnancy-related gingivitis”, according to the American Dental Association. It causes pain, swelling, tenderness, and excessive bleeding in your gums. Your dentist in Kettering can always take a look at your gums and bleeding to determine a plan of action. Sometimes we recommend more frequent cleanings, and sometimes the issue clears up on its own.

Helpful Tip #2 – Take Additional Steps to Protect Your Teeth from Acid Erosion

Sickness and vomiting during pregnancy are one of the most common side effects that most women tend to experience early on in their pregnancy. When you get sick, excess stomach acid can eat away at your tooth enamel leading to decay. Remember these helpful tips you can use at home to help protect your teeth from acid:

  1. Rinse with water – Swish some water around in your mouth following a bout of morning sickness to remove some of the acid from your teeth.
  2. Wait an hour – Wait at least an hour before brushing after you’re sick. Rinse with water in the meantime. The acid may weaken enamel, and brushing can scratch the enamel and lead to decay.  
  3. Keep drinking water – The more water you drink, the lower the acidity level in your mouth will be.
  4. Smear on toothpaste – Putting a dollop of toothpaste on your finger and rubbing it on your teeth can further protect them against acid.
  5. Use a tongue scraper – After you get sick, if you take a tongue scraper across your tongue, you can successfully remove some of the acid that may stick around on the tongue and then transfer to the teeth.

Helpful Tip #3 – Don’t Ignore Your Oral and Overall Health Connection

You might have heard at our Kettering dental office about how closely your mouth is connected to the rest of your body. It can act as a mirror for underlying medical conditions present elsewhere in your body. This is why not one but three of some of the country’s most respected dental/medical organizations (the American Dental Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics) encourage every mother to see the dentist, especially during the earlier phases and stages of your pregnancy. It’s important to address any issues early for improved health for you and your baby.

By now, you probably know how crucial it is to see your Kettering dentist throughout your pregnancy along with maintaining your brushing and flossing routine at home. No matter where you are in the course of your pregnancy, we hope you’ll give us a call to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about your smile health. We’ll be here to help you every step of the way on your beautiful pregnancy journey!

Garland & Johnson Dental has three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, West Chester.

Is Calcium Important for Teeth?

foods with calcium

We make a commitment to every patient who walks through the doors of our dental office in Middletown to restore and protect both their oral and overall health. One way we can do this is to help your teeth and bones stay strong so that they can last a lifetime. One of the most significant nutrients our bodies need to keep them healthy is calcium. Let’s take a look at why it’s important in so many different ways.

Calcium Does Your Smile & Body Good

You might already know that calcium can be found in a variety of different foods and beverages. But did you know that you can also try calcium supplements (ask your doctor first) to help boost your intake? This can be a good option for people who struggle digesting dairy products that are high in calcium such as cheese, milk, and yogurt. Remember that magnesium and vitamin D support calcium’s effort to protect your teeth, keep your smile free from decay, prevent, loose teeth, and ward off gum disease.

Consider adding these calcium-rich foods to your diet:

  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Almonds
  • Tofu
  • Beans
  • Oranges
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potatoes

How to Know You’re Getting The Right Amount of Calcium

It can be tricky knowing if you or your family members are getting the right amount of calcium in your diet to help protect your teeth and keep your bones healthy. Your dentist in Middletown is here to help with some daily calcium recommendations courtesy of the Institute of Medicine.

AGE                    MG/DAY

1 -3                      700

4 – 8                    1,000

9 – 18                  1,300

19 – 70                1,000

71+                      1,200

This is just a general guideline for you to get an idea about daily calcium intake. There are also other recommendations that are gender specific, i.e., a woman’s calcium intake should increase when she’s pregnant.

No Bones About it – Calcium is Key to Being Healthy

We talked about it briefly earlier in this blog, but calcium is also super important for your bone health too. Why does this concern your Middletown dentist so much? Because we’re concerned about what a calcium deficiency can do to your jaw bone. Your jaw bone serves as the anchor for your teeth, so if it’s in poor health, you could run the risk of having loose teeth or losing them altogether. The other bones in your body also need calcium to help prevent damaging osteoporosis later in life.

We hope you learned a little something here today about how important it is to get the right amount of calcium in your diet, no matter what your age. It’s a benefit that your whole body will thank you for. If you have any questions about your smile or need to schedule a visit with us, please don’t hesitate to call.

Garland & Johnson Dental has three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

What is a Tooth Abscess?

dentist analyzes x-ray

An abscessed tooth isn’t a very fun topic to talk about, but it is necessary. Many people will experience an abscess in their life as well as the pain that often comes with it. At our dental office in West Chester, we’re here to share some important information about tooth abscess, so you’re able to recognize the signs and get treatment quickly.

What is an Abscess?

A tooth abscess is a painful collection of pus that’s brought on by a deep tooth infection that has spread into the tooth’s root and even the bone. If treatment is not sought early, the infection can lead to serious problems and perhaps require a tooth extraction.

Signs & Symptoms

Tooth pain is a common sign of an abscess. Other signs and symptoms of an abscess include:

  • Face or jaw swelling
  • Sensitivity with increased pressure
  • A bad taste in your mouth that may taste salty
  • Pain in the jaw, neck, or ear

It’s worth noting that, occasionally, an abscess won’t show any symptoms at all. When this happens, your dentist in West Chester is usually the one to diagnose an abscess at one of your dental checkups through the use of a dental x-ray.

Causes of an Abscessed Tooth

Often untreated decay is the main cause of an abscess. But there are other things can lead to a painful abscess, including an injury to the mouth, certain dental treatments (such as a root canal), crown, or filling, or from clenching or grinding.

Risk Factors

There are several things that can increase your risk of getting an abscess including:

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Eating too much sugar
  • Dry mouth
  • Not seeing your dentist in West Chester every six months

All of these factors increase your risk of decay, and in turn an abscessed tooth.

Prevention

Since many abscesses are caused by untreated decay, the best thing you can do to prevent an abscess is to follow a good oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing every day. It’s also recommended that you visit our dental office in West Chester at least twice a year for preventative care, professional dental cleanings, and x-rays.

If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental appointment or you’re experiencing any pain or discomfort, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today. We have dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

How to Get a Whiter Smile

teeth whitening

There are a number of things that can stain our teeth and make them look dull and discolored. When this happens, we tend to look for ways to bring back our bright, white smiles. At our dental office in Kettering, we have some good news — there are many ways to whiten your teeth! Let’s take a look at some of the most common things you can do to get a whiter smile.

Professional Teeth Whitening

The best way to whiten your smile fast is to get professional whitening from your dentist in Kettering. Even though this option is more costly than many over-the-counter tooth whitening products, you can customize just how white you want your teeth to get and see the results immediately. Many times dental offices can also provide you with custom trays and whitening gel that you can use at home safely to maintain your new look.

DIY Smile Whitening

If you’re looking for ways to whiten your teeth, you may begin by exploring all of the options in your local grocery store or online. While there are tons of over-the-counter smile whitening products available, and they can be cheaper than a professional whitening, they do come with some risks. For example, you may be using a solution that’s too high for your teeth that could cause sensitivity and pain. Additionally, whitening strips and non-custom trays can allow the solution to seep into your gums. If left too long it can cause gum damage. Lastly, over-the-counter tooth whitening products tend to take longer to work.  

Cosmetic Dentistry

If traditional forms of smile whitening just aren’t making your teeth as white as you’d like, you may be a candidate for cosmetic dentistry. The truth is, there are some types of tooth staining that don’t respond to whitening gels. In this case, the best solution may be dental veneers. Dental veneers essentially cover up the front of your natural teeth with a custom-made slice of porcelain. These veneers can be your ideal shade of white and are shaped to blend in with your other natural teeth.

It’s important to note that you should talk to your dentist before beginning any whitening treatment. Not all whitening solutions are appropriate for everyone. To find the best option for you and to reduce the risk of negative side effects, meet with your dentist.

If you’re unhappy with the color of your teeth, call our Kettering dental office to schedule an appointment today. We’ll talk with you about what you’d like to change as well as your oral health history so we can recommend the best tooth whitening treatment for you.  

We have three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

Recognizing the Signs of Oral Cancer

oral cancer awareness ribbon

Oral cancer is a scary disease that takes the lives of over 8,500 Americans every year. It’s a widespread problem that can be treated, often very successfully, if caught early. The problem is, many people don’t know the signs of oral cancer and may never realize there’s a problem until it’s too late. So in honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, our dental office in Middletown is here to help spread awareness of not only the common signs of oral cancer, but also several risk factors.

Oral Cancer Signs & Symptoms

Being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of oral cancer can be crucial in catching and diagnosing the disease early when treatment is most successful. Some of the more common signs of oral cancer include:

  • A chronic sore that doesn’t go away
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • A lump on the cheek or tongue
  • Change in voice

If you notice any of these symptoms, see your dentist in Middletown as soon as possible.

Risk Factors

It’s important to note that anyone can get oral cancer. However, there are some things that can put us at more risk of the disease including:

Gender: Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women.

Age: People over 50 are the most affected by oral cancer.

Tobacco Use: Nearly 80% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are smokers or use smokeless tobacco. Smoking often leads to throat or mouth cancer, and smokeless tobacco usually results in gum, cheek, or lip cancer.

Alcohol: Approximately 70% of all those diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers.

Limiting your alcohol consumption and avoiding tobacco products are great ways to reduce your risk of getting oral cancer. But perhaps one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from the dangers of oral cancer is to see your dentist every six months. These visits can help catch any problems early while the chance for successful treatment is greatest.

Every year, over 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer. Of those, 40% won’t survive more than five years. Early detection greatly increases the chance of successful treatment and survival. Schedule a visit with your dentist in Middletown today.

We have three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

I’m Missing a Tooth. What Should I Do?

man missing tooth

Sometimes no matter how much we take care of our teeth, they get damaged and injured or become susceptible to decay and deterioration. This means a tooth can come loose and eventually fall out… if it didn’t get knocked out due to a trauma like a car or sports accident.

If you’re missing a tooth, then you should call your West Chester dentist as soon as possible so we can do a comprehensive exam and talk about how we can fix your smile and make it whole again. We understand what it’s like when you’re missing a tooth. Do you hide your smile? Do your teeth make you feel more self-conscious? Do you have to avoid certain foods or chew on one side of your mouth due to the pain or discomfort?

Let’s take a look at some of the dental solutions that are available to you to fix your missing tooth (or teeth) so that we can restore your smile’s function and beautiful look.

Common Tooth Replacement Options

It’s important to call your dentist in West Chester as soon as you lose a tooth or if you have one that is loose and in danger of falling out. Depending on your individual needs, there are numerous treatment options delivered with some of dentistry’s most state-of-the-art dental technology.

  1. Single Dental Implant

A dental implant is a life-changing restoration that actually acts like your missing tooth’s natural roots to help keep your jaw bone stimulated and healthy. To top it off, you’ll get a custom, tooth-colored crown that will create a natural look. Dental implants restore your smile to its former function so you can eat foods you may have been avoiding. They can last a long, long time or even for a lifetime.

  1. Bridge

Just like the name implies, a dental bridge can bridge the gap that’s created when you end up missing a tooth or even multiple teeth. Dental bridges are usually made up of two or more dental crowns. The entire restoration is then anchored to neighboring healthy teeth. The result is a custom solution that can give a full smile again.

  1. Dentures

When you’re missing multiple teeth, dentures may be the right solution for you. Thanks to advancements in dental technology, dentures of today look and feel natural and can give you back a confident, healthy smile. Dentures can be used to replace both upper and lower missing teeth.

If you’re missing a tooth or teeth, don’t hesitate to call our dental office in West Chester. There are plenty of options available to help bring life back to you and your smile. Your renewed confidence and a healthy smile starts with a phone call and a visit to our office. We’re ready when you are!

We have three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

Why Do I Grind My Teeth?

man grinds teeth

Did you ever wake up in the morning and notice that your face and jaw are sore? Do you get up in the mornings with unexplainable headaches?  Our dental office in Kettering wants to know if you’ve ever considered that your pain and discomfort could be caused by teeth grinding or bruxism. Read on and see if your smile is at risk because of clenching or grinding…

What Exactly is Bruxism Anyway?

Bruxism is defined as the involuntary habitual grinding of your teeth, mainly while you’re asleep. That’s what makes teeth grinding so dangerous for you and your smile. Many of the 30 million people who struggle with bruxism don’t even know they’re doing it, so they don’t know what signs and symptoms they should be looking for. That’s why it’s important to have a partner like your dentist in Kettering who can see the early warning signs and help you fight your bruxism before it badly damages your teeth.

What Causes Bruxism or Teeth Grinding?

The American Dental Association says there are three big reasons why patients of all ages grind or clench their teeth while sleeping. While we break them down here, ask yourself if any of these could be affecting you oral and overall health.

  1. Anxiety or Stress – This is a big one that so many people can relate to, especially when life is busy and demanding. Worrying or feeling stressed can cause us to tense up making it all the more likely you’ll start to clench your jaw or grind your teeth. It’s important to address your stress before it ruins your smile and your sleep.
  2. Having a Bad Bite – Sometimes when your teeth are out of alignment, it can cause problems with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the surrounding facial muscles. Your muscle can start to spasm during sleep causing you to grind your teeth together in response.
  3. Medical Complications – Some patients who grind their teeth at night could have an underlying, undiagnosed medical condition such as Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease or even acid reflux. Bruxism is also a side effect of certain prescription medications.

Stop ignoring your pain or masking it with medications. It’s time to call our Kettering dental office as soon as possible before your teeth become damaged or broken. We can give you a comprehensive, thorough exam, learn more about the symptoms you’ve been experiencing, and monitor your bite. From there, we’ll be able to address the severity of your teeth grinding and put together a personalized treatment plan for you.

Garland and Johnson has three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

Can Snoring Harm My Smile?

couple snoring

Your dentist in Middletown always wants what’s best for you and your smile. That’s why if there’s something you’re concerned about, we hope you’ll take the time to talk to us. One of the biggest questions we seem to get from time to time is about snoring and how it affects our teeth. The truth is that this is an excellent question and we’re happy to break it down for you in this latest blog post. Read on, enjoy, and don’t hesitate to ask questions when we’re done.

There Could Be More to Your Snoring Than You Think

Wrap your head around this fact: The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates that almost 90 million Americans are struggling with unruly snoring every time their head touches the pillow. This isn’t good for you or your bed partner! Sometimes snoring is just that: snoring. But in some cases, snoring is attributed to a serious condition called sleep apnea. One of the craziest things about this issue is, so many people have it and are losing sleep over it every single night, but don’t even know it!

Some of the most common signs of sleep apnea related snoring are:

  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness throughout the day
  • Night sweats
  • Choking
  • Gasping for air
  • Sudden awakenings where you have to restart breathing
  • Falling asleep at unwanted times

Understanding Sleep Apnea

It’s important to understand that if you or someone you know thinks sleep apnea may be to blame for their snoring, that there’s a safe, personalized solution for everyone that can help you get the restful night’s sleep you need and deserve.

Sleep apnea is usually classified into two distinctively different ways:

1) Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – This is, by far, the most common form of sleep apnea being diagnosed across the country today. At our dental office in Middletown, we’ll always tell you to seek help if you or someone in your family continues to have issues with snoring. If you or someone in your household is diagnosed with sleep apnea, it’s usually caused by a blocked airflow during sleep due to your soft tissue collapsing in the back of your throat.

2) Central Sleep Apnea – This type of sleep apnea is more difficult to diagnose because it involves a specific problem with how your brain signals your breathing muscles to respond. Unlike OSA, your airway isn’t blocked in this case; it’s your brain that fails to signal your muscles to breathe.

Snoring and Your Smile

There’s no doubt snoring affects your oral health. It mainly has to do with dry mouth and the lack of saliva that’s no longer present when your mouth stays open for long periods of time. Your teeth can be subject to decay and deterioration because your mouth loses the ability to wash away harmful bacteria, acids, and plaque. This means your teeth could be susceptible to enamel erosion and foul odor.

We always hope you’ll feel comfortable discussing both your oral and overall health concerns with the talented team at our Middletown dental office. If you think your snoring is becoming out of control and you’re worried about your smile, please don’t hesitate to talk to us. Together, we can get you the help you need and keep your teeth protected and healthy enough to last a lifetime.

We have three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

How to Relieve Tooth Sensitivity

sensitive tooth

If you’ve ever experienced tooth sensitivity, you’re well aware of just how uncomfortable it can be. Something as simple as drinking a cold beverage or trying to enjoy a of bowl of ice cream can send you into a fury of pain. When faced with the discomfort of sensitive teeth, your dentist in West Chester is the first place you should turn to for help.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

The most common cause of tooth sensitivity is due to part of the tooth’s root becoming exposed. These roots are packed with tons of nerves that can send pain signals soaring into your brain when they come in contact with heat or cold. Oftentimes root exposure happens as a result of gum recession or worn enamel, which can be caused by a number of things including chronic grinding or clenching, brushing too hard, or consuming a lot of acidic foods or drinks.

How to Reduce Tooth Sensitivity

There are a number of things that you can do at home to help reduce pain caused by sensitive teeth including:

  • Choosing the Right Toothpaste. Selecting a toothpaste that’s specifically designed to easy sensitivity and using it regularly can help reduce the severity of the sensitivity and give you some relief. Look for an option that’s formulated for those with sensitive teeth and avoid using toothpaste that contains sodium pyrophosphate, which is found many whitening and tartar-control pastes.
  • Using a Softer Toothbrush. Using the right toothpaste and also a soft-bristled toothbrush can double the sensitivity-fighting effects. Toothbrushes with soft bristles are more gentle on both the gums and tooth enamel, yet are still very effective at removing bacteria and plaque buildup. Harder bristles, on the other hand, can scratch enamel and even cause it to erode. This will increase the risk of roots becoming exposed and teeth becoming more sensitive.
  • Taking it Easy While Brushing. It may first appear that the harder you brush, the cleaner your teeth will be. However, quite the opposite is true. Brushing with too much pressure can easily cause gums to recede and enamel to erode, again leaving your roots at risk for being exposed.

Making some adjustments to your oral hygiene routine can help reduce tooth sensitivity, but if the pain continues to bother you and keeps you from enjoying your favorite foods, schedule an appointment with your West Chester dentist. There are many treatments available such as fluoride, bonding, or a root canal and dental crown.

We have three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.