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mom and daughter brushing teeth

Mom Guilt Associated with Cavities

By Commonwealth Dentistry | Dental Learning Center | No Comments

Many of our providers and staff at Commonwealth Dentistry are parents themselves. Our staff knows firsthand the trials and tribulations associated with little tiny teeth care. They also recognize and understand the mom guilt that comes with the dreaded word “cavity”.

Quick Fact: According to the CDC, more than half of children aged 6 to 8 have had a cavity in at least one of their baby (primary) teeth. More than half of adolescents aged 12 to 19 have had a cavity in at least one of their permanent teeth.

While these statistic seem daunting, there is good news: cavities are largely preventable, and so is the Mom guilt associated with them.  The best way to prevent cavities is: brushing, flossing, and mouthwash. If you’d like to learn more beyond the basic, check out: 6 Children’s Dental Health Secrets.

However, in this article we want to focus on the mom guilt associated with childhood cavities.

  1. Get the timing right– Bedtime is hard for everyone involved. Getting kids to brush let alone floss at this time can be a challenge. Therefore, try flossing at various times to see what works best for your family. While the night time may be the best at removing the plaque built up from the day, no one wants to wrestle their child every single night. (P.S- try flossers they may work better for your family!)
  2. Recognize that Not All Teeth are Created Equal– Everyone is unique. We eat differently, we have different immune systems, different habits, everything we do and don’t do make us who we are. Children, just like adults, have different teeth. While guilt around cavities is normal it also important to remember sometimes the problem is genetic. Some teeth with need extra diligent care, while others don’t. Just do the best you can, Mama!
  3. No One can Give 100% all the Time– Life happens. Sometimes parents get sick, tired, or are just done. Whatever the reason, it is ok. Do your best. Sometimes that is a full two minutes of brushing, plus flossing, and mouthwash. Sometimes it’s not. Not everyday has to be perfect.
  4. We All Get Busy–  There is absolutely no way that we can do everything all the time. If you have to reschedule your kids’ (or your) dental appointment- give yourself some grace. Your kids did not get cavities simply because you missed one appointment. Life happens to all of us.
  5. What Works for Someone Else May Not Work For You– Every one has tricks and tips. Most with good intentions but that doesn’t mean what works for some will work for everyone. If signing songs during brushing doesn’t work for you- let it go. If that special toothpaste everyone loves, your kid hates- oh well! Just find what works for you! You are the captain of your own ship!

We know you love your little ones. We know you want the best for them. Strive for brushing, flossing, and mouthwash 2 times a day for two minutes. If you are consistently having trouble with getting your kids to brush, try some of these tips: 3 Ways to Make Dental Care for Kids Fun.

If you are looking for a dental home that puts families first while still offering exceptional dental care, give Commonwealth Dentistry a try. Our staff is gentle, caring, and thorough. On top of that: they love working with kids. Schedule your appointment today!


smiling children

6 Children’s Dental Health Secrets

By Commonwealth Dentistry | Dental Learning Center | No Comments

February is Children’s Dental Health Month, we wanted to share some tips and tricks to get your child’s smile in tip top shape. It is no secret that what your child eats correlates to a healthy smile. One of the best things parents can do is encourage their children to eat a healthy diet along with regular brushing and flossing.

little girl drinking juiceChildren’s Dental Heath Secret 1: Juice is Not a Substitute for Water

Juice boxes are often a go-to for parents. They seem healthy after all they are made from fruit, right?  Juice is a watered down version of fruit with a lot of sugar and very little nutrients.  In terms of causing cavities, juice is generally regarded the same as soda.  Juice should be viewed as a sugary treat.

What is the American Academy of Pediatrics stance on juice?

  • No juice for kids under the age of one
  • Very limited quantities for kids over one
  • Diluting juice does not decrease dental risks

Children’s Dental Health Secret 2: Have Tobacco Talks Early

Talking to your children about tobacco use early in life helps set the stage for healthy habits as they grow older. While it is no secret that tobacco use is bad for health, many don’t consider the impact of talking about the dangers of tobacco early. Using tobacco increases your chance of gum disease and mouth cancer, and it can stain your teeth an unsightly yellow or brown.

Children’s Dental Health Secret 3: Consider Dental Sealants

Dental Sealants are thin plastic coating painted on the teeth.  The sealant quickly bonds to the depressions and grooves of the teeth forming a protective layer to help prevent tooth decay. Children should consider getting sealants as soon as their premolars come in because of the likelihood of developing decay in the depressions and grooves. Sealants prevent decay for up to 10 years but should be checked regularly for damage.

smiling babyChildren’s Dental Health Secret 4: Start Dental Visits Early

Many children feel overwhelmed by their first dental visit. One of the best ways to curb a child’s fear is by starting their visits early. The American Dental Association recommends children begin going to the dentist within six months of the first tooth eruption but no later than their first birthday. Before visiting the dentist get your child excited by playing games, talking about the dentist, or reading fun stories. See our tips for making dental care fun for kids here.

Children’s Dental Health Secret 5: Baby Teeth Matter

Even though they are temporary, baby teeth matter. Children need strong healthy teeth to chew their food, speak, and display that beautiful smile. First teeth also serve as placeholders for permanent teeth. Try brushing your baby’s teeth each morning and night with a pea sized amount of toothpaste.  Starting babies on a healthy dental routine early helps ensure success later in life.

Baby Bottle tooth decay often occurs in the front teeth but can affect others as well. Tooth decay can occur when the baby is put to bed with a bottle or when a bottle is used as a pacifier for baby. This is because prolonged exposure to sugar can damage teeth. Bottles should only be used for breast milk or formula, do not use for sugary drinks (see Secret 1).

Children’s Dental Health Secret 6: Healthy Dental Habits happy toddler

Our last tip is no secret: we strongly believe prevention is key. There is absolutely no substitute for regular, brushing, flossing, and dental visits. Regular cleaning allows for removal of any plaque buildup along teeth as well as observation of any prevailing problems.

We are pleased to offer pediatric care at all of our locations. Having your child seen early helps thwart many dental issues.  Dr. Jennifer Dixon is a board certified pediatric dentist available to assist in all our your child’s needs.


New Year Resolutions

Healthier New Year: Dental Health Resolutions

By Commonwealth Dentistry | Dental Learning Center | No Comments

Are you striving for a healthier new year? Healthier lifestyle choices are about more than being fit, a healthy lifestyle is reflected throughout your whole body. Including your teeth. If your New Year resolves to create a healthier lifestyle we are here for it. Here are a few of our favorites when it comes to mouth care.

New Year’s Resolution: Financial Improvement 

financial improvement It is no secret that dental care costs money. Dental insurance simply doesn’t work like healthcare, instead of meeting deductibles, dental insurance is usually about meeting maximums. Meaning there is a maximum number that your dental insurance will pay over the year. Therefore, taking care of your dental health is paramount to both your smile and your wallet.  If you’d like to learn more about the cost associated with dental care, we’ve broken them down for you here.

Commonwealth Dentistry offers many ways to offset the cost of dental procedures. First and foremost, keeping up with routine care including regular dentist visits is extremely important. In addition, attending regular dental visits helps keep your smile bright. We also offer our own, affordable dental care plan. Commonwealth Care Membership is a discounted annual dental membership plan for those who are uninsured and in need of quality dental care. With our membership plan, you and your family have access to easy and affordable dental services.

New Year’s Resolution: Improve Dental Habits

Change often coincides with routine. If you integrate positive changes in your schedule, they quickly become positive habits. Ethicists Michael Josephson says, “Approach the New Year with resolve to find the opportunitiestooth brushes hidden in each new day.” Resolving to make the following tips part of your healthier new year plan will provide maximum lifelong benefits.

  • Brush for two minutes twice a day using a gentle soft-bristled brush to avoid damage to the enamel
  • Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle
  • Use fluoride toothpaste
  • Thoroughly floss in-between your teeth each day
  • Rinse your mouth with mouthwash after brushing

New Year’s Resolution: Healthy Swaps 

Diet is often a key player in many healthier new year plans. While life should be about balance and finding ways to enjoy what your love, it is no secret that some foods are better for your teeth than others. Sugary, acidic, hard, or sticky foods can cause damage to your teeth. Other ways to improve your mouth health include:

  • Eating generous amounts of fruits and veggies
  • Reduce snacking between meals
  • Drinking ample amounts of water
  • Talk to your dental or medical provider to make sure that your diet consists of foods with enough minerals and vitamins for strong teeth

New Year’s Resolution: Smile More

There are so many benefits to smiling. If changing your smile has been one of your life goals, why not make it a reality? There are many ways to improve your smile including teeth whitening, Invisalign, dental bonding, dental bridges, and veneers. If creating a beautiful smile is on your shortlist this year, we’d love to help!

New Year’s Resolution: Quit Bad Habits

smokingCreating and maintaining healthy habits is a key component to reaching your healthier new year goals. However, quitting bad habits is also vital to a healthy mouth. There are simply no benefits to using tobacco products. Tobacco use puts you at risk for stained teeth, gum disease, tooth loss, and in more severe cases oral cancer. Smokers are more likely to experience plaque buildup. Smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream thus gums heal less quickly than those who don’t smoke. Therefore, smokers are at higher risk for gum disease, the number one cause of tooth loss in adults. There is no time like the present to quit smoking.

No matter what your goals are for a healthier new year it is clear that making small changes can have big impacts. If we can be of assistance to you on your health journey, please reach out. We have eight convenient locations to better serve you.

family in the snow

7 Holiday Dental Tips

By Commonwealth Dentistry | Dental Learning Center | No Comments

The best way to spread love and cheer the holiday season is through a beautiful season. Buddy the Elf  put it best when he said, “Smiling is my favorite”. What can you do to promote mouth health this holiday? We’ve got some holiday dental tips for you!

1. Avoid Sticky Sweet

We don’t want to rain on your holiday treat parade, but some treats should be avoided. These include gummy, sticky, and hard candies.

Did you know that sour and gummy candy can be perilous on our teeth? Sour candy contains a high level of acid leading to tooth erosion.  In fact, some candies, like gummies, powders, and sticky gels, stick to teeth even longer, prolonging the attack on the teeth. Hard candies can crack your teeth if you bite down on them in the wrong way. If you do have to eat candies, instead of biting, let them dissolve in your mouth.

As always, the most important thing we can do for our oral health is a regular brushing and flossing regimen. Brushing and flossing several times a day, particularly after meals, can go a long way towards keeping teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime.

Try swapping sugary sweets for nature’s candy: fruit. If you’re having a big dinner or party, rather than preparing  several cakes and pies, try making one sweet dessert and then preparing a big fruit and cheese plate to satisfy your sweet tooth.

cheers!2. When it comes to Wine

When it comes to wine go for white wine. Red is responsible for discoloring your teeth and often makes them feel sticky. If you must go for wine, grab some cheese as well. Wine is very acidic, the alkaline in the cheese will balance the pH level in your mouth.

3. Up Your Dental Game

Prevention is always the key to having the best smile around for years to come. Making healthy habits part of your routine will ensure that your smile stays bright for many more holidays!

Remember two minutes, twice a day. Ideally, you should be brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day plus using a mouth rinse and flossing. With all the extra consumption of sweets, alcohol, and food it may be worth adding in an extra brushing or flossing session.

4. Spread Christmas cheer

Looking for great stocking stuffers as well as great dental tips? Toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss are the perfect addition to your holiday gifts! They are small and compact making them the perfect size for stocking stuffing.

Holiday Tip: To get kids in the spirit of brushing try singing the chorus of your favorite holiday tune while they brush.

5. Water is your best friend

One of the greatest dental tips out there: Water is your secret weapon to almost all things health related. Water is important for healthy skin, a strong immune system, a healthy mouth and so much more. Water helps wash away food particles that lead to tooth decay. Drinking water after a meal helps to wash away any leftover food particles as well as dilute acid from foods.

6. Protect Your TeethFestive woman

Stress is another big player this time of year. Many take to biting their nails when times get tough. Biting your nails is bad for many reasons including damage to your teeth. If you are feeling stressed try these tips to get you through hustle and bustle of the season:

  • Take a break- while it may seem like everything has to get done today, it doesn’t. There will be time tomorrow. Pushing for perfection during the holidays may be the norm, remember what they are really about: spending time with those you love. Just slow down, take a breath, and enjoy the moment.
  • Paint your nails a festive color
  • Keep nails short

Holiday Tip: If you know a nail biter a manicure might be an excellent present.

7. Get on our schedule

The holidays are busy for everyone. We get it, but remember dental care is extremely important to your overall health. Make dental care a priority. Many dental benefits run out at the end of the year. Don’t let your benefits go to waste by not using them, schedule with us today.

No matter what holidays you are celebrating this season, we wish you warmth, light, and love! Enjoy this special time with your friends and family. Thank you for being part of our Commonwealth Dentistry Family.




tooth pain

What is the difference between TMD and TMJ?

By Commonwealth Dentistry | Dental Learning Center | 23 Comments

In the world of dentistry, there are many acronyms. If you are confused by the difference between TMD and TMJ, you are not alone. While these acronyms are sometimes used interchangeably they are actually very different. It is likely that if you are learning about either you are suffering from some type of jaw pain and seeking some answers. By understanding the basics you may form a better understanding of the workings of the jaw and the source of your pain.

First things, first

TMJ and TMD are not the same things. Let’s start with definitions to gain a basic understanding of each.

TMDTMJ– TMJ refers to two very small joints located just next to your ears. They connect your lower jaw to your skull. While this joint may be very small, it is very useful. It connects your jaw to your skull and allows you to open your mouth, chew, and speak. However, this tiny joint is also delicate and can easily become inflamed, irritated, or even damaged. When this occurs it disrupts the smooth operation of opening and closing your jaw. Often pain and discomfort are associated.

Fun Fact: The TMJs are among the most complex joints in the body.

TMDTMD refers to the variety of disorders that can affect the TMJ, jaw muscles, and the nerves associated with chronic facial pain.  Any problem that prevents this complex system from working together harmoniously may be related to TMD.


Symptoms of TMD

  • Pain in the face and jaw
  • Locking, clicking, popping of the jaw when it moves
  • Muscle spasms
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Inability to open the mouth wide
  • Headaches
  • Pain spreading behind the eyes, face, shoulders, neck, and/or back TMJ
  • Earaches or ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity of the teeth without the presence of an oral health disease
  • Numbness or tingling sensations in the fingers
  • A change in the way the uppers and lower teeth fit together

How do the TMJs become damaged?

  • Often the cause of the TMD is unclear
  • Overuse, such as excessive gum chewing or nightly grinding of teeth
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Deterioration due to autoimmune diseases like arthritis or osteoarthritis

How is TMJ dysfunction diagnosed?

If you have any concerns, make an appointment today, to formulate a personalized plan to help manage and treat your TMD. Your favorite Commonwealth Dentist will:

  • Observe the range of motion when opening and closing your mouth.
  • Gently press on your face and jaw to determine areas of discomfort.
  • Access your jaw joints as you open and close your mouth.
  • X-rays will be taken to view the jaw joints and determine damage.
    • Panoramic X-rays: give a broad overview of your teeth, jawbone, and TMJs.

Treatments May Include:

If you are diagnosed with TMD conservative treatment options will be tried at first. Often combining a variety of techniques will provide TMD relief.

Heat and Cold Packs: Apply an ice pack to the inflamed area for about 10 minutes. Next, do a few simple stretching exercises (as instructed by your doctor).  After, apply a warm towel or washcloth. Repeat a few times a day.

Resting the TMJ: Resting the TMJ may help provide some much needed relief. To do so, consider eating soft foods that require less chewing. Avoid extra chewy foods such as gum, caramels, or taffy.

Medicine or Pain Relievers: Often taking over the counter pain medication can help a great deal with TMD. However, if you are experiencing intense pain a healthcare provider may prescribe something stronger.

Stress management: Often grinding of the teeth occurs subconsciously related to stress. Consider speaking to a mental health professional about ways to mitigate your stress.

Night Guard or Mouth Splint: Splints and mouth guards create a protective barrier between your upper and lower teeth. If worn correctly they also adjust your bit to a favorable position when closing. Splints are used all the time, mouth guards are worn at night.

Corrective Dental Treatment: Your mouth functions as a whole unit, which means missing just one tooth can throw off the balance. Corrective dental treatment can include replacing missing teeth with crowns or bridges. Braces can also help bring your bite to proper alignment.

Behavior Changes: These can include a variety of techniques to take pressure off your jaw. For example, keeping your teeth slightly apart as often as you can to relieve pressure on the jaw. Relaxation techniques and physical therapy may be useful as well.

If you are experiencing TMD, and you need help to treat your pain, jaw dysfunction, and restore your bite, Commonwealth Dentistry can help! Make an appointment today to discuss your TMJ discomfort. 

Smiling senior couple dentures vs. dental implants

Implants vs. Dentures: What to Do for Missing Teeth

By Commonwealth Dentistry | Dental Learning Center | One Comment

If you have missing teeth you probably questioned: implants vs dentures, what is the best option for me? Missing teeth affect your overall well being by impacting your health and self esteem. Finding the best option to replace missing teeth is a healthy step in the right direction for your smile.

Quick Fact: There is no need to be ashamed if you are missing teeth. It is estimated that 178 million Americans are missing one tooth.

What Causes Missing Teeth?

  • Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is the number one cause of tooth loss, accounting for 70% of missing teeth.
  • 15-20% of adults (33-44 years old) have some form of gum disease. 30% of adults 65-74 years of age have no natural teeth.
  • To learn more about the risks of gum disease check here, or visit our in-house Periodontist, Dr. Nicholas Yesbeck.

Risk Factors for Missing Teeth

  • Poor mouth care resulting in multiple cavities
  • Dry mouth caused by some medications
  • High impact sports
  • Menopause
  • Diabetes
  • Smokers have a three times greater risk of gum disease than non-smokers
  • Not flossing your teeth
  • Hypertension
  • Poor nutrition

Did you know? Are you familiar with the famous story about George Washington having wooden teeth? George Washington suffered his fair share of dental problems but his dentures we never made of wood. They were, however, made from a variety of materials including ivory, gold, lead, and even (other) human teeth!

In modern times we use other methods to combat missing teeth. Most commonly dental implants vs dentures. Dental implants or dentures help restore the confidence and functionality of your smile.

Are Dental Implants or Dentures Necessary?

Older man inserting his dentures There is much to consider when discussing dental implants vs dentures. One may ask: are they even necessary. The answer is YES! Losing even a single back tooth can cause the surrounding teeth to shift. Teeth will move towards the open area. This affects the way you chew plus making it more difficult to clean this area.

Many feel embarrassed about missing teeth especially a front tooth. Smiling is such an important part of expressing ourselves and plays a key role in our happiness. Therefore, it is important to feel confident about your smile.

Can’t I just wait it out?

Nope, the longer you wait the harder it can be to replace a missing tooth. This is due to bone loss. The bone begins to recede simply because it has no tooth around applying a force to the bone. When you chew teeth hit other teeth this force transmits down to the bone helping to keep it healthy. Sometimes waiting results in so much bone loss a dental implant is not even possible. If you lose a tooth, seek dental assistants immediately.Dental implant demonstration

Another key factor is the health of your gums. If gums are exposed it is easier for food and bacteria to get stuck in them. This puts you at higher risk for infection. Infection often leads to gum disease, which has been linked to a myriad of health conditions.

What to do if I’m missing most or all of my teeth?

Gone are the days of dentures being the only option to replace multiple missing teeth. Implant bridges can be installed the same day that natural teeth are removed.

Today, deciding between dental implants vs dentures is a personal choice. How do you decide what is best for you?

Implants vs Dentures

Dentures Pros Denture Cons
Removable If not properly secured, they can slip out when speaking or eating
Full or partial sets Can lead to infection if not fitted properly
Generally less expensive Cleaned regularly
Freedom to remove them for any reason Must be replaced if show signs of significant wear
Ideal for unhealthy or weak jaws


Implants Pros Implants Cons
Permanent teeth replacements Cost more than dentures
Save money over time
Easier to maintain and fewer dental visits
Never fall out or create awkward situations
More comfortable
More natural look


In most cases implants are seen as a better option than dentures. While they may cost more upfront, over time they cost less because they serve as a permanent solution. If you would like to learn more about dental costs, please refer here.

We encourage you to consider your options. While weighing your options, it’s always a good idea to talk to your dentist. They can help you make the right decision and explain the differences in detail.

At Commonwealth Dentistry, our staff is happy to answer any of your questions and help you decide if dental implants or dentures are the right fit for you. We even offer same day appointments for your convenience.

Dental exam room

What is Consider a Dental Emergency?

By Commonwealth Dentistry | Dental Learning Center | No Comments

If you are experiencing a dental emergency, what do you do? Sometimes accidents happen resulting in the need for emergency dental care. However, some dental emergencies occur because of waiting too long to seek care. Dental emergencies are pricey, the best way to save money and avoid emergencies is through proper care and maintenance.

According to American Family Physician, about 22 percent of people have experienced dental or oral pain in the last six months.

What is a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies are anything that needs immediate attention. Dental emergencies include:

  • Bleeding that won’t stop
  • Alleviate severe pain
  • A knocked-out tooth
  • Missing or damaged crown
  • Broken, dislodged, or loose tooth
  • Severe infection

A dental emergency can be confusing, scary, and overwhelming. At Commonwealth Dentistry, we promise to make an emergency visit as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Our Commonwealth Dentistry team will offer the best possible care should an emergent issue ever arrive. Urgent dental care is often painful therefore seeking professional care immediately is key to properly treating the issue.

Are you experiencing a dental emergency? Ask yourself: 

  • Are you in severe pain?
  • Have you lost a tooth?
  • Do you have an infection?
  • Are you bleeding from the mouth?

If you are unsure whether your problem results in an emergency visit or not, please call our office.

How to Avoid Potential Emergencies

Dental consultation with patientDental work doesn’t have to come as a surprise. While some dental emergencies are true accidents and cannot be avoided, others are the result of neglect and improper care. The best way to prevent a dental emergency is by staying proactive in your oral hygiene. This includes both at-home care and maintaining regular visits with your dentist.

Schedule and Keep Regular Appointments

During a regular check-up with your dentist, we will thoroughly check your mouth for any unforeseen problems. This includes checking for loose fillings and crowns as well as signs of decay, infection, and gum disease. A custom treatment plan will be created to address these problems before they result in an emergency.

Although a comprehensive dental hygiene routine can help keep these circumstances at bay, dental emergencies happen. If you’re dealing with a dental emergency, time is of the essence to prevent the situation from getting worse. Commonwealth Dentistry has eight locations to assist you with an emergency.

Cost of Emergency Visit vs Regular Maintenance

happy woman in front of laptopMaintaining your teeth is always more cost effective than emergency visits. In the case of a dental emergency, knowing what to expect can help soften the blow of the emergency itself, especially concerning cost. If you don’t have dental insurance, it can be frightening to opt for an urgent dental service.

The biggest difference in cost between regular dental care and an emergency visit is the fee to be seen immediately. Just like a medical emergency, dental emergencies cost more. Of course, true accidents are unavoidable but waiting to deal with an issue will only make the problem worse. Overall, the best way to reduce or avoid these costs is with twice-daily brushing, daily flossing, and having your teeth professionally cleaned by a dental hygienist twice a year.

Knowing in advance what to expect when paying for dental emergencies may help encourage you to seek treatment when necessary and to practice regular preventative oral hygiene habits. We would love to help you maintain a healthy smile and avoid a dental emergency.

At Commonwealth Dentistry, we understand that life happens especially when dealing with urgent dental care issues. That is why we offer same-day, urgent care appointments for both patients and non-patients.

Apple resting on books beside coloring pencils and alphabet blocks

Top Dental Care Tips for Back to School

By Commonwealth Dentistry | Dental Learning Center | No Comments

Fingers crossed, knock on wood, and all the other superstitions but 2021 looks like a full year on deck for our kiddos. Dental Care Tips may not be at the top of your back to school list, but there is much value in taking care of your children’s teeth. See below for healthy routines, tips, and tricks for the best chompers in town.

Studies report that children miss over 51 million hours of school due to dental problems.

Poor oral health is linked to many school related concerns. According to one study published in the American Journal of Public Health, on average, elementary children miss a total of 6 days per year, and 2.1 days of missed school were due to dental problems. Having a healthy smile helps a child focus better on schoolwork than worry about pain related to dental care.

Dental Care Tips

Child learning in a classroomRegular Maintenance

If you have read any of our past posts about teeth care, you know that we feel strongly about regular dental care. The number one thing parents can do for their kids’ teeth is to make sure they are properly taken care of. The best and only way to keep a smile bright is through preventative care.  This includes proper brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash daily.

Create a Routine

Ask any parent, school mornings are chaotic at best. We can all relate to that the fact that getting our children ready for the day is quite the task. humorous meme about pediatric oral healthHowever, creating and keeping a routine is important to managing our day to days. Keeping consistency in your mornings helps alleviate stress by keeping everyone on the same page. Set up a time each day to brush. Looking for tips to make dental care fun? Check here.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Healthy diets include fruits, vegetables, and a lot of water. Did you know some foods can improve the health of your teeth? The American Dental Association is a big fan of fiber rich foods because of their ability to help clean your gums. These foods help to stimulate saliva production. Many vegetables are good for teeth because they require a lot of chewing to clean teeth surfaces. Crunchy fruits and veggies contain a lot of water thus stimulating the flow of saliva, helping scrub away food particles and bacteria.

Foods rich in calcium and phosphate are another favorite. These foods include dairy products. They help rebuild the enamel in your teeth.

Stay Hydrated

One of the most in demand dental care tips: stay hydrated. Water does so much for your body.  The health benefits are almost endless. Water is unlike any other drink, there is no substitute. Skip the sugary options and always pack a water bottle in your kids’ lunch. Water is particularly good for your teeth because water helps wash away food particles and keeps your saliva levels high.

Get Regular Dental Check-ups

Regular dental checkups are an important dental care tip for back to school. Students with poor dental health often do worse in school. Cavities and the pain associated with them can distract students. The best way to stay on top of problems is to get ahead of them. Let one of our highly trained, highly compassionate doctors take a peek at your kiddos’ choppers before school starts. If you would like to make an appointment reach out to the Commonwealth office closest to you.

children preparing to go to schoolMask and BTS

The newest fashion accessory may not be on everyone’s favorites list, but they are a necessary evil. While masks have been a key player in keeping the pandemic at bay, they can cause problems for our teeth. Most schools encourage mask breaks. Talk to your child about the importance of drinking water during this time. Masks make our mouth dry and lead to a breeding ground for bacteria. One way to combat this is by drinking water to encourage saliva production. Salvia serves as a natural protectant against harmful bacteria.

We hope that your children have the best school year. Make sure they are putting their best smile forward by following the above tips. If you or your child are looking for a dental home, we’d love to see you. Here’s to the best school year yet!

Dentist speaking with a patient in dental exam room

Periodontist Near Me? Meet Our Newest Addition!

By Commonwealth Dentistry | Dental Learning Center | One Comment

Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, affects almost fifty percent of adults over 30 and increases dramatically as one ages. In fact, Periodontal disease and tooth decay are two of the most pressing threats to dental health. For this reason, we have added an in-house periodontist to our Commonwealth Dentistry team. Curious if you are in need of periodontal care? Keep reading.

What is a Periodontist?

  • Specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease
  • Specializes in the placement of dental implants.
  • Experts in the treatment of oral inflammation
  • Specializes in the treatment of gum recession
  • Familiar with the latest techniques in the diagnosing and treating periodontal disease
  • Trained in performing cosmetic periodontal procedures

Did you know? Periodontists complete three additional years of training beyond dental school.

There is a strong relationship among periodontal disease and chronic illnesses. Therefore, a deep understanding of the issues that affect patients is often necessary. Patients in need of moderate to severe periodontal work or more complex cases are managed better through a relationship among dentist and periodontist. At Commonwealth Dentistry, we are committed to providing you the best dental care and finding ways to make this easy for  you without the hassle of making multiple trips to see a Specialist. For this reason, Commonwealth Dentistry decided to add our very own Periodontist to our team.

Who is the Periodontist Near Me?

periodontist near meMeet our in-house periodontist: Dr. Nicholas Yesbeck. Dr. Yesbeck attended VCU where he received his undergraduate degree, DDS degree, and speciality certificate in periodontics with a Masters of Science in Dentistry. His training concentrated on treating periodontal disease, gum grafting, bone grafting, dental implants, and moderate sedation.

Dr. Yesbeck works closely with our dental team to assess and treat  diseases of the gums and replacement of teeth with dental implants.  If you have any concerns, please reach out to your local Commonwealth Dentistry team.

What to expect at your appointment?

  1. Dr. Yesbeck will review your medical and dental history and communicate with your regular dentist to come up with a plan that is tailored to your individual needs
  2. He will conduct a thorough evaluation of your gums to check for gum disease or infection which includes measurement of your periodontal pockets using a probe that determines the depth of the spaces between the teeth and the gums.
  3. X-rays help to assess the bone below the gum line.

The unique relationship amongst Dr. Yesbeck and your regular Commonwealth Dentist will ensure that you get the top quality dental care that you have come to know and expect.


  • Scaling and Root Planing– deep cleaning of infected root surfaces
  • Regenerative Procedures– the reversal of lost bone and tissue. In cases of severe gum disease surgery may be beneficial.
  • Gum Grafting Procedures– stop or reverse gum recession
  • Tooth Lengthening Procedures– lengthen teeth which appear short when smiling
  • Dental Implant Procedures– placement of dental implants, as well as gum, bone, and sinus grafting procedures to make them healthy and long-lasting
  • Treatment of Problems with Existing Dental Implants– maintain existing dental implants and to help you avoid problems with them in the future.

Gum Disease or Periodontal Disease,  is an infection of the gum line, left untreated severe damage to the tooth and surrounding bone can occur. It is important to recognize that significant health problems can arise if left untreated. By continuing to keep your regularly scheduled dental exams, our team can accurately assess for early signs of gum disease.

periodontist near me

What are the stages of Periodontal Disease?

  1. Gingivitis– This is the first phase and is often reversible if caught early and is caused by a buildup of plaque along the gum line. After stage one, there is no reversing gum disease.
  2. Slight Periodontal Disease– This stage affects both the bone and the fibers that support the tooth roots. Scaling and root planning are often used to treat to deep clean and treat gum disease in stage two.
  3. Moderate Periodontal Disease– This stage has deeper periodontal pockets that breed and harbor bacteria. This bacteria aggressively attacks the bones and bloodstream.
  4. Advanced Periodontal Disease– The final stage is when bacteria significantly deteriorate the bone that supports their teeth. If left untreated, stage four can lead to gaps between the teeth, significant gum recession, the need for dentures, and serious health problems.

Seeking treatment for gum disease early is paramount. Gum disease will continue to worsen if left untreated. Together, with Dr. Yesbeck we will formulate the best possible plan to improve your gum health and avoid reinfection with various gum disease treatments. 

Want a Free Dental Implant Consultation? Call us at our Colonial Heights Office: (804) 531-4753 or our Forest Hill Office: (804) 532-5013 today to schedule your free consultation with our Periodontist, Dr. Nicholas Yesbeck!

Child brushing teeth

The Best Dentist Recommended Toothpaste

By Commonwealth Dentistry | Dental Learning Center | 29 Comments

What dentist recommended toothpaste is right for you? A variety of factors are considered before the American Dental Association places its seal of approval on any toothpaste. One of these is known as the Relative Dentin Abrasion (RDA).

Relative Dentin Abrasion (RDA)– The Relative Dentin Abrasivity (RDA) scale, developed by the American Dental Association, assesses toothpaste abrasiveness against a standard measurement. The higher the RDA score, the more abrasive than toothpaste.

If you are brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash you are doing all that you need to to keep your teeth healthy? While we mostly agree, you should be an informed consumer when it comes to what kind of toothpaste you use. Toothpastes are not all created equal.  Can a toothpaste actually cause harm to your teeth? The short answer: Yes. The long answer: Below.

man brushing teeth in the mirrorThe Dangers of Tooth Abrasion

The Facts:

  • Enamel is the outer portion of our teeth. It is also the toughest substance in the human body.  Still it can be worn down. Hard bristle brushes, acidic foods, and abrasive toothpaste can do a number on our enamel.
  • While enamel is very strong it is not able to grow back. For this reason it is important to do all that you can do to keep your teeth as healthy as possible. If your enamel wears down it can lead to sensitivity by exposing the inner layer or dentin of your teeth.
  • The layer under our enamel is known as dentin, this area houses small hollow tubes. These allow sticky, cold, or hot food to reach the nerves and cells inside the teeth causing sensitivity. 

If you notice the following signs it may be time to change your brushing habits.

  • Notches in the top of teeth by gum line
  • Gum recession that exposed the root
  • Sensitivity in gum or teeth
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods or drinks
  • Yellow or gray teeth

Factors Consider when Selecting a Toothpaste:

Check for the ADA’s seal of approval, these factors include:

  • contain fluoride
  • contain active ingredients to improve oral hygiene
  • be free from flavoring agents that contribute to tooth decay, such as sugar
  • have scientific evidence to support that it is safe and effective

What Can You Do:

  • Use the chart below to check where you toothpaste stand, switch to a lower RDA toothpaste if needed.
  • The best way to avoid any tooth structure damage, is to always a pea size amount or less of any kind.
  • Use a soft or extra soft toothbrush
  • Flossing Daily
  • Check for the ADA’s Seal of Approval on your toothpaste

The Truth: All toothpaste has some type of abrasiveness to it especially when used alongside a toothbrush. So, how abrasive is your toothpaste?  Unfortunately, toothpaste companies do not put their Relative Dentin Abrasion (RDA) information on the labels or packaging of these products.

What is the Best Dentist Recommended Toothpaste?

You can find the RDA of many popular toothpastes in the chart below. Check to see where your toothpaste falls. Abrasion is measured from 0-250 and is broken down into four sections. Finding a toothpaste that falls into the low (0-70) to medium (71-100) abrasion level is recommended.  If it is over 150, you may want to consider switching to a less abrasive toothpaste to avoid damaging your enamel. The maximum level allowed by the FDA is an RDA of 200. It should be noted that many whitening toothpastes have a higher RDA. Good oral hygiene is essential for healthy teeth and gums, therefore you want to find one with a low RDA.

Commonwealth Dentistry Relative Dental Abrasion Chart

toothpaste abrasiveness rankings RDA

Did you toothpaste make it on the list above 100? If so, it may be time to make a switch. Talk to one of trusted dental professionals about what type of toothpaste works best for you. Schedule your appointment today.