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What is Consider a Dental Emergency?

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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 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

Maintaining 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.

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Top Dental Care Tips for Back to School

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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

Regular 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. However, 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.

Mask 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!

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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.

Treatments:

  • 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!

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The Best Dentist Recommended Toothpaste

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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.

The 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

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.

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Bad Teeth vs Bad Habits

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We are often reminded of regular maintenance care for positive oral health, sometimes in spite of our best efforts, things go awry. Did you know genetics plays a role in bad teeth? However, bad oral habits are not passed down. Good oral hygiene will give your teeth a fighting chance no matter what type of teeth you inherited. What can you do to put your best smile forward? Keep reading.

Oral Cancer

Quick Fact: According to The NYU Oral Cancer Center, “Approximately 30,000 cases are diagnosed each year, and about 8,000 patients die annually due to oral cancer. The incidence of oral cancer is increasing.”

Genetics: While the largest contributing factors for oral cancer are lifestyle choices, such as tobacco use and alcohol, genetics plays a minor role in the development of oral cancer. People carrying certain genetic markers may be at higher risk of developing the disease. Certain genetic syndromes such as Fanconi anemia or Dyskeratosis congenita carry a high risk of oral and oropharyngeal cancer.

Environment: The more risk factors a person has the higher their chance of developing oral cancer. As many as 80 percent of patients with oral cancers use some type of tobacco product. Smokers are 10 times more likely to develop cancer than nonsmokers. Heavy drinking also puts one at risk for oral cancer. Exposure to ultra-violet light, such as excessive tanning, can also increase oral cancer risks.

Periodontal Disease

Quick Fact: Up to 30% of the U.S. population is predisposed to gum disease.

Genetics: Research suggests that some people are more susceptible to periodontal disease. If family members have suffered from periodontal disease it is worth mentioning to your dentist. This is because identifying those at risk allows for early intervention and can help prevent the disease.

Environment: While there is a link between periodontal disease and genetics, periodontal disease is largely preventable. Smoking and tobacco use, age, and poor nutrition are risk factors for periodontal disease.

Tooth Decay

Genetics: While tooth decay is mostly preventable, some people are more at risk than others.  Certain variations of the gene beta-defensin 1 (DEFB1) are linked to a greater risk of cavities in permanent teeth.

Environment: Tooth decay occurs mostly from lifestyle choices, such as drinking, smoking, and poor eating habits. Forming strong healthy habits at a young age helps give your mouth a fighting chance. If your children are at high risk for tooth decay, talk to a Commonwealth Dentistry professional about dental sealants. 

Misaligned (Crooked) Teeth

Genetics: Braces is a hot topic in the dental industry. There is a link between genetics and misaligned teeth. Genetics plays a major role in determining the size of your jaw. Jaw size plays a key role in things such as crowding, gaps, overbites and underbites. Crevices and cracks within teeth make cleaning harder than those with clean straight lines. This in turn, causes more cavities because it is not as easy to clean the teeth.

Environment: Poor oral hygiene is another factor in developing crooked teeth. If you don’t take care of your mouth, your teeth are at risk for falling out. After this happens, teeth shift and move resulting misalignment. Other factors such as malnutrition, thumb sucking, early loss of baby teeth may also result in misaligned teeth.

Weak Teeth

Genetics: Genes control how teeth develop. Sometimes teeth do not form properly causing them to have weaker enamel and are more prone to bacteria.

Environment: The most common factors for weak teeth are related to environmental conditions such as poor diet and habits. Eating habits from childhood also carry over into our adult teeth. Factors such as not getting enough calcium when young can affect your mouth as you age.

Saliva Production

Genetics: Genetics play a key role in the amount of saliva produced within our mouths. Saliva washes away food particles and debris that can cause decay. Low saliva production can lead to cavities, decay, and gum recession. If your genetic variation for saliva production is missing then you could be at risk for tooth decay.

Environment: Drinking fluids, especially water, helps to flush your mouth of debris. Chewing and sucking also help generate saliva production. The more saliva you produce the healthier your mouth will be.

Teeth Color

Genetics: Teeth color shows a link between genetic factors as well. The way in which the white enamel (and the underlying yellow dentine) forms during development is mainly due to our genes. People who develop weaker enamel appear more yellow in color.

Environment: Environmental factors can include things incurred at a young age, such as certain antibiotics. However, yellow teeth is also due to many lifestyle choices. Drinking coffee, wine, tea, and smoking all affect the color of your teeth.

bad teeth vs. bad habitsWhat does this mean for you? Are you doomed if you family’s history signifies oral health problems. Not at all. Prevention has been proven time and time again to be the biggest factor in oral health. Brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash significantly decreases your risk for oral health problems.

No matter the reason behind the oral issues you are facing, making an appointment to see your dentist  allows them to asses any possible damage and get your teeth on the right track.

 

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Why Smile Care is Good for Your Soul

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Most of us view smiling as an involuntary response to being happy. While this is true, smiling benefits your health, mood, and even the mood of those around you. Smile care plays an important role in willingness to share your smile with us. Learn more about the benefits of smiling and how you can improve your smile care routine to put your best face forward.

Quick Fact: Children smile about 400 times a day, adults smile only about 20.

According to a study conducted by American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) and conducted by Wakefield Research shows that more than one-third of Americans adults are unhappy with their smiles. Smiling is an intimate part of your wellbeing, therefore finding disappointment in your own smile is disheartening. However, there are many ways to improve your smile.

Tips to Improve your Smile Care:

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is a relatively simple fSmile Careix to brighten your smile. Ordinary day to day activities can cause teeth discoloration. There are a variety of options to whitening your teeth. However, professional grade whitening products are universally considered stronger and more effective.

Your dentist can provide custom fitted trays that use higher grade hydrogen peroxide solution as high as 35%. Often a halogen light or a heat source is used to speed up the process. This accelerates the whitening agent used by the dentist and results in much faster treatment. Treatment at the dentist’s office is more effective, has fewer side effects like irritated gums, and is the quickest way to achieve a brighter smile.

 

 

Fixing Misshapen or Missing Teeth

If you are missing teeth, bridges may be something to consider. Dental bridges use the surrounding teeth, also called abutments, to hold a false replacement tooth (pontic) in place. A pontic is similar to a crown but has no root. It’s possible that your surrounding, healthy teeth may need crowns to make them strong enough to support your replacement tooth.

Bonding is one of the best methods used to repair decayed or broken teeth that are unable to be repaired with a filling but don’t quite need to be fixed with a crown. Bonding is also often used to protect the nerve endings from a receding gum line, change the shape of a tooth, repair a chipped tooth, and cover-up built-up discoloration. Bondings are natural, beautiful, and unrecognizable.

Veneers are capable of fixing almost any cosmetic dental issue. Chips, cracks, and stains can easily be covered with veneers. Porcelain veneers are wafer-thin shells that are custom-fit to match your teeth’s size, shape, color, and overall appearance. They match your teeth perfectly to give you a great smile.

Prevention and Maintenance

What can you do to perfect your smile at home? Prevention is always the key to healthy smile care. This includes brushing, flossing, and using a mouth rinse daily. Being consistent In your routine will help you stay on top of these healthy habits.

Read More: Tips for Healthy Teeth at Home

Maintenance is another key player in a powerful smile. Smile care is also maintained through preventative care appointments. Commonwealth Dentistry performs teeth cleaning and other preventive services that will keep you smiling for years to come.

Why Smile Care is a Boost for Your Soul?

  1. One of the most compelling reasons to smile: it may increase your lifespan. One study suggests that genuine smiling correlates with a longer life. Research generally concludes that maintaining a happy, positive mood may be an important part of living a healthy lifestyle.
  2. Stress wrecks havoc across our entire bodies. Smiling combats stress. When you are stressed, smiling even when it’s not genuine, can decrease your stress levels. The physical act of smiling can “trick” your brain into entering a happy place. The next time you are overwhelmed take a deep breath and put a smile on your face, it just may improve your mood.
  3. Smiling is contagious. Your brain automatically interprets other’s facial expressions and uses those to read that person. Sometimes your brain even mimics those actions. Science has actually proven that one smiles unconsciously encourage others to smile.
  4. Smiling can improve your overall immune system. Smiling releases neurotransmitters helping you relax and thus decrease stress, thus helping improve your immune system. Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, other natural painkillers, and serotonin.
  5. Humans are naturally attracted to happy people. When you meet someone flashing a genuine smile can help them feel at ease. Others view people that smile as more attractive because they assume you are a positive, happy person.

If you are lucky, you spend a good amount of our day smiling. If you are unhappy with your smile, talk to one of our trusted dentists about ways to improve it. There are so many benefits to smile care. Taking care of yourself and improving your overall health is so important. Whether you are looking for an overall smile makeover or smile care maintenance, Commonwealth Dentistry would love to help.

woman with tooth pain

Breaking Down Your Fear of the Root Canal

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Root Canals. Just the mere mention of the word may make you shudder. Root canal treatment is considered the most feared of all dental treatments. There are many rumors and myths surrounding root canal therapy, however, these are all unfounded. Here we will walk you through what are root canals and why you may need one. Plus we will help tackle any fear associated with rumors or myths you have heard.

Quick Fact: 97% of root canals are successful.

What is a root canal?

Root canal therapy is designed to remove bacteria from an infected root canal, prevent reinfection, and save the natural tooth. During a root canal, the dentist cleans and shapes the infected area before finally filling and sealing the root. After the procedure, the tooth may be capped with a crown.

Do I need a root canal?

Common reasons for root canals include a cracked tooth from an injury, genetics, deep cavities, or a previous infection. Signs or symptoms you might need a root canal:

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Severe pain when biting or chewing
  • Pimples on the gum
  • Chipped tooth
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Deep decay and darkening of the gums

Commonwealth Dentistry- Root Canal

Q: Are Root Canals Painful? A: Root Canals relieve pain

Many patients fear root canals because they think or have heard they are extremely painful. The truth: root canals are no more painful than having a tooth filled. Local anesthesia will be applied just before your procedure to numb the area. After that, you won’t feel much of anything.

Post procedure patients are in much less pain than prior. This is due is because the damaged tooth pulp that was creating the pain has been removed. The pulp is packed with nerves and blood vessels. You may have some minor discomfort afterward but this can easily be eliminated with over the counter pain meds.

Q: Are Root Canals Safe? A: YES!

There is some misinformation regarding root canal therapy and its relationship to disease out there. The idea that root canals may cause health issues down the line is completely false. The myth arose for research conducted by Dr. Weston Price in the early 1900s, however, his research has long since been discredited.  There is simply no valid scientific evidence linking root canals to disease elsewhere in the body. Root canal therapy is a safe and effective procedure that gets rid of bacteria causing infection and pain.

Q: Is it better to have my tooth extracted? A: No, the best option is to save your natural tooth.

Saving your natural teeth is always the best option because nothing artificial can replace the look and function of your natural teeth. 97% of root canals are successful. Extraction of a tooth should be left as a last result. This is because has a much higher incidence of bacteria entering your bloodstream. Root canals are also far less costly than an extraction because you will not need a bridge or an implant to fill in the missing tooth.

Q: I am not in pain anymore, do I still need a root canal? A: Don’t be fooled by lack of pain.

The infection hurts when it is inside the tooth pulp. This is the area that contains the nerves and blood vessels, if this area dies your pain may also subside. However, that doesn’t mean the infection went away. After the pain goes away you will often notice oozing pus and facial swelling as the infection travels down your roots. Therefore, do not postpone treatment because you are no longer in pain.

Q: Root Canals are time consuming? A: Not really.

A root canal can often be resolved in one to two appointments. Therefore, in terms of dental appointments root canals are swift. The first appointment treats the issue itself. The second is generally needed for follow up or to be capped with a crown.

As always the best medicine to treat any dental issue is prevention. However, we understand that despite our best efforts issues arise. Let Commonwealth Dentistry take the stress out of your root canal. We are highly trained and skilled professionals that provide the highest level of care when it comes to root canal therapy.

 

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Go Green in Your Oral Hygiene Routine

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You have probably heard the phrase “going green,” but have you heard it concerning your oral hygiene routine? Many facets of dentistry involve disposables due to patient safety, however, there are still plenty of ways our office  goes green. This Earth Day we are celebrating various ways our offices “Go Green” plus suggestions on how you can go green at home!

Quick Fact: The EPA reports, “The total generation of municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2018 was 292.4 million tons (U.S.short tons, unless specified) or 4.9 pounds per person per day.”

How is Commonwealth Dentistry Going Green?

Go Digital

  • Paperless patient charts and Check-in: Paperless charts and check in help reduce our physical waste, plus they help keep everything organized.
  • Digital Radiographs/X-rays: Unlike traditional X-rays, these don’t require any chemicals to produce and because it is all digital there is no extra waste to dispose of.

Save Water

  •  Amalgam separator: Amalgam is a mixture of metals used to create fillings. The use of an Amalgam separator  allows for the removal of amalgam particles from the wastewater to reduce the amount of amalgam entering the sewage system.
  • Central vacuum that uses no water and has amalgam traps

Utilize Technology

  • Text and Email: Appointment reminders are sent by text or email
  • Programmable Thermostats: This allows to adjust the temperatures based on office usage. There is no need to cool the office the same as during busy daytime hours and nighttime hours.
  • Paper Waste: Reduced number of printers in each office and print double sided when possible

How can you Go Green in your Oral Hygiene Routine?

In the past we discussed ways to maintain our oral health at home, but what about the health of our planet? We can all make small changes to make sure the Earth stays green by improving our oral hygiene routine. Here are a few you can try at home:

  1. Turn off the Water. Conserve water by turning off the sink when brushing. Model this behavior for children as well.
  2. Brush Gently. The harder you brush the sooner your toothbrush will need to be replaced, creating unnecessary waste.
  3. Prevention is Key. Take care of your oral health by brushing, flossing, and using a mouth rinse. This will not only pay off monetarily but will also reduce the amount of waste produced from dental procedures.
  4. Green Toothbrushes and Toothpaste. There are a variety of brands that make toothbrushes made of 100% plant materials. Instead of spending years in a landfill like plastic toothbrushes these a completely compostable. Natural toothbrush breaks down easier, making it easier on our waterways.
  5. Repurpose. Old toothbrushes are great for cleaning more than just your teeth. Before you throw out your toothbrush consider using it to deep clean the nooks and crannies of your house.

 

The Importance of Going Green in Your Oral Hygiene Routine

It is up to us to make sure that the Earth is here for years to come, by making simple changes to our everyday oral hygiene routine jointly, we make a big impact.  Consider making a few of the changes above to ensure our beautiful planet stays so for years to come.

mother and daughter brushing teeth

Preventive Dentistry vs. Restorative Dentistry

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There are many different facets of dentistry, just check our website and you will see we offer a variety of care options such as Preventive Dentistry, Restorative Dentistry, Cosmetic Dentistry and more. The overarching goal of any dental visit is the healthy structure and function of the mouth, however, when it comes to your mouth there is no substitution for regular for consistent care both at home and in the office.

Quick Fact: The CDC predicts 91% of adults over 20 have cavities at some point in their lives.

What is Preventive Dentistry?

Preventive Dentistry revolves around the idea of maintaining a healthy mouth through routine appointments and at home care. It is a combination of regular check-ups and developing healthy mouth care habits.

We know that prevention works. There is no substitution for preventative care. Getting ahead of dental issues is the only way to create and maintain a healthy mouth.

  1. Professional Cleanings– Experts recommend a visit with a professional dentist every six months, more often if you have ongoing or previous issues. We’ll help get you on the best schedule to achieve and maintain your goals. The most important part of your regular visit remains the thorough dental cleaning that our hygienists provide, ensuring all plaque, stains, and tartar build up are removed.
  2. Preventive X-rays– X-rays allow us to see beyond your gum line to check if any major changes or problems are on the rise. Sometimes these alert the dentist to the beginning stages of more serious conditions.
  3. Orthodontic Screenings- Orthodontic screenings check if your bite or bone structure needs correction.
  4. At Home Care– Brush two times a day for two minutes, plus floss and mouthwash regularly. Further, following a healthy diet plus drinking adequate amounts of water will keep your mouth healthy.

Pro Tip: Healthy habits start from a young age. Encourage your children to participate in healthy habits by setting good examples. Good habits last a lifetime, so it’s important that you get your kids on the path to success as soon as possible. We recommend that children have their first visit with us before the age of one. We’d love to see your little ones at any of our offices. 

Quick Fact: Dental cavities are the number one chronic infectious disease of childhood, reports the CDC.

What is your Role in Preventative Dentistry?

  • Brush Two Times a Day
  • Floss Daily
  • Use Mouthwash
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco products
  • Use a mouthguard during certain sports
  • Use a mouth guard if you grind your teeth
  • Schedule and maintain all your appointments

Quick Fact: According to the CDC, 27% of adults over 20 have untreated cavities.

What are the Benefits of Preventive Dentistry?

  • Lowers your risk for tooth decay, gum disease, and more serious dental issues
  • Promotes good oral health habits
  • Early identification of problems, helping to avoid both invasive and costly procedures
  • Helps reduce dental problems associated with chronic illnesses.

Preventative Dentistry and Insurance Coverage

One enticing reason to participate in preventive dentistry is most dental insurances cover the cost associated with your appointment. Our patient support team is always willing to help estimate cost associated with preventive dentistry care. If you are uninsured we can help with that as well, learn more about our in-house dental plan, Commonwealth Cares.

Restorative Dentistry

Restorative Dentistry focuses on restoring functionality and appearance to damaged, missing, or infected teeth. Mouth maintenance is so important when it comes to preventative dentistry care, however, we recognize that not all situations result from improper care.

At some point in their life, almost everyone will need to have restorative work done on their teeth. Sometimes our teeth breakdown for a variety of other reasons despite our best efforts. These include age, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and more. It is also important to note emergency dental care often cannot be avoided. However, in most instances preventative dentistry is the best way to ensure a healthy smile and a lower bill.

Common Restorative Dentistry Treatments

  • Fillings– Fillings restore the strength and structure to damaged teeth
  • Crowns– Crowns provide reinforced strength and stability to chipped, broken, or severely decayed teeth and they look attractive to making them aesthetically appealing as well.
  • Root Canals– A root canal is simply a restorative dental procedure that is used to save a tooth that is infected or severely decayed.
  • Implants– Dental implants are the most reliable way to permanently replace damaged or missing teeth.
  • Dentures– Dentures remain the easiest and best way to address missing teeth. They are removable, painless, flexible, and a less-expensive alternative to surgery.

One major difference between preventive dentistry and restorative dentistry is cost. There is almost always a cost associated with restorative care. For more information check out Understanding Dental Cost. Here we go into more detail regarding each procedure and the cost associated.

 

Preventative dentistry often thwarts the need for restorative care. In short, a great preventive care routine usually saves both time and money in the long run. What strategies will you implement to ensure a healthy smile? Make sure to add scheduling your next dental cleaning with us to the list.

 

sedation

Easing Your Fear of the Dentist

By | Dental Learning Center | No Comments

A fear of the dentist should not hold you back from going to the dentist, however, for some that is easier said than done. Oral health is an important indicator in determining your overall health. While there are many compelling reasons for visiting the dentist, they may feel trivial if you experience a strong fear of the dentist. At Commonwealth Dentistry, we are committed to going above and beyond by offering the best possible dental care.  

It is estimated that between 9 and 20 percent of Americans avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety of fear of the dentist.

What is a Fear of the Dentist?

If you experience a fear of the dentist, it is important to remember you are not alone, a recent study showed that 60% of participants exhibited fears associated with the dentists. 

  • Fear vs. Phobia- A fear can be a strong dislike for doing something; a phobia on the other hand is a type of anxiety disorder.
  • Dentophobia (also called odontophobia) is an extreme fear of going to the dentist. It’s estimated that 2.7 percent of men and 4.6 percent of women have dentophobia.

fear of the dentist

Why are Patients Afraid of the Dentist? 

Fear of the DiagnosisThe actual diagnosis can cause fear itself. Perhaps you have experienced pain or an issue for months but have put off going to the dentist for a myriad of reasons. This could be related to cost, how will you afford this dental need?  Embarrassment may be another reason you are pushing off your dental visits. You fear you will be judged for allowing the condition to arise or worsen to this level.

Commonwealth Dentistry’s Promise: We promise to talk in depth regarding any fears or issues that you have. Our goal will always be to provide the best possible care at all times. 

Fear of Pain– We all have different thresholds for pain. Fear of pain arises from traumatic events of the past or even from horror stories told from others. Until relatively recently, many dental procedures were associated with a great deal of pain, however much has changed. Almost all procedures are virtually pain free. 

Commonwealth Dentistry’s Promise: We will take every measure possible to make sure your experience is a pleasant one. We promise to provide a gentle, personalized touch. 

Fear of Numbing and Injections– While some may be afraid of the actual injections others still are afraid that the injection will not work. Resulting in feeling everything that goes on in their mouth. If you have experienced chocking or difficulty breathing in the past, this may leave you worried about having your mouth numb. 

Fear of Helplessness– Often fear stems from not being able to control what is happening to you, when in the dental chair you may feel stuck or unable to see what is going on.

Commonwealth Dentistry’s Promise: We promise to talk through everything with you and make sure you feel at ease in our care. 

Fear of the Instruments– The dental instruments sounds and smells can be overwhelming, plus they are heightened due to the close proximity to your face. Simply seeing the instruments can also invoke fear.

Commonwealth Dentistry’s Promise: If your fear is associated with the look of instruments, let us know and we will do everything we can to keep those out of sight. 

 

How to Find the Right Dentist for You

Finding the right dentists is key to easing your own fear of the dentist.

  1. Ask yourself: 
    1. What would my “ideal” visit to a dentist be like? 
    2. How would an “ideal dentist” mitigate your dental fears?
    3. What would make you feel most at ease in the dental chair?
  2. Ask for recommendations from a trusted source such as a friend, family member, or coworker. 
  3. Contact the office. Ask if offices have worked with dental phobias before and what measures they take to mitigate fears
  4. Advocate for yourself, let your dentist know that you are more aware of pain than others.  Be open and honest about your fears. What triggers you? Where did you fears start? Having this open and honest communications prepares both you and your dentists on how to better accommodate your needs. Knowledge is power, simply putting your fears out there may help you feel better. You do not have to have a face to face conversation about your fear of the dentist, instead try:
    1. Send an email or a Facebook or Instagram message.
    2. Write down your fears and hand it to dentist when you meet them. 
    3. Call us anytime to address your fears.

What We Promise to Help Ease Your Fears

Suffering from dental anxiety is not unusual, we understand that finding the right dentist is key to mitigating your fears. The right dentist will always take your concerns seriously and do what they can to alleviate your fear of the dentist. We also understand that avoiding the dentist altogether can lead to serious health conditions and more expensive treatment down the line, thus trying to find a way for your to be comfortable in our office is paramount in getting you the treatment that you need. 

We promise personalized care for each and every patient. Our staff will treat you with compassionate care from the front desk all the way back to the dental chair. Together we will work to make your experience not just bearable, but in time something you look forward to.

 

fear of the dentist, sedation dentistrySedation Techniques

Sedation dentistry may alleviate your fear of the dentist by offering and safe and easy way to relax when you have dental procedures and treatments. There are several options to ease your worries when it comes to sedation techniques.

Oral Sedation

Technique: Medication (oral pill) that puts you in a semi-conscious, relaxed state

What to Expect: You remain awake and calm throughout the procedure, but likely will not remember the procedure once it is complete.

Nitrous Oxide

Technique: More commonly known as laughing gas, you will breathe the gas through a mask that fits snugly over your nose.  

What to Expect: The soothing techniques will take over almost immediately. You will remain relaxed and calm, but also conscious and aware throughout your procedure. Upon removal, the effects of the gas wear off very quickly.

IV Sedation

Technique: Usually reserved for more extensive and complicated procedures, IV sedation is also a good option if you need to undergo multiple procedures simultaneously. 

What to Expect: An IV is gently inserted into your arm, delivering medicine throughout the procedure. You will remain relaxed and awake, while being closely monitored the entire time.

What You Can do to Ease Your Own Fears

  • Express any concerns with our staff formulating a system that works for you. Commonwealth Dentistry always promises to offer compassionate, personalized care. 
  • Find quite appointment times– if the noise of tools is something that brothers you visiting during off hours.
  • Try to schedule early in the day– if you get the appointment over and done with then you don’t spend the day worrying about the upcoming events building them up in your head.
  • Bring noise-canceling headphones or ear buds with music to help you relax. Listen to your music, podcasts  etc even in the waiting room to help take your mind off of upcoming events. 
  • Ask the dentist team to explain each task being completed so your will know what is going on and feel like an active participant in your own dental treatment. 
  • Don’t get to your appointment too early- excess time leaves time for your anxiety to build.  
  • Ask a friend or a loved one to accompany you during your appointment.
  • Practice deep breathing and other meditation techniques to calm your nerves.
  • Establish a signal that means you need a break with your dentist
  • Seek resources to help learn others way to cope. This website may be a helpful took when overcoming fear of the dentist. 
  • Seek medical help if you are experiencing extreme anxiety.

We believe in a strong relationship amongst patients and staff. While fear of the dentist is a common condition, we aim to do everything we can to make you feel at ease with at our offices. Commonwealth Dentistry promises to deliver the best possible care when you trust us with your dental health.  We want you to feel comfortable and find your dental home as part of our Commonwealth Family.