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Help! Tooth Sensitivity Is Ruining My Favorite Summer Treats!

Posted by on Jul 24, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Help! Tooth Sensitivity Is Ruining My Favorite Summer Treats!

Dear Dr. Merchant, 

Ouch! Frosty summer treats are sooo good, BUT my teeth are sooo sensitive to sweet and cold! This is my favorite time of year for ice cold beverages and delicious fruity treats, but I am unable to enjoy the summer’s bounty due to my tooth sensitivity. Popsicles, daiquiris, even biting into a chilled ripe peach causes a jolt of pain that stops me in my tracks. What can I do so that I can still enjoy some summery goodness?

Respectfully,                                               

Cold Bites!                                                                                                                 

Dear Cold,

Your complaint is an inevitable one this time of year. Summer time is the right time for cold sweet treats, unless you suffer from sensitive teeth. Sugar and cold can deliver a wallop that can turn the most delectable goody into a painful traitor. Fortunately there is some good news for folks with tooth sensitivity. After a quick examination to determine the severity of the problem, I would proceed with one of several non-invasive treatments that could significantly decrease pain. Many patients are amazed at how a modified brushing technique along with a sensitive toothpaste can make a huge difference. The next line of defense would involve a topical in-office treatment which is usually immediately effective. If the sensitivity continues to be recurrent and unresponsive, then a more permanent solution such as surgery is a last resort option. Fortunately, in my experience a majority of cases can be successfully treated with modified brushing techniques and minor in-office treatments.

Remember To Bring It Up During Your Yearly Exams

At your next cleaning, talk with your provider about your sensitivity. Make a note on your calendar when and which tooth is affected by eating and drinking. Sometimes patients forget to mention issues that aren’t constant. It’s helpful to have it noted and refer to it when in the dental chair, even if the tooth isn’t aching at that moment. Many issues can be diagnosed with a quick exam during your annual cleanings. For a more extensive list of possible causes, check out this article from Today’s RDH.com.

First Line Easy Fixes

Your provider’s first line of defense will be to try a softer brushing technique coupled with a soft bristled toothbrush. Many patients unwittingly brush too hard in the hopes that harder brushing leads to cleaner teeth. Unfortunately harder brushing can lead to damaged gums, exposed roots and lots of discomfort. An over the counter sensitive toothpaste is recommended for a period of time before moving onto the next level of treatment. After a period of use, these toothpastes can be quite effective in decreasing minor pain. Dietary changes and taking a break from bleaching treatments are also easy first fixes.

Second Line And Beyond….

If sensitive toothpaste doesn’t resolve the issue, the next step would be an in-office topical treatment such as fluoride varnish or silver diamine fluoride. Both of these are applied directly to the affected areas in just minutes. They are both immediately effective and can be reapplied every six months for continual relief. Additionally MI-Paste can be prescribed for home use to combat tooth sensitivity. If significant discomfort persists, then surgery can be discussed as a last resort option. Gum exposure and deeper issues such as root deterioration can cause chronic pain that can only be truly resolved by a medical procedure.

Hopefully I have given you some options so that you can enjoy your summertime favorites. Most dentine hypersensitivities can be easily resolved without invasive treatments. With a little bit of patience and preventative care, you can get back to pain free summer goodness in no time.

Happy Oral Health!

Dr. Merchant

Dr. Christopher D. Merchant D.D.S.

Is It Safe For Me To Drive Home After Getting Laughing Gas At My Dental Appointment?

Posted by on Jun 11, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Is It Safe For Me To Drive Home After Getting Laughing Gas At My Dental Appointment?

Dear Dr. Merchant,

I am scheduled for an appointment with my dentist for a filling and am considering using laughing gas as a mild sedative. I get a little anxious in the dental chair and just want something to take the edge off. My problem is that I don’t have a driver to drive me home after my appointment, and I am worried that I may be unfit after receiving nitrous oxide. Should I be concerned or will I be safe to drive?

Sincerely,

Responsible Driver

Dear Responsible,

Believe it or not, this is a very common question! Many patients want to have the edge taken off but don’t want to go all in with heavy sedation. The more you know about how “laughing gas” works, the more comfortable you will feel about whether or not to use it to help ease your anxiety. I suggest talking with your provider ahead of time about your concerns so that he/she can explain how nitrous oxide is administered in the office. Reading up on the history and effects of “happy gas” will help you understand its’ properties and benefits. Lastly, remember that your dentist wants you to have a safe and comfortable experience both in the chair and when you leave the office. Laughing gas is a great choice to use as a mild sedative because it’s effects wear off within minutes after the gas stops being administered.

Make A Quick Phone Call To Your Provider

Call your provider to get reassurance that this is right decision for you. Your dentist will want you to feel assured about all aspects of your procedure, including activities immediately after your visit. Dental assistants are another great resource for information if you want a second opinion. They are very familiar with administering nitrous oxide and how long the effects last.

Do Some Recon Before Your Appointment

Remember the saying, “Knowledge is Power!” In this case it’s especially true. Reading up on the properties of laughing gas will help you understand how it works and why it is a preferred alternative to sedation during many dental procedures. Dental Fear Central has a great article on inhalation sedation.

Your Safety Is Important To Your Dentist

Your safety in the chair and immediately after your visit should be paramount to your provider. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off within minutes, thus making it a safe and responsible method for the temporary relief of mild anxiety.  Trust me, a good dentist would never send a patient out on the road without making sure that he/she was stable for driving.

Your oral health is a partnership between you and your dentist. As a patient, you have every right to ask questions and receive explanations that help guide you in your oral health decisions. I hope I have given you some reassurance for your upcoming visit.

Happy Oral Health!

Dr. Merchant

Dr. Christopher D. Merchant D.D.S.

How Can I Get My Chicken Husband To Go To The Dentist?

Posted by on May 22, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

DEAR DR. MERCHANT, D.D.S.

How Can I Get My Chicken Husband To Go To The Dentist?

Dear Dr. Merchant,

My husband is an extremely manly man in almost every sense of the term. He is not afraid of manual labor and tackles all kinds of projects without batting an eye. He does not flinch at bugs or rodents and doesn’t complain when he gets sick. The only thing he is fearful of is going to the dentist!

Is there anything I can do to help him overcome his dental fear?

Sincerely,

Frustrated Wife

Dear Mrs. Frustrated,

Let me begin by assuring you that your husband is not alone in being insecure about getting his mouth checked. The mouth is a pretty personal spot on the body, and some people get extremely uncomfortable at the thought of having that space invaded. First comes the fear of embarrassment. What will the dentist find out about me and my personal habits? Next comes the fear of discomfort. The thought of experiencing pain in the mouth is overwhelming for some people. Last comes the worry that the dentist will find all kinds of issues that will need immediate and expensive attention. Some people would rather ignore their oral issues and hope that they go away instead of taking reasonable and proactive action. I have some thoughts to share with your husband so that you can support him in improving his oral health care:

Schedule A Consultation Without Obligation

The first thing to do is to schedule a consultation without obligation between your husband and the dentist. Reassure your spouse that this is just a meet and greet so that the two of them can get to know each other before any treatment plans are made. Your spouse will get to know the dentist’s bedside manner and learn what to expect at a typical appointment.

Poor Oral Health Can Lead To Other Longterm Health IssuesOlympia Dentists

Talk with your spouse about how poor oral health can complicate heart and other systemic diseases. Letting that anxiety determine whether or not one goes to the dentist is unreasonable and can eventually lead to poorer health in general. Fear of discomfort can be alleviated by talking with your provider about your concerns.

Your Dentist Is A Partner In Your Overall Good Health

Your dentist is like a partner in your health care business. He or she is proud to help you achieve your smile success and will work with you to make that happen both emotionally and financially. Your dentist should present options that are reasonable for you in your situation and should help you realize your goals on your terms. A strong relationship will lead to lasting oral health and a positive experience for both you and your dentist.

A healthy smile is a healthy partnership between patient and doctor. The fear of embarrassment, pain, and financial challenge can be alleviated by talking with your provider about your concerns before treatment. Best Health has some good information on this issue. Once your spouse experiences a visit that is pleasant and non-threatening, then getting him (or her!) in the chair for yearly visits will become part of their healthy lifestyle. 

Happy Oral Health!

Dr. Merchant D.D.S.

Dr. Christopher D. Merchant D.D.S.

Q&A: Full Dental Implants

Posted by on Feb 22, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

full dental implantsDental implants are perfect for people who are self-conscious about their missing, broken, or damaged teeth. They replace the old tooth and give you a whole new look. 

About 3 million people already have dental implants and that number keeps growing by 500,000 a year. If you’re one of the people in the market to get full dental implants, you might have a few questions about them. Here are some commonly asked questions about full dental implants. 

Are Implants Painful?
Many people might believe that getting full dental implants is painful. Sure, it’s placing something foreign in your mouth, which might seem extremely painful. However, that isn’t the case. Most of the pain someone experiences is due to inflammation, not the actual bone contact. Anyone who experiences pain can take anti-inflammatory medication to treat it. If the pain persists after a few weeks or so, reach out to your dentist for further instruction.

What Is Used in Dental Implants?
When a person gets dental implants, there are three types of materials that can be used. First, a gold and porcelain combination is used to last a long time. Next, zirconia has incredible strength and looks just like a real tooth. It’s the newest of all of the materials but is growing in popularity. Finally, acrylic is the least expensive of all of the materials. It’s one that doesn’t last as long and isn’t as strong as the others. You can talk to your dentist about which is best for you.

How Long Does it Take?
This is a question that really depends on the person and how their teeth grow. Different parts of your mouth have different growth rates, bone densities, and blood flow. Where you need the implant will be the determining factor regarding how long it will take. When you visit your dental office, have your dentist tell you exactly how long the process will take, since it’s not a good idea to base your experience off of someone else’s.

When it comes to getting full dental implants, there are a few common questions. Read the ones listed above for answers to your potential questions.

Commonly Asked Questions About Invisalign

Posted by on Feb 20, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

invisalign dentistInvisalign can help a person with many different things. Not only can it help to straighten their teeth, but it can also help boost their confidence. It’s a virtually invisible treatment that will transform a person’s smile. 

If you’re looking to work with an Invisalign dentist to use this tool, you might have a few questions. There are many common questions out there that people constantly ask Invisalign dentists. Here are a few you might have as well.

How Long Does It Take?
When many people speak with their Invisalign dentist, they might hope for instant results. However, much like with any braces, the timeline differs for everyone. It all depends on the severity of the person’s teeth misalignment. This is only something that can be determined by an experienced dentist. Although, in most cases, it only takes about 12 months for a person to achieve the results they’re after.

Will It Be Painful?
Many people fear that getting Invisalign from their family dentist will be painful. However, pain isn’t the right word to describe what one will feel when they have the trays in. Mostly, people will experience sensitivity and soreness, something like a pressure. But this will only last a few days or a week. Once your teeth start to adjust to their new “placement,” they will calm down and the pressure won’t be as bad as it was. 

How Does It Impact Speech?
One of the most common side effects of getting Invisalign is that your speech will be a little funky for a few days. When you have the trays placed, you might notice a small lisp as your tongue has to get used to the foreign object in your mouth. This won’t last long, so it’s nothing to worry about. 

How Often Must Invisalign Be Worn?
For the best results, wearing the aligners 20 to 22 hours a day is key. When you are using Invisalign, you’re only supposed to take two hours each day to eat and remove them from your mouth. It might seem hard to do, but the end result will be worth it. 

According to an American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry survey, 74% of adults think a bad smile can hurt them professionally. To fix this, many people turn to Invisalign dentists for help. The tool can help straighten a person’s teeth without the look of metal braces. Plus, they’re removable! Just be sure to wear them for the required amount of time to achieve your goals.

4 Things You’ll Experience with Invisalign

Posted by on Jan 23, 2018 in Blog, Dentistry | 0 comments

dentistInvisalign is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of teeth straightening. It’s an almost invisible alternative to braces, and people just can’t seem to get enough. However, there are a few things you should know prior to getting Invisalign braces. Let’s take a look at a few.

You May Experience Discomfort
The first few weeks are always the hardest, as that’s the time when your teeth are adjusting to the moldings. It’s probably best to stay away from hard or difficult-to-eat foods for a few weeks while your teeth adjust. This discomfort, however, is just unpleasant; it’s nothing you can’t handle. 

Expect a Lisp
Since the trays will be placed directly on your teeth, they act as another layer. This layer is something you’re probably not used to. Because of this, you might experience a lisp. It’ll take some time for you to get used to the extra hardware in your mouth, so your tongue is going to need to adjust. Don’t worry, though. This will go away after you wear them for a bit. 

Throw a Toothbrush In Your Pocket
Every time you indulge in any food, you’re going to have to brush your teeth. It’s very important that you brush your teeth before putting your trays back on to prevent any food from getting trapped. While it may seem annoying, it’s actually a big help. Plus, when you’re running to the bathroom after lunch, chances are you’re going to see someone else in the bathroom brushing their teeth, too. You’re definitely not alone.

You Actually Have to Wear Them
When you have Invisalign, your dentist will tell you that you have to wear your trays 22 hours a day. That might seem like a lot since there are only two hours in that timeframe for eating. However, if you don’t wear them, you won’t get the results you want. The more you wear them, the quicker you can get them off. 

Almost all adults that were surveyed by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry think a healthy smile is socially important. Invisalign is a big help if you want to achieve that healthy, straight smile without the look of braces. However, be aware that like normal braces, there are some things you’ll have to deal with. Keep the above list in mind when heading to the family dentist clinic to get the trays.

Dentures Vs Dental Implants: Which Is Best For Me?

Posted by on Jan 17, 2018 in Blog, Dentistry | 0 comments

affordable denturesApproximately 48% of all Americans are unhappy with their teeth. What’s more, up to 70% of Americans between the ages of 35 and 44 are missing at least one tooth.

As we age, our teeth become more vulnerable to decay, gum disease, and dry mouth. It’s for this reason that many Americans choose to receive affordable dentures after the age of 65.

However, with dental implants becoming more popular how do you know which dental services are best for your smile? Consider the following benefits and drawbacks of both affordable dentures and dental implants to help you make your decision.

Dental Implants: The Pros And Cons
Dental implants are an increasingly popular dental procedure with a success rate of 98%. The procedure involves replacing a tooth by drilling into the jaw bone and implanting a cylindrical post as the implant’s root. The post is capped with an abutment, which is then covered with a crown.

Mini dental implants can also be used for those who are unable to receive traditional dental implants. These implants act as artificial teeth and allow the person to eat as they usually would.

However, not everyone is able to receive dental implants. A dental implant procedure can be extensive and takes place over a series of months. What’s more, if you’ve lost most or all of your teeth due to decay your gums may not be healthy enough to undergo the procedure. Additionally, your jaw bone may not strong enough to hold the implant.

Dentures: The Pros And Cons
Dentures may either be complete or partial and can either be secured using adhesive or implant support. Traditional dentures adhere to the gum line and can be worn throughout the day. At night, they can be removed and cleaned to prevent food particles from sitting on your remaining teeth and causing decay.

Many Americans have the misconception that dentures easily slip out or that they’re difficult to maintain. However, dentures may only slip out when the adhesive isn’t properly applied or if the fit is incorrect. With proper dental care and a good dentist, you can find affordable dentures that work well for you.

Dentures aren’t for everyone and many may not be fond of removing false teeth at the end of the day. But it’s a viable option for those unable or unwilling to receive the dental implant procedure.

Ultimately, whether dentures or dental implants are best for you depends on the overall health of your smile. Talk to your family dentist today to learn more about your dental options.

3 Holiday Foods that Are Terrible for Your Teeth

Posted by on Dec 21, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

white teethThe holidays are in full swing this time of year, and that means it’s time for the parties, drinks, and food. With all of the delicious treats out there, it’s hard to say no to a lot of them. But did you know that some holiday delicacies are actually terrible for your teeth?

Candy canes, hot chocolate, and fruitcake are all popular options during the holidays, and sadly, candy canes actually can be extremely harmful your mouth. Along with the candy canes, there are so many other holiday treats out there that you should avoid over-indulging in this Christmas season. Let’s take a look at a few of the worst holiday foods for your teeth.

Eggnog

While it is an extremely popular drink for the holiday season, it has no nutritional value whatsoever, so it’s good that it only shows up in stores once a year. It’s jam-packed full of sugar, fats, and carbs, and even though it does include some protein, the negative tends to outweigh the good. Since it includes a large amount of sugar, about as much as what is inside a soda can, it can be harmful to your teeth. It’s also very thick, which can leave a heavy film on your teeth. If you do drink it this year, limit your intake and rinse your mouth out after you indulge.

Gingerbread Cookies

About 32% of people say that they’re “concerned by the look of their teeth,” which is why many people may turn to teeth whitening. However, white teeth aren’t the only concern during the holidays in regards to photos and the number of holiday parties you might have to attend. Along with white, family photo-ready teeth, no one wants to deal with painful cavities during the holiday season. Unfortunately, gingerbread cookies are full of sugar, which is the leading cause of cavities. The starch in the cookies forms bacteria that not only turns into cavities but also turns into plaque, which in turn becomes acid. So, don’t only worry about having white teeth this year; focus on the potential cavities caused by sugar.

Peanut Brittle

While peanuts themselves are actually very good for you, peanut brittle is terrible. With all the sugar, corn syrup, and butter, it becomes quite hard. This can be extremely damaging to one’s teeth, while the stickiness can cause harmful sugars to cling to your teeth for long periods of time. Keep this in mind when you’re about to indulge.

While the holidays are exciting, it can be hard to keep your teeth in good condition over these few weeks. If you’re going to eat any of these delicious treats, make sure you properly clean your mouth and teeth after to ensure a healthy mouth. Consult your family dentist at your dental office or dentist clinic if you have any questions about the foods.

3 Reasons Why It’s Important to Have Dental Care

Posted by on Dec 18, 2017 in Blog, Dentistry | 0 comments

best dentistsAccording to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry survey, 74% of adults think an unattractive smile can hurt them professionally. Without proper dental care, it might be hard to achieve the look one may want. 

If you are considering whether or not having dental coverage and going to a dental office is actually important, there are many reasons as to one might opt for it. Let’s take a look at a few additional reasons, other than having an attractive smile.

Cancer Detection
Oral cancer is one of the most dangerous diseases. If one doesn’t go to a good dentist and find cancer early, the disease can become even more dangerous and can even be life-threatening. Dentists in a dental clinic are specially trained to detect cancer or any other problems. With a visit to your family dentist every six months, any cancer-related problems will be detected early on. 

Gum Disease
Along with checking to see if there are any problems with your teeth, a dentist will be able to help diagnose and treat gum disease. Gum disease not only hurts the gums, but it can also cause teeth to fall out. By visiting the dentist on a regular basis, you can prevent any of that from happening. The best dentists will be able to keep you from getting on the path of gum disease and teeth loss.

X-Rays
When you find a dentist that you visit on a regular basis, you’re eligible to check the health of your jaw and underneath your gums using X-Rays. If you don’t go to one of the best dentists, you won’t be able to have access to X-Rays. The dentist can also use X-Rays to determine if there are any problems with your teeth such as the teeth being impacted. Any destructive diseases may also be found with the use of the screening. 

If having healthy teeth and gums is important to you, you need to have a good dentist and good dental coverage. Without that, you won’t be able to have the regular check-ups that are needed to make sure that everything is going well inside of your mouth.

3 Things to Look for When Finding a New Dentist

Posted by on Nov 28, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

childrens dental centerFor many Americans, going to the dentist may seem a bit scary, even though they know oral health is extremely important. In fact, 99.7% of adults surveyed by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry say they believe that a healthy smile is socially important.

For those people who are a little wary of the dentist, they might not even have one. However, it’s never too late to start taking great care of your teeth! There are a few things you should consider when finding a new dental office or a good dentist. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Technology

One very important thing to note when looking for a new family dentist, or even a childrens dental center, is that the office comes equipped with the latest and most up-to-date technology. You have to consider things like x-rays, oral surgery, and even regular cleanings. Making sure that the office has the technology that will ensure your cleanings, medical procedures, and tests are done with accuracy and safety.

Staff

If you have a fear of the dentist, or if your child is scared, there is nothing more unhelpful than a grumpy staff. When you go to the dentist office or the childrens dental center, it’s important to be greeted by someone who can make you feel at ease and even smile a bit. They will be the first person you speak with or see once you enter the office, so it’s important for them to be calm, caring, and friendly.

Office Style

Picture this: You enter an office and find that it is filthy, has old and dirty chairs, and no pictures on the wall. Chances are you won’t be thinking too highly of the place. It’s important to feel comfortable in the office that you choose. Look for a place that is clean, bright, has reading materials, and maybe even a television. It’s also a nice touch to look for free coffee and tea if you’re taking your child to a childrens dental center, so you have something to sip on while you wait for your son or daughter to finish their appointment.

Finding a new dentist can be stressful, especially if you don’t like going to the office. Find a place that makes you feel comfortable and start making appointments with a dentist you can trust.

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