A New Year and New Resolutions for the Health of Your Smile

Every year, the new year rolls in and you make a lot of resolutions. Many people will resolve to be more attentive to their health, but are you forgetting just how important oral health is to the equation? Take a look at a few New Year’s resolutions you can make to ensure the upcoming year means way more smiles.

Resolve to visit the dentist at least twice a year.

Getting a checkup once a year and having your teeth cleaned twice a year is an important part of a good overall oral health plan. According to the American Dental Association, 100 million people fail to see a dentist every year, and many of those people will see their oral health decline because of that fact. Regular dental checkups and cleanings are imperative because:

  • Your dentist gets the chance to monitor changes in your oral health that could be indicative of other problems
  • Problems with cavity and decay can be tended to immediately before a tooth is beyond the point of repair
  • You can prevent issues with plaque and tartar buildup that affect the health of your mouth

Resolve to quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco products.

Many people vow to quit using tobacco products at the beginning of a new year. While it is always good for your health to kick the bad habits of smoking or using smokeless tobacco for your overall health, it is also a good resolution for the health of your smile. People who smoke or use smokeless tobacco are more prone to:

  • Oral infections
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay
  • Losing teeth

Resolve to eat plenty of crunchy veggies.

If you’ve already made resolutions about eating better then fitting in more crunchy veggies shouldn’t be an issue. One perk of eating a lot of crunchy vegetables is the fact that they actually help slough plaque and tarter off of your teeth. Raw broccoli, carrots, celery, cauliflower, and other dense foods can help keep your teeth clean between brushings.

Visit Travis Wilson Family Dentistry for a Smiling New Year

Your New Year’s resolutions are always worth keeping. Reach out to us at Travis Wilson Family Dentistry in Owensboro and Beaver Dam if you need help keeping your resolutions for the new year.

Should You Have Your Mercury Fillings Removed?

Should You Have Your Mercury Fillings Removed? 

As time has gone on, more information has become available about the dangers of mercury fillings. Mercury, in general, is a hazardous substance. But in the past, it was commonly used as a dental filling because of its durability and ease-of-use. Almost everyone over a certain age has mercury fillings in their mouths if they ever had a cavity filled. It is now possible to have mercury fillings removed and replaced with amalgam fillings, which are considered to be safer. But there are hazards associated with removing mercury fillings, just as there’re hazards associated with keeping mercury fillings in. So what is the right choice tonight? Should you have your mercury fillings removed?

The Dangers Of Having Mercury Fillings Removed

Mercury is a substance that releases vapors when is disturbed. One situation where papers could be released is when you have mercury fillings removed. The vapors could theoretically cause some health issues which you may not have previously had if you had kept your mercury fillings in place. So one of the main dangers of having mercury fillings removed is that those vapors will be released.

The Safety Of Keeping Mercury Fillings In

The other side of the argument is to keep your mercury fillings as they are. If your mercury fillings are not causing any problems if your health we’re with your dental health, there is a safety that should be considered in keeping mercury fillings in. In other words, there’s really no reason to fix something that isn’t broken.

Talk to Your Dentist

If you are seriously concerned about the dangers of mercury fillings, you should talk to your dentist. Your dentist will have more information about the arguments on both sides of keeping your mercury fillings or having them removed. In addition, your dentist can conduct a thorough visual examination of your feelings see if they are damaged in any way. If there is damage, your dentist makes talk to you about the possibility of having your mercury fillings removed.

Alternately, the choice of whether to have your mercury fillings removed or keep them is to be made by you and your dentist. Always follow the advice of your dentist when it comes to your health. For more information about mercury fillings, please feel free to contact us.

 

Halloween Candy: Some Varieties Are More Tooth Friendly Than Others

With Halloween just around the corner, now is a great time to review the best practices when it comes to candy consumption. Candy tastes good, which means it will be extremely difficult to persuade your children into boycotting these delectable treats; instead of a boycott, consider controlling your child’s candy consumption. This can be accomplished in several ways: By choosing the specific times when your child eats his or her candy as well as making suggestions as to the types of candy your child eats. The truth is that some forms of candy have the potential to damage the teeth and create cavities quicker than others.

Why Does Candy Cause Cavities?

Sugar is the major cause of cavity development. The sugar feeds the naturally-occurring bacteria that live in the mouth, the bacteria then release an acid, which attacks the hard, protective coating on the tooth (i.e., enamel). Once the enamel is compromised, the tooth is vulnerable to decay.

What Kinds of Candy Tend to Damage the Teeth Quicker?

Since chewy and sticky candy remains in contact with the teeth for long periods of time, they tend to be more damaging than other types of candy. When a child eats taffy, caramel or fruit-flavored chews, remnants of these candies remain on the surface of and in between the teeth. The longer the sugary substance remains on the teeth, the longer the bacteria have to consume the sugar and create acid. Additional acid means an increase in the likelihood that your child will develop cavities.

Controlling your child’s consumption:

  • Limit your child’s consumption of sour candy — In order to intensify their sour flavor, these candies frequently contain citric acid, which can damage the teeth through erosion and cavity development.
  • Give your child candy that he or she can eat quickly — This limits the amount of time the sugar has contact with his or her teeth.
  • Encourage your children to thoroughly rinse their mouths after they eat any kind of candy — This is a good practice to establish following the consumption of anything (e.g., a meal, beverage or a snack). Once a half-an-hour has passed, your child can go ahead and brush his or her teeth. Your child needs to wait half-an-hour to brush because the enamel on the teeth remains soft for some time after eating and/or drinking.
  • Try to steer your children away from the sticky treats — Avoid gummy candy, popcorn balls, taffy, and caramels.
  • Before you send your little ones out to trick-or-treat, have them eat a good meal — This will make them less likely to fill up on candy while they are out.
  • If you are handing out treats, consider purchasing something other than candy to hand out — Check your local department store. Chances are you will find a variety of fun, non-food Halloween items.

5 Tips to Protect Your Child’s Teeth

As a parent, you may not automatically know what you need to do to protect your child’s teeth. For instance, it’s very common for parents to ignore the health of children’s teeth until the first permanent teeth come in. This is just one mistake first-time parents make. Here are X tips to protect your child’s teeth.

1. Get an Early Checkup

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child has their first dentist visit by their first birthday, or within a few months after the appearance of the first “baby” tooth. It’s important to understand that tooth and gum problems can occur this early in life, even before the first baby tooth erupts. To ensure a good start with dental health, get an early checkup.

2. Avoid Sugary Drinks

Try to avoid letting your youngster sip on a baby bottle of juice too frequently. Remember that even purely natural, no sugar added fruit juices contain natural sugars. This bad habit could lead to tooth decay in your child.

3. Teach Good Habits

Children can learn a lot about good dental care by watching their parents. Be a role model for dental health. Let your child watch you brush and floss after each meal. Instruct your child in how to clean their teeth with child-appropriate toothbrushes and toothpaste.

4. Ensure They Wear Protective Mouth Guards

Once your child is old enough to participate in organized sports, make sure your child wears a protective mouthguard. The unexpected physical impact can chip or otherwise damage teeth, but a mouth guard may keep an injury from occurring.

5. Have Issues Treated

If your child has crooked teeth, an overbite or underbite or some other dental issue, have the issue treated as soon as you can. Left untreated, dental issues tend to get worse, not better. Consult with your child’s dentist to learn about available treatment options so you can plan accordingly.

When your child grows to adulthood, their teeth will be their responsibility. In the meantime, you can do a lot to protect your child’s dental health. Use these five tips to help ensure your child enjoys a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

 

bad breath

Got Bad Breath? Good Questions to Ask the Dentist

Medically referred to as halitosis, bad breath affects a number of people, even though many people never share their concerns with other people or their dentist. If you are experiencing breath that makes you self-conscious when you open your mouth, this is an issue you should discuss with your Owensboro dentist. Here are a few questions to ask.

Do you have gum disease?

Gum disease and bad breath can be directly linked, and if you have gum disease like gingivitis, it can mean that the health of your teeth is at risk as well. Gum disease may generate a host of symptoms beyond halitosis, such as:

  • swollen gums
  • receding gums around your teeth
  • red, irritated gums that bleed easily

If you struggle to combat bad breath, make sure to ask your dentist if gum disease could be to blame. If issues with your gums are not addressed, it can make problems with bad breath far harder to control.

Are there products you can use to thwart bad breath issues?

Products with baking soda can help keep poor-smelling breath at bay, mouthwash may offer some relief, and even sugar-free gum can help. However, your dentist may actually prescribe something like a medicated mouthwash specifically formulated to eliminate the germs and bacteria that can cause bad odors. Your dentist may also offer helpful recommendations, such as recommending that you come in for hygiene visits more frequently or switch to a different type of toothpaste.

Is there anything the dentist can do to help with halitosis?

Some people have problems with bad breath due to issues with their teeth. For instance, if your teeth are crowded, it can make it easier for food to get trapped between your teeth, which leads to bacteria in your mouth and more instances of foul-smelling breath. Your dentist may be able to combat some problems through typical dental treatments.

Bad breath can make you self-conscious about how you interact with the world around you, but this issue is not uncommon and you should never e embarrassed about asking for advice. Reach out to us at Travis Wilson Family Dentistry and set an appointment so we can help you out.

Woman holds fingers on her cheek showing toothache

Exploring the Common Causes of Tooth Pain

When tooth pain comes on suddenly, it can feel so intense and distracting that you can think of little else except feeling better. Irritation or damage to the nerves of a tooth are the most common reasons to experience tooth pain. This type of discomfort can arise from severe tooth decay or one of several other common causes that we explore below.

Tooth Decay

When you have a cavity, the plaque on your teeth converts to bacteria and acid that can erode the outer enamel of your tooth and cause significant pain. Extreme sensitivity occurs once the bacteria succeeds in forming a small hole in your tooth. At the same time, bacteria reaches the soft dentine located in the enamel underneath your tooth. You probably have a mild cavity if you have throbbing pain that comes and goes. Severe sensitivity to touch and temperature usually occurs as the decay gets closer to the dentine layer.

Gum Disease

As gum disease progresses, the gums pull away from the teeth and expose the roots. This can result in significant pain. Before gum disease reaches this point, it can cause discomfort due to chronic inflammation. This can cause a toothache, irritation of the gums, and gum abscess before eventually causing the gums to pull away and expose the roots.

Teeth Grinding

Although this is a common habit, many people don’t realize they do it because it occurs during sleep or during times of great stress. Chronic teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can cause pain due to the extensive loss of tooth enamel and dentine. It can also cause one or more teeth to chip or fracture. Unfortunately, tooth pain caused by bruxism usually extends to several teeth.

Tooth Sensitivity

For most people, the first sign of tooth sensitivity is pain when consuming a hot or cold beverage or piece of food. You can also trigger sensitivity just by brushing and flossing the affected tooth. This typically occurs due to the exposure of dentine micro-tubules that enable stimulus to reach the roots and nerves of the tooth.

Contact Dr. Travis Wilson as the First Sign of Tooth Pain

With offices conveniently located in Owensboro and Beaver Dam, Kentucky, Dr. Wilson is available to assess and treat your tooth pain promptly. Please contact the office nearest you for an appointment.

picture of family smiling

Why You Might Need Dental Crowns or Bridges

Dental crowns and bridges are common types of dental devices used for either replacing teeth or protecting damaged teeth. Both are fixed in place rather than being removable, such as dentures. Find out more about crowns and bridges, including why your dentist might recommend one of these options.

Purpose of Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are coverings or caps that go on damaged teeth. These caps can help restore these teeth to their normal function, which corrects problems with chewing or biting. When you have a dental crown on a damaged tooth, you’ll be able to bite down again instead of avoiding using that tooth. This helps ease excess wear and tear on surrounding teeth.

Dental crowns can also improve the appearance of damaged teeth by making them look whole and natural again. In some cases, dentists place dental crowns on implants that are used for replacing missing teeth. Your dentist might talk to you about getting a dental crown if you have a tooth that is damaged from decay or if you have a fractured tooth. Dental crowns can also be used for covering teeth that have had a root canal or teeth that have an irregular shape.

picture of family smiling

Purpose of Dental Bridges

A bridge helps replace missing teeth by anchoring an artificial or replacement tooth to the teeth on either side. When you have a missing tooth, this gap can end up affecting the teeth next to it. They might shift toward the gap, which affects your jaw alignment. You might also have a higher risk of gum disease and other problems when you have missing teeth.

Your dentist might discuss getting a dental bridge if you have at least one missing tooth. Filling in this gap with a replacement tooth helps prevent jaw alignment problems, gum disease risks, and other dental problems. Having a bridge can also improve your smile, especially if the missing tooth is in a visible area of your mouth.

If you think you might need dental crowns or bridges, please contact Travis Wilson D.M.D. to set up an appointment.

dentist and patient

Why getting regular dental check ups is so important

As adults, we have one set of teeth that need to serve us our entire lives. Protecting those teeth is essential. And, one of the cornerstones of good dental hygiene and health is regular dental checkups.

What Happens at a Check Up?

A dental checkup has two parts. First, cleaning is performed, a dental hygienist will perform a service known as scaling. During scaling, special dental tools are used to remove tartar, a hard substance that can accrue on your teeth near the gum line. You will probably also have your teeth polished. Polishing involves using a gritty substance to remove any surface stains to improve the appearance and cleanliness of your teeth. Finally, the hygienist will floss. This removes any material from between teeth and helps dental professionals assess the health of your teeth and gums.

dentist and patient

The other part of your dental checkup involves a dental exam. Your dentist or another professional from the office will visually examine your teeth, gums, tongue, and the interior tissue of your mouth. They will look for issues that can include cavities, cracked teeth, inflammation, and more. Your gums will be checked with special tools that help assess the depth of the spaces between your gums. In healthy gums, those spaces are shallow. However, when someone has gum disease, the spaces may become deeper as gums recede.

X-rays may also be a part of your dental exam. These can reveal issues with your teeth that are not visible to the naked eye.

Catching Potential Issues Early

During this exam, your dentist may see issues that include cavities, gum disease, and more. When problems are noticed, dental care can be scheduled to correct them.

Experts recommend that you go for check-ups twice a year. Going this often allows your dentist to catch any potential issues early before they become big problems. The sooner a problem is found, the easier it is to correct.

By engaging in regular preventive care, you can keep your teeth stronger and healthier now and throughout your life. Is it time for your next checkup? Call to schedule one today.

Cosmetic Dentistry FAQ

Am I eligible for cosmetic dentistry?

Most people are eligible for cosmetic dentistry procedures, as long as there is not currently an infection in the mouth. If you are unhappy with cracked, missing, or unhealthy teeth, there is a variety of cosmetic procedures you can choose from to reinvigorate your smile. Schedule a consultation to verify that you are the right candidate for cosmetic dentistry and to determine which procedure is best for you.

Are there any health benefits of cosmetic dentistry procedures?

Contrary to popular belief, cosmetic dentistry has both aesthetic and health benefits for patients. One of the primary benefits is dramatically decreasing the risk of infection in the mouth. Dental implants, bridges, and crowns fill the empty spaces in your mouth that often create breeding grounds for harmful bacteria. Removing unhealthy teeth can also help keep your smile cleaner and additionally limit bacteria.

Older people hanging out

older people hanging out

Will my dental insurance cover cosmetic dentistry?

Although you will ultimately want to check with your insurance provider, many cosmetic procedures have health benefits (as outlined above) that allow them to qualify for insurance coverage.

What are veneers?

Veneers started as a popular Hollywood procedure but is now relatively common among everyday people. Veneers are placed over the front, side, and biting edge of your teeth to hide discoloration, cracks, and chips, in addition to changing the size and shape of your teeth. The procedure is simple, and the veneers should last for over 20 years with proper care. Veneers can be made of porcelain, composite, or similar material, with the costs similar to that of crowns.

How long does teeth whitening last?

The majority of whitening procedures will last between one and two years with proper maintenance and avoidance of teeth-staining foods and drinks. However, you can get touch-ups after your procedure to prolong your sparkling white look.

Will teeth whitening work for everyone?

Unfortunately, individuals with severe discoloration may need more advanced procedures to achieve a bright, white smile. If you have severe discoloration, consider alternative options such as composite bonding and porcelain veneers.

Benefits of Dental Implants

For years, dental implants have remained one of the most popular options for people looking to replace missing or broken teeth and improve their smile. Below, we’ll take a look at what dental implants are and the benefits that they offer to help you decide if dental implants are right for you.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are screw-like components that are placed in your jawbone in a spot where a tooth is missing or has been pulled. After the implants bond to your bone, they serve as a connection point for artificial teeth, known as crowns. Since crowns that are connected via dental implants are indistinguishable from regular teeth both in terms of aesthetics and function, they are an incredibly popular choice for people who wish to replace broken, worn down, or missing teeth.

The Benefits of Dental Implants

Dental implants owe their popularity to the full range of benefits that they offer. To start, dental implants are designed to feel, look, and function like your natural teeth, leaving you with better oral health and a more confident smile. The fact that dental implants are long-lasting is another benefit that they offer, and, with proper care, dental implants can last as long as natural teeth.

Lastly, dental implants have a very high success rate. With proper installation on behalf of the dentist and proper care and maintenance on behalf of the patient, dental implants offer the highest success rate of any teeth replacement procedure.

Broken or missing teeth can cause many problems, including difficulty chewing and speaking, gum diseases, and lack of self-esteem. Thankfully, though, dental implants allow you to replace these missing or broken teeth with crowns that are entirely indistinguishable from your natural teeth.

At Travis Wilson D.M.D, we specialize in providing expert dental care to people throughout Owensboro and the surrounding area. If you would like to learn more about how we can help give you a smile that you’ve always wanted through dental implants, we invite you to contact our office today to schedule an appointment.