holiday stress

Every year around this time, we begin the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Coordinating schedules, braving the crowds at the grocery store and in the mall, cooking meals, and all the craziness that comes along with preparing for the holidays is bound to increase stress levels. But during a time when we’re supposed to be enjoying friends and family, stress is that last thing we want to get in the way. After all, as everyone at our dental office in Franklin knows, stress can wreak havoc on not only our overall health, but oral health as well.

A Little Clench & Grind

During times of increased stress, we tend to subconsciously clench our teeth tightly together or grind them against each other. While this may seem like no big deal, if done repeatedly over a long period of time, grinding and clenching can cause damage to both the teeth as well as the jaw joint. Putting constant force on the teeth can lead to chipped, cracked, or fractured teeth, while habitually engaging jaw muscles may cause TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder can be painful and may lead to long term problems. So if you’re experiencing any popping, clicking, or locking in the jaw joint, we recommend contacting your Franklin dentist.

Gum Disease

Usually we talk about gum disease being caused by an improper hygiene routine or missing regular visits with your dentist. However, recent research has also shown a positive link between stress and the development of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious condition that not only affects your mouth, but your whole body as well. If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss, heart disease, and pregnancy complications, along with a host of other health problems.

Take It Easy for Health’s Sake

To help protect your body and oral health during the stressful holiday season, we encourage you find ways to help yourself relax. Check out the following tips for a few things to try.

  • Breath it Out. Something as simple as setting aside a few moments to take a few deep breaths can really help lower stress. Practicing deep breathing exercises has been proven to lower blood pressure and reduce overall anxiety levels.
  • Work it Out. Hit the gym, go for a walk, do some yoga. Whatever you choose to do, just get your heart pumping and sweat it out. Physical exercise can do wonders to decrease stress, and all the other health benefits don’t hurt either.
  • Sleep it Off. It can be difficult to get enough sleep during non-crazy times of the year. And during the holidays it can be even harder. Remember to schedule in time to make sure you’re catching enough zzz’s. Giving your body a chance to relax can keep you healthy so you can actually enjoy everything the holidays have to offer.

From all of us at our Franklin dental office, we hope you have a great holiday season with limited stress and anxiety and packed full of friends, family, laughs, and great memories.

Great American Smokeout

Every year on the third Thursday in November the American Cancer Society puts on the Great American Smokeout, which encourages smokers to try and quit once and for all. The team at our Franklin dental office can certainly get behind an event that promotes health! Which is why we’re covering a few reasons why quitting smoking, even if you’ve tried before, is a worthwhile goal.

Smokers are 50% more likely to get gum disease than non-smokers

Advanced research has shown smoking has been linked to an increased risk of infection, including gum disease. Gum disease can be a painful problem that may eventually lead to tooth loss.

Smoking inhibits your body’s ability to heal

Whenever your body undergoes trauma, whether that’s a major surgery or minor cut, it relies on a strong flow of healthy blood to heal. Smoking, however, restricts blood vessels and diminishes the amount of blood that moves throughout the system.

Tobacco users are 6 times more likely to develop oral cancer

While oral cancer can occur in anyone, people who use tobacco are at a much greater risk. Oral cancer can affect the tongue, throat, cheeks, or any other area of the mouth. If caught early oral cancer can be successfully treated.

Yellow teeth and bad breath are incredibly common

Tobacco products contain tar and nicotine. Both of these ingredients can stick to teeth, gums, and the tongue and are difficult to remove. Because of this, smokers and users of other forms of tobacco usually have discolored teeth and unpleasant breath.

Using tobacco decreases saliva production

This may not immediately seem like a huge concern, but to your dentist in Franklin, decreased saliva production could mean serious trouble. Saliva helps neutralize acids in the mouth and rinse away bacteria. Without it teeth are left exposed to the damaging elements and the likelihood of decay increases.

Tooth loss is 2 times more prevalent in smokers

Due to several of the other reasons above, such as a drier mouth and a decreased ability to heal, smokers are more likely to suffer more tooth loss than non-smokers. Oftentimes smokers may lose their teeth earlier than their non-using counterparts.

If you’re unsure where to start the quest towards a smoke-free life, we welcome you to call our dental office in Franklin. We can work together to determine how quitting can benefit your oral and overall health and talk about ways you can try to quit.

woman afraid of dentist

You have a dental appointment early tomorrow morning…and you can’t sleep. You toss and turn in bed, you feel tense and can’t seem to relax, you start sweating, your heart starts pounding, and you may even start to feel nauseated. Does this sound like you? If so, you’re one of an estimated 80 million Americans that suffer from dental fear. The dental team at our dental office in Franklin understands that dental fear is very real and very hard to overcome, but we’re here to try to help.

Top 4 Causes of Dental Fear

Before we launch into some tips that can help ease your fear of the dentist, it’s important to take a look at some of the most common reasons why people have dental fear.

  • Pain
  • Loss of Control
  • Embarrassment
  • Negative Experience

All of these reasons may keep patients from maintaining regular visits with their dentist in Franklin, and that’s concerning.

Regular Visits Are Important

According to the Dental Fears Research Clinic in Seattle, nearly 20% of Americans will only see the dentist when it’s absolutely necessary instead of taking a preventative approach to oral healthcare. While visiting the dentist may be uncomfortable and cause a lot of stress, seeing your dentist bi-annually can really help keep more involved treatments to a minimum and, in turn, lower anxiety typically associated with the dental office.

Overcome Your Fear

When a fear or anxiety is so strong, it may seem as if all hope is lost and you’ll never overcome it. But give yourself some credit. By opening and reading this blog, you’ve already taken the first step to understanding your fear and how to help alleviate it. Below we highlight our guide to overcoming dental fear. We hope it helps you continue to learn more about your fear and gives you some hope.

  • Talk with friends and family to get a list of potential dentists. Then pick up the phone and call them. Notice the feeling you have on the call and how your concerns are addressed before you even step into a dental office.
  • Take your pick of all the offices you spoke with and call them back to schedule a new patient appointment. Remember to be open and honest on that call about your dental fear so the team is prepared at your visit.
  • Bring a friend or family member to that first dental appointment, preferably one without a dental fear. Just knowing you have a trusted person with you can really help you relax and feel comfortable.
  • Distract yourself by bringing some music and headphones or talk with your dental team about any amenities they may have to help ease stress such as blankets, sunglasses, or noise cancelling headphone.
  • Always be honest with your Franklin dentist and dental team. Dental professionals are committed to both your health and overall comfort and they should be willing to help you relax so you can get the best care.

If you’d like to come into our Franklin dental office for a visit, we welcome you to give us a call. We’re always happy to see new patients and are dedicated to providing gentle dentistry in a relaxing and calm environment.

hygiene appointment

When most people think of October, we doubt they immediately think of their teeth. In fact, they might not think about teeth at all except if a piece of Halloween candy does some unexpected damage. That’s where we’re a little different. At our dental office in Franklin, when we think of October, we think of National Dental Hygiene Month, our dental hygienists, and their dedication to keeping patients’ mouths healthy.

About National Dental Hygiene Month

Every October, the dental community celebrates National Dental Hygiene Month. Sponsored by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program (WOHP), National Dental Hygiene Month is designed to increase awareness of how proper dental hygiene is crucial to maintaining a healthy mouth and healthy body. According to the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH) there is a link between oral health and several whole body concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and others.

The Daily 4

The main focus of National Dental Hygiene Month this year is on the top four necessary components of a proper at home oral hygiene routine. These four aspects include:

  • Brushing
  • Flossing
  • Rinsing
  • Chewing

Read on to learn more important information from your dentist in Franklin.

Brushing

We all know we should brush our teeth everyday, but according to American Dental Association (ADA), there are certain guidelines you should follow to get the most out of your brushing routine. Make sure to brush twice a day for two minutes each. You should select a soft-bristled toothbrush and a small, gentle circular motion instead of a back and forth scrubbing technique to reduce potential damage to your enamel.

Flossing

Sometimes we’re asked if flossing is really necessary. The short answer? Absolutely. Why? We’re glad you asked. When you only brush your teeth and don’t floss you’re missing out on cleaning about 35% of each tooth. That’s a lot of opportunity for bacteria to get comfy and start the decay process. Make sure you’re removing as much bacteria and plaque as possible by flossing in between each tooth and up under the gum line.

Rinsing

Mouthwash may seem like an unnecessary part of an oral healthcare routine. However, the right product can help reduce bad breath, gingivitis, decay, and plaque. Look for one that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. This means the product has been scientifically tested and evidence supports the claims made on the label.

Chewing

Brushing your teeth after you eat is ideal, but we realize that may not be possible for everyone all the time. When you can’t brush after a meal, chew a piece of sugarless gum instead. Chewing gum helps produce saliva which aids in neutralizing bacteria that may be left over from your meal.

We encourage every one of our patients and neighbors to follow The Daily 4 diligently for a healthy, happy mouth. However, it’s still important to maintain dental cleanings and bi-annual appointments with your dentist. These visits help remove stuck-on plaque or tartar that you just can’t get at home and ensure there are no problems lurking in your mouth. If you’re looking for a new dental team, we’re always accepting new patients and would love to see you. Give our Franklin dental office a call to schedule an appointment.

dental nightguard

Dental night guards are usually recommended for patients who suffer from nighttime tooth grinding, also known as bruxism. According to the American Dental Association, bruxism affects around 10-15% Americans, so it’s a pretty common problem. While night guards are typically the treatment of choice for bruxism patients, our dental office in Franklin would like to explain why, how they help, and options you may have.

Why is a Night Guard Used to Treat Bruxism?

Many people who grind their teeth do so during sleep when they are unaware of the problem. And since they’re unaware, they can’t do anything consciously to help correct it. This is when a night guard can help. Night guards are appliances that are fitted individually to each patient and designed to wear while sleeping. They help keep the patient from grinding their teeth together and limits jaw movement. If bruxism is left untreated, the chance of chipped, cracked, or broken teeth, and problems with TMJ/TMD are increased.

Types of Night Guards

There are two types of night guards that may first appear very similar, but are actually quite different. Night guards you can buy at any drugstore are usually cheaper and follow the boil-and-bite method of molding. While they can work to stop tooth grinding, they’re not always the best choice. Custom-made night guards created by a dentist are usually the better option. These professionally crafted night guards use precise molds of your teeth for a tight, proper, comfortable fit. Your dentist will also look at your jaw positioning during the fitting process to ensure your jaw is aligned properly. This may help avoid additional problems with your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) later on.  Custom night guards can also last up to 10 years as opposed to the over-the-counter night guards which may only last a few months before you need a new one.

Other Ways to Treat Tooth Grinding

Night guards are the most commonly recommended treatment method to combat tooth grinding, but just because it’s the most common doesn’t mean it’s the only option. Depending on the case, treatments may include orthodontics, stress reduction exercises, limiting caffeine intake, or considering an alternative medication that may include a stimulant.

Know the Signs of Bruxism

Your dentist in Franklin may suspect bruxism before you do, but there are signs you should be aware of.

Bruxism can be treated following a proper diagnosis from a dentist. There’s no need for you to live with pain or at risk for tooth damage and TMJ problems in the future. If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth at night, we encourage you to give our Franklin dental office a call to schedule an appointment. We’ll evaluate your individual needs and recommend the best treatment option for you.

smiling male dentist

Nobody necessarily wants to embark on the journey of finding a new dentist. But occasionally, it’s just what we have to do. Longtime dentists retire, jobs require us to move, and a variety of life’s situations sometimes make it necessary to seek out a new dentist. However, finding the right new dentist can be a difficult process. With so many practices in your neighborhood all offering similar services, how do you know which dentist to choose? Follow this handy guide below to help find the best dentist in Franklin for you.

Ask for Recommendations

When starting your search for the right dentist, begin by asking friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers. See which dental offices in Franklin they visit, ask what they like about their dentists, and find out whether or not they’re located conveniently to home or work. Compile a list of options and hit the internet to do some research on your own. Look at each office’s website, see what services are offered, read up on the doctor and team, and don’t forget to check out their reviews either on their website or on online review platforms like Google. This will help you narrow your list to a few options.

Make Some Calls

Once you have your list of prospective dentists, pick up the phone and start calling them. During these conversations, be open to asking questions that will provide you some insight into the practice philosophy, treatments offered, and overall personality of the office. Some of the basic questions you can ask include:

  • “What is the dentist’s level of training?”
  • “What type of amenities does the practice offer to make treatment more comfortable?”
  • “What should I expect during my first visit?”
  • “How do you handle insurance and financials?”

Schedule an Appointment

After your initial call with each office, you should have a pretty good idea of which practice stands out to you the most and which may be a good fit. The next thing you should do is schedule a consultation or new patient appointment. There’s no better way to ensure you’ve found your new dental home than to get into the office and check it out. During your visit, note things like cleanliness, friendliness, time-sensitivity, and thoroughness. After this first visit, you should know whether that dentist and office is best for your needs, or that you need to keep looking.

If you’re searching for a new dentist, we invite you to call our dental office in Franklin. We’ll answer any questions you may have and provide you with any information that will help make your decision easier.

dentist explains to patient

The team at our dental office in Franklin is dedicated to caring for our patients’ smiles, both while they’re in the office and in between appointments. We’re also focused on educating our neighbors about oral health so we can do our part in creating a healthy community. In this blog, we want to cover some of the top things that are most important for our patients to know. Check them out.

A proper oral hygiene routine at home is just as important as your bi-annual dental appointments.

We typically recommend our patients visit us at least two times a year to have a dental checkup, professional cleaning, and sometimes digital x-rays. These appointments allow us to remove any plaque or tartar that may have built up since your last visit as well as monitor your oral health so we can catch and treat problems early. But these bi-annual visits are only half of what it takes to keep a mouth healthy. The American Dental Association (ADA) and your dentist in Franklin recommend brushing your teeth twice a day, everyday, with a soft-bristled toothbrush and using gentle circles. It’s also critical to floss once a day to remove food particles and plaque from between teeth.

There’s such a thing as too much brushing.

Scrubbing your teeth may seem like a good idea, after all, brushing harder must remove more plaque, right? Not necessarily. Brushing your teeth roughly can remove food particles, bacteria, and plaque, but it will also damage gum tissue and eventually cause it to recede. Once gum tissue recedes, the teeth appear longer and sensitivity tends to increase, making it difficult to enjoy some of your favorite cold or hot treats.

Sugary sweets aren’t the only foods that can cause cavities.

A commonly known fact is that a diet full of sugar typically results in more cavities. But a misconception is that sugar is the only cavity culprit. The truth is, many foods can affect oral health and contribute to decay. For example, foods high in carbohydrates like bread, pasta, and pretzels can feed bacteria in the mouth and cause cavities. Carbohydrates break down into simple sugars when eaten. Bacteria then feed on these sugars and eliminate an acidic byproduct. This acid then eats away at the protective tooth enamel, leaving teeth exposed to decay.

Bleeding gums are NOT normal.

Many people think that seeing a bit of blood in your sink as you brush or floss your teeth is normal. The truth is, no amount of blood is normal. Bleeding gums can be one of the first signs of gum disease which is a serious oral health problem that may not only lead to tooth loss, but can also affect the rest of the body. Gum disease has been linked to several systemic problems including diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

Dry mouth can be a big problem.

We’ve all experienced some form of dry mouth before, whether as a result of being dehydrated or as a chronic issue. Having dry mouth that doesn’t go away could be dangerous for your overall oral health. A dry mouth is a sign that your body isn’t producing enough saliva to keep the mouth moist and rinse away bacteria. Without saliva there to do its job, bacteria is left to linger around, produce acid, and cause cavities.

If it’s time for your bi-annual dental cleaning and exam, call our Franklin dental office to schedule an appointment.  

back to school baby

At our dental office in Franklin, we believe preventive dentistry is the best way to protect our patients’ smiles. That’s one reason we always recommend seeing us at least every six months. And when it comes to the children in our community, we also believe in getting each one of them a dental checkup before school starts.

There are numerous reasons why a dental cleaning and exam are important for kids’ smiles, especially before embarking on a new school year. Let’s take a closer look at the top three reasons why you should add a dental visit to your back to school checklist.  

It’s About More Than Oral Health

It’s the mission of your dentist in Franklin to keep our neighbors’ mouths and bodies healthy. One way we do that is through regular exams and cleanings that allow us to identify and treat any problems early, before they have a chance to affect overall wellness. Some of the whole-body concerns that have been linked to poor oral health include:

Less Time Out of Class

We know how hard it is for kids to maintain perfect attendance throughout an entire school year. Things like the flu and the common cold happen and require children to miss class. However, dental problems are also a common reason for absence. In fact, the American Journal of Public Health Dentistry reports that of the six days of school missed each year on average, two of them were because of a dental related issue. Seeing the dentist before school begins can cut back on those oral health problems and help keep kids in the classroom.

A Healthy Mouth = Healthy Grades

If kids are missing school, they aren’t learning, and if kids aren’t learning, passing tests becomes increasingly difficult. There’s also a risk of kids becoming distracted by the pain brought on by a toothache or cavity during class.  Preventive dental care can help diagnose cavities early, before they become painful, and sealants can protect teeth from future decay.

At-Home Care is Important, Too

Getting a back to school dental checkup is a great way to check for any potential oral health problems that could keep kids out of class and potentially lead to other whole-body concerns. But it doesn’t stop there. Practicing good oral hygiene habits at home can go a long way in ensuring your child’s smile remains healthy all year long. A proper brushing and flossing routine consists of brushing gently in soft circles twice a day and flossing in between teeth once a day. You can help your child follow these good habits by doing them with him each morning and every night.

If your family doesn’t have a dentist, we welcome you to call our Franklin dental office to schedule an appointment.  

woman opening bottle with teeth

At our dental office in Franklin, we like to focus on preventive dental care to ensure the health of our neighbors. This usually means seeing us for regular dental visits at least every six months and following a proper hygiene routine at home. But there are other things you may be doing on a daily basis that are harming your smile and you don’t even know it. In this week’s blog, we’d like to cover the top 10 most common habits that ruin teeth.

  • Brushing Too HardYour dentist in Franklin recommends brushing your teeth twice a day using small, gentle circles. If you vigorously scrub away at teeth, you can damage gum tissue and cause it to recede, making teeth super sensitive.
  • Crunching Ice CubesIce cubes are hard and aren’t meant for crunching. Their tough texture can cause you to break teeth, damage dental restorations, or create tiny chips in the enamel where bacteria can thrive.
  • Eating LemonsThese bright yellow fruits are packed with acid, and when the acid comes in contact with teeth, it can easily erode enamel.
  • Biting NailsThe angle your jaw adjusts to while nail biting can cause problems with your jaw, also known as TMJ or TMD. Nail biting may also result in chipped teeth.
  • Using Teeth as ToolsYour teeth are meant for chewing, not opening packets or holding things. When they are used in this manner, cracked teeth are incredibly common.
  • Playing Sports without a MouthguardPlaying any sport without a mouthguard isn’t only potential dangerous for your smile, it’s also dangerous for your brain. Mouthguards protect teeth from elbows, hockey pucks, or baseballs and can help minimize the risk of concussions.
  • Drinking SodaSoft drinks are usually packed with sugar, and as we all know, sugar is terrible for teeth. When sugar is in a liquid format as in soda, it can be even more damaging since it’s being exposed to the entire mouth, usually over a long period of time.
  • Chewing on PencilsJust like you should use your teeth as tools, you also shouldn’t hold or chew on your writing utensils. Pencils and pens alike are hard and can damage teeth pretty easily.
  • Smoking or Using TobaccoNot only is tobacco use bad for overall health, it’s also detrimental for oral health. Smoking or chewing tobacco can discolor teeth and has been linked to gum disease and oral cancer.
  • Clenching or Grinding TeethWhether you clench or grind out of stress or while you sleep, you’re essentially banging your teeth together over and over again. Habitually clenching or grinding can result in broken teeth or jaw problems(TMJ).

If you found yourself identifying with any of the habits above, we would encourage you to work on breaking them. In the meantime, if you happen to damage your teeth, whether from a bad habit or any other reason, we’ll be happy to get you back to smiling. Give our Franklin dental office a call to schedule an appointment.

woman indicates gum irritation

Receding gums is one of the most common ailments that the patients at our dental office in Franklin experience. While gum recession is treatable, it can still be painful and sometimes scary to wonder what is going on inside your mouth. In this blog, we’re going to cover how to spot signs of gum recession and some of the reasons as to why this happens in the first place.

Why Do Gum Recede?

Let’s first take a look at why gum recession happens so we can better understand what it is and how to prevent it. While there are numerous causes to gum recession, some even out of our control, the most common reasons tend to be:

Knowing this, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of receding gums. First, make sure you’re brushing and flossing everyday. Next, make sure that when you do brush you’re using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a gentle circular motion. Stopping the use of tobacco will not only lower your risk of gum recession but also all kinds of cancer, tooth loss, and stained teeth. While you can’t do much about your genetics, you can do something about catching any dental problems, including gum recession, early.

Recognize the Signs of Gum Recession

The best way to catch gum recession is to make sure you see your dentist in Franklin at least every six months. Regular visits help get a trained eye on your oral health and it’s the ideal way to identify any dental problems early when treatment tends to be more successful. But dental visits aren’t the only way to help protect your oral health. There are things you can monitor at home in between visits too. Keep a lookout for any of the following and notify your dentist of any concerns:

  • Tiny indentations in the teeth close to the gum line
  • Teeth that appear longer
  • Sensitive teeth

What Happens if Gum Recession Isn’t Treated?

Obviously we’re big fans of getting treatment for gum recession (or any other oral health concern). But why are we in favor of it so much? Because of the wide-spread problems that can happen if treatment doesn’t happen, including:

  • Severe inflammation and tooth pain
  • Increased susceptibility to bacteria
  • Eventual tooth loss

If you suspect that your gums are receding, we’d love to help. Call our Franklin dental office to schedule an appointment.