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 Hard – Your 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 Cubes – Ice 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 Lemons – These bright yellow fruits are packed with acid, and when the acid comes in contact with teeth, it can easily erode enamel.
- Biting Nails – The 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 Tools – Your 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 Mouthguard – Playing 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 Soda – Soft 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 Pencils – Just 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 Tobacco – Not 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 Teeth – Whether 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.
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.
Did you know that your teeth actually tell a fairly accurate, somewhat detailed story about who you are? They can give away your age, your hygiene habits, and so much more. At our dental office in Franklin, we love meeting and treating smiles of all ages for this very reason. Now let’s take a moment to find out what your teeth are trying to tell you!
What’s Your Dental Identity?
The way your teeth are shaped and even positioned can reveal the details about your personal dental identity. Here’s how it all breaks down:
- Central Incisors – These bad boys are always front and center acting as your front teeth. They also reveal your age. Younger people tend to have rounded corners on their incisors, while the other generation will have short more square-shaped teeth.
- Lateral Incisors – Meet your front tooth’s next door neighbor! Like the rest of your teeth, they need to look good and function well help you break down food and stay healthy. Did you know they also reveal your gender? Our Franklin dental office has found that these teeth tend to be more rounded in women while men’s laterals are square and long.
- Canines – Last but not least are your canines! They’re next to your laterals and, while their name may suggest otherwise, should not resemble the fang-shaped teeth commonly found on our furry friends. It’s been said that these teeth have the ability to tell someone about your personality, depending on their unique shape. Pointier, longer teeth can signify aggression. Flattened or rounded tips show passiveness. Smaller teeth can indicate shyness.
Are Your Teeth Feeling The Grind?
Do you grind your teeth? Do you maybe grind your teeth in your sleep and not even know you’re doing it? Well, if so your teeth can tell the truth! Grinding or bruxism is usually a sign of stress, anger, and anxiety. Your teeth may be showings signs of wear such as chips or breakage, this could mean you’re grinding whether or not you even know you’re doing it!
Aside from personality traits, gender, or habits, your smile really does say so much about who you are. That’s why your dentist in Franklin wants to make sure your teeth are always healthy and functioning at peak performance. Do you have questions about what your teeth may be trying to tell you, or just want to learn more? Give us a call!
Has it been a few months or a few years since you’ve seen a dentist? It’s OK. Really! Going to the dentist, no matter how long it’s been since your last checkup, should never be a discomforting or unnerving experience. My dental office in Franklin will make sure you feel comfortable and at home from the moment you walk in the door. No matter what the reason may be for your lapse in treatment, there’s no time better than now to see a dentist and get checked out.
No Lectures, Please
No matter what age you are, getting lectured can be anything but fun. This is extremely true at the dentist’s office. We understand that life gets busy and things happen that prevent you from coming to the dentist, so our office is a lecture-free zone. It’s actually pretty common for folks who are behind in their dental care to come to us to catch up.
There are just a few things you need to remember before you come to your first visit:
X-rays and Records
It never hurts to contact your previous dentist to obtain your dental health files. We know that this may be difficult due to circumstances out of your control, but it’s worth checking into before your visit. If you’re not able to get a copy of your records sent to us prior to your visit, don’t panic! We will gather all the information we need when you come to see us!
Questions and Concerns
Please make sure to bring a list of any questions or issues you may have. Your initial appointment will include an exam, x-rays, etc. And your dentist in Franklin will also talk with you about what you hope to fix and/or achieve for your smile. We can discuss possible treatment options that work for your schedule and your budget, without pressure.
It’s important to remember that if it’s been awhile since you’ve seen the dentist, there’s a good possibility that you have a cavity or two. There’s no reason to be afraid or anxious. Cavities are pretty common and are easy to fix in a short amount of time. It doesn’t get much better than that!
We know you and your smile will feel so much healthier following your visit. My Franklin dental office is proud of you for making the commitment to your oral and overall health. Scheduling your appointment is easy. Just give us a call and we’ll take care of the rest!
At our dental office in Franklin, you’ll hear us talk a lot about the importance of regular dental cleanings at least every six months as well as having a healthy at-home oral hygiene routine of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. But besides keeping your teeth clean, there’s another way you can help ensure your mouth stays healthy… and that’s by avoiding foods that can damage teeth.
The Scary Six
- Popcorn. Some of the most common food related dental damage comes from popcorn. Although it’s popped and mostly airy, there’s always the risk of hitting the occasional hidden kernel. Popcorn kernels are really hard and if they’re bitten with force, the chance of having a tooth crack or chip is high. The pesky husks can also cause problems by getting wedged deep in the gums. If they’re not removed, an infection may occur.
- Olives. Well, the olives themselves aren’t exactly the problem. It’s more about the pit that’s sometimes left in place. Where the real danger comes into play is when you’re unsure if the pit is still stuck in the middle or not. When this is the case, take your time and explore the olives, checking for any potential tooth-cracking pits.
- Caramels. Caramels have two dangerous aspects to them: the sugar and the texture. Ooey gooey caramels tend to linger on teeth for a long time, exposing them to damaging sugar until it’s removed. The super sticky texture can also be difficult to tear or chew which may loosen fillings or other restorations.
- Ice Cubes. Although they’re refreshing on a hot summer day, ice cubes are meant to cool a drink, not to be chewed. These frozen cubes have an especially hard texture which can also lead to dental damage like large chips or even tiny cracks you may not even notice at first.
- Other Frozen Food. Besides ice cubes, other frozen treats, like frozen candy bars for example, can be especially dangerous. They take the worst of both ice cubes (hard) and caramels (chewy and sweet) and put them into one damaging food.
- Breads. We know you’re thinking that bread is soft, so how can this be on the list? And you’d be right that most bread is soft, but there are some types of bread such as baguettes that are extra crispy and can be hard on teeth while ripping, tearing, or chewing it.
If you do happen to sustain some tooth damage by eating any of these top culprits, or perhaps something we haven’t listed, we welcome you to call our Franklin dental office as soon as possible. The sooner we’re able to diagnose the damage, the quicker and easier treatment will be. Don’t wait, call today.
We get asked a lot of questions at our dental office in Franklin, and we don’t mind answering them one bit! We believe that the more our patients know, the healthier their smiles will be. One of our more frequent requests is for more information on dental x-rays – why we use them, different types, and especially their safety.
The 3 Most Common Types of Dental X-Rays
There are several different types of x-rays that your dentist in Franklin may use to look at various parts of the mouth’s anatomy. Each type is used for a different reason and can show different problems. Let’s take a look at each one.
- Bitewing X-rays. These x-rays are helpful in catching cavities early on as they allow the dentist to see places in between teeth that are not visible to the naked eye. Bitewing x-rays can also help identify variations in bone density caused by gum disease as well as help catch any excessive wear in restorations like fillings.
- Periapical X-rays. Along with bitewings, periapical x-rays are quite common. The images obtained through this type of x-ray show the entire tooth — from the top of the crown to the tip of the roots. This allows your dentist to examine each tooth’s individual structure and bone level. Periapical x-rays can also help catch cysts and abscesses.
- Panoramic X-rays. Panoramic x-rays show the entire set of teeth, both top and bottom and from left to right, in one photo. They can also display the jaw joints as well as the upper sinuses. These photos can help determine if wisdom teeth are impacted and can even help diagnose a tumor.
Are Dental X-Rays Safe?
Safety is our top priority with everything we do, including x-rays. Advancements in technology have reduced exposure to the already low amount of radiation emitted by dental x-rays. Additional preventive measures, such as the use of lead vests, are also taken to help limit the exposure even farther. We try to follow the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principle which basically says that dental professionals should limit x-rays to only when necessary in order to achieve proper diagnosis and aid in successful treatment.
How often you should get dental x-rays taken depends on a variety of factors. The team at our Franklin dental office will take a look at your oral health and any history of dental problems to determine how often you should have x-rays taken. If there’s been a history of cavities or a higher risk of decay, x-rays twice a year may be appropriate.
Nobody likes talking about any type of cancer. It’s a scary epidemic that continues to take the lives of thousands each and every year. Oral cancer, specifically, is a fairly common type of cancer in the United States with over 45,000 cases diagnosed every year. Of those diagnosed, about 9,700 will lose their battles with the disease. At our Franklin dental office, we want to take time during Oral Cancer Awareness Month to educate our patients and neighbors on the risk factors and signs of oral cancer, and why it’s so important to catch it early.
The Importance of Early Detection
Oral cancer is very treatable when caught early, which is one of the reasons that maintaining appointments with your dentist is so important. In between your dental visits, it’s best to know the early signs of oral cancer so you’re able to seek treatment quickly.
Recognize the Signs
Oral cancer can develop anywhere from the lips, tongue, and cheeks to in and around the throat. But sometimes diagnosis can be tricky. A lot of oral cancer symptoms can easily be mistaken for other problems. If you recognize any of these signs, call your dentist in Franklin immediately to schedule an oral cancer screening:
- Chronic bad breath
- A sore or several sores that don’t go away
- A lump on the cheek
- Difficulty swallowing
- Changes in your voice
Know the Risks
There are several lifestyle and hereditary factors that can increase someone’s risk of developing oral cancer. Please know that while these are common risk factors, anyone can develop oral cancer even if none apply to them.
- Gender: Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women.
- Age: The majority of oral cancer patients are over the age of 55 and on average, most people are diagnosed at 62.
- Tobacco: Nearly 80% of oral cancer diagnoses are in tobacco users.
- Alcohol: About 70% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers.
- Tobacco & Alcohol Combo: Those who use tobacco and drink heavily have a 15 times greater risk.
This Oral Cancer Awareness Month, take control of those risk factors that you CAN change and quit smoking, chewing tobacco, or using alcohol excessively. If you have other questions about oral cancer, call our dental office in Franklin.
Welcoming patients from Franklin, Brentwood, Nashville
Sometimes we get asked why certain patients have more difficulty getting numb before a dental procedure than other people. At our dental office in Franklin, we wish we could provide one, solid answer as to why this happens. But the truth is, the reason can vary from person to person, and even from dentist to dentist.
Reason #1: It’s Not You, It’s Us
While nobody likes to admit when they’ve made a mistake, the truth in everything is that mistakes do happen. Including during administration of a numbing agent. Most dentists have more than enough experience, training, and education to get it right most of the time. But if we miss, please know that we don’t like giving you additional injections any more than you like receiving them. We will always do everything possible to keep you relaxed, comfortable, and free of pain during each and every visit, even if we do need to give it another shot (pun intended).
Reason #2: It’s Not Me, It’s You
Now that we’ve established that your Franklin dentist may accidentally miss the mark, we need to talk about why it’s so important for you to stay as still as possible during the injection. If you flinch or jump, there’s a chance the anesthetic won’t hit the right spot. We know it’s not what anyone really wants to do, but we promise to make it as quick and painless as possible.
Your body can also be the anti-numbing culprit in a variety of ways. First, some people react to the numbing agent differently, and their bodies remove it from the system too quickly. If this happens, you may not get numb at all or only numb for a small period of time. Another possible explanation could be your anatomy. While we know pretty much exactly where each nerve is supposed to be, sometimes we find a patient whose nerve positioning is shifted slightly. So when we think we’re hitting the spot right on, we’re actually not.
Reason #3: It’s Neither of Us, It’s Your Nerves
If you have a tooth that hurts a lot, your nerves don’t behave like they normally do. Sometimes known as a ‘hot tooth,’ an area that’s particularly painful could have nerves that are either overactive or have actually added on additional receptors. Whichever may be the case, both situations require more anesthetic and could make it more difficult to become numb.
We never want our patients to be uncomfortable while in our Franklin dental office. If you’ve had trouble getting numb in the past, please let us know. We’ll go out of our way to ensure you’re completely relaxed and pain free at all of your visits.
Accepting new patients from Franklin, Brentwood, Nashville and beyond.
Nobody ever wants to experience an emergency of any kind, and dental emergencies can be particularly concerning and confusing. What’s the right thing to do? What shouldn’t you do? Don’t worry, our dental office in Franklin is here to help.
Different Emergencies Require Different Care
Not all dental emergencies should be handled the same way, so we’ve outlined some of the most common emergencies and what you can do if they happen to you or a family member. No matter what type of emergency you have, a good rule of thumb is to call your Franklin dentist as soon as you can.
Chipped or Broken Tooth – First, rinse the mouth and any broken pieces you happen to find with warm water. If there’s blood involved, apply gauze and a bit of pressure to help stop it. Swelling and pain can be reduced with a cold compress.
Knocked Out Tooth – The key to saving a knocked out tooth is to find it as quickly as possible. Once you do, make sure to only touch the tooth crown, not the roots. You can then try to replace the tooth into the socket. If that’s not working, place the tooth in a glass of milk and get to a dentist. Your tooth has the best chance of survival if it’s returned to the socket within an hour.
Toothache – A toothache is typically a sign of a bigger problem and shouldn’t be ignored. Get to your dentist as soon as you can. In the meantime, relieve pain with a cold compress and some medicine. A quick rinse with warm salt water can help too. Whatever you do, do NOT place aspirin directly on the gums as it can cause tissue damage.
Lost Filling – If a filling falls out, it may cause pain because essentially there’s now a hole in your tooth. While you’re waiting to get to the dentist you can buy dental cement at most drugstores that can fill the space. If that’s not an option, a piece of sugarless gum is a short-term fix. Do NOT use gum with sugar as that will increase the pain
At our Franklin dental office, we’re in the business of keeping smiles healthy, and we never want one of our patients to have a dental emergency. But the truth is, emergencies happen. When they do, we welcome you to call our office for help.
Accepting patients from Franklin, Brentwood, Nashville and the surrounding areas.
At our Franklin dental office, we love what we do and we find our jobs rewarding. We get to help our patients’ mouths stay healthy, which can directly affect their overall well being, and we even get to see some dramatic smile transformations and change lives. We’d go as far as to say it’s the best job in the world. But how do you know if a career in dentistry could be right for you? Let’s take a glimpse at how you become a dentist and what your job could look like.
What Does a Dentist Do?
You’ve been to a dentist before (or at least we hope!), so you have a basic understanding of what a dentist does. But depending on your own dental experiences, you may not know that a dentist can do a whole lot more than your routine dental exams, x-rays, and sometimes cleanings.
Dentists are responsible for diagnosing problems, developing treatment plans, and treating conditions that affect oral health. They not only look at the health of teeth, but also the gums and the mouth as a whole. Depending on the needs of their patients, dentists’ duties can include removing decayed sections of teeth and replacing them with fillings, eliminating damaged tooth roots and placing a dental crown, and even extracting teeth. They’re a key component to anyone’s medical team and their work is a unique blend of art and science.
Steps to Becoming a Dentist
- Get a Bachelor’s Degree. Most dental schools require a 4 year Bachelor’s degree before admitting students into their doctorate programs. Try to take some classes in biology, chemistry, and other sciences during undergraduate school.
- Pass the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). This exam tests a scholar’s aptitude and knowledge of the sciences. A minimum score is needed to gain entrance into dental school.
- Earn a Dental Degree. In dental school, students will traditionally focus on coursework their first two years, and gain some clinical experience during the final two years.
- Obtain State Licensure. Licensure requirements vary depending on the state you’d like to practice in, but all states require that dentists-to-be pass the National Board of Dental Examinations.
Does the Country Need More Dentists?
If you think dentistry may be the career for you, we have good news. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected job growth for dentists is around 18% through 2024, which is more than double the average growth for other occupations.
At our dental office in Franklin, we encourage anyone exploring a career in dentistry to perform their own research to see if it sounds like something they’ll enjoy doing.
Accepting new patients from Franklin, Brentwood, Nashville and beyond.