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.

young woman smiling

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

anxious woman in dental chair

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.

Cavities
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!

biscotti

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.