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Are Dental Implants Right for Me?

dental implant illustration demonstrating the procedure

If you’re considering dental implants, it’s important to know in advance how they work and why they might not be the right tooth replacement solution for everyone. In this post, we’ll fill you in, we’ll offer some alternatives that work wonders for people who can’t receive implants.

What Is an Implant?

A dental implant is a screw-like item, made of strong and safe titanium, that is inserted into the jaw bone in the area where the tooth is missing. After it’s inserted, the area is given time to heal, during which the implant itself fuses with the jaw bone. Once the healing is complete, the patient will go back to the dentist to have a custom-made false tooth attached to the implant, giving them a new tooth that looks and feels exactly like the real thing. Because of the way in which the implant fuses with the jaw bone, dental implants boast an incredibly sturdy, durable base.

Who Can’t Get a Dental Implant?

If you’re interested in a dental implant, your dentist will give your mouth a thorough exam to ensure that the procedure will be a success. Implants are very popular, and almost anyone can get one, but there are some circumstances that may make the dentist consider an alternate tooth replacement option. If the patient’s jaw bone is compromised, they may not be able to successfully house a dental implant. In some cases a bone graft can be done, in others a different tooth replacement method will be chosen. Additionally, patients with osteoporosis, certain chronic illnesses, and severe gum disease may be better suited to a different procedure. In addition to the overall condition of the mouth, budget is often a consideration when deciding whether or not to go for a dental implant.

Restorative Dentistry at Mint Dental Care

Here at Mint Dental Care, we offer tooth replacement options, including dental implants. If we decide that dental implants aren’t the way for you to go, we’ve got great alternatives to explore. When you come in for a consultation, we can weigh the benefits of implants, dentures, bridges, crowns, and more, and work with you to choose the solution that serves your unique needs.

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How Can I Prevent Cavities?

Nobody wants cavities. They start out small, but if untreated, they only get bigger. The decay spreads and causes serious problems. The best way to deal with cavities is to prevent them from even starting. How? Here are five ways:

1. Watch What You Eat & Drink

All food can cause cavities, because the bacteria in your mouth eat whatever you eat, and create plaque, tartar, and acid. However, certain foods are more bothersome than others. Bacteria loves sugar and refined carbs, so if your diet is heavy with those, you are more likely to get cavities. Nutrient-rich foods like fresh fruit and vegetables are much better for your teeth and your body in general. Raw fruits like apple and celery can even help break down plaque on your teeth before it hardens into tartar. For beverages, water is naturally the best, while drinks packed with sugar (like soda and many energy drinks) are the worst.

man wearing a bathrobe brushing his teeth to prevent cavities

2. Have a Consistent Brushing/Flossing Routine

The best way to prevent cavities is to take care of your teeth and gums through brushing and flossing. We recommend brushing at least twice per day for two minutes each time. Flossing can be a once-a-day habit, so you can prevent cavities from forming because of plaque found in the tiny spaces between the teeth. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, too! Lots of bacteria like to live on your tongue’s surface, and if you don’t clean them away, they spread to your teeth. Replace your brush every 3 months or so, since the bristles of brushes wear down and aren’t as effective at cleaning.

3. Use a Toothpaste with Fluoride

Fluoride is a natural element, and it’s been well-established that small amounts of it strengthen your teeth. You can get toothpastes with fluoride or a fluoride rinse to keep your teeth in the best shape possible. If you are at special risk for cavities, fluoride toothpaste and rinses are an especially good addition to your oral health routine.

4. Don’t Chew Tobacco or Smoke

Tobacco products have been linked with increased risk of tooth decay. Studies show people using smokeless tobacco are especially vulnerable to cavities at the gumline. While chewing tobacco raises your risk the most (which makes sense considering the stuff is right in your mouth), smoking is also dangerous for your oral health.

5. Go to the Dentist Twice a Year

After a solid brushing/flossing routine at home and other lifestyle choices that keep your teeth healthy, going to the dentist bi-annually is the best way to prevent cavities. Dr. McCord, Dr. Knox, and the team at Mint Dental Care are here to give your teeth a professional cleaning and catch any problems before they become serious. We can see your mouth and teeth much more thoroughly than you can, and provide expert care and advice on how to keep cavities at bay.

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Will Lemonade & Other Citrus Drinks Erode Teeth?

citrus drinks in jars with straws can harm teeth

In addition to regular brushing and flossing, your diet is an integral part of your oral health. While you probably know that sugary sodas can damage teeth and make you more susceptible to cavities, sodas aren’t the only beverages that can erode your teeth. Today, we want to talk about the impact that citrusy drinks like orange juice or lemonade can have on your pearly whites.

How Does Citrus Impact Teeth?

While citrus has plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are good for health, it can also damage your teeth. How can something be healthy for your body but potentially damaging for your teeth? Well, citrus is also high in citric acid, one of the enemies of healthy teeth.

How Does Acid Damage Teeth?

At any given moment, your mouth is full of bacteria. Some bacteria are beneficial — they break down food as you chew and kick-start your digestive process. Other bacteria are harmful because they break down sugars and starches and produce acid as a by-product. Acid wears away on your tooth enamel and can lead to cavities and other oral health problems as a result. When you consume additional acid (citric acid, for example) on top of the acid your body already produces, you can speed up enamel erosion.

Without proper oral hygiene, acid can mix with bacteria to form bacterial plaque. This substance sticks to teeth, erodes enamel, and can harden into tartar if left untreated. Not only does bacterial plaque lead to more cavities, it can irritate gums and cause the early stages of gum disease.

How Can You Limit the Impact of Citric Acid on Teeth?

Practice good oral hygiene routine at home to limit the impact of citric acid on your teeth. Additionally, visit our office regularly for professional cleanings and dental exams. To ask our team any questions about the impact of citrus on your oral health or to schedule your next visit, call us today!

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Tips to Improve Oral Health

young woman looking in the mirror brushing her teeth

New season, new school year, new you! With our help, it’s time for you to recommit to your oral care. In this blog post, we’ll go over some simple things you can do to improve your oral health.

Perfect Your Dental Routine

Here’s what you need to do at home in order to keep your teeth healthy. Be sure to brush at least twice per day. When you brush it should be for a full two minutes. Set a timer if you need to, this time is important. Brush gently so as not to inflict damage on your teeth and gums. Flossing is just as important as brushing, so don’t skip it. It’s crucial that you get at those hard to reach areas that a toothbrush just can’t access.

Favor Tooth-Healthy Foods

You probably know the most important rule: go easy on the sugar. The same goes for starchy, carb-laden foods. Sugar and carbs will feed the bacteria that creates plaque on your teeth. Plaque, in turn, eats away at your protective enamel, causing damage and decay. What can you eat? Fruits and veggies are always smart choices, dairy and nuts are great too.

Use Flouride

If you’re not already incorporating fluoride into your tooth care regimen, go ahead and start. A fluoride toothpaste or rinse will have a positive impact on your oral health. Fluoride is a material that is naturally occurring, and it’s safe for use on your teeth. It makes your tooth enamel stronger. Enamel is the thin but hard outer layer of the tooth that protects the inside of the tooth from decay, infection, and other damage.

Biannual Visits to Mint Dental Care

Without regular visits to the dentist, there’s no way to ensure your oral health. When you visit our office, we give your teeth a deep, professional clean, and examine your mouth for any issues that may need to be addressed.

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Is It Normal to Lose Teeth As We Age?

As you age, you’ll likely notice some changes in your mouth. In this post we’ll help you understand what’s normal, and what you can do to make sure your mouth stays healthy as you get older.

four seniors concerned about tooth loss as they age

What Causes Tooth Loss?

Although it is more common to lose teeth when we’re older, it isn’t necessarily something that has to happen. With good oral care, you should be able to keep all or most of your natural teeth well into old age. When we see tooth loss in seniors, it usually stems from poor oral care, poor diet, or a combination of both factors.

Preventing Tooth Loss

Unfortunately, some people tend to want to abandon their oral care habits as they get older. This is a no-no if you want to keep your teeth. Maintain a vigilant oral care routine, brushing twice daily and flossing once every day. Eat healthy and see your dentist regularly. Dental visits are really key to maintaining oral health as we age, as the dentist can pinpoint and address early signs of decay, let you know how your medications may be affecting your oral health, and help you treat common issues such as dry mouth.

Tooth Replacement Options

Tooth loss happens, and when it does there are plenty of comfortable options to replace the missing tooth or teeth. Implants are a favored solution to single missing teeth, especially because they look and feel just like the real thing. Partial dentures or bridges are a fantastic solution to a group of missing teeth, and dentures can be used to replace a full set. If you have experienced tooth loss, your dentist will walk you through the options that are best suited to you and your budget.

Oral Care for All Ages at Mint Dental Care

As we said, seeing your dentist is one of the most important things you can do for your health as you age. If you have lapsed in your visits, it’s time to give us a call! We look forward to seeing you at our office soon.

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Electric vs. Manual Toothbrush

Rethinking your toothbrush? You brush your teeth daily and your oral care is a key part of our overall health and well-being—you want to make sure you are using the best possible tool to get the job done! Read on to learn the merits of both options: electric and manual.

Traditional Toothbrush

Humans figured out centuries ago how important dental care is. We have been using a toothbrush in some form or another since ancient times. Today’s manual toothbrush remains pretty basic, but it gets the job done. Many people have chosen to stand by their manual toothbrush for a variety of reasons, chief among them the brush’s portability and price point. If you’re a gentle and regular brusher, a manual toothbrush is a fine choice!

electric and manual toothbrushes

Electric Toothbrush

When it comes to electric toothbrushes, your decision gets a little bit more complicated. There are tons of brands and models available including a whole array of different features like a built in timer, a pressure sensor, and a subscription brush head delivery service. The best thing about an electric toothbrush is that the oscillating and spinning motions do most of the work for you, you simply guide the brush. That makes electric options a great fit for kids and people with limited mobility, arthritis, and other issues.

The Verdict

While electric toothbrushes boast a variety of features that can make brushing easier or even more pleasant, especially for certain users, most dentists will agree that as long as you are brushing and flossing as recommended, and seeing your dentist for a biannual cleaning and exam, the choice is yours.

Still having trouble deciding what to buy? Talk to us. Our knowledgeable staff here at Mint Dental Care is always happy to give recommendations as to the best dental products for you and your family.

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How Long Do Dentures Last?

Not only do missing teeth impact your smile, they can also affect your ability to talk and chew. At Mint Dental, we use both dentures and dental implants to treat missing teeth. When you’re deciding which treatment is right for you, you should consider your goals, your oral health history, and the convenience you want from your treatment.

types of dentures full and partial

If you thought dentures were just for older folks, think again. Dentures are an affordable treatment for missing teeth that are more comfortable and natural-looking than ever before. To help you decide whether dentures are right for you, we’ve put together the following information about dentures.

Dentures Adapt to Your Needs

Dr. McCord does not use a one-size-fits-all approach to dentures. Depending on the amount of teeth you are missing, we may decide to use full or partial dentures. Full dentures replace an entire arch of teeth, while partial dentures may replace just a few missing teeth. Both full and partial dentures have a gum-colored base that fits over your gums and holds your dentures in place.

Caring for Your Dentures

Modern dental technology has made dentures more comfortable and durable than ever. However, they can get stained and suffer damage as a result of wear and tear, just like your natural teeth. In fact, dentures can last up to fifteen years with proper care! To ensure your dentures last, you’ll need to brush them after you eat, take them out overnight so they can deep clean, and bring them along during your regular office visits for cleanings and exams.

Will People Be Able to Tell That I’m Wearing Dentures?

When we create dentures for our patients, we carefully match the shade of false teeth to match your natural teeth. We also match the acrylic base of dentures to the shade of your gums. This helps dentures blend in with your natural smile! To ask our team any questions about dentures or to schedule a consultation, contact our office today!

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5 Interesting Facts About Tongues

How often do you think about your tongue? Not only is this oft-forgotten muscle super important to great oral health, it’s also just plain interesting! Read on for some fascinating facts about your tongue that you probably didn’t know.

girl sticking out her tongue

1. Like Fingerprints, Everyone’s Tongue Print Is Different

Your tongue is uniquely your own, there’s no other one just like it. In fact, your entire set of teeth is also completely unique to you. Even identical twins don’t have the same sets of teeth. This is why dental records can be used, if needed, to identify human remains.

2. Tongues Are Three Inches on Average

Ever tried to touch your tongue to your nose? If you can do it, maybe your tongue is a bit longer than average. Most tongues measure three inches in length, from the back of the tongue to the tip. The record for longest tongue? It’s currently 3.98 inches, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

3. The Tongue Contains Thousands of Taste buds

Your tongue is covered with thousands of taste buds, ranging anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000. Many people assume that the little bumps on their tongue are taste buds, but those bumps are actually called papillae. Each contains around six taste buds. Generally, taste buds can’t be seen with the naked eye.

4. The Tongue Is Made Up Of Eight Muscles

Another misconception is that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body, but this can’t be true. The tongue is made up of multiple muscles–eight to be exact. The muscles serve different purposes, and they allow the tongue to change shape and position, giving the tongue remarkable flexibility and stamina. The tongue is incredibly strong though, consider just how often you use it.

5. The Tongue Can Be a Window Into Your Health & Wellness

The appearance of your tongue can give your doctor clues to what’s going on in your body. White patches, for example, may indicate a fungal infection called thrush, or a red, blistered tongue could be a sign of dry mouth. A healthy tongue should generally be a shade of pink.

Pay Attention to Your Tongue!

The health of your tongue is an important component of your oral health. Without proper care, bacteria can accumulate on the surface, leading to bad breath and the spread of bacteria and eventual tooth decay. Invest in a tongue scraper or use your toothbrush to give your tongue a good daily scrub.

Don’t forget to visit our office for regular checkups and cleanings. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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What’s the Best Way to Whiten Teeth?

A bright, white smile can be a game-changer. Not only do white teeth help your smile shine, they can also give you the confidence to smile freely. At Mint Dental Care, our patients often ask us about the best way to whiten teeth. The answer depends on your schedule and your goals for your smile. We offer three different whitening options: one-size whitening trays, custom trays, and one-visit whitening.

woman inserting teeth whitening trays

One-Size Tray Whitening

For folks who want an affordable, low-fuss option, one-size whitening trays are a great fit. Our team will provide you with premade trays and bleaching gel to use at home on your own schedule.

Custom Tray Whitening

This individualized treatment involves creating a custom tray to fit your teeth. First, we take an impression of your mouth and then custom-create your tray. A snug fit is important, as it keeps the bleaching gel from leaking while being more comfortable to wear. Again, you’ll have the convenience of whitening your teeth at home on your own schedule.

One-Visit Whitening

If you can’t wait another day for whiter teeth, one-visit whitening is the treatment for you. Our team will complete your professional whitening treatment in just one visit. Another benefit of one-visit whitening is that Dr. McCord and our team are able to closely monitor your teeth as you receive the treatment.

Any one of our professional whitening services can give you the smile you’ve always wanted. Because our whitening products are professional-grade, they are much safer and more effective than products you can buy at the drugstore or homemade remedies. In fact, certain homemade remedies said to whiten teeth, like lemon juice or activated charcoal, can actually damage your enamel.

No matter your goals for your smile, we want to help. To ask our team any questions about our whitening services or to schedule a consultation, contact our office today!

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Can Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth Alleviate Discomfort?

These days, there are a variety of brands of toothpaste available at your local grocery store or pharmacy. It can be hard to decide which type is best for you. If you’ve been dealing with tooth sensitivity, you might want to consider switching to a toothpaste that helps with this problem.

big red toothbrush with toothpaste

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

There are many reasons why you might be experiencing a dull, achy pain in your teeth. Cavities, chronic teeth clenching, and eating hot, cold, or acidic foods can all cause teeth to feel discomfort. This is because the wearing away of the enamel (the outer layer of the tooth) leads to exposure of the underlying layer of the tooth (the dentin). The dentin contains microscopic tubules that are covered in nerve endings. This means that when the dentin becomes exposed due to enamel erosion, discomfort and pain may follow.

What Can Be Done to Help Sensitive Teeth?

If you’ve noticed sensitive teeth for more than a few days, we’d like you to call us. If the pain is being caused by a cavity or teeth clenching, we’ll want to get you an appointment for filling or get you fitted for a night guard. If there is no obvious cause to your sensitivity, we will recommend a few adjustments to your routine, including using a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.

How does Sensitive Toothpaste Work?

Toothpastes made for sensitive teeth are very effective. They include ingredients that block nerve ending receptivity in the exposed dentin. This means less pain and discomfort. We’ll recommend you use this toothpaste for at least a month or until symptoms improve. Your toothpaste should also contain fluoride. This will help to strengthen and remineralize your teeth, helping to slow down enamel erosion and protect the dentin from further exposure.

If you have new or worsening pain in your teeth, we’d like you to call us right away. We’ll set up an appointment to find out what’s causing your sensitive teeth and get you on the road to recovery. Don’t let tooth pain stop you from eating your favorite foods! Contact us today.

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