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What Happens If I Leave a Cavity Untreated?

Brunette young woman outside hides her mouth with the collar of her brown knitted sweater

It’s always a little unnerving to hear that you have a cavity, especially if you generally take good care of your teeth. Since cavities develop below the surface, it’s hard to notice if you ever even had one at all prior to visiting your dentist. While a filling is the best way to take care of the problem, what happens if you just don’t do anything about it at all?

Why Cavities Develop

A cavity is a source of tooth decay. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth twice a day, you’re allowing bacteria on the surface of your teeth to multiply. When these bacteria consume sugars and starches left behind on your teeth, they release acid that destroys the enamel on your teeth. A cavity forms when acid eats away at the enamel inside, rather than on the very surface of, your teeth.

Cavity Treatment

The best way to treat a cavity is with a filling. Your dentist will clear the decay from your tooth and fill the area with a material to prevent further decay. In the past, dentists used metals like gold, silver, mercury, and zinc to fill teeth, which can be easily detected if you smile. Today, there are more natural-looking fillings made of resin or porcelain so that they are virtually unnoticeable!

What Happens If I Leave a Cavity Untreated?

If you decide to leave a cavity untreated, here is what you can expect:

  • Tooth Sensitivity — Your tooth will feel sensitive to heat and cold exposure, making it difficult to eat and drink your favorite foods.
  • Tooth Pain — Not only will your tooth become more sensitive, but the act of chewing or even talking will become increasingly painful. You will likely feel radiating pain whenever you talk or eat.
  • Tooth Decay — As the bacteria and decay grows down to the root, you may need a root canal or even a tooth extraction in the future. If you do require an extraction, you will have to consider ways to replace your tooth.

Cavity Prevention

Prevention is always better than cure, and that applies to cavities! Brush and floss diligently twice a day, limit your sugar and carb intake, and visit your dentist twice a year for thorough examinations. If you do need a filling, don’t worry. They are quick and can be completed in just one visit, so there’s no need to let a cavity go untreated. Doing so will mean that you will have go through more pain and money to find relief in the future!

From cavity prevention to cosmetic and restorative services, we at Mint Dental are here to help you have the smile of your dreams. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

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Can I Claim Dental Expenses on My Taxes?

laptop on desk next to pen and paper, hand on mousepad

It’s tax season, and that means trying to figure out what you can claim on your taxes. The good news is that yes, you can claim dental expenses on your taxes, just like you can claim medical expenses, but there is some small print.

Adjusted Gross Income

You may deduct qualified medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. According to TurboTax, your adjusted gross income is your income minus any deductions, IRA contributions, student loan interest, etc.

The folks at TurboTax have a great example for finding out how much of a medical and dental deduction you can take.

Say you have a modified adjusted gross income of $45,000 and $5,475 worth of medical expenses. Multiply $45,000 by 0.075 (or 7.5%) to see that only expenses exceeding $3,375 can be deducted. $5,475 minus $3,375 leaves you with a medical expense deduction of $2,100.

Save Your Receipts

In order to deduct expenses, you need to save your receipts as proof. So don’t throw those receipts away! And if you have trouble finding a receipt, you should ask your dental provider for another copy of it as soon as you can. There’s nothing worse than rushing around trying to find receipts in early April.

Items You Can Deduct

Here are some items you can deduct:

  • Dental expenses for you and all your dependents (including your spouse and children)
  • Prescription medications related to your dental expenses
  • Dentures and other dental appliances
  • Travel to and from your dental care (this could be gas bills, a bus ticket, or another form of transportation)

Items You Can’t Deduct:

And here are some items you cannot deduct:

  • Anything that’s already tax-deductible (for instance, anything that has been paid with by your flexible spending account at work)
  • Cosmetic dental procedures (only medically necessary procedures are allowed)
  • Non-prescription medication or treatments (such as toothpaste or mouthwash)

If you have questions about claiming dental expenses on your taxes, give our friendly team a call today and we’ll do our best to help you out. We also suggest you contact a tax professional, or a tax website.

Have dental-related questions?

Dental Benefits of Tea

box with different tea bags

Tea has been a popular drink for thousands of years, and it turns out that this beverage isn’t just delicious but may actually be good for your teeth as well! Here are just a few ways that drinking tea can be beneficial for your dental health.

1. It Freshens Breath

Drinking a strong mint tea can freshen up your breath naturally. Mint tea can also help settle upset stomachs and aids digestion for an added bonus. Enjoy it hot or iced!

2. It Can Prevent Gum Disease

A Japanese study showed that drinking green tea regularly could actually prevent gum disease by promoting healthy, strong, and pain-free gums given its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.

3. It Can Prevent Cavities

Green tea controls the acidity levels in your mouth, which makes it harder for plaque and bacteria to grow on your teeth. This means that it’s also harder to develop tooth decay and tooth loss.

4. It Can Help You Cut Back on Soda and Coffee

Replace sugary sodas and lattes that can actually harm your teeth with a delicious tea. There are plenty of varieties of green, herbal, and black teas out there to appeal to your taste buds, and they can provide the aforementioned health benefits.

5. It May Help Prevent Oral Cancer

Green tea is loaded with healthy flavonoids, which are known for their cancer-fighting properties.

Drinking tea provides incredible benefits to both your dental and overall health. While it cannot replace regular brushing, flossing, and dental examinations, it’s excellent to incorporate into your diet and a surefire way to make your daily dental care routine even easier and more effective. If you are in need of a professional cleaning or exam, or have any other issue to address concerning your dental care, Dr. McCord and the staff at Mint Dental Care would love to hear from you.

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

3 Common Dental Problems

young man with tooth pain holding jaw

At Mint Dental Care, we’re prepared to look at and treat a host of different dental issues, from the routine to full mouth restorations. Some cases, however, are more common than others. Here are the top three common dental problems that patients are eager to treat.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, occurs when plaque and bacteria get trapped under the gums and causes them to become inflamed and infected. Symptoms include red, sore, and bleeding gums. Gum disease can be very painful, and if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. While prevention entails consistent brushing, flossing, and regular dental exams, treatment includes laser gum treatment and root scaling, both of which we offer here at Mint Dental Care.

Cosmetic Issues

Chipped teeth, bite issues, and stained teeth can damage one’s confidence in their smile. There are many cosmetic treatments available to give patients the smiles of their dreams. We offer Invisalign®, dental veneers, and professional teeth whitening so that our patients have plenty of options when it comes to cosmetic treatments.

Missing Teeth

While replacing a missing tooth may seem like a cosmetic issue, there’s more to it than just having a complete smile. Missing teeth can make it harder to talk and chew, and can even make your jaw weaker. Depending on how many teeth you are missing, your dentist may recommend that you get a bridge or dentures. We offer both treatment options at Mint Dental Care for a beautiful and functional smile.

At Mint Dental Care, we want you to have your dream smile, whether that means you simply need a dental cleaning and exam or one of our many specialized services. We also firmly believe in providing affordable care to all of our patients, whether you have insurance or not. If you are dealing with a dental problem, don’t wait to get the care you need!

Have questions about our treatment options or on how to build a dental plan around your budget?

5 Uses for Your Old Toothbrush

green and white toothbrush sitting on counter

Just because you’re due to replace your toothbrush doesn’t mean you have to toss out the old one! Toothbrushes have become convenient tools for a variety of reasons. Here are just five ways to put that old toothbrush to good use.

1. Cleaning Tile Grout and Under Sink Taps

Tile grout can be pesky to clean. It may seem like there isn’t a tool that’s small enough to squeeze into the tight space of the tile and scrub it at the same time, but a toothbrush does just the trick. While you’re at it, go ahead and use your old toothbrush to clean under your sink taps too with a little splash of vinegar.

2. Clean Your Keyboard

It’s so frustrating to get tiny dust and food particles all over your computer or laptop, but we all know that it’s inevitable! Use a toothbrush to scoop crumbs out from in between the keys and keep it handy to prevent further messes.

3. Dye Your Hair

Yes, people have used toothbrushes to help dye their hair! If you’re trying to cover up your roots or pesky greys, use a toothbrush to apply hair dye on those smaller patches of hair for more accurate coverage.

4. Remove Stains from Fabrics

Instead of scrubbing tough stains out of your clothes, carpets, or drapes with just a cloth, use a toothbrush to help get difficult stains out. Just dab a bit of laundry detergent on the stain and let the toothbrush do the rest.

5. Make an Art Project

Give your children a toothbrush to paint with for a different effect than a regular toothbrush. It will make for some cool refrigerator art!

Toothbrushes are versatile objects, but don’t forget that their primary purpose is to keep your teeth clean and healthy! Brushing your teeth twice a day and scheduling a dental visit twice a year are great ways to ward off oral health issues. Here at Mint Dental Care, we offer general, cosmetic, and restorative services for you and your family’s needs.

Contact us to schedule an appointment!

Why Do We Have Canine Teeth?

woman with mouth wide open

It’s almost time for Halloween and that means a lot of people will soon be dressing up as monsters. Many of these will have elongated teeth—think vampires and werewolves for example. These large, pointy teeth are an important part of many monsters’ frightening mystique. Like monsters, humans actually have a few teeth that are longer and pointier than others in our mouth. These are called canine teeth.

What Are Canine Teeth?

Canine teeth are the largest teeth in a mammal’s mouth. They are longer than non-canine teeth and usually pointed at the tip. Most mammals have four canine teeth each, two on the upper jaw and two on the lower jaw. These are called the two mandibular canines and the two maxillary canines.

Why Do We Have Them?

Canine teeth are important for holding and biting food, and specifically for tearing up meat. This was very important in early human development when in order to survive, humans needed to consume as many calories as possible. The easiest way to do this was by eating meat, which needed to be chewed thoroughly.

Most of us are lucky enough not to worry about running around scavenging and hunting our food anymore. And since many people now embrace vegetarianism, we don’t necessarily need our canines to survive. But these specialized teeth certainly make it easier for us when we do eat meat.

The Animal Connection

Animals like dogs or gorillas use canines for fighting and competing for a mate, but we don’t need them for that. In fact, our canine teeth have become smaller over millions of years, as civilization has evolved.

If reading about canine teeth has got you wondering about the state of your own teeth, give our office a call at (479) 202-0025 to speak to our friendly team! We’d be happy to answer any of your questions.

Mint Dental Care is there for all your oral health needs!

Top 5 Most Common Dental Emergencies

man dealing with a painful dental emergency

Dental emergencies can happen to anyone — maybe during an intense game of basketball or while eating a caramel apple at the fair. Whatever the story, your teeth will probably need professional help. While getting to the dentist as soon as possible after an emergency is essential to maintaining your dental health, there are things you can do to prevent further damage. Here are five of the most common dental emergencies with advice for what you can do immediately to help yourself in each situation.

1. Knocked Out Tooth

If you’ve knocked out your tooth accidentally, it’s important to save the tooth so your dentist can reattach it. Rinse the tooth off in water or milk, and safely store the tooth by tucking it inside your check to keep it moist, making sure to keep the root intact. See your dentist as soon as possible so they can assess the damage and decide the best course of action.

2. Cracked Tooth

Call your dentist immediately if your tooth is fractured or cracked. Take over-the-counter pain medication to minimize discomfort, and use ice packs liberally to reduce swelling in your face. The more ice packs you use at the beginning, the better off you’ll feel later.

3. Temporary Dental Crown Comes Off

If you realize your temporary crown is coming off, try to catch it before you swallow it or lose it. Put a tiny dab of Vaseline on the back of the crown to temporarily bond it to your tooth, and make sure not to bite down too hard. Schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to replace the crown.

4. Painful or Infected Tooth

If you think you have any type of oral infection, you need to get help as quickly as possible. Call your dentist immediately so they can bring you in. No matter what, do not try to treat the infection yourself.

5. Broken Jaw or Jaw Pain

If you’ve been in an accident and hurt your jaw, you need to see your dentist immediately. Make sure to ice your face to prevent swelling, and don’t eat solid food until you’ve seen your dentist.

While accidents and emergencies happen to everyone, there are some things you can do to safeguard your teeth. Here are a few:

  • Stay away from tough foods, such as popcorn and caramel
  • Wear a mouthguard if you’re playing sports
  • Brush and floss regularly
  • See your dentist for biannual checkups
If you think you’re experiencing a dental emergency, call (479) 202-0025 to speak with our friendly staff.

Tips for Getting Your Kids to Practice Oral Hygiene on Their Own

parent looking down at young kid

Have you ever thought about how you’re helping your kid remember to practice good oral hygiene at home? Maybe it only comes up when you ask whether or not they’ve brushed their teeth before they head out the door for school or when you’re tucking them in at night. Helping your kids develop healthy habits early on is a great way to make sure their smile stays in tip-top shape as they grow up.

Bring Learning Into Story Time

It doesn’t have to feel like a lecture when you’re trying to teach your child how to keep their smile sparkling. By incorporating some kids’ dental hygiene books into story time, they can have fun while learning how to brush and floss, and why they should be doing it. There are plenty of books out there to choose from. We particularly like The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss and Brush, Brush, Brush! from Scholastic.

Play a Song During Brushing

The general recommendation is that everyone should be brushing their teeth for at least two minutes. And two minutes just happens to be right around the length of a short song. You two can pick a special song that they can put on during brushing time so they know exactly when to stop. An added benefit is that it could keep them from getting bored while they’re brushing too!

Choose a Fun Toothbrush and Toothpaste

The idea of brushing their teeth might seem more appealing to your child if they have a fun toothbrush and cool toothpaste to use. There are lots of toothbrushes out there that are in fun shapes and colors, or that are designed around a popular cartoon or comic book character. The same goes for toothpastes, which come in a variety of flavors these days. You can let your kid choose their favorites at the store, and then maybe they’ll be excited to go home and try them out!

Use a Kid-Friendly App

Many parents keep their phone or iPad handy to keep their child entertained, and the right app can be used to teach them about their dental health too! There are apps that demonstrate how to properly brush, that walk them through a dental visit with fun story lines, and that explain the how and why of dental care. With a dental app to guide them, tech-savvy kids can take on their oral health care with confidence!

For more dental care tips, contact the Mint Dental Care team. If you’re ready to bring your child in for a dental appointment, we’d love to have you and your family at our practice!

Help your child have their very best smile!

What Are Dentures Like Today?

senior woman on park bench wondering about dentures today

Modern dentures are better than ever. Dentures are an affordable and easy way to replace missing teeth, and they can help you chew, laugh, and smile again with confidence. We customize your dentures to the shape of your mouth for maximum comfort.

Sometimes, patients only have a single or several missing teeth. In this case, we can use partial dentures to fill in the gaps. A full set of dentures will replace an entire arch. Whichever

A More Comfortable Fit

Dentures need to fit naturally so you can wear them with complete ease and confidence. We make modern dentures from better and more resilient materials. It may take a few weeks to get used to the fit of your dentures, but with time and practice, wearing them will be like second nature.

When we make dentures, we send off impressions to a lab, so your dentures are crafted specifically for you. We customize them to fit your mouth, so they shouldn’t rub or irritate you.

Here are some signs that perhaps your dentures aren’t fitting as well as they should:

  • Slippage: If your dentures slip when you eat, laugh, chew, or talk, then perhaps you need a readjustment.
  • Sores: If your dentures are rubbing and causing sores, please come see us immediately.
  • Denture pain: While adjusting to new dentures will take some time, denture pain that continues for more than a few weeks is unusual. Please make an appointment so we can make sure your dentures are in fact fitting properly.

Modern dentures are better and more comfortable than ever! We think you’ll be amazed at how great they fit and how easy they are to wear. If you have any questions, speak with a friendly team member. We can’t wait to restore your smile with better-fitting dentures. At Mint Dental Care, your comfort and health are our top priorities. We ensure that you are not only happy with your new smile, but also that your oral health is in tip-top shape.

Reclaim your smile now! Call to make an appointment or book online.

The Dental Crown Procedure

brunette woman beautiful smile after dental crown procedure

Oh no! You’ve cracked a tooth! Now you need a dental crown to cover the crack and protect your tooth from bacteria and infection. Dr. McCord and the Mint Dental Care team will take great care of you. If you’ve never had a dental crown placed before, it’s important to know that it’s not all done in one appointment. In order to get the best fit for your crown, the process requires two visits to our office.

The First Appointment

When you first come in, probably because you have sudden pain or had a dental trauma (but not always), we take X-rays. This lets us make sure there isn’t anything else going on inside your tooth or jaw bone that we need to be aware of. Once we’re sure that a crown is all that’s needed, we clean off any plaque. Then we numb the area so we can prep the tooth for the crown. The prep work involves filing down the tooth so we can place the crown over the top without it becoming too bulky.

Once we’ve prepped the tooth, we take an impression. We use this impression to make your temporary crown and we send it to the lab so they can make your permanent crown. Your plastic temporary takes only a few minutes to make in our office. Once it’s ready, we place it and make sure it fits okay. Once we cement the crown into place, you’re all set for this appointment.

The Second Appointment

When your permanent crown (made of porcelain, ceramic, metal, or a combination) is back from the lab, we bring you back in for the fitting and placement. We remove the temporary and test out the permanent crown to make sure the fit is okay. As we test it, we file it down until your bite feels right. Once the fit is right, we bond the crown to your tooth and check the fit once more. Then you can be on your way with your new restoration.

Once your crown is in place, it may take a few days to get used to it. If, after a few days, it still doesn’t feel right, be sure to give us a call so we can bring you back in and take a look. We want to make sure that everything fits and feels right. And of course, call us if you have any questions or if you experience any additional pain in the tooth!

Don’t let tooth pain get the best of you. Schedule a dental crown appointment!