Monday, July 15, 2019

What to Do If You Have Sensitive Teeth

Tooth sensitivity is a problem for millions of Americans, who often have to deal with pain and discomfort on a daily basis. A study in the Journal of American Dentistry estimated that tooth sensitivity affects about one out of every eight people in the United States. A person suffering from sensitive teeth may experience pain when drinking cold or hot drinks or from eating certain foods. Understanding the causes of tooth sensitivity and ways to lessen it may help sufferers manage their pain.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

What to do if you have sensitive teeth photo
The root cause of tooth pain is the exposure of nerve endings in the layer of teeth known as dentin. Normally, these nerve endings are protected by the tooth's enamel, the outermost layer of hard protective covering. Over time, this enamel can wear away, and when it does, it exposes the nerve endings inside the root of the tooth. This exposure means that highly sensitive nerves can come in contact with liquids, foods, toothbrushes, and anything else that goes into the mouth. Protecting this enamel before it wears away is the best way to avoid sensitive teeth, but patients can take steps if they already have sensitive teeth.

How Can I Relieve Tooth Sensitivity?

Relieving tooth sensitivity is often a matter of cutting out a few problematic behaviors that wear down tooth enamel. Cutting back on acidic drinks like citrus juices and coffee is a good place to start. At-home teeth-whitening products that rely on bleach or other caustic substances should also be stopped in favor of professional teeth whitening. Patients can also use toothpaste specially formulated for sensitive teeth, brush their teeth in a gentle manner, and switch to fluoride-based mouthwash.

If you follow these steps to help relieve tooth sensitivity but are still experiencing pain, it may be time to speak with a dentist to see what other measures can be taken. Hanson Dentistry offers comprehensive dental services that cater to the full dental needs of each patient. Our patients appreciate the focused, personalized, and attentive level of care we provide. Contact us today at 816-373-5606 to schedule an appointment.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Five Beverages That Damage Your Teeth

Sticky candy, hard popcorn kernels, and sugar-laden treats can all create dental issues, but most people rarely consider the oral health consequences of drinks. Here are five beverages that most commonly cause tooth damage. Enjoy these drinks sparingly and rinse your mouth with water thoroughly to mitigate their effects.

1. Sugary Cocktails 
Three cocktails on a bar

Sweet drinks with soda and juice combined with alcohol can increase the risk for cavities. Not only does the acidity of the alcohol wear away the enamel of the teeth, but the sugar in the beverage also feeds oral bacteria and causes it to multiply. This creates the perfect conditions for tooth decay. Choose cocktails made with seltzer water and other sugar-free mixers and rinse after every round.

2. Wine

White wine is another acidic beverage that can damage tooth enamel. Red wine, on the other hand, doesn't cause dental erosion and actually has phytonutrients that can protect the teeth, but it can cause stains. Staining is more likely to occur for those who recently had teeth whitening treatments or who have veneers.

3. Vodka

Less expensive brands of vodka tend to have a low pH, which means they are considered acidic and can damage teeth. Even those who stick to top-shelf brands should be concerned about the drying effects of alcohol. Without saliva, the mouth is unable to fight off cavity-causing bacteria.

4. Coffee and Tea

These morning favorites are often enjoyed with added sugar, which increases the risk of getting cavities. Coffee is just slightly acidic, while the pH varies among different types of tea. Look for varieties with pH of less than 5.5. In addition, just like red wine, coffee and tea can stain the teeth, an effect that is more obvious with veneers and recently bleached teeth.

5. Soda and Sports Drinks

These beverages are packed with sugar, making them a bad choice for those who want to avoid cavities. Even sugar-free and diet varieties contain phosphoric or citric acid, both of which cause enamel erosion.

Cosmetic dentistry can help whiten stains on teeth, while regular cleanings can help ward off cavities. Hanson Dentistry can provide care to protect your teeth and help improve stains. Contact us at 816-373-5606 to schedule an appointment.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

What to Do If Your Dental Crown Falls Out

A crown, sometimes referred to as a cap, is a tooth-shaped cover that fits over a damaged or decayed tooth. It mimics the appearance of a natural tooth and serves to protect the damaged tooth beneath. Crowns are also used in cosmetic dentistry to improve the appearance of misshapen, oddly spaced, or discolored teeth. Depending on what it’s made of and how well teeth are cared for, a crown often lasts at least seven years or longer. But sometimes crowns unexpectedly fall out, and there are certain steps a patient should take when this happens.

What to Do If a Crown Falls Out? 
A dentist examining a man's teeth

Although a lost crown isn’t usually an emergency, it’s important to act immediately after a crown falls out to attempt to save it and to avoid further damage to the tooth beneath. As soon it falls out, the crown should be placed in a secure spot, if possible. Then it’s time to schedule a dentist appointment! A dentist will usually need to make a new crown to replace it, but if the patient still has the old one, it may continue to work temporarily.

The patient shouldn’t try to slip the old crown back on alone; this is something that requires the help of a dentist. If for some reason it does need to go back into the mouth, it should be cleaned thoroughly, and the inside should be coated with tooth cement, which can be found at the pharmacy. This will help temporarily secure the tooth until the dentist can evaluate it.

What Will the Dentist Do?

Once in the exam room, the dentist will examine the tooth beneath the crown. Over time, it may have changed shape from damage or decay. The dentist will decide if a new crown will be required; an improperly fitting one will just come off again. The dentist will also remove any additional decay since the last crown was made and place any new fillings, if necessary.

While a lost crown doesn’t always require immediate attention, it’s important not to put off a dentist appointment to avoid further damage to the tooth below. That’s why Hanson Dentistry offers same day crown appointments to help you immediately resolve the situation and get on with life as usual. If you’ve lost a crown, we can help you put it back in or evaluate your teeth to determine if a new one is appropriate. Call Hanson Dentistry today at 816-373-5606 to schedule an appointment and learn more about our services.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Preparing for Teeth Whitening

Tooth discoloration can be caused by beverages, such as coffee, soda, and wine, damaged enamel, or even genetics. Fortunately, modern advances in teeth whitening have made discoloration a thing of the past. For those considering professional whitening, preparation is simple.

Determine Which Type of Whitening Is Necessary 
A close up of a woman smiling

Tooth discoloration comes in two forms: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic discoloration is caused by staining liquids, such as coffee and tea, and affects only the surface of the teeth. This discoloration should be treated by a professional cleaning because bleaching has no effect. Intrinsic discoloration occurs beneath the surface and is caused by physical trauma to an adult tooth, the use of certain antibiotics, or genetic conditions. This type of discoloration can be addressed by applying bleaching gel to one’s teeth. It's not always easy to tell whether discoloration is extrinsic or intrinsic, which is why it's best to consult a professional to determine which type of whitening to use.

Have a Routine Cleaning

Teeth whitening shouldn't be performed when gum disease, cavities, exposed roots, or other underlying issues are present. Before undergoing whitening treatment, a dentist should perform a full cleaning and any other necessary dental services to ensure uniform whitening.

Consult a Shade Guide

Consulting a shade guide allows patients to determine the current shade of their teeth and identify their goals for whitening sessions. This has the added benefit of comparing shades before and after whitening to determine if a patient would like to schedule additional sessions to achieve their desired look.

Desensitize Teeth

For many patients, there is no discomfort or pain associated with teeth whitening. However, some people with sensitive teeth or gums may experience unpleasantness during their procedures. These patients can invest in desensitizing toothpaste prior to any procedures to avoid potential discomfort.

Hold Off If Expecting

Pregnant or nursing mothers are advised to wait until nursing is finished to have teeth whitening procedures. Because medical professionals are unsure about the effects whitening chemicals have on fetuses, they recommend avoiding whitening procedures until after pregnancy.

Teeth whitening can reduce unsightly discoloration with a simple procedure. If you're interested in teeth whitening or other cosmetic dentistry services in Independence, MO, call Hanson Dentistry at 816-373-5606 to schedule an appointment today!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Five Ways to Prevent Plaque

Plaque buildup is a major cause of cavities, gingivitis, and other oral health issues. This sticky film coats the teeth and can eventually eat away at the enamel, allowing bacteria to grow. Fortunately, preventive oral health measures can keep plaque from accumulating on the teeth, stopping dental problems before they start. Here are five tips to try.

1. Brush Correctly at Least Twice a Day 
A person flossing their teeth

Ideally, brush after every meal to remove plaque immediately. Before bed is the most important time to brush. Otherwise, plaque will remain on the teeth all night. Hold a soft-bristled toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. An electric toothbrush is the most effective type. Use gentle, circular strokes to cover all surfaces of the teeth as well as the tongue. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months.

2. Floss Regularly

Cleaning between the teeth is just as important as removing plaque from their surfaces. This should be done at least once a day, whether with traditional floss, water flosser, or a dental pick.

3. Use Antibacterial Mouthwash

Rinsing the mouth with a bacteria-killing mouthwash formula can reduce plaque accumulation. It can also loosen plaque deposits, making them easier to remove with a toothbrush or floss. Avoid mouthwash with alcohol, which can dry out the mouth and actually contribute to plaque development.

4. Avoid Starchy and Sugary Foods

These items promote bacterial growth, which accelerates tooth decay. Acidic foods can also cause issues. Items to restrict include potato chips, bread, alcohol, sticky candy, and soda and other carbonated beverages. After eating these items, drink lots of water to rinse the teeth clean.

5. Keep up With Checkups

Seeing the dentist regularly for a deep clean can help keep plaque buildup at bay. For best results, have a checkup every six months. This cleaning will remove plaque from areas that are difficult to access with a toothbrush and floss alone, such as the second molars. The dentist can also diagnose and treat oral health issues before they develop into major problems.

Those who need a new dentist can schedule an appointment with Hanson Dentistry in the Independence area. Dr. Hanson truly cares about his patients and provides a modern office setting with comprehensive care, including cosmetic treatments and new dental technologies. He has been serving families in the community since 1974.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Four Reasons to Consider the Dental Profession

Considering a career in the dental field? Those who opt to become a dentist can enjoy a fulfilling career through helping others and learning the latest techniques with exciting technologies. In fact, U.S. News and World Report even placed this profession at the top of its list of best jobs for 2017. Here are four reasons why dentistry is a great field to pursue.

1. Rapidly Increasing Job Prospects 
A young girl getting her teeth examined at the dentist in Independence, MO

Those who enter the dental field will be in high demand. Many dentists who were educated in the 1960s and 1970s are now poised to retire, and the need for additional dental care for the aging baby boomer population will only increase. Projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that there will be more than 26,000 job openings for new dentists by 2024.

2. The Ability to Transform Lives

Dentists can provide a tangible, positive change in the oral health of their patients. Whether through promoting oral hygiene, transforming a damaged smile, or eliminating pain, dentists can truly make a difference in the lives of their patients.

3. Independence and Flexibility

Dentistry is an ideal career for anyone who has dreamed of owning a business, as up to 80 percent of dentists open a private practice shortly after completing residency. Private practices provide flexible hours that allow professionals to set a schedule that fits their lifestyle. For this reason, dentistry is often named as a great career for those who want to start a family. Career opportunities also abound for dentists in research and academics.

4. High Salary

While the cost of dental school is significant, graduates who become a dentist earn a substantial salary when they enter practice. According to a 2014 survey from the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute, those who own a stake in an independent practice earned an average annual salary of $183,340; for specialists, the average was $344,740.

For family-oriented dental care in Independence, MO, trust Dr. Robert Hanson at Hanson Dentistry. He strives to treat each patient like family. We offer general and cosmetic dentistry along with treatment for sleep apnea. Contact us online or call 816-373-5606 to schedule an appointment today.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

How Metal-Free Dentistry Has Affected Once-Traditional Treatments

25 years ago, dentists used metal, silver, and gold to fill a cavity or crown a patient's tooth. Today, the more effective resin fillings have prevailed over the once-traditional metal mainstays of general dental services. Here's why metal-free dentistry is so popular and recommended.

Disadvantages of Metal Dentistry 
A woman smiling while she gets her teeth cleaned at the dentist in Independence, MO

Silver amalgam contains mercury and tends to contract and expand when exposed to heat and cold. Over time, these changes can weaken or crack the tooth structure, causing bacterial decay, infection, fractures, and chips while contributing to gum disease. When a filling breaks, a tooth is no longer sealed, and a cavity can form beneath it. Amalgams can also corrode and leak, staining the teeth and gums.

Benefits of Metal-Free Dentistry

Composite fillings are a cosmetically pleasing and safer choice for treating tooth decay. They are stronger than metal, last longer, and will remain in place for many years without discomfort. They contain no mercury, do not discolor, stabilize the tooth, reduce tooth sensitivity, and are an attractive option for minor tooth decay.

Brighter, More Natural Teeth and Smile

Metal-free fillings are designed to match the color of the patient's teeth, creating more natural-looking results. If a tooth is broken or discolored, bonding a porcelain veneer or crown to it will produce a brighter, more natural appearance. The shade of the veneer can be matched to teeth that have undergone a whitening procedure.

The Structure of Composite Fillings

Composite fillings are made up of glass, quartz, and resin. They restore teeth as close to the tooth's original tensile strength as is technically possible.

An Emphasis on Safer Teeth

With their adhesive that helps maintain the structure of teeth, metal-free fillings can reduce the amount of drilling needed when repairing cavities. Also, the American Dental Association has cited journals and examples that underscore the safety of metal-free dentistry.

The Potential of Lower Costs

The price of metal-free fillings, veneers, and crowns in traditional dental services is typically less than metal due to cheaper materials needed and the shortened time required to treat the teeth appropriately.

Dr. Robert Hanson and his associates at Hanson Dentistry are specialists in metal-free dentistry. If you live in the Independence area and are seeking an alternative to metal fillings or crowns, please call us at 816-373-5605 to learn about the dental services our team can provide you.