Tooth Extraction or Root Canal: Which is Best for You?

young man with toothacheWhen you’re dealing with tooth pain or severe decay you may think that a tooth extraction is your only option. However, at our dental office in Lewisburg, we want all of our patients to know that there may be another option available that can save your tooth.

The Truth About Root Canals

Root canals have a bad reputation of being scary and painful, but the truth is the treatment itself actually makes the pain go away. Your dentist in Lewisburg may recommend a root canal if a tooth has deep decay or infection, or sometimes even when a dental restoration is too big. Oftentimes, a root canal can be used instead of extracting a tooth.

When an Extraction May Be the Answer

Even though saving your natural tooth is always the preferred treatment, doing so is not always possible. When decay compromises too much of the tooth or if there’s a severe dental injury to a tooth, an extraction may be more appropriate. However, advancements in dental technology provide you with many options to replace a tooth once it’s pulled. Some tooth replacement options include:

Once a tooth is pulled, replacing it with a dental restoration is highly recommended. If an extracted tooth isn’t replaced, other teeth may start to shift and not only affect the cosmetic appearance of your smile, but may also lead to bite problems and TMJ.

Signs of a Problem

Besides generalized tooth pain, there are several other signs that you may have severe decay or dental trauma that needs treatment. Some other symptoms include:

  • Surges of pain while eating or applying pressure
  • Long-lasting tooth sensitivity
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Gum swelling or pain

The best way to prevent an extraction or root canal treatment is to keep up with your dental checkups at least every six months. These visits allow the team at our Lewisburg dental office to monitor your oral health and catch any problems before they turn into something serious. If it’s been longer than six months since you’ve seen a dentist, or if you’re suffering from tooth pain, we welcome you to call and schedule an appointment with us today. We’re here to help make the best recommendation for you to get you out of pain.

Welcoming patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, and Williamsport.

The 8 Worst Habits for Teeth

ice cubes and lemonsSeeing your dentist in Lewisburg twice a year is one of the best ways you can protect your smile and keep your mouth healthy. Pair those visits with a good oral hygiene routine at home and your oral health is pretty well protected. Except when the things we do or the foods we eat counteract our hard work. In this blog, we cover some of the worst habits for your teeth.

  • Tobacco Use – Let’s start with a pretty well-known habit that’s dangerous to oral health. Using tobacco, whether it’s cigarettes or chewing tobacco, can cause tooth discoloration and increase the chance of gum disease and oral cancer.
  • Eating Lemons – Eating too much of any citrus fruit, including lemons, can be bad for teeth. Citrus fruits are loaded with acid that essentially erodes tooth enamel. Without the protective layer of enamel, teeth are exposed to bacteria and are more likely to get cavities.
  • Drinking Soda – Another commonly known culprit of cavities are soft drinks. These beverages are packed with sugar, and as we all know, sugar is bad for teeth. What makes soda particularly damaging is that when we drink it, it coats our mouths and teeth with sugar, essentially bathing them in sugar.  
  • Crunching on Ice Cubes – Chewing these frozen solid cubes can cause tiny little cracks in our teeth where bacteria can camp out and cause cavities. Eating ice can also cause large, serious chips and breaks.
  • Using Teeth as Tools – Using our teeth for anything other than chewing is a bad idea. Yet many people turn to their teeth to rip, saw, or cut open packages or to hold onto things when two hands aren’t enough. These are surefire ways to crack or chip teeth.  
  • Nail Biting – Not only are our nails loaded with bacteria, but they’re also really hard. Using our teeth to trim our nails can easily cause damage. Nail biting may also lead to jaw pain or TMD/TMJ.
  • Too Much Whitening – Getting a whiter smile is safe and possible with many teeth whitening products. However, using these products too often can cause sensitivity and erode enamel.
  • Brushing Too Hard – Brushing your teeth twice a day is one thing, a very good thing. But brushing your teeth twice a day when you’re scrubbing too hard isn’t so great. A rough brushing will do more harm than good by scratching up tooth enamel and damaging gums. Gums may even recede, leaving teeth sensitive.

When it comes to protecting your teeth and overall oral health, make sure you’re not only brushing twice a day and visiting our dental office in Lewisburg every six months, but that you’re also staying aware of all the things that can damage your smile. Do your best to avoid these dangers or at least enjoy them in moderation.

Welcoming patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Williamsport, and nearby communities.

Quit Smoking for Better Oral Health

man smoking

The American Cancer Society sponsors an event every November to raise awareness for all the health problems associated with smoking and provide tips and tools on how to quit the habit. This year, the Great American Smokeout will fall on November 15, and our dental office in Lewisburg wants to do our part to help our neighbors put down the cigarettes once and for all. So this month we’re covering some of the top reasons to quit smoking.

Oral Cancer

One of the main reasons to quit smoking is to reduce your risk of cancer. Even though there are several types of cancer associated with tobacco use, oral cancer is one that your dentist in Lewisburg can help you diagnose and fight. When caught early, oral cancer treatments can be incredibly successful, but quitting smoking is one way to greatly reduce your risk of developing it in the first place. In fact, smokers are six times more likely to get oral cancer than non-smokers.

Yellow Teeth & Bad Breath

The ingredients found in tobacco products aren’t only dangerous to overall health, some of the most harmful ones can directly affect your mouth. Tar and nicotine, for example, can stick to plaque build-up on teeth, gums, and even the tongue making them difficult to remove. When these ingredients linger around too long or are introduced into the mouth repeatedly, they can cause tooth discoloration and chronic bad breath.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a serious oral health problem that can lead to other issues throughout the body including increased risk for heart disease and stroke. Research has shown that smokers are 50% more likely to get gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease may lead to tooth loss.

Dry Mouth

Smoking reduces saliva production in the mouth and leaves your teeth exposed to plaque, bacteria, and acid that can damage teeth. Without saliva around to help neutralize acids and wash away damaging bacteria, teeth are at an increased risk for cavities, decay, and the need for advanced dental treatment.

Make 2018 the year you finally become smoke-free. Our Lewisburg dental office is here to help you in any way we can. Talk to us about quitting and we can work together to find the tools and program best suited for you.

Welcoming patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Williamsport, and surrounding communities.

It’s National Dental Hygiene Month at Your Lewisburg Dental Office

dental hygiene appointmentThe month of October seems to kick off the beginning of the holiday season, and at our dental office in Lewisburg, we have one more reason to celebrate! Every October the American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) sponsors National Dental Hygiene Month to recognize the hard work and dedication of dental hygienists all around America. We’re so lucky to have our talented hygiene team and we wanted to dedicate this blog to them and their jobs!

What Do Dental Hygienists Do?

Dental hygienists are responsible for many aspects of their patients’ oral health and are often the first line of defense for patients. Their main responsibilities revolve around the prevention of many dental concerns including cavities and gum disease. Besides providing patients with a thorough cleaning at every appointment, they also help educate patients on oral hygiene, answer any concerns patients may have, and many will take dental x-rays.

Let’s Talk About Oral Hygiene

Perhaps the most common thing that dental hygienists do is give their patients tips on how to maintain a healthy mouth. They’ll talk about proper brushing and flossing techniques, whether mouthwash may be beneficial, and other tricks to help keep teeth problem and cavity-free. Let’s take a closer look at each aspect of a good oral hygiene routine.

Brush

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing your teeth twice a day — once in the morning and once at night — for a minimum of two minutes each time. During those two minutes, your hygienist and dentist in Lewisburg suggest using gentle circles with a soft-bristled toothbrush held at a 45 degree angle. Practicing this technique will remove bacteria and plaque from teeth without causing damage.

Floss

We should all floss our teeth everyday, and not just when we feel the annoyance of piece of food stuck between our teeth. If we don’t floss regularly we actually don’t clean about 35% of every tooth. Food particles left around too long will only feed bacteria and increase the chance for decay. Make sure to gently wiggle floss between each tooth and up under the gums.

Rinse

When it comes to mouthwash, your dental hygienist may or may not suggest using one. There are plenty types of mouthwash that can help an assortment of concerns such as dry mouth. However, some mouthwashes may make some problems worse. For example, mouthwashes that contain alcohol may actually make dry mouth worse and only temporarily alleviate bad breath. Talk with your hygienist about what’s right for you.

Chew

Believe it or not, chewing a piece of sugar-free gum can help keep mouths healthy. Look for a gum with the ADA Seal of Acceptance — this means it’s been researched and declared safe for smiles. Chewing gum in between brushings or after meals can increase saliva production which will help neutralize acid, protecting teeth against decay and enamel wear.

The next time you visit our Lewisburg dental office, make sure to thank your dental hygienist. Also make sure to keep your appointments every six months, practice good at-home oral hygiene, and contact us as soon as possible if you experience a dental emergency.

Welcoming patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Williamsport.

Bad Breath Remedies

embarrassed womanAt our dental office in Lewisburg, we understand how having bad breath can affect our patients’ lives. We’re commonly asked what causes bad breath in the first place, and more importantly, how to make it go away. In this week’s blog we cover a few helpful bad breath remedies that can help freshen breath once and for all.

4 Ways to Beat Bad Breath

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Making sure you brush every day, twice per day is one of the best ways to remove any bacteria from your teeth that may be contributing to bad breath. But these stinky bacteria don’t only live on teeth, they also lurk under the gums. That’s one reason why flossing everyday is also an important part of any oral hygiene routine. Also, don’t forget about your tongue. It’s packed with tiny grooves and places where bacteria love to hide. Gently brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper can really help.

Quit Smoking

Smokers’ breath can be blamed on more than just the smell of cigarettes alone. Chemicals in cigarettes can also contribute to an unpleasant smell. These chemicals linger in the mouth long after a cigarette is put out and can prolong bad breath. The smoke itself also stays in the lungs for a period of time after smoking and releases a little bit with every breath.

Eat More Healthy Foods

There’s some truth to the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Eating crunchy, raw fruits and vegetables such as apples, celery, and carrots will help scrub plaque and bacteria off of teeth to help keep breath fresh.

Hydrate Your Mouth
Certain medications, smoking, and a number of other things can cause dry mouth. And what tends to go hand-in-hand with dry mouth? Bad breath. While drinking plenty of water daily can help, there are times when that’s just not enough. If that’s the case, you can talk to your dentist about the possibility of using a hydrating rinse. Also consider that if you’re stuffy and can’t breathe out of your nose, there’s a good chance your mouth will dry out from so much mouth breathing. A decongestant may help.

Bad Breath Isn’t Just a Mouth Problem

Having chronic bad breath can be embarrassing, but it may also be a sign of something more serious. Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be a sign of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious infection that can begin to affect the rest of the body if left untreated. Many studies have shown a link between gum disease and diabetes, an increased risk for heart disease, and stroke. What’s more is different types of smells may indicate a problem somewhere else in the body including liver or kidney disease.

Bad breath isn’t something to take lightly. It’s best to talk with your dentist in Lewisburg about how long you’ve experienced bad breath, your health history, and any other symptoms you may have sooner rather than later.

If you have bad breath we welcome you to schedule an appointment at our Lewisburg dental office. We’ll work with you to find the root of the problem and discuss the best ways to get you relief. Don’t wait, give us a call today.

Accepting patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, and Williamsport

June is Men’s Health Month

Men's Health MonthEvery year during the month of June, healthcare providers across the nation promote the importance of prevention and early detection of diseases that affect American men. Our dental practice in Lewisburg is no different. To do our part, we’re dedicating this blog to educating our patients and community on the unique dental issues that often apply to the male population.

The Dangers of Skipping Dental Checkup

It’s typically recommended that everyone visits their dentist at least twice year for proper preventive care and a deeper cleaning than you can get at home. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control, barely 60% of American men between the ages of 18 and 64 went to the dentist in the past year. Skipping regular visits to your dentist in Lewisburg can allow problems to go untreated and lead to bigger, more complicated (and often more expensive) treatment. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry states that it’s all too common for men, in particular, to only go to the dentist when they’re experiencing a problem. Most likely, these problems could have been prevented by keeping bi-annual dental appointments.

Greater Risk of Gum Disease & Oral Cancer

While regular dental appointments can help protect teeth against decay and the need for fillings or more advanced restorative dentistry such as root canals or crowns, they can also diagnose gum disease and oral cancer early when treatment is less invasive and more successful. This is especially important for men since they’re at increased risk for both gum disease and oral cancer. The truth is, oral cancer is twice as common in men than women and, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, 56% of men have gum disease as compared to only 38% of women.

Gum Disease & Men’s Health

Even though oral cancer is certainly scary and serious, gum disease can be quite scary, too. Gum disease can contribute to a host of other problems throughout the body and has been linked to an increased risk in heart disease and certain cancers, as well as prostate health in men. Studies have shown that there is a possible correlation between gum health and prostate health due to something called prostate-specific antigen (PSA). When gums are inflamed because of periodontal disease or the prostate is unhealthy, PSA levels increase. However, PSA levels are substantially higher in those with both a prostate condition as well as gum disease suggesting a connection between the two.

Dry Mouth is More Common, Too

Dry mouth is something that may sound like nothing to worry about, however can contribute it’s own oral health issues. In a healthy mouth, there’s is an abundance of saliva production that helps neutralize acids and wash away harmful bacteria. But someone who suffers from dry mouth doesn’t have the same benefits. This leaves teeth exposed to enamel-eroding acid and decay-causing bacteria.

This month, and every month, we’re here to keep our neighbors healthy. Whether you’re a man who may have been skipping dental visits, or you’re a woman who has men in your life you care about, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at our Lewisburg dental office today.

Welcoming new patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, and Williamsport.

Thinking About Skipping a Brushing Session? Think Again.

young woman brushing teethAt our dental office in Lewisburg, we always recommend that our patients brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes. Following this routine daily isn’t just good for your oral health, but can benefit your overall health, too. However, if you skip a brushing session altogether or don’t brush thoroughly, your body may be at risk for all sorts of scary problems…

Why Two Minutes?

We aren’t alone in our two minute rule. In fact, the American Dental Association also supports brushing for two minutes every day for good oral and overall health. There’s even plenty of research to back up the claim. According to one study in The Journal of Dental Hygiene, patients who brushed for only 30 seconds removed 55% less plaque than those who committed to the full two minutes. Just imagine what would be left lingering around if you skipped brushing altogether?

What Happens if You Don’t Brush for Two Minutes?

Besides plaque buildup, there are other things in your mouth that can stick around and cause problems if not removed regularly through a proper brushing. For instance, food particles that are left behind can feed bacteria found in the mouth. As this bacteria feeds on these tiny pieces of leftover food, they release acid. Acid will then begin to attack tooth enamel and leave teeth at an increased risk for decay. An overabundance of bacteria can also affect gum health. If not treated, it may cause gum disease.

Why is Gum Disease a Concern?

Gum disease is a serious infection caused by an excess of bacteria. Gum disease affects nearly half of all Americans and can eventually lead to tooth loss. But that’s not all. If gum disease isn’t treated by your dentist in Lewisburg, it can start to put other parts of the body in danger.

  • Heart Health

Numerous studies have found a positive correlation between gum disease and heart disease. In fact, researchers estimate that those who have gum disease are twice as likely to also have heart disease.  

  • Diabetes

People who have diabetes and gum disease are in a unique and dangerous position. Advanced gum disease may cause blood sugar levels to increase, causing diabetic complications.

  • Respiratory Problems

Bronchitis and pneumonia are caused by bacteria that may come from the mouth. So if there’s enough bacteria hanging around to cause gum disease, it can also move throughout the body, into the lungs, and make you sick.

Brushing twice a day for two minutes can help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth and minimize your risk for gum disease and the whole-body concerns that can go with it. In addition to those four minutes of brushing a day, make sure you also visit our Lewisburg dental office twice a year for an even more thorough cleaning that will not only protect your teeth, but also your overall health.

We’re welcoming new patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Williamsport, and nearby neighborhoods.

Could Allergies Affect Your Dental Health?

woman with allergies in fieldIf you get a stuffy nose when the pollen count is high, every time you’re around a cat, or have an even worse reaction to certain foods, it’s likely you’re suffering from an allergic reaction. The typical symptoms of allergies include itchy eyes, a stuffed up nose, or difficulty breathing. But did you know that allergies can also affect dental health? Our dental office in Lewisburg takes a closer look in this week’s blog…

Stuffy Noses & Oral Health

We already know that it’s common for people with allergies to suffer from itchy, watery eyes and leaky, stuffy noses. These symptoms are a result of the body making too much mucus. And too much of this thick, slimy stuff can block up airways, making it difficult to breathe out of the nose. As a natural response, the body switches to breathing out of the mouth, also known appropriately as mouth breathing. That’s where the problems begin.

The Problems With Mouth Breathing

Mouth breathing, at first, may not appear as such a big deal, but to your dentist in Lewisburg it’s a habit that can lead to several oral health problems. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry reports that mouth breathing can lead to a gummy smile, problems with facial development in kids, and even complications to overall oral health.

Breathing out of your mouth decreases saliva production and dries it out. Without saliva, dangerous acids and bacteria are left to create problems like tooth decay and chronic bad breath. Dry mouth is also one of the causes of gum disease, a dangerous oral health problem that can create health issues throughout your body including stroke, heart disease, and heart attacks.

Signs You May be Suffering from Dry Mouth

If you’re a mouth breather, you may not even know it. That makes it important to recognize the common signs and symptoms so you can seek treatment before any serious issues develop. Some common signs and symptoms of being a mouth breather include:

  • Dry lips
  • Crowded teeth
  • Snoring
  • Sleeping with an open mouth
  • Chronic bad breath

What You Can Do

If you have allergies that affect your ability to breathe properly there are things you can do to help relieve the symptoms and protect your oral overall health. Start by speaking with your doctor and the team at our Lewisburg dental office. As part of your healthcare team, we will be happy to recommend some ways to get allergy relief so you can start breathing easier.

We’re always welcoming new patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Williamsport, and surrounding communities.

“Why Do I Need to Have Dental X-Rays Taken?”

dental x-rayWhen we typically think of x-rays, we may immediately think of a huge machine that’s checking for a broken bone. Dental x-rays are a little bit different. They’re an important part of diagnosing disease or other problems. In fact, at our dental office in Lewisburg, we use dental x-rays as a crucial aspect to our approach to preventive dentistry so we can catch any issues early while they’re still easy to treat. This month, we examine a few things that dental x-rays can help us diagnose as well as some different types of x-rays you may have.

What Do Dental X-Rays Help Diagnose?

At your bi-annual dental appointments, you’ll receive an in-depth exam and thorough cleaning. During these procedures, we’re taking close look at your overall oral health. But there are a lot of places in your mouth where problems can hide. Dental x-rays help us see and diagnose these issues that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. Dental x-rays can help us see:

  • Decay below the surface or in between teeth
  • Bone loss caused by gum disease or other issues
  • Impacted wisdom teeth
  • Damaged bone
  • Abscesses or cysts

Imagery obtained through x-rays give your dentist in Lewisburg the ability to diagnose disease or problems early and oftentimes before you experience any signs or painful symptoms.

What Are the Different Types of Dental X-Rays?

Dental x-rays can be classified as either intraoral or extraoral, both of which show different views of the mouth. Intraoral x-rays are more detailed images of individual teeth while extraoral x-rays show a more comprehensive look at the overall mouth including all of the teeth and the jaw. Each type of x-ray helps your dental team identify different things. Let’s take a closer look…

Intraoral X-Rays

Since intraoral x-rays show close-up details of each tooth, they’re helpful in diagnosing

  • Decay between teeth or fillings
  • Gum disease
  • Bone deterioration

Extraoral X-Rays

With a broader view of the entire mouth, extraoral x-rays can help get an up-close-and-personal look at:

Having dental x-rays taken can help save you from experiencing painful dental problems that may require complex treatment and are a necessary part of a proper preventive approach to dental care. These x-rays emit a low amount of radiation and, along with the additional safety precautions our Lewisburg dental office take, are incredibly safe.

We’re always welcoming new patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Williamsport and nearby neighborhoods. Give us a call today!

What You Need to Know About Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer Awareness RibbonApril is recognized as Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and at our Lewisburg dental office, we know just how serious this epidemic is in the United States. In fact, just over 51,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with it this year. While there have been advancements in oral cancer treatment, and often times the disease is successfully treated, it still takes the lives of approximately 10,000 Americans yearly. This April, join us in learning the risks and symptoms of oral cancer that could save your life.

Know The Risks

It’s important to note that anyone can develop oral cancer whether they have or engage in factors that increase their risk or not. Some of the risks are unavoidable, but many can be controlled through making smart lifestyle choices. Some factors that increase the risk of oral cancer include:

  • Tobacco Use: Smoking cigarettes, cigars, or using smokeless tobacco greatly increases your risk of oral cancer. Statistics show that 80% of oral cancer diagnoses are in tobacco users.
  • Drinking Alcohol: Consuming alcohol regularly can also put you at greater risk. Nearly 70% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers.
  • Drinking & Smoking: Since both tobacco use and drinking large amounts of alcohol increases the likelihood of getting oral cancer, if you do both, your chance for oral cancer can be as high as 100%.
  • Gender: Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women. While this risk factor can’t be changed, men can reduce their risk by not drinking or smoking.
  • Age: Our chances of getting oral cancer increases as we age. The average age of diagnosis is 62, and the majority of oral cancer patients are at least 55.
  • UV Rays: Skin cancer isn’t the only thing that can happen from too much unprotected sun exposure. Oral cancer is also higher in those who spend a lot of time in the sun without wearing sunscreen.

Recognize The Symptoms

Being able to identify the signs and symptoms of oral cancer early increases the chance of survival. Oral cancer treatment is often successful in the earlier stages, so the sooner you see your dentist in Lewisburg if you suspect anything, the better. The most common signs include:  

  • Chronic bad breath
  • Sores that won’t heal
  • A lump on the cheek
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Changes in your voice

During your regular dental cleanings and exams, your hygienist and dentist will monitor your  mouth for any abnormalities and can use high-tech equipment that can show what the human eye can’t see. This is just another reason maintaining your bi-annual dental appointments is so important to your overall health.

If it’s been longer than six months since your last visit, call our dental office in Lewisburg to schedule an appointment today. You never know, one visit could save your life.

Welcoming new patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Williamsport and surrounding communities.