Your Guide to Becoming a Dental X-Rays Know-it-All

dental x-raysWhen you visit our Lewisburg dental office for a checkup, there’s a good chance we may need to take some x-rays of your teeth – especially if it’s your first time seeing us. Both you and your dentist will benefit from the valuable imaging that the x-rays have the power to collect. Since dental x-rays are so valuable, let’s get to know a little bit more about what they are and how they work.

What Exactly is A Dental X-Ray?

X-rays (also referred to as radiographs) can be 2D or 3D images that quickly become an important part of how your Lewisburg dentist prepares an accurate treatment plan. The images give us an idea of what’s going on inside your mouth, highlighting your jaw bone health and tooth structure that lies beneath your gums and enamel. It gives us the added ability to find out if something is going on inside your mouth or teeth that’s not 100 percent visible to the naked eye.

With the advancements in dental technology, there are many different types of x-rays available on both traditional film and digitally. Most dental offices have made the switch to digital x-rays because they tend to emit nearly 80 percent less radiation than film x-rays. Many dentists find that digital x-rays free up appointment times and are easy to save to a patient’s file for future reference and use.

Intraoral and Extraoral: The Two Main Categories of X-Rays

Besides having the ability to be either taken on film or stored digitally, x-rays are divided down into two other categories of either being intraoral or extraoral. How it breaks down is pretty straightforward, and it goes something like this:

Intraoral x-rays – involve any imaging taken from INSIDE your mouth

Extraoral x-rays – involve any imaging taken from OUTSIDE your mouth

Intraoral x-rays give us the chance to see really minute or fine details of both your supporting bone and teeth. They are the most common type of dental x-ray and provide an extremely high level of detail to help us diagnose cavities, examine your tooth roots, look over your bony areas, check the status of developing teeth or ones that have yet to erupt, and more.

Extraoral x-rays are usually relied on to help dentists and orthodontists focus on the bones in your head, particularly your upper and lower jaw. Think of them as x-rays that can help us see the big picture of what’s going on in and around your head and mouth. They help us look at growth and development, monitor impacted teeth, and assess bite issues. Extraoral x-rays tend to be less detailed than the intraoral variety.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Most of the x-rays used in dental offices across the country today give off a minimal amount of radiation. It’s important to note that you should always limit your exposure to x-rays and avoid repeated use as it can damage cells over time due to the small, continued radiation aftereffects.

Dental x-rays are certainly safer than ever thanks to advancements in dentistry over the years. Dentists now rely on using lower x-ray dosages, higher quality film, film holders, and well-designed, full-body aprons lined with lead. It’s important to note though that most of the modern dental x-ray technology that’s available today give off very little stray radiation.

We hope you’ve learned a little bit about dental x-rays and how critical they are in helping your dentist in Lewisburg make sure your mouth is always in optimal health, from your teeth to your bones. X-rays can help you big time because they allow us to detect issues early before they become more costly to fix down the road. If you have any questions about your dental x-rays or when you’re due for a new set, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

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

Calcium and Teeth: 3 Things You Need to Know

foods containing calciumWe believe in doing everything we can to help you have a healthy smile at our Lewisburg dental office, and that includes helping you decide what nutrients are good for your teeth. Today, we thought we’d focus on calcium because it’s beneficial for strong bones and teeth.

#1: Calcium can help protect your teeth.

Your bones and teeth store nearly all of the calcium within your body, according to findings from the National Institutes of Health. Calcium can make your teeth more resistant to bad stuff such as cavities and decay.

Besides making your bones and teeth stronger, calcium also helps your muscles and blood vessels work more effectively. Babies need calcium to help their teeth and bones grow strong. Young children are the same way.

#2: Adults need the right amount of calcium in their diet.

Your Lewisburg dentist will tell you calcium is 100% good for your smile because it can help strengthen your enamel so that you’ve got added protection against early tooth deterioration. That’s why adults should make sure that they monitor their calcium intake too, in order to avoid osteoporosis or brittle bones as they age. But what is the daily recommended amount of calcium for adults? According to the Mayo Clinic it’s around:

MEN

  • 19-50 years old – 1,000mg daily
  • 51-70 years old – 1,000mg daily
  • 71 and older – 1,2000mg daily

WOMEN

  • 19-50 years old – 1,000mg daily
  • 51 and older – 1.200mg daily

#3: Calcium doesn’t always have to come from dairy.

Helping your smile stay healthy with calcium can be tricky if you struggle with lactose intolerance… or simply don’t eat or like dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, and milk. The good news is that companies are starting to wise up and fortify their food products with calcium. You’ll see this in orange juices, waffles, and even tofu. Canned fish, leafy greens, almonds, beans, and soy milk are calcium-rich dairy substitutes you’re welcome to try at home.

Getting the right amount of calcium in your diet, no matter what your age, is very important to help keep your smile and your gums healthy. It’s really a benefit that your whole body will thank you for. We thank you for reading your blog. If you have any questions about your smile or need to schedule a visit with your dentist in Lewisburg, call us to get started.

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

Oral Cancer Awareness Month

oral cancer awarenessIt’s always scary whenever we hear the word ‘cancer.’ Despite advancements in cancer treatment, it continues to affect millions of people every year. Oral cancer, while not as widely talked about as other cancers, is still very serious and can be deadly. During this Oral Cancer Awareness Month, our dental office in Lewisburg wants to share some important information about this serious disease.

Oral Cancer Facts

  • More than 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year
  • Oral cancer kills one person every hour, every day
  • Nearly 80% of oral cancer diagnoses are in tobacco users
  • About 70% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers
  • Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women
  • The majority of oral cancer patients are over the age of 55

Early Detection is Key

Even though oral cancer takes the lives of so many people every year, it is a very treatable cancer when caught early. This is one more reason it’s so important to see your dentist in Lewisburg every six months. During your checkups, your dental team is looking for any potential signs of oral cancer so that you can get treatment right away. When caught and treated promptly, the survival rate greatly improves.

Recognize the Signs of Oral Cancer

You may only see your dentist twice a year, so knowing what to keep an eye on between those visits is crucial. Some common signs of oral cancer include:

  • Chronic bad breath
  • A sore or several sores that don’t go away
  • A lump on the cheek
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Changes in your voice

Keep in mind that a lot of oral cancer symptoms can easily be mistaken for other problems. If you recognize any of these signs, call your dentist in Lewisburg immediately.

This Oral Cancer Awareness Month, make a commitment to decrease your risk of oral cancer by quitting smoking/using chewing tobacco or drinking alcohol excessively. Also, make sure to visit us regularly. A dental visit may just save your life.

Serving patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Williamsport, and nearby areas.  

What Are Signs That I Grind My Teeth?

man grinding his teethDo you or someone in your family grind their teeth? Did you know you could be grinding your teeth and not even know it? At our dental office in Lewisburg, we see so many side effects of teeth grinding (also known as bruxism) on teeth of patients of all ages. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about grinding your teeth and what we can do to stop the damage to your smile.

What You Need to Know About Bruxism

Your Lewisburg dentist can tell if you grind your teeth just by looking at them. Grinding usually wears teeth down, causing cracks and chips that can lead to further damaged or broken teeth. That’s why it’s important to address any bruxism issues you may have as soon as possible so your smile stays healthy for a lifetime.

Some additional signs that your grinding or clenching your teeth can also include:

Jaw joint pain or discomfort

– Facial pain

– Headaches or migraines

– Jaw muscle contractions

– Broken restorations

– Tooth sensitivity

– Enamel loss

– Damaged gums

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, there could be a good chance that you’re one of the nearly 30 million people who grind their teeth either during sleep or even subconsciously as you go about your day.

Is there something not right about your smile? Are you concerned that you’re grinding your teeth? The best way to help yourself is to call our Lewisburg dental office right away. We can give you a comprehensive, thorough exam and learn more about the symptoms you’ve been experiencing. From there, we’ll be able to see what kind of shape your teeth are in, address the severity of your teeth grinding, and put together a personalized treatment plan for you.

Don’t put your teeth at risk for damage. Talk to the talented team at our dental office in Lewisburg today! Our job isn’t just to do fillings and clean teeth, we’re here to provide you with complete oral health care you can always rely on. Whatever the outcome of your consultation or what your needs may be, we’ll take the time to diagnose your condition so you can get the right kind of treatment to help you and your smile stay pain-free.

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

What Causes Bad Breath?

bad breathWhile bad breath can be embarrassing, there may be a bigger cause for concern if it’s something that affects you every day. The team at our dental office in Lewisburg knows that bad breath can be a temporary problem… or… even a sign of something more serious. Join us as we look at some of the main things that cause bad breath and also some ways that you can help get rid of it.

Cause #1: Dry Mouth.

Dry mouth is something that can initially appear as a minor problem that comes along with some discomfort. But the truth is, when there isn’t enough saliva in the mouth to rinse away bacteria, they can build up and cause some seriously bad breath and other oral health problems such as decay.

What You Can Do: Dry mouth can be caused by medications, or it could also be hereditary. Treatment would vary depending on the cause of your dry mouth, but the easiest way to help is to make sure to drink plenty of water every day. Keeping your mouth hydrated is an important step in keeping it healthy. If you suspect medications are causing dry mouth and bad breath, talk with your doctor about other potential solutions.

Cause #2: Foods

Perhaps the leading cause of temporary bad breath is the foods we eat. Potent foods such as garlic, onions, or fish can pack a heavy odor that can linger on our breath even after we’re done eating. Many times this type of bad breath will go away over time and isn’t cause for concern.

What You Can Do: To help make the stench caused by food disappear faster, try chewing a piece of sugarless gum. Not only will the minty flavor help mask any lingering food smells, but gum can also help stimulate saliva production and help rinse away bacteria or food particles. If you don’t have gum, swishing with water or snacking on apples or carrots can help.                  

Cause #3: Gum Disease.

If your bad breath stays around long after you’ve eaten and it’s become an everyday thing for you, we recommend seeing your dentist in Lewisburg as soon as possible. Chronic bad breath can be an early warning sign of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious oral health problem that can lead to tooth loss and other concerns throughout the body such as heart disease.

What You Can Do: The best way to prevent gum disease and the bad breath that tends to go with it is to brush and floss daily and to see your dentist regularly for professional cleanings. However, if you already have gum disease, it’s crucial to get help sooner rather than later while treatment in reversing the disease is still highly successful.

Bad breath isn’t something that you have to live with. In fact, you shouldn’t take bad breath lightly. If you’re concerned about your bad breath and are looking for a solution, we welcome you to call our Lewisburg dental office to schedule an appointment with us today. We will help find the cause of your bad breath and work with you to cure it.

Welcoming patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, and Williamsport.

How to Ease Toothache Pain

woman with toothacheCan you believe that there’s actually a day dedicated to toothaches? It’s true! February 9th is recognized as National Toothache Day, and in honor of this ‘holiday,’ the team at our dental office in Lewisburg is here to celebrate by giving you advice on how to ease toothache pain.

What Causes a Toothache?

There’s no one thing that leads to a toothache, but oftentimes toothaches can be caused by:

  • Erupting teeth (in children)
  • Decay or cavities
  • Chipped tooth
  • Food that’s become wedged deep in between teeth
  • Improper brushing and flossing

The Truth About Toothaches

The truth is, toothaches don’t usually just pop up out of nowhere. They’re typically a sign of an underlying problem. While at-home toothache remedies can provide temporary relief, it’s wise to see your dentist in Lewisburg sooner rather than later. Early intervention will help diagnose any problems quickly and when treatment is usually easier and more successful.

Toothache Remedies

If you’re experiencing a toothache there are things you can do to help ease the pain before your dental visit including:

  • Rinsing with warm salt water
  • Holding an ice pack to your cheek
  • Gently flossing the sore spot
  • Taking over-the-counter pain medicine

Nobody wants to experience a toothache. They’re painful and annoying for anyone, and the discomfort can absolutely affect our quality of life. When and if you get a toothache, treat it gently and with care and schedule a visit to our Lewisburg dental office as soon as you can.

Avoiding Toothaches

The best ways to avoid a toothache in the first place is to make sure you’re brushing and flossing properly every day and getting dental checkups at least every six months. Practicing preventive care can reduce the risk of toothaches and help keep painful problems away.

We’re always welcoming new patients at our dental office and welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today!

Serving Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Williamsport, and surrounding neighborhoods.

Do You Really Need to Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?

wisdom teeth on dental x-rayMany of us will develop our wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, at some point in our lives. Most commonly they start to show themselves in our teens but can make an appearance later in life… or perhaps never at all. However, these new molars can present a whole host of problems for us and are usually removed. But is this procedure really necessary? Let our dental office in Lewisburg help.

First, it’s important to know that more than 90% of Americans need to have their wisdom teeth removed. It’s an incredibly common procedure that’s relatively easy, and thanks to advancements in technology, fairly comfortable. But why is it so important to have wisdom teeth removed?

No More Space

The most common reason why wisdom teeth need to be removed is due to the lack of space in the mouth for four more teeth. Dental x-rays will be able to tell if this is the case pretty early in the development stages and wisdom teeth removal will be recommended. However, if this is not caught early, or if treatment is not completed, the teeth will begin to erupt, pushing the other teeth out of the way. This will cause overcrowding and crooked, overlapping teeth. There’s also the possibility that the teeth will get lodged under the gum line and in the jaw bone. This is known as impaction. Impacted wisdom teeth can be very painful and the procedure to remove them becomes more complicated. Lastly, impacted wisdom teeth can increase the chance for infection or an abscess.

Erupting The Wrong Way

Wisdom teeth tend to erupt just like any other teeth with the roots facing the jaw bone and the crown pointing toward the gum line. However, there are times when wisdom teeth can become crooked or start to erupt at an angle or sideways. If the happens wisdom teeth to be extracted before they have a chance to cause permanent damage to not only the other teeth but also to your bite.

Let’s Say Everything is Perfect

Perhaps you’re one of the lucky ones whose wisdom teeth came in nice and straight and had plenty of room. Your dentist in Lewisburg may still recommend that they be removed to prevent problems later. Since wisdom teeth are hard to take care of properly — brushing and flossing all the way back there can be very difficult — they do increase the risk of decay and even gum disease.

The best way to reduce the risk of your wisdom teeth causing you trouble is to monitor their development by visiting our Lewisburg dental office regularly and following through with any recommended treatment.   

Serving patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Williamsport, and nearby neighborhoods.

Top Questions About Dental Care

question markAt our dental office in Lewisburg, we believe in not only caring for our patients’ smiles but also educating them on all things related to dentistry. We’re often asked questions by either our patients or their families, and we always welcome them! Today we’d like to answer some of the questions we hear most often.

Is It Going to Hurt?

We get asked this question about several dental treatments such as fillings, root canals, and cleanings. While each procedure is unique, advancements in dental technology have made many treatments incredibly comfortable. If you’re nervous about anything, talk with your dental team. Ask them what to expect during the procedure and let them know if you start to feel anxious or uncomfortable.

Are Dental X-Rays Dangerous?

Even though dental x-rays require radiation, the risks are minimal. In fact, the amount of radiation used for dental x-rays is super small, and therefore, dental x-rays are super safe. Your dentist in Lewisburg will also take additional precautions to further decrease radiation exposure such as using a leaded apron. The pictures your dental team gets from dental x-rays gives them a unique look into the jaw bone and into the tooth roots. This allows them to see problems before you experience any signs, symptoms, or pain and when treatment is easier and often cheaper.

How Often Should I Have My Teeth Cleaned?

You should get a professional dental cleaning twice a year. However, if you have gum disease or have had it in the past, your dental team may recommend cleanings more often. During these appointments, your hygienist is not only removing plaque and tartar buildup but also taking x-rays, measuring gum pockets, and searching for any signs of decay. Making sure you see your dentist every six months can help diagnose problems while they’re still small and easy to treat.

Do I Really Need to Floss?

Yes! Flossing regularly is just as important as brushing. You should floss once a day, every day to remove food particles, bacteria, and buildup that’s been wedged tightly between each and every tooth. There are many different types of floss out there including traditional floss, floss picks, and water flossers. Find what’s most comfortable for you to use and floss often.

If you have questions about dentistry, we’re here to help! Call our dental office in Lewisburg today to schedule an appointment. We’d be happy to see you!

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

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.