We wanted to sit down with our newest team member, Dr. Becky, so we could share a bit with you all about her life in and outside of dentistry. We couldn't be happier to have her!
What got you into Periodontics?
What one thing do you wish your patients would do more?
This one is easy… floss!
Favorite hobby outside dentistry?
I love going to hot yoga. It helps me to relax, feel strong, and get the knots out of my back after a long surgery. I’ve also gotten into cooking in the last couple years. Middle eastern cooking is my favorite.
Funniest moment from dental school?
In dental school, we learned to give injections by first practicing them on each other. Can you imagine how nervous you would be if you knew the person coming at you with a needle had never given an injection before? My best friend, and roommate at the time, gave me my first injection. She dripped some anesthetic onto my tongue and tried to suction it out, but she accidentally grabbed the high speed suction instead of the saliva ejector and sucked half of my tongue up into the suction tube! She couldn’t figure out how to turn off the suction, but managed to wrestle it off my tongue, only to then get it stuck on my bottom lip. I was laughing so hard I was crying, but couldn’t talk to tell her I was okay. She thought I was injured so she ran off in a panic to get help. A dental assistant came to the rescue, turned off the suction, and I was freed. I ended up with a bruised fat lip and a great story to embarrass my still very close friend with.
We hear them all the time, and we’ve addressed many of them before. There are some deep seated beliefs about your dental health that are hard to let go, but completely false. Below are some of the most common ones, debunked:
Sparkling water is good for me/my teeth.
Oh we wish it were true. While LaCroix and other sparkling water options are certainly better for your body as a whole than soda, dentally they have much the same damaging effect. Carbonated beverages are, by their nature, quite acidic, especially when citrus flavors are added to the beverages. The carbonic acid in combination with the acid from citrus will erode the enamel and lead to serious decay. We’re not going to say don’t indulge, but to limit the damage, use a straw, drink quickly and rinse with water afterward!
Studies show I don't need to floss.
Rather, it’s that there aren’t a wealth of studies out there that can prove the benefits of flossing. This, and the fact that brushing and flossing aren’t really in their purview, prompted the removal of flossing from the federal dietary guidelines in August 2016. However, the ADA and federal government were both quick to come to flossing’s defense.
The reality is most likely that it’s just difficult to execute a large, well controlled study of flossing. You have to rely too heavily on participant reports, which are often inaccurate, or use exorbitant funds to run a study where these habits are closely monitored first hand. To date the only studies that have been well controlled were small and relatively short in duration, amassing weak evidence at best of flossing’s benefits.
What it in abundance, however, is the experience of most any dentist. Show a seasoned dentist a patient’s mouth and they can immediately tell you whether or not that person flosses. In our office alone we see countless cases of what we call “flossing cavities,” or decay resulting from ignoring the areas between your teeth. With flossing being so low cost and low time commitment, why not add it to your routine?
Radiation from dental x-rays is dangerous.
It’s understandably unnerving, coming that close to something the sole purpose of which is to aim radiation at you. But when you learn more about the technology, you begin to see that the radiation involved in dental x-rays is little more than what you get on the average flight. Unless you are under specific orders from your physician, there is no reason at all to fear x-rays. Taken yearly, they pose very little risk, and the benefit of that diagnostic information is priceless!
Fluoride is dangerous.
The debate about this has been going on for years, and can get pretty heated! But for fluoride to be lethal, you would need to ingest 5-10 g. To put that in context, the recommended level of fluoride in water is .7 to 1.2 parts per million - a very diluted dose! A person would need to really try to ingest too much fluoride, and in small doses, the benefits far outweigh the risks. The only place you should use caution is in children too young to effectively spit out toothpaste - in this instance, a non-fluoridated toothpaste is recommended to avoid fluoridosis.
Listerine causes cancer!
This may be one of the more sensational myths, and we hear it a surprising amount in our office. A few years ago, a study conducted in Europe set off a frenzy of articles claiming that alcohol-based mouthwashes cause cancer. While there was some correlation found in this study, some important things to note are:
The most conclusive finding of the study was that poorer oral hygiene and dental care was a factor in increased likelihood of oral cancers, thus reinforcing the importance of good oral hygiene habits!
Everyone has to have their wisdom teeth taken out.
Thankfully this one isn’t true either! Wisdom teeth only need to be removed if they are causing a problem in the mouth - i.e. they’re painful, crowding or misaligning the other teeth, or impacted. Now, these problems are very common with wisdom teeth, which is probably why the myth exists! But as long as they aren’t affecting your dentition and you’re able to effectively keep them clean and healthy, there’s no need to remove them.
As with any field, dentistry has its own complexities. If you ever have questions or are wondering if something is true, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist!
For many of us, the thought of retainers invokes an awkward high-schooler with a bulky hunk of plastic holding their teeth in place. With any orthodontic treatment, however, they are a necessity - and not just for teenagers! Thankfully technology, as it has with everything else, has made retainers a lot less inconvenient. We’ll take a look here at a few different types of retainers, but first:
What do retainers do and why are the necessary?
The name says it all - retainers literally retain the current position of your teeth. The periodontal tissue and bone surrounding your teeth are stubborn - by their nature they’re inclined to return to their original position. The longer you can “force” your teeth into proper alignment, the more time the surrounding structures have to adapt and stabilize your new bite. Without something keeping them in place, teeth will start to drift back to their initial alignment. This happens much faster than you’d imagine; often in less time than it takes to straighten them in the first place.
That being the case, retainers can be viewed as insurance on your teeth straightening investment. There are two main types of retention:
With this option, a wire is cemented to the lingual (facing the tongue) side of the upper teeth, lower teeth, or in some cases both, to prevent the teeth from shifting.
There are two main kinds of removable retainers: ones made of metal (which attaches to the teeth) fused to an acrylic plate (which sits on the roof of the mouth), and ones that are entirely acrylic and cover only the teeth. Both types are custom fitted to your teeth toward the end of orthodontic treatment; how often you need to wear them depends on your orthodontist’s recommendation. In our office, we typically use removable retainers and advocate their use overnight every night following treatment.
What kind of retainer is right for me?
The type of retainer that will work for you depends on the specifics of your case and your daily habits. Talk to your dentist or orthodontist today to see which retainer will work best for you!
We LOVE Invisalign and the results it can offer our patients, so you can imagine how excited we were when we found a supplemental treatment that could get patients results in half the time. Introducing Propel Orthodontic Treatment, a new treatment that allows us to complete many Invisalign cases twice as fast!
How does Propel treatment work?
We use two Propel treatment aids in our office: the Excellerator and the vPro5. The Excellerator is typically applied during your first Invisalign visit by the doctor and uses a technique called micro-osteoperforation. The micro-osteoperforation process temporarily weakens the bone which allows us to accelerate the movement of the teeth with the Invisalign aligners. We do recommend getting numb for this micro-invasive treatment, but completing this 20-30 minute process will stimulate the bone allowing for straight teeth in a fraction of the normal time.
The vPro5 is an easy to use at home aid. Worn for 5-15 minutes every day, the vibrations stimulate alveolar bone growth while improving how aligners sit on the teeth, making for better, more predictable treatment results in less time. It has also been shown to reduce the already minimal discomfort of new aligners and reduce the possibility of needing additional treatment after the initial Invisalign case. And as an added bonus for all those data lovers out there, the vPro5 records compliance and tracks results that your doctor can download at your visits.
How much time does Propel save me?
When used consistently in office and at home, Propel treatments can reduce the time in each aligner by over 50% - Each aligner is typically worn for 5 days instead of the normal 14 days.
Can everyone use Propel?
Unfortunately not every case, due to varying complexity and treatment objectives, can be helped by Propel. It can help in a wide range of cases, however; if a shortened treatment period makes Invisalign a more realistic option for you, talk to us today to see if you’re eligible!
Most folks don’t think to look for Sodium Laureth or Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) until they start having an issue, and then they realize it’s everywhere: soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, and mouthrinses, just to name a few. While many people don’t notice the presence of these chemicals, for some it can cause significant irritation. Let’s dig deeper into SLS to see how it might be affecting you!
What is SLS?
Sodium Lauryl Ether (Laureth) Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, both commonly referred to as SLS, act as detergents and surfactants in many toiletries. They are both excellent emulsifying, foaming agents that behave similar to soap and are cheap to produce, making SLS a go to for cosmetic manufacturers.
What are the symptoms of a SLS allergy/sensitivity?
The properties of SLS can cause already sensitive or dry skin to itch, flake or crack more dramatically. Oral health care products that contain SLS are likely to cause cracking at the corners of the mouth and canker sores. Additionally, some findings indicate that residual SLS levels may be linked to a hormonal imbalance.
What’s this about a link between SLS and cancer?
While there has been a good amount of public debate about the status of SLS as a carcinogen and its link to cancer, it’s important to note that there’s no scientific evidence to date that supports a connection between the two. This lack of evidence has been backed up by the American Cancer Council, OSHA, and the National Toxicity Program. It’s worth noting, however, that the process by which Sodium Lauryl Sulfate becomes Sodium Laureth Sulfate can produce the byproduct dioxane, which is a suspected carcinogen and believed to linger longer in our system.
What dental products can I use if I’m trying to avoid SLS?
SLS can be tricky to avoid; because these chemicals can be derived from coconut oil, many companies will boast “natural” and “eco-friendly” products that still contain them. The only way to be certain is to fully read the ingredient list on the product in question. For SLS-free oral health products, we recommend the following:
We recently added a truly comprehensive whitening option to our menu, and we’re pretty stoked. Let’s take a look at what this new system can do!
How does whitening work?
Every whitening product uses the same basic science to achieve results. Tooth discoloration is caused by large pigment and stain molecules that become trapped inside the tooth’s structure: the larger the molecules, the darker the teeth appear.
All bleaching gels break down to hydrogen peroxide in the end, which in turn breaks down into free radicals that attach to and lift stains from the teeth.
So what makes KöR Whitening different?
For whom do we recommend KöR Whitening?
This whitening program is not for the casual user - it definitely requires a commitment! Every small step matters in this process, so compliance is key. We think KöR’s program is especially well suited to the following cases:
If you think KöR might be right for you, set up a consultation today!
Photos credit of KOR website and used with their permission.
We all know the negative effect of smoking cigarettes on oral health - and on all other aspects of your health, for that matter! But what about vaping? Since its rise in popularity, e-cigarettes have been widely seen as a “healthier” alternative to their predecessor. Yet the research is thin on vaping (the action of inhaling the vapors produced by e-cigarettes) and its actual effect on oral health; what’s more, the evidence that is out there doesn’t look great. Let’s take a closer look at some of what we do know about vaping:
Why does my tooth hurt?
There is no question more pressing when you are in pain, and it’s often a hard one to answer. Tooth pain can be attributed to a number of factors, but here are the most common:
Are there home remedies for tooth pain?
The best and safest bet when experiencing tooth pain, especially sudden or unexplained, is to make an appointment to see your dentist. There are, however, a few things you can try to ease your discomfort while you’re waiting to get into the office:
You wouldn’t think what you drink would have as strong an effect on your teeth as what you eat - after all, doesn’t the liquid wash straight over where food would stick and damage? But certain drinks can linger on the surfaces of teeth and do just as much, if not more, harm than their solid counterparts. Let’s take a look at the worst, and best, drinks for your oral health:
Now, we understand that abstaining from the above list entirely isn’t reasonable - we wouldn’t want to either! Here are some tips on lessening the effects of teeth-damaging beverages:
Take a look at our list of Acid and Sugar Levels in Common Food and Drink for more details on what common consumables contain!
Many companies celebrate the turn of the year by switching insurance policies on you. As 2016 speeds toward its end, let’s take a look at 3 common questions about dental insurance so you know what to expect!
What will dental insurance cover?
It varies from policy to policy, but there are some benefits you can expect to see in most plans, which fall into three categories:
Does it make sense to pay for dental insurance?
That all depends on the insurance options available to you and your general level of oral health. If you have a history of poor health, multiple dental restorations or gum disease, dental insurance will almost certainly save you money in the long run. This is especially true if you have access to a subsidized plan through your employer.
If you don’t have a subsidized option and are in relatively good health, however - needing only your bi-yearly cleanings and the occasional filling - dental insurance might not be for you. At that point you’d want to weigh the cost of these common dental services against your yearly premium to see where you come out on top. Some dental offices, including ours, also offer dental savings plans that give the uninsured a discount on common services.
What type of dental insurance should I choose?
When shopping for self-funded plans or looking over options from an employer, you may be asked to pick between an DHMO and a PPO, the two most common types of dental insurance. There are a couple of key differences between the two:
Our admin team works hard to stay up to date on the ins and outs of our patients’ policies. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have about your benefits; email or call us today and let us know how we can help!