Teething as an Adult: What to Do When Your Wisdom Teeth Grow In (Part 2)

Adult Wisdom TeethWelcome back to the second half of our article on what it’s like to grow in healthy wisdom teeth as an adult and what to do about it if you find yourself to be one of the lucky few with non-problematic wisdom teeth. Last time we talked about why wisdom teeth grow in and why yours can be perfectly fine compared to the established norms. Join us today as we pick up at what it feels like when those extra adult teeth finally find their way to the surface of your gums.

What it Feels Like to Grow In Healthy Wisdom Teeth

When your wisdom teeth start to grow in, or ‘erupt’ as we say in the dental profession, you’ll definitely notice but it’s not as painful as wisdom teeth stories might have you thinking. Wisdom teeth tend to come in one at a time, often years apart and when this happens, it can seem pretty strange. First, your gums will get swollen and a bit sore as the tooth pushes up through the surface and you may find yourself biting the inside of your cheek more often. The area may get sore, swell, sting, and be sensitive to pressure. Soon, you’ll notice a little ridge as your tooth breaks through the surface. Congratulations, you’re now a teething adult.

Things get a little easier once the entire top of your currently erupting wisdom tooth makes its appearance. The swelling and discomfort is mostly caused by the gums being pushed out of the way and, to a certain extent, the teeth cutting their way out. After this, the rest of the tooth can come through and the gums can settle into their new configuration.

What to Do About Your Growing Wisdom Teeth

So here you are in your 20’s with sore gums in the back of your mouth. Maybe it stings or maybe it just feels a little swollen, but treating your gums right during this phase is incredibly important. First, use mouthwash regularly. This will make sure your rupturing gums don’t become infected. If you’re experiencing pain or swelling, use a small piece of ice to numb, cool, and reduce swelling. This is also a great way to deal with the cheek biting problem while your mouth adjusts to the new layer of teeth. If food gets stuck in your gums, chew on the other side for a while and don’t be shy about fishing crumbs out when you need to. If the stinging sensation or swelling start to bother you, use a tiny dab oral pain reliever like Orajel or Anbesol directly on the area.

When to See Your Dentist

During this time, it’s important to keep up regular appointments with your dentist and keep them informed about the progress of each of your four wisdom teeth. They can help you make sure that your sore gums don’t get infected and watch for signs of infection risk. If you’re curious about how the other three wisdom teeth are coming along, your dentist can take new X-rays to show you where, approximately when, and at what angle of entry you can expect any remaining wisdom teeth. Don’t be surprised if you only have one, two, or three. Number of wisdom teeth varies from person to person. Your dentist can also help you deal with any pain or discomfort caused by the erupting tooth.

And, of course, if you start to feel like there is something wrong with your wisdom tooth eruption other than the usual swelling and soreness, go to see your doctor immediately. This could be the result of infection, a slightly-too-sharp angle of entry, or some other issue that your dentist will be able to identify and find a solution for.

For adults who are growing in their wisdom teeth with none of the traditionally extreme problems, it can be a bit strange to re-experience the sensation of a new tooth, especially when there’s not an empty socket to be filled like when most of your adult teeth grew in. However, if you successfully grow in even one additional tooth, much less all four, you can walk around proudly proclaiming to have more teeth than the average human. Then smile really big to show off those unusually numerous pearly whites.

For more guidance on how to take care of your wisdom teeth or other dental concerns, contact us today!

Teething as an Adult: What to Do When Your Wisdom Teeth Grow In (Part 1)

Adult Wisdom TeethWisdom teeth are notorious for making their arrival when you least expect them. Sometime in your early to middle 20’s when your career is taking off and you’re figuring out how to live on your own as an adult, suddenly you’ve got new teeth growing in. While there are many stories of how this can go wrong and most dental advice focuses on impacted or infected wisdom teeth, what happens when everything is fine?

For many young adults, wisdom teeth are a bizarre experience, but not a painful one. If your teeth are healthy and correctly angled, you don’t need them extracted, but you may still want some guidance on how to face teething as an adult. So keep reading to learn what to expect.

Not All Wisdom Teeth are Problematic

Not everyone gets their own unique wisdom tooth horror story and, in fact, some people never grow in any wisdom teeth at all. And then there’s that rare percentage of the population that don’t experience any of the negative symptoms we hear about all the time. No overwhelming jaw pain, no constant headaches or earaches, and no emergency trip to the dentist. You probably got your wisdom teeth X-rayed a few years back and the dentist may have even recommended removing them because problems are the norm.

Why We Have Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth may be mysterious in when they’re going to appear, but we certainly know why they do. Compared to today, almost all historic humans lived hard lives fraught with danger and malnutrition. Losing a tooth in a fight, from calcium deficiency, or getting hit in the head by primitive equipment meant that most people had lost a few teeth by their 20s. But having gaps in your teeth is less survivable than a full rack of choppers so in come wisdom teeth, angled to “impact” because they’re actually a primitive evolved form of braces, in their way. They are meant to push your forward teeth up and together from all four corners in the gums to make room for themselves and complete your smile. Many of the problems caused by wisdom teeth result in coming in at too sharp an angle and having no room to make for themselves because modern humans usually have all our teeth

Why Your Wisdom Teeth are Coming In Fine

For those few lucky people who don’t get shooting pains or headaches from the growth and approach of their wisdom teeth, you can thank one of two explanations and one lucky roll of the genetic dice. The chance aspect is that your wisdom teeth did not get ‘confused’ and head in the wrong direction or at too sharp an angle and they did not get infected while still developing. After that, there’s explaining why you have room in your gums. It’s possible that you actually did lose teeth to malnutrition or, more likely, misadventure somewhere between growing your adult teeth and your mid-20s. Alternately, your gums are just unusually spacious and there’s plenty of room for those wisdom teeth to grow in!

Whether you’re one of the lucky few with gums prepared and sized properly for wisdom teeth or you ‘made room’ for them a few years back, having your wisdom teeth grow in is a strange sensation for any adult. Of course, as you may have guessed this is only the first half of our two-part article on the how, why, and what to do about growing in healthy wisdom teeth. Join us next time as we talk about what it feels like when your wisdom teeth start to grow in, what to do about it, and when to consult with your dentist.

[To be continued]

In the meantime, contact us with any questions or concerns that you have about your incoming wisdom teeth.

4 Tips for Making the Move to a New Family Dentist Easier

meeting a new family dentistMothers set the tone in the home as faithful and consistent caregivers—ready to listen, love, and make thousands of decisions day after day. If you’re a mother, your decisions also include finding the best healthcare professionals for all of the people under your roof.  From the smallest of children to the maturest of adults, they are trusting your judgment.

However, even with careful research and decision-making, there are times when a change is necessary. Whether there’s been a cross-country move or your beloved family caregiver has recently retired, you’re the best person to guide your family through moving to a new doctor or dentist. We’re here to help with these 4 tips to quickly and efficiently switch to a new family dentist.

1. Begin the Search Online

If you’ve just moved to a new town, social media platforms like Facebook can be extremely helpful when looking for a new family dentist. Many cities have Facebook groups for moms living in that particular city. Join several and share your story. You’re sure to meet dozens of moms ready and willing to help you on your search.

If your dentist has recently retired and you’re looking for a new dentist in the same city, ask trusted friends and neighbors about their dentist. If you know a family with ages of children close to yours, you’ll have an even more detailed recommendation.

Once you have 3-5 recommended dentists, do a bit more research by looking at their websites and social media pages like Facebook. You’ll immediately get a feel for the office, the people, and the atmosphere.  You can also read reviews left by other parents to see what people like the most about them.

When researching online, consider:

  • Are you interested in finding one new family dentist that can see children and adults of all ages?
  • Do you want the ease of requesting appointments online?
  • How close to your home do you want your dentist?
  • Do you want one provider that can take care of everything from general care to orthodontics and even oral surgeries?

After your online research, it’s time to visit your top 1-2 dentists in-person.

2. Tour the Office & Talk with the Staff

Call the new family dentist office a few days ahead of time and ask about coming in for a tour. Office staff should be more than happy to accommodate your request at a time convenient for you. If you’d like to meet the dentist, be sure to mention it in your call giving them time to include the meeting as part of your tour.

Before your tour, take a few minutes to think of any questions or special concerns you may have regarding your family’s dental care.  During the tour, talk with office support staff and dental hygienists and observe the patients. Do you see a range of ages? Do the employees seem friendly and compassionate?  Can you envision your family inside the practice feeling at ease and comfortable while receiving dental care?

After talking with the staff and setting foot inside the practice, you’ll have the information you need to move forward with your new family dentist.

3.Transfer Medical Records

Talk to your new family dentist about transferring your records. They may be able to help by requesting them from your old dentist. However, most dental practices have a form that must be completed with your signature to complete the transfer. The simple form is a safety measure designed to protect details regarding your identity as well as your medical history.

If you do need to call your old dentist yourself, don’t worry. While it may feel a bit uncomfortable, patients change healthcare providers all the time and the office support staff see this process as a routine part of managing their practice.

4. Make the Appointment

Now it’s time to make your first appointment with your new dentist. Be sure to reference your recent visit to their office and share any additional concerns you have before coming in as a new patient.

Making the transition to a new family dentist doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult. Following these tips will help make the process seamless, shorten your long to-do list by at least one task, give you more time with your family, and boost your confidence in your new dental care provider.

For more information about our patient-first vision of complete dental care, contact Simply Beautiful Smiles.  Our entire team look forward to welcoming you to our practice and serving the dental needs of you and your family for years to come.

A Family’s Guide to Dental Insurance – Keeping It Simple

Understanding Dental InsurancePart of a well-rounded financial plan is knowing what insurance is and what it covers. For families, it’s even more important to understand dental insurance benefits because for many, cutting costs and making wise decisions is a daily part of life.

According to a 2017 study by the US Department of Agriculture, the cost of raising a child from birth to 17 years of age in the urban northeast hovers around $264,090. If that number made you gasp, you’re not alone. Families across all parts of the country want to be smart in decisions about housing, transportation, food, and healthcare.

So let’s take a look at what dental insurance is, what services are generally covered, and some of the top providers across the country.

What is Dental Insurance?

In the simplest of terms, dental insurance is protection against paying 100% for costs related to dental care. Like auto insurance or life insurance, a regular payment is made each month to protect you from larger expenses, both expected and unexpected.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Every month either you or your employer makes a payment (called a premium) to your dental insurance company in exchange for reduced rates on services—some services will even be fully covered.
  2. When you or your family member visits the dentist, your dental practice files paperwork with your dental insurance company (called a claim) letting them know about the services you had.
  3. Your insurance company then pays your dentist for those services.
  4. Any remaining balance, if there is one, is then passed on to you.

Dental insurance allows you peace of mind knowing your family’s dental care is top notch all while helping you manage costs that work within your budget.

Another way many to save within the framework of your dental insurance plan is to choose what is called an in-network dentist. An in-network dentist is a provider who has an agreement with your insurance company which means deeper discounts for you.

Make sure to visit the website of your insurance provider to find an in-network dentist near you.

What does Dental Insurance Cover?

Dental plans vary widely so it’s important to examine your specific plan. However, many dental practices, like Simply Beautiful Smiles, employ administrative professionals who can guide you through your plan and help you make the best decisions for your family.

Dental plans often cover the following services 100%:

  • Two routine cleanings each calendar year
  • Fluoride treatments
  • Sealants
  • Periodic X-Rays

Other services may be covered anywhere from 50-80%. These services may include:

  • Fillings
  • Root canals
  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Other basic and major procedures

Who are the Top Dental Insurance Providers?

It’s important to know the names of reputable dental insurance providers. While some employers who offer dental insurance may not give you a choice, you ideally have a dental insurance provider who is a leader in the industry and has a track record providing quality plans for their customers.

Although you may come across smaller and lesser-known insurance providers, choosing one of the nation’s top providers ensures that you’re dealing with experts.

Some of the most reputable dental insurance providers include:

  • Aetna
  • Cigna
  • Delta
  • Fidelio
  • Guardian
  • Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • MetLife

Talk to the professionals at your dental practice and ask their recommendations for the insurance company that would best suit your needs. Their expertise in dealing with dental insurance day-in and day-out could be the missing piece in your decision.

For more information about your dental coverage or our patient-first vision of complete dental care, contact Simply Beautiful Smiles.  The entire team looks forward to welcoming you to our practice and serving the dental needs of you and your family for years to come.

A Busy Mom’s Guide to Dental Milestones

As busy moms, we’re bombarded with advice and instructions on when to take our children to the doctor — two weeks old, one month old, three months old, etc. It seems as if much of our time during that first year of life is spent making sure our children hit age-appropriate milestones.

While all of those appointments in such a short time can feel a bit overwhelming, regularly seeing trusted healthcare professionals brings us a peace of mind that our children are healthy. Family dentists are a part of our supportive team helping us through those ever-changing stages of childhood. Even though it takes time, it’s crucial to prioritize preventative and routine appointments with these trusted professionals.

When family life is full, it’s especially easy to put off dental appointments for your children.

  • Maybe your old dentist just retired and you haven’t had the energy to find a new one;
  • Maybe you have a dentist, but your child had a bad experience and doesn’t want to go back; or
  • Maybe you’ve just moved to a new town and there are many other decisions to make.

No to worry, busy mom. We’ve all been there.

With recent research estimating that adults make around 35,000 decisions every day, it’s no wonder some get lost in the shuffle of backpacks, playdates, and homework.

To help you pick up the phone and schedule your child’s next dental appointment, here’s a crash course in childhood dental milestones—signaling that it’s time for a check-up on the family calendar.

Infant and Toddler Years: Teeth Eruption and Good Habits

According to the American Dental Association, your child’s first visit to the dentist should happen after you see those first teeth erupt but no later than your child’s first birthday. Because your child can get cavities as soon as he or she has teeth, early visits to the dentist lay a solid foundation for excellent oral health and a good relationship with their dentist.

A few tips for that first appointment:

  • Choose a dentist that has experience with pediatric dentistry. Asking friends and neighbors for recommendations is a great way to locate a high-quality dentist for your child.
  • When calling, ask how long average wait times are because choosing a practice with short wait times makes the visit easier on you and your kids.
  • Avoid scheduling the appointment during your child’s nap time. The first appointment of the day is often the easiest for young patients.

It’s also important during the toddler years to monitor your child’s brushing, thumb sucking, and sugar intake. Taking care of these baby teeth and teaching good brushing habits will help protect your child’s teeth until the next dental milestone—teeth mobility, also known as wiggly teeth.

Elementary Years: Wiggly Teeth

Once your child has several years of routine dental visits behind them, the next dental milestone often occurs around six years of age. Many children lose their teeth in roughly the order they came in—with the front teeth coming out first.

In order to minimize the pain and bleeding sometimes associated with losing teeth, allow your child to guide how and when the teeth come out. Often, simply letting them wiggle the tooth naturally over the course of several days or weeks allows the tooth to come out virtually pain-free.

Your dentist will want to see you after your child starts losing teeth in order to monitor the new teeth coming in or take note of any crowding or potential challenges.

Teen Years: Orthodontic Needs

The teen years usher in the final stage of dental milestones for children. With a foundation of strong and healthy teeth, many dentists will begin talking about orthodontics.  This is a branch of dentistry that focuses on straightening teeth and correcting bite issues using braces and aligners.

Because orthodontics can be pricey, it’s important to talk early on in the teen years with your dentist about necessary procedures. Researching your dental insurance coverage is also important. Many dental offices have administrative professionals on staff to help you navigate these often-confusing issues.

Knowing the basic dental milestones during childhood can help you prioritize dental appointments and make sure that your children receive the best of dental care. While the family calendar may stay full, the peace of mind you’ll have is worth the phone call—and the effort.

For more information about our patient-first vision of complete dental care, contact Simply Beautiful Smiles.  The entire team looks forward to welcoming you to our practice and serving the dental needs of you and your family for years to come.

Why Busy Moms and Dads Love Full-Service Family Dentistry

family dentistImagine a pulling into a dentist office parking lot and your children are all smiles with excitement. They’ve been waiting for weeks and are thrilled their appointment day is finally here.

Think that’s impossible? Think again.

Shawn Cruz, a satisfied patient at our office, recently had that experience with his two children. Cruz shares:

I’ve never enjoyed dental experiences like I do at Simply Beautiful Smiles and so much more important my children both love the dentist—like pure joy and hoorays when we pull up. If that alone doesn’t tell you how awesome this place is I don’t know what will!

With a wide array of dental services all in one location, more families are making the choice to use a full-service family dentist, like Simply Beautiful Smiles. Full-service dentistry brings all necessary procedures and services to one location under the care of highly-qualified dentists and specialists.

Consider the following benefits of a full-service family dentist and decide if one might be right for your family.

One Location for Services

One of the biggest benefits of a full-service dentist is convenience. The ability to bring every member of your family, from youngest to oldest, to one location for dental care just makes sense.

  • Schedule a routine cleaning for your eight-year-old while your teenager has a check-up for their braces;
  • Come for an appointment for your aging parent while you receive a quick whitening treatment or,
  • Schedule a wisdom teeth removal consult after routine dental X-rays.

Instead of appointments spread over multiple days and locations, a full-service family dentist streamlines your schedule freeing up several days a year—while also eliminating unnecessary school absences for your children.

Consistency in Care

Another benefit families receive when choosing a full-service family dentist is consistency in care.

From young patients seeing a dentist for the first time to adults struggling with snoring or sleep apnea,  patients stay with the same dentist from birth through adulthood. This long-term relationship between patient and dentist lays the foundation for excellent dental care as it fosters communication between patient, dentist, orthodontist, and specialists.

Real Relationships

The consistency in care leads to another high-valued benefit for families—real relationships with health care providers. In a day when the average face time with a doctor is eight minutes, families are searching for caregivers who know their names, their medical history, and their concerns. A full-service family dentist is the answer.

Dentists in these types of practices take seriously the full range of needs for their patients and invest extra time to provide the highest level of dental care. This patient-first vision provides families with security and confidence in their healthcare providers—who may also become their friends.

Less Paperwork

A lesser benefit than those above (but equally important to busy moms and dads), is less paperwork. It’s much easier to fill out personal and insurance forms one time and have them be securely shared across one office.  It saves time and cuts down on mistakes.

For families with multiple children and adults, less paperwork is a welcome change from the normal less-than-full-service office.

Families are embracing full-service family dentists for their convenience and for the long-term relationships they foster between patient and dentist. Parents like Shawn Cruz are happy they made the switch and are pretty convinced your children will be too—joyfully skipping right through the dentist office doors.

Simply Beautiful Smiles is a 16-location dental practice located in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The entire team looks forward to welcoming you to our practice and serving the dental needs of you and your family for years to come.

Learn more about our full-service practice by requesting an appointment today.

How to Help Your Kids Be Less Afraid of a New Dentist

Some kids go through their lives in search of the next great adventure. Some kids prefer consistency and familiar surroundings. Eventually the unfamiliar becomes familiar, and all is well. Your child may have been a bit apprehensive,  maybe even fearful, when they were first getting to know their dentist, but soon the pair became better acquainted, and all was well.Kid Happy at the Dentist

Then life happens, and the once familiar routine becomes unfamiliar all over again. Maybe your dentist retires, or your family relocates to a new town. Some kids are excited to go to new places and meet new people, but if your child is hesitant, you may find yourself back to square one, helping your child establish a relationship of familiarity and trust with their dentist.

Helping Your Child Make the Transition to a New Dental Office

Some children have a little more trouble adjusting to change than others. But with a bit of planning and preparation, your kid may be less afraid of a new dentist. You may want to try some of the following suggestions:

  • Schedule an Appointment in Person – Rather than simply scheduling your appointment over the phone; it may be helpful to include your child in the process. If you call your dentist’s office before stopping by, you can explain your situation and concerns for your child. This gives your dental office a heads up, and they can work with you to help your child feel welcome.
  • Involve Your Child in Selecting the Date and Time – Give your child input, even if it’s just selecting between dates or the time of their appointment. Having their preferences heard could help your child feel a bit more in control of the entire process. When you both return on the scheduled date, the office will feel a bit more familiar to your child.
  • Have a Celebratory Countdown – Let your child help you mark the date and time on a calendar or chart. Cross the days off as they pass, while speaking positively about the upcoming meeting with their future dentist. It may help if your child gets the impression that the upcoming dentist visit is a happy occasion, an event to look forward to.

Be Aware of Accidentally Interjecting Your Own Concerns

Kids are smart and quite observant. If you are apprehensive about how your child will react to visiting a new dentist, you may accidentally trigger anxiety that would not have occurred on its own. If you remain positive and view the upcoming event as an opportunity to meet someone new, your child may respond in the same manner.

The entire experience may be much smoother than you anticipate. Surprisingly, most kids actually don’t mind visiting their dentist. A questionnaire designed to assess children’s attitudes towards their dentists found that in the 9-12 year age group, 64 percent of the children surveyed like going to the dentist, only 11 percent didn’t care for the experience, with 12 percent initially afraid. The remainder were simply indifferent. The odds are pretty much stacked in your favor. To increase your odds of a smooth transition, you may want to try some of the following:

  • Leave other children home if possible so you can focus on one child at a time
  • Make a fun game out of counting how many times the dentist says “teeth,” or any other amusing distraction
  • Take your child with you for your appointment. Make it fun and use positive body language
  • Let your child bring a toy or favorite plush animal to show their new dentist friend
  • Plan a reward or activity for after your visit as something else to look forward to
  • Don’t associate the word dentist with the word hurt

Knowing What to Expect Builds Trust

When you and your child are discussing their upcoming dentist visit, you may be able to alleviate some of their apprehension by letting them know what to expect. Your youngster may be relieved to know that their first visit to meet their new friend is simply a chance to get to know each other. Dentists like to look at teeth and count them. Dentists like to show off their awesome tools and sometimes can even show their new young friends how the tools work or what they sound like.

Your Dentist Can Help Ease the Transition

Children can be quite sensitive to new sights and sounds. The children who have positive dental experiences early in their lives are less likely to develop a fear of dentists as they get older. If you are concerned about introducing an unfamiliar dentist to your child, let your dentist’s office know. They may have suggestions of their own that will help your kid feel less afraid about meeting their new dentist for the first time.

To alleviate children’s dental fears and apprehensions, it’s important to take the time to create a good rapport in a safe, non-threatening atmosphere. For pediatric and family dentistry in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, contact Simply Beautiful Smiles. We can help your child, and your entire family, make a smooth transition by providing high-quality, trusted family dental care. Schedule your appointment today!

How to Choose the Right Dentist for your Family

Finding a new family dentist that you feel comfortable with can be a real challenge.  Maybe you recently moved or your previous dentist retired.  Whatever the reason for starting your search, here are some tips that will help you find exactly the right dentist for everyone in your family.Choose a Family Dentist

Look for shorter wait times

Nothing is more frustrating than sitting in a crowded waiting room for long periods of time.  This is even worse when you have a family to take care of and have children that you have to entertain while you wait.  Longer wait times also can keep you from making future appointments because you don’t want to deal with the hassle.  This can mean that your family’s oral health suffers.  So be sure to ask what the typical wait times are. Our Patient Promise guarantees you’ll be seen within 5 minutes.

Look for multiple services

The last thing you want is to have to go to one place for a cleaning, another place for dental surgeries, and yet another place for orthodontic services. When an office offers multiple services, it is like having the convenience of one-stop shopping for all of your family’s dental needs. Never again will you have to worry about filling out endless amounts of paperwork at many different offices.  You can visit one office where the staff is familiar with every aspect of your family’s dental needs and has access to their entire medical history.  This not only makes your life easier, it also helps make sure that their care if the best it can be since each doctor is familiar with their entire history.

Find a dentist that sees everyone

No one wants to deal with the hassle of visiting one office for small children, another for older children, and yet another for the adults! Instead, look for a family dentist that sees patients of all ages.  A family dentist offers the ease of being able to schedule everyone’s appointment at the same time, so you only have to make one trip.  Taking everyone to the same dentist also means that they will be aware of any family history and your preferences.

Ask what insurance plans they accept

You certainly want to make sure that you see a dentist that accepts your family’s insurance. Before even scheduling an appointment, specify what type of insurance you have. It may be a good idea to call the insurance company as well in order to see if they fully cover the services, or if you will be responsible for partial payment. Although there are many insurance policies available, some of the most popular dental plans are Delta Dental Insurance, MetLife Dental Insurance, and Aetna Dental Insurance. Also, ask about payment options. Do they offer a payment plan if needed? Are credit card payments accepted?

Make Sure Your Family Feels Comfortable

It is important to make sure your family feels comfortable with the dentist that you ultimately choose. If you have small children, make sure the office is kid-friendly. You also need to make sure you can easily interact with the staff so you can effectively communicate your needs and concerns. Ask yourself if the dentist you are choosing can provide what you need and if you are satisfied with the care your family will receive.  Don’t be afraid to ask for a time to bring your family in to meet with the staff and dentist before making a decision.

By carefully considering all of these tips, you can ensure that you are choosing the dentist that will take the best care of your family. For more information, contact us today. Or, Request an Appointment with our convenient online form!

6 Dental Habits for Your Best Smile Yet

Happy young young showing off a beautiful smile that is evidence of her excellent dental habitsWho doesn’t love a million-watt smile with beautiful pearly-white teeth? You probably already know that taking care of your teeth is an important part of staying healthy, but here’s an important reminder: sub-par dental habits can lead to pain and negative drawbacks that last a lifetime!

Brushing your teeth is a given. But that’s not where oral hygiene ends. In fact, it’s just where it begins.

Here are six dental habits you can start right now. These simple additions to your routine will keep your entire mouth healthy and your teeth looking as good as you feel.

Simple Dental Habits for a Winning Smile

1) Brush Your Teeth (the Right Way)

Yes, we all know that brushing is essential, but that doesn’t mean you’re following the best practices of dental care. Keeping your mouth, teeth, gums, and tongue as healthy as possible requires an established routine. Brush twice daily, after waking up and before going to bed. Additionally, our dentists recommend brushing after every meal. The more often you brush, the less likely you’ll have to worry about food particles and bacteria making a home between your teeth.

Most importantly, don’t stop at your teeth! Brushing your tongue and gums is necessary to get rid of those pesky bacteria that can lead to cavities and gingivitis. Replace your toothbrush at least every 12 weeks, if not more often.

2) Use Dentist-Recommended Toothpaste

In addition to brushing well, you should also make sure that you use the right toothpaste. It’s tempting to go for whitening toothpaste, but it’s more important to select an option that includes fluoride.

The best toothpaste for your teeth depends on your preferences and oral health. When in doubt, talk to your SBS dentist for a recommendation. Sometimes, the flashiest options with tons of advertising power aren’t necessarily the best choice.

3) Start Flossing

Nobody particularly enjoys flossing, but that doesn’t mean you should skip the process. Flossing is just as important as brushing your teeth!

We don’t expect you to start flossing after every meal, but we do recommend it. Start by flossing every other day and then work yourself toward the ultimate daily goal. The more you floss, the less discomfort you will feel. The process removes bits of food and bacteria and also stimulates your gums in a way that brushing simply cannot.

4) Hydrate

Sugary drinks are bad for your teeth. Yes, that can of Coke tastes great, but your teeth will suffer the consequences. That being said, avoiding sugar is not the only reason you should drink more water.

In addition to saving your mouth from rotting sugary substances, water can also wash out any little pieces of food that are hiding in your mouth. Additionally, fluoride-treated tap water is one more way to fight tooth decay.

5) Eat Healthy Foods

As is the case with drinks, sugary and acidic foods can be killers for your oral health. If you do have to satisfy a craving, consider doing so shortly before brushing your teeth to minimize residue.

Our advice? Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. These stimulate your saliva, adding fresh minerals to the surface of your teeth and gums in order to strengthen the surface and avoid decay. The right food and drinks can make all the difference when it comes to your oral health.

6) Schedule Regular Checkups with SBS Dentists

Last, but certainly not least, you cannot know how healthy your teeth actually are unless you get them checked on a regular basis. Visit your Simply Beautiful Smiles dentist every six months for routine cleanings and care.

We can also answer all of your questions about the best oral habits for a healthy mouth. From the right toothbrush to good flossing techniques, our friendly dentists will help you optimize your daily habits for maximum success.

The Symptoms of TMJ and How to Eliminate Pain

Your jaw joints – the temporomandibular joints – work together when you chew, speak, and swallow. This complex system is built on a series of tiny hinges in front of your ears, but when they’re out of alignment, they can become a major pain. Jaw pain and facial pain are common symptoms of dentist helps patient understand the symptoms of tmjTMJ – or temporomandibular joint disorder. Your joint disorder can be mild or life-altering, depending on its severity.

 

What Causes TMJ?

Most people don’t contemplate the function their jaw joints, but they rely on balance. Each of your joints has a cushioning disk and system of muscles and ligaments that allow your lower jaw to move freely. When these joints are correctly aligned, your teeth come together in their correct position, and the muscles can relax. When your alignment is imprecise, the results can be quite painful. TMJ is believed to have several possible causes. Some of those causes include:

 

  • Injury to the jaw
  • Grinding the teeth
  • Clenching the jaw (stress)
  • A misaligned bite
  • Rheumatoid or osteoarthritis

 

Common Symptoms of TMJ

The symptoms of TMJ will vary from person to person. You may only experience one or two symptoms, or you could have them all. The pain can be mild or severe or fluctuate from day to day. You, or your dentist, may suspect TMJ if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

 

  • Popping or clicking of the jaw joint
  • Muscle spasms in your jaw
  • Jaw or facial pain that can radiate to your neck
  • Shoulder pain
  • Limited motion or joint locking
  • A change in the position of your jaw
  • Recurring headaches or migraines
  • Frequent sinus or ear infections
  • Tooth sensitivity (without dental problems)
  • Vertigo or dizziness

 

Diagnosing Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

You can have TMJ even if your teeth are straight. Even if your bite is fine, it can shift out of alignment as you get older. As part of your dental exam, your muscles will be checked for tenderness and your joints for clicking or popping. If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms of TMJ, it is essential to communicate this information to your dentist. In some cases, your dentist could want a full face x-ray, MRI, or computed tomography (CT) to confirm suspicions or rule out other potential causes for your discomfort, such as cavities or sinus issues.

 

Standard TMJ Treatment Options

After an evaluation, your dentist will know best how to treat your disorder. There are several treatment options available. Some of the possible courses of treatment include:

 

  • Wearing a Splint or Mouthguard: TMJ treatment splints are similar to the clear aligners worn to straighten teeth. They take the pressure off your joints so that the muscles can relax and heal. If Your dentist determines that you should wear a mouthguard at night, your mouthguard will prevent the clenching or grinding that could be causing your symptoms.

 

  • Correcting Your Bite: If your joint disorder is caused by a misaligned bite, you may benefit from braces. Even if your teeth are straight, repositioning your bite may alleviate the disorder and spare you a lot of discomfort.

 

  • Trigger Point Injections: Your dentist will inject an anesthetic into tender areas to relieve pain, allowing you to stretch and exercise your jaw muscles. Once you can begin working the muscles, you may be given a series of jaw exercises to help strengthen the joint, minimizing your pain.

 

Self-Help Remedies

For mild TMJ symptoms, or when symptoms flare, there are several behavioral and lifestyle changes that may help limit or eliminate your TMJ symptoms. Some of the practices you may want to adopt include:

  • Using over-the-counter pain medications to reduce inflammation and discomfort
  • Using hot or cold compresses to reduce pain
  • Eating soft foods
  • Chewing food evenly using both sides of your mouth
  • Relaxing your jaw and face by keeping your teeth apart with your lips together
  • Refraining from opening your mouth too wide
  • Avoiding gum
  • Cutting foods that require biting (like apples)

 

Even if your TMJ is not causing a significant amount of discomfort, you should inform your dentist of any problems. Untreated TMJ can cause arthritis, excessive wear on your teeth or even cause your teeth to crack. If the condition results in a locked jaw, surgery will be necessary to repair any damage. Early detection and treatment can reduce your risk of complications.

For the region’s leading dental providers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, contact Simply Beautiful Smiles. We offer state-of-the-art technology as well as high-quality, trusted family dental care.

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