While it’s felt like winter around here lately, today is the first official day of the winter season! The change of seasons is a great time to swap out your old toothbrush for a new one as they tend to wear out after a few months of use. If you’re still shopping for stocking stuffers, it’s a great opportunity to pick up some toothbrushes and add them to their stocking!
What’s on your calendar for Valentine’s Day? Are you still looking for a last minute gift idea? We know patients want to look and feel their best this month which is why we’re happy to offer a limited time promotion on Zoom Whitening for $275 ($550 value). This professional whitening method delivers results and only requires one appointment. You can stop in, sit back, relax and walk out with sparkling teeth just in time for Valentine’s Day. This promotion is open to both new and existing patients. For new patients, we are conveniently located in Downtown Bothell right next to the library.
Questions? We’d be happy to answer them! Call us to learn more or to schedule your appointment at (425) 354-3138. You can also request an appointment through our website at https://mccauleydentistry.com.
Baby It’s Cold Outside! As winter approaches and temperatures decrease, I hear from patients more often that the cold air outside makes their teeth hurt. Cold sensitivity, or dentin hypersensitivity, is very common in patients. In fact, 67% of people experience pain when eating cold food or drinking cold drinks, and 51% of people experience pain when breathing in cold air*. Instead of enduring the occasional wince, it is better that you understand why your teeth are sensitive and what you can do to relieve the sensitivity!
What exactly causes cold sensitivity? There are several possible causes of tooth sensitivity including the following:
Tooth decay (cavities)
Worn tooth enamel
Healthy teeth have a layer of enamel that protects tooth structure above your gum line. It is the hard outermost surface of a tooth. Under the gum line, a layer called cementum protects your tooth root. Below the enamel and cementum layers is a tooth layer called dentin. Dentin is porous and contains microscopic canals with nerve endings in them. When dentin loses its protective covering, the nerve endings are exposed to the external environment, allowing cold to reach the nerves inside the tooth. This results in a short, sharp nerve pain in the tooth. All of the causes of sensitivity listed above damage the protective layer of enamel or cementum in different ways, exposing the underlying dentin layer and making you occasionally wince!
Your dentist can examine your teeth and recommend possible treatments. A variety of treatments could be suggested based on the underlying cause, including the following:
Desensitizing toothpaste.Toothpastes like Sensodyne have potassium nitrate in them which help block the transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve. It usually requires two weeks (14 days) of daily use before the sensitivity is reduced.
Fluoride trays. Your dentist can make you take home trays that you can use to bathe your teeth in prescription fluoride gel. The fluoride will strengthen your tooth enamel and reduce sensitivity.
A filling, inlay, or crown. These can be used to restore cavities, worn fillings, or fractured/broken teeth, correcting the flaw that has been causing your sensitivity.
Surgical gum graft. If you have gum recession and exposed root surfaces, your dentist may recommend a gum graft to protect your root and reduce sensitivity.
Root canal. If cold sensitivity is prolonged and/or constant, you may require a root canal to eliminate the problem.
Be proactive and protect your enamel so that your sensitivity does not worsen! Here are some ways to be proactive in protecting your teeth:
Don’t brush too hard. Use a soft toothbrush and brush in tiny circles (not sideways which can expose root surfaces). Brushing vigorously can eventually wear down tooth enamel.
Avoid grinding or clenching your teeth. Grinding wears away your protective enamel. Ask your dentist about a mouth guard for nighttime or daytime use!
Practice good oral hygiene. Brush and floss twice a day properly to prevent periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease can cause recession in your gums and expose your root surface.
Schedule your professional teeth cleaning. Your dentist will provide recommendations and advice on reducing your dentin hypersensitivity.
Thanksgiving is right around in the corner! In preparation for the start of the holiday season, we’re sharing information on acid and alkaline content in many holiday foods and providing tips to keep your teeth healthy and strong.
Enamel is the protective armor of our teeth. Preventing damage to the underlying dentin and nerve layers, our enamel acts as a first line of defense from hazards including trauma, bacteria, habits like nail or pen biting, and acid erosion. Acid erosion is caused by frequent consumption of foods and drinks with a pH below 5.0-5.7. Although holidays are a time of eating, drinking, and general merriment, it is important to not overwhelm our teeth with an acidic challenge during these feasts. Aside from dental erosion, acidic foods can also trigger heartburn. Where’s the merriment when you are suffering from heartburn?!
High Acid Content: Fruit juices (especially orange and apple juice), sports drinks, wine, beer, carbonated sodas, dried fruit, beef, chicken, eggs, pork, shellfish, cheese, artificial sweeteners.
Don’t worry! You can follow these rules to help prevent acid erosion:
Don’t swish or swirl your acidic holiday beverage in your mouth.
After consuming highly acidic foods or drinks, rinse thoroughly with water.
If you can, bring a soft toothbrush and travel-size toothpaste to your feast so that you can brush 30 minutes after eating! You may even end up eating less at the party, also saving you from heartburn.
If you cannot brush during the party, chew sugar-free gum to help dislodge food particles and produce saliva to naturally neutralize acids in your mouth.
If you drink soda, use a straw to prevent direct contact of carbonated soda with your teeth.
Remineralize your teeth with a fluoride mouthwash or paste.
Acid erosion yellows, dulls, thins, and weakens teeth. When your protective enamel layer is slowly dissolved over time by a highly acidic diet, you may begin to notice visible changes. Once the underlying dentin layer is exposed, you may also notice sensitivity. Being proactive at reducing your acid-rich diet can save your armor and ultimately your beautiful, strong, pearly white smile!
Our team at McCauley Family and Cosmetic Dentistry wishes everyone a great start to the holiday season! Still looking for recipes for Thanksgiving? Check out our Facebook page as we’ll be sharing our favorite recipes between now and Thanksgiving.