Direct From The Dentist: Tips For Caring For Your Toothbrush

Caring For Your Toothbrush

You know how to care for your teeth, from brushing and flossing to seeing your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. Did you know, however, that your toothbrush needs care as well? Giving this all-important cleaning implement some toothbrush TLC is an important part of good oral health.

Proper Toothbrush Replacement

You should replace your toothbrush every three to four months as well as any time you notice its bristles have become frayed. The reason for this is threefold.

The first is a worn-out toothbrush doesn’t perform as effectively. When your toothbrush gets tattered, the bristles bend away from your teeth as you brush. This keeps their fine tips from penetrating between your teeth and gums. Your ability to remove plaque and bacteria is hindered, leaving you more vulnerable to cavities and gum disease. Replacing your toothbrush is also a great way to stop bacterial buildup on the bristles, allowing for a fresh start.

Additionally, toothbrush bristles are purposely rounded while they’re manufactured, making them softer so the sharp edges don’t damage your gums or teeth. When a toothbrush that’s been used one—or a hundred—too many times, the bristles become jagged and can scrape away gum tissue and enamel.

If you tend to forget to replace your family’s toothbrushes amid the hustle and bustle of life, you can set a reminder on your calendar around the time you should buy new ones. While you’re at it, you may also want to add a reminder to get your teeth professionally cleaned, something that should be done twice a year.

Proper Toothbrush Storage

Germs breed in wet, dark conditions, so you want to store your toothbrush in an upright position in a container where it can air out. Avoid covering the brush-head or storing toothbrushes in closed containers where the moist bristles can become a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses, and fungus.

You may want to store your toothbrush in a plastic toothbrush case while traveling to protect its bristles. Once you’re in your hotel or other accommodations, however, you should let your toothbrush dry in the open air as usual.

Don’t Share Toothbrushes Or Their Germs

When more than one person uses the same toothbrush, they end up swapping body fluids and microorganisms, which can cause infection to spread. This unsavory exchange is particularly concerning if you have a compromised immune system and during cold and flu season.

You also run the risk of germs spreading from person to person if you plunk all your family’s toothbrushes in a cup or somewhere else where they touch each other. This can contribute to that well-known phenomenon where an illness like a cold or sinus infection circulates throughout a household. Instead, it’s recommended you purchase a toothbrush holder with multiple slots.

Cleaning And Sanitizing your Toothbrush

Keeping your toothbrush clean is a relatively simple proposition. Just rinse your toothbrush with warm water after every brushing to make sure the bristles are free of food particles or toothpaste.

You use your toothbrush to clean your mouth of bacteria, so it’s a given that bacteria can collect and flourish on your toothbrush. With this in mind, you may want to occasionally sanitize your family’s toothbrush collection, particularly during cold and flu season. There are several methods you can undertake, including:

  • Immersing toothbrush heads in antibacterial mouthwash for 15 minutes.
  • Storing your toothbrush in a cup of hydrogen peroxide
  • Boiling your toothbrush for about 3 minutes
  • Buying a UV toothbrush sanitizer

You take care of your toothbrush. Dr. Zach Taylor and his staff at Taylor Cosmetic Dentistry of Billings, Montana will do the rest. If you have any questions or want to make an appointment, we encourage you to contact us. We guarantee you’ll never get the brush-off!

How Veneers Can Strengthen Your Smile

Strengthen Your Smile

Cosmetic dentistry can be for so much more than just changing the appearance of your teeth. When you work with Dr. Taylor to receive veneers, you will also be able to strengthen your smile in a variety of ways.

Make Your Smile Brighter And Whiter With Veneers

Our natural teeth under our enamel are pretty yellow, so as the enamel thins, the yellow dentin shows through. With a yellower smile, it is possible that others, from prospective employers to dates, may judge you. There are also other ways teeth can become discolored, from deep staining to medication. Yet, even professional teeth whitening does not always help.

But with veneers, you can make your smile brighter and whiter, improving people’s perception of you every time you flash a grin.

Protect Damaged Teeth By Using Veneers

Over the years, teeth experience a lot of wear and tear. And while our enamel is relatively tough, it can’t always protect us from having our teeth chipped, cracked, or worn down over time.

By having veneers applied by our cosmetic dentist, you can reverse the effects of time and protect your teeth with veneers. Porcelain veneers in particular are quite strong and can keep damaged teeth safe from future issues.

Correct Bite Issues The Application Of Veneers

Few people have naturally straight adult teeth, as genetics and other factors often lead to teeth erupting at odd angles. Even those who had braces as teens may not have kept up with wearing their retainers and have had teeth shifted into crooked positioned.

Aside from the visual appearance of crooked teeth, misaligned teeth can lead to bite issues, which can chip and damage teeth. With veneers, your teeth can become properly aligned so you can easily bite down with no interference from crooked teeth.

Boost Your Everyday Smile Confidence When You Have Veneers

When our teeth aren’t quite what we want them to be, whether due to gapping, discoloration, damage or other issues, it can have a real impact on the strength and confidence of our smiles. A lips-only or hidden smile is an awkward way to go through life and can have a continuous impact on a person’s emotional state.

By choosing to have veneers placed by D. Taylor, you can empower your smile with all the confidence that a beautiful, bright and even smile can provide.

If you are ready to strengthen your smile with veneers, contact us to set up a consultation with Dr. Taylor. We look forward to working with you!

Inheriting Teeth – The Role Your Genetics Play In Dental Health

Dental Health

We are all products of inherited traits from our parents. These genetic traits can predict to a certain extent how much dental help you may need in the future.

Inheritable Dental Issues

While practicing good oral care such as twice daily brushing and nightly flossing is vital to maintaining your dental health, there are some inheritable dental issues which may require you to seek help from our dentist to overcome them. Some inheritable dental issues are:

  • Tooth decay rates – There is the potential to inherit thinner enamel layers from your parents. Having thinner enamel may make you more prone to developing cavities as it takes less effort for bacteria to erode through your enamel.
  • Yellow teeth – Along with developing cavities at a faster rate, inheriting thinner enamel layers means you will be more likely to have the yellow dentin below show through, giving your teeth an ivory/yellow-ish appearance.
  • Misaligned bites – It is also possible to inherit a misaligned bite from one or both of your parents. When a bite is misaligned, it can cause speech impediments, subconscious teeth grinding to shape out-of-place teeth, and jaw pain.
  • Periodontal disease – About 30% of all people are genetically predisposed to develop periodontal (gum) disease. This disease can permanently damage your gums and jawbone as well as kill the nerves in your teeth.
  • Bruxism – It is possible to inherit bruxism (teeth grinding) from your parents. Bruxism can weaken your teeth, leaving them prone to chipping, cracking, jaw pain, and cavities.

Just because you may have inherited one or more of these dental problems doesn’t mean you have no control over your dental care. With Dr. Taylor’s help, you can overcome any of these dental issues.

How To Overcome Inherited Dental Problems

Here at our dental office, we offer a variety of dental services to help you overcome any inherited dental problem you may have. Some of our commonly requested services are:

  • Dental cleaning – Simply coming in for bi-annual dental cleaning can help catch any dental issues before they become serious problems.
  • Veneers – If your teeth are worn down from bruxism or yellow from thin enamel, veneers are an excellent way to give your smile a refresh. Dr. Taylor offers fast, no-prep veneers as well as other veneer options.
  • Teeth whitening – Another option to manage discolored teeth is to undergo professional teeth whitening. You can enjoy whiter teeth than leading over-the-counter options can offer, and our whitening treatments are also faster than using a box option.
  • Peridontal therapy – If you have inherited a predisposition to periodontal disease, having periodontal therapy can help fight off serious infections. Dr. Taylor can perform various procedures to drastically lower your rate of periodontal disease.
  • Dental crowns – Bruxism and deep cavities can leave your teeth without enough material to protect itself. A dental crown can help restore your teeth to help prevent future issues and help correct misaligned bites.

To take control of your dental health, the first step you need to take is to contact us and set up a dental cleaning. Dr. Taylor will be able to identify vulnerable areas and provide treatments to help you manage any genetic dental issues.

Direct From The Dentist: 3 Reasons You Need To Floss Your Dental Implants

Dental Implants

Quality dental implants look and behave like natural teeth and need similar care, such as daily brushing and flossing. Listed below are 3 reasons it’s important to floss your dental implants.

Keep in mind, though, that you can’t just use any floss with dental implants. You need floss that’s gentle enough to protect the tissue surrounding your implants and that won’t fray, leaving debris in your mouth. Patients at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry who have a fixed bridge may be advised to use floss with a floss-threader. Other implant-friendly options include:

  • Specialized floss designed for implants
  • Unwaxed dental tape
  • A Waterpik water flosser

1. Flossing Your Dental Implants Stops Plaque Build-Up

Plaque collects up on dental implants, just as it does with natural teeth. The difference is that dental implants have a weak attachment to your tissue as compared to natural teeth, which allows infection to spread at a faster rate.

If you don’t regularly remove plaque, you can develop complications like inflamed or bleeding gums and peri-implantitis, a form of gingivitis specific to implants. This fast-moving infection can damage gum tissue and spur bone loss, putting you at risk of losing your implant.

2. Flossing Your Dental Implants Helps Prevent Tartar

When food particles and plaque build up on your implant, it can harden into tartar. Tartar can wreak havoc, cosmetically speaking. This crusty deposit makes natural teeth, dentures and dental implants alike more likely to absorb stains from highly pigmented food and drink and from smoking.

Along with being unsightly, tartar is one of the leading causes of gum disease. Gum disease can lead to receding gums, which can expose the base of your crown. Receding gums can also allow bacteria to flourish around your implant, which can cause bone damage. It’s a perfect storm that can lead to implant loss, something you want to prevent given the investment you’ve made in your dental hardware. Because tartar creates such a strong bond with your implant, removing it will require the special tools and expertise of a dentist.

3. Flossing Your Implants Helps Prevent Bad Breath

If you have particles of food stuck in your dental implants, you’re likely to develop bad breath as they decay. Bad breath can also be caused by plaque buildup. As with regular teeth, one of the best ways to prevent and resolve these problems is by daily flossing. You can also use mouthwash or salt rinses to stave off halitosis (a fancy word for bad breath).

An unpleasant odor or bad taste in your mouth can may also be a sign of infection. If you suspect this is the case, come see Dr. Taylor—your resident oral care expert in Billings, Montana—as soon as possible.

Along with exercising proper home care, you should get your implants cleaned by a dentist on a regular basis, preferably every 3 to 4 months. It’s the best way to keep your mouth healthy and your implants intact. Professional polishing is just one of the many services offered at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentist. Contact us today to make your appointment.

Non-Surgical Approach To A Healthy Mouth

Healthy Mouth

When treating periodontal (gum) disease, Dr. Taylor of Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry prefers to take a non-surgical approach to make your mouth healthy again.

How Dr. Taylor Treats Gum Disease Without Surgery

As periodontal disease is a gum infection triggered by bacterial plaque burrowing between the gums and teeth, it is important to treat the infection quickly. Otherwise, the infection can create pockets of space and separate the gums from the teeth. Eventually, the infection will reach the bones supporting the teeth and cause the teeth to loosen then fall out.

To avoid these problems, Dr. Taylor offers a few non-surgical options to treat periodontal disease.

  • Scaling and root planing – To treat the source of the periodontal disease, Dr. Taylor will perform a deep-cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing. As he scales the teeth, the plaque and tartar will be removed from the teeth, both the visible portion and the part of the teeth below the gum line. Once all the plaque and tartar is removed, our dentist will do root planing to make it harder for the bacteria to come back.
  • Bite adjustment – If you struggle with loose teeth, these teeth may invite periodontal disease to return, as the bacteria can easily slip between the gums and loose teeth. There are a variety of ways our dentist can reshape your bite such as with veneers, crowns, bonding, and other methods. Once your bite is adjusted, it will be harder for bacteria to find a place to invade.
  • Antimicrobials and antibiotics – With serious infections, a combination of antimicrobials and antibiotics may be needed to get the infection under control. These types of prescription medications are not often given, as they suppress the good bacteria in the mouth as well as the invasive bacteria.

Ways To Keep Your Mouth Healthy

To keep periodontal disease from recurring, there are steps you can take to keep your mouth healthy.

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to keep from abrading your enamel.
  • Floss daily, usually in the evening, to remove any food particles picked up during the day.
  • Come to our office for regular dental cleanings.

Once your mouth is healthy and you want to keep improving your smile, Dr. Taylor also offers a variety of cosmetic dental services to help you achieve the smile of your dreams. Contact us to set up an appointment to work with one of the top dentists in Billings, MT.

Direct From The Dentist: 10 Impressive Facts About Teeth

Facts about teeth

Many people take their teeth for granted, not understanding how amazing they really are. Here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry, we wanted to celebrate teeth and tell you about 10 impressive facts about teeth.

1. Tooth Enamel Is The Hardest Substance In Your Body

It may be hard to believe your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body, but it is the truth. Unlike your bones, which are encased protectively in your body, your teeth are constantly exposed and used at least three times a day to help you ingest food.

Remember, while your dental enamel is tough, don’t use your teeth to open things! That is a fast way to end up with a chipped tooth and a visit to Dr. Taylor to repair it.

2. Your Dominant Side Will Dictate Where You Chew

Whether you are right-handed or left-handed, your body is more prone to have you chew on your dominant side. This tendency can lead to more wear on one side of your teeth than the other, so try to be conscious of your eating habits.

3. Soda Consumption Can Predict Your Tooth Decay

Those people who drink three or more glasses of soda a day can develop 62% more tooth decay than someone who does not indulge in soda. Most of this decay can be ascribed to the high amount of sugar in soda, but diet soda drinkers aren’t exempt.

The acidic nature of all types of soda can abraid the enamel of your teeth. So, put the soda down and choose to drink more water to protect your teeth from avoidable decay.

4. Brushing Only Reaches 60% Of Available Tooth Surfaces

Only two-thirds of your teeth are visible above the gumline. Out of this area, a regular toothbrush can only reach 60% of your teeth. You need to floss to adequately clean the other 40% of your teeth’s surfaces.

5. Your Teeth Are Unique As Your Fingerprint

Every one of your teeth is unique to you, much like your fingerprints. In fact, people have been known to be identified purely by their dental records when there has been no other way to recognize them.

6. Dental Plaque Is Made Up Of Hundreds Of Bacteria

The human mouth has a huge variety of bacteria. Some types of bacteria are good, helping you break down foods and performing a certain amount of cleaning. However, when it comes to the harmful bacteria, there are more than 300 types of bacteria that make up dental plaque.

7. Sir Isaac Newton Has The Most Valuable Teeth

Not all teeth are considered equal. When a tooth from the famous physicist Sir Isaac Newton became available in 1816, it sold for $3,633 ($35,700 in today’s pricing) and was set into a ring.

While your teeth may never be sold for thousands of dollars, you can develop your own million-dollar smile by having a smile makeover with Dr. Taylor.

8. A Lifetime Of Teeth Brushing Equals Days Of Effort

When you are tired, brushing your teeth can feel like it takes forever. But in reality, the average American will only spend about 39 days over a lifetime brushing their teeth.

Many people skimp on their brushing, giving their teeth only a cursory once-over. You should be spending between 2-3 minutes brushing your teeth. If you have struggled to gauge how long you should brush, you can set a timer.

9. Teeth Form In The Womb

Infants may be born with adorable gummy smiles, but human teeth begin their formation while in the womb. Pregnant mothers need to be careful, as certain medications can permanently harm their unborn child’s teeth and leave them discolored.

10. Your Teeth Can Tell A Story About You

By looking at your teeth, someone with a trained eye can tell a lot about you, from your age to where you have lived. Teeth also carry insights into our overall health, marking times of high stress, poor nutrition, and other medical issues that can affect your teeth.

Take control of the story your teeth tell and contact us to set up an appointment with our dentist to receive the best care in Billings, Montana.

Restoring Old Or Broken Dental Implants and Bridges

Dental Implants

On average dental bridges can last from 5-7 years, while dental implants can remain intact for 10-11 years. With excellent dental care, these dental devices can last many years beyond their average lifespans.

But if your dental bridge or implant has become broken or worn-down due to age, our dentist, Dr. Taylor, can help you.

Ways Dr. Taylor Can Restore An Old Or Damaged Bridge

It is important to address a damaged dental bridge as soon as possible, as bacteria can hide in the flawed areas and cause an infection. An untreated infection can cause the entire dental bridge to fail, requiring its removal and periodontal therapy to treat the infected area.

To avoid dental bridge failure, it is important to come in to see Dr.Taylor as soon as you notice your bridge is becoming old or compromised. Some of the most common ways he can repair your dental device are:

  • Repair a damaged dental bridge tooth – There may be a time when a tooth on your dental bridge becomes chipped. Instead of replacing the entire structure, our dentist can place a crown or a veneer over the damaged tooth. If the flaw is small, Dr. Taylor may even be able to use dental composite for bonding and easily correct the dental bridge damage.

  • Correct any issues with abutment teeth – Most often, the problem with a dental bridge rests with the abutment teeth that support the bridge. If these teeth become infected or damaged, our dentist will need to perform a root canal to save the teeth. If the abutment teeth are too compromised, Dr. Taylor can place two dental implants for your dental bridge to be supported by.

  • Offer a replacement bridge – At times, the dental bridge is too old or too damaged to be effectively repaired. In such cases, Dr. Taylor can place a new dental bridge.

For those with damaged dental bridges which have affected other teeth, you may want to consider partial or full dentures. These dental devices last longer than dental bridges and can be a more cost-effective solution in the long term.

Options For Dental Implant Repair

A dental implant is one of the best options to replace one or more missing teeth, as it allows the most natural and sturdy replacement of a missing or damaged tooth. However, dental implants can become damaged. Dr. Taylor offers options for dental implant repairs:

  • Replace crown of implant – Like a natural tooth, the crown of a dental implant can become chipped, cracked or discolored. Our dentist can replace the crown and make your dental implant as good as new.

  • Treat gum infection – When you have a gum infection, your dental implant can be in danger of failing. To protect your implant from becoming compromised by the infection, come in immediately for treatment. We can help you clear up your gum infection and support your implant as you heal.

  • Offer replacement options – If your dental implant has undergone trauma that requires its removal, Dr. Taylor will work with you to determine your best options. A couple of options are re-implanting after healing and potentially bone grafting or opting for a small dental bridge.

If your dental bridge or implant are giving you trouble, contact us for an appointment with Dr. Taylor today. He is a top cosmetic and general dentist in Billings, MT, and he can repair your smile in no time.

Direct From The Dentist: Cosmetic Dentistry Provides Smile Makeovers

A smile makeover is a dental service which entails several different dental procedures, which collectively reinvents a person’s smile. If you are ready to embrace your dream smile, a skilled cosmetic dentist like Dr. Taylor is who you want to craft your smile makeover.

Cosmetic Dental Issues Can Be Changed With A Smile Makeover

Once any lingering dental issues such as cavities or gingivitis have been resolved, there are many other cosmetic dental services which Dr. Taylor can perform to create your perfect smile. These services can cover a variety of dental issues, such as:

  • Repair damaged teeth – Throughout our lives, our teeth undergo a certain amount of wear and tear. Some people’s teeth are quicker to wear down as well as being more prone to chipping and cracking. As part of a smile makeover, these damaged teeth can be repaired with bonding, veneers, crowns, or other options.
  • Correct spacing and alignment – Whether you have gaps or overlapping teeth, Dr. Taylor can correct your spacing and alignment with procedures like Invisalign, veneers, bonding, and other procedures.  
  • Whiten discolored teeth – When teeth are whiter, they automatically appear straighter and healthier. We offer professional teeth whitening at our dental office.
  • Improve face shape – How our teeth are positioned can alter our face shape. Whether teeth are protruding, sunken, or missing, Dr. Taylor can offer dental bridges, dentures, dental implants, veneers, Invisalign, and other dental services to alter your face shape.
  • Change teeth proportions – Sometimes teeth grow too large, or our gums overlap our teeth too much, creating a “gummy” smile. No matter what your teeth proportions are currently, Dr. Taylor can perform gum lifts, teeth shaping, and more to change your teeth.

Depending on your smile requirements, Dr. Taylor may recommend other dental procedures to revitalize your smile.

How A Smile Makeover From Dr. Taylor Can Change Your Life

A smile makeover does much more than just change how your teeth look. Having an improved, beautiful smile can:

  • Boost your self-esteem
  • Improve your bite and overall comfort with the shape of your teeth
  • Change how others perceive you
  • Make you more confident in your work and social relationships

At Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry, you can access a wide range of cosmetic dentistry services, from teeth whitening packages to full smile makeovers. If you are interested in finding out what a smile makeover from Dr. Taylor can do for you, contact us to set up a consultation today.

Other Cosmetic Dental Services You May Be Interested In:

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT:406.652.9204