Is It Ever Too Late To Fix Bad Teeth?

Is It Ever Too Late To Fix Bad Teeth

It is not uncommon to experience dental anxiety, especially if your teeth are hurting. But sometimes, people can get stuck in an anxious thought pattern that it is too late to fix their teeth. That kind of thinking can prevent an individual from seeking the dental help they need.

In reality, it is never too late to fix bad teeth, though in some cases, the fix is the extraction of a dead tooth. However, with the help of your skilled Billings, MT dentist, your teeth can be properly taken care of, and you can start enjoying your smile again.

Most Teeth Can Be Corrected

Dental pain can be acutely painful, and when you experience ongoing dental pain, you may believe that your tooth is beyond saving. But you will never be sure until you visit the dentist.

We have had many patients come in who were sure that they needed root canals, extractions, or had formed abscesses. While sometimes their tooth decay was advanced enough to be a serious problem, a simple cavity can be surprisingly painful. So, it is important not to wait until you can’t stand the pain and discomfort and have treated sooner rather than later.

Ways To Address Levels Of Tooth Decay

While the phrase “bad teeth’ may apply to simply crooked teeth, often it refers to teeth that are suffering from some stage of tooth decay. Depending on your stage of tooth decay, there are different dental services available to address the issue and fix your teeth.

1. White Spots On Teeth

An early sign of tooth decay is the formation of chalky, white areas forming on your teeth, commonly along the gumline. This white area forms due to mineral loss and a build-up of dental plaque.

In this early stage, you might not need a filling to address the start of your tooth decay. Our dentist may be able to provide you with a strong fluoride treatment, fluoride toothpaste, and advice on how to properly care for your teeth so that the decay can be stopped and potentially reversed.

2. Decay Of Tooth Enamel

In the second stage of tooth decay, the enamel is impacted and starts to break down. Sometimes, this enamel breakdown isn’t immediately visible. Instead, the enamel just below the visible surface can start to fracture. At this point, if enough pressure is applied, your tooth may crack and break.

Once tooth decay has breached the enamel of your teeth, the decay needs to be addressed by our dentist, especially if you want to prevent breakage. At this stage, usually removing the decay and putting in a dental filling is enough to prevent further issues.

3. Decay Reaches Dentin

Dentin is the tooth material that is directly under the enamel. This softer layer is the last level of protection for the pulp of your teeth. Once tooth decay has reached the dentin, you can start to have sharp tooth pain.

The longer the tooth decay is left untreated, the wider of an area can be affected, which can require a large filling or potentially a dental crown to repair the tooth.

4. Tooth Pulp Infected

At the center of your tooth, the pulp is the area of your tooth where nerves, blood vessels, connective tissue, and the cells that continue to produce dentin are located. When infection from tooth decay reaches this stage of your tooth, it can be very painful and dangerous for your tooth.

To save your tooth once an infection has reached the pulp, a root canal is needed to remove all the infected material. After the root canal is completed, a crown is needed to protect the tooth, as a lot of material will be removed.

5. Abscess Forms

If an infected tooth pulp is left untreated, an abscess can form, which is a pocket of infected material and pus. This stage is incredibly painful, and an untreated abscess can impact the rest of your oral health, spreading the infection.

Potentially, oral surgery may be needed to clean out all the infection and to drain the abscess, as well as a root canal and dental crown to save the tooth.

6. Tooth Loss

Finally, tooth decay can reach a stage where the tooth dies and either falls out—as the connective tissue dies—or is extracted by a dentist to prevent further pain and discomfort.

Dental Solutions After Tooth Loss

While it is best to catch dental issues before they progress to the point of tooth loss, your smile can still be rescued even after tooth loss.

Dr. Taylor is an excellent dentist with a specialty in cosmetic dentistry. As you can see in our Smile Gallery, he has performed a wide range of dental restorations, from correcting damaged teeth to replacing missing teeth. With his experience, you have an array of dental solutions after losing a tooth.

  • Dental implant – Incredibly sturdy, a dental implant will look just like your natural teeth and be implanted into your jawbone to ensure stability.
  • Dental bridge – Particularly helpful if you are missing multiple teeth, a dental bridge can be placed in different ways to help fill in the gap in your smile.
  • Dentures – To fill in for large sections of missing teeth—or if all are missing—dentures are an excellent solution. There are several styles of dentures, and our dentist can help you find the right configuration for your needs.

To consult with our dentist on your dental health, it all starts with contacting us to schedule a dental cleaning. So, start the process toward a healthier, happier smile and set up your appointment today!

Direct From The Dentist: Can Missing Teeth Cause TMJ?

Direct From The Dentist Can Missing Teeth Cause TMJ

Having even one missing tooth can cause a number of issues, ranging from shifting among your remaining teeth and loss of bone density. To help prevent these issues, your local Billings, MT dentist will recommend some form of dental replacement to avoid the negative impact of missing teeth.

These effects of missing teeth have been well-documented; however, one potential side-effect of missing teeth that is still being debated is if missing teeth can cause temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).

What Is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

The joint that connects your jaw to your skull is called the temporomandibular joint. When working properly, the joint will allow you to open and close your mouth, as well as move from side-to-side, smoothly.

For those who have TMJ, their jaw will often pop and can be painful when moving the jaw for anything. Hearing the joint grind, click, as well as experiencing tinnitus is another common sign that you have TMJ.

Connection Between TMJ And Dental Occlusion

As your temporomandibular joint is the connection between your jaw and skull, it makes sense that your dental health can trigger TMJ. One of the main indicators of TMJ is if you have dental occlusion issues.

A dental occlusion problem can be caused by a number of things, from a change in your bite due to worn-down teeth to having naturally crooked teeth. As you bite down unevenly due to a dental occlusion problem, greater stress is put on your temporomandibular joint, which can lead to TMJ.

According to research, missing teeth can also be a trigger for TMJ. In the study, missing posterior teeth (back teeth, like molars) were the most significant indicators that missing teeth caused TMJ.

If you think about it, the connection makes sense. Your back teeth do the majority of the work when it comes to breaking down food. Yet, if you are missing one or more of your back teeth, you likely have to put more bite pressure on your remaining teeth, causing more significant stress for your temporomandibular joint.

Ways To Correct TMJ

Luckily, you don’t have to just accept TMJ or your missing teeth. There are a number of effective solutions for TMJ, such as:

  • Teeth replacements – If you are missing teeth, dental implants and dental bridges are effective options. If you are only missing one or two teeth, dental implants are recommended, as they are incredibly stable and strong replacements, if expensive. However, if you are missing multiple teeth, dental bridges can help repair your bite and alleviate your TMJ.
  • Nightguard – Many people with TMJ will grind or clench their jaws as they sleep. To protect your teeth from these things, a nightguard can be highly effective. Also, you can protect your new dental implants or fixed dental bridge.
  • Dental crowns – Should your teeth have become worn down, the change in your bite can also trigger TMJ. Having dental crowns placed over worn-down teeth can help protect your natural teeth and alleviate your TMJ.
  • Straighten teeth – Having crooked teeth can also lead to TMJ, as the jaw has to work harder to make up for the misaligned bite. Using Invisalign or other oral appliances to straighten your teeth can help correct your TMJ.

Stress can also be a factor when it comes to TMJ. So, as you get your dental occlusion issues corrected, be sure to try out different relaxation techniques to help you reduce your stress levels.

Find Help For Your TMJ In Billings, MT

If you are struggling with TMJ, have missing teeth, or need other dental services we offer, please contact us today to set up your appointment.

As your local Billings, MT dentist, Dr. Taylor can provide you with a wide variety of dental services to help resolve your dental occlusion and TMJ. We look forward to helping you reach the best dental health possible!

Direct From The Dentist: Will Dental Implants Make My Teeth Sensitive?

Direct From The Dentist: Will Dental Implants Make My Teeth Sensitive?

 

Dental sensitivity is a concern that many of our patients here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry have expressed. Whether it is during a preventative dental cleaning or before having veneers placed, there is the chance of temporary sensitivity, but generally, it does not last.

However, some dental procedures are more invasive than others, such as dental implants. Since the post of the implant needs to be surgically placed in the jawbone, this procedure can produce some sensitivity, though it should not last.

But, there are some instances where people have experienced sensitivity at or around their dental implant, and our cosmetic dentist wanted to address those potential causes.

Potential Causes Of Dental Implant Sensitivity

To clarify, dental implants themselves cannot be sensitive, as they are a combination of a metal post, abutment, and porcelain crown. However, the area around the implant can become irritated and sensitive due to a number of issues.

Gum infection – Should a gum infection develop, it can cause issues with your dental implant. For one thing, as periodontal disease progresses, the disease will cause you to lose bone density in your jawbone, which can lead your dental implant to become loose and painful.

Also, there can be gum issues in how your implant is placed. For instance, if there is too much dental cement used to keep the implant crown in place, it can irritate your gums and lead to an infection.

Implant crowding teeth – Sometimes, a dental implant can be placed too close to your other natural teeth, causing uncomfortable crowding. As the pressure from the implant continues, your other teeth can become more sensitive, leading you to feel like the implant itself is sensitive.

Impaction – A simple issue that can cause sensitivity is if food or other particles become impacted between your dental implant and your natural teeth. Something as simple as a kernel of corn can cause a great deal of sensitivity as it irritates your gums and crowds the space between your teeth.

Tissue or nerve damage – Throughout the dental implant implantation process, there is potential for your gum tissue and nerves to become damaged. While the tissue damage can heal, the nerve damage may be permanent, leaving you sensitive in that part of your mouth.

The potential for damage is a significant part of why you want to utilize the dental services of an experienced dentist like ours when you are ready to receive a dental implant.

Allergic reaction – While uncommon, some people are allergic to the titanium alloy that makes up the dental implant post. If you are allergic to the dental post, you may lose your sense of taste, experience swelling gums, and may feel a tingling sensation.

Worst of all, there is potential that if you are feeling sensitivity around the site of your dental implant because the implant is failing. With a failing dental implants, there can be a number of triggers, from your body rejecting the implant to the jawbone dissolving.

Signs Your Dental Implant Is Failing

If you are concerned that your dental implant is failing, there are signs you can look for to confirm your suspicions.

  • Inflamed and tender gums
  • Receding gums
  • Trouble when chewing
  • Obvious pain and discomfort
  • Swollen gums
  • Implant is loose

On the upside, out of the reasons why your dental implant may be sensitive, implant failure is a slim chance. While we do still advise you contact our dentist so that he can check your implant, there is often another trigger for the sensitivity than implant failure.

Reduce Sensitivity And Prevent Failure Of Your Dental Implant

In some cases, the sensitivity and failure of your dental implant are out of your control. However, there are some things you can actively do to protect your dental implant and keep it from becoming sensitive.

  • Ensure your diet is rich in calcium to help support your jawbone density.
  • Come in for your biannual dental appointments.
  • Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush twice daily, and floss at least once a day.
  • Anti-bacterial mouthwash can help prevent gum inflammation.
  • Use a mouthguard if you struggle with bruxism (teeth grinding).
  • Reduce high-sugar foods and drink.
  • Cut out nicotine products.

If you have concerns about your dental implant or require other dental services, you can contact us to make an appointment to consult with our experienced dentist.

Home Remedies For Tooth Pain Until You Can See A Dentist

Home Remedies For Tooth Pain

Bet you never expected to see a dentist recommend home remedies for tooth pain. In general, dentists don’t recommend home remedies as people often decide that they can ignore issues that need a dental professional to address the problem.

In the case of an emergency, like a knocked-out tooth, you need to see our dentist immediately. But if you have a dental appointment coming up but are struggling with tooth pain in the meanwhile, then here are some of the home solutions for tooth pain your local Billings, MT, dentist, recommends you try.

Top Natural Home Remedies For Tooth Pain

One of the benefits of using a home remedy is that you should be able to find most of the remedies in your cupboards. You don’t need to try all of these tooth pain home remedies, but as you read through the top natural home remedies, pick out which you want to try and give them some time to work before trying another.

Cold Pack

To help constrict the blood vessels near the site of your tooth pain—which will help reduce your inflammation and pain—you can use a towel-wrapped cold pack. Hold the pack to the area of your jaw where the tooth pain is located and keep it in place for no more than 20 minutes.

It is best not to exceed 20 minutes, at which point, the coldness can become painful against your skin. After using the cold pack, wait a few hours before resorting to it again. If the pain returns before that time, try another pain remedy.

Vanilla Extract

As an antioxidant, vanilla extract is a natural option to help with tooth pain. Also, it contains alcohol, which can help numb the affected area. All you have to do to apply vanilla extract is dab a bit on a Q-tip, a cotton ball, or just on your fingertip and apply it to the area of your gums where your tooth pain is coming from.

Salt Water Rinse

An easy natural remedy to tooth pain you can try is rinsing with a salt water mixture. Using ½ a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water will dilute the salt enough to be used as a mouthwash. For extra soothing properties, you can use warm water.

Rinsing with salt water can help remove any stuck particles and loosen any debris that can become trapped between teeth. As the salt water rinse works, it will naturally disinfect, helping to treat any oral wounds you may have and calm painful inflammation.

Peppermint Tea Bags

You can also use a used peppermint tea bag to help reduce the sensitivity of your gums and numb your tooth pain. The bag should be still a bit warm, but not enough to burn, as you apply it to the affected area of your mouth.

And, naturally, you can also just make a cup of peppermint tea, use the tea bag against your gums, then enjoy the tea. While the peppermint properties will be diluted by the water, the warmth and remaining peppermint can help continue to soothe your tooth pain.

Guava Leaves

A natural anti-inflammatory, guava leaves can take down painful oral swelling. These leaves also have antimicrobial properties, which can help as you manage your dental pain. You can use guava leaves by simply chewing on them, or you can crush them—releasing the healing properties—and boil the leaves to create an effective mouthwash.

Garlic

Acting as a pain reliever, garlic can also help kill the kinds of oral bacteria that cause dental plaque, which can help you at your next dental cleaning at our clinic! You can chew on a fresh garlic clove, or mash a clove into a paste and apply it to the area of your gums where your teeth are hurting.

Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse

Another rinse you can try to help with tooth pain is a hydrogen peroxide rinse. This rinse can help with bleeding gums, kill harmful oral bacteria, alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and assist in the reduction of dental plaque.

The hydrogen peroxide needs to be diluted and make sure you do not swallow it. Use equal amounts of water with 3% hydrogen peroxide, then you can use this mixture as a mouthwash.

Clove

Cloves—or, more specifically, clove oil—has been used as a way to manage toothaches as it can help reduce gum inflammation and numb tooth pain. It is also a natural antiseptic since it contains eugenol.

Like with the vanilla extract, you can dab some clove oil on a fingertip or Q-tip and apply it to the area of your mouth that is in pain. You can dilute the oil with a couple of drops of water or coconut oil as a carrier oil.

Again, these home remedies for tooth pain should be used as a stop-gap measure until you are able to come in for your dental appointment. It is important that you have your tooth pain addressed with the right dental services and don’t try to treat it with home remedies alone.

Take Care Of Tooth Pain With Billings, MT, Dentist

Tooth pain is a clear indicator that there is an issue with your teeth. Rather than leaving the problem to become worse, it is essential that you tackle your tooth pain as soon as possible.

To schedule your dental appointment to take care of your tooth pain properly, please contact us today. We will do our best to get you in and out of pain as soon as possible.

Why Invisalign Makes For A Perfect Holiday Gift

Why Invisalign Makes For A Perfect Holiday Gift

Christmas shopping for loved ones can be incredibly difficult. No one wants to gift something that the people you care about will never use, packing cupboards with items that are never looked at after they are unwrapped.

Instead, give your loved one the gift of beautiful, straight teeth with Invisalign this holiday. With a gift this perfect, it’ll be hard to top next year.

Give A Gift Your Loved One Can Really Use

Giving someone dentistry services as a gift does require a close relationship and a certain amount of tact. If presented wrong, it can make the receiver feel embarrassed or upset.

But, say for instance, that your spouse has always felt self-conscious about the alignment of their teeth. In America, there is a high emphasis put on having a straight, white smile. When people don’t fit into that mold, it can be hard on them.

So, for that self-conscious spouse, you can present them with Invisalign. Unlike braces, which does not appeal to many adults, your spouse can finally have the straightened teeth they always wanted. Though, you may want to include a card on how much you love them, straight teeth or not, just to be on the safe side!

Invisalign also is appropriate for teenagers. So, if you have a teen who needs braces, the gift of having Invisalign treatments can make a huge impact on their developing self-esteem.

Why Choose Invisalign Over Traditional Braces For A Holiday Gift

Here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry, we are often asked if Invisalign or traditional braces are better. While they both will straighten teeth, there are several reasons why you may want to gift someone with Invisalign this upcoming holiday.

Invisalign is practically invisible – Many adults hesitate to get traditional braces as they are very noticeable and may clash with the image they want to present. With Invisalign, you can enjoy straighter teeth without having to wear the very visible metal brackets and wires of traditional braces. The clear aligners are somewhat visible, but they aren’t as visually disruptive.

Clear aligners are more comfortable – While traditional braces are designed to be as comfortable as possible, they do protrude out and can be difficult to adjust to wearing. Sometimes wax is needed to keep a bracket from cutting the inside of a person’s mouth. With Invisalign’s smooth, clear aligners, you will hardly notice you are wearing them as you go about your day.

No restrictions on diet – Eating and drinking with Invisalign is simple. All you need to do is take out your aligners, eat, clean your teeth, then pop your aligners back on. With traditional braces, you do have some dietary restrictions and considerations. For instance, you can break a bracket by biting down on an apple, so you will need to cut them up. Gum and other sticky candy is a no-go unless you want it trapped in your braces.

Easy to wear and clean – Cleaning your teeth around traditional braces can be difficult, as the brackets and wire make flossing nearly impossible, and your toothbrush is likely to become shredded faster than normal. With Invisalign, you simply take your aligners out, clean your teeth and the aligners, then put your aligners in, minimal muss or fuss.

Let Dr. Taylor Help You Surprise Your Loved One With Invisalign

For those living in Billings, MT, who want to gift a loved one with Invisalign this Christmas, Dr. Taylor is here to help.

If you would like to surprise your loved one with Invisalign this upcoming holiday, feel free to contact us, and we will help you set up the best gift ever.

The Link Between Toothaches And Headaches

The Link Between Toothaches And Headaches

Often, what causes a person to seek out dental services is dental pain. A toothache can start as a small, nagging pain, but if it is ignored for too long, the discomfort can become more intense and trigger a headache.

Dr. Taylor—our dentist here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry—is often asked about why toothaches cause headaches. The short answer is that toothaches trigger headaches due to a cranial nerve connection. However, the long answer is a little more complicated.

What Causes Toothaches To Trigger Headaches

Toothaches can be caused by a number of dental issues, such as a cavity, an impacted tooth, cracked or chipped teeth, an abscess, and other oral health problems. Since most of these issues don’t come with visible signs, the pain of the toothache is one of the few noticeable indicators that something is wrong.

Now, for how the pain of your toothache causes a headache. There are twelve cranial nerves, and the nerve that senses how the majority of your face feels—gums, lips, and teeth—is called the trigeminal nerve.

This nerve has branches all over your teeth, lips, and gums, so when you have a dental problem causing pain, the trigeminal nerve sends that painful sensation information to your brain.

Dental Problems Referring Pain To The Head

This transmission of pain is also called referred pain. While there is no pain point in your head that triggers the headache, the pain of your toothache can create the sensation of pain.

In fact, you may not notice the toothache if you are dealing with a sufficiently painful migraine. Some people end up going to their primary care physician about migraines and tension headaches when the issue really is a problem with their oral health.

Another example of referred pain would be headaches triggered by bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Bruxism is when you clench your jaw or grind your teeth without actively meaning to do it. Often, bruxism occurs in your sleep, and you may wake up with a sore jaw, aching teeth, and a headache.

With TMJ, the issue is generally caused by an issue with your jaw joint as well as the surrounding muscles. Along with causing toothaches, TMJ can make the area around your jaw joint, ear, neck, and temple ache. This aching pain can trigger headaches, tension headaches, and migraines.

Ways You Can Prevent Headache-Causing Dental Issues

Naturally, if you have a cavity, abscess, impacted teeth, or other issues that are triggering headaches, you will need to have them addressed by Dr. Taylor. That way, you can start to heal and not be plagued by dental pain and potentially migraines.

On top of having the immediate dental problems taken care of, there are other ways you can

  • Have regular dental cleanings – By having regular, biannual dental cleanings, you can protect yourself from future headaches brought on by toothaches. Our staff will be able to detect problem areas, and Dr. Taylor can advise you on treatments to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
  • Consider a custom nightguard – If you struggle with bruxism, you can prevent the morning headaches caused by teeth grinding and clenching with a custom-made nightguard. As a custom nightguard is made by Dr. Taylor taking an impression of your teeth, the guard will fit you excellently and help protect your teeth from grinding and clenching.
  • Focus on optimal oral care – Taking care of your daily oral care is one of the best things you can do to prevent future toothaches. Brushing your teeth at least once in the morning and at night, as well as flossing once a day can help maintain your oral health. You may also want to consider using a mouthwash that helps eliminate bacteria.
  • Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth – Should you have sensitive teeth that trigger headaches, you may want to ask Dr. Taylor about what toothpaste for sensitive teeth would be best for you. That way, you can enjoy things like ice cream or hot soup without your teeth hurt.

If you are having dental troubles and want compassionate, expert care to help you manage your oral health, then you should contact us for an appointment. No matter what shape your teeth are in, Dr. Taylor will help get you back on track.

How Do Dentists Treat A Tooth Abscess?

How Do Dentists Treat A Tooth Abscess?

 

Ever wonder why dentists like Dr. Taylor here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry stress the importance of addressing cavities and not putting off having the tooth decay treated?

Well, naturally, part of it is due to the fact that tooth decay can spread to other teeth, and the cavity can impact your overall health. But part of the concern stems from trying to prevent a tooth abscess.

What Is A Tooth Abscess

A tooth abscess—also referred to as an abscessed tooth or a dental abscess—is when a pocket of pus is created by bacteria that has infected your tooth. A tooth abscess can be quite painful, with the pain generally located around the area of the jaw that is infected, to your ears, and your neck.

Along with the pain associated with a tooth abscess, this dental condition can become a serious condition if left untreated. In fact, along with killing the tooth, if the infection enters your bloodstream, you could die from the resulting spread of infectious bacteria.

Types Of Tooth Abscess

There are three basic types of tooth abscesses that you might experience. Where the dental abscess is located will be how its type is classified.

  • Periodontal abscess – With this type of abscess, it is located your gums near the root of the infected tooth. Due to its position, a periodontal abscess may spread more quickly to the surrounding gum tissue and jawbone.
  • Periapical abscess – A periapical abscess is positioned at the tip of your tooth’s root. It does usually expand as quickly as a periodontal abscess, but it can quickly cause the infected tooth to die if untreated.
  • Gingival abscess – This type of abscess is located on your gums. It may or may not break through the gums to be externally visible.

Signs You Have A Tooth Abscess

You may have a variety of signs and symptoms that come with a tooth abscess. Often, throbbing, frequent pain in your gums centered around a tooth is a good indicator that it is time to visit our dental clinic. This pain often comes on all at once and will grow worse.

Other potential signs of an abscessed tooth are:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Swelling of the face and overall redness
  • Increase of pain when you lie down
  • Constant bad breath
  • Fever
  • Pain when biting or chewing
  • Loosened tooth
  • Radiating pain in jaw, ear, or neck
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes in the neck

You may have several of these signs and symptoms, though you aren’t likely to experience all of them. Once you notice a couple of these signs, it is to come in to see Dr. Taylor and get your tooth abscess taken care of properly.

How An Abscessed Tooth Is Addressed

As part of our dental services, Dr. Taylor can address an abscessed tooth. Generally, he will begin with an x-ray. With this dental x-ray, he can gain a better idea of the severity of the abscess, the location, and determine the best treatment for your needs. Some of the potential treatment options are:

  • Root canal – As abscessed teeth are often caused by infected teeth, a root canal will allow our dentist to remove the infected material, seal the area, and likely crown your tooth to protect it.
  • Abscess drain – Depending on the location of the abscess, Dr. Taylor may opt to drain the abscess. He would make an incision to release the pocket of pus and cleanse the area to help prevent further infection.
  • Object removal – Sometimes, something small like a popcorn kernel can be the cause of a tooth abscess. Our dentist will remove the foreign object and clean the area.
  • Dental extraction – At times, the tooth where the abscess developed is too damaged and needs to be removed to properly drain the abscess. There are a number of dental replacement options that you can explore after the extraction and the tooth abscess has healed.
  • Antibiotics prescription – When an infection stemming from the abscess spreads, it can require antibiotics to combat the problem. Depending on your needs, Dr. Taylor may prescribe antibiotics to clear out any remaining infection.

Depending on your tooth abscess, one or more of these treatment options will be utilized to address the issue.

When it comes to caring for your dental health in Billings, MT, you can count on Dr. Taylor and the rest of our dental staff. If you are ready to set up your dental check-up or would like to consult with Dr. Taylor about a smile makeover, feel free to contact us for an appointment.

What You Can Do About Receding Gums

Receding Gums

When the gums begin to pull back from the teeth and start to expose the root of the teeth, that is called receding gums. In some cases, receding gums can be caused by a lack of preventative care, but there can be many other causes. However, the main question our patients ask is if there is a way to reverse receding gums.

While gum tissue does not grow back, cosmetic dentists like Dr. Taylor can provide treatments to manage and address receding gums.

What Causes Receding Gums

As we said before, there are many triggers that can cause your gums to recede. Some of the most common reasons why people struggle with receding gums are:

Nicotine use – The use of nicotine products restricts the flow of blood. This restriction of blood flow can cause issues with blood and oxygen reaching the tissue in your gums, leading them to die and recede.
Poor dental hygiene – Without proper oral care, plaque can build up on a person’s gums and teeth. This plaque can harden and turn into tartar, and as it separates your gums from your teeth, bacteria can move in and cause the gums to recede.
Bruxism – Forceful teeth grinding caused by grinding can put too much pressure on your gums, causing the gums to recede. Also, misaligned teeth can have a similar effect.
Harsh toothbrush or technique – While it can be tempting to brush your teeth more firmly when you notice a dental issue, that hard brushing can be causing some of the problems. Harsh teeth brushing techniques can irritate your gums and cause them to recede, as well as wear down the enamel of your teeth. Also, hard-bristled toothbrushes can cause issues with your gums and teeth as they can be very abrasive.
Genetic predisposition – Some people simply have a genetic predisposition to gum disease, which means no matter how well you care for your teeth, you may still struggle with gum disease.
Hormone changes – Women undergoing hormonal changes such as menopause, puberty, and pregnancy can have more sensitive gums that can be vulnerable to receding gums.

Ways A Cosmetic Dentist Can Help With Receding Gums

Once someone has had gum recession, you will need the dental services of a cosmetic dentist like Dr. Taylor to correct the issue. There are three main ways that receding gums can be addressed.

Gum Graft

One of the more invasive options, a gum graft requires a cosmetic dentist to take gum tissue from another section of your mouth. Generally, the inside roof of the mouth can be used. This tissue is then surgically placed in the areas of your mouth where your gums are receding.

Not only can a gum graft significantly improve the appearance of receding gums, but it can also prevent future problems with having the roots of your teeth exposed.

Flap Surgery

More in-depth than root planing and scaling, during flap surgery, our dentist will make a small incision in your gums to allow him to lift the tissue up. With the gum tissue moved out of the way, it is easier for our dentist to reach further and remove the rest of the bacteria causing your receding gums.

After the bacteria is removed, then Dr. Taylor will resecure your gum tissue. With the bacteria removed, the danger of further recession, bone loss, and gum disease are significantly diminished.

Bonding

Bonding focuses mostly on improving the appearance of receded gums. This procedure used gum-colored resin and places them over the exposed roots of your teeth.

Not only does the bonded resin reduces the appearance of your receded gums, but the bonding can help protect the sensitive and delicate roots of your teeth.

How To Stop Your Gums From Receding

While there are some gum recession factors out of your control, there are some that you can control and ways to prevent your gums from receding further.

  • Root planing and scaling – Less invasive than flap surgery, root planing and scaling by our dentist can remove built-up plaque and help clean out pockets of bacteria. That way, your gums can heal and stop receding.
  • Quit smoking or vaping – Products with nicotine will continue to impact your health if you continue to use them. Try to quit their use as soon as possible to ensure the health of your gums.
  • Use soft-bristle toothbrush – A soft-bristled toothbrush is best for your teeth’s enamel and your gums. Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and be sure to floss at least once in the evening.
  • Attend regular dental check-ups – Attending your biannual dental cleaning is a great way to help stop your gums from receding, particularly if you are prone to plaque build-up. Our staff can help deep clean your teeth, and Dr. Taylor can catch warning signs before they become a serious issue.

If you would like to consult with our dentist about your gum concerns, feel free to contact us to set up your appointment.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Dental x-rays are a common feature of any dental cleaning visit here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry. With dental x-rays, Dr. Taylor is able to uncover hidden issues that can impact your oral health. But, since dental x-rays are still a type of radiation, there have been some patients who have been concerned with the safety of the procedure.

In short—dental x-rays are safe as they produce the least amount of radiation exposure when compared to an x-ray of your abdomen, mammogram, pelvis, and chest, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Only having your hand or foot x-rayed will produce less radiation.

But if you aren’t positive that you need dental x-rays, let’s take an in-depth look at why our dentist uses x-rays, how they work, and more.

Why Dentists Use Dental X-Rays

While there are times where a dentist can examine your teeth and see what the problem is, there are many times where using dental x-rays can help. Some of the main reasons why dentists will use x-rays during your biannual check-up are:

Find Oral Health Issues

There are many common dental issues that are uncovered by x-rays—ranging from finding hidden cavities to detecting abscesses. These issues can be difficult to almost impossible to see with just a visual inspection, so by using dental x-rays, our dentist can provide you with better dental care overall.

Monitor Oral Progress

If there were issues that have been recently addressed—TMJ, healing abscesses, etc.—an x-ray may be needed to be assured that the problem is healing properly. That way, if there is an additional problem that could halt your oral health progress, it can be caught and treated early on.

Determine If Treatment Is Necessary

An x-ray can provide insight into whether or not dental treatment is necessary. For instance, say that a cavity is found during your dental cleaning. The x-ray will be able to show if the cavity requires intervention or if less invasive steps can be taken. Also, x-rays can help show that your oral health is in good enough condition for you to receive cosmetic dental treatments.

Types Of Dental X-Rays

Depending on your oral health needs, there is a variety of different dental x-rays that may be used.

  • Cone beam computerized tomography (CBCT) – This type of x-ray imaging technique is used to create a specialized cone of radiation. It creates a 3D image of the area to help our dentist when you need a dental implant. That way, your implant will fit seamlessly with your natural teeth.
  • Cephalometric (ceph) – In a dentist office, a cephalometric x-ray is used when you are considering orthodontic treatment. It is used to help the dentist determine how orthodontic treatment will affect the shape of your mouth and jaw.
  • Bitewing – With a bitewing x-ray, only one distinct section of the mouth is highlighted. In the small section of imaging, your upper and lower crowns will be displayed. This focused x-ray helps our dentist identify if you have any hidden cavities and the state of your current fillings.
  • Panoramic – One of the most common forms of dental x-rays, this type of x-ray takes a panoramic picture of your entire mouth. That way, our dentist can get an overall view of the state of your oral health.
  • Periapical – Similar to a bitewing x-ray, a periapical x-ray shows a section of your teeth, from the root to crown. However, it will only show the upper or lower teeth in one section.
  • Occlusal – With occlusal x-rays, the teeth aren’t the main focus of the x-ray. Instead, this type of x-ray focuses either on the floor or roof of your mouth. That way, unerupted teeth, jaw fractures, or other issues can be detected.

Are X-Rays Harmful During Pregnancy

When it comes to dental x-rays and pregnancy, we have had some of our patients ask about safety. And with the appropriate shielding—such as a lead apron—having a dental x-ray should not harm your developing baby in any way. However, if you prefer, your x-ray can be delayed until after you have given birth.

If you still have questions or concerns about how your dental x-rays work, that’s okay. Our staff is happy to talk to you about your concerns during your next dental cleaning, so feel free to contact us to set up your next appointment!

How Do You Maintain White Teeth?

Once you’ve had your teeth whitened, along with admiring your revitalized smile, you may be thinking, “Wait, how do I keep my teeth white?”

While teeth are naturally porous and yellow over time, there is a variety of things you can do to maintain your bright white smile. Some of these steps will include keeping up with your daily oral care, skipping teeth-staining foods and other consumables, and coming into our dental clinic for the occasional whitening touch-up.

But overall, by practicing sensible care, you should be able to protect and maintain your white teeth without any extreme measures needed.

Keep Teeth White With Good Oral Hygiene

The daily care of your teeth is critical if you want to maintain the whiteness. This means at least brushing your teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once at night before bed. Along with teeth brushing, you should floss once a day to ensure that there is no debris trapped between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach.

Mouthwash can be helpful as well to support your oral health and keep your teeth white. Some types of mouthwash can be especially abrasive and kill off the good bacteria in your mouth as well as the bad, so it is best to discuss your options with our dentist, especially if you have gingivitis.

Choose The Right Toothpastes And Toothbrushes

In an effort to keep their teeth white, some people scrub their teeth with hard-bristled toothbrushes. All this harsh treatment is doing is wearing down their enamel. As the enamel is worn down, more of the dentin below shows through the remaining enamel. Since dentin is yellow, it will make your teeth appear more yellow than white.

Rather than assaulting your teeth, you should be using a soft-bristle toothbrush and gently brushing for two minutes. As for the toothpaste that you should use, you may want two different toothpastes—a whitening toothpaste and a fluoride-rich toothpaste. Using a whitening toothpaste two times a week can help keep off the surface stains while using a fluoride-rich toothpaste will help support your teeth’s overall health.

Come In For Dental Cleanings

Working with your local Billings, MT, dentist is an excellent way to support both your dental health and keep your whitened teeth bright. At your dental cleaning, issues can be found quickly so that there isn’t a weak point on your teeth where bacteria can darken them and create cavities.

Also, during your dental cleaning, your teeth are cleaned of all lingering dental plaque. Since plaque creates a foothold for bacteria in your mouth and is prone to staining, it is highly advised to come in for your regular cleanings to keep your teeth healthy and white.

Avoid Teeth-Staining Drinks And Foods

Once you have taken the time to undergo teeth whitening treatments, you don’t want to immediately start consuming things that are going to stain your teeth. While you don’t have to cut out all the foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, you may want to reduce how much you consume.

Teeth-Staining Drinks

When it comes to teeth-staining drinks, they often can have a greater impact than foods that stain, since some people instinctively swish drinks. Some of the drinks you may want to cut back on or avoid entirely are:

  • Coffee
  • Red wine
  • Tea
  • Sports drinks
  • Dark juices

Overall, it is best to reduce how much you consume of these drinks if you want to keep your teeth white. But if you use a straw, you can cut down on some of the visible stains that come with these drinks.

Foods That Can Stain

Along with different drinks, there are various foods that can stain your teeth, though they are a little less likely to cause staining, as foods don’t usually permeate your mouth the ways drinks do.

  • Dark-colored berries (blackberries, pomegranates, blueberries, etc.)
  • Popsicles
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Sauces (tomato sauce, soy sauce, curry sauce, etc.)
  • Beets

Eliminate Tobacco Use

If you use tobacco in any form—chew, smoke, or vape—you should know that it is contributing to the staining of your teeth. The nicotine is the main culprit behind the staining, though there are other additives that can help add to the yellowing of a tobacco user’s teeth. Also, along with staining your teeth, tobacco use often discolors the tongue.

Work With Taylor Cosmetic Dental For Teeth Whitening Touch-Ups

Even with the best dental practices, it is natural for teeth to teeth to turn a bit yellow over time. To help maintain your white teeth, you can always come into our dental office for teeth whitening touch up.

It is best to work directly with our dentist, as Dr. Taylor can provide you with whitening treatments that are far stronger than any over-the-counter solution. That way, you have a whiter, brighter smile sooner.

If you would like to get a whitening touch-up or start up teeth whitening treatments, contact us to set up your consultation today!

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT:406.652.9204