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!

Direct From The Dentist: What Too Much Soda Does To Your Teeth

Most people are aware that soda isn’t the best for your overall health. Not only is soda linked to type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and obesity, but did you know that it can have a severe impact on your teeth? Well, your friendly local dentist at Taylor Cosmetic Dental is here to tell you all about how too much soda affects your teeth.

How Soda Interacts With Your Teeth And Mouth

Before we jump right in, let’s lay some groundwork information. First, there are hundreds of types of bacteria which live in your mouth. A lot of this bacteria is helpful and assists in breaking down your food and helps clean your mouth to a certain extent. However, there are harmful bacteria that come to eat leftover food particles, especially sugar, and that bacteria excrete acid that wears down the enamel of your teeth.

So, you already have acid being created in your mouth by these bacteria, then you add soda. All types of soda, both full sugar as well as sugar-free soda, have their own acid. The acid from the soda adds to the wear and tear that the bacteria starts, leading to significant dental damage. Also, as the sugar in soda interacts with the bacteria in your mouth, it creates another type of acid which can hurt your teeth.

Also, you may think, “Well, I’ll just use a straw! Then the soda won’t hit my teeth.” While it’s not a bad thought, it doesn’t really work that way. Since the straw doesn’t go from your cup to your throat, some of the soda will interact with your teeth, especially your back molars.

What Soda Does To Your Teeth

Okay, now that you have a clear idea about how soda and bacteria produce acid that harms your teeth, let’s talk about exactly what kind of damage we are talking about.

Soda erodes your teeth – The outer layer of your teeth is covered in enamel, a hard protective layer for the sensitive dentin and nerves below. When you drink soda, you are giving your enamel an acid bath, which slowly erodes the protective enamel.

Soda strongly contributes to cavities – The wear and tear on your teeth don’t stop at the enamel. As soda erodes the protective enamel of your teeth, the acid can make its way down to the next layer, which is the dentin. Once these openings in your teeth are made, cavities are a natural result, and you will need our dentist’s services to resolve the cavities and other issues that can arise.

Ways To Prevent Dental Damage From Soda

There are several ways you can prevent soda from damaging your teeth. Below are some of the top things that our dentist Dr. Taylor recommends:

  • Lower soda consumption – Moderation in all things, especially your soda consumption, can significantly help your teeth. Do your best to stick to one soda a day to help give your teeth a break from the sugar and acid bath that comes with soda.
  • Rinse with water – Immediately after you finish a soda, rinse your mouth out by drinking water. The neutral quality of water can help lessen the impact of your soda and help wash away the acid and sugar. In fact, if you can keep water handy to sip on after drinking a soda, you can also prevent getting up for another soda.
  • Stick to scheduled dental cleanings – If you are a regular soda drinker, then it is even more important that you come into our dental office for your biannual dental cleaning. That way, any issues which crop up can be caught early before they become a big issue.
  • Don’t sip soda – As you drink your soda, don’t slowly sip on it. By sipping soda over the course of an hour or more, you are constantly bathing your teeth in acid and sugar, inviting more bacteria and acid to build up and damage your teeth. So, if you are going to drink soda, do it quickly.
  • Use a straw – While we did say using a straw won’t protect you completely, it does offer some protection at least for your front teeth. By using a straw, you can minimize how much of your teeth come in contact with the corrosive soda acid.
  • Avoid soda before bed – Drinking soda before bed is probably one of the more harmful ways to consume soda since the acid will sit on your teeth as you sleep. So, if you want something to drink by your bedside, stick to water.
  • Wait to brush teeth – It may seem counterintuitive, but you shouldn’t brush your teeth right after drinking soda. With the soda acid on your teeth, your teeth are more vulnerable, and the bristles of your toothbrush can create harmful friction against your teeth, leading to more damage. It’s best to wait at least 30 minutes to an hour after drinking soda before brushing your teeth.

If you are prepared to come in for your dental cleaning and have your teeth checked by Dr. Taylor, contact us. We are ready to help you reach your healthiest and ideal smile!

Are Veneers Or Invisalign Better?

As a skilled cosmetic dentist, Dr. Taylor is often asked whether veneers or Invisalign are better for reaching the perfect smile. The problem with this question is that it’s not asking the right question, as these two cosmetic dental procedures do different things to improve your smile.

To help clear things up if you have been wondering whether Invisalign or veneers are the right routes for you, we wanted to provide a thorough breakdown of what these two dental procedures are meant for, the main differences between them, their pros and cons, and finally, how you can decide whether Invisalign or veneers are right for your needs.

What Do Veneers Do vs. Invisalign

As we have said, these two cosmetic dental procedures have different purposes. Invisalign is meant to work just like invisible braces, straightening your teeth for a more even appearance. As Invisalign shifts your teeth, things like bite issues, crowding, and gaps can be corrected.

The invisible aligners that shift your teeth need to be replaced regularly to ensure that the progress continues. Aside from movement, Invisalign does not provide other visible cosmetic benefits.

In contrast, veneers focus on changing the visual impact of your teeth. This change is done usually with porcelain veneers, which require that your tooth be shaped and have a thin sheet of porcelain overlaying your natural tooth. There are also no-prep veneers, which require little-to-no tooth shaping needed and can be quickly applied. For most of this article, we will be focusing on porcelain veneers, but we felt it was important that you are aware that there are multiple options available when it comes to veneers.

No matter what type of veneer you choose, their basic purpose is the same. Veneers are meant to do things like cover up dental damage, change the color of teeth, as well as altering the shape and surface of your teeth.

Major Difference Between Veneers And Invisalign

As you can see, the main goal of these two procedures is different. But, just knowing that may not be enough for you to decide between the two if you don’t understand their major differences.

Price of Invisalign vs. Veneers

Right out the gate, porcelain veneers can sound far more appealing, as they can cost between $925-$2,500 per tooth, where Invisalign costs on average $5,000.

The price gap begins to even out if you need multiple veneers, though if you only need one or two veneers to improve the appearance of your teeth, then it makes sense to choose veneers over Invisalign. However, if you have many teeth or bite issues, it can make more sense to choose Invisalign to correct the problems, rather than veneers.

Current Dental Health

You need to have healthy teeth and gums no matter which of these treatment paths you end up pursuing. However, if you often have cavities, it may not be the best idea to pursue veneers, as veneers are placed over the teeth and may hide future cavities.

Also, veneers require the removal of a good deal of enamel to have the veneers sit correctly. This removal can cause future problems as the enamel acts as a protective layer between the inner dentin of your teeth and the bacteria which lives in your mouth. If that layer is reduced and you are already prone to cavities and infections, it can up the number of cavities you experience.

Length of Treatment

When it comes to the amount of time it takes to have the cosmetic treatment done, veneers are far and away quicker than Invisalign.

With veneers, you really only need two visits, as long as your oral health is good. The first visit will be a consultation with Dr. Taylor, and the second will be when your veneers are placed. This process is a speedy way to improve your smile.

On the other hand, Invisalign typically takes about a year to complete. Sometimes it takes longer, depending on the severity of the misalignment of your teeth.

Pros And Cons of Invisalign And Veneers

By now, you likely have a pretty good grasp on which of these cosmetic dentistry treatments may be right for you. But before you completely make up your mind, you may want to consider the clear pros and cons of both Invisalign and veneers.

Pros and Cons of Invisalign

The majority of these pros and cons are in contrast to traditional metal braces. So, keep that in mind when you consider the pros and cons of Invisalign.

Pros
The aligners are basically invisible
There are no food restrictions
Nothing poking your mouth
Aligns teeth faster
Invisalign trays can be taken out

Cons
Aligners can become lost when taken out
Can take time to adjust to wearing aligners
Proper treatment relies on correct aligner usage
Need to clean your teeth more often
Can be as expensive as braces, or more so
Does not change color, shape or appearance of teeth

Pros and Cons of Veneers

Veneers have more straightforward pros and cons. However, as we mentioned before, there are several types of veneers, so if you are interested in them, you will want to talk with Dr. Taylor about which type of veneer is best for you.

Pros
Last on average 15 years
Boost confidence quickly
Able to protect damaged teeth
Fills in gaps and spaces
Choose the shape and color
Corrects misshapen teeth

Cons

Won’t prevent future dental issues
Can become chipped or cracked
Once placed, the procedure can’t be reversed
Natural teeth and veneers have a color difference
Are Veneers Or Invisalign Right For You

After reviewing what veneers and Invisalign are for, as well as their pros and cons, you likely have a good idea about which cosmetic dentistry procedure is right for you. However, to be sure, you can always have a consultation with Dr. Taylor.

If you would like to consult with Dr. Taylor to determine what cosmetic dental procedures will help reach your ideal smile, contact us today to set up your appointment.

Direct From The Dentist: What You Need To Know About Gingivitis

Direct-From-The-Dentist-What-You-Need-To-Know-About-Gingivitis

When it comes to oral hygiene, sometimes people can become a little careless, forgetting to brush before bed or skipping flossing. However, this can lead to gingivitis.

What Is Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a mild and more easily reversible form of gum disease. This gum disease occurs when plaque is allowed to build up on your teeth. Plaque naturally occurs and is a sticky film that contains bacteria.

Not all plaque is bad. The film can help protect your teeth throughout the day, especially as you consume things with high acidity levels. However, you do need to remove the plaque daily through brushing and flossing as well as practice good preventative care, as plaque will produce toxins that will irritate your gums over time.

This irritation will lead your gums to become inflamed. This inflammation can present as either redness or a swollen and puffy appearance, which will often lead to your tender gums bleeding when pressed.

Gingivitis Symptoms And Signs

Many people are surprised when they come into Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry and find out that they have gingivitis. But gingivitis is very common, and most Americans will experience this mild form of gum disease at some point in their lives.

To help you recognize when you have gingivitis so you can start taking steps to correct it, here are the most common symptoms and signs:

  • Gums that bleed, especially if it happens when you floss or brush your teeth.
  • Unexplained tooth sensitivity or pain, which occurs as gingivitis causes your gums to pull away from your teeth and expose your sensitive roots.
  • Swollen, red gums.
  • Gums that are sore and stay uncomfortably tender.
  • Bad breath that you can’t get rid of no matter what since the bacteria in built-up plaque creates smelly waste products.
  • Differences in your bite or loose teeth, which can mean your gum disease has progressed from gingivitis to periodontitis.

How Do You Get Gingivitis

One of the easiest ways to develop gingivitis is by slacking on your oral hygiene, from skipping your twice-daily toothbrushing routine and your biannual dental cleanings. But there are also other ways to trigger gingivitis, which are:

Stress – Being under stress can tax your immune system, making it easier for gum diseases like gingivitis to take hold.

Lingering plaque – Many people don’t brush for the recommended two minutes, which means it’s easy to miss cleaning off all of the plaque that has gathered on their teeth.

Nicotine use – Using nicotine products like cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and vaping can all hid the signs of gum disease and weaken your teeth so that plaque has an easier time adhering to the surface of your teeth.

Poor nutrition – Your body needs the right nutrients to help prevent infections, and without a balanced and nutritious diet, it is easier for gum disease to occur. Also, if you are pregnant, you will need to take extra care with your nutrition, as your developing child will leach nutrients you need to keep your gums and teeth healthy.

Chronic disease – Some chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes can make it difficult for your body to fight off infections like gingivitis.

Hormone changes – When you experience hormonal fluctuations, your gums can become more sensitive and prone to infections.

Medication – There are a variety of medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, that can impact your oral health. Be sure to discuss your medications with Dr. Taylor when you come in for your preventative cleaning so you can see if you need to take extra steps to protect your oral health.

Ways To Prevent Gingivitis

As gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease, you can actually easily prevent it by implementing a steady oral hygiene routine.

  • Brush twice a day – With a soft-bristled brush, clean your teeth twice a day. Be sure to brush gently along the gumline to ensure no plaque is left behind.
  • Floss carefully once a day – Flossing can help you reach those place that your toothbrush can’t. It is best to do it at night before your last toothbrushing session. That way, any lodged food particles can be removed.
  • Using anti-gingivitis mouthwash – Not only can rinsing with mouthwash help you have fresher breath, but mouthwash particularly formulated as anti-gingivitis can help prevent future infections.
  • Replace your toothbrush – Every three months, you should be replacing your toothbrush since the bristles will start sticking out in the wrong directions and clean less.
  • Come in for dental cleaning – Coming in for your biannual dental cleanings can help our dentist see if you have a gingivitis infection starting and help prevent it from progressing to more serious stages of gum disease.

To schedule your gingivitis-preventing biannual dental cleaning, contact us for an appointment with Dr. Taylor today.

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