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Smoking Is Bad For Your Teeth. What About Nicotine Gum?

It’s no secret that smoking is bad for your teeth, let alone your overall oral health. In an effort toward harm reduction, some people choose to use nicotine gum to help stop smoking. However, it can be easy to switch from one form of nicotine intake to another. Also, the idea that nicotine gum is harmless is incorrect.

While nicotine gum isn’t as overtly damaging as smoking, you can still have adverse dental side effects from using nicotine gum. To illuminate the risks of nicotine gum, your local Billings dentist, Dr. Taylor, is here to help.

Nicotine Gum Can Lead To Oral Health Issues

Some individuals may not have visible issues with their oral health while using nicotine gum, particularly if they are maintaining regular dental hygiene. However, even those who regularly floss and brush their teeth can still struggle with the below oral health issues.

Trigger TMJ

Chewing gum can trigger temporomandibular joint disorder, which is a disorder that causes pain in the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. This disorder can make eating and speaking painful, as well as leading to a locked jaw occasionally.

Dislodge Dental Work

Gum chewing of any kind can cause havoc on your dental work. With the regularity that nicotine gum users chew on gum, it raises the risk that you can loosen a dental crown, pull out a dental filling, gum up your dental bridge, and pop loose a partial denture.

Oral Sores

Regularly users of nicotine gum have found that they can develop oral sores, most commonly located on their tongues and cheeks. These sores can be irritated by continued nicotine gum use and can become worse if the user doesn’t stop chewing gum until they heal.

Dry Mouth

Oddly enough, while regular gum can help with dry mouth, sometimes, nicotine gum can be the cause of dry mouth. With a dry mouth, bacteria are able to build up and can lead to infection quickly, especially as nicotine acts as an immunosuppressant, which makes you more susceptible to illness.

Gum Issues

Nicotine is also a vasoconstrictor, which means it narrows your blood vessels. Having nicotine make direct contact with your gums due to nicotine gum means you are narrowing the blood vessels there and making it easier for gingivitis and the more serious stages of gum disease to set in.

So, while nicotine gum may be helpful in your initial journey to quit smoking, it is best that you reduce your usage as soon as you are able, both to protect your teeth and end the nicotine dependence entirely.

Ways To Repair Your Smile Post-Nicotine Use

There are a number of factors that can influence how your smile is impacted by both smoking and using nicotine gum. Some of the options available to repair the damage caused by nicotine use and smoking will depend on the level of impact.

  • Teeth whitening – In some cases, the staining caused by smoking can be corrected with professional teeth whitening services. We offer a couple of options when it comes to teeth whitening, and you can enjoy whiter, brighter teeth faster with the help of our dentist.
  • Veneers – If your teeth have further damage that can’t be fixed with whitening alone, porcelain veneers are a great option. Our dentist can apply thin layers of porcelain to your teeth to restore your smile.
  • Smile makeovers – For a full revitalization, a smile makeover can be needed to reach your ideal smile, especially if the smoking from damage was on top of existing issues. Each smile makeover involves you and our dentist working together to determine what you want and how you would like your smile to look like.

If you would like to consult with our dentist about your cosmetic dentistry options, feel free to contact us today to set up your appointment. We look forward to helping you achieve your best smile!

How Oral Health Is Key To Overall Health

While maintaining your oral health will help keep your teeth looking and feeling great, did you know that it will also improve your overall health as well? A healthy mouth, protected by good brushing and flossing, can help ward off a number of diseases and infections that can plague not just your mouth, but your body. Alternatively, failure to properly maintain your oral health can increase your risk of suffering from heart attacks, strokes, Alzheimers, pneumonia, diabetes, and other common viral and bacterial infections. Due to how interconnected your overall health is to your oral health, our dental team in Billings, MT is here to help you be aware of the dangers you face, along with how to reduce and prevent such infections from occurring.

How Oral Conditions can Impact your Overall Health

Without proper care, improper flossing and brushing will commonly lead to cavities, tooth decay, dry mouth, plaque, and ultimately gum disease, also known as periodontitis. While periodontitis and other forms of oral inflation are very harmful on their own, they will also cause major health problems as well.
For pregnant women, periodontitis has been proven to have a direct link to premature births and below-average birth weights in children. Bacteria and other germs in the gums spread through the bloodstream to the rest of the body, leading to clogged arteries, heart problems, and strokes. Lastly, certain bacteria that aren’t properly brushed away or removed with mouthwash can be sucked into the lungs, which can result in respiratory diseases such as pneumonia.

Following proper oral care is very important than to protect your body as a whole, especially for those who have pre-existing conditions that can be exacerbated by diseases. Here are a few of our top suggestions to further protect and improve your oral health:

How to Protect/Improve your Oral Health

  • Proper teeth care – Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride-based toothpaste. Remember to replace your toothbrush head at least every three months. Replace sooner if bristles are worn out or frayed, or if you are recovering from a recent illness.
  • Flossing and mouthwash – Floss daily, and use mouthwash after flossing to further washout and remove food particles that have been dislodged from your teeth. Remember to also brush your tongue as well at least daily to remove plaque, bacteria, and lingering food particles.
  • Improving your diet – Drink more water, and try to cut back on sodas, juice, and other sugary drinks. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, and incorporate more crunchy fruits and vegetables. Incorporate more healthy fibers into your diet. Also, avoid nicotine, and cut back on alcohol consumption.

With these practices, you will significantly improve your ability to protect yourself against harmful diseases while also improving your overall oral hygiene and smile. However, those with more severe oral health complications or a history of improper oral care may struggle or already have oral health issues. If you have one of these conditions below, we recommend seeing your local dentist, including our team in Billings, MT, for treatment and additional help.

When Should I Get Oral Health Treatment

Consider seeking treatment if you have one or more of the following issues:

  • Red, swollen, or extremely tender gums.
  • Gums that have receded or otherwise pulled away from your teeth.
  • Gums that bleed during brushing and flossing.
  • Loose, separating, or teeth that have partially fallen out.
  • Put between your teeth, gums, and in other parts of your mouth.
  • A sudden or dramatic change in the way your teeth fit together, especially when you bite.
  • A sudden or dramatic change in the way your partial or full dentures fit in your mouth<.

Even if you do not suffer from one of these conditions, visiting your dentist at least twice a year can be very helpful in maintaining your oral hygiene. Professional teeth cleanings are the best, most efficient way of cleaning up calculus buildups, or tartar, which traps plaque bacteria and are a major source of harmful oral diseases.

With good oral hygiene, you’ll not only find yourself with cleaner, whiter teeth, but with other benefits that range from better breath to improved protection against a wide range of major health issues. So, be sure to get in the habit today of the things you need to do to improve your oral hygiene and visit Taylor Dental in Billings, MT, for additional dental aid. We look forward to helping you improve your oral health for a longer, and healthier life!

Why Do Dentists Suggest Tooth Extractions?

Getting the news that your dentist is suggesting a tooth extraction can be jarring news. For those who are not a fan of medical procedures, a tooth extraction may be intimidating. However, there are many valid medical reasons that explain why a tooth extraction is indeed important to resolve underlying dental issues and prevent future concerns.

What medical concerns do tooth extractions resolve?

Having a trusted Billings, MO dentist is important, especially when you are told you need a tooth extraction. Be sure to keep the communication open with your dental team and ask the right questions. Do not be afraid to ask your dental team to explain to you why the extraction is necessary, and ask for clarity if you do not understand. Here are some examples of questions to ask:

  1. Why is this tooth extraction required?
  2. How will the tooth extraction benefit my health in the future and prevent other problems?
  3. How can I avoid getting another tooth extraction?
  4. Will I be receiving anesthesia?

Rest assured that a tooth extraction is a standard dental procedure that rarely causes problems. Tooth extractions are necessary for teeth that may be rotting or decaying, or teeth that are partially broken and may cause further issues. Extractions typically occur when there is too much damage for the tooth to be saved. Here are a few more common medical reasons for tooth extractions:

  1. Extra teeth are blocking other teeth from coming in
  2. Decay is too deep into the bone for the tooth to be saved
  3. Emerging teeth may interfere with orthodontic procedures (for example, wisdom teeth are removed before they emerge to avoid reversing the correction that braces/headgear has provided).

Once the tooth extraction has occurred, it is common that a dental implant is the necessary next step. This is dependent on the type of tooth extraction that is occurring. Implants are important not only for functional purposes (cutting/tearing food), but also for aesthetic purposes as well. The type of implant and its function depends on the location of the tooth extraction, as teeth located in various places in the mouth serve different roles. Dentists insert implants by making small incisions and drilling a small hole into the jawbone. This is painless for the patient not only because the area is anesthetized, but also because the jawbone does not contain any nerves.

Ask your dentist about the next steps after your surgery and be sure that you are clear about the plan.

Simple vs. Surgical Extractions

A simple extraction means that the tooth being extracted is visible in the mouth. The patient may receive a local anesthetic for this procedure. The dentist uses an elevator tool to loosen the tooth, then pulls it using a forceps.

A surgical extraction is a bit more involved. This typically occurs for teeth that are broken (below the gum line) or teeth that haven’t yet pushed through the gums. Wisdom tooth extraction is a common example of this procedure, and typically happens in late adolescence/early adulthood. This may involve the patient being “put under” using an anesthetic delivered through an IV. However, surgical extractions vary from person to person. To ease anxiety, be sure to ask your surgeon about the plan for the surgery so that expectations are clear.

There may also be pre-surgery care that is involved for a surgical extraction. For example, the surgeon may ask that you do not eat or drink anything for a few hours prior to the surgery. This is why communication with the surgeon is not only essential for your own comfort and stress levels, but also for the success of the surgery.

Post-tooth extraction care: Dos and Don’ts

Post-tooth Extraction Do’s:

  • Brush and floss with care around the surgical area
  • Closely follow your dentist’s instructions
  • Take pain medications (over the counter or as prescribed) as needed
  • Flush out your extraction site after eating. Food particles may get stuck in the site and cause infection. It is important to make sure your mouth is properly rinsed each time after eating until the wound starts to close up and heal.

Post-tooth Extraction Don’ts:

    • Engage in heavy exercise (such as weight lifting or intense workouts)
    • Remove gauze from the mouth immediately following the surgery, as it may disrupt the clotting process
    • Drink from a straw – again, this may disrupt the clotting process
    • Eat too soon after the procedure. Doing so may cause food particles to get stuck. It also may delay/disrupt the healing process. Soft foods, like apple sauce, smoothies, or mashed potatoes, may be suitable a few hours after the procedure.

Overall, tooth extractions are simple procedures that should not cause a patient any issues or distress. Most tooth extractions are a good thing, since they are able to prevent more serious medical concerns that may arise if the problem is not resolved. As always, speak with your dentists if you have any concerns or questions about these procedures.

Why Do My Teeth Feel Like They Tingle?

Everyone loves that fresh, clean feeling after their dental cleanings. Yet, if other sensations are felt, such as tingling, it often causes people to worry.

While the source of the tingling may not be serious, it can be a sign that there is something that needs correction, like you are brushing your teeth too hard.

You Have Nerves And Blood Vessels In Your Teeth

The enamel of your teeth—the hard outermost layer of your teeth—is the hardest substance in your body. However, just because the enamel is hard doesn’t mean that everything inside the structure of your tooth is equally tough.

Under the dentin—tooth layer directly below the enamel—you have your dental pulp, which includes highly sensitive nerves and blood vessels to keep your teeth alive. These nerves help you determine how much pressure you need when biting food, assist with speech as you move your mouth and tongue around your teeth to shape words, and more.

So, temporary discomfort, tingling, and other responses to doing things like scraping your teeth on a fork are to be expected due to the nerves in your teeth. However, if your teeth tingle with no clear indicator or will sporadically start and stop tingling, it may be time to visit our dental clinic for a checkup.

Reasons Why Your Teeth May Tingle

There can be many reasons why your teeth may start tingling. Some of these issues can be resolved at home, but for others, you will need to access dental services to fix the source of your dental discomfort.

  • Hard teeth brushing – When you use a hard-bristled toothbrush or simply brush your teeth too hard, you can wear down the enamel of your teeth. The more worn-down your enamel, the more of your sensitive dentin is exposed, and the more likely that your teeth will tingle. There is no way to replace the enamel, but you can work on using a more gentle toothbrush and toothpaste that is formulated for sensitive teeth.
  • Teeth grinding or clenching – Often an unconscious action, bruxism—grinding your teeth in your sleep—or clenching your teeth can make your teeth tingle. Repeated clenching or grinding of your teeth can wear them down, exposing your sensitive dentin and potentially developing cracks in your teeth with the excess pressure. Using a custom nightguard can help protect your teeth in your sleep.
  • Cavity – Pain is a common response when a cavity develops; however, it is not the only response you may feel. For a small cavity, your tooth may just tingle initially. As the cavity progresses, the tingle can change to pain until the issue is addressed.
  • Acidic foods and drinks – Foods and drinks that are highly acidic can erode the enamel of your teeth, leaving them more sensitive and prone to tingling. Rinsing your mouth with water after consuming acidic foods and drinks can help reduce the impact.
  • An issue with a dental filling – A dental filling can become loose over time, especially as your tooth expands and contracts around it. Your tooth may start tingling when a filling becomes loose and starts to move, which can only be corrected by having the dental filling replaced.

Visit Your Dentist In Billings, MT To Care For Sensitive Teeth

To take care of your tingling teeth, a dental cleaning is the first place to start. So, if you live in Billings, MT, you can visit Taylor Dental for all your dental needs.

If you need to schedule an appointment to have a dental cleaning and to have your oral health checked, please contact us today to schedule your appointment. We look forward to helping you enjoy the best dental health possible!

Will Going Vegan Help Or Hurt My Teeth?

Following a vegan diet can provide you with a number of benefits, from losing weight to reducing your carbon footprint. However, what many individuals don’t know is how going vegan can impact their teeth.

When done right, sticking to a vegan diet shouldn’t have a negative impact on your teeth. But, as our Billings dental clinic has seen, there are many ways a vegan diet can become unbalanced and lead to dental issues from increased cavities to gum disease.

Going Vegan Can Lead To Dental Damage

Often, when picturing a vegan diet, the image of a person chowing down on bowls of salad and other veggies comes to mind. But, it is easy for vegans to have a diet that skews more towards simple carbohydrates—such as pasta, rice, cereal, crackers, and bread—and fruits. A diet that predominantly features carbs and fruit is one that is very high in sugar, even if that sugar technically comes from healthy sources.

The higher the amount of sugar in your diet, the more food for the harmful oral bacteria in your mouth has to eat. As these bacteria consume the sugar, they excrete acid, which compromises the enamel of your teeth and causes cavities to form. Also, many fruits—particularly berries—can lead to long-term staining on your teeth until you need professional teeth whitening services to revitalize your smile.

Vegans often have to eat more, from snacks to meals, as the caloric density of a lot of their foods is not that high. With more snacking, there is more opportunity for bacteria to consume the leftover food particles and excrete acid. Eating foods higher in fat and protein—such as nuts, quinoa, oats, soy products, etc.—can help with fullness and reduce the need to snack.

Vegans Need To Focus On Vitamin And Mineral Diversity

Vegans already have to pay more attention to what they are consuming than most people, but that attention should also be applied to vitamin and mineral diversity. Some of the key nutrients that vegans should be sure to have in their diet are:

  • Phosphorus – This key mineral works in concert with calcium, and is often found in dairy and meat products. So, as a vegan, you will need to ensure that enough phosphorus-rich foods are in your diet.
  • Vitamin D – The body naturally produces vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight, which is needed to process calcium.
  • Calcium – Being calcium-deficient can make vegans more prone to tooth decay and periodontitis. As calcium is often consumed in dairy products, vegans will need to supplement with calcium-fortified liquids and foods like edamame, spinach, tofu, and other high-calcium foods.
  • Vitamin B12 – This vitamin is essential to both your dental and overall health, and since it is generally found in non-vegan food options, many vegans need to take vitamin B12 supplements. You can also find B12 in almonds, spinach, and pasta.
  • Amino acids – Dietary amino acids help break down the dental plaque on your teeth and assist in preventing gum disease. Vegan sources of amino acids are things like chickpeas, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, lentils, and peanuts.
  • Iron – With low iron levels, sores and inflammation can develop in your mouth. Many individuals on a plant-based diet are lower in iron, but you can supplement by eating dark leafy greens, seeds, nuts, and peas.

While there are clear issues associated with following a vegan diet, as long as steps are taken to ensure the proper dietary diversity is addressed, you should be able to follow a vegan diet safely.

Work With Your Billings, MT Dentist To Protect Your Oral Health

For those who are following a vegan diet, you may want to talk to your dentist about your diet to help them keep a lookout for any diet-related issues that can crop up.

If you are ready to work with our dentist, whether you need a dental cleaning or are interested in cosmetic dentistry, contact us today to set up an appointment to start managing your oral health!

Long Term Benefits Of Flossing

During every dental cleaning here at our Billings, MT, dental clinic, flossing is bound to be brought up. We don’t bring up flossing to shame your oral care routine—in fact, the exact opposite is true! Our staff wants you to enjoy the long term dental health benefits of flossing, and want to ensure you know how to floss properly.

If you are on the fence about flossing and aren’t convinced it can really provide any benefits to your oral health routine, here are five reasons why you should add flossing to your daily schedule.

Routine Flossing Helps Fight And Prevent Gum Disease

Brushing your teeth does much of the work to remove harmful oral bacteria that builds up in your mouth over the course of the day. But flossing once a day also plays an important preventative dental care role.

With dental floss, you can get into the tiny spaces between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t fit. In these areas, bacteria may hide and multiply as you sleep. By flossing before bed, you can prevent excess bacteria from sitting on your gums and potentially slipping between tooth and gum tissue. When these harmful oral bacteria are able to penetrate the area between tooth and gums, periodontitis (gum disease) is the result. But, with routine flossing, you can prevent even developing the early stage of gingivitis.

Use Floss To Safely Remove Leftover Food Particles

When something gets stuck between your teeth, your first instinct may be to grab a toothpick to dislodge the offending bit of food. However, it is far too easy to scrape your gums and cause bleeding with a toothpick, which leaves an opening for bacteria. Also, as most people use wooden toothpicks, you can run the risk of lodging a splinter of wood in your gums.

Instead, you can simply use floss to remove any stuck food particles and prevent any accidental scrapes and splinters.

Daily Flossing Assists In Cavity Prevention

Plenty of cavities form in the small space between your teeth, as your toothbrush isn’t able to fit between these tiny areas. And, if a cavity forms on one side of a tooth, the other tooth that touches that area will often develop a cavity as the decay spreads.

To prevent cavities from forming in these areas—as well as preventing tooth decay spread—you should be flossing once a day as part of your evening dental oral hygiene routine.

Protect Your Dental Work With Regular Flossing

If you have any dental work, such as fillings, crowns, dental bridges, or dental implants, by flossing, you can protect your investment in your dental health. Depending on the type of dental work, bacteria can more easily hide in crevices that are difficult for teeth brushing alone to take care of properly.

With daily flossing, you can carefully work around your dental work and keep bacteria from damaging the supporting tooth structures that are around your dental work.

Prevent Dental Plaque And Tartar Build Up

While dental plaque—sticky biofilm on your teeth—can be helpful, when there is too much plaque buildup, it can become damaging to your teeth. Also, calcium deposits can buildup, turning into tartar, which contributes to tooth decay.

By flossing regularly, you can actively prevent the excess of dental plaque buildup and keep from forming tartar along the gums of your teeth.

Whether you need a kickstart to your oral hygiene routine, are looking to start cosmetic dental treatments, or just need to schedule your biannual dental cleaning, feel free to contact us today to set up your appointment. We look forward to helping you have the best smile possible!

Message To Our Patients: Cornoavirus (COVID-19) Update

Taylor Dental is happy to announce that we are once again open and seeing patients at our regular business hours. We want to assure you that your safety while in our office is our highest priority. We are currently following local and national government recommendations, ADA recommendations, and CDC recommendations like we did before COVID-19. Additionally, we are now using N95 masks along with 3-ply surgical masks, and are keeping people in our office waiting area to a minimum while practicing social distancing whenever possible inside the office. Also, we are using a rubber dam when possible on our patients and our hygienists are not using ultrasonic instruments at this time as added precautions.

We are proud of our state’s response to the pandemic as we have seen a flattening of the curve here in Montana. We are grateful for the actions of the medical community in caring for those who have been affected by COVID-19, and by the efforts made by residents to help stop the spread.

Our office continues to use the highest standard of sterilization and disinfecting protocols just as we did before COVID-19. We have always protected ourselves and our patients against infectious diseases like HIV, AIDS, hepatitis, etc. The ADA has not put forth any recommendations for changing the universal precautions we were already practicing. COVID-19 is easily killed with the sterilants and disinfectants we used prior to COVID-19 and continue to use today.

If patients have a cough, shortness of breath, or fever, they should not come inside the office and should reschedule for at least weeks later. If patients have traveled to the east coast or out of the country, the same time restriction applies.

Our staff, if they travel to high-risk areas, will be required to miss 2 weeks of work before returning.

COVID-19 is a serious and highly infectious disease. We take it very seriously at our office. We prescreen all our patients and reschedule our high-risk patients. Our staff is under a travel ban at this time as well to minimize exposure.

Thank you for your understanding with our added precautions during this time. We are very happy to be open and look forward to seeing you again!

Why Does My Dentist Care If I Have Diabetes?

Diabetes can have a widespread impact on your health, primarily if it is not being carefully managed, as diabetes impacts your ability to correctly process sugar. For Type 1 diabetics, their bodies aren’t able to produce enough insulin, while Type 2 diabetics have become insensitive to insulin and no longer responds appropriately.

Both types of diabetes can lead to dangerously high blood sugar levels, which in turn impacts your blood flow, and from there, the rest of your body.

So, where does your local Billings, MT, dentist come into this problem? Well, your smallest blood vessels are among the first impacted by diabetes, such as the ones in your feet and mouth. This impact can range from a higher risk of developing cavities to advanced periodontal disease.

Periodontal Disease And Diabetes

Periodontal disease—also called gum disease—is particularly hard on those individuals living with diabetes. In fact, gum disease is the most common dental problem that is experienced by diabetics, as the blood sugar levels in their mouths have a direct impact on oral bacteria.

We all have many types of bacteria in our mouths, some good and some harmful. However, when blood sugar levels are not carefully controlled, the harmful bacteria can over-produce and attack the gums, leading to periodontal disease, gum infections, and other dental issues.

Signs Diabetes Is Impacting Your Oral Health

There are several oral health signs associated with diabetes. If you suspect that your diabetes may be impacting your mouth, look for these signs:

  • Inflamed and tender gums
  • Gums easily bleed
  • More likely to have oral infections, which will stick around
  • Your mouth is often dry
  • Children have teeth erupt ahead of schedule
  • Food will taste different or lose all taste
  • Tooth pain triggered by cavities

Should you recognize one or more of these signs, it is likely that your diabetes is interfering with your oral health, and you will need to take steps to protect yourself.

How To Protect Your Oral Health While Living With Diabetes

Depending on what stage you intervene, you can keep your diabetes from causing too much trouble when it comes to your oral health. Along with encouraging you to carefully control your blood sugar levels, below are some of the recommendations we make to our dental patients with diabetes.

Periodontal therapy – If you are suffering from periodontal disease, Dr. Taylor provides a range of periodontal therapy services. These therapies range from non-surgical deep cleaning to different surgical interventions to save your teeth and improve your overall oral health.

Stop smoking – If you have diabetes, it is important that you avoid smoking, as it can compound the problems you face, from losing your ability to taste to making oral infections last longer.

Clean dentures thoroughly – For those who wear partial or full dentures, be sure to clean them thoroughly every day—in the morning before putting them in and at night after taking them out. With consistent cleaning, you can prevent bacteria buildup, sores, and infections from poor cleaning habits.

Regular dental cleanings – Every six months, you should be coming into our dental clinic for regular dental cleanings. During these cleanings, Dr. Taylor can monitor your oral health and ensure that you are on track or make needed recommendations.

Maintain home dental hygiene – Most importantly, you will need to be vigilant when it comes to your home dental hygiene routine. It can be easy to slack off, but just as you need to stay on top of managing your diabetes, it is important to brush your teeth twice a day and floss nightly to keep your oral health in top condition.

If you have diabetes and are concerned about your oral health, be sure to contact us to set up a dental cleaning! During your cleaning, our dental staff can check for issues, and Dr. Taylor can give you specific advice on what dental and oral care you need to keep your smile healthy.

Don’t Let A Little Cavity Become A Big One

Sometimes, individuals can be tempted to push off their visits to the dentist. Whether it is due to finances, dental-related anxiety, or simply a lack of time, it can be difficult to make your biannual dental cleanings.

While we understand that at our dental clinic when a patient comes in after a long time away, it is essential to get your dental issues like cavities addressed early on.

Small Cavities Can Become Big Problems

Cavities can start out so small that dentists won’t even fill them in, as it can damage an otherwise healthy tooth. Instead, our dentist will tell you if we want to watch a tooth, which means we will check up on the tooth during your next visit. Along with monitoring your tooth, our dentist will recommend brushing your teeth with toothpaste that contains fluoride, as well as carefully flossing at night. Depending on other factors, mouthwash may also be recommended.

All this work is to prevent future serious dental issues. Most of the more invasive dental work—from needing root canals to tooth loss—starts as a small cavity. That’s because the tooth decay that allowed the cavity to form doesn’t simply go away. Instead, the harmful oral bacteria continues to wear away at the opening in your tooth until the small cavity evolves into a severe dental problem.

How To Tell If You Have A Cavity

Small cavities may not be easily visible, especially if they are located between two of your teeth or on the back of your teeth. That’s generally why it’s not a good idea to wait until you see a cavity before coming into our dental clinic. However, some cavities do show up as discolored spots, either a dark spot or abnormally pale. This spot can continue to discolor, changing to brown, yellow, or black as the cavity worsens.

There is also often pain associated with tooth decay. Cavities in their early stages aren’t usually painful, as they have barely penetrated the enamel. But as cavities reach deeper into the layer of dentin below the enamel, your tooth can become more sensitive to pressure, cold, and heat. If the cavity is allowed to progress to the dental pulp, you will definitely be able to tell you have a cavity, as it is generally painful and can lead to an extremely painful dental abscess.

What Dentists Do To Fix Cavities

What our dentist does to treat your cavities will depend on what stage it is caught at. Some of the options are:

  • In-office fluoride treatment – For small cavities that haven’t developed into directly treatable issues, having an in-office fluoride treatment can help remineralize your tooth and halt the tooth decay.
  • Fillings – With many cavities, cleaning out the decay and using non-metal fillings is the main treatment method our dentist will use.
  • Root canal and crown – If your cavity has penetrated into the dental pulp of your tooth, a root canal is needed to clean out the infection and sterilize the tooth. After the root canal, enough of the tooth material will have been stripped away, so a dental crown will need to be placed to protect your remaining tooth.
  • Tooth removal – Lastly, sometimes, the tooth is unable to be saved if the infection introduced by the cavity ends up killing the tooth’s blood supply. In this case, the removal of the dead tooth is needed. From there, our dentist can go over tooth replacement options, such as dental bridges and dental implants.

If you are having dental pain or are concerned about your oral health, it’s time to contact us and schedule an appointment with our dentist. We will do our best to find the source of the problem and get you cavity-free as soon as possible.

How To Prep For Your Child’s First Dental Visit

The first thing to figure out is when you should take your child in for their first dental visit. Contrary to what some individuals may think, your kid doesn’t need a full set of teeth to go visit a pediatric dentist. Instead, it is recommended that your child be taken to the dentist six months after their first tooth erupts—or by the time your child is 12 months old, whichever comes first.

This first visit serves a number of purposes. Not only can you start to acclimate your child to regular dental services and have our dentist look over your child’s dental development, but you can also receive helpful information on things like teething, developing teeth issues, etc.

Find An Inviting, Well-Reviewed Dentist

One of the first steps to bringing your child in for their first dentist visit is to find the right dentist to ensure that your kid’s first experience is as positive as possible. Working with an inviting dentist can help set the tone for how future dentist visits go for you and your child.

To find a dentist that is inviting, experienced, and compassionate can take some work. Along with asking for recommendations from family and friends, you can also check Google reviews. A well-reviewed dentist with more than 50 positive reviews is doing something right, and you can get a good idea of how people feel about their experience with the dentist they are reviewing.

Our dentist here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentist is an experienced cosmetic dentist. However, thanks to his time spent working with the Give Kids a Smile program, Dr. Taylor has worked with many children, helping put them at ease.

He is also a father of four who does his own children’s dental work, which helps Dr. Taylor empathize with parents who bring their children in for dental care. So, if you are looking for a skilled, well-respected dentist for your child in Billings, MT, Dr. Taylor is here to help.

Ways To Prepare Your Child For Their First Dental Visit

Since your child will be around 12 months old when you bring them in for their first dental visit, there isn’t much you can tell them about the visit. But, what your attitude is around the upcoming appointment will help set the tone for your child. So, some of the ways you can prepare your child for their visit are:

  • Book an early appointment, avoiding appointments around nap times
  • Brush your child’s teeth and gums
  • Have your child pick out a few toys to play with while in the waiting room
  • Talk to your child about the dentist, what dentists do, and get them excited to meet their dentist

How To Prep As A Parent For Your Kid’s Appointment

Your emotional preparation is probably one of the most important factors when it comes to making your child’s first visit to the dentist a good one. The more you stay positive, the easier it will be for your child to stay calm, even while undergoing the new experience of visiting the dentist for the first time.

To help ensure you are prepared for your kid’s first dental appointment, you can do these things:

  • Print out the patient information form at home and fill them out. That way, you don’t have to try to juggle form filling and your child while in the waiting room.
  • Get to your child’s appointment 10-15 minutes early so that you don’t have to rush.
  • Bring any questions or concerns with you. Write them down on your smartphone or on paper so that you don’t forget anything you wanted to cover with our dentist.

Visit Your Family Dentist In Billing, MT

If you are looking for a dentist for the whole family in Billings, MT, then come visit our dental clinic! We work with dental patients of all ages, offering both general dental services and cosmetic dentistry services.

To set up your child’s first visit to our dentist, feel free to contact us today to make an appointment! We are happy to help you and your child have the best dental visit possible!

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT:406.652.9204