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Direct From The Dentist: What You Should Know About Going To The Dentist While Pregnant

If you’re pregnant, you may wonder if it’s safe to undergo dental treatment. You might even consider postponing your regular cleaning or checkup until after you’ve had your baby. Don’t pick up the phone just yet.

It’s actually a great time to see your dentist, because a woman’s teeth are more vulnerable during pregnancy. Gingivitis is very common, affecting at least 40 percent of pregnant women, according to recent research.

It’s is a mild form of gum disease that, if detected early, is treatable and even reversible through a professional dental cleaning. If you ignore gingivitis, it can lead to serious problems, including tooth loss.

At Taylor Cosmetic Dental, we see your dental visit as an important part of prenatal care. You may want to put off elective treatments like teeth-whitening until after you’ve had your baby. We invite you, however, to come in for checkups and cleanings and urge you to call us if you experience problems with your teeth and gums.

Hormonal Changes In Pregnancy Cause Gingivitis

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gingiva, the part of your gum that touches your teeth.
It’s an uncomfortable condition marked by red, swollen, irritated gums that are tender to the touch and bleed easily when brushing or flossing. Other signs of gingivitis include:

  • Loose teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or unpleasant taste
  • Receding gums

Gingivitis stems from a buildup of plaque, that sticky thin biofilm that forms on our teeth and needs to be brushed away each day. It’s full of bacteria and if it’s not properly removed, it can begin attacking healthy gum tissue.

Because of greater levels of progesterone, pregnant women have an elevated response to plaque. They have more plaque build up than usual and, at the same time, experience more blood-flow to their gums. tI’s a recipe for inflammation.

Plaque contains a lot of bacteria. If it isn’t removed from your teeth, that bacteria attacks your gums, causing them to recede and separate from your teeth. Next, deep pockets form between your guns. The bacteria that are trapped there continue to attack your gums as well as the bone supporting your teeth.

At this point, gingivitis has progressed into periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease.

It can cause tooth loss and, according to some studies, even lead to negative birth outcomes like low birth weight or preterm births.

Gingivitis Can Be Treated With a Professional Dental Cleaning

Pregnant women should arrange a checkup to determine whether they have plaque buildup or gingivitis. If these issues are caught early, they can be treated and even reversed. It just takes a professional dental cleaning, including scaling and root-planing. These procedures involve a dentist using an instrument to perform a deep cleaning below the gumline.

In order to protect your teeth while at home, you should brush your teeth twice per day. If you are experiencing gingivitis, you can try a daily warm saltwater rinse, using a ratio of 1 teaspoon of salt to one cup water. The good news is that after your baby is born, your gums usually return to their normal condition.

You Should Treat A Dental Infection While Pregnant

It’s also possible to develop a dental infection while pregnant, generally signaled by a toothache. Your doctor and dentist may agree you should undergo emergency dental treatment like a root canal or tooth-pulling, especially if a tooth is abscessed.

This is because any risk the dental treatment and the accompanying antibiotic pose are insignificant compared to the risk that the dental infection spreads to the patient’s bloodstream. This can make both mother and child very sick.

Consider Timing When Planning Dental Work

In general, the second trimester is the best time for a pregnant woman to undergo dental work. By that time, the baby’s organs are fully formed and she’s hopefully experiencing far less nausea. Routine dental work should still be safe in the third trimester but, by that time, you’re likely to find spending any period of time in a dental chair uncomfortable.

It’s crucial to be vigilant about your dental health when you’re pregnant, because various physiological changes can adversely impact your teeth. Contact us if you have any questions about appropriate dental treatment while you’re expecting.

Oil Pulling – Does It Actually Help Your Teeth?

Oil pulling may be one of the latest alternative health crazes, but it’s far from new. It’s a practice rooted in Ayurveda, a 3,000-year-old Indian healing system.

If you’ve never heard of oil pulling, it doesn’t involve drilling in the ground for black gold. Instead, it’s a daily ritual of swishing oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for about 20 minutes. Proponents say oil pulling—also called gundusha or kavala—can greatly benefit your oral health, with purported results including:

  • Cavity prevention
  • Fresher breath
  • Gingivitis prevention

This practice has grown in popularity in recent years, with stories about trying oil pulling becoming a mainstay among health and lifestyle bloggers. You might think that from the perspective of western medicine that oil pulling is one of those proverbial “old wives’ tales.” Recent scientific studies, though, have given credence to its efficacy.

At Taylor Cosmetic Dental, we’ve had patients ask whether oil pulling actually helps your teeth. Our cautious answer is it can do little harm and may well do some good. It should never, however, be used as a substitute for brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk some more about oil pulling and its potential benefits.

What Does Oil Pulling Look Like?

Many people prefer to undertake oil pulling first thing in the morning, but you can do it whenever your stomach is empty. Some people say it’s best to do it before brushing your teeth while others insist you should perform oil pulling after you brush your teeth. It starts with taking a tablespoon of an oil such as:

  • Cold-pressed sesame oil
  • Cold-pressed sunflower oil
  • Extra-virgin coconut oil

Each of these has different beneficial components. Coconut oil is arguably the most popular medium because it has a pleasant flavor, given you like the taste of coconut. Coconut oil also contains fatty acids with antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties.

While you swish, bacteria is said to be swept away from your teeth and mouth, dissolving into the oil. The oil thickens and becomes milky after a while. When you’re done, spit the oil into a trashcan rather than the sink, as it can clog your drain. You may want to gargle some warm water afterward.

How Might Oil Pulling Benefit Your Oral Health?

Your mouth can play host to as many as 700 different types of bacteria. At any given moment, you’re likely to have some 250 kinds of bacteria in your mouth. Some of these are “friendly” bacteria while others are harmful.

Some of these harmful bacteria show up in the thin layer that forms on your teeth, known as plaque. If left unchecked, the bacteria from plaque interacts with bits of food to create enamel-attacking acid. In this way, plaque can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Oil pulling just might help.

In one study, children were asked to spend 10 minutes a day swishing regular mouthwash or using oil pulling with sesame oil. In just one week, both methods were found to significantly reduce the number of harmful bacteria found in the kids’ saliva. In another study, 60 participants were asked to rinse their mouths with mouthwash, water or coconut oil for two weeks. The participants who swished with mouthwash and those who used coconut oil both had a markedly lower amount of bacteria in their saliva. Promising results, indeed.

At Taylor Cosmetic Dental, we’re encouraged by any trend that puts a focus on preventative dental care. Oil pulling may well be a helpful part of this process. Again, though, don’t forget to brush, floss and arrange for regular dental visits, methods that have all been proven to improve your oral health.

Do you have any questions about basic dental care or some of our cosmetic dental procedures that can improve your smile? Contact us today to make your appointment.

Direct From The Dentist: Great Ways To Make Flossing Fun For Children

Many parents do well when it comes to getting their kids to brush their teeth, thanks to some judicious hovering and countless reminders. Many times, however, we don’t take the time to ensure our children are also flossing their teeth on a daily basis.

Even after the most thorough brushing, plaque and bits of food can remain caught between our teeth and at the gumline. Flossing prevents bacteria-laden plaque from compromising our teeth’s enamel, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.

Oral health is a real issue among American children. Some 20 percent of children between 5 and 11 have at least one untreated cavity, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That number would be significantly smaller if more children were encouraged to floss as well as heading to the dentist for regular checkups.

Children are more likely to follow through with something they enjoy. You can help firmly instill the flossing habit in them by making the job more fun. Here are just a few ways.

Use Fun Flossing Picks

Kids find flossing with picks easier than fiddling with old-school rolled floss. It’s also more fun because they’re using a little tool.

Further, many floss picks are brightly-colored to appeal to children. To sweeten the deal, many kids’ flossing picks may also feature handles with novelty shapes like zoo animals and flavored floss.

Check Your Floss

When you first introduce a flossing habit to kids, you might want to use a visual aid to emphasize why they’re undertaking this particular hygienic act. Have your kids take a quick peek at the floss after their done before throwing it away. It’s likely they’ll see bits of sticky white plaque and other debris. It’s a science experiment with a delightful ”eeeew” factor.

“Look at all that gunk you got,” you can say. “Think of it as cleaning house, except it only takes two minutes!”

Try A Water Pick

Your child may also enjoy the novelty as well as the interesting sensation that comes from cleaning their teeth and gums with a water pick. There are even colorful water pick flosser sets designed just for kids.

A word of warning. It’s likely that your children may wield their water picks like squirt guns. Wouldn’t you, at that age? A quick toweling-off and a reprimand later, your bathroom will be back to normal.

Chart Your Child’s Progress

When instilling a habit in children, it’s often helpful to set up a chart. Use a marker or stickers to note each day your youngster flosses. When they’ve completed the chore a certain number of days, you can give them a reward like a small toy.

Many social scientists assert it takes 21 days to instill a habit. However, any parent who’s sought to get their kids to pick their bath towels off the floor know they’re often slow to catch on. Keep your chart going for as long as you think it’s necessary to motivate flossing.

The Sound Of Music

Since dentists recommend that you floss for at least two minutes, you may want to find a song of about that length that your kid likes. You can make a point of flossing to the music, with a short song serving as an egg-timer. If they’re into pop music, you may even find yourself wanting to floss along with them. Synchronized flossing, anyone?

Dr. Taylor and the staff at our full-service dental office, Taylor Cosmetic Dental, wish you the best in getting your children to floss. It can make all the difference.

When To Consider A Full Smile Makeover

When you have a general dental problem, there’s little debate as to whether you should seek help. If you have a toothache, you need to see a dentist if you want the pain to stop and hope to save your tooth.

When people have issues with their smile’s appearance, however, they tend to agonize over whether to pursue cosmetic dentistry. Given insurance is unlikely to cover such procedures, a smile makeover can seem like a luxury. At Taylor Cosmetic Dental, we take a different view. We believe everybody should have a smile they’re happy to flash. So how do you know when it’s time to consider a smile makeover?

If your unsightly smile eroding your confidence?

When we look in the mirror–particularly that merciless rearview mirror–people tend to zero in on our flaws. Many of these perceived shortcomings are barely noticeable. Some people, however, have very real cosmetic concerns with their teeth, like:

  • A “gummy smile”
  • Bite issues
  • Chipped teeth
  • Discolored or stained teeth
  • Gaps in their teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Noticeable metal fillings or crowns
  • Teeth that are too large or too small

Whether your oral imperfections stem from genetics, lax dental hygiene or lack of access to proper dental care, what matters is how you feel about them. Unfortunately, a third of Americans are unhappy with their smile, according to an American Association of Orthodontics study.

This dissatisfaction can lead to self-consciousness, as evinced by the 48 percent of younger survey respondents who’ve “untagged” a Facebook photo because they disliked their smile.

It’s hard to be at ease when you fear people are judging your teeth. It can cause you to suppress your smile, whether you’re chatting with friends or a co-worker calls for an impromptu group photo. Having this kind of low self-esteem makes you vulnerable to depression, according to a study by researchers at the University of Basel. With this much as stake, a smile makeover may well be more of a need than a luxury.

Is the state of your smile damaging your social life?

Of the third of Americans unhappy with their teeth, 36 percent say their social life would improve if they had a better smile. Twenty-two percent believe their love life would be enhanced by a more appealing smile.

Some of these social challenges may be a matter of confidence. To build a social circle, you need to interact with people and you’re less likely to mingle if you fear your teeth will lead to rejection.

It would be heartening to say such concerns are unfounded, but the numbers tell a different story. The number-one attribute people consider when choosing a prospective romantic partner is the state of their teeth, according to a 2013 survey. And 77 percent of women surveyed by the AAO say they’d consider dating a man with a receding hairline over one with crooked teeth.

If you believe your teeth are holding back your relationships, it may be time to consider a smile makeover.

Are smile issues impeding your career?

As if having your confidence and social life hampered by dental issues isn’t enough, an unattractive smile can also keep you from career advancement.

Fourteen percent of people dissatisfied with their smile say sub-par teeth has caused them to miss out on a better job. Given that 78 percent of Americans say people with crooked teeth are unsuccessful, it’s quite possible.

An unattractive smile can also hinder your pay grade. According to Catherine Hakim, a senior researcher with London’s Center for Policy Studies, attractive workers earn between 7 and 13 percent more than their plainer colleagues.

At Taylor Cosmetic Dental, we want you to look good, feel good and enjoy success. All this can be easier with a smile makeover, whether it’s simply a case of whitening dingy teeth or undertaking more transformational services like dental implants, veneers or laser gum contouring. If you’re ready for Dr. Taylor to revolutionize your smile, contact us today.

Direct From The Dentist: Four 2019 New Year’s Resolutions For Your Teeth

Each year, many of us make half-hearted New Year’s resolutions that we generally fail to keep. It’s time to stop the cycle of disappointment! Why not take 2019 as an opportunity to put some teeth–literally–into your self-improvement commitments?

Dedicating yourself to improved oral health involves some pretty simple steps.

If you’ve been putting off a much-needed dental checkup, it starts by making an appointment with a skilled local dentist. Here are 4 other New Year’s resolutions you can make for your teeth in 2019. With a touch of follow-through, your pearly whites will thank you.

1. Stop Cutting Corners When It Comes To Brushing

Most of us brush our teeth every day, and aim to do so twice a day. Sometimes, though, fatigue or a late night out gets in the way of our evening teeth-cleaning. Skipping evening brushing once in a blue moon won’t hurt you. If it becomes a habit, however, it can lead to problems like gum disease and tooth decay.

Brushing removes particles of food as well as plaque, a transparent layer of bacteria coating the teeth. When plaque mixes with sugar it produces acids that erode enamel, making your teeth vulnerable to cavities.

If it isn’t cleared away, this acid can penetrate the dentin of your teeth and breach the pulp. This can cause a bacterial infection or a painful abscess, both of which generally require a root canal. It’s a world of hassle that can be avoided by a two-minute process.

Skipping brushing also carries other risks. When plaque isn’t cleaned it can harden into tarter, a  crusty deposit that bonds so strongly to your teeth it needs to be removed at the dentist. Tartar traps stains, so it can cause your teeth to become discolored. It also irritates your gums, which can lead to gingivitis. Again, taking that two minutes to brush is worth your while.

2. Floss Your Teeth Every Day

We’ve all heard the old edict. To keep your teeth healthy, brush and floss your teeth every day. Many people skip the latter step though, figuring vigorous brushing serves as sufficient tooth care.

Flossing, though, is an important part of dental hygiene. By clearing out plaque and food in hard-to-reach areas between your teeth and gums, it helps ward off cavities and gingivitis.

The  best way to develop a new habit is to make it easy. There are many options when it comes to choosing the best dental floss. Whatever you settle on, place your floss near your toothbrush so you’ll be sure to remember this vital step.

3. Get your teeth professionally cleaned

Even if you brush and floss religiously, it’s important to get your teeth professionally cleaned at least twice a year.

There are a number of benefits to this routine procedure, including the fact your dental hygienist starts the process with a thorough exam of your mouth. They’ll cue you in if they detect signs of gingivitis, tooth decay or other issues with your oral health. This alone makes a professional tooth-cleaning an effective part of preventative care.

Your dental hygienist will also use a scaler to remove stubborn tartar, a task you can’t perform at home, and polish your teeth with a gritty, professional-grade paste. At the end of the treatment your teeth are likely to feel smoother and look brighter.

If you’ve been procrastinating regarding teeth-cleanings, it may be best to take the leap by picking up the phone and setting an appointment. You can also keep yourself on a schedule for regular dental care by setting a reminder on your calendar when it’s time to get your teeth cleaned.

4. Quit Staining Your Teeth

If your teeth are stained, you can get them professionally whitened, one of the many services offered by Dr. Zach Taylor and his staff at Taylor Cosmetic Dentistry. If you have habits that lead to tooth discoloration, however, you’re going to have to keep making costly and time-consuming appointments, just to keep your smile bright.

Smoking is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to yellow and discolored teeth. If cigarettes are getting you down, and making your smile brown, the advent of the new year is the perfect time to quit.

We know. Stopping smoking is easier said than done. You may, however, be able to inspire yourself. Tape a picture of a celebrity with the kind of toothy white smile you’d like to maintain on the inside of your medicine cabinet. Going from dingy to bright; now that’s smoking hot!

If you’re ready to maintain and improve your smile in 2019, Taylor Cosmetic Dentistry is ready to help you. To schedule a checkup, cleaning or procedure-or learn more about our life-changing smile makeovers–contact us for your appointment today.

Direct From The Dentist: Tips For Caring For Your Toothbrush

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

Proper Toothbrush Replacement

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

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

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

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

Proper Toothbrush Storage

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

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

Don’t Share Toothbrushes Or Their Germs

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

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

Cleaning And Sanitizing your Toothbrush

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

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

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

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

How Veneers Can Strengthen Your Smile

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

Make Your Smile Brighter And Whiter With Veneers

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

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

Protect Damaged Teeth By Using Veneers

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

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

Correct Bite Issues The Application Of Veneers

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

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

Boost Your Everyday Smile Confidence When You Have Veneers

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

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

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

Inheriting Teeth – The Role Your Genetics Play In Dental Health

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

Inheritable Dental Issues

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

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

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

How To Overcome Inherited Dental Problems

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Flossing Your Dental Implants Stops Plaque Build-Up

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

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

2. Flossing Your Dental Implants Helps Prevent Tartar

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

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

3. Flossing Your Implants Helps Prevent Bad Breath

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

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

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

Non-Surgical Approach To A Healthy Mouth

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

How Dr. Taylor Treats Gum Disease Without Surgery

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

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

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

Ways To Keep Your Mouth Healthy

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

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

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

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT:406.652.9204