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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

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.

Can You Really Change The Shape of Your Teeth?

Most of us have looked at our smile and thought, “If only I could fix the shape of that one tooth, my smile would look amazing.”

Maybe it’s a couple of teeth you wish were shaped a little different, but either way, you don’t have to just think wistfully about your dream smile when you can use our dental services to have your teeth reshaped.

What Is Teeth Reshaping And How Does It Work?

Teeth reshaping is when a dentist like our Dr. Taylor here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry makes small and subtle changes to the surface of your teeth for a big visual impact. When it comes to teeth reshaping, there are generally two methods used—dental contouring and bonding.

Dental Contouring

Dental contouring is a cosmetic dentistry technique that requires the careful removal of minimal amounts of your enamel and only affects the outer layer of your teeth. This technique is particularly useful on uneven teeth where one or more is longer than the others, overly pointed canines, correcting slight overlaps, and more.

By doing this, Dr. Taylor can alter the length, overall shape, or surface of one or more of your teeth to create a more even, aligned appearance.

Bonding

Along with the contouring, often Dr. Taylor will also combine bonding, which is a treatment used by cosmetic dentists to add tooth-colored composite material to help shape and sculpt your teeth.

Say, for instance, that you have uneven front teeth which also have a gap. Our dentist can even up the base of the teeth to match, then use bonding to fill in the gap, giving you a far more even smile.

Advantages Of Teeth Reshaping

If you haven’t guessed, there can be significant advantages to teeth reshaping. Some of the reasons why you might want to have one or more teeth reshaped are:

Very inexpensive cosmetic dentistry – As far as cosmetic dentistry procedures go, dental contouring and bonding can be incredibly affordable, especially if you only have one or two teeth you want to be reshaped. Also, if the teeth were damaged in an accident or due to trauma, you may be able to have your insurance cover some or all the procedure.

Can help improve dental health – Imperfections in the surface or alignment of your teeth cause dental health issues as plaque and tartar are able to build up. By removing these danger spots with dental contouring, you can improve the overall health of your teeth.

Painless procedure – As teeth reshaping only affects the outer layers of enamel, the cosmetic dentistry procedure isn’t usually painful, and Dr. Taylor won’t need any anesthesia to complete the contouring.

Potentially replaces your need for braces – While those with seriously misaligned teeth will need either traditional braces or Invisalign, if you only have a few affected teeth, you can skip the months of braces and just have your teeth reshaped.

There are some consideration you may want to keep in mind if you are considering pursuing teeth reshaping, such as:

  • The changes made with teeth reshaping aren’t drastically different. Instead, our dentist makes subtle, natural-looking changes to improve your smile. For a dramatic difference in your smile, a smile makeover with Dr. Taylor may be what you are looking for to give you that wow factor.
  • As the teeth reshaping process removes some of the hard, enamel layers of your teeth, your teeth can become more sensitive things like cold foods. They also may be at danger for chipping or breaking in the future with too much enamel removed.

Is Teeth Reshaping Right For You? Ask Our Dentist

While there are many advantages to teeth reshaping, it isn’t for everyone. Also, even if you are a good candidate, you may need to have other dental work done, such as having a cavity filled, before it is safe to have your teeth reshaped. To find out if teeth reshaping is for your dental needs, you will need to have a consultation with Dr. Taylor.

To set up a consultation with Dr. Taylor about teeth reshaping or any of our cosmetic dentistry services, contact us to schedule your appointment today and take a step closer toward your dream smile.

Direct From The Dentist: Are You Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard?

Many of us were raised with the idea that if we scrub at our teeth hard enough, our teeth will become white and clean. But in reality, brushing your teeth too hard can be very damaging.

Dr. Taylor, our dentist here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry, has seen many people with clear signs of dental damage due to their teeth brushing habits, and he wants to help you check if you are brushing your teeth too hard.

What Hard Brushing Does To Your Teeth

There are many negative side-effects to brushing your teeth too hard. If you are brushing your teeth too hard, here are some of the clearest signs that you will see.

Wears Enamel Down

Being rough as you brush your teeth will thin down the enamel protecting the dentin below. Also, as the dentin is yellow in color, instead of making your teeth whiter with hard teeth brushing, you will have more yellow showing through the thinned enamel.

While the yellow color can be corrected with professional teeth whitening or other dental services we provide, it’s easier to avoid altogether by not being so hard on your teeth.

Creates Space For Trapped Food

Enamel doesn’t wear down evenly, and the bristles of your toothbrush can create grooves in the surface of your teeth. These grooves can trap food particles and make the difficult to remove if you don’t carefully—and gently—brush your teeth.

Also, if the food particles become trapped, it is more likely that bacteria will reach it before you can with a toothbrush, leading to more tooth decay.

Can Cause Receding Gums

If you are brushing your teeth too hard, you will likely experience receding gums. As it isn’t a quick process, it may time to notice that your gums have receded.

You may see a color difference on your teeth as well as seeing that your smile is “toothier” than you remember. Also, brushing too hard can make your gums bleed, even if you don’t have gum disease.

Develops Tooth Sensitivity

As your teeth become more exposed, by worn down enamel and gum recession, you may notice that your teeth have become more sensitive to the hot and cold things you consume. This sensation is to be expected, as the areas that are being exposed by hard brushing are not used to feeling temperature changes.

If you have noticed these signs that indicate that you are brushing your teeth too hard, then it’s time to take steps to correct the problem.

Ways To Prevent Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard

There are several practices you can start implementing if you are brushing your teeth too hard. Some of the best things you can do are:

  • Use a soft-bristle toothbrush – A hard-bristled toothbrush makes it easy to brush too hard, so our dentist always recommends that you opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush instead.
  • Brush at a 45-degree angle – By brushing your teeth at a 45-degree angle, you will be able to clean the spaces between your teeth and your gums more easily, rather than just covering the flatter surfaces of your teeth. And by consciously brushing at this angle, it will be easier to remember to not brush too hard.
  • Keep movements gentle – Rather than attack your teeth like you’re scrubbing tile, make sure you keep your brushing movements gentle. Your teeth don’t require nearly the amount of pressure as we think, so you can go easy on them. If it helps, hold your toothbrush with just 3 fingers, as it is less likely that you will exert too much pressure.
  • Electric toothbrushes can help – Opting for a soft-bristled electric toothbrush can also help to prevent brushing too hard as you just need to move it across your teeth, allowing you to keep from applying too much pressure.
  • Spend 2 minutes brushing – Many people speed through their teeth brushing, which makes it easier to end up brushing their teeth too hard. Instead, you should make sure that you take a full 2 minutes to brush your teeth. By taking the needed time, it is easier to slow down and brush your teeth more gently.

Have Your Teeth Checked By Dr. Taylor

If you are concerned that you have been brushing your teeth too hard, we recommend you come in to meet with Dr. Taylor. You can have a full dental cleaning and checkup, and if there are signs of hard brushing or other issues, Dr. Taylor can help you overcome these dental issues.

To have a dental cleaning with Dr. Taylor or to access other dental services, contact us today to set up your appointment.

Direct From The Dentist: Is Vaping Bad For Your Teeth?

The negative side effects of smoking regular cigarettes have brought their popularity to an all-time low. Problem is, vaping from e-cigarettes is attracting people who would have never considered smoking.

While vaping seems to lack many of the dangerous health problems associated with cigarettes, it is not a problem-free habit. Our dentist here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry wants to be clear about his stance on vaping—it can be terrible for your teeth and overall oral health.

E-Cigarette Ingredients Can Be Incredibly Damaging To Teeth

Vaping is marketed as the harmless heating up and expelling of water vapor. Sometimes, that water vapor is even flavored, making it far more appealing to younger users who may not have ever considered touching a cigarette. However, the ingredients found in e-cigarette juices can be both damaging and toxic to your teeth.

Flavoring and Vegetable Glycerin

For those who enjoy flavored vape juice, you may want to think again. E-liquid flavored with vegetable glycerin is about 60% as sweet as sugar but is an artificial sweetener, so it not generally a concern when it comes to cavity development. However, the addition of vegetable glycerin as flavoring has shown to lead to:

  • Nearly 30% decrease in dental enamel hardness
  • Doubles the amount of plaque buildup you normally experience
  • Quadruples how well calcium, plaque, and other oral microbes can stick to your teeth

Also, because of the heavy, sticky nature of the flavoring, the oral bacteria Streptococcus mutans is better able to adhere to any fissures or rough spots on your teeth, allowing tooth decay to spread rapidly.

Propylene Glycol

Another ingredient found in e-cigarette juice is propylene glycol. This ingredient is found in a variety of food products such as ice cream, liquid sweeteners, and whipped dairy products.

However, as the propylene glycol breaks down into its base components, your teeth become exposed to lactic acid, acetic acid, and propionaldehyde. These components are incredibly toxic to the enamel of your teeth and can also harm the surrounding soft tissue of the gums.

Also, propylene glycol has the tendency to absorb water. By regularly vaping, you will have a perpetually dry mouth, which puts you at risk of increased tooth decay and cavities.

Vaping Can Hide Gum Disease

Not all types of vaping juice contain nicotine. However, those who do use nicotine-infused vape juice could have the signs of their gum disease hidden. That is, the signs will be hidden until it is too late for simple periodontal treatment to correct the issue and instead of our other dental services, such as dental implants, are needed.

The nicotine in e-cigarettes can disguise gum disease thanks to its effect as a vasoconstrictor. As the blood vessels in your gums are constricted and receive less blood flow, the red tenderness that can help point out the early stages of gum disease will not show up.

Along with the lack of signs, nicotine can suppress your immune system, to the point where it will not function properly. That way, the infection is able to take over more completely.

E-Cigs Potentially Can Explode While Being Used

A somewhat rare, but distinct oral danger of using e-cigarettes is the potential that they could explode as you use them. Two people have died from having their e-cigarettes explode while in use, and thousands of others have suffered burns and other injuries as their vape pens malfunctioned violently. The lithium batteries in the devices can be dangerous if not taken care of properly. Some of the things you can do to prevent a vape pen explosion are:

  • Always use the proper charger, not a phone or tablet charge
  • Do not leave the batteries loose
  • Avoid using mechanical mods, as they lack internal safety regulators
  • Only charge when in line-of-sight, not overnight

What To Do If You Do Vape

If at all possible, it is best that you stop vaping altogether. However, if you are not in a position where you can easily stop using your e-cigarette.

  • Always drink water after vaping – As vaping dries out your mouth, you will want to be sure to drink plenty of water after using your e-cigarette. Don’t drink sugary, energy or acidic drinks to rehydrate. The acid and sugar can compound the negative effects of vaping.
  • Opt for less or none nicotine juice – The sooner you vape without nicotine, the better for your gums and teeth. If you can’t switch immediately, opt instead for e-liquids with minimal amounts of nicotine.
  • Come in for regular dental cleanings – Coming into our dental clinic for your twice a year dental cleaning can be a way to protect your teeth as you vape. Be sure to tell our staff that you vape so they can check if there any serious negative impacts starting to show up.
  • Brush and floss carefully – Last, but certainly not least, you will need to brush at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush to help remove the excess plaque you will develop due to vaping. You should also carefully floss before bed to ensure that you keep your gums healthy.

To work with our dentist to keep your teeth in top shape, contact us for an appointment today. We are happy to help you have the best smile possible!

Teeth Whitening For Charity – March 1st – June 30th

The first month of our Teeth Whitening For Charity event has been a success here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry! If you haven’t heard of this event yet, then you came to the right place to learn all about how whitening your teeth can help benefit two excellent charities!

What Is The Teeth Whitening For Charity Event?

From March 1st of this year to June 30th, our dental office is participating in the Teeth Whitening For Charity. This event means that when you come in to have professional teeth whitening during these months, 100% of the cost of your treatment goes directly to charity. Dentists across America and Canada, including your local Billings dentist Dr. Taylor, are joining in to help raise money for at-risk and underprivileged children.

Dr. Taylor is donating his time and talents to provide these whitening treatments to ensure that the two charities—Tumbleweed and Smiles for Life—our dental clinic are supporting can receive the full amount your whitening treatment costs. Even if you don’t feel like having your teeth whitened at this time, you can make a donation toward the charities from our office!

Learn More About The Benefitting Charities

If you are curious about who will benefit from your teeth whitening—asides from yourself of course—we would love to tell you more about the two charities our clinic is proud to support.

Tumbleweed

Tumbleweed is a local charity right here in Billings, MT, that was chosen by Dr. Taylor to receive half of the cost of your dental treatment! Founded in 1976, this youth-focused charity works with at-risk youth as well as young adults, working to help them overcome homelessness, assisting with crisis intervention, and providing necessities for some of our most vulnerable community members. Tumbleweed offers youth critical services such as:

  • Family counseling
  • Advocacy
  • Overnight drop-in center
  • Daytime Youth Resource Center
  • Adolescent support groups

With your professional teeth whitening treatment, you can take an active step toward supporting this vital community charity!

Smiles for Life

The other half of the cost of your teeth whitening treatment will go to support Smiles for Life, a foundation which has focused on helping children worldwide since 1998. This foundation is coordinating the Teeth Whitening Charity Event with participating dentists like Dr. Taylor.

With their fifty percent of your teeth whitening, Smiles for Life will re-distribute the money to other excellent children’s charities, with none of the donation staying with them but going directly to children in need. Some of the charities that Smiles for Life work with are:

  • Feed the Children
  • Garth Brook’s Teammates for Kids Foundation
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital

Other Great Reasons To Whiten Your Teeth

Whitening your smile to help underprivileged both in your community and worldwide is a pretty good reason in itself to come into our dental clinic for your charitable teeth whitening treatment. But if you are looking a few more good reasons to whiten your teeth, we have you covered.

  • Boost your self-esteem with a whiter, brighter smile.
  • Professional teeth whitening can lighten your smile both faster and more than over-the-counter products.
  • Evenly whitened teeth can make teeth appear straighter.

With three more months to go on this charity event, we would love to see more of the Billings, MT, community in our dental clinic. That way, we can continue to actively support both our local youth charity Tumbleweed and Smiles For Life. If you are ready to whiten your smile for a good cause, make an appointment today!

Dental Crowns vs. Veneers – Which Is Better for Your Smile?

Having a beautiful smile is a universal desire. Your smile helps form a first impression when meeting new people, and you want it to represent you well. However, we see many patients at Taylor General and Cosmetic Dentistry with concerns about their smile. There are several ways to improve your smile, and we want to provide you with helpful information regarding the difference between crowns vs. veneers.

What Are Veneers and Crowns?

Veneers and crowns both fall under the category of dental restoration. Both work as a covering to existing teeth for improvement aesthetically and functionally. The biggest difference between veneers and crowns is how much of the original tooth remains as well as how thick the material is that covers the tooth.
A veneer is a very thin porcelain piece bonded to the front of the tooth. The porcelain is carefully color-matched to your natural teeth. Veneers have significant strength but are also somewhat delicate. Should the teeth undergo significant impact, veneers can become dislodged or cracked.

With a crown, the entire tooth is encased. Crowns may consist of metal, porcelain, or a combination of both. A crown is approximately twice the thickness of a veneer, enabling more resistence to impact or cracking.

Tooth Prep with Veneers and Crowns

To have veneers implanted is less invasive than crowns because less of the natural tooth is removed. In our practice, we only remove a thin layer of the tooth enamel from the tooth’s front. The core and back of the tooth are usually not impacted. In some situations, more aggressive trimming may be necessary if part of the objective is to straighten the teeth. Crowns take more work, as up to 75% of the existing tooth may be eliminated so it’s more time intensive.

When Are Veneers the Best Option?

Veneers

Veneers are a great choice for correcting stained, chipped teeth, minor cracks, gaps, and slight misalignment. In these circumstances, veneers improve the color and overall consistency in appearance. You should keep in mind that living with veneers requires future maintenance. You may at times need a replacement, however, veneers are permanent.

When Are Crowns the Best Option?

Crowns

Should you have more significant issues with your teeth, crowns may be a better form of treatment. Crowns help correct teeth that are broken or cracked as well as areas where root canals were necessary. They are better for maintaining the structural integrity of a tooth that has been badly damaged. The crown helps keep the tooth intact, protecting it from any future damage that could lead to extraction.

Schedule an appointment with our office to talk about your options and help you achieve the smile of your dreams. If you’re considering either of these procedures to enhance your smile, we’re happy to educate you on your options, including other options you may not have yet considered.

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.

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT:406.652.9204