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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!

All You Need To Know About Gum Surgery

In discussions about oral health, much of the conversation revolves around teeth—how white, even, large or small the teeth are, and more. Yet, your gums play just as an important role in your overall oral health.

Those individuals who struggle with gum disease—also called periodontitis—can have a range of issues, from bleeding gums to tooth loss. To address certain types of periodontal disease, sometimes the only solution is to have a cosmetic dentist perform gum surgery.

What Is Gum Surgery

Gum surgery—also called periodontal surgery—is a blanket term to describe a range of oral surgeries that address gum issues.

Generally, regular teeth brushing, flossing, and mouthwash is enough to keep bacteria under control. However, if there is an overgrowth that invades between the teeth and gums to infect the sensitive gum tissue. The infection of the gum tissue often requires surgery to remove the trapped bacteria and alleviate issues associated with gum disease.

What Does Gum Surgery Treat

The main focus of gum surgery is to release and clean out trapped bacteria. However, that process can treat a range of issues, such as:

  • Reduce gaps—where gum tissue normally is—between teeth.
  • Clean out pockets of bacteria.
  • Prevent tooth loss due to periodontitis.
  • Alleviate pain due to trapped bacteria.
  • Help regenerate gum tissue.
  • Repair damage to jawbone due to gum disease.

Types Of Periodontal Surgery

There are multiple types of periodontal surgery to address the various problems that can occur due to gum disease.

Gingival flap surgery – Also called pocket reduction, when you receive gingival flap surgery, your gums will be folded back and away from your gums. Once out of the way, the trapped bacteria are accessible and can be cleaned out. After the cleaning, the gums are re-attached to ensure that they heal properly.

Crown lengthening – When gums become overgrown, the excess tissue can be removed during crown lengthening surgery. This gum surgery can be used to help with both periodontal disease and cosmetic effects.

Gum tissue regeneration – During this periodontal surgery, mesh-like material is placed between the gum tissue and bone. That way, gum tissue can properly redevelop connective tissue without interfering with the bone.

Gum tissue grafting – Sometimes, periodontitis will cause gum tissue to recede. To correct this issue, gum tissue grafting will take place. Often, the donor graft comes from the roof of your mouth and is attached to the receded area.

Jawbone grafting – Gum disease can impact jawbone dentistry and destroy the area around the tooth. To restore the area, donor bone will be placed in the affected area and hold the tooth in place as the jawbone regenerates.

How To Get Ready For Gum Surgery

Should you end up needing our dental services for gum surgery, there are several things we will do to help assess and prepare you for your surgery.

To start, you will need to undergo a comprehensive evaluation with our dentist. Dr. Taylor will review your medical history and perform an examination of your mouth. After he checks for any other complications—i.e., abscesses, untreated cavities, etc.—our dentist will discuss your options.

Once you agree to your gum surgery procedure, Dr. Taylor can provide you with exact instructions regarding preparation and recovery after your gum surgery.

Gum Surgery Recovery

Your recovery from periodontal surgery will depend on how extensive your procedure way, as well as your compliance with recovery guidelines. Some general guidelines that come with gum surgery are:

  • Use pain killer medication as directed
  • Do not engage in vigorous-intensity exercise
  • Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash
  • Do not smoke or use any nicotine products
  • Stick to soft foods for a least a few days

If you are concerned about your gums and would like a checkup with our cosmetic dentist, please contact us today to set up your consultation.

Direct From The Dentist: Is It Okay To Brush My Teeth With Baking Soda?

When it comes to cleaning your teeth, there are a lot of options out there. But, not all of them offer equal cleaning and protective power. Since you don’t want to deal with tooth decay, cavities, infection, and more, it is essential that you are using the right kinds of oral hygiene products.

A question our dentist, Dr. Taylor, and our dental hygienist are often asked is if it is okay to use baking soda to brush the individual’s teeth. There are some proven benefits to brushing with baking soda. However, there are more downsides that make it clear that brushing with baking soda isn’t a good idea.

Pros To Brushing Your Teeth With Baking Soda

There are some verified positives to using baking soda to brush your teeth and many unsubstantiated claims. Below are the established benefits of brushing with baking soda.

  • Baking soda is cheap – A 16-ounce box of baking soda costs less than a dollar and will last for a long time if its primary use is for teeth brushing.
  • It can clean off dental plaque – Research has shown that brushing with baking soda can help remove built-up dental plaque from your teeth. In fact, the study inferred that the higher the concentration of baking soda, the more effective the removal process is when it comes to plaque.
  • Remove teeth surface stains – Using baking soda to brush your teeth can help with light stains on your teeth, generally the ones that come with eating and drinking things that can stain. Also, the yellow coloring can be lightened.

Drawbacks To Using Baking Soda To Brush Teeth

While there are positives to choosing to use baking soda to brush your teeth, there are more downsides, and the cons may be enough that you stick to regular toothpaste.

  • Non-ADA approved – At this time, the American Dental Association does not approve of only using baking soda to clean your teeth. As proper teeth brushing is a critical part of your preventative dental care, it is a bad idea to use something that is not ADA-approved.
  • Baking soda is abrasive – As baking soda is grainy, it is abrasive when used to brush your teeth. The impact of using an abrasive cleaner on your teeth can take a toll on the enamel of your teeth and create grooves as well as thin spots.
  • Leaves a gritty feeling – Once you are finished brushing, you may be left with a gritty feeling in your mouth. Even after rinsing out your mouth, the baking soda granules can remain to make your mouth feel less fresh and clean.
  • Using baking soda is messy – The use of baking soda can be a messy process. There are several different methods to try, but they all can be quite tough to do without making a mess until you are used to using baking soda as your teeth cleaner.
  • No fluoride – By using baking soda, your teeth aren’t getting fluoride that you would get from fluoride-enriched toothpaste. As fluoride is a great cavity fighter, you may experience more tooth decay, cavities, and other dental issues by using only baking soda.
  • Removes too much biofilm – Our teeth need a certain amount of biofilm to protect them from bacteria and corrosive foods. We control the biofilm growth by brushing twice a day. But baking soda is too harsh on our natural biofilm and doesn’t allow for proper protective growth.

What About Using Baking Soda To Whiten My Teeth?

Okay, you know how in the pros section, we mentioned that baking soda can whiten teeth? Well, it is important that you understand that the whitening effect of using baking soda is minimal. Simple surface stain removal and slight lightening of yellow teeth is the extent of what baking soda can do, which is the same that your average whitening toothpaste can provide.

But, if you need extensive teeth whiting, professional dental whitening is the only way to go. Our dentist can get your teeth whiter in one session of using professional-grade whitening treatment than you can ever hope from baking soda.

To ensure that your teeth are in the best condition and as healthy as possible, be sure to call us today to set up your biannual cleaning. We are ready to help you smile more brightly!

The Benefits Of Lasers In Cosmetic Dentistry

When you are looking for a cosmetic dentist in Billings, MT, you want an expert who has the latest tools and techniques to take care of you. Whether you need a smile-makeover or simply want whiter teeth, working with an experienced cosmetic dentist can make a huge difference.

That’s why here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Taylor has spent years honing his craft and provides cutting-edge service such as laser dentistry. With his experienced care, you can enjoy superior laser cosmetic dentistry in Billings, MT.

What Is Laser Dentistry

Laser dentistry is a type of dentistry that lasers are used to treat a variety of dental issues, ranging from tooth decay to yellowed teeth. The laser part of the name is actually an acronym, standing for ‘Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation’ (LASER). While laser dentistry is still not well-known, it has been in use in dental practices for over 30 years.

When in use, laser dentistry instruments will create a focused and narrow beam of light energy that will react when it makes contact with your dental tissue. By using laser dentistry, our dentist can reshape or remove tissue to care for your smile.

Benefits Of Laser Cosmetic Dentistry

Many dental services will focus on how laser dentistry improves regular dental treatment. While there is a significant benefit to using lasers during regular treatment, there are a number of great cosmetic dentistry benefits to using lasers.

  • More comfortable treatment method – Instead of drilling and other hard dental tools, lasers can make cosmetic dentistry treatment more comfortable. While local anesthetic will often still be used, laser dentistry is often considered far less uncomfortable.
  • Treat stubborn cold sores – Cold sores can be both painful and unsightly. You can address a stubborn cold sore with laser dentistry. Also, you don’t have to wait to get your cold sores treated. Once you know you have cold sores, you can come in and have Dr. Taylor take care of your cold sores.
  • Reduce gummy smile – Laser dentistry can be used to reshape a gummy smile. With the lasers, our dentist can reduce the amount of gum tissue covering your teeth for a more toothy smile.
  • Remove tissue folds – When wearing dentures, there can be soft folds of gum tissue that cause your dentures to fit poorly. To correct the fit and increase your comfort, Dr. Taylor can use lasers to remove these tissue folds.
  • Whiten teeth – Likely the best-known application for lasers in cosmetic dentistry is to help whiten your teeth. Thanks to dental lasers, you can enjoy a whiter, brighter smile much faster than with older methods.
  • Lengthen crowns – Sometimes, when you need a dental crown placed, there may not be enough room on the tooth for a crown to be placed. Our dentist can reshape your gums to lengthen the amount of exposed tooth you have so that your crown can be successfully placed.

Laser Dentistry In Billings, MT, Is Used By Our Cosmetic Dentist

You don’t have to travel out-of-state to receive premier cosmetic dental care. Instead, you can entrust Dr. Taylor with your smile, and he will do his best to help you reach your dream smile. As you can see from our Smile Gallery, many people have come to Dr. Taylor with a host of dental issues, and have enjoyed their smile renaissance.

If you are interested in laser dentistry as part of your cosmetic dentistry treatment, please contact us today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Taylor, and let us help you reach your perfect smile!

Is It Ever Too Late To Fix Bad Teeth?

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

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

Most Teeth Can Be Corrected

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

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

Ways To Address Levels Of Tooth Decay

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

1. White Spots On Teeth

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

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

2. Decay Of Tooth Enamel

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

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

3. Decay Reaches Dentin

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

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

4. Tooth Pulp Infected

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

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

5. Abscess Forms

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

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

6. Tooth Loss

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

Dental Solutions After Tooth Loss

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

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

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

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

Direct From The Dentist: Can Missing Teeth Cause TMJ?

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

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

What Is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

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

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

Connection Between TMJ And Dental Occlusion

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

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

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

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

Ways To Correct TMJ

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

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

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

Find Help For Your TMJ In Billings, MT

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Potential Causes Of Dental Implant Sensitivity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signs Your Dental Implant Is Failing

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

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

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

Reduce Sensitivity And Prevent Failure Of Your Dental Implant

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

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

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

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT:406.652.9204