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If you would like to make an appointment, please call 406-652-9204.

Why Do Dentists Suggest Tooth Extractions?

Why Do Dentists Suggest Tooth Extractions

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

What medical concerns do tooth extractions resolve?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simple vs. Surgical Extractions

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

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

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

Post-tooth extraction care: Dos and Don’ts

Post-tooth Extraction Do’s:

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

Post-tooth Extraction Don’ts:

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

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

Why Do My Teeth Feel Like They Tingle?

Why Do My Teeth Feel Like They Tingle

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

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

You Have Nerves And Blood Vessels In Your Teeth

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

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

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

Reasons Why Your Teeth May Tingle

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

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

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

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

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

Will Going Vegan Help Or Hurt My Teeth?

Will Going Vegan Help Or Hurt My Teeth

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

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

Going Vegan Can Lead To Dental Damage

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

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

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

Vegans Need To Focus On Vitamin And Mineral Diversity

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

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

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

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

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

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

Long Term Benefits Of Flossing

Long Term Benefits Of Flossing

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

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

Routine Flossing Helps Fight And Prevent Gum Disease

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

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

Use Floss To Safely Remove Leftover Food Particles

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

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

Daily Flossing Assists In Cavity Prevention

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

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

Protect Your Dental Work With Regular Flossing

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

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

Prevent Dental Plaque And Tartar Build Up

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

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

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

Why Does My Dentist Care If I Have Diabetes?

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

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.

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

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!

Is It Ever Too Late To Fix Bad Teeth?

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?

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!

The Link Between Toothaches And Headaches

The Link Between Toothaches And Headaches

Often, what causes a person to seek out dental services is dental pain. A toothache can start as a small, nagging pain, but if it is ignored for too long, the discomfort can become more intense and trigger a headache.

Dr. Taylor—our dentist here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry—is often asked about why toothaches cause headaches. The short answer is that toothaches trigger headaches due to a cranial nerve connection. However, the long answer is a little more complicated.

What Causes Toothaches To Trigger Headaches

Toothaches can be caused by a number of dental issues, such as a cavity, an impacted tooth, cracked or chipped teeth, an abscess, and other oral health problems. Since most of these issues don’t come with visible signs, the pain of the toothache is one of the few noticeable indicators that something is wrong.

Now, for how the pain of your toothache causes a headache. There are twelve cranial nerves, and the nerve that senses how the majority of your face feels—gums, lips, and teeth—is called the trigeminal nerve.

This nerve has branches all over your teeth, lips, and gums, so when you have a dental problem causing pain, the trigeminal nerve sends that painful sensation information to your brain.

Dental Problems Referring Pain To The Head

This transmission of pain is also called referred pain. While there is no pain point in your head that triggers the headache, the pain of your toothache can create the sensation of pain.

In fact, you may not notice the toothache if you are dealing with a sufficiently painful migraine. Some people end up going to their primary care physician about migraines and tension headaches when the issue really is a problem with their oral health.

Another example of referred pain would be headaches triggered by bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Bruxism is when you clench your jaw or grind your teeth without actively meaning to do it. Often, bruxism occurs in your sleep, and you may wake up with a sore jaw, aching teeth, and a headache.

With TMJ, the issue is generally caused by an issue with your jaw joint as well as the surrounding muscles. Along with causing toothaches, TMJ can make the area around your jaw joint, ear, neck, and temple ache. This aching pain can trigger headaches, tension headaches, and migraines.

Ways You Can Prevent Headache-Causing Dental Issues

Naturally, if you have a cavity, abscess, impacted teeth, or other issues that are triggering headaches, you will need to have them addressed by Dr. Taylor. That way, you can start to heal and not be plagued by dental pain and potentially migraines.

On top of having the immediate dental problems taken care of, there are other ways you can

  • Have regular dental cleanings – By having regular, biannual dental cleanings, you can protect yourself from future headaches brought on by toothaches. Our staff will be able to detect problem areas, and Dr. Taylor can advise you on treatments to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
  • Consider a custom nightguard – If you struggle with bruxism, you can prevent the morning headaches caused by teeth grinding and clenching with a custom-made nightguard. As a custom nightguard is made by Dr. Taylor taking an impression of your teeth, the guard will fit you excellently and help protect your teeth from grinding and clenching.
  • Focus on optimal oral care – Taking care of your daily oral care is one of the best things you can do to prevent future toothaches. Brushing your teeth at least once in the morning and at night, as well as flossing once a day can help maintain your oral health. You may also want to consider using a mouthwash that helps eliminate bacteria.
  • Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth – Should you have sensitive teeth that trigger headaches, you may want to ask Dr. Taylor about what toothpaste for sensitive teeth would be best for you. That way, you can enjoy things like ice cream or hot soup without your teeth hurt.

If you are having dental troubles and want compassionate, expert care to help you manage your oral health, then you should contact us for an appointment. No matter what shape your teeth are in, Dr. Taylor will help get you back on track.

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT:406.652.9204