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.

How Do Dentists Treat A Tooth Abscess?

How Do Dentists Treat A Tooth Abscess?

 

Ever wonder why dentists like Dr. Taylor here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry stress the importance of addressing cavities and not putting off having the tooth decay treated?

Well, naturally, part of it is due to the fact that tooth decay can spread to other teeth, and the cavity can impact your overall health. But part of the concern stems from trying to prevent a tooth abscess.

What Is A Tooth Abscess

A tooth abscess—also referred to as an abscessed tooth or a dental abscess—is when a pocket of pus is created by bacteria that has infected your tooth. A tooth abscess can be quite painful, with the pain generally located around the area of the jaw that is infected, to your ears, and your neck.

Along with the pain associated with a tooth abscess, this dental condition can become a serious condition if left untreated. In fact, along with killing the tooth, if the infection enters your bloodstream, you could die from the resulting spread of infectious bacteria.

Types Of Tooth Abscess

There are three basic types of tooth abscesses that you might experience. Where the dental abscess is located will be how its type is classified.

  • Periodontal abscess – With this type of abscess, it is located your gums near the root of the infected tooth. Due to its position, a periodontal abscess may spread more quickly to the surrounding gum tissue and jawbone.
  • Periapical abscess – A periapical abscess is positioned at the tip of your tooth’s root. It does usually expand as quickly as a periodontal abscess, but it can quickly cause the infected tooth to die if untreated.
  • Gingival abscess – This type of abscess is located on your gums. It may or may not break through the gums to be externally visible.

Signs You Have A Tooth Abscess

You may have a variety of signs and symptoms that come with a tooth abscess. Often, throbbing, frequent pain in your gums centered around a tooth is a good indicator that it is time to visit our dental clinic. This pain often comes on all at once and will grow worse.

Other potential signs of an abscessed tooth are:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Swelling of the face and overall redness
  • Increase of pain when you lie down
  • Constant bad breath
  • Fever
  • Pain when biting or chewing
  • Loosened tooth
  • Radiating pain in jaw, ear, or neck
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes in the neck

You may have several of these signs and symptoms, though you aren’t likely to experience all of them. Once you notice a couple of these signs, it is to come in to see Dr. Taylor and get your tooth abscess taken care of properly.

How An Abscessed Tooth Is Addressed

As part of our dental services, Dr. Taylor can address an abscessed tooth. Generally, he will begin with an x-ray. With this dental x-ray, he can gain a better idea of the severity of the abscess, the location, and determine the best treatment for your needs. Some of the potential treatment options are:

  • Root canal – As abscessed teeth are often caused by infected teeth, a root canal will allow our dentist to remove the infected material, seal the area, and likely crown your tooth to protect it.
  • Abscess drain – Depending on the location of the abscess, Dr. Taylor may opt to drain the abscess. He would make an incision to release the pocket of pus and cleanse the area to help prevent further infection.
  • Object removal – Sometimes, something small like a popcorn kernel can be the cause of a tooth abscess. Our dentist will remove the foreign object and clean the area.
  • Dental extraction – At times, the tooth where the abscess developed is too damaged and needs to be removed to properly drain the abscess. There are a number of dental replacement options that you can explore after the extraction and the tooth abscess has healed.
  • Antibiotics prescription – When an infection stemming from the abscess spreads, it can require antibiotics to combat the problem. Depending on your needs, Dr. Taylor may prescribe antibiotics to clear out any remaining infection.

Depending on your tooth abscess, one or more of these treatment options will be utilized to address the issue.

When it comes to caring for your dental health in Billings, MT, you can count on Dr. Taylor and the rest of our dental staff. If you are ready to set up your dental check-up or would like to consult with Dr. Taylor about a smile makeover, feel free to contact us for an appointment.

What You Can Do About Receding Gums

Receding Gums

When the gums begin to pull back from the teeth and start to expose the root of the teeth, that is called receding gums. In some cases, receding gums can be caused by a lack of preventative care, but there can be many other causes. However, the main question our patients ask is if there is a way to reverse receding gums.

While gum tissue does not grow back, cosmetic dentists like Dr. Taylor can provide treatments to manage and address receding gums.

What Causes Receding Gums

As we said before, there are many triggers that can cause your gums to recede. Some of the most common reasons why people struggle with receding gums are:

Nicotine use – The use of nicotine products restricts the flow of blood. This restriction of blood flow can cause issues with blood and oxygen reaching the tissue in your gums, leading them to die and recede.
Poor dental hygiene – Without proper oral care, plaque can build up on a person’s gums and teeth. This plaque can harden and turn into tartar, and as it separates your gums from your teeth, bacteria can move in and cause the gums to recede.
Bruxism – Forceful teeth grinding caused by grinding can put too much pressure on your gums, causing the gums to recede. Also, misaligned teeth can have a similar effect.
Harsh toothbrush or technique – While it can be tempting to brush your teeth more firmly when you notice a dental issue, that hard brushing can be causing some of the problems. Harsh teeth brushing techniques can irritate your gums and cause them to recede, as well as wear down the enamel of your teeth. Also, hard-bristled toothbrushes can cause issues with your gums and teeth as they can be very abrasive.
Genetic predisposition – Some people simply have a genetic predisposition to gum disease, which means no matter how well you care for your teeth, you may still struggle with gum disease.
Hormone changes – Women undergoing hormonal changes such as menopause, puberty, and pregnancy can have more sensitive gums that can be vulnerable to receding gums.

Ways A Cosmetic Dentist Can Help With Receding Gums

Once someone has had gum recession, you will need the dental services of a cosmetic dentist like Dr. Taylor to correct the issue. There are three main ways that receding gums can be addressed.

Gum Graft

One of the more invasive options, a gum graft requires a cosmetic dentist to take gum tissue from another section of your mouth. Generally, the inside roof of the mouth can be used. This tissue is then surgically placed in the areas of your mouth where your gums are receding.

Not only can a gum graft significantly improve the appearance of receding gums, but it can also prevent future problems with having the roots of your teeth exposed.

Flap Surgery

More in-depth than root planing and scaling, during flap surgery, our dentist will make a small incision in your gums to allow him to lift the tissue up. With the gum tissue moved out of the way, it is easier for our dentist to reach further and remove the rest of the bacteria causing your receding gums.

After the bacteria is removed, then Dr. Taylor will resecure your gum tissue. With the bacteria removed, the danger of further recession, bone loss, and gum disease are significantly diminished.

Bonding

Bonding focuses mostly on improving the appearance of receded gums. This procedure used gum-colored resin and places them over the exposed roots of your teeth.

Not only does the bonded resin reduces the appearance of your receded gums, but the bonding can help protect the sensitive and delicate roots of your teeth.

How To Stop Your Gums From Receding

While there are some gum recession factors out of your control, there are some that you can control and ways to prevent your gums from receding further.

  • Root planing and scaling – Less invasive than flap surgery, root planing and scaling by our dentist can remove built-up plaque and help clean out pockets of bacteria. That way, your gums can heal and stop receding.
  • Quit smoking or vaping – Products with nicotine will continue to impact your health if you continue to use them. Try to quit their use as soon as possible to ensure the health of your gums.
  • Use soft-bristle toothbrush – A soft-bristled toothbrush is best for your teeth’s enamel and your gums. Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and be sure to floss at least once in the evening.
  • Attend regular dental check-ups – Attending your biannual dental cleaning is a great way to help stop your gums from receding, particularly if you are prone to plaque build-up. Our staff can help deep clean your teeth, and Dr. Taylor can catch warning signs before they become a serious issue.

If you would like to consult with our dentist about your gum concerns, feel free to contact us to set up your appointment.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Dental x-rays are a common feature of any dental cleaning visit here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry. With dental x-rays, Dr. Taylor is able to uncover hidden issues that can impact your oral health. But, since dental x-rays are still a type of radiation, there have been some patients who have been concerned with the safety of the procedure.

In short—dental x-rays are safe as they produce the least amount of radiation exposure when compared to an x-ray of your abdomen, mammogram, pelvis, and chest, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Only having your hand or foot x-rayed will produce less radiation.

But if you aren’t positive that you need dental x-rays, let’s take an in-depth look at why our dentist uses x-rays, how they work, and more.

Why Dentists Use Dental X-Rays

While there are times where a dentist can examine your teeth and see what the problem is, there are many times where using dental x-rays can help. Some of the main reasons why dentists will use x-rays during your biannual check-up are:

Find Oral Health Issues

There are many common dental issues that are uncovered by x-rays—ranging from finding hidden cavities to detecting abscesses. These issues can be difficult to almost impossible to see with just a visual inspection, so by using dental x-rays, our dentist can provide you with better dental care overall.

Monitor Oral Progress

If there were issues that have been recently addressed—TMJ, healing abscesses, etc.—an x-ray may be needed to be assured that the problem is healing properly. That way, if there is an additional problem that could halt your oral health progress, it can be caught and treated early on.

Determine If Treatment Is Necessary

An x-ray can provide insight into whether or not dental treatment is necessary. For instance, say that a cavity is found during your dental cleaning. The x-ray will be able to show if the cavity requires intervention or if less invasive steps can be taken. Also, x-rays can help show that your oral health is in good enough condition for you to receive cosmetic dental treatments.

Types Of Dental X-Rays

Depending on your oral health needs, there is a variety of different dental x-rays that may be used.

  • Cone beam computerized tomography (CBCT) – This type of x-ray imaging technique is used to create a specialized cone of radiation. It creates a 3D image of the area to help our dentist when you need a dental implant. That way, your implant will fit seamlessly with your natural teeth.
  • Cephalometric (ceph) – In a dentist office, a cephalometric x-ray is used when you are considering orthodontic treatment. It is used to help the dentist determine how orthodontic treatment will affect the shape of your mouth and jaw.
  • Bitewing – With a bitewing x-ray, only one distinct section of the mouth is highlighted. In the small section of imaging, your upper and lower crowns will be displayed. This focused x-ray helps our dentist identify if you have any hidden cavities and the state of your current fillings.
  • Panoramic – One of the most common forms of dental x-rays, this type of x-ray takes a panoramic picture of your entire mouth. That way, our dentist can get an overall view of the state of your oral health.
  • Periapical – Similar to a bitewing x-ray, a periapical x-ray shows a section of your teeth, from the root to crown. However, it will only show the upper or lower teeth in one section.
  • Occlusal – With occlusal x-rays, the teeth aren’t the main focus of the x-ray. Instead, this type of x-ray focuses either on the floor or roof of your mouth. That way, unerupted teeth, jaw fractures, or other issues can be detected.

Are X-Rays Harmful During Pregnancy

When it comes to dental x-rays and pregnancy, we have had some of our patients ask about safety. And with the appropriate shielding—such as a lead apron—having a dental x-ray should not harm your developing baby in any way. However, if you prefer, your x-ray can be delayed until after you have given birth.

If you still have questions or concerns about how your dental x-rays work, that’s okay. Our staff is happy to talk to you about your concerns during your next dental cleaning, so feel free to contact us to set up your next appointment!

How Do You Maintain White Teeth?

Once you’ve had your teeth whitened, along with admiring your revitalized smile, you may be thinking, “Wait, how do I keep my teeth white?”

While teeth are naturally porous and yellow over time, there is a variety of things you can do to maintain your bright white smile. Some of these steps will include keeping up with your daily oral care, skipping teeth-staining foods and other consumables, and coming into our dental clinic for the occasional whitening touch-up.

But overall, by practicing sensible care, you should be able to protect and maintain your white teeth without any extreme measures needed.

Keep Teeth White With Good Oral Hygiene

The daily care of your teeth is critical if you want to maintain the whiteness. This means at least brushing your teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once at night before bed. Along with teeth brushing, you should floss once a day to ensure that there is no debris trapped between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach.

Mouthwash can be helpful as well to support your oral health and keep your teeth white. Some types of mouthwash can be especially abrasive and kill off the good bacteria in your mouth as well as the bad, so it is best to discuss your options with our dentist, especially if you have gingivitis.

Choose The Right Toothpastes And Toothbrushes

In an effort to keep their teeth white, some people scrub their teeth with hard-bristled toothbrushes. All this harsh treatment is doing is wearing down their enamel. As the enamel is worn down, more of the dentin below shows through the remaining enamel. Since dentin is yellow, it will make your teeth appear more yellow than white.

Rather than assaulting your teeth, you should be using a soft-bristle toothbrush and gently brushing for two minutes. As for the toothpaste that you should use, you may want two different toothpastes—a whitening toothpaste and a fluoride-rich toothpaste. Using a whitening toothpaste two times a week can help keep off the surface stains while using a fluoride-rich toothpaste will help support your teeth’s overall health.

Come In For Dental Cleanings

Working with your local Billings, MT, dentist is an excellent way to support both your dental health and keep your whitened teeth bright. At your dental cleaning, issues can be found quickly so that there isn’t a weak point on your teeth where bacteria can darken them and create cavities.

Also, during your dental cleaning, your teeth are cleaned of all lingering dental plaque. Since plaque creates a foothold for bacteria in your mouth and is prone to staining, it is highly advised to come in for your regular cleanings to keep your teeth healthy and white.

Avoid Teeth-Staining Drinks And Foods

Once you have taken the time to undergo teeth whitening treatments, you don’t want to immediately start consuming things that are going to stain your teeth. While you don’t have to cut out all the foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, you may want to reduce how much you consume.

Teeth-Staining Drinks

When it comes to teeth-staining drinks, they often can have a greater impact than foods that stain, since some people instinctively swish drinks. Some of the drinks you may want to cut back on or avoid entirely are:

  • Coffee
  • Red wine
  • Tea
  • Sports drinks
  • Dark juices

Overall, it is best to reduce how much you consume of these drinks if you want to keep your teeth white. But if you use a straw, you can cut down on some of the visible stains that come with these drinks.

Foods That Can Stain

Along with different drinks, there are various foods that can stain your teeth, though they are a little less likely to cause staining, as foods don’t usually permeate your mouth the ways drinks do.

  • Dark-colored berries (blackberries, pomegranates, blueberries, etc.)
  • Popsicles
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Sauces (tomato sauce, soy sauce, curry sauce, etc.)
  • Beets

Eliminate Tobacco Use

If you use tobacco in any form—chew, smoke, or vape—you should know that it is contributing to the staining of your teeth. The nicotine is the main culprit behind the staining, though there are other additives that can help add to the yellowing of a tobacco user’s teeth. Also, along with staining your teeth, tobacco use often discolors the tongue.

Work With Taylor Cosmetic Dental For Teeth Whitening Touch-Ups

Even with the best dental practices, it is natural for teeth to teeth to turn a bit yellow over time. To help maintain your white teeth, you can always come into our dental office for teeth whitening touch up.

It is best to work directly with our dentist, as Dr. Taylor can provide you with whitening treatments that are far stronger than any over-the-counter solution. That way, you have a whiter, brighter smile sooner.

If you would like to get a whitening touch-up or start up teeth whitening treatments, contact us to set up your consultation today!

Practicing Dentistry As It Should Be

Do you remember when your family physician would visit your home with his or her little black bag, stethoscope around the neck, visiting in the late hours of the night to take care of you? A families doctor used to be a family friend, not just a doctor. The doc would know your kids’ names and what was going on in the family. He or she would spend the time necessary to really take care of you and get to know you. Getting to know you actually used to be an important part of taking care of you. Where did that type of medicine go? This beautiful medical service has shifted to a bloated, insurance driven, not-enough-time-to-chat mammoth of a problem.

Well…why is a dentist talking about this? Because dentistry is becoming the same thing. What used to be a beautiful, small private practice service industry, has now become an impersonal, large multi-doctor, insurance driven, and very expensive commodity business. Patients have become a means to paying off terribly high student loans and expensive offices and equipment. The future of my dental profession isn’t looking pretty. I think you know what I’m talking about.

We as dentists have done a disservice to you, the patient. Our mentality of treating our patients like our family has been erased by a mentality of seeing patients as a means for profits and luxury. Much of the dentistry done today doesn’t need to be done, but it is because insurance covers it. How do I know this? Because I used to practice this way, and I go to the dental meetings and talk with the local dentists as well as other dentists around the country and world. This is my profession- it’s my experience. But this experience has woken me up and I’ve changed the way I think and practice. I treat my patients based on THEIR needs, not mine, while not allowing a disinterested insurance company to dictate their diagnosis and treatment.

Why am I writing this? Because it’s up to us dentists to help shift the dental culture we’ve created, and get back to putting first, truly putting first, the interests and needs of our patients. Dentistry has been turned on its head and it’s up to us dentists to turn it back right.

We live in an AMAZING time of medical technological advancement! What we know now is going to help us cure dental diseases, I’m confident of that. But during dental disease creates a little conflict of interest for us dentists, right? That’s not how I see it. We are learning more and more about how the mouth is the gateway to the body, or how oral health affects our whole body health. I see us becoming a more integral part of comprehensive health care in the future. Did you know that bacteria from cavities and gum disease are also found in the blood clots that cause heart attacks and strokes? Did you know that a diabetic that takes care of their mouth has an easier time managing their diabetes? Did you know that braces can GREATLY decrease your risk for sleep apnea? We are at a very exciting time. And too many dentists just have their heads down drilling and filling away. Advanced dental education, far beyond what you get at dental school, helps me connect the dots and gives me the tools and training I need to advance with the changing technology and paradigm. We can turn dentistry back right again by helping our patients know that their mouth is directly linked to their body.

In our office we feel dentistry is practiced as it should be. You, the patient, are the focus. Yes we take insurance, but we don’t allow the insurance company to dictate your diagnosis or treatment. Disease dictates diagnosis, and the patient dictates whether or not to undergo treatment. Your authority to choose for yourself the best course of action is paramount to your health. We don’t hijack that authority. We view ourselves as friends that, if asked, can help you make decisions. I, as the doctor, am the referee- I call it as I see it. The ball is then in your court to decide how to proceed. I don’t employee pushy front desk personnel whose only job is to “close the deal.” You’ll never leave our office without knowing how much something is going to cost. And we spend the time needed to answer your questions about the treatment options you have.

We take all insurance. Most of our patients have some form for a dental benefit. But because I’m not a contracted dentist for most plans, the insurance can’t tell me or you what to do. PPO plans will still pay your entire yearly dental benefit, even if I’m not on the contracted list of dentists. Again, most of our patients use their dental benefit with us. But our goal is for you to not have to use your dental benefit, other than for routine cleanings and exams. So many patients are tired to having fillings done every year and crowns done every five years. They tired of root canals, extractions, and implants. I would be too. We feel we have the answers to get our patients healthy and stay healthy. That’s empowering to both you and me.

At our office you’ll feel a difference because our mentality has shifted back to where it should be- to the patient. Honesty, integrity, gentleness, and kindness is our mantra here. You’ll be greeted with a beautifully warm smile, and leave with your questions answered, empowered to make choices based on your needs and timing. Come see us!

Dr. Taylor

Dental Insurance? The truth that most don’t explain.

Insurance? Absolutely, we take it. We just don’t allow your insurance to dictate your diagnosis and treatment.

I hear too many friends and others around town express that they feel they’re getting the dental runaround- their questions aren’t answered, they’re pushed through so fast they wonder what’s going on, and they don’t even see the same doctor every time. This isn’t how dentistry should be. What most patients don’t realize is these problems stem from the office being insurance driven. Let me explain what I mean. Grab a cup of coffee, this is gonna be good!

Often times an employer will bring on a dental benefit from an dental insurance company as a perk of employment. If you want good employees, you better give them benefits, right? Well, these benefits cost the employer money. The good dental plans cost more, the crappy plans cost less. That’s just how it is. So the dental insurance companies form dental plans to pitch to the employers in certain areas, hoping for their business. Sadly, often what determines the plan the employer chooses is the cost, so often the crappy plans are the ones you get when you get hired. But it’s something- it’s definitely a benefit to help you pay for your dental care, which is great! It’s certainly better than nothing.

The issues with these lower cost plans is they reimburse the dentists much less than the higher cost plan. So a crown done on a low cost plan may get the dentist $500, whereas the same crown done on a high quality plan may get the dentist $1000. This is not uncommon. So what does that mean for the dentist and what does that mean for you, the patient? Well, the dentist who is a preferred provider for the low cost plan, has to see twice as many patients as the dentist who isn’t a preferred provider for that plan, just to make the same amount of money. These dentists have to work faster, much faster, in order to make a profit. And because they don’t get paid as much per procedure, they usually aren’t able to afford paying for higher quality staff, materials, and technology. The crowns I get from my lab from either California or here is Montana cost almost 4 times as much as a cheap crown I could get from a “mega-lab” or from China. This is just one small example. So for the dentist, life looks much different if he/she is in deep with the low cost plans as a preferred provider. The main difference is TIME. They don’t have the time to sit down with you for an hour and explain why you need $3000 of dental work. They simply can’t do it and still make a profit. How do I know this? Because this is how I used to work. For the first three years out of dental school that was my life. I had to work fast, I didn’t have time to sit and chat, and the insurance price I would get would dictate where I would send a crown to be made, what material I would use to do a filling, and in the end, how much I could pay my assistant. Hindsight is 20/20- it’s easy for me to see now how insurance companies dictated almost everything in my office.

Well…that’s not how I practice any more. I honestly don’t even think about insurance now; I’ve realized my patients are just that- MY patients, not the insurance companies. And who knows my patients best? I do. I no longer allow the insurance companies to have so much influence in my practice and between me and my patients.

So what does this mean for you, the patient? First, it means that you will be able to make decisions without the insurance company trying to make those decisions for you. Second, it means that you’ll get our full attention here. Because I don’t have to see as many patients, I’m not juggling 2-4 patients at one time. I see one patient, start to finish, and then see the next patient. And third, it means your treatment will be done by a highly trained doctor and staff, well researched and highly successful dental materials and technology, and get dental care that will last 15-20 years instead of 5-10 years.

Dr. Taylor

5 Things Your Dentist Wishes You Took More Seriously

5 things your dentist

While you may only think about dental health every six months at your cleaning, your dentist thinks about dental health all day long! Here are 5 things we wish our patients took more seriously.

1. INVEST TIME IN LEARNING ABOUT YOUR DENTAL COVERAGE

INVEST TIME IN LEARNING ABOUT YOUR DENTAL COVERAGEWe get it — researching your dental insurance plan isn’t at the top of the list when it comes to free time, but a little homework can go a long way. Every dental plan is different, which means you truly do have to read the fine print, get on the phone and ask questions to understand what services your plan covers and at what percentages.

Plus, dental insurance has some random stipulations. Ever heard of a “missing tooth clause?” Some insurance companies have a clause stating that if your tooth has been lost before you begin coverage, they have no responsibility to cover the cost of replacing it via bridge or crown.

If you find yourself in one of these situations, ask your dental insurance provider about setting up a predetermination. The American Dental Association defines a predetermination as an estimate about who pays for what on a particular service. Even if you are paying more than you would like, a predetermination can help you know what to expect.

While it might be annoying to get something pre-approved, it is much easier than getting a procedure done and trying to get your insurance to foot the bill after the fact.

While plans vary, most cover preventative care like checkups and cleanings. Take advantage of these services! Above all else, politeness and persistence are key to getting what you want! And arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. Peruse the American Dental Association’s glossary of terms so you can speak with confidence.

2. PREVENTION IS KEY TO LONG TERM DENTAL HEALTH

PREVENTION IS KEY TO LONG TERM DENTAL HEALTHScheduling and keeping preventative dental check-ups is extremely important. These visits are not to pad your dentist’s pocket, they are crucial to prevent costly, painful and time consuming dental issues.

For example, if you have the beginnings of a cavity and go to your bi-annual appointment, I can identify the decay and give you a filling ASAP. On the other hand, if you develop a cavity and keep missing appointments, the decay will soon get out of control and you could end up with an extremely painful abscess. According to MedlinePlus, untreated abscesses can lead to tooth loss, blood infection, spread of infection and other life-threatening complications.

 

3. CHOOSE DENTAL PRODUCTS CAREFULLY

CHOOSE DENTAL PRODUCTS CAREFULLYSelect your toothpaste, toothbrush and mouthwash carefully! One of the most common mistakes people make is buying products with a high acidity level. Enamel demineralizes at a pH level of 5.5 and some toothpastes are very acidic. Through continuing education and seminars I have learned about which products to avoid and which products to recommend. I love sharing this information with patients.

When purchasing toothpaste, always look for fluoride in the ingredient label. As far as toothbrushes go, soft bristle are recommended at an electric toothbrush is even better. WebMD reports that studies have found using a powered toothbrush can cut down on plaque that leads to periodontal disease.

 

4. STRIVE TO SAVE EACH & EVERY TOOTH

STRIVE TO SAVE EACH & EVERY TOOTHIf a tooth can be saved, it should be saved! Nothing makes me cringe more than a tooth being pulled needlessly. These days there are so many options for saving your smile with crowns, bridges and dental implants. Teeth are not just aesthetic, they are functional and missing teeth can affect your ability to eat and speak. Those with missing teeth can be restricted to soft foods and can even develop a speech impediment. Plus, when one tooth is removed it can cause the remaining teeth to shift.

Many times people make the decision to pull a tooth instead of save it in order to save money. While it may be cheaper in the moment, its effects are long lasting. Do everything you can to repair your tooth even if it means setting up a payment plan or comparison shopping. Most dental offices have a billing specialist that is more than willing to work something out with you.

5. PICK YOUR DENTIST CAREFULLY . . . AND THEN LISTEN!

PICK YOUR DENTIST CAREFULLYMany people have been conditioned to think that dentists are strictly self-interested individuals looking to make a buck. If you have evidence to support this theory, get a new dentist!

But when you trust and respect your dentist, you will believe that he or she has your best interest at heart. I can honestly say that my focus is to care for my patients, and the financial side of things falls into place after I have done that. Take our recommendations seriously, ask questions, educate yourself and then make the best decision.

It is our job as dentists to suggest the best treatment plan available. If that treatment plan is not in your budget, let us know! We can let you know what treatments can wait and what procedures need to be done immediately. A good dentist will always explain the problem and why the procedure is necessary to fix a problem. Plus, we regularly spend time and money learning about new technology and techniques to better serve our patients.

Are You Grinding Your Teeth Away?

Are You Grinding Your Teeth Away

Do you think your teeth are shorter than they used to be?
Do you occasionally notice sharp edges and ask your dentist to “smooth them off”?
Do your front teeth look flat across? Do you have sore jaw muscles, or joints, or frequent headaches?
Do you notice gum recession and sensitive roots or sore teeth?

If you answer “yes” to any of the above questions, then you probably suffer from bruxism. Bruxism is defined as clenching or grinding of the teeth. The effects of this can range from minor to disastrous depending on the degree.

Most people would be surprised to learn that bruxism is a disease. It is considered a pathological process. In fact, there are only three disease processes that we deal with in dentistry. These are cavities, periodontal disease, and bruxism. Unfortunately, dentists historically have received much less training on how to deal with bruxism than with decay or periodontal disease. Not only does bruxism contribute to the seriousness of periodontal disease or cavities, it can by itself destroy a whole mouth of otherwise healthy teeth.

In this fast-paced world stress has often taken the blame for why people clench or grind their teeth Certainly stress is a factor. However, it is more involved than that. It is believed that some people are driven to grind or clench and nothing can stop them. Have you ever sat next to someone who can’t stop shaking his leg? A similar type of impulse is responsible in both situations.

For many people it is believed that there is a place where their jaw joint and jaw muscles are happy. In other words, this position is where the joint and muscles want to be and are under the least stress. If the way the teeth come together prevents this from happening, then the brain will try to eliminate the interferences. Unfortunately, the interferences are your teeth. This is a very brief explanation of a subject about which volumes have been written.

OK, so what can we do to treat bruxism in the 21st century? The good news is that today we can do a lot to prevent the ravages of bruxism and to treat the symptoms and repair the damage caused by bruxism. Any treatment should aim first to prevent further damage and to alleviate any unpleasant symptoms such as sore jaw joints, muscles, or headaches.

There are a variety of splints or guards that can be used to prevent further damage from bruxism and to alleviate headaches and jaw pain.

If there is already extensive damage to the teeth then some restorative options are available. For instance, worn off front teeth can be lengthened with bonding or veneers to avoid an aged appearance and provide a more normal function. Yes, shortened teeth make you look older. Restoring teeth to their normal length can take years off of your appearance. Usually, after treatment, a night guard should be worn to prevent wearing down or breaking the new restorations as happened to the original teeth.

Equilibration or selective grinding can eliminate some interferences and relieve undue pressure on certain teeth. This can help all of your teeth work together more like a team.
For more severe cases, however, it can be necessary to re-lengthen most or all of the teeth. This is a procedure that requires a high degree of skill and is much more involved than routine dental procedures.

So are you “grinding your teeth away’? If you are concerned that you may be having problems from bruxism, ask your dentist. Without proper treatment your problem will only get worse. With proper treatment, you can maintain the health and function of your teeth and preserve or achieve a youthful smile.
-Dr. Taylor

The Value of a Smile

The Value of a Smile

 

What is the true value of a smile? Just how important is it to be able to smile with confidence, to be proud of your smile?

I have come to realize that a smile is very important indeed. Years of pain and embarrassment in the expressions of people who are unhappy or even ashamed of their smile can be very evident. I have also witnessed dramatic increases in the self-esteem and confidence of people who have had major improvements in their smile.

The ability to give patients the smile they have always wanted is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. My team and I are constantly inspired by the emotional experiences that our patients feel when they see their smile enhanced.

How is this transformation achieved? A cosmetic dentist utilizes many procedures to help achieve the desired outcome. Some of these tools are crowns, veneers, bonding, tooth-colored fillings, and whitening procedures. This is by no means a complete list.

Teeth can be straightened in a procedure called “instant orthodontics” in as little as two visits. Short, worn teeth can be lengthened to give a much more youthful appearance as well as providing better function. Tipped and canted smiles can be corrected. Uneven gum lines can be made more symmetrical as well. A good analogy is if the teeth are the picture, then the gums are the matting, the lips the frame, and the face is the wall on which the picture hangs. Great attention must be paid to achieve harmony to the greatest degree possible. The availability of other specialists such as orthodontists, periodontists, oral surgeons, and endodontists are sometimes essential.
Research has shown that what people perceive as beautiful or aesthetic is really the symmetry that occurs in nature. The symmetry of nature is awe-inspiring and has influenced the human race for ages. Artists and architects have sought to emulate and represent it in their works.

The cosmetic dentist actually does the same thing. His goal is to achieve to the greatest degree possible the natural form, function, and symmetry of a person’s smile in harmony with his face.

Much study has been done to find out what factors aesthetically-pleasing smiles have in common. The form, proportion, inclinations, and symmetry of natural uncrowded, unworn smiles can be studied and emulated in creating a new smile. Proportions of width to length of individual teeth, of one tooth to another, and the inclination of the teeth in relation to each other and in the context of the face are all very important. Color, hue, shade, and brightness or value are also important but not nearly so as the proper form, function, and symmetry in harmony with the face.

With today’s newer materials, the desired color, shade, or brightness is not that difficult to achieve. However, the proper shapes and symmetry require a much higher degree of training and skill of both the cosmetic dentist and his ceramist.

An outstanding ceramist is absolutely crucial to achieving the patient’s desired outcome. The ceramist knows how to provide the desired color, shade, texture, and translucence and can provide these restorations in harmony with the patient’s face.

Modern materials and techniques along with years of study of the art and science of creating beautiful, natural-looking smiles make it possible to provide absolutely stunning improvements in a person’s smile. The effect this can have on self-esteem and confidence can be immeasurable.

The reasons for wanting a new smile are many. Some women in the golden years of their lives, feel significantly younger because their new smile makes them look more youthful. Women in sales have significantly improved their sales records, simply because they are more confident. Others increase self-esteem because they no longer hide behind a smile that embarrasses them.

Changing a smile is truly life changing.
-Dr. Taylor

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