Category Archives: cosmetic dentistry

Oral Cancer Risks & Preventative Measures

Oral Cancer Risks - Norwich, ConnecticutApril is Oral Cancer Awareness Month,  it is a month to recognize and spread awareness about the risks, warning signs, and the devastation that can affect those diagnosed with oral cancer. Here is an overview of oral cancer risks, symptoms, and preventative measures to decrease the odds of you or someone you love contracting this potentially deadly disease.

Key Statistics:

It’s estimated that almost 50,000 people will suffer from oral and pharynx cancer in 2017 alone. While this accounts for less than 3% of all cancer cases, it means almost 10,000 people will still lose their lives. Almost 350,000 people in the United States alone were living with oral cancer in 2014, and new cases have risen 0.6% on average over the last 5 years. Unfortunately, the survival rate for those diagnosed after five years only 64.5%.

Who is the Most Susceptible?

While men are twice as likely to develop this type of cancer as women, it can develop in anyone. Though smokers and heavy alcohol drinkers are at high risk, young non-smokers are a growing segment of the population contracting oral cancer due to the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Symptoms:

  • Eroded, crusty, rough spots; as well as thickening tissues
  • Irritation or sores that won’t go away
  • When you close your mouth, you notice your teeth fit differently
  • Difficulty when it comes to speaking, moving your tongue/jaw, swallowing or chewing
  • Numbness, pain or tenderness in the lips or mouth (along with white or red patches)

If symptoms persist beyond 2 or 3 weeks, that is a red flag to immediately make an appointment with your dentist.

Oral Cancer Risks:

  • Alcohol: Heavy drinkers make up about 70% of those suffering from oral cancer.
  • Smoking: 80% of people with oral cancer had habits such as using snuff, cigarettes or chewing tobacco.
  • Genetics: Fanconi anemia is an inherited blood condition that can develop into aplastic anemia or leukemia. Folks with this condition are 500 times as likely to develop oral cancer as people without it.
  • Age: About 66% of people with this type of cancer are over the age of 55. The average age is 62.
  • Suppression of the immune system: Using immune suppression drugs may lead to oral cancer.
  • Ultraviolet Light: Prolonged exposure to sunlight in addition to an unnutritious diet can evolve into this oral health condition.

Preventative Measures:

Fortunately, there are best practices you can adhere to in order to prevent oral cancer. The most obvious is a regular habit of brushing and flossing your teeth daily. Including green tea, cabbage, berries, garlic, tomatoes, broccoli, flaxseed, grapes, and beans in your diet can also be a huge combatant. Avoiding cigarettes and heavy alcohol abuse, as well as regular dental visits, help fight against the onset of oral cancer.

At Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we know the impact that this horrendous disease can have on individuals and their loved ones. That is why we provide an annual screening for all of our patients to minimize oral cancer risks and consistently monitor the status of your oral health. So if you haven’t scheduled your next dental examination, now is the time!

Schedule your routine cleaning or dental exam TODAY, it could save your life. Call (860) 887-2231 to schedule a time.

Everything You Need to Know About Dental X-Rays

Dental X-RaysTechnology is an integral part of modern dentistry. High-resolution imaging, laser technology, and state-of-the-art cleaning tools are all used to provide the best quality dental care possible. Among these advancements, x-ray imagery plays a prominent role in the pursuit of ideal oral care. However, some patients may not be familiar with the process and intent behind taking x-ray images of their mouth. That is precisely why we would like to explain the importance of dental x-rays as part of your oral care regimen.

Dental X-Rays Defined:

Dental x-rays are transparent images of the teeth, surrounding bone and soft tissue to get a closer look at the interior of the mouth. They help dentists detect underlying issues like cavities, bone loss, or problematic wisdom teeth that cannot be detected by mere visual examination. At your first dental appointment, your dentist will order a full-mouth x-ray called a periapical image, which provides a highly detailed view of the eWisdom Teeth Removal - Dental X-Raysntire tooth and underlying bone structure. This allows a deeper look to detect issues below the gum line. After that, bitewing x-rays are taken at each checkup to look for cavities, especially those that occur between the teeth. Younger patients might have an occlusal x-ray to look for extra teeth or teeth that haven’t yet erupted from the gum line, such as wisdom teeth. Your dentist may also do a panoramic x-ray to include a broader view that includes the jaws and sinuses.

Why Do I Need an X-Ray?

These images help dentists look for tooth decay and any damage to the underlying bone that supports the teeth. Dentists also look for any injuries that may have occurred to the tooth roots and other structures. Dental x-rays are much higher resolution than the naked eye, which allows a more thorough visual inspection. With this clearer view, your dentist can better detect oral health issues early before symptoms arise and before more serious conditions can develop, such as oral cancer. Tumors, cysts or abscesses can show up very clearly in x-rays. Children’s teeth are examined with this technology as well to keep an eye on the development of permanent teeth, making sure they are erupting straight and in the right location. Similarly, wisdom teeth are monitored through x-rays, giving your dentist a better idea of whether or not they will have to be removed or if they’re affecting your other teeth.

How Often Should X-Rays Be Administered?

Dental X-rays are scheduled when you need them based on your age, risk for disease, and signs of disease. As a norm, the bitewing x-rays are done at every checkup, but you may need them less frequently if everything checks out; or more frequently if there is a condition or area of concern the dentist is monitoring. Skipping your routine x-ray could cause your dentist to miss any early signs of tooth decay and other serious issues like tumors or oral cancer.

Are They Safe?

The x-ray pictures use a very small amount of radiation and are very safe. As an extra precaution, dentists usually advise pregnant women to wait until after the birth of their child to receive x-rays just ensure proper development of the baby. A lead bib is also applied over the patient’s clothing, covering their reproductive organs to protect the area from the minimal radiation. Simply put, dental x-rays are completely safe!

If you’re a new patient at Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we can easily set you up with your initial appointment which will include a complete overview of your oral health status. Dental x-rays will be administered as well as a thorough examination and cleaning.

To schedule your first appointment with us, call us at (860) 887-2231.

Sleep Apnea and Oral Health: Is There a Link?

Sleep ApneaOur team is frequently asked about Sleep apnea, which is an increasingly common medical condition that causes sufferers to stop breathing for short durations repeatedly throughout the course of any given night’s sleep.

This disorder causes uncomfortable symptoms, including snoring, poor sleeping patterns, and fatigue during the day. But research is beginning to point to oral health as a key to understanding and possibly preventing the impact of sleep apnea.

Dental Symptoms which may cause Apnea

There are certain dental issues that indicate the presence of the disorder. Common dental symptoms include:

Jaw pain

– Dry mouth

– Weak or flattened teeth

– Worn enamel

– Cavities and cracked teeth

– Scalloped tongue edges

– Periodontitis

Sleep apnea affects the mouth by causing tooth grinding and clenching of the jaw, which wears away at the teeth over time. It also complicates oral health by causing a dry environment, thanks to the snoring that most patients suffer. A dry mouth creates an ideal environment for harboring bacterial growth and the advancement of periodontal disease.

How Can Your Dentist Help?

We consider your dentist as an important partner in helping you to learn about sleep apnea and oral health. They can give you the diagnosis you need to move forward with treating your sleep apnea. If you suspect sleep apnea may be related to the oral health issues you are experiencing, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist.

During your exam, you can expect your dentist to ask you about your sleep habits and check your mouth for signs of decay, grinding and other periodontal issues. If your dentist suspects sleep apnea, he or she will likely send you for a sleep study to determine the presence of the disorder.

Treatment:

Upon suspicion from your dentist, he or she will likely recommend a simple at-home treatment to start, such as a custom mouth guard for preventing tooth grinding at night. The guard will also properly align your jaw while sleeping to minimize snoring and improve breathability. This treatment may or may not be effective, depending on the individual and the severity of their condition.

If you experience issues like grinding through your mouth guard or a worsening of your apnea symptoms, your dentist will probably refer you to a sleep specialist to explore further treatment options. Only a medical doctor will be able to give you an official diagnosis.

In extreme cases when individuals stop breathing for longer durations of time while sleeping, specialists will often recommend CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines. CPAP machines are masks worn over the nose, continuously discharging oxygen and regulating oxygen intake throughout the night.

Sleep Apnea is Treatable

Sleep apnea and oral health are most certainly linked, so monitoring your dental health can give you an idea as to whether or not this may be affecting your sleep. Although the treatment capabilities from a dentist are limited, they can be the first professionals to recognize the presence of this medical condition at your next dental examination.

If you suspect you may be suffering from sleep apnea, or you simply wish to look into your options for custom night guards to minimize snoring habits, give us call at (860) 887-2231.

You can also check out more helpful articles and best practices for ideal dental health by visiting Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry on Facebook!

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Periodontal Maintenance or a Regular Cleaning: Which Might You Need?

Periodontal MaintenanceWhen it comes to having your teeth cleaned, there are actually a couple of options to strongly consider. Most people assume that they are perfectly fine with regular cleaning every six months. However, depending on a number of different factors, a periodontal maintenance cleaning may be recommended, or even required. What is periodontal maintenance and how does it differ from regular teeth cleaning? We’d like to elaborate on the differences between these two oral care options.

Periodontal Maintenance Defined:

Periodontal Maintenance is a method of deep cleaning for your teeth. The purpose of this is to clean both above and below the gumline and down the length of each tooth. A regular cleaning only cleans above the gumline and slightly below. Because it is a more in-depth process intended as a deeper means of cleaning, periodontal maintenance should be performed every three to four months.

When is Periodontal Maintenance Necessary?

Your dentist will be able to determine if you require this form of teeth cleaning by the following factors:

  1. You have periodontal disease or gingivitis

    Deep cleaning is necessary for those with either of these conditions. A routine cleaning is not thorough enough to treat the sensitivity and severity that gingivitis or periodontal disease carry.

  2. You have bone loss, an infection, gum pockets that are deeper than four millimeters, exposed root surfaces or bleeding gums

    The above conditions will only become worse without consistent and comprehensive cleanings. Simply scheduling routine cleanings won’t address these issues that can escalate into extensive pain and/or further damage to your teeth. In regards to bleeding gums, this can sometimes be caused by lack of flossing, so consult with your dentist to discuss why this may be occurring.

Benefits:

  1. Maintains gum and bone health

    The body will destroy bone and gum tissue as colonies of bacteria cause inflammation. If inflammation occurs it can cause teeth to shift, become unstable or fall out altogether.

  2. Removes plaque and tartar

    If plaque and tartar buildup is ignored, it can cause further complications. Although proper dental hygiene at home is crucial, the eye of an experienced dentist with specialized equipment is invaluable. They will be able to detect and treat more buildup and underlying issues than you can do on your own.

  3. Monitors pocket depths

    As pockets in the gums become deeper, they will house more bacteria. This bacteria can be extremely dangerous and travel to and infect other parts of the body through the bloodstream, including the heart.

  4. Slows or halts the progression of periodontal disease

    By cleaning out this harmful bacteria more often, it can help to keep your disease from worsening.

What to Expect:

  1. Routine x-rays and exams

    Regular x-rays and exams are needed to keep an eye on the status of your oral health. The x-rays will show the extent of your gum recession and bone loss.

  2. Supragingival cleaning

    The area above the gum line is cleaned thoroughly with scaling tools.

  3. Subgingival cleaning

    This part of the process is the most essential as it removes bacteria and calculus from gum pockets as well as beneath the gumline.

  4. Root planing

    During this stage, the root of the tooth is smoothed in order to remove any remaining bacteria.

  5. Medication

    Antimicrobial or antibiotic creams may be placed into the gum pockets to help promote healing and ease any pain or discomfort that follows the cleaning.

Your teeth are a valuable asset towards living well. If you experience any of issues mentioned in this article, be sure to schedule your next dental appointment right away! Addressing complications with your teeth and oral cavity immediately is the best defense against needing periodontal maintenance in the future.

If you would like to schedule an appointment at Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry but aren’t sure if your insurance will cover it, check out the list of dental insurance plans that we accept.

 

Adult Braces: What to Consider and Prepare For.

Adult BracesHappy New Year! Now that we have officially welcomed 2017, many people are thinking in terms of resolutions. The most common ones include losing weight and improving your nutrition. Another aspect of your health that you could consider for a New Year’s resolution is improving your oral health. Oral health could refer to hygiene as well as the condition of your smile. Maybe you’ve always been dissatisfied with your teeth because they aren’t as straight as you would like. If this is the case, braces could be the answer for you. Contrary to popular belief, they’re not just for kids! Adult braces are more popular than ever. This is why we’d like to shed some light on the process in the event you wish to improve your smile for the New Year and beyond.

What to Keep in Mind When Considering Adult Braces.

What Are They?

Braces are orthodontic devices applied to or around the teeth in order to straighten them over time and improve overall oral health. In addition, they can also align your jaw to improve your bite, close gaps in your teeth or space out crowded teeth. Typically, a dentist will evaluate if someone is a prime candidate for braces between the ages of 7 and 10 years old. Although this may be a requirement for some during childhood to prevent future and long-term dental complications, braces can be applied at any age for a more esthetically pleasing smile.

Types of Braces:

As a child, you may have noticed other children with the most common type of braces at the time; metal brackets applied to the surface of the teeth. Like many things, technology for orthodontics has improved exponentially over the past two decades. Aside from the traditional metal braces, lingual braces are another option. Lingual braces are also metal but are installed on the interior of the teeth. Braces made out of transparent ceramic material are another viable option. Clear aligners are by far the most popular style of braces due to their removability and because they are virtually invisible. These aligners act just like a mouth guard that surrounds the teeth. Although they are highly desired over the traditional brackets, clear aligners do not work for those who require more extensive alignment.

If you are interested in invisible aligners to straighten your teeth, consult with one of our dental professionals to determine if you are a prime candidate for our ClearCorrect treatment.

Receiving Braces At a Young Age Versus an Older Age:

When you get braces at an older age, there are a few age-related concerns that must be considered. Bones no longer grow in your older years. This, combined with aging tissues, makes the process of adjusting teeth more difficult. Lack of room in your mouth can also cause conflict with bite correction without extracting teeth. A particular complication can occur for those who have had teeth previously extracted. Existing teeth are not able to shift into locations where teeth have been removed.

Health concerns Involving Adult Braces:

Patients who have been diagnosed with gum disease should postpone any orthodontic procedures. It’s important to treat the disease first before inquiring about any form of braces. As an older individual receiving braces, you are also susceptible to root resorption, which leaves the tooth without an anchor. Once root resorption occurs, it is not treatable or reversible.

Maintenance Requirements:

Proper oral hygiene habits become much more crucial when you have braces. You need to make sure you’re brushing and flossing longer than you otherwise would have. Flossing itself will take longer as you’ll be threading specially designed floss around and between all of the wires. Since food can easily get deeply wedged into the many crevices of the braces, flossing becomes especially important.

What to Expect?

Any form of braces will take some getting used to. Naturally, they can cause some discomfort and soreness when they are first applied or adjusted. Regular checkups must be scheduled every four to six weeks to monitor the progression of your teeth and adjust your braces accordingly.

It goes without saying that there are a number of food items to avoid to obtain the best results. Anything sticky such as gum or gummy candies can easily get stuck in between brackets where it can be difficult to remove. Hard foods such as dense candies, certain pizza crusts, or beef jerky should also be avoided.

It’s never too late to consider adult braces and improve the first thing that people usually notice about you: your smile! If you’re considering any form of braces in the New Year but dread the costs due to lack of insurance, we can help! Learn more about how Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry can provide you with cost-effective dental treatments through our Dental Savings Club!

Can Fad Dieting Be Harmful to Your Teeth?

Fad Dieting_Fruit Juice GlassesWith the 2016 year winding down, the overwhelming majority of New Year’s resolutions are bound to involve some sort of dieting or wellness practices. But there’s simply no denying the link between a person’s dental health and overall health. What some people don’t realize these days is that healthy dental habits and proper dental care aren’t always enough to maintain one’s oral health. A major factor that determines the well-being of your teeth and oral cavity is your everyday diet. With the excess of dietary options available intended to provide specific results for each individual, it can be easy to fall into the trap of choosing a diet plan that may decrease your waistline, but could also harm your long-term oral health. Furthermore, certain ‘fad diets’ are catered solely for the purpose of weight loss and ignore how they impact your health in general. Studies have found that fad dieting such as the juice diet and the low-carbohydrate diet could be detrimental to a person’s teeth.

For further clarification, we’d like to focus on two particular types of fad dieting:

 

The Juice Diet:

Perhaps one of the most popular modern-day fad dieting crazes is known as the juice diet. People who partake in this diet typically get all of their daily calories and nutrients from fruit juices. The idea is that by eating or drinking nothing but fruit for several days at a time, the body gets naturally cleansed of toxins, resulting in quick and easy weight loss. Unfortunately, while fruit is good for the body, it can be bad for the teeth. Specifically, the acids and sugars found in fruit can wear away tooth enamel – and once enamel is gone, it can’t grow back. Weakened enamel makes teeth more prone to decay and cavities, while the acidity in fruit juice can also irritate sensitive gum tissue. Furthermore, once teeth lose their enamel they become increasingly sensitive to things such as cold, hot, spicy, and acidic foods and drinks…such as juices.

The Low-Carb Diet:

Another popular diet trend of today is the low-carb diet, which typically requires a person to eat anywhere between 20 and 100 grams of carbohydrates per day. This eventually results in the body going into a state of ketosis, where fat is burned instead of carbs for energy. The result is drastic and quick weight loss, but what impact does this diet have on teeth? When the body goes into ketosis, it releases ketones, which often result in bad breath (halitosis) that won’t go away, no matter how many mints a person pops or how often he or she brushes.

For those determined to make weight-loss their primary resolution for the New Year, fad dieting may do the trick. However, before committing to any sort of diet plan, consult with your physician to determine which one is the best fit for you. Individuals who already suffer from weakened enamel or other dental issues are urged to try alternative weight-loss programs other than the juice diet or low-carb diet. Don’t allow the latest dieting crazes compromise your long-term oral health. The most recommended approach to losing weight has withstood the test of time – through portion control, proper vitamin and nutrient intake, and daily exercise.

If you haven’t scheduled your teeth cleaning or any other pending dental procedures in preparation for the New Year, give us a call at (860) 887-2231. You can also kick-start 2017 with additional dental tips and information by visiting Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry on Facebook!

Oral Health Resolutions: Kick-Start the New Year!

Oral Health Resolutions Norwich CTEvery year, as January begins to approach, you set goals to improve your life in the form of a ‘Resolution’. These self-promises could be anything from joining a new gym, eating healthier or traveling more often. However, there is one area that most people overlook when it comes to New Year’s resolutions; oral health. Taking care of your teeth, gums and oral cavity should be a priority throughout the entire year, so if you haven’t been doing as well as you should so far, this is your chance to make a concrete improvement! There are a few simple practices that you should consider starting in 2017 to improve your oral health for the new year and beyond. Here is a list of oral health resolutions that you can choose to incorporate into your routine.

1. Choose Healthier Foods and Drinks:

Eating healthier is a popular resolution choice for many people, but is more often in the pursuit of weight loss. Making healthier food and beverage choices are just as important for your oral health. Almonds and leafy green vegetables are excellent for promoting strong teeth as well as plenty of Vitamin D. Or, for the sweet tooths out there, simply cutting back on sugar can make a world of difference in protecting your teeth and avoiding cavities.

2. Consider Braces:

Braces certainly aren’t necessary for everybody, but consult with your dentist to see if it is a wise choice for you. Typically applied during adolescence, (but can be recommended at any age) braces are designed to straighten misaligned teeth in the effort to prevent future dental complications and create a more stunning smile. Teeth that do not erupt from the gums properly or teeth that shift over time can cause pain, discomfort, difficulty chewing, and even more susceptibility to cavities. If you are a prime candidate for braces, consider investing in them as one of your oral health resolutions.

3. Schedule Any Outstanding Dental Work:

Dental issues left unattended for long periods of time are a ticking time bomb. Any time you require extensive restorative dental work, it is advised to address it as soon as possible whether it is a new year or not. Ignoring a toothache, chipped tooth, or any other dental procedure that you have been putting off only serves to harm your long-term dental health.

4. Quit Smoking & Other Tobacco Products:

This is another example of a popular resolution for obvious reasons. In addition to the well-known damage that cigarettes and other tobacco products can do to the body, they can also cause negative cosmetic issues such as yellowed teeth and bad breath. More importantly, tobacco can create far worse complications in the mouth such as gum disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and even oral cancer which can become fatal. Since tobacco products are highly addictive, this type of resolution can be difficult to achieve. Surround yourself with a strong support system and take advantage of resources such as www.quit.com if you have trouble kicking the habit.

5. Basic Preventative Measures:

If you’re not brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day, now is the time to start! The best way to avoid painful and sometimes expensive dental treatments in your later years is to begin a consistent oral regimen early on to minimize the chances of complications down the road. Simply brushing and flossing regularly can keep your mouth free of harmful bacteria that can cause cavities, gum disease, and other oral health concerns.

6. Schedule Routine Dental Visits:

Unless it is necessary to have extensive treatments performed that could require multiple visits to your dentist, a quick exam and teeth cleaning are recommended twice a year. By keeping up with these regular preventative appointments, you can maintain a cleaner, healthier mouth while also being informed of the status of your overall oral health.

7. Update Your Dental Insurance (if applicable):

Insurance policies and benefits tend to expire starting January 1st. The very first thing on your oral health resolutions list should be to update your current dental insurance or purchase new coverage. This will ensure that you and your family’s dental needs are met and properly compensated not only for routine cleanings but in the event of a dental emergency. For those without dental coverage, have no fear! Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry offers a cost-effective alternative for uninsured patients called the “Dental Savings Club”.

In addition to other resolutions that you might make for 2017, strongly consider the recommendations above to improve and maintain ideal oral health. Our office is always more than happy to help all of our patients on their journey towards stronger teeth and a more dazzling smile! If one of your goals is to obtain whiter, more vibrant teeth, learn more about our Teeth Whitening Treatments by Clicking Here!

Bouncing Back: Recovery Tips After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom Teeth RemovalWisdom teeth removal is a procedure that many of us are destined to go through. These teeth are the third set of molars that come through in the back of your mouth and are the very last teeth to come in – usually beginning to appear between the ages of 17 and 25. However, simply because most people end up having the procedure, does that mean wisdom teeth removal is necessary for everyone? The short answer is no, but it’s actually determined on a case-by-case basis. Since everyone’s teeth emerge from the gums differently, certain individuals may require all four wisdom teeth removed whereas others may only need one or two removed. In some cases, wisdom teeth can form and emerge perfectly in line with the other teeth requiring no removal, but for those in the vast majority, let’s take a look at why you may need to consider having the procedure.

Reasons Why You Should Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed:

  1. Your mouth simply isn’t large enough. A lot of times, people won’t have enough room in the jaw to accommodate another set of molars.
  2. If wisdom teeth are impacted they may not be able to grow in normally because they are trapped in the gums or jawbone. This can cause discomfort or pain, which is a clear sign that they need to be removed.
  3. If the teeth are growing in at the incorrect angle, wisdom teeth removal should be addressed in a timely manner – as these teeth could begin pushing into and disrupting the alignment of your other teeth.
  4. Located in the very back of the mouth where most germs and bacteria exist, wisdom teeth are the hardest to reach with a toothbrush or floss – leaving them susceptible to cavities and other oral health issues. Since they are not required for proper chewing or talking, some people opt to have them removed as a precautionary measure.

 

What NOT to Do After Having Your Wisdom Teeth Removed:

Do not drink through a straw: The action of sucking through a straw could pop the temporary stitches used to seal the extraction point. In addition, it can also loosen the blood clots in your mouth necessary for proper healing. It is advised to wait until after your follow-up appointment before drinking through a straw again.

Don’t rinse your mouth out too vigorously for the same reason. You can rinse gently with warm salt water 24 hours after the procedure to offer some relief.

Do not smoke: This can hinder the healing process. Smoking is also a similar action to sucking through a straw and could have the same negative consequences listed above.

Do not drink hot, caffeinated, alcoholic or carbonated beverages: These types of beverages can cause increased pain and shouldn’t be consumed until at least 24 hours after the surgery. A person’s immune system also becomes especially vulnerable to illness or infections in regards to alcohol. Alcohol should not be consumed until the patient is fully recovered to avoid healing complications or infections.

Do not eat sticky, crunchy or hard foods: Not that you’ll want to, but these foods can scratch and irritate the wounds in your mouth. They can also be painful to chew, so stick to softer foods such as mashed potatoes or non-acidic soups for at least 48 hours after removal.

Do not brush your teeth, spit, rinse your mouth or use mouthwash: These actions can rip out stitches and irritate wounds. Some kinds of toothpaste and mouthwashes, especially those containing alcohol, can also inflict pain. Refrain from doing any of these for at least 24 hours.

Do NOT ignore these signs: Excessive bleeding, difficulty swallowing or breathing, fever, increased swelling, pain that isn’t lessened by the prescribed medications, pus or oozing in the socket or from nasal discharge, or a bad taste in your mouth that doesn’t go away when you rinse with salt water. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your dentist right away for a follow-up appointment.

Getting your wisdom teeth removed can be an intimidating process, but with the latest advancements in dental technology and the procedure’s commonality, it doesn’t have to be. And not to worry, all of your wisdom will be preserved even after the teeth are removed!

If you are between the ages of 17 and 25, your dentist will be able to determine if removing your wisdom teeth is necessary during your next dental checkup with just a few simple X-rays. Call Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry at (860) 887-2231 or Contact Us Here to make your next appointment!

Dental Anxiety: How You Can Overcome Your Fears

Dental AnxietyDid you know that five to eight percent of everyone in the United States avoids going to the dentist out of fear? 20% of the entire population puts off going to the dentist until the absolute last minute because they have such terrible dental anxiety. So what causes the fear that many individuals share about dental visits?

Why are People Scared of the Dentist?

 

People fear the dentist for all sorts of different reasons ranging from bad experiences as a kid, to feeling completely vulnerable; sitting back in that chair with all of your dental habits and flaws exposed. Many people have bad experiences at the dentist as children, which can include scraping a gum, breaking a tooth, or having a cavity filled. Some even fear the dentist because they are concerned that they will discover the negative impact that their bad oral hygiene habits have had on their overall oral health, which could lead to cavities needing to be filled, root canals, or even extracting teeth. For others, the simple lack of control for a 30-60 minute period with your mouth constantly open is enough to feel distraught.

Rating Your Dental Anxiety

 

Dental anxiety can range from mild to severe. Mild dental anxiety can manifest itself as a hesitation to go to an appointment or nervousness before going in. Severe dental anxiety can include increased heart rate, rapid breathing, sweaty palms, or refusing to see the dentist altogether for an extended period of time.

Coping with Your Dental Phobia

 

Easing a fear of the dentist may seem like a long shot for many, but in order to ensure adequate dental maintenance for long-term oral health, these methods are definitely worth trying in preparation for your next visit.

1. Meet & Greet with Your Dentist

One of the best ways to start is by meeting with your dentist to get to know them before you go to your first appointment. The overwhelming majority of dentists are highly compassionate professionals who sincerely sympathize with the fears that many patients share. After you meet with your dentist to get to know them, that will give you a better level of comfortability in being there. Be sure to voice your concerns and ask your dentist about the process of any and all of the procedures that will occur during your visit or future appointments.

2. Practice Meditation

Meditation can be a very effective technique to calm your nerves prior to your dental appointment. Practicing meditation at home through breathing and concentration exercises is a great way to relax your mind and body. After you get in the habit of meditating, apply the same methods during your next dental procedure.

3. Drown Out the Noise

Earplugs can be used to help drown out the background noise of the office setting. Bringing in headphones with your favorite relaxing music can also be an excellent distraction tool in minimizing stress.

4. Watch Television

All of our stations at Norwich Famly & Cosmetic Dentistry are equipped with television sets. Politely ask your hygienist at the beginning of your appointment to turn on the TV and possibly change the channel to something soothing to take your mind off of the situation.

Helping Your Children with Dental Fears

 

The last thing you want to do is pass your personal fears of the dentist onto your children.
To prevent this from happening, there are some exercises that you can use to condition your children to feel more comfortable at the dentist:

Let Them Know What to Expect: Much like you may do for yourself, have your child meet their dentist beforehand to become more comfortable with them. Then continue to explain to the child that the dentist has the absolute best intentions and is helping to keep their teeth strong and healthy.

Ditch the Details: Elaborating on the negative experiences you may have had with dentists in your own past will only intimidate or scare your child unnecessarily.

Start Proper Oral Care Early: By scheduling regular cleaning appointments and learning proper oral care techniques at a young age, your child can avoid many of the preventable procedures that can be unpleasant for them down the road.

Although this guide can certainly help many individuals cope with their fear of the dentist, it is important to remember one thing. The advancements in dental technology and procedures have come a long way. Even if you have had a negative experience in the past, these advancements in dental practices have proven to  lessen the common anxieties in many, promoting a smoother, more positive outlook when it comes to visiting the dentist.

If the cost of dental treatments is a big reason why you may fear the dentist, we’ve created a program that can help alleviate some of that stress. Even without dental insurance, you can still receive quality dental care without breaking the bank with our Dental Savings Club! Learn more by clicking here!

Dental Emergency? Here’s What to Do

Dental Emergency

Knowing what needs to be done in an emergency situation can make all the difference between a minor, correctable injury and a serious problem. This applies to dental emergencies just as much as any other kind. Here are some helpful tips on what to do if a dental emergency arises.

Toothaches

Begin by rinsing out your mouth with warm water. Floss to remove any food or particles trapped between your teeth. If swelling is present, apply a cold compress to the swollen area. DO NOT apply aspirin or any other painkillers directly on the gum tissue as this can actually result in a chemical burn. See your dentist as soon as possible.

Chipped or broken teeth

If any pieces break loose, save them. Rinse with warm water, and rinse any broken or chipped pieces. Use gauze to staunch any bleeding, holding it in place for at least ten minutes, or until the bleeding stops. Hold a cold compress near the cheek, lips, or mouth if swelling is present and see your dentist as soon as you can.

Knocked out tooth

Find the tooth, making certain to only hold it by the crown, never the roots. Rinse it with warm water, but do not scrub away or detach any tissue clinging to the root. If you can, try to replace the tooth exactly as it was in your mouth. Never force a knocked out tooth into the gum. If you cannot place the tooth back in our mouth, put it in a cup of milk or water with a pinch of salt. Get to the dentist without delay, as knocked out teeth have the highest chances of being saved within one hour of being knocked out.

Something stuck between teeth

Try to gently remove the object with dental floss. If you can’t remove it this way, see your dentist. Never use a needle or pin to try to remove the object as it can cut your gums or scratch your teeth.

Lost filling

Stick a piece of sugar-free gum in the cavity where the filling has fallen out and see your dentist as soon as you can to replace the filling.

Abscesses

These infections of oral tissue can have serious long-term effects. Abscesses appear as white, pimple-like growths on the gums. Treat by rinsing with a mild saltwater solution several times a day, and see your dentist immediately.

Soft-tissue injuries

These include the tongue, cheeks, gums, and lips that result in bleeding. To control the bleeding, rinse your mouth with a salt water solution, hold a piece of gauze or a tea bag over the affected area for 10-20 minutes, use a cold compress on the affected area, and if the bleeding still doesn’t stop, see your dentist immediately, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Accidents can occur at a moment’s notice and we can’t always be prepared for them. That is why we want you to feel comfort knowing that Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry will always be there in the event that a dental emergency arises! Learn more about our policy for emergency visits by clicking here.