Category Archives: family 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.

How Nail Biting is Destructive to Your Teeth

Nail Biting - Woman biting nailsNail biting, a Freudian scholar’s dream habit, is not as innocent of a habit as you may think. This oral fixation can actually be genetic, and it occurs more frequently in females than males. Sometimes, nail biting can present itself as a nervous habit. Other times, it can be caused by stress, frustration, or boredom. Whatever the reason, it can prove to have a significantly negative impact on your teeth and oral health.

Negative Effects of Nail Biting

Nail Biting can cause the following oral health complications:

1. Bruxism

People who are in the habit of biting their nails can develop Bruxism, commonly known as teeth grinding. Teeth grinding can cause facial pain, tense muscles, jaw pain, sensitive teeth, headaches, improper jaw balance, injury to tooth enamel, and receding gums. You could say that biting your nails is a gateway habit to Bruxism.

2. Damage to Teeth

Nails are a pretty tough structure, so biting them can severely harm your teeth. They can cause teeth to crumble, cause them to be worn down to the gums, cracked, chipped, or eroded. Basically, your teeth may be strong, but your nails are too. Therefore, your teeth can really suffer from this habit if not corrected.

3. Damage to Enamel and Roots

The enamel covers the outer layer of your teeth. It is the hardest and highly mineralized substance, but even enamel is no match for your nails. Over time, you can fracture that enamel with continued nail biting. Moreover, nail biting after orthodontic treatment, such as receiving braces, has shown to lead to root resorption; a process where parts of the roots of your teeth are dissolved by the bone around them, causing the roots to be weaker.

4. Diastema, Gingivitis, and TMJNail Biting

Nail biting can cause you to have a gap between your teeth (Diastema), especially if it starts young. Gingivitis, or an inflammation of the gums, can be another possible effect. Finally, nail biting can lead to a disk displacement in the temporomandibular joint, so a pain in the hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull in front of your ear can be a result of this habit.

5. Transmits Bacteria

Finally, you don’t know what’s lying under your fingernails or your fingertips, so when you put them in your mouth, all sorts of bacteria and diseases can be transmitted. You touch all sorts of things throughout the day, so you would do well to keep your touching implements away from your mouth.

If You’re a Nail Biter, There Are a Few Things You Can Do to Help Kick the Habit:

With so many negative effects of nail biting, you may want to try and break this bad habit. Here are some tips on how to do it:

1. Keep Them Manicured

If you are a female, this tip could work well for you. If you keep your nails neat and pretty, you will be less inclined to try and bite them, effectively ruining your magnificent manicure. You can also try a special nail polish that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth to keep your fingers out of it.

2. Address the Source of the Anxiety.

If you believe the root cause of your habit stems from anxiety, you may want to closely evaluate what could be triggering it. This can be a difficult feat for some, but understanding what is causing your anxiety (and in turn, your nail biting) is a great first step towards addressing and remedying your stressors.

3. Commit to it.

Breaking any habit can be a tough process. This is especially true if it’s a habit that you’ve had for most of your life, so you’re going to have to commit to it. Because most people aren’t even aware of when they are biting their nails, have your friends remind you of when you are chomping away. If you’re dedicated enough to the well-being of your oral health, it is a habit that you can certainly beat once and for all. Your teeth and your smile will thank you for it!

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Can Electronic Cigarettes Put Your Oral Health at Risk?

Electronic CigarettesThe popularity of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) continues to increase among adults in the United States. The number of adults using these alternative inhalation devices, also known as vaporizers, rose from 3.3% to 8.5% in 2003. Recently, it has been reported that a whopping 3 million American teenagers are also participating in this trend. The attraction to ‘vaping’, as it is referred to, lies in the fact that these devices do not contain tobacco. However, the vapor produced by electronic cigarettes does contain nicotine; the addictive chemical found in ordinary cigarettes. In addition to nicotine, e-cigarettes contain chemicals such as propylene glycol, vegetable glycerol, and artificial flavors and colors. While these compounds are generally believed to be a healthier option over smoking tobacco, more and more information is coming to light about the effects of vaping on an individual’s oral health.

How Do Electronic Cigarettes Impact Oral Health?

Jamanetwork.com documents a host of harmful effects that e-cigarettes can have on the body. Among the risks involved in vaping is the increased likelihood of developing cardiac disease. But in regards to oral health, in particular, medicalnewstoday.com has suggested that smoking electronic cigarettes can be just as damaging as traditional cigarettes, if not more. The chemicals in e-cigarettes, especially nicotine, have been found to cause the following dental issues:

– Damage to gum tissue

– Damage to the interior cells of the mouth

– Loose teeth from weakened gums

– Tooth loss

– Gum recession

– Tooth sensitivity

– Teeth grinding

– Inflammation

Furthermore, untreated inflammation and damage to the interior of the mouth can evolve into more serious dental complications such as gum disease, infections, and even oral cancer.

Can E-Cigarettes Work as a Quit-Smoking Aid?

For those trying to quit their addiction to tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes can seem like a good alternative for nicotine patches or gum. The reason for this is that it provides that nicotine ‘fix’ while still maintaining the physical act of smoking, which is a common component of the habit that many long-time smokers have difficulty removing from their daily routines. It provides the sensation of smoking without actually inhaling the carbon monoxide and other harmful chemicals found in the tobacco plant. E-cigarette manufacturing companies continue to promote their products as safer alternatives to regular cigarettes, however, the Food and Drug Administration and American Lung Association have a different stance. The FDA does not approve electronic cigarettes as a way to help quit smoking cigarettes, and the ALA does not lend support to e-cigarettes or vaporizers as an aid to stop smoking.

What About For the Casual/Occasional Smoker?

Some people that engage in the occasional cigarette or smoke during social situations may benefit by using and e-cigarettes to calm short-term cravings. The same could be said to long-time smokers in order to wean off of their addiction, but it is not advised to use an electronic smoking device as a full-time replacement for tobacco products. Our recommendation to heavy smokers considering using an e-cigarette to help them quit would be to keep usage at a minimum and only for the short-term to avoid possible long-lasting health complications in the body and in the mouth. The most advisable methods to cutting the habit for good is through medical advice from your doctor and a strong support system from family and friends.

The trend of vaping is still a relatively new concept with much to study about. As more research is conducted, we will start to learn more about the long-term effects of e-cigarette use on not only oral health but on overall health. In the meantime, if you are a smoker who has been thinking about quitting, we understand how difficult and intimidating the task can be. Organizations such as the American Lung Association and Smokefree.gov are available to help cut out the burdens of addiction and guide you towards a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle. We hope this article has been helpful to you and we wish you the very best on your quit-smoking journey!

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Sugary Sports Drinks: What is Fueling Your Children?

Sugary Sports Drinks - Norwich CTAlong with February being American Health Month, it is also designated as National Children’s Dental Health Month. This time of recognition was designated to raise awareness of the importance of proper oral care starting at a young age. And if you are like most parents, you already know that sugar-laden soft drinks are bad for your children’s dental health, as well as having the potential for overall negative health effects. Regular consumption of readily available soft drinks such as Coca-Cola, which has a whopping 35 grams of sugar in a 12-ounce can, can erode tooth enamel, put your children at risk for more cavities and also lead to obesity or diabetes. But when it comes to sports drinks, parents tend to turn a blind eye. The reason for this is because they are unaware of their nutritional contents, and don’t realize that sugary sports drinks actually aren’t intended to be consumed by young children.

What Are the Sugary Sports Drinks That We Should Be Concerned About?

Let’s take a look at the sugar content of five of the most popular sports drinks on the market today. Keep in mind the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends consuming no more than 10% of total calories in the form of added sugar:

Gatorade: 21 grams of sugar per 12oz./52.5 grams per 30oz.

Gatorade 2(G2): 7 grams of sugar per 12oz./17.5 grams per 30oz.

Powerade: 21 grams of sugar per 12oz./52.5 grams per 30oz.

Sqwincher: 26 grams of sugar per 12oz./44 grams per 20oz.

Invigorade: 13.5 grams of sugar per 16oz.

What’s the Significance of These Numbers?

For example, a child who consumes 2000 calories a day would want to limit his calories in the form of added sugar to no more than 200 calories (50 grams). As you can easily see above, the consumption of just one 12-ounce bottle of Gatorade adds 21 grams of sugar and a 30-ounce bottle would take your child well over the recommended daily allowance at an astounding 52.5 grams of added sugar.

Sports drinks were formulated for consumption by athletes to replenish lost fluid and electrolytes during vigorous athletic activity. They are not intended for children that are most likely not involving themselves in enough strenuous physical activity to burn off the excess sugar. Unfortunately, many children gravitate towards these drinks for a number of reasons, such as:

– Children don’t often consider the sugar content and its impact on their teeth and overall health.

– These drinks come in a variety of flavors and are simply tasty and refreshing.

– Sports drinks are usually associated with professional sports teams and athletes, which they like to emulate. 

These sugary sports drinks, much like colas and ‘energy’ drinks, promote dental disease in the form of tooth enamel erosion and cavities. There are many good tasting alternatives for you and your children to consider while participating in sports. In fact, most children do not need anything other than plain water to stay hydrated during their athletic activities. If they object, then consider one of the low or no-calorie flavored waters such as Propel, which provides electrolytes and vitamins without the added sugar.

The habits that children learn will stay with them as they grow older, meaning that developing healthy dental habits at a young age helps them maintain oral health well into their later years. So be sure to make and keep all dental cleaning and examination appointments for your children. To make their next appointment or to see if we accept their dental insurance, call our office at (860) 887-2231.

If your current insurance doesn’t cover dental visits, consider looking into our money-saving alternative…The Dental Savings Club!

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!

Tooth Sensitivity? Know the Cause & the Remedy

Tooth SensitivityWith fall officially among us, the temperatures in New England are beginning to drop as we transition into a time of year when it’s not unusual to feel a chill in the air. Along with numerous other changes occurring, such as the colors of the leaves or the shorter days, you might notice another difference – your teeth are suddenly feeling more sensitive and causing you discomfort. Surprisingly, this is connected to the cold air, which can actually aggravate sensitive teeth. Wondering if this could apply to you? Read on to learn more about tooth sensitivity and how it can be prevented and treated.

What is Tooth Sensitivity?

Also known as dentin hypersensitivity or root sensitivity, tooth sensitivity is the distinct feeling you get when your teeth begin to ache or experience jolting pain upon contact with a certain stimulus – for example, extreme temperatures (whether hot or cold), flavors (sweet or sour), or other sensations.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

The underlying causes of tooth sensitivity are varied, but in general, pain or discomfort in the tooth occurs when the root or nerve is exposed and thus reacts more strongly to the stimuli explained above. This can happen for one of two main reasons; either the dentin (or outer coating) of the tooth is worn away, or the gums separate from the tooth in a condition such as gum recession or periodontal disease.

Can Someone Prevent Tooth Sensitivity? If So, How?

Tooth sensitivity is preventable by regularly caring for teeth to protect against the wearing away of enamel and the receding of gums. Brushing regularly, flossing and rinsing with a fluoride mouth rinse all help maintain a strong outer coating to protect the roots of your teeth, while also stopping the growth of bacteria that can lead to periodontal disease and gum recession. Scheduling a bi-annual teeth cleaning is also highly encouraged as a preventative measure against sensitive teeth.

Treatment Options for Those with Sensitive Teeth:

If you find yourself experiencing tooth sensitivity, talk to your dentist about the treatment options that are available. Numerous types of toothpaste and mouth rinses are specifically designed to rebuild lost enamel and help patients struggling with sensitive teeth. Furthermore, treating underlying causes such as gum disease can go a long way towards helping people with increased sensitivity due to nerve exposure resulting from periodontal disease or gum recession.

Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry wants all of our patients to be as educated about their oral health as possible. That is why we provide a wide array of dental services to ensure you maintain a healthy, vibrant smile for as long as possible. To learn more about the specific services we provide that can help you lead a life of ideal oral health, click here!

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!