Airport Road Dental Associates - 3465 Airport Road, Portage, Indiana 46368 - (219) 763-2727




Posts for: January, 2020

Flossing is a dentist-prescribed necessity, but many dental patients struggle with it. Not only can string floss be unwieldy, but the action of forcing it between your teeth may cause pain in some people. Here are some options to help you reduce pain and irritation as you develop a regular flossing regimen.

1. Sensitive Toothpaste

If you floss thoroughly, the floss can sometimes irritate sensitive gums and even sensitive teeth as you clean around the tooth roots at the gumline. Brushing with a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth can help lessen any soreness and irritation from both brushing and flossing.

If you use prescription strength toothpaste, talk to your dentist about switching to a sensitive version of your prescription toothpaste, such as one that contains potassium nitrate. You can also find non-prescription toothpastes that contain potassium nitrate for sensitive teeth. This ingredient helps to block nerve signals that would send pain transmissions to your brain.

2. Water Flosser

A water flosser can be a gentle way to ease into a flossing habit. Although it doesn't clean using the same modality as floss (string floss scrapes away plaque, while a water flosser simply sprays it away), a water flosser can still help reduce plaque. This can help reduce gum irritation, since plaque buildup irritates gums. Cleaner gums are less likely to be irritated and painful.

Another reason a water flosser can help is because it helps to prepare your gums for regular flossing. While flossing may be too stimulating at first for gums that aren't used to it, water flossing can help to gently massage gums, improving gum health. Healthier gums could be less likely to bleed and become inflamed when you use string floss.

3. Other Flossing Tools

In some situations, you may have pain and irritation from flossing because of the logistical issues involved. For instance, some people have difficulty controlling a piece of floss well enough to floss thoroughly yet gently. A flossing tool, such as a floss pick, can help you to get into tight spots more easily while requiring less physical dexterity.

You can also choose a floss tool designed for tight spots or sensitive gums. Gentle varieties of floss pick and easy-glide varieties are available in addition to standard floss picks.

4. Diet 

Although changing your diet won't solve all your flossing problems, it could help in some cases. For instance, take a look at your current diet. If you eat a lot of sugar and starchy foods, consider cutting down on these foods while you work on your flossing habit.

Sugar and simple starches feed bacteria, which then create plaque and tartar. Plaque and tartar can irritate your gums. So reducing the buildup of plaque and tartar in the first place can help reduce gum irritation. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any changes to your diet that you may be considering.

These are just some examples of how you can strategically manage your flossing so that it won't hurt as much. This is especially important while you're forming the habit of flossing. After all, if flossing hurts a lot each time you do it, that's a strong psychological deterrent, and pain can make it more difficult to form good flossing habits.

For more information about flossing and dental hygiene or to schedule an appointment, get in touch with Airport Road Dental Associates, PC, today. We'll be glad to help you customize your dental care for sensitive gums so you can protect your gums from disease without causing yourself pain.

Teeth are important for speaking and eating, but practically everything you eat or drink is trying to destroy your teeth. Luckily, even if you damage your teeth severely, cracked teeth may not need to be completely extracted. Thanks to advancements in dentistry, your dentist may be able to save a tooth even if it has major damage.

Front Teeth May Be Easier to Fix

Your teeth all work together to eat food, but they all have different jobs. The incisors are in charge of biting off bits of food, but the canines are needed if the foods are too chewy. These front teeth only have single roots, but the canines' roots are long and strong. If a front tooth chips or cracks, it can often be repaired without the risk of future damage because the task of biting food doesn't put the tooth under too much pressure.

The back teeth, however, have to actually chew food, which means repeated mashing and lots of pressure. For this reason, back teeth have multiple roots to better secure them in your gums and jawbone. Because these teeth have to do so much work, a repaired back tooth may end up broken again in the near future.

More Damage Means More Invasive Restoration

Regardless of location, if your dentist does believe a damaged tooth can be rebuilt, a post and core procedure may also be necessary if the tooth has major damage. For example, if a canine broke at the gum line, rebuilding the tooth alone leaves the tooth incredibly weak. Instead, the dentist inserts a post directly into the core of the tooth to serve as additional support and structure.

The tooth is then rebuilt around this post, which reduces the risk of breakage in the future, even when exposed to pressure. If the tooth's root has been damaged or is not strong, however, this procedure may only be a waste of time and money.

Multiple Procedures May Be Necessary

Besides having the tooth rebuilt, you may need root canal treatment and a dental crown to fully restore the tooth. A root canal treatment is necessary if the tooth's pulp or roots have been exposed, damaged or infected. During this procedure, the entire tooth's pulp and roots are removed in an attempt to prevent further damage.

After root canal treatment, a dental crown is usually recommended, but even if you don't need a root canal treatment, a dental crown is a good investment because it will help evenly distribute the pressure, which reduces the risk of the tooth breaking again.

Cosmetic Options May Also Be Possible

Cosmetic options can also be used to fix cracked or chipped teeth. If you were hit in the mouth with a ball, for example, one of your front teeth may chip or crack, but your dentist may be able to use composite resin or porcelain veneers to repair the tooth and make it look like new again.

Composite resin is a much cheaper and faster option because the dentist applies it in the office the same day. Veneers, however, have to be crafted in a lab, and they are expensive. You will have to have your teeth filed down for the veneers to fit, and while the permanent veneers are crafted, you'll have temporary veneers. Last, if the tooth is too weak for a veneer, porcelain crowns are another option.

Ideally, a damaged tooth doesn't need to be extracted. In some cases, however, multiple procedures may be necessary to restore the tooth, and some teeth simply can't be saved. If you would like to know more about repairing damaged teeth or tooth extraction and replacement options, contact us at Airport Road Dental Associates.

The teen years are full of challenges. Stress and other issues that arise in adolescence can cause some teens to stop brushing. If your teenager has stopped caring for their teeth, consider this advice to help them get back on track with their dental health.

Set New Rules for Your Teen

Parents often feel a responsibility to set strict dental care rules for young children who are learning proper brushing techniques and struggling to stick to a routine. They may feel like teens should be capable of handling their dental care themselves. However, teens are still growing and developing on every level, and they can benefit from specific rules.

If your teen is slipping on their dental care, the first step should be establishing new rules. Let your teenager know that you expect them to brush their teeth twice per day. Set rules about flossing and swishing with mouthwash too. 

Tell your teen about the possible consequences for ignoring their dental care. Be open and honest with them about what your expectations are and why you are setting new rules. Reassure your teen that you are only setting rules because you're concerned. That may encourage them to treat their dental care seriously and address this issue in a mature way. 

Enlist the Help of a Trusted Friend 

Sometimes teenagers are just not able to talk to their parents about a problem. They may have specific reasons for no longer caring for their teeth, yet they might not feel comfortable talking to you about it. Teens may fear that parents will judge them or just won't understand. This may seem irrational if you've always been there for your teenager, but try not to take it personally.

Instead, if your teen is hesitant to discuss their dental problems with you, enlist the help of a family friend they trust. If you know someone who has suffered because of dental issues as an adult, they may be the perfect candidate to share their struggles with your teen. Encourage them to not hold back or shelter your teen from the reality of dental decay and pain.

If a teen doesn't care for their teeth, they may eventually lose them from tooth decay and gum disease. Of course, long-term consequences aren't really first on a young person's mind. However, if a trusted family friend can share their real world experience with dental problems, that may inspire them to give proper dental care a second thought. 

Keep Dental-Friendly Snacks in the Kitchen

Teenagers will grab convenient foods after a hard day at school or a tiring sports activity. Keep your kitchen stocked with convenient, dental-friendly snacks. If you have indulgent snacks in the house, keep them out of the pantry that teens use.

Some delicious, dental-friendly snacks include: 

  • Nuts
  • Raw vegetables
  • Plain popcorn
  • Sugarless chewing gum
  • Flavored rice cakes

Having healthy snacks on hand can help teens avoid foods that can lead to tooth decay. 

Reach Out for Help

Sometimes a teenager stops caring about things like brushing their teeth each day because of an underlying mental health condition. Don't panic because things can improve when these issues are addressed.  If your teen may be depressed, talk to them about going to therapy. They may be hesitant about the idea at first, but encourage them to at least try it for a month. 

A teen who gets professional help for depression has a much better chance of overcoming it. In addition to individual therapy, you may also suggest family therapy. If you suspect that your family's dynamics are stressing your teen out, family therapy may be a necessary part of overcoming the problems. It is also a great place to discuss their hesitancy with dental care.

Finally, once your teen is feeling better, they may start caring for their teeth again without further prompting from you. Contact Airport Road Dental Associates, PC, today to set an appointment for your teen's next dental exam and cleaning. Prioritizing their dental care on your family's schedule can help set a good example that they follow as they transition into adulthood.