Dental Injuries in Sports: When You Need Emergency Dental Care

Sports and other fitness related activities are some of the most common things people do that results in the need for emergency dental care. While many preventative measures might be followed, accidents can still happen, especially when participating in higher contact sports like football and hockey. 

While majority of these kinds of injuries happen to children involved in sports, the reality is that many adults participate in leagues and pick up games for a variety of sports that can lead to dental injuries. The most important thing to understand is what kinds of dental injuries, whether young or old, constitute a dental emergency.

For many, knowing the difference between an emergency and non-emergency can help you avoid costly and unnecessary trips to the emergency room. If you’re unsure, it is critical you speak to your dentist. But here is some info on common emergency situations and non-emergency injuries.

Emergency Dental Injuries

Pain, bleeding and nerve damage are the greatest indicators of an emergency situation. If you have experienced a dental injury and are experiencing any of these issues, you must contact your dentist immediately. Many dentists block time in their schedule 7-days a week to handle emergency requests or are “on-call” to handle your emergency needs.

If you’ve attempted to contact your dentist, but are unable to get ahold of them or they are not available to see you, you should immediately head to the emergency room in order to receive a professional opinion and get treated for the injury.

In some cases, even if there is no bleeding or pain, a severely cracked took will require immediate attention by a professional. Also, injuries that occur after a tooth extraction can be dangerous to the long-term health of your mouth. In almost all cases, you should consult a professional ASAP after a dental injury.

Non-Emergency Dental Injuries

Dental injuries that result in minor chips, cracks and fractures can sometimes be handled during the regular business hours of your dentist. There is no clear-cut rule for how to know if you have a emergency, which is why even if you aren’t experiencing pain, bleeding or and nerve damage, you should still consult a professional.

Some dentists even offer you the ability to reach them via text message, where you can share a picture of the injury during non-work hours and have your dentist examine the picture. In many cases, that could be enough information to allow your dentist to provide a recommendation that might save you the time and money associated with an emergency room visit.

Rule of Thumb – Speak to a Dentist

No matter the severity, any dental injury should be reviewed by a professional as soon as possible. If you’re unable to reach your dentist or they aren’t available to see you, see if there is a way to share a picture or speak with your dentist remotely. And if that isn’t an option, an emergency room visit might be required. Even if you find the injury is minor, at least at that point you can have peace of mind.

Sensitive Teeth? Here’s the Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Maybe you don’t have sensitive teeth every day, or the pain is manageable, but the reality is any tooth sensitivity could be a sign of a bigger issue that could get worse. Whether frequent or infrequent, painful or tolerable, you should not ignore tooth sensitivity.

The most common causes of tooth sensitivity can be cracked teeth, worn out fillings, issues with your gums, worn enamel and exposed teeth roots. However, the most common cause of sensitive teeth is tooth decay and cavities. No surprise here as cavities and decay is the second most prevalent disease in the United States, behind only the common cold.

The reason that tooth sensitivity happens is because the causes mentioned above expose the nerves inside the tooth. Enamel, cementum and dentin server as protective barriers between your teeth’s roots and the food you eat. When these layers are compromised, hypersensitivity is the result.

The good news is, in many cases this kind of sensitivity can be treated, sometimes without the need for any professional dental work. Of course, make sure to speak with your dentist so you can take the correct approach in treating your sensitivity. Here’s some of the ways your dentist might recommend treating sensitive teeth.

Treatments for Sensitive Teeth

Desensitizing Toothpaste: This specialty toothpaste includes compounds that can block the sensation of hot or cold foods from reaching your nerves. You will likely need to use the toothpaste several times before your sensitivity is minimized.

Fluoride Gel: To strengthen your teeth’s enamel, your dentist may suggest an in-office fluoride gel application. With a stronger enamel, the better you can block sensations from traveling to your nerves.

Crown or Bonding: In some cases, your dentist might see a flaw in your tooth or teeth that will only be corrected by improving the barrier artificially. This is where a crown or bonding can help, especially when dealing with a cracked or worn tooth.

Surgical Treatments: If none of these less invasive treatments will correct the problem, your dentist may suggest other surgical treatments. For instance, for those who have sever gum recession, a gum graft can help to cover the root. Somewhat of a last resort, a root canal is also an option your dentist may recommend.

Talk to Your Dentist

While you might be able to stand the discomfort of your sensitive teeth, if left untreated, it is possible your situation will worsen, and the method of treatment will be more involved. With a strong dental hygiene routine, regular visits to the dentist and a good diet, you can keep your protective layers strong and prevent sensitive teeth. But if you’re experiencing it, make an appointment with your dentist and get a professional’s opinion on how to treat the issue moving forward.

The Link Between Mental and Dental Health

The health of your mouth and teeth can have a drastic impact on your mental well-being and vice versa. Many don’t think about this, but there’s confidence and self-esteem associated with knowing you are taking good care of your mouth/teeth. The power of a smile is contagious, and when we feel good about our teeth, we smile more. But it’s also important to note that mental health can have an effect on your mouth as well.

How Your Teeth Affect Your Mental Health

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), 36% of adults experienced anxiety because of the condition of their mouth and teeth in the last 12 months. That’s only anxiety; 40% feel embarrassed. Furthermore, 22% of young adults reduce participation in social activities due to the condition of their mouth and teeth. These negative views of teeth are impacting people’s ability to interview, hang out with friends and have caused them to find life less satisfying. 

How Mental Health Can Affect Your Teeth

Anxiety and depression can affect your oral health. From a biological standpoint, the stress anxiety and depression create increases the amount of the cortisol hormone in your body. As your cortisol levels increase, your immune system gets weaker leaving you more susceptible to gingivitis and gum disease. In addition, anxiety can lead to canker sores, dry mouth and teeth grinding while depression can cause you to forgo your oral care all together.

Anxiety and depression medications may also cause dry mouth. The lack of salvia means that food particles, plaque and bacteria aren’t naturally getting rinsed from your teeth and can increase your chance of cavities.

What You Can Do

Now that we know about the connection of oral and mental health, what can we do? If you’re experiencing anxiety or embarrassment from your mouth, seek dental help. Fifty-nine percent of people state cost as the main reason they don’t go to the dentist, but there are affordable ways to get help:

  • Find a dental school in your area; costs are much lower than private practices
  • Look for dental hygiene training programs for free or low-cost routine dental care
  • See if your community health center offers low-cost dental care
  • Check to see if your dentist offers a payment plan or financing option

If you’re suffering from anxiety and depression and it’s impacting your teeth, talk with your doctor or behavior therapist about stress management and coping skills. Be sure to keep your dentist in the loop, too. They can help you deal with the toll anxiety and depression take on your oral health by providing night guards to prevent grinding or prescription toothpaste for increased cavity prevention.

Conclusion

There is a real connection between oral and mental health. If you’re looking to fix your teeth, regardless if for cosmetic reasons or pain relief, contact our office today. We’re here to help you improve your oral health and increase your well-being.

Mouthwash – Should You Use It & Does It Help?

Many use mouthwash as an extra step in their oral hygiene routine, but does it really help? Yes and no. It has the power to freshen your breath, whiten your teeth and kill the bad bacteria in your mouth, but in some cases it can destroy the good bacteria too. And despite popular belief, your mouth does not need to burn to confirm the mouthwash is working. At the end of the day, it is beneficial for your mouth, but not all mouthwash is created equal.

Types of Mouthwash to Choose From

There are several types of mouthwash brands to choose from, but there are only two main types of actual mouthwash: Cosmetic and Therapeutic.

Cosmetic mouthwash temporarily reduces bad breath and leaves a nice and fresh taste in your mouth. Therapeutic mouthwash has active ingredients that help kill bacteria and help control or reduce plaque, gingivitis, cavities and bad breath. Those that contain fluoride can even help prevent tooth decay. 

Both cosmetic and therapeutic mouthwash can be bought over the counter with the exception of some therapeutic formulations; therapeutic formulations containing chlorhexidine are only available by prescription.

Dentist Recommended Mouthwashes

Every dentist has a specific mouthwash they recommend, but if you’re unable to talk to your doctor, look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal on the bottle. Those with seals have produced scientific evidence demonstrating the safety and efficiency of their product.

How & When to Use Mouthwash

Although you should always follow the instructions on the label, using mouthwash is easy. Simply pour a small cup of mouthwash into your mouth, swish it around for 30-60 seconds and spit it out.

The timing of when you should use mouthwash seems to be the more popular question. Short answer: It doesn’t matter. However, if you are using a fluoride toothpaste, wait at least 30 minutes before you rinse (yes, even a fluoride one) as it’ll wash away the fluoride from the toothpaste before it can do its job. If you do use a fluoride mouthwash, wait 30 minutes before you eat or drink.

It’s important to note that mouthwash is not recommended for children under 6 years old. They may swallow large amounts accidentally.

What is Commonly Found in Mouthwash

Ingredients vary by brand, but the active ingredients in therapeutic mouthwashes typically include:

  • Cetylpyridinium Chloride (CPC) – Reduces bad breath
  • Chlorhexidine – Helps to control plaque and gingivitis
  • Essential Oils – Helps to control plaque and gingivitis
  • Fluoride – Prevents tooth decay
  • Peroxide – Whitens teeth

Dental Issues That Can Be Treated with the Right Mouthwash

With the right mouthwash, and direction from your dentist, you can treat a variety of dental issues, including but not limited to:

  • Bad breath
  • Plaque
  • Gingivitis
  • Tooth decay
  • Topical tooth pain
  • Whitening

Conclusion 

Mouthwash can have a permanent spot in your oral health routine, but it is not a replacement for brushing or flossing. Using therapeutic mouthwash in conjunction with brushing and flossing will leave your mouth feeling happy and healthy. If you’re looking to add mouthwash to your routine, make sure to do your research or ask your dentist about which is right for you.

Protect Your Teeth: 10 Tips for At-Home Dental Care

Most of the time, after a routine dental visit you will most likely leave with a new toothbrush to replace our old one. We recommend changing your toothbrush every 3 – 4 months, depending on how rigorous you brush and how worn the bristles are on your toothbrush. But as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, Monroe, MI residents aren’t seeing their dentist and therefore aren’t getting a new toothbrush to replace the old one.

This is just one example of how you need to think differently about your dental health. When you might have relied on that dental visit for your next toothbrush, you need to make it a priority to change your toothbrush on your own. Not a huge issue, but home care is the most important line of defense you can have against dental health issues.

While the dental community’s advice for home care isn’t any different, it does require much more attention to detail in order to be as effective as possible. After all, it isn’t clear when you will be able to schedule your next appointment. All the more reason to do everything you can to protect your teeth from plaque. Here are 10 important aspects of your home dental care.


  • Replace your tooth brush every 3-4 months
  • Don’t go to bed without brushing your teeth
  • Brush for two minutes, twice a day
  • Hold your toothbrush at 45-degree angle and use short strokes
  • Floss or clean between teeth once a day
  • Make sure to use a fluoride toothpaste approved by the ADA
  • Drink more water
  • Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables
  • Limit sugary and acidic foods
  • Don’t use your teeth to open bottles or rip packages

While you might be following these tips exactly, accidents happen. Our office is still open to handle emergencies. We are following the American Dental Association’s (ADA’s) recommendation as it relates to emergency and urgent dental treatment. Here’s how the ADA characterizes each:

Emergencies are “are potentially life threatening and require immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding, alleviate severe pain or infection.”

Urgent dental care “focuses on the management of conditions that require immediate attention to relieve severe pain and/or risk of infection and to alleviate the burden on hospital emergency departments. These should be treated as minimally invasively as possible.”

For more information on the difference between emergency and urgent dental care, click here. If you have questions about a particular dental situation you have, contact us today and we will reach out ASAP to determine if we can treat you. Stay safe!

COVID-19 Update: Essential vs. Non-Essential Dental Procedures

As of Monday, March 23, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer instituted Executive Order to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan through a “stay home, stay safe” order. The intention of the order is to:

  • To prevent the state’s health care system from being overwhelmed
  • To allow time for the production of critical test kits, ventilators, and personal protective equipment
  • To avoid needless deaths

For this reason, it is all of our responsibility to remain at home to the maximum extent feasible. This order takes effect on March 24, 2020, and at this time will continue through April 13, 2020. This could be subject to change based on new developments. 

To comply, the Michigan Dental Association has recommended our dental practice suspend all elective, non-essential dental care. In other words, we will be offering our services for emergencies only. For more information on what constitutes essential vs. non-essential, click here.

If you require emergency assistance, please contact us at (734) 242-4334. Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time.

How Dental Health Impacts Your Overall Health

Your mouth is full of both good and bad types of bacteria, with the majority being harmless to your health. However, did you know that your oral health and dental hygiene can have an impact on your overall health? In fact, studies have shown that some diseases and conditions can be linked to your dental health. 

Some types of mouth bacteria that causes gum inflammation associated with periodontist (gum disease) can play a role in other diseases. This kind of gum disease combined with other diseases like diabetes can weaken your body’s ability to fit infection, compounding the impact of oral health issues.

So what conditions are currently linked to oral health? And which conditions are linked to a negative impact on your oral health? According to Mayo Clinic, they include:

Diseases Linked to Dental Health

  • Cardiovascular disease is starting to be linked to oral bacteria that causes gum disease and inflammation. The connection is just beginning to be identified and is not completely understood at this time. 
  • Birth complications as a result of gum disease has been linked to children born at a low birth weight and premature births.
  • Endocarditis is an infection that impacts your heart and commonly is the result of germs and bacteria from the mouth (or another part of the body) spreading into the bloodstream and attaching to particular parts of the heart.
  • Pneumonia has been linked to certain oral bacteria being brought into the lungs.

Conditions that Negatively Impact Your Dental Health

  • Diabetes has been linked to gum disease. Research shows that those who have diabetes are at a higher risk for gum disease. However, the good news is that additional research has found that regular mouth and gum care can actually improve the ability to control blood-sugar levels.
  • Alzheimer’s disease has been connected to a degradation of oral health, especially as the disease progresses over time. 
  • Osteoporosis is connected to bone loss and therefore, tooth loss. Additionally, some medications used to address osteoporosis also presents a risk of damaging bones in the jaw.
  • HIV/AIDS patients often experience various oral health issues like lesions of the mouth.

How To Protect Your Mouth & Your Health

The recommendation for those who have experienced any of these conditions and for those who haven’t, is the same: practice consistent and effective daily oral hygiene. This includes:

  • Brushing teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Regular dental exams, cleanings and check-ups
  • A healthy diet that minimizes consumption of high-sugar foods/drinks
  • Flossing with regularity (daily)
  • Periodic use of fluoride mouth washes
  • Replacing old toothbrushes (3-6 months or as needed)
  • Avoiding tobacco use

If you’re concerned about your dental health and its impact on your overall health, make an appointment today and we’ll help you develop a plan for addressing your dental health concerns.

Why Fluoride Treatments Are Important for Adults Too

Many have traditionally thought that children are more susceptible to dental carries (cavities) because they tend to be less consistent with the standard brushing and flossing recommendations. As a result, many think that fluoride treatments are better suited for kids. This is not the case.

While it may be true that kids can be less consistent with their dental hygiene, the truth is cavities impact people of all ages making fluoride treatments beneficial for anyone, especially adults. First, it is important to understand what might increase your risk of developing caries.

Factors that Increase Risk of Cavities

There are many factors that increase the likelihood of developing cavities. They range from the usual factors like poor oral hygiene or regularly eating highly acidic foods or drinks, to decreased saliva production in your mouth. Here are some of the common factors leading to cavities in adults and children alike: 

  • Acid reflux can increase the risk of caries
  • Irregular or poor dental hygiene
  • Diet full of high-acidic foods/drinks
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Limited professional dental care
  • Braces combined with poor hygiene
  • Higher levels of bacteria in mouth
  • Teeth roots that are exposed
  • Fillings, bridges and crowns can collect cavity causing plaque

Adults That Could Benefit Most from Fluoride

There are many situations when fluoride treatments for adults can be extremely beneficial. Those who would most benefit from adult fluoride treatments include:

  • Adults with a high risk of cavities.
  • Adults with receding gum lines can soften the enamel, but fluoride treatments can mitigate this process.
  • If you’ve had restorative work done, fluoride treatments can help protect from plaque that can damage crowns and bridges.
  • Adults with braces that struggle to keep up with flossing can benefit from fluoride treatments to minimize plaque buildups.
  • Irritated gums as the result of acidic foods or the use of teeth whitening applications can be treated with fluoride treatments.
  • Adults who have undergone radiation treatments can benefit from fluoride treatments to minimize the impact of dry mouth and limited saliva production.

To find out if a fluoride treatment is right for you, come in for an appointment or ask about it during your next cleaning and we can come up with fluoride treatment plan personalized for you. Contact us today.

Sugar Sweetened Beverages & Their Impact on Your Teeth

It is well-known today that sugary drinks and foods can cause some serious damage to your teeth, mainly in the form of tooth decay, in some cases resulting in the loss of teeth. According to a study by the Journal of Public Health Dentistry, tooth loss was positively associated with sugar-sweetened beverages among young adults (18-39). 

As one would expect, the study went on to say that the more a person drinks these sugar-filled beverages each day, the higher the chance of losing teeth. But why does sugar do so much damage to your teeth? For the most part, it comes down to chemistry.

Good vs. Bad Bacteria

Our mouth is filled with bacteria, some good, some not so good. Typically, the good kinds of bacteria help to maintain and protect your mouth and teeth from the bad. The good bacteria produces certain types of proteins that control other types of harmful bacteria. Sugars tend to create a better environment for bad bacteria to thrive. The result, dry mouth, bad breath and over time tooth decay.

Acids

Some studies have shown that a specific type of bad bacteria actually can produce acid in your mouth whenever they encounter sugar. The acid that is produced from this process can begin to remove minerals from your enamel, which is a key line of defense and protector of your teeth. Without this strong, protective outer layer, your teeth become much more vulnerable to tooth decay and other dental issues.

What You Can Do

Luckily, our mouth is constantly working to reverse any damage taking place to teeth through the process of remineralization. Saliva carries mineral rich elements such as calcium and phosphate that can strengthen your teeth. Still, the greater your sugar intake, the harder it is for your saliva to combat these acids.

Moderation is always the best approach to sugar. But going one step further, here is how to help improve the regenerative aspects of your saliva:

  • Fluoride from toothpastes helps repair your teeth health.
  • Fluoride in water can also support your mouth health so drink lots of water.
  • In some cases, a professional fluoride treatment is necessary. 
  • Find beverage alternatives with less sugar.
  • Regular brushing, flossing and dental visits are key.
  • See a professional immediately if you suspect a cavity or are noticing any pain.

You’ve probably heard it a million times, but it is critical to moderate the intake of sugar and incorporate healthy dental habits and routines into your life. The greatest way to protect against a cavity is to prevent one in the first place, and your ability to moderate your intake of sugar is key in prevention.

If you think you might be suffering from excessive tooth decay as the result of sugary drinks, come in for an appointment and consultation. We’ll take a look and offer you some guidance on how to improve the health of your mouth and teeth. Contact us to make an appointment. 

Causes, Signs & Solutions to Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can cause serious damage to your teeth that might require restorative or cosmetic procedures in order to repair the teeth. However, teeth grinding varies from person to person when it comes to how intense the grinding is. Those who clench and grind often will likely experience some symptoms while others may not get any symptoms at all.

It can be difficult to know if you grind your teeth without having a professional exam your teeth, especially when the majority of teeth grinding happens during sleep. Even then, your grinding might be a such a dull intensity that the impact might take years until any changes in your teeth become noticeable. This is where preventative measures can go a long way.

Whatever the case, here is some guidance on how you can spot and treat teeth grinding.

Causes of Teeth Grinding

As to the reasons we grind our teeth, the most common explanation has been associated with stress and anxiety. High pressure careers or life circumstances often can lead to teeth grinding. Additionally, an abnormal bite, missing teeth or crooked teeth can also cause grinding due to the misalignment of teeth. Finally, sleep apnea and other sleep disorders have been linked to teeth grinding.

Signs You Might Be Grinding Your Teeth

In most cases you’re going to need to see a dentist in order to determine if you show signs of teeth grinding. However, in some cases there are two common symptoms that you might experience if you grind or clench your teeth: you experience headaches upon waking or your jaw is sore in the morning. Other, more advanced symptoms could be fractured or loosened teeth or actual loss of teeth.

Treating Teeth Grinding

The plan of treatment for teeth grinding will depend on how much the grinding has impacted the teeth. In some advanced cases where teeth have fractured, loosened or have been worn down to stumps, a variety of dental treatments are available including bridges, crowns, root canals, implants and dentures.

However, for those experiencing teeth grinding but have very few symptoms or issues, your dentist can help you develop a program to protect your teeth and treat the grinding habit. One of the most common preventative measures of teeth grinding is to get a bite guard or mouth guard. (Below is our digital imaging tool we use to fit you for bite guards.)

Your dentist might also recommend the following:

  • Start an exercise program to alleviate stress
  • Research additional methods for minimizing or reducing stress
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Avoid chewing gum and chewing on non-food items (pens, pencils, straws, etc.)
  • Pay attention and stop your clenching during the day
  • Relax jaw muscles at night by holding a warm cloth against the cheek before bed

If you think you might be grinding your teeth, make an appointment today and we’ll help you address the issue.