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Study: 35% of Americans Haven’t Visited the Dentist in the Past Year

Given all that we know about the importance of good dental health and regular visits to your dentist, a surprisingly large amount of people don’t regularly see a dentist for check-ups and cleanings. According a 2016 study from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 35.6% of US adults ages 18 to 64 haven’t been to the dentist in the past year.

There are a number of reasons for this, but the primary reasons people avoid the dentist include the following:

  • Cost: Many don’t visit the dentist every six months because they don’t have dental insurance and/or they think a visit to the dentist is too expensive. The reality is that dental care doesn’t have to be extremely costly, especially if you are already taking good care of your mouth and teeth. This spans everything from eating healthy, to avoiding high-sugar drinks and smoking, to flossing and brushing regularly. A healthy lifestyle will minimize your chances for any major dental procedures down the line.
  • Anxiety & Fear: Whether it’s from portrayals of dentists in Hollywood, or the simple fact that you are letting another person put their hands and instruments in your mouth, some people get anxious when needing to go to the dentist. Regardless of what created these fears, most day-to-day dental procedures are painless. More importantly, patients should find a dentist and dental office that is comfortable, welcoming and offers a calming atmosphere. The right dentist and staff can go a long way in overcoming these dental anxieties.
  • No Time: The world moves very fast these days and people often find themselves with no time to spare. Between work, kids and a host of other responsibilities, the dentist is a distant thought for some. However, some dental offices are dedicated to driving down wait times for their patients. Ultimately, visiting the dentist is only a commitment of 30 minutes to one hour every six months.

While other reasons for not going to the dentist exist, the consequences of not seeing a dentist regularly can be great. Often when it comes to our dental health, complications and problems build slowly over time. That slightly uncomfortable tooth will turn into a nagging pain which can end up being a dental emergency. Preventative dentistry is the best protection from these issues.

Additionally, studies have found that poor oral health may be linked to heart disease and stroke as a result of oral bacteria making its way to the bloodstream. Dental check-ups every six months will help you prevent these issues before they become major pains both physically and financially.

If you haven’t been to the dentist in over six months, click here to make an appointment today.

What Is an Occlusal (Bite) Adjustment & How You Can Tell If You Need One

Occlusal Adjustment - Bite Adjustment

It definitely sounds more significant than it is, however, the potential symptoms that commonly precede an occlusal adjustment or bite adjustment procedure can be uncomfortable. From popping and clicking noises when opening and closing the jaw, to uneven wear on the enamel, more likely than not, you’ll be able to recognize when your bite isn’t aligned.

If left untreated, the misalignment may result in you unconsciously clenching, grinding or gnashing your teeth while awake and during sleep. This is known as bruxism and can lead to headaches, neck aches, jaw pain and even cracked or worn teeth.

To prevent these uncomfortable symptoms, it is important to see your dentist at the earliest signs that something isn’t quite right with your bite. At each visit we check for any misalignments that might require adjusting. When Dr. Balog asks you to bite down and smile, among other things, he is looking to make sure the bottom and top teeth rest comfortably and evenly on each other.

Simply put, a bite adjustment corrects the alignment of your bite and evenly distributes it to eliminate irregular pressure on one side of the mouth. Sometimes tooth sensitivity may be corrected through an occlusal adjustment as the treatment reduces pressures on sensitive teeth.

The process for an occlusal adjustment is easy and convenient. We utilize articulating paper to mark the teeth where the points of contact are during biting and grinding. This allows us to notice the slightest irregularity and make only the adjustments that are necessary.

Once we have identified the irregularities, we eliminate the interference by smoothing the tooth or teeth until the bite is realigned, often resulting in improved patient comfort. However, to prevent any future wear on the teeth, we may recommend a bit guard for sleep.

If you’re noticing any irregularities when you bite down or general discomfort, please make an appointment today.

From Toothbrushes to Flossing Recommendations – Here’s How Dental Standards Are Born

At our office we are committed to staying on top of the latest data and research coming from the American Dental Association (ADA) as it relates to dental best practices, industry standards and product recommendations. Just recently we switched the toothpaste brand we give to our patients based on recent findings and research.

But to most, it probably seems like these changes are somewhat random. The truth is, our recommendations and shifts in procedure practices, don’t come quickly. There’s a very extensive amount of research and discussion that goes into these decisions.

According to the ADA:

Through comprehensive analysis, the ADA establishes baseline standards and technical recommendations for almost every tool of modern dentistry, from radiographic systems to sealants to manual toothbrushes. Our mission is to ensure the highest level of patient safety and professional satisfaction through the publication of clear industry standards for both dental products and dental informatics.

The ADA is constantly evaluating and revaluating products and procedures with the patient’s best interest in mind. The process by which this is accomplished is visualized in the graphic below:

More simply put, dental standards seek to do the following things:

  • Define or provide specific technical requirements for a material, product, process, procedure, service, policy, etc.
  • Provide definitions, dimensions, terminology, symbols, test methods, performance or safety requirements, etc.
  • Are clear, concise, unambiguous and easily understood by those not involved in its development.
  • Facilitate the improvement and quality of oral health and the safety of dental care.

Our office is committed to offering the most modern and industry accepted practices for our patients. Contact us today to make an appointment

Humans Have Been Utilizing Dental Fillings for Over 13,000 Years

Decayed or decaying teeth can lead to severe pain, making it difficult to chew. If left untreated, the decay is likely to worsen which can cause even more pain and increases potential for infection. This could result in a root canal or even extraction.

It’s not surprising that there has been evidence dating back thousands of years of humans using organic residue to fill cracked, broken or worn-down teeth. According to an archaeological team in Italy, in 2017 they discovered evidence of decayed teeth that were manipulated, using an organic residue filling dating back between 12,600 and 13,040 years ago.

The theory is that humans were shifting away from being hunter/gatherers as understanding for agriculture became more available. This shift resulted in a shift in diet as well, with an increase in carbohydrates that is theorized to have led to more teeth and mouth problems.

We’ve been doing Composite Fillings for over 30 years, and our practices have definitely come a long way compared to our early human ancestors. Fillings 13,000 years ago were found to resemble a “tar-like hydrocarbon mixture” that was accompanied by plant fragments and even hair! Luckily, we’ve moved away from hair-based fillings, and our dental fillings are made of tooth colored, composite resin that protect the tooth from infection and further decay.

Here’s a video from the American Dental Association that explains composite fillings:

Our process for placing a composite dental filling is as follows:

  • The tooth is isolated from saliva to keep it dry.
  • The infected part of the tooth is removed.
  • The composite resin is placed in layers over the opening.
  • A special light is used to harden each layer of composite resin material.
  • After the tooth is filled, the composite resin is shaped to resemble a real tooth.

If you think you need a dental filling, or want to know your treatment options for a decaying, cracked, broken or worn down tooth, contact us today to make an appointment.

5 Foods to Eat for a Healthier Mouth & Stronger Teeth

When it comes to tooth decay, your tooth enamel is your greatest defense. The enamel is the hard, outer surface of the tooth and is the hardest mineral substance in your body. While the enamel is the mouth’s natural defense against decay, your diet is what determines how strong your enamel is.

While there are a variety of treatments to address eroded enamel, the best treatment is preventative in nature. In addition to regular dental cleanings and checkups, avoiding acidic foods, alcohol, caffeine and foods high in starches and sugars is a step in the right direction. In addition to avoiding these foods, there are foods you should incorporate more of into your diet.

While there are many mouth-healthy foods to consider, here are five that can help improve the health of your mouth and increase the strength of your enamel:

Water

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), 75% of the US population has access to fluoridated water (water containing fluoride). This is important because fluoride is especially important for improving the strength of your enamel, providing a stronger defense against acids. Additionally, water helps to combat dry mouth, and with greater saliva production your mouth can naturally reduce plaque buildup.

Dairy

Dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt are low in sugar and rich in calcium which is an important mineral in building strong, healthy teeth. Additionally, the protein found in dairy is also important for your teeth. However, not everyone can tolerate the lactose found in dairy, but there are other foods that offer a strong source of calcium such as canned seafood, soy/rice/almond milk and green vegetables.

Lean Protein

The ADA suggests phosphorous-rich foods for stronger teeth and some of the best sources of phosphorus come from lean meat such as poultry, fish and eggs. However, for those who don’t eat meat or fish, there are alternatives such as beans, nuts and dairy products which offer the protein and phosphorus needed to strengthen your teeth.

Nuts

The vitamins and minerals contained in nuts are great for your teeth. In addition to being a meat-substitute high in phosphorus and protein, many nuts are also high in calcium, folic acid, magnesium and vitamin D. Beyond the nutritional value, nuts also stimulate saliva production which is important for a healthy mouth. And finally, nuts are high in fiber, so eating them can help to clean the teeth.

High-Fiber Foods

Foods high in fiber require a lot of chewing. This is good because it creates saliva which is important for a healthy mouth and teeth, and as you chew, the food sort of brushes and scrubs your teeth. This does NOT replace your need to brush, but it does help you maintain your mouth health during the day. Specifically, leafy greens and vegetables are a great source of fiber that require a fair amount of chewing.

If you’re concerned about your tooth enamel or decay, contact us today to set up an appointment.

What to Expect from Dental Bonding for Fixing Chipped, Cracked or Stained Teeth

The most common way we treat chips, cracks, stains and gaps in your teeth is with dental bonding. First and foremost, dental bonding is typically a procedure that doesn’t hurt and doesn’t usually require anesthesia. This is because we often utilize dental bonding on an area of the tooth that has little to no sensitivity. There are some cases where the procedure may result in some slight discomfort, but this is not common.

We begin a dental bonding procedure by preparing your tooth with an etching solution. Next we add the bonding which is an application of a plastic resin that is intended to match the color of the tooth that is receiving the bonding.

We then shape the resin to align with that natural contour of your smile. From there the resin is hardened with a curing wand. The procedure can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. However, if you have multiple teeth that need bonding, you may have to make multiple visits depending on how close together each of the teeth are.

Check out the video below from the American Dental Association to see what an actual procedure looks like:

After the procedure, be on the lookout for any sharp edges or if your teeth don’t quite feel right when you bite down. These issues can be easily addressed to improve the overall comfort of the bonding.

The resin that is used for the bonding is strong, but there is potential for discoloration over time. We advise you to minimize tea, coffee, smoking and to abstain from these activities especially in the first few days following the procedure.

To keep your bonding looking and feeling good, make sure to have regular teeth cleanings and to consult your dentist if you come across any issues with the bonded tooth or teeth.

If you have any further questions about bonding, or if you would like to set up an appointment to discuss  fix a chipped tooth, request an appointment today.

Dentist in Monroe | Men’s Oral Health

Dentist Near Me

Men, dental examinations and treatment are important for you, too. Did you know according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), by age 72 men lose an average of 5 teeth? That number jumps to 12 if you are also a smoker. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your mouth healthy. Follow these tips and you can beat the odds stacked against men and their oral health.

The Basics

Men are more likely than women to suffer from periodontal, or gum, disease. Men also have a higher risk of developing oral cancer and throat cancer, and men tend to lose more teeth than women. A poll conducted by the AGD found that 45% of men who responded felt there was no need for them to visit the dentist. This is a troubling statistic for a group more prone to oral health issues. A visit to our office can help us identify problems early.

Risk Factors

Certain medications can directly impact your teeth. Others can cause side effects such as dry mouth, which decreases saliva. Saliva is important in keeping your teeth’s enamel strong. Smoking or chewing tobacco, including smoking electronic cigarettes, have been linked to increasing your risk of developing oral cancer and other oral health issues. If you play sports, especially football or hockey, get fitted with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from extensive damage. You should avoid or limit energy drinks and sports drinks, as these contain acids and sugars that can lead to decay.

Periodontal Disease

Men are at a higher risk for developing periodontal, or gum, disease. Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of hardened plaque on teeth and gums. This buildup, known as tartar, can inflame your gums. Studies have linked periodontal disease to increasing your risk for strokes, heart attacks, diabetic complications, and more. If your gums are red, bloodied, or sore, you should make an appointment to see us. Our experienced, professional dental team will assess your gum health and work to find a treatment for you.

Take These Steps at Home

A visit to our office will provide you with a complete dental examination and cleaning, but you should also practice good oral hygiene each day at home. This starts by brushing your teeth twice each day, for two minutes each time. When you brush, use an appropriate toothpaste. Ask our team if you are not sure what kind of toothpaste is best for you. Make sure you are also using dental floss. Taking care of your teeth at home will make your next visit to see us easier.

Men, your teeth are important so take good care of them. Practice good brushing and flossing habits at home. Reduce your risk of developing decay and oral disease by cutting back on sugary or acidic drinks, avoiding tobacco and smoking, and keeping our office up to date on any medications you are using. Get into the habit of coming to our office regularly, your smile depends on it.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next dental examination, please contact our office.

1049 N Macomb St
Monroe, MI 48162

Phone: (734) 242-4334

48162 Dentist | How to Beat Bad Breath

Dentist Near Me

dentist in monroeDue to the anxiety or embarrassment it can cause, halitosis – or bad breath – can be difficult for many people to face. However, clean-smelling breath may be easier than you think. Try these solutions to overcome halitosis and regain your confidence.

 

  1.    Maintain oral care – Brushing and flossing your teeth is incredibly important to warding off bad breath. Make sure to brush at least twice a day and floss once a day.
  2.    Quit smoking – Cigarettes and other tobacco products are a common cause of halitosis, in addition to more serious concerns like oral cancer or gum disease.
  3.    Chew sugar free gum – Carry a pack of sugar free gum to chew between meals. It can stimulate saliva flow, mask odors, and prevent tooth decay that might indirectly cause bad breath. Avoid gum that isn’t sugar free, as this can introduce more sugar to your teeth that might contribute to decay.
  4.    Mouthwash – While it is only a temporary solution mouthwash can be a quick way to provide relief from halitosis. However, if you feel you need to use mouthwash several times each day, contact our office for an exam to check for the underlying cause of your bad breath.
  5.    Clean your tongue – When brushing your teeth, make sure not to ignore your tongue. Brush it gently with a wet toothbrush or use a tongue scraper with care. This helps remove bacteria and food particles that can collect on your tongue and cause bad breath.
  6.    Dental visits – Tooth decay, gum disease, and many other dental health issues can be the source of halitosis. By maintaining your recommended schedule of cleanings and examinations, we can work with you to treat any underlying causes of bad breath and ensure your optimal oral health.

 

Halitosis can be prevented by targeting underlying concerns such as tooth decay. Schedule a visit with our office for a cleaning and an examination and enjoy the clean taste of fresh breath.

 

Gregory A. Balog, DDS of Monroe
1049 N. Macomb St., Monroe, MI 48162
(734) 242-4334

 

Monroe, MI Dentist | The Dangers of Grinding

Dentist 48162

Dentist MonroeTeeth grinding, known as bruxism, is a habit many get into without even realizing it. Grinding your teeth can be damaging for several reasons. If you or your child have been struggling with teeth grinding, make an appointment to see us. We will assess the damage to the teeth, as well as assist you in addressing solutions. Here’s what you need to know about teeth grinding.

Why Do We Grind Our Teeth?

Teeth grinding does not have a single cause. Instead, it can occur for several different reasons. Stress and anxiety, an improper bite, and sleep disorders are all potential causes. If your teeth are not aligned properly, they can rub against each other while you bite or chew. Many people grind their teeth without even realizing what they are doing.

The Journal of the American Dental Association found that smoking and alcohol result in an increase in teeth grinding. In fact, smokers and people who drink alcohol were found to be twice as likely to experience bruxism as those who do not have these behaviors.

What Grinding Does Your Teeth

Grinding wears down your teeth causing damage, increased sensitivity, and even loosening teeth. Teeth are like bones. They can crack or fracture, and grinding has been known to cause both issues. Your teeth can also be flattened from constantly rubbing against one another. Grinding not only damages your teeth, but it leaves you more susceptible to other complications in the future, as well. Beyond your teeth, grinding can lead to jaw pain and headaches. If you wake up with a sore, tired jaw on frequent occasions, this could be a sign that you grind or clench your teeth throughout the night.

What We Can Do

If grinding is an issue for you, make an appointment to see us. First, we will assess the extent of the damage that may have already occurred due to grinding. We will then work with you to identify a solution that will keep your teeth strong and healthy. In some cases, we may recommend wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent your teeth from pressing against one another. Though it can be challenging, if your grinding is caused by stress, the top priority will be to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Stress is a more common cause for adults than children. The primary cause of grinding in children is improper alignment.

If grinding your teeth has become an issue, please do not wait until it leads to sensitivity and pain. Schedule an appointment to see us for an evaluation and treatment plan. Our professional dental team will work with you to address the cause of your grinding, and determine a solution that will protect your teeth from any further damage.

For more information on keeping your teeth strong and healthy, please contact our office. We look forward to assisting you!

Gregory A. Balog, DDS of Monroe
1049 N. Macomb St., Monroe, MI 48162
(734) 242-4334

48162 Dentist | Common Brushing Mistakes

Dentist in Monroe

Brushing your teeth is the cornerstone of your oral health care – but is there room for improvement? Use our guide to determine if you’ve fallen into these common brushing habit mistakes, so you can keep your smile healthy and bright.

  1. Not brushing long enough – The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing your teeth for two full minutes at least twice daily. Studies show that most Americans fall short. To ensure you are brushing the full 2 minutes, try using an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer, a clock, or the stopwatch on your smartphone. There are even podcasts designed to act as both a timer and entertainment while you brush.
  2. Improper technique – Aim your brush toward your gums at a 45-degree angle when brushing the fronts and backs of your teeth, and don’t forget the chewing surfaces. Avoid using too much pressure when you brush, as this can cause wear that damages the enamel.
  3. Using an old brush – The ADA recommends replacing your toothbrush (or brush head, if that part is replaceable) every three to four months – sooner if the bristles begin to fray. A toothbrush kept in service too long will become less effective over time due to wear. Moreover, the bristles on an older toothbrush can harbor harmful bacteria.
  4. When to brush, or not brush – Whenever possible, it is best to brush after eating meals or snacks. When you can’t, rinse with water or chew sugarless gum to help remove food particles and neutralize acids. When eating or drinking sugary or acidic items, rinse your mouth and wait 30 minutes to ensure the sugars and acids are washed away by saliva before you brush.
  5. Ignoring your tongue – Use your toothbrush or a tongue cleaner to carefully clean your tongue each time you brush your teeth. This helps clear bacteria and prevent bad breath.

Improper brushing habits can contribute to tooth decay, bad breath, and other oral health issues. Contact us for more information on home care or to schedule your next cleaning.

1049 N Macomb St
Monroe, MI 48162

Phone: (734) 242-4334