Blog

Tartar Versus Plaque: What’s The Difference?

Patients often ask, “What’s the difference between plaque and tartar?” You may think they are basically the same thing. However, there is a difference between the two. Neither one is great, but that’s why dental hygiene is so important.

What is Tooth Tartar?

Tartar is what accumulates on your teeth when plaque is not removed. Plaque can harden into tartar if left on the teeth for too long. It’s also much more difficult to remove If plaque is left on your teeth for too long. For example, neglected plaque hardens into tartar over time. In addition, tartar can only be removed by a professional dentist. Note that you can’t get rid of tartar by brushing or flossing.

What is Tooth Plaque?

Plaque is a sticky film that builds up on your teeth each day. It contains millions of bacteria. Eating carbs and sugar helps them grow. After eating, they produce acids that erode your enamel, causing cavities. That’s why good daily oral hygiene is essential to preventing plaque buildup. Remember to brush at least twice a day. Also, don’t forget consistent flossing.

Conclusion

Plaque happens every day and can be brushed and flossed away. On the other hand, you must see a dentist when it becomes tartar. Be sure you are attending regularly scheduled cleanings to prevent tartar from happening. We are located in Monroe, Michigan. Regain confidence in your smile and contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Abscessed Tooth: Dangers of Pulling and Treatment

What does an abscessed tooth look like? There are dangers of pulling an abscessed tooth. There are tips on how to treat an abscessed tooth. We will go over all of these things in this blog. First, let’s talk about what an abscessed tooth is. An abscessed tooth is an infected tooth. It can happen if you have a cracked tooth, gum disease, or even tooth decay.

What Does an Abscessed Tooth Look Like?

An abscess in general refers to an accumulation of pus in a cavity or space. What you see and feel is dependent upon the type of dental abscess you have. You may experience various symptoms. For example, you may have pimple-like sores on your gums. Also, you may actually see drainage from the tooth. However, there is a type of abscess with a cyst around the root. This abscess is called a periapical abscess and is visible in an x-ray.

Dangers of Pulling an Abscessed Tooth

Extracting a tooth can lead to other issues First, bone shrinkage in the area of the missing tooth can happen. Also, the adjacent teeth will start to drift into the position of the missing one. If your teeth drift then your bite can be affected. Anytime a tooth is extracted you should look for a way of replacing it. This will result in the most optimal oral health. Also, fewer complications down the line. No tooth replacement will be exactly as good as a natural tooth. That being said, you should try to preserve your tooth if possible.

How to Treat an Abscessed Tooth

We already talked about the possibility of pulling the tooth. The other most common option is a root canal. A dental abscess is commonly treated with a root canal treatment. The infection is removed from the tooth, the space is filled with a special dental filler material, and the tooth is sealed. A dental crown may be required to protect the tooth.

Conclusion

It’s important to visit the dentist if you think you have a dental abscess. Discuss your options with the dentist. Get a second opinion if needed. Our 5-star office is here to help. We are located in Monroe, Michigan. Regain confidence in your smile and contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Are Water Flossers Effective?

Are water flossers effective? That’s a great question. There are different ways to floss. Some may use traditional string floss. Others like single-use floss sticks. Each method gets the job done but a water flosser may be more effective.

What is a Water Flosser?

A Water Flosser is an alternative to traditional string floss. It allows advanced oral care with a stream of pressured water and can clean between the teeth. It removes and minimizes food particles and plaque while allowing for an easier, more thorough cleaning of teeth.

What Makes a Water Flosser Effective?

A water flosser makes the flossing process quicker. It is highly effective in cleaning your teeth. Let’s go over some of the benefits.

  • Prevents and helps treat gingivitis
  • Effectively removes plaque
  • Cleans braces easier
  • Fresher breath
  • Whiter teeth
  • Has a greater reach in your mouth

Remember, it is not a substitute for brushing. Continue to brush two times a day. Water flossers are an effective alternative to traditional flossing.

Conclusion

The point is that a water flosser is effective. Flossing is very important when it comes to your dental hygiene. Talk to your dentist about which one they recommend for you. Regain confidence in your smile and contact us today to set up an appointment.

Dry Socket: What is it? Prevention? Treatment?

Wondering if dry socket goes away on its own? What even is dry socket? Is it preventable? All of this and more are right here in this article. Each year roughly 5 million patients in the United States get their wisdom teeth removed. Unfortunately, there is potential for dry socket with every removal.

What is Dry Socket?

A dry socket occurs when the blood clot at the site of extraction either does not form, dislodges, or dissolves before the wound can heal. When there is no blood clot in this area, the bone and nerves become exposed which is very painful. The empty socket is then more inflamed and can fill with food and other debris which can add to the pain.

How to Treat Dry Socket

Poor oral hygiene habits cause the vast majority of cases of gum disease. As we mentioned earlier, plaque is constantly forming on your teeth. If not removed through regular brushing and flossing, this plaque will begin to harden into tartar, leading to gum disease. Other factors that may contribute to developing gum disease include genetics, smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products, certain medications (such as steroids or cancer treatments), diabetes, and pregnancy.

How to Prevent Dry Socket

If a dry socket does occur, it happens between 1-3 days after your operation.

Here’s how to do your best to avoid dry socket during your recovery:

  • Avoid blowing your nose
  • Don’t spit
  • Do not drink through a straw
  • Avoid the use of tobacco
  • Don’t smoke

It is very important to carefully follow all home-care steps your dentist gave you. Following car instructions will prevent a nagging dry socket.

Conclusion

We know that dry sockets are painful. The good thing is that they are treatable. Be sure to keep your dentist or doctor updated if you think you have dry socket. If you’re having issues with your tooth removal recovery, come in for a check-up and we’ll evaluate your situation. Contact us today.

Halloween Candy? Here are Some Dental Tips

So it’s 2022 and you’ve got a big bag of Halloween candy. Have you thought about your teeth though?
When it comes to understanding how your dental health is impacted by candy, let’s discuss ways you can minimize the impact on your teeth with consistent dental hygiene practices.

Dental Tips for Halloween

Here are a few tips to help keep a healthy mouth while still indulging in Halloween candy:

Pick Your Favorites & Donate the Rest

Your teeth will thank you for limiting your candy stash. Donate the rest to organizations like Ronald McDonald House, Treats for Troops, or see if your dentist’s office has a Halloween candy buy-back program.

Time Your Candy Consumption

Your saliva production increases after a meal. By eating your candy right after mealtime, your mouth has a better chance of canceling out acid and flushing out food particles. 

Avoid Hard and Sticky Candy

Hard candy tends to be in the mouth longer and sticky candy is hard to wash off your teeth. By avoiding both you’re able to reduce the chance of tooth decay.

Conclusion

It’s ok to eat candy, but make sure you understand how each type impacts your teeth and find ways to moderate it in order to prevent potential dental issues. Also, make sure to practice good oral hygiene by brushing two times a day and flossing regularly. Your six-month cleanings can help catch problems before they get serious as well. If you haven’t scheduled your routine cleaning, contact our office today to make an appointment.

Gum Disease: Everything You Need To Know

Do you ever have that feeling like something is just off, but you can’t quite put your finger on it? This sensation is all too familiar for many, and the answer lies in their oral health. Namely, they may have developed gum disease. This nasty condition results in bleeding, redness, and soreness in the gums and can eventually lead to tooth loss if left untreated. But what exactly is gum disease? Keep reading to discover everything you need about this ubiquitous oral health issue.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting your teeth. It is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth. If not removed through brushing and flossing, plaque will harden into tartar, a hard substance that can only be removed through professional cleaning.

If tartar is not removed, it will continue to spread beneath the gum line and begin to break down the bone that supports your teeth. This eventually leads to pockets forming between the teeth and gums, which are perfect places for bacteria to hide and further continue their work of destroying your smile. As the disease progresses, you may experience symptoms such as bleeding gums, receding gums, bad breath, loose teeth, or a change in the fit of your partial dentures.

What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?

As we just mentioned, there are several telltale signs that you may have developed gum disease. These include:

  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Receding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • A change in how your partial dentures fit

If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to see your dentist as soon as possible so they can diagnose the problem and begin treating it accordingly.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Poor oral hygiene habits cause the vast majority of cases of gum disease. As we mentioned earlier, plaque is constantly forming on your teeth. If not removed through regular brushing and flossing, this plaque will begin to harden into tartar, leading to gum disease. Other factors that may contribute to developing gum disease include genetics, smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products, certain medications (such as steroids or cancer treatments), diabetes, and pregnancy.

Conclusion

While gum disease may seem like a small problem at first, it can quickly become much more serious if left untreated. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the symptoms so you can catch them early and begin treatment as soon as possible. And remember: good oral hygiene habits are essential for preventing gum disease in the first place! So be sure to brush and floss twice a day and see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.

If you’re having issues with your gums, come in for a check-up and we’ll evaluate your situation. Contact us today.

What Causes Bad Breath? Does Covid Cause Bad Breath?

Are you wondering if Covid-19 actually does cause bad breath? There are many different causes of bad breath. Nobody likes having it or smelling it on someone else. Finding the root cause of your bad breath can be challenging. There are many factors that can contribute to that unpleasant smell.

If you are noticing bad breath on a consistent basis, consider the following commons causes:

  • Food: Some foods have more odor than others, especially when you start to break them down by chewing. Garlic, onions, and others will make almost anyone’s breath smell and it won’t go away until the food is completely digested.
  • Tobacco: Smoking and chewing tobacco not only can stain your teeth and damage your gums/mouth, but they are also often a cause of bad breath.
  • Not Brushing/Flossing: While brushing and flossing won’t necessarily remove the smell of the garlic you just ate, in the long term it will help minimize your bad breath. Food particles can get stuck between your teeth, gums, and your tongue and if you don’t brush, these particles will start to smell.
  • Gum (Periodontal) Disease: When plaque buildup on your teeth and goes untreated, gum disease may follow. Persistent bad breath could be a sign.
  • Dry Mouth: Without an adequate supply of saliva, bad breath can follow. Saliva helps to neutralize acids that are produced by plaque and wash away accumulations of dead cells that will eventually decompose. Dry mouth can be caused by medications, salivary gland problems,
  • Other Causes: Poorly fitting dental appliances, cavities, mouth infections, and a number of other diseases and illnesses can cause bad breath.
  • Covid-19: According to the National Library of Medicine, there are chemicals in saliva and changes in the tongue caused by Covid-19. These changes can cause bad breath in Covid patients.

Talk to a professional if you are concerned about bad breath. Something should definitely be addressed if you feel this is a chronic issue. There are special hygiene products that can be used to combat it. Speak to your dentist about your options.

If you’re having issues with bad breath, come in for a check-up and we’ll evaluate other options. Contact us today.

Top 5 Risk Factors For Cavities

There are many risk factors for cavities. Want to know if you may be at risk for them? The truth is anyone with teeth has the potential for getting cavities. Regular brushing, flossing, and preventative dental checkups can help prevent cavities, but it’s important to understand the other factors that can cause them. Here are five things that can increase the chance of getting cavities.

What Are Cavities?

Cavities are small openings that develop from permanently damaged areas on the hard surface of your teeth. Also called caries, cavities are the result of decaying teeth and are one of the most common dental health issues in the world. If untreated, they can lead to infection, pain, and even the loss of teeth. Here are five things that can increase the chance of getting cavities.

1. Location of Teeth

Molars and premolars (your back teeth) are the most susceptible to getting cavities. This is because they have many grooves where plaque can collect and are more difficult to clean than front teeth.

2. Diet

Certain foods and drinks are harder to remove from your teeth because they cling to the surface for a longer period of time. Sugary drinks and hard candies are a few examples but even milk and ice cream can be difficult to remove from your teeth.

3. Before Bed Eating or Snacking

If you eat or drink before bed and don’t brush, the food particles will remain on your teeth for the duration of the night and accelerate the plaque buildup, especially in children. Frequent snacking or drinking of sugary drinks simply acts as more fuel for the buildup of plaque which is the primary cause of cavities.

4. Poor Brushing Technique

The reason it is recommended you brush twice a day is that the tooth decay process can begin right when plaque forms. It is imperative to brush your teeth soon after eating and drinking.

5. Dry Mouth

If you suffer from dry mouth, your chances for cavities are much greater. That’s because saliva can help to counteract acids that come from bacteria. Some medications can increase dry mouth symptoms and result in accelerated tooth decay that leads to cavities.

While other risk factors exist, these are some of the primary ones that precede cavities. In addition to brushing, flossing, and dental checkups, you can counter these factors in a variety of ways. From dental sealants to increasing the amount of water you drink, talk to your dentist to learn all the ways you can prevent cavities from forming.

If you have untreated cavities or haven’t been to the dentist recently, make an appointment today.

Sugary Drinks and 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 ages 18-39.  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. Good bacteria produce 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, is 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 toothpaste 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 to prevention.

If you think you might be suffering from excessive tooth decay as a 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. 

Cosmetic Dentist Services in Michigan

Are you looking for a cosmetic dentist in Michigan? You should look for the best dentist for your needs. Most everyone wants to look their best. One of the most noticeable things is a person’s smile. Whether you are looking for cosmetic dentistry because of dental conditions or you simply would like to change the way your teeth look, we’ve got you covered. Here are some cosmetic dentistry services we offer in Monroe, Michigan.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are cosmetic solutions that may be recommended for those who are interested in restoring the color and appearance of their teeth. They are used to recreate the natural look of teeth, while also providing strength and flexibility that is comparable to natural tooth enamel.

Teeth Whitening

We provide Philips Zoom teeth whitening solutions for patients to brighten their smiles. Teeth whitening may be a great option if you have stained, dull, or discolored teeth. The main causes of stained teeth are genetics, antibiotics, tobacco, and certain foods. As we age, our teeth darken as well.

Dental Crowns

Over time, our teeth begin to weaken and become more susceptible to problems such as decay, cracks, or discoloration. Crowns are used to renew the appearance and function of a tooth. Crowns are not limited to just replacing the original tooth but can be designed to create an even better aesthetic appearance.

Conclusion

Dr. Balog and his Monroe, MI dental staff offer aesthetic dental solutions to enhance the appearance of your smile and overall confidence. Cosmetic dentistry can also improve the overall function of your mouth and teeth. Here’s a look at the various cosmetic dentistry services we offer. Contact us today to schedule an honest appointment with our trusted dentist.