Suffering from Sensitive Teeth? Here’s What You Should Know

If you’ve ever felt tooth discomfort after taking a bit of something cold or hot, it could be a sign of a cavity. However, many simply suffer from tooth sensitivity but have otherwise healthy teeth. It’s important to work with a dentist to understand what the cause of this might be, but here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know about tooth sensitivity.

Common Triggers of Sensitive Teeth

There are a variety of factors that can result in tooth discomfort and sensitivity. The pain or discomfort can be anywhere from mild to intense and are most commonly a response to:

  • Food or drinks that are hot
  • Food or drinks that are cold
  • Cold air
  • Foods that are very sweet or sugary
  • Acidic foods or dinks
  • Brushing and/or flossing
  • Mouth washes with alcohol

Causes of Sensitive Teeth

The truth is that some people simply have more sensitive teeth than others. However there are definitely somethings that can cause sensitive teeth issues to become more prominent. The enamel on your teeth is a major factor that can influence tooth sensitivity. If your enamel is getting worn down this can cause these sensitivities. Here are some ways your enamel might be getting worn down.

  • Brushing your teeth too hard or vigorously
  • Using a toothbrush with hard bristles
  • Grinding and clenching of your jaw during sleep
  • High intake of acidic foods and drinks
  • Gum recession can expose more vulnerable parts of the teeth
  • Conditions like GERD (gastroesophageal reflux) can wear down your tooth enamel
  • Decay, chipped or cracked teeth can leave your tooth more exposed

There are a variety of causes, but it is important to find the issue in order to better treat it. We recommend seeing a dentist in order to figure out what is going on in your particular situation.

Treating Tooth Sensitivity

For those experiencing mild tooth sensitivity there are some things you can do yourself. First make sure you are using a toothpaste that’s made for sensitive teeth. There are a number of brands out there to choose from and these toothpastes typically do not have ingredients they can irritate or harm your tooth enamel. With mouthwash, make sure using an alcohol-free mouth rinse. In addition, softer toothbrushes are better for sensitive teeth and you should make sure that you’re using one with soft bristles.

It may take a little while before you start feeling the results of these actions and if they do not work, you will definitely want to speak with your dentist to learn about how you can resolve these issues.

If you have underlying medical conditions, then it’s important to speak with your dentist about how to counteract their impact on your tooth enamel. Receding gums and other conditions can lead to a lot of tooth sensitivity and there are ways to treat that with a prescription toothpaste. Again, speak with your dentist and find out what’s the best approach for you.

If you have any questions about tooth sensitivity or think you might be experiencing this, please feel free to reach out to us and we’ll be happy to set you up with an appointment.

How Biting Your Nails Impacts Your Teeth & How to Stop

About 20-30% of the population are nail biters. To be blunt; it’s a habit. Each person has their own reasons for biting. It’s not a habit to take lightly. This compulsive behavior has negative effects on a person’s physical health. It’s best to get rid of this habit as soon as possible.

Why People Bite Their Nails

Often times children begin biting their nails because their parents are nail biters. Growing up, kids can mimic what their parents do; even their habits. Other times, people bite due to emotional or mental stress. They could be biting mindlessly to cope with their emotions and feelings. Often times, it’s as simple as a reflex people go to when they are bored. They do it without even realizing.

How Nail Biting Impacts Your Teeth

Chronic nail biting can lead to chips, cracks, and even erosion of the teeth. By grinding teeth against nails, enamel begins wearing away. Furthermore, straight teeth can be moved over time causing issues with a person’s bite.

Not only are your teeth affected, but so are your gums. There are more dirt and bacteria under your fingernails than you know. Learn more about what lives under your nails here. All of the germs that get trapped under our nails get instantly transferred to our mouths when we chew on our nails. This can result in gum diseases like gingivitis.

Tips to Stop Biting

  • Keep your nails as short as possible – with no nail to grab; theirs no reason to bite. You are less likely to feel any satisfaction from biting.
  • Use a nail bite deterrent – Their are special formulas you can coat your nails with, just like you would with nail polish, that keep you from biting. They work by putting a really bad taste in your mouth if you try to bite your nails.
  • Work on the root cause – Pay attention to when you start to bite your nails. For example, if you find yourself biting when you feel stressed, then you should find a more effective way to cope with that cause. This way, you will be much less likely to bite your nails, seeing that you are less stressed.
  • Use fidget toys – If you keep your hands busy, they’ll likely stay away from your mouth. Investing in a fidget toy might work for you.

If you’re a nail-biter, feel free to contact our dental office today to schedule an appointment. The health of your teeth matters to us, too.

10 Signs You Need to See a Dentist ASAP

From regular dental cleanings, to cracked or chipped teeth, there are many reasons you might need to make an appointment with a dentist. Some are more obvious than others which is why we took some time to outline the most common reasons you should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

1. A Toothache

Don’t ignore toothaches and pain. Tooth sensitivity and pain can be caused by teeth grinding, abscesses, cavities, broken or chipped teeth, or damaged fillings. Your dentist will be able to diagnose the pain and help you avoid future issues.

2. Dry Mouth

Your saliva helps wash food and debris away while also neutralizing acid. If your mouth is not well lubricated, plaque-inducing bacteria could wreak havoc on your teeth. Contact your dentist for solutions to retain moisture and keep your teeth protected.

3. Loose Teeth

Over time, your teeth may wear down from chewing and eating, but your teeth should last forever. If you’re noticing movement in your teeth, it may be a sign of bone loss or infection.

4. Bleeding

Bleeding from brushing or flossing could mean you’re showing early signs of periodontal disease(gum disease). Other signs of periodontal disease include red or swollen gums, and discharge between the gums and teeth. This disease can lead to tooth and bone loss if left untreated.

5. Mouth Sores

Canker sores are normal and aren’t a huge cause of concern. However, if you have white sores on your tongue, gums or tonsils, it could be a fungal infection called oral thrush. Thrush can be treated with medication.

6. Gum Recession

Receding gums can be a typical part of aging, but it could also be a sign of periodontal disease. Gum recession can expose your roots, causing an increase in decay, infections and even tooth loss.

7. Self-Conscious About Smile

If you’re constantly hiding your smile because you’re missing a tooth or think you need whiter teeth, talk to your dentist. They can walk you through your options that can help improve your smile and your confidence.

8. Difficulty Chewing

Chewing, eating or swallowing food should never be painful. If it hurts to chew, schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately and switch to soft foods until you’re able to get in.

9. Extreme Tooth Sensitivity 

If your teeth feel way more sensitive than normal, it is usually a sign something else is going on. The most common causes of tooth sensitivity can be cracked teeth, worn out fillings, issues with your gums, worn enamel and exposed teeth roots.

10. Tooth Numbness

If your tooth feels numb or you feel a lack of sensation in an area of your mouth, you may need a root canal. Other causes of tooth numbness include:

  • Tooth trauma
  • Biting too hard
  • Bruxism
  • Dying Tooth

If you’re experiencing any of the above, please contact our dental office today to schedule an appointment.

What It Takes to Be a Dentist, Hygienist & Dental Assistant in Michigan

It’s not easy to become a dentist or work in the dental field. You may see “DDS” or “DDM” next to your dentist’s name. These acronyms both mean that they have graduated from an accredited dental school. “DDS” (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and “DDM” (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Medicine) are actually the same degrees, they just have different names depending on what the university decided to call it. Each degree is awarded after the following requirements are achieved:

  • 3 or more years of undergraduate education
  • 4 years of dental school
  • Must pass national exam
  • Must pass state exam

And that’s just to become a general dentist! If the doctor decides to specialize, become an orthodontist, periodontist or oral surgeon, additional training is required. 

Doctors aren’t the only ones who need years of schooling to work in the office. Most dental hygiene programs take at least 2 years to complete and completion allows the hygienist to take the licensure exams. Dental assistant programs are a bit shorter and take anywhere from 9-11 months to complete.

Michigan Requirements

Every dentisthygienist and dental assistant is required to meet certain criteria and requirements in order to be licensed in the state of Michigan. Here are some of those requirements for each:


  • Official transcripts must be sent to Michigan’s Bureau of Professional Licensing
  • National Board scores must be sent directly to Michigan’s Bureau of Professional Licensing
  • Pass the American Board of Dental Examiners (ADEX) simulated clinical written examination 
  • Pass all parts of a clinical examination offered by Northeast Regional Board of Dental Examiners (NERB), a regional testing agency approved by the Board, or a state-offered clinical examination that is equivalent to the NERB


  • Official transcripts must be sent to Michigan’s Bureau of Professional Licensing
  • National Board scores must be sent directly to Michigan’s Bureau of Professional Licensing
  • Pass the American Board of Dental Examiners (ADEX) simulated clinical written examination 
  • Pass all parts of a clinical examination offered by Northeast Regional Board of Dental Examiners (NERB), a regional testing agency approved by the Board, or a state-offered clinical examination that is equivalent to the NERB


  • Official transcripts must be sent to Michigan’s Bureau of Professional Licensing
  • Pass the Michigan RDA clinical and written examination


With few exceptions, almost everyone you meet in your dental office has had years of schooling and has had to pass multiple exams, both state and national. These highly trained professionals are qualified to prevent or alleviate any dental problems you may have. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Balog and staff.

Top 5 Most Popular Dental Tips of 2019

At Dr. Balog’s office we are constantly trying to find new insights and tips to share with our patients in order to help them enjoy a healthy mouth with strong teeth. While your dentist and regular professional check-ups are critical, the food you eat, and your dental hygiene practices are equally as important to having and keeping a healthy smile.

From preventative maintenance to dental products, we’ve offered many tips and tricks on our blog in 2019 to help you get more informed about your dental health. Based on blog post traffic and shares, we have compiled the five most popular dental tips from 2019. Here they are and do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

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.


Common Causes of Bad Breath & What You Can Do About It

Nobody likes having it or smelling it on someone else, but pinpointing the cause of your bad breath (halitosis), can sometimes be a challenge because there are some many factors that can contribute to it. In some cases, brushing and mouthwash simply isn’t enough.

Before you start cutting foods out of your diet or carrying a toothbrush with you everywhere you go, you must first get a sense of what could possibly be causing your bad breath. Especially if you seem to have bad breath on a consistent basis, you’ll need to consider the common causes.


Are You Using the Right Toothbrush?

The bottom line when choosing a toothbrush comes down to a few key things: selecting a brush that works for your lifestyle, choosing a brush that doesn’t make your teeth hurt or your gums bleed, and looking for the American Dental Associations (ADA) seal of approval, which means that it meets the standards for both cleaning your teeth properly and doing so safely.


Here’s What You Should Do If Your Tooth Gets Knocked Out

It might make you cringe thinking about having a tooth knocked out, but your response to something like this could be the difference between salvaging the tooth and requiring significant dental work. The good news is that a tooth that has been knocked out of the socket can often be successfully replaced if you take the right action as soon as possible.

A tooth can be knocked out of the socket in many ways, typically from some sort of trauma or blow to the mouth. We see this most often with people who play contact sports. Preventing these kinds of incidents is key, which is why we recommend athletes wear mouthguards.

If you find yourself or a loved one in this situation where a tooth has been knocked out, it is important to remain calm in order to address the issue effectively. In addition to immediately scheduling an emergency appoint with your dentist, there are some questions you need to ask yourself.


Dry Mouth (Xerostomia) Isn’t Just Uncomfortable – It Causes Tooth Decay

One of the biggest contributors to tooth decay is dry mouth. Combine dry mouth with sugary drinks like juices, sodas, teas or sweetened coffees and the likelihood for tooth decay or cavities increases dramatically. While you may just see dry mouth as an annoyance, it’s much more than that, and if left untreated, it can cause further oral health concerns.

The technical term for those experiencing chronic dry mouth is xerostomia (zero-stow-me-uh) and is a condition impacting the production of saliva in the salivary glands. There are a number of symptoms for dry mouth.