Friday, December 1, 2017

How to Protect Your Enamel

Need tips to protect your enamel? Want to know what dentists recommend for maintaining healthy enamel? Does your dentist in Howell, Michigan say you need to take better care of your enamel?

Tooth enamel is the hard outer covering of your tooth that helps protect it from exposure to damaging wear and erosion. Enamel is actually the hardest substance of the human body, but it’s not indestructible!

Protecting your enamel goes a long way to helping your teeth and your smile overall, so it’s important to know what you can do every day to preserve it.

Check out our top tips below for protecting your enamel:
  1. Watch your pressure: when brushing your teeth, don’t apply too much pressure. This can wear away the enamel on your teeth and expose the dentin to serious damage. Light pressure will clean your teeth more than adequately and keep your enamel tough.
  2. Know your acids: brushing your teeth right after eating foods like citrus, tomato, or soda can be very damaging to your enamel. Instead, drink water and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.
  3. Opt for soft: although soft, medium, and hard bristles are sold together in the toothbrush aisle, soft bristles are suitable for almost everybody and hard bristles should almost never be used in your mouth.
  4. Good technique: holding your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to the gum line and brushing with short strokes is the best way to clean your teeth and preserve your enamel. Make sure to cover the inner, outer, and chewing surfaces of every tooth.
  5. Visit your Dentist in Howell, Michigan: if you have any concerns about your enamel or oral health, your dentist is a great resource whether you’re overdue or between regular visits.

Although enamel is on the surface of your teeth, it’s really the foundation for a healthy smile. Follow these tips and keep your enamel strong for years to come. If you have any questions about your enamel or oral hygiene, give your dentist in Howell, Michigan a call today for tips on everything from teeth brushing, which products to use, to common mistakes you could be making.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How to Break 5 Bad Dental Habits

Are you sure you’re taking the best possible care of your teeth?

Are you doing everything you can to make sure that your teeth and gums are not only healthy, but aren’t irritated or inflamed?

Are you aware of any bad habits that could be compromising the overall health of your mouth and gums?

Don’t feel guilty – bad habits happen to all of us! We all have cheats and tricks to get out of chores we don’t like, and those can include issues with brushing, flossing and taking care of our teeth!

Catching these bad habits could be the thing standing in the way between you and a great dental exam.

Here are some common mistakes we see in our patients’ six month checkups:

  • Getting carried away while brushing
  • Whitening too much
  • Grinding your teeth/clenching your jaw
  • Trying to take care of aches and pains at home

Brushing your teeth correctly is always going to outweigh how much you brush your teeth. In fact, brushing too vigorously can actually mean you’re not doing a good job getting rid of germs and plaque! Slow down, take your time, and be gentle!

Teeth whitening can be addictive. You want a shiny, sparkly smile, and there are plenty of over-the-counter products to help you. Always talk to your dentist before you try a new product to find out what they recommend, and remember to only whiten your teeth once or twice per year! Whitening too often can inflame your gums and damage your enamel.

If you’re grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw, there are a variety of reasons why this can be detrimental to your health! If you’re doing it at night, grinding and clenching can be signs of stress, anxiety, or larger dental problems such as TMJ disorder. Talk to your dentist if you notice a sore jaw, or frequent headaches!

Most importantly, never try to tackle dental work at home. It can be tempting to use wives’ tales or internet advice to take care of a toothache, but this could lead to bigger problems. If you’re having trouble with your teeth or gums, call your dentist right away.

Many bad dental habits are caused by anxiety about seeing the dentist. We know it can be scary, and that’s why we work hard to make our practice a comfortable place, and use only gentle dental procedures and methods. To find out more, contact Dr. DiStefano & Associates today!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Tips to Help Sensitive Teeth

Do you have sensitive teeth or gums? Do you notice a pang when you eat hot or cold foods? Do sugary treats leave your teeth zinging?

Sensitivity in your teeth can greatly affect your quality of life, but you’re not alone! A survey of dentists across the U.S. reports that as many as 1 in 8 Americans suffers from sensitive teeth and/or gums.

How can you stop the pain in your teeth so you can enjoy things like ice cream, cold drinks, and sugary snacks again? We’ve got the answers!

According to the American Dental Association, the most common causes of sensitivity include:

  • Tooth decay (cavities)
  • Fractured teeth
  • Worn fillings
  • Gum disease
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Exposed tooth rot

Underneath the gum line of your teeth, and beneath the enamel and cementum that protect your teeth, there’s dentin. Dentin is less dense than enamel and contains small hollow canals. When these small canals are exposed to heat, cold, or acidic and sticky foods, the nerves in your tooth are affected, leading to hypersensitivity.

Here’s the good news: sensitive teeth can be treated by your dentist! You can also use over the counter products like a desensitizing toothpaste, fluoride gel, or even have a root canal to help protect the nerves inside your teeth and gums.

If the sensitivity in your teeth and gums is because of a larger dental issue, we can help! Our team of specialists works hard to ensure your comfort by only using gentle dental procedures to help lessen your pain.

To find out how we can help treat your sensitivity, contact us today! We’re ready to help you and make sure you can get back to normal again.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Kid Friendly Guide For Fighting Cavities With Fluoride

Trying to teach your child how to brush their teeth can be challenging! Trying to teach them about healthy habits to promote good oral health can be even more challenging, especially when you have to cut back on the sweets and sodas that your child loves.

To help your kids understand why oral health is so important, you can teach them about the built-in cavity fighters in their drinking water!

Teaching kids this way can make them feel like they’re protecting their teeth just by using the water in their tap, making it less like a chore.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has a quick 4-step guide for you to explain to your kids how to maintain good oral health:

  1. Drink water that has fluoride
  2. Brush twice a day with the right amount of fluoridated toothpaste
  3. Eat a healthy diet, limiting sweet drinks, sticky candies, and snacks
  4. Talk to your dentist or doctor about fluoride treatments

Regulated amounts of fluoride in the drinking water in most cities will help your children get the fluoride they need to put them on the right track to oral health just by brushing their teeth!

You can also purchase fluoride-free dental products for very small children (younger than two years old) to save for when they’re able to take care of their dental hygiene themselves.

When they’re ready to learn, you can find more information on our website, or by visiting your trusted family dentist in Howell, Michigan!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Fluoride Myths & Facts

Do you have conflicting feelings about fluoride?

Do you have concerns about the fact that fluoride is in the water you get from your tap, and in a lot of dental products available at the drugstore?

Before you make up your mind, make sure you have the facts!

As your trusted family dentist in Howell, Michigan, our team at Dr. DiStefano & Associates wants to make sure that you have all the information about products you can buy right at your fingertips.

Myths About Fluoride

  • “Fluoride doesn’t belong in the drinking water.”
  • “Adding fluoride is forced medication.”
  • “We can already get fluoride in toothpaste, so we don’t need it in our drinking water.”
  • “Fluoride is especially unsafe for small children.”

The Facts About Fluoride:

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fluoride occurs naturally in water, though rarely at the optimal level to protect teeth.
  • Many scientific studies and reviews have recognized fluoride as an important nutrient for strong, healthy teeth!
  • Fluoridated water is the best way to protect everyone’s teeth from decay, and communities use guidelines from the CDC to regulate the amount of fluoride needed in the water to promote good oral health.
  • Getting enough fluoride in childhood is important to strengthening our teeth for an entire lifetime, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics!

Looking For More?

If you have more questions about fluoride use and regulations, please talk to your dentist! We can recommend products to use for added fluoride and ease your concerns about excessive fluoride use, especially for small kids.

Call your family dentist in Howell, Michigan today to find out how we can help, or visit our website for more information!

Monday, March 20, 2017

How to Handle Common Dental Emergencies

Have you ever had that dream when your teeth start falling out? Would you know how to handle it if reality imitated the dream?

Real life dental emergencies happen, sometimes at the most inconvenient times. If you’re armed with a few tips to handle a few common dental emergencies, you can do a lot to minimize the damage and even save a tooth!

  • Knocked-out permanent tooth? Keep it moist. Without forcing it or touching the roots, try reinserting the tooth. Alternatively, hold the tooth in your cheek, in a glass of milk, or in a tooth preservation product. Get to your dentist as soon as possible. 
  • Cracked or chipped tooth? Save any broken pieces and rinse them and your mouth with warm water. Apply a cold compress to any swollen or sore areas of the face and mouth. 
  • Toothache? Rinse your mouth with warm water and try to floss around the sore areas. A lodged piece of food can often be the culprit. Do NOT apply pain relievers directly to the area. 
  • Abscess? Pimple-like swelling on the gums? Because this is a potentially dangerous infection, call your dentist right away. Draw the infection out by rinsing with a mild salt water solution several times a day. 
  • Broken braces or wires? If a broken wire is causing discomfort, try to use a pencil eraser to reposition the wire. You can also cover the wire the dental wax. Do not try to cut the wire. Call your dentist for a repair. 

To address your dental emergencies, try gentle dental in Howell, Michigan. We have time in our schedule set aside to treat emergencies and can put you in contact with dentist in an emergency after hours. Give us a call today!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

5 Rules for Dental Work during Pregnancy

Not sure if you should keep your regular dentist appointment now that you’re pregnant? Need help figuring out what’s safe and what’s not at the dentist’s office if you’re pregnant?

The world becomes infinitely more complicated the moment you find out you’re pregnant. Luckily, when it comes to the dentist and pregnancy, there are 5 simple rules you can follow to keep yourself and baby happy and healthy.

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  1. Don’t cancel your regular appointment. Exams and cleanings are perfectly safe during pregnancy. In fact, some of the hormones produced during pregnancy tend to cause gum sensitivity, bleeding, and increased risk of gum disease, so it’s important to go to the dentist during your pregnancy to prevent infection. 
  2. Tell your dentist everything. Your dentist and hygienist should know that you’re pregnant, any medications you’re taking, and any special medical advice your doctor has provided for your pregnancy. If they know the details, they’ll take better care of you!
  3. Avoid x-rays if possible. Regular check-up x-rays can and should be postponed until after you have your baby. However, if you need any dental procedures during pregnancy that require an x-ray, wearing the appropriate protection will keep baby safe. The very small risk of x-ray exposure is much smaller than the risk of postponing necessary dental work. 
  4. No elective dentistry. Any elective or unnecessary procedures can wait. Preventative or corrective dentistry is important to do to keep you and baby healthy, but elective procedures like whitening treatments or replacing older metal fillings are better put on hold. 
  5. Be comfortable. As the baby grows, if you need to visit the dentist, bring whatever you need to be comfortable whether that’s a pillow or some tunes!

If you require a more serious procedure like a root canal, you’ll want to work with your dentist to minimize medication you receive while making sure you’re totally comfortable.

It’s important for your and baby’s health to minimize your stress by not experiencing unnecessary, excessive pain.

If you follow these easy rules, you’ll have nothing to worry about when it comes to dentistry and pregnancy. For gentle dental in Howell, Michigan during your pregnancy, give us a call. We can answer any questions you have about dental care and procedures while you’re pregnant and after baby arrives!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

3 Quick Tips to Improving Your Dental Routine

Are you looking for a way to improve your dental routine so you can have better checkups?

Do you want to make sure you get a clean bill of health every time you see your dentist, and take care of your teeth in between appointments?

You know how important it is to take care of your teeth, and there are some things you can start doing right away to make your checkups less painful and less stressful for you.

  1. Eat better – A good diet isn’t just good for your waistline – it’s good for your mouth, too! Your diet can have a huge impact on the health of your gums and teeth. Carb-heavy foods usually have high sugars; try switching to more fruits and vegetables.
  2. Switch your toothbrush regularly – Whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush, make sure you’re changing it every few months or whenever the bristles start to fray. You should also get one sooner if you’re getting over a cold or the flu to prevent re-infection. 
  3. Read the labels on your dental products – Not all products are created equally. When you buy new toothpaste, make sure you take a few seconds to read the label. The American Dental Association has a list of recommended toothpastes. These toothpastes typically contain fluoride, which helps to minimize the oral bacteria that causes cavities, in addition to strengthening tooth enamel.

If you want some more advice on how to amp up your dental routine, call Dr. DiStefano’s office! Our team of friendly, highly trained dental professionals will give you the best care personalized just for you.

We also offer a variety of cosmetic dentistry procedures so you can improve your smile even more.

Visit our website or call us today to get started!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Why Do We Visit the Dentist Every 6 Months?

Do you have trouble remembering to schedule your dental exams?

Do you wonder why you have to go twice a year, even if you’re not experiencing problems with your teeth?

There’s a reason you trust your dentist to take care of your teeth, and it’s because you don’t always do a good enough job, even if you’re diligent about keeping your health top-of-mind.

According to the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, “More than 50 years ago, […] few people took good care of their teeth. There were no guidelines for how often you should see a dentist. Many dentists focused on fixing problems rather than preventing them.”

After that, the different dental and health organizations decided there was a need to set standards for preventive dentistry, and came up with the “twice a year” rule that we use today.

However, you should take your own personal health habits and personal hygiene into account when you schedule your appointments. For example, if you’ve recently had a procedure or cosmetic dentistry work done, you might want to see your dentist more than twice a year to make sure you’re staying healthy.

If you’re part of a high-risk group of people that includes smokers, pregnant women, diabetics, people with current gum disease, people with a weak immune system, or people to tend to build up plaque, you should see your dentist more frequently.

To schedule an appointment with a member of our team today, give us a call or visit our website! We provide standard cleanings, x-rays, and a variety of cosmetic dentistry procedures.