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Positive Dental Habits

Young woman in green tank top brushing teeth standing in her white bathroom

The key to developing positive dental habits is setting a solid routine. Keeping your teeth consistently clean and healthy, as well as maintaining a healthy diet, are great ways to avoid costly and painful dental procedures in the future. Here are simple ways to create a dental routine and gain positive dental habits.

1. Brush Your Teeth Thoroughly

Yes, there is a right way to brush your teeth! Try to brush your teeth for two minutes at a time, using small circles to clean every surface of your teeth effectively. Ask your dentist for tips on how to brush your teeth properly if you don’t think you have the technique down right.

2. Floss Everyday

Only a third of Americans floss their teeth daily, but it’s a necessary habit that everyone should develop! Flossing clears plaque and bacteria from tight spaces that your toothbrush can’t reach. Not flossing can put you at risk for gum disease, which starts when plaque and bacteria get trapped under the gum line and make your gums infected and inflamed.

3. Rinse Well

After you’re done brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth to wash away any bacteria and plaque that may still be sitting on the surface of your teeth. It’s a quick, simple way to take extra good care of your oral health.

4. Don’t Eat Before Bed

Eating before bed may sound like a great idea, but it can actually cause more harm than good. Our bodies restore and repair while we sleep. Our digestive systems slow down, so they can’t properly break down anything we’ve eaten right before bed. Because of this, we don’t produce as much saliva to wash away bacteria from the surface of our teeth. Try not to eat anything for two to three hours before you go to bed to avoid this. If you’re tempted to fill your belly at night, try keeping a glass of water by your bed to kill any cravings. In general, it is best to avoid sugary, acidic, and sticky foods because they more easily wear down enamel.

5. See Your Dentist Regularly

Just because you carefully brush and floss your teeth doesn’t mean you’re clear of any dental issues. Your dentist will be able to give you a thorough examination and take X-rays of your teeth and gums to rule out any potential issues.

Make it your goal to create positive dental habits in the new year! Our staff at High Point Family Dentistry is committed to providing you with the best oral care and are more than happy to help answer any questions that you may have.

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What Are Those Things in the Dentist’s Office?

hand holding dental laser with purple lighted tip

Ever wondered what dentists use to clean and examine your teeth? You’re not alone! It’s daunting to sit in the dentist’s chair and not understand the instruments that the hygienist and dentist are using. Let’s take a look at the most popular dental tools and their purposes.

Mouth Mirror

The mouth mirror is a small, circular mirror attached to a long handle. Your dentist uses it to look at tight spaces in your mouth, paying close attention to areas that have tartar buildup. Another use for the mouth mirror is to simply push your tongue or cheek away to get a better look at your teeth!

Saliva Ejector

What’s that little vacuum that sucks up your spit during a treatment? That’s the saliva ejector, which dries your mouth so the dentist can better perform their work.

Scalers

Scalers are the hooked instruments that your hygienist uses to scrape plaque and tartar off your teeth. It makes what many think is a very unpleasant scraping sound. While temporarily uncomfortable, you may quickly feel the difference between not having your teeth scaled compared to having them scaled!

Drill

Have a cavity? Chances are you’ll have some time with the drill, which removes the area of decay and prepares the tooth for a filling.

Probe

Your dentist uses a probe to examine your gums and check for signs of gum disease.

Intraoral Camera

Want to know what your dentist is looking at? At High Point Family Dentistry, we use intraoral cameras so our patients can take a look at their teeth and see what the dentist sees! Now you never have to wonder what we’re seeing during an examination.

Isolite®

Another high-tech feature that High Point Family Dentistry is proud to use is the Isolite patient comfort system. It simultaneously holds your mouth open for you and keeps it illuminated so your dentist can see their work. It even sucks away fluids!

X-Ray Machine

If you’re a new patient or haven’t had X-rays taken in a while, your dentist will want to have new X-rays taken during your visit. We use digital X-rays because they emit less radiation than regular X-rays and are quick.

Next time you visit the dentist, don’t be frightened by the different instruments that your dentist uses. At High Point Family Dentistry, we only utilize the most up-to-date technologies so our patients can enjoy a faster and more accurate appointment. Contact us today and see the difference for yourself!

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Should I Be Brushing My Pet’s Teeth?

puppy on white carpet needs teeth brushed

In the same way that it’s vital for humans to brush their teeth to practice good oral health, it’s important that your pet gets the same treatment to maintain a healthy mouth.

Why You Should Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

When you brush your pet’s teeth, you are removing plaque and tartar from their teeth. If left untreated, the tartar and plaque can build up and cause serious dental issues, such as gingivitis, cavities, gum disease, tooth loss, and more, not to mention bad breath. These oral issues can even lead to serious conditions in other parts of your pet’s body. This includes liver, heart, and kidney problems that can cause chronic pain and a short lifespan. By brushing your pet’s teeth, you are taking care of body their oral health and their overall health.

How You Should Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

Unfortunately, brushing your pet’s teeth is not particularly enjoyable. That’s why it’s important to establish a routine and brush their teeth at least three times a week. Start by finding a time when your pet is relaxed and comfortable. You also need to come prepared. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste made especially for pets.

Getting Used to It

When you have all of your tools and your pet is calm, kneel or sit in front of them. Never stand above them or hold them down as this will make them anxious and upset. Next, test your pet’s willingness to have you near their mouth by rubbing your finger along their teeth and gums using light pressure. If your pet is comfortable with that, spread a bit of toothpaste on your finger and hold it out for them to taste. This will help them get used to the toothpaste.

The Technique

Once your pet is used to the taste of the toothpaste and the feel of something in their mouth, it’s time to start brushing! Lift your pet’s upper lip and gently massage the gum line and teeth with the toothbrush, brushing in small circles. Start with a few teeth at a time, working through the entire mouth for two minutes total. It’s most important to hit the outsides of the canine and back teeth, which is where plaque tends to build up. Some light bleeding might occur, and that’s ok. If you notice anything more, you are either brushing too aggressively or your pet might be showing signs of gum disease. Talk to your vet right away if this is the case.

Rewards

Finally, end the tooth brushing experience by rewarding your pet. Give them a treat, some extra love, or playtime. It’s important that they see this as something to look forward to or something that they’ll be rewarded for doing.

While it’s very important to take care of your pet’s teeth, be sure to take care of yours, as well! At High Point Family Dentistry, we’re dedicated to providing you with the best oral care. Call us today to make an appointment!

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Dental Veneers FAQs

young man with dental veneers smiling

Ever wonder how your favorite celebrities have perfect smiles? The answer is likely dental veneers, which are thin sheets of porcelain that can mask chips, wide gaps, and discoloration for a brighter and more beautiful smile. If you’re considering veneers, we’ve put together answers to some of your most pressing questions.

What Are Dental Veneers?

Dental veneers are thin porcelain shells that are custom made to fit over your teeth. They can cover up tooth discoloration, cracks, and gaps, and can also lengthen your teeth. Dental veneers are a permanent procedure, so it is important to think carefully about whether or not you would like to proceed with getting them.

What Is the Dental Veneers Process?

First, you’ll have a smile design consultation with your dentist to map out what your needs are. Your dentist will then design the perfect smile for you. Once the plan is drawn up, they will shave some of the enamel from your teeth to create space for the veneers so they feel as natural and comfortable as possible. After that, they will take impressions of your teeth to send to a lab that will design your veneers.

When your veneers are ready, you will return to the dentist’s office for a final fitting. Once you approve of the look and fit, your dentist will bond your veneers to your teeth.

How Do I Take Care of Veneers?

Veneers function just like natural teeth, so you don’t need to do anything differently to maintain them. Just brush and floss them as you normally would!

How Much Do Veneers Cost?

The cost of veneers depends on the number you get and the material used. After your initial consultation, we will go over cost and financing options with you. We offer CareCredit® and an in-house Dental Savers Plan that can help you save 20-40% on cosmetic treatments.

At High Point Family Dentistry, we’re committed to helping you have a beautiful smile that you are proud of showing off. If you are interested in dental veneers, our staff is happy to assist you.

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5 Things Every Bathroom Needs for Great Oral Health

bathroom sink organized for good oral health routine

You know that oral health is important, but do you know what you need to keep your teeth clean and healthy? Here are 5 things your bathroom needs to ensure you’re taking care of your smile.

Toothbrush

One of the most important dental tools in your bathroom, your toothbrush is your battle sword against bacteria and plaque. But what kind of toothbrush should you be using?

Most dentists agree that a soft-bristled brush is best for removing debris and plaque from your teeth and along your gum line. The shape and grip of the toothbrush is less important. Just pick whatever helps you brush most thoroughly! Speaking of thorough, many find electric toothbrushes are able to remove more plaque from your mouth than your average toothbrush. As long as you’re dedicated to a comprehensive brush every time, though, a regular toothbrush should work just fine. Be sure to replace your toothbrush as soon as you notice wear, or about every three months, whichever comes first.

Toothpaste

At one time, you’ve probably stood in the drugstore looking at all of the toothpaste choices wondering which to buy. As a rule of thumb, look for a toothpaste that contains fluoride, which works to strengthen the outer enamel of your teeth. If you want to whiten your teeth, there are some important ingredients to look for. Ingredients like magnesium carbonate, hydrated aluminum oxides, and calcium carbonate, hydrogen peroxide, or carbamide peroxide all have whitening capabilities.

Floss

Floss is another must-have for good oral hygiene. You should be flossing every day, twice a day. Standard floss is a slightly better choice because it can curve to get between teeth at the gumline. Floss picks are also effective, though. Just make sure to thoroughly clean between teeth and gums.

Mouthwash

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), mouthwash has a number of benefits to help keep your mouth clean. It can reduce gingivitis, prevent tooth decay, slow down the formation of tartar on teeth, and, of course, freshen breath. Mouthwash shouldn’t be used in place of brushing or flossing, but it’s a great source of additional protection for teeth.

Storage

Where and how you store these vital tools is as important as how well and often you use them. It should seem fairly obvious, but make sure you are storing your toothbrush away from the toilet. You don’t want to risk anything unsavory comingling with the toothbrush that goes in your mouth! It’s also important to note that you should store your toothbrush somewhere dry. Keeping your toothbrush somewhere that is vulnerable to moisture can lead to a moldy brush.

At High Point Family Dentistry, we want to help you practice good oral hygiene. While your at-home care is vital to your dental health, it’s important that you don’t miss your regular cleanings.

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Tooth Extraction Aftercare

man on couch with ice pack on face following tooth extraction

If you have to have a tooth extracted, whether it’s one of your main teeth or you’re having your wisdom teeth removed, you may be worried about caring for the area afterward. There are a number of things you can do to help prevent infection and ensure you heal fast.

Keep the Area Clean

The number one thing you can do to help healing go quickly is to keep the area very clean. Brushing gently and rinsing regularly are key to keeping food particles and bacteria away from the surgery site. If you don’t keep the area clean and free from bacteria, you run the risk of getting an infection, which will only cause you more pain and require another procedure.

Pain Management

Tooth extraction is a type of oral surgery, and there will likely be an incision site that, once the numbness wears off, causes you pain. Proactive pain management is important to ensure that you’re not suffering needlessly. If we prescribe you pain medication, make sure you take it as prescribed to stay ahead of any pain. If you’re sticking with aspirin or acetaminophen, take that regularly. Whatever your pain management technique, it’s important to be proactive because it’s easier to keep pain at bay than it is to stop pain once it starts.

Stay in Touch

Let us know how you’re doing! If you’re in a lot of pain or are noticing bleeding from the incision site, call us right away. We may bring you back in or we may give you some tips for fighting the problem. It’s important to keep us informed because we can’t help you if we don’t know what’s going on.

We always send you home with aftercare instructions when we extract a tooth. Follow those instructions carefully, but again, don’t be afraid to reach out if you have questions or concerns.

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Oral Surgery Procedures

dental chair dental tools

At High Point Family Dentistry, we serve our patients not just with preventive care, but also with exceptional restorative care. Our very own in-house surgeon handles all dental surgeries in our office, so you don’t have to run around town seeing different specialists and making separate appointments. Dr. Jason Schrotenboer takes into account the unique needs of each individual patient, and crafts a treatment plan that works just for you. Our oral surgery procedures will have you smiling again in no time.

What Is Dental Surgery?

Dental surgery is the medical procedure that takes place when you need a treatment that may include:

  • Tooth extractions
  • Wisdom teeth removal
  • Dental implants

Waiting on treatments can lead to problems down the road. If you need oral surgery, it’s important to call us right away to schedule an appointment. An infected tooth that needs removed or replaced can turn into a serious issue if left untreated for too long. Infection can spread and not only cause you pain, but also damage to your oral health.

Sedation During Oral Surgery

Surgery may sound like a scary undertaking, especially when it comes to surgery on your teeth, but we want you to rest assured that these above procedures are common and more straightforward than you may realize. Also, we want you to stay comfortable, and we offer gentle anesthesia and sedation options, including:

  • Pain-free dental care with DentalVibe®
  • Nitrous oxide (laughing gas)

Our sedation options and comfortable amenities will keep you cozy and comfortable throughout your treatment.

Affordable Oral Surgery

If you’re worried about the cost of your dental procedure, don’t worry, we have options for you. We have numerous payment options, including payment plans and discounts through our dental membership plan.

Our office is clean, modern, and comfortable, and you’ll feel right at home when you schedule an oral surgery with us. For other questions or concerns about our oral surgery procedures, do not hesitate to contact us! Call our office or contact us online.

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Gum Disease: The Silent Killer

woman holding mouth in pain

You’ve probably heard the term “gingivitis” at the dentist and in toothpaste commercials, but you might not have given it a second thought. You really should, though. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease or gum disease. It’s often overlooked, but if it’s not treated, it can lead to gum and bone recession and even tooth loss. Gum disease is also linked to other conditions like heart disease and stroke, so learning to recognize its symptoms is key to stopping it in its tracks.

Stages of Gum Disease

Don’t worry. You won’t just wake up one morning with advanced-stage periodontitis without any warning signs. They may be difficult to spot if you’re not looking for them, but the signs are there, and gum disease progresses through stages.

First up is gingivitis, which typically involves red or inflamed gums and bleeding when you brush and floss. If you notice either of these signs, let us know at your next appointment so we can take a closer look and begin treatment if necessary. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to the formation of periodontal pockets, which are spaces between the teeth and gums. These pockets become infected as they deepen, and they also allow gum tissue and bone to be destroyed. The final stage is periodontitis. Here, bone and gum loss are extensive and teeth are often so loose that they must be extracted.

Gum Disease Symptoms

If you notice any of these symptoms, call our office to schedule an appointment.

  • Red, swollen, or sensitive gums
  • Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth or a change in the way they line up
  • Sores in the mouth
  • Bad breath or constant metallic taste

Is All Hope Lost?

Definitely not! It’s important that you see us as soon as you can, though, to begin treatment. Studies have shown a link, though not a cause-and-effect relationship yet, between your periodontal health and your heart health, so keeping those gums in shape in important. If you suspect that you have early stage gum disease, contact High Point Family Dentistry. Dr. Kong will gladly take a look and recommend a treatment plan that will keep you healthy.

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How a Positive Mindset Affects Your Dental Health

young woman smiling while woman whispers in ear

The power of positive thinking can transform many aspects of your life, and studies show that being optimistic can have far-reaching effects on your psychological and physical well-being. Learning how to change your mindset can help to ease symptoms of anxiety and depression and reduce stress levels. But is it possible for a positive mindset to improve your dental health, too? Here are a few ways that staying positive can have an impact on your teeth.

Periodontal Health

Feeling stressed out is more than just a mental state. It has very real physical effects on your health and can cause chronic inflammation of gums and other soft tissues. Studies have shown a significant link between levels of the stress hormone cortisol and the prevalence of severe gum disease. Negative life events that trigger feelings of stress or depression may be a risk factor for developing gum disease. Reducing stress levels and easing symptoms of inflammation through a healthy, positive lifestyle can improve the health of your gums.

Bruxism & TMJ

Another physical side effect of increased anxiety and stress is muscle tension. Some studies have shown a link between anxiety and teeth grinding. When you feel stressed or anxious, you may not know you are clenching your teeth or grinding them. In fact, it is common for people with bruxism to clench or grind their teeth in their sleep. If this condition persists, it can lead to enamel erosion and hairline cracks in the teeth that make them more susceptible to breakage or decay.

Chronic clenching of the jaw due to stress is also linked to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). This is where the hinge of the jaw bone becomes misaligned. TMJ can cause clicking sounds or a popping sensation when chewing, speaking, or yawning. In more severe cases, it can cause the facial muscles to feel sore and the jaw bone to lock up or have a limited range of motion. Learning relaxation exercises that help you deal with feelings of anxiety can help the muscles in your body to relax. Being conscious of when you are clenching your jaw can even help you to notice when you might be experiencing underlying stress.

Cavities & Overall Oral Health

Feelings of depression often drain you of motivation to do even the most basic daily tasks, including self-care. Depression lowers your energy levels and gives you a feeling of hopelessness. In turn, that can make mundane routines like brushing and flossing seem somewhat pointless. Having a more positive outlook can help you feel more energized and appreciate how much better you feel after practicing self-care.

Taking care of your body and your mind can have lasting effects. Studies have shown a link between anxious or depressed patients and tooth loss due to cavities or gum disease. Having a positive attitude towards a diligent self-care routine that includes good oral care can prevent excessive plaque buildup, improve gum health, and reduce the incidence of cavities. Taking pride in your healthy teeth, as well as the rest of your body, can have extremely positive effects on your mental well-being.

Staying positive is an important aspect of mental and physical health, and the benefits to your dental health are significant. It’s also important to schedule regular dental cleanings and exams to make sure your teeth stay in good shape. High Point Family Dentistry is happy to provide you with compassionate and friendly care for all your dental needs.

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Tonsil Stones: Do You Have Them?

illustration of open mouth with question mark next to it

Many people are familiar with the condition of stones forming in the body, such as kidney stones or gall stones, but did you know that stones can also form on your tonsils? Here is what tonsil stones are and how to tell if you have them:

What Are Tonsil Stones?

As with other types of stones that appear in the body, tonsil stones are deposits of calcified dead cells and bacteria. Tonsils are lymph nodes intended to block infections from reaching the lungs, and when the white blood cells inside of them leave behind debris while fighting off infections it can build up on the glands over time and form what we see as tonsil stones.

Tonsil stones form in the grooves on the surface of the tonsil glands themselves and usually appear as hard, white bumps. They can be very small or quite large if left in place for a long time, though this is rare.

How Do You Know If You Have Tonsil Stones?

Tonsil stones are most common in people who have chronic inflammation of the tonsil glands or who have poor oral hygiene. If you have swollen tonsils and suffer from bad breath and a sore throat, you may want to see if you have tonsil stones by checking the back of your throat in the mirror.

How Are Tonsil Stones Treated?

If you have mild or moderate tonsil stones, no medical treatment is necessary as they can usually be easily removed. Many people gently dislodge them using a toothbrush, cotton swab, or water flosser, followed by gargling with warm salt water to clear away any leftover debris.

Larger tonsil stones may be more difficult to remove by yourself and may require surgery, particularly if they occur along with tonsillitis. If you have recurring tonsil stones and inflammation of the glands, your doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy to prevent further issues.

A good oral care regimen is one of the ways to prevent tonsil stones from forming. Don’t forget to brush, floss, and use a good mouthwash daily. High Point Family Dentistry looks forward to helping all of our patients keep their mouths clean and healthy.

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