Dental X-Rays, Who Needs ‘Em? (You Do!)

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If you see your dentist in Plainsboro regularly, then you've probably had a dental x-ray or two taken in your life. The reason we rely on x-rays so heavily is that they’re absolutely a crucial part of creating a custom treatment plan that’s going to address your dental issues and needs, the right way.

We know it may seem like they’re just any other x-ray and you might even wonder why you actually even need dental x-rays in the first place. The truth is, these images can save your smile and maybe even your life. Let’s learn more about what x-rays are and what they do for you.

Why Do We Need X-Rays?
Radiographs or x-rays are relied on heavily for preventive dentistry or to help fix issues such as cavities, decay, and breakage. Generally, dentists rely on 2D or 3D imaging to gain a better understanding of what’s going on inside your mouth, highlighting your jaw bone health and tooth structure that lies beneath your gums and enamel. It gives us the added ability to find out if something is going on inside your mouth or teeth that’s not 100 percent visible to the naked eye.

Are Dental X-Rays Going to Expose Me to Radiation?
Most of the x-rays used in dental offices across the country today give off a minimal amount of radiation. It’s important to note that you should always limit your exposure to x-rays and avoid repeated use as it can damage cells over time due to the small, continued radiation aftereffects. Dental x-rays are certainly safer than ever thanks to advancements in dentistry over the years. Dentists now rely on using lower x-ray dosages, higher quality film, film holders, and well-designed, full-body aprons lined with lead. It’s important to note though that most of the modern dental x-ray technology that’s available today give off very little stray radiation.

How Do Dental X-Rays Work?
The process of obtaining a good dental x-ray image can occur a few ways. Usually, a dentist or a dental specialist will cover you with the iron apron for protection before putting a small plastic device in your mouth and asking you to bite down. Your bite is going to hold the x-ray film in place for accurate, immediate results.

In instances like this where we’re x-raying the inside of your mouth, it’s referred to as obtaining intraoral photos. There are also several extraoral x-rays that your Plainsboro dentist and orthodontists can use to help fix a smile, with extra meaning outside of your mouth. These images are useful in seeing your jaw bone and entire skull as a whole how it relates to your mouth and oral health.

If you’re experiencing a problem or if you feel like something isn’t right with your smile, please call our Plainsboro dental office. We may need to use one of these super cool x-ray techniques to help get you and your smile back into tip-top shape.

4 Steps to Decide If Cosmetic Dentistry Right for You

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Are you looking for a Plainsboro dentist who can help you with your cosmetic dentistry needs? We hope you’ll take a minute to read this blog packed full of tips you can use to boost your knowledge about cosmetic dentistry and what kind of treatments are available today. We’ve put together some simple steps you can take to get started today.

Step 1: Ask yourself: “Will cosmetic dentistry give me my perfect smile?”
Just like the title of this blog suggests, it’s a good idea to really take an internal audit of your goals and feelings about cosmetic dentistry and what it can do for you. Do you often look at yourself and your teeth in the mirror and not like what you see? Are your teeth noticeably discolored or chipped and it embarrasses you? Do you have a broken or missing tooth that you’ve been putting off having fixed? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be a good idea to consider talking to a dentist in Plainsboro who can review your candidacy for a cosmetic transformation.

Step 2: Do your homework and know your cosmetic dentist.
The search for a cosmetic dentist doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Just be sure to check out a dentist’s website to get an idea of their office culture and credentials. You can always browse through before and after photos, read reviews, and check doctor bios for training and expertise.

Step 3: Decide what you’d like to change about your teeth.
What’s the one thing that bothers you the most about your smile? Is it the gaps between your teeth? Is it the staining from drinking too much coffee or tea? Are you just looking for a little boost to your confidence now that you’re finally able to enjoy life without a house full of kids? Whatever one of these questions resonate with you, just know there’s a cosmetic dentistry solution that will work for you. It’s just about finding out what treatment or procedures are going to give you the results you’ve been dreaming about.

Step 4: Research your possible treatment options.
There’s no surefire way to tell if you’re an ideal candidate for a cosmetic dentistry transformation until you see your dentist for a consultation. With all of the advancements in dental care today, there are so many options you can choose from to stay within your budget and exceed your goals. Some of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures performed across the country include veneers, whitening, crowns, bonding, recontouring, and more.

We hope you were able to learn a little something about cosmetic dentistry and how to get started in pursuing a change for your smile. If you’re considering cosmetic dentistry, we hope you set aside some time to check out our Plainsboro dental office. No matter how small or how big your dental needs may be, we’re ready to answer your questions and take the next step towards a beautiful, functional smile, and results you’ve always wanted.

3 of the Top Concerns about Pregnancy and Dentistry

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Finding out that you’re pregnant is one of life’s most joyous (and scary) events you can endure. Everyone at our dental office in Plainsboro wants to send plenty of well wishes to all of the parents out there who are expecting a blessing of their own.

We wanted to set aside this blog to talk to the moms out there. Because whether you’re new to pregnancy and experiencing every special moment for the very first time, or a seasoned parental pro who knows exactly how this all goes, it’s essential not to put off your upcoming cleanings or treatments. We understand pregnancy brings up a lot of new concerns about your health and wellbeing, including taking care of your smile. Let’s talk about some of the most common concerns we hear from our patients about going to the dentist during pregnancy.

Common Concern #1: What if I need dental X-rays? Are they safe?
Most dental offices are equipped with state-of-the-art digital X-rays, eliminating the possibility of overexposure to harmful radiation for you and your baby. If you’re experiencing a dental issue, it’s advisable to get the necessary X-rays to fix the problem before it poses any risk of harming your developing fetus.

Common Concern #2: My gums are really bleeding. Should I call my Plainsboro dentist?
If you’re pregnant and reading this, there’s no doubt in our mind that you would agree that being pregnant can change your body, usually in part due to fluctuations in your hormones. The American Dental Association says that as many as 50 percent of pregnant women can develop “pregnancy gingivitis.” It usually goes away after your child arrives, but it’s important to brush and clean your teeth regularly. If still concerned about bleeding in your gums, you can always reach out to us for help.

Common Concern #3: I’ve got morning, afternoon, and night sickness. Should I tell my dentist?
Sickness and vomiting during pregnancy are one of the most common side effects that most women tend to experience early on in their pregnancy. When you get sick, excess stomach acid can eat away at your tooth enamel leading to decay. Remember these helpful tips you can use at home to help protect your teeth from acid:

Wait to Brush . Brushing immediately after vomiting can lead to damage. Acid weakens the enamel, and if you brush while the enamel is soft, you can cause scratches that bacteria can hide in. So wait at least an hour after getting sick to brush.
Rinse with Water . While you’re waiting for the right time to brush, it’s a good idea to rinse your mouth out with water initially. Swishing water around in the mouth and spitting it out can remove a lot of acid.
Keep Drinking Water . You’re already drinking a lot of water, so keep on doing it. The more water you drink, the less acid will stick around in your mouth.
Scrape the Tongue . Don’t forget about your tongue. After vomiting, get a tongue scraper and gently run it down your tongue. You can successfully remove a lot of acid that would actually end up on your teeth.

If you’re really having a hard time and are worried about your smile, contact our dental office in Plainsboro as soon as you’re feeling up to it. Seeing your dentist is crucial during your pregnancy, so let us work with you to determine what your needs are and how to proceed with your care during this special time in your life. We’re always here to help!

Is Calcium Important for Teeth?

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We make a commitment to every patient who walks through the doors of our dental office in Plainsboro to restore and protect both their oral and overall health. One way we can do this is to help your teeth and bones stay strong so that they can last a lifetime. One of the most significant nutrients our bodies need to keep them healthy is calcium. Let’s take a look at why it’s important in so many different ways.

Calcium Does Your Smile & Body Good
You might already know that calcium can be found in a variety of different foods and beverages. But did you know that you can also try calcium supplements (ask your doctor first) to help boost your intake? This can be a good option for people who struggle digesting dairy products that are high in calcium such as cheese, milk, and yogurt. Remember that magnesium and vitamin D support calcium’s effort to protect your teeth, keep your smile free from decay, prevent, loose teeth, and ward off gum disease.

Consider adding these calcium-rich foods to your diet:
- Broccoli
- Kale
- Almonds
- Tofu
- Beans
- Oranges
- Spinach
- Sweet Potatoes

How to Know You’re Getting The Right Amount of Calcium
It can be tricky knowing if you or your family members are getting the right amount of calcium in your diet to help protect your teeth and keep your bones healthy. Your dentist in Plainsboro is here to help with some daily calcium recommendations courtesy of the Institute of Medicine.

AGE MG/DAY
1 -3 700
4 - 8 1,000
9 - 18 1,300
19 - 70 1,000
71+ 1,200

This is just a general guideline for you to get an idea about daily calcium intake. There are also other recommendations that are gender specific, i.e., a woman’s calcium intake should increase when she’s pregnant.

No Bones About it - Calcium is Key to Being Healthy
We talked about it briefly earlier in this blog, but calcium is also super important for your bone health too. Why does this concern your Plainsboro dentist so much? Because we’re concerned about what a calcium deficiency can do to your jaw bone. Your jaw bone serves as the anchor for your teeth, so if it’s in poor health, you could run the risk of having loose teeth or losing them altogether. The other bones in your body also need calcium to help prevent damaging osteoporosis later in life.

We hope you learned a little something here today about how important it is to get the right amount of calcium in your diet, no matter what your age. It’s a benefit that your whole body will thank you for. If you have any questions about your smile or need to schedule a visit with us, please don’t hesitate to call.

Signs of an Abscessed Tooth

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Your tooth is throbbing, and you’re in a lot of pain. It’s unlike any pain you’ve ever felt before, and it’s definitely worse than a typical toothache. What could be going on? You may have an infection called an abscess. Besides the pain, the team at our dental office in Plainsboro wants you to know other signs that could indicate an abscessed tooth.

What Exactly is An Abscessed Tooth?
Before we launch into some of the usual signs and symptoms of an abscessed tooth, let’s take a closer look at what it is. An abscessed tooth is a deep tooth infection that has spread into the root. The infection begins inside the tooth in an area known as the pulp chamber. The pulp chamber houses the tooth’s nerves. As the infection grows, it moves into the root and eventually the bone. This will cause severe pain.

Signs of an Abscess
We already know that pain is a warning sign of a problem. But there are a few other symptoms that could help you identify whether the pain is caused by an abscess such as:

● A dark, discolored tooth
● Increased pain when pressure is applied
● Swelling on the gums that resembles a pimple
● A bad taste in the mouth
● Swelling of the jaw or face

While pain is usually the most recognized sign of an abscess, there are times when an abscessed tooth doesn’t hurt or show any of the symptoms above. In those cases, an abscess is typically diagnosed by your dentist in Plainsboro at a routine appointment through dental x-rays.

What Causes an Abscess?
There’s no one single thing that causes a tooth abscess. Many times an abscess forms from an untreated cavity and when the decay seeps into the pulp chamber. An abscess can also be caused by a tooth injury or injury to the mouth, prior dental treatment such as a root canal, crown, or filling, or from too much tooth grinding or repeated clenching.

How to Prevent an Abscess?
The best way to protect yourself from an abscess is by taking good care of your teeth and overall oral health. This means brushing and flossing every day and maintaining regular visits to your dentist in Plainsboro at least every six months.

Tooth pain, and especially pain caused by an abscess, can take its toll on you. If you’re experiencing any pain or signs of an abscessed tooth, call our dental office in Plainsboro as soon as you can. The earlier you seek help, the more successful treatment can be.

How to Get a Whiter Smile

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There are a number of things that can stain our teeth and make them look dull and discolored. When this happens, we tend to look for ways to bring back our bright, white smiles. At our dental office in Plainsboro , we have some good news -- there are many ways to whiten your teeth! Let’s take a look at some of the most common things you can do to get a whiter smile.

Professional Teeth Whitening
The best way to whiten your smile fast is to get professional whitening from your dentist in Plainsboro . Even though this option is more costly than many over-the-counter tooth whitening products, you can customize just how white you want your teeth to get and see the results immediately. Many times dental offices can also provide you with custom trays and whitening gel that you can use at home safely to maintain your new look.

DIY Smile Whitening
If you’re looking for ways to whiten your teeth, you may begin by exploring all of the options in your local grocery store or online. While there are tons of over-the-counter smile whitening products available, and they can be cheaper than a professional whitening, they do come with some risks. For example, you may be using a solution that’s too high for your teeth that could cause sensitivity and pain. Additionally, whitening strips and non-custom trays can allow the solution to seep into your gums. If left too long it can cause gum damage. Lastly, over-the-counter tooth whitening products tend to take longer to work.

Cosmetic Dentistry
If traditional forms of smile whitening just aren’t making your teeth as white as you’d like, you may be a candidate for cosmetic dentistry. The truth is, there are some types of tooth staining that don’t respond to whitening gels. In this case, the best solution may be dental veneers. Dental veneers essentially cover up the front of your natural teeth with a custom-made slice of porcelain. These veneers can be your ideal shade of white and are shaped to blend in with your other natural teeth.

It’s important to note that you should talk to your dentist before beginning any whitening treatment. Not all whitening solutions are appropriate for everyone. To find the best option for you and to reduce the risk of negative side effects, meet with your dentist.

If you’re unhappy with the color of your teeth, call our Plainsboro dental office to schedule an appointment today. We’ll talk with you about what you’d like to change as well as your oral health history so we can recommend the best tooth whitening treatment for you.

The Signs of Oral Cancer

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April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month , and at our dental office in Plainsboro , we know just how serious and scary oral cancer can be. To do our part to help raise awareness, we’re here to share facts, signs, and risk factors of oral cancer with our patients and neighbors.

Facts About Oral Cancer
● More than 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year
● Oral cancer kills more than 8,500 people annually
● Nearly 80% of oral cancer diagnoses are in tobacco users
● Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women
● Patients who have had oral cancer once are up to 20 times more likely to develop another form of cancer

The Importance of a Fast Diagnosis
Oral cancer can be treated, however, treatment is much more successful when the disease is caught early. This is one reason why bi-annual visits to your dentist in Plainsboro are so important. You see, unlike other types of cancer, there are no official timing guidelines for screening for oral cancer like there is for, say, colon or breast cancer. Your regular dental visits essentially act as regular oral cancer screenings. These checkups allow your dental team to identify any potential signs of oral cancer early so that you can get treatment fast.

Oral Cancer Signs & Symptoms
One thing that can make oral cancer difficult to diagnose is that its signs and symptoms can disguise themselves as common oral health problems that don’t seem like a big deal. However, you’re better safe than sorry... so if you notice any of the signs below, call your dentist as soon as you can.
● A sore or discoloration that doesn’t go away
● A lump inside the mouth or neck
● Pain while swallowing, chewing, or speaking
● Changes in voice
● Chronic bad breath

Risk Factor
Even though oral cancer can happen to anyone, there are some people who may be at increased risk including:
● Those over 55
● Current or former tobacco users
● Heavy drinkers

Oral cancer is a very serious disease. Reduce your risk by changing any risky habits and commit to seeing your dentist every six months. Of course, if you suspect you’re at risk for oral cancer, or are concerned by any potential signs, we welcome you to call our Plainsboro dental office.

Bottled Water & Your Teeth

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These days, bottled water is everywhere. It’s one of our most common accessories when we pack our kids’ lunches or our go-to for busy work days. Let’s face it, bottled water is super convenient and a healthier alternative to a can of sugary soda or even common sports drinks. But our dental office in Plainsboro wants to take a moment to talk about some of the disadvantages of drinking bottled water.

What’s Bad About Bottled Water?
Bottled water doesn’t typically contain any fluoride whereas water from the tap usually does. According to the American Dental Association , if bottled water is your primary source of drinking water, your family may be missing out on the preventative benefits that fluoride has to offer. Fluoride is a natural mineral that’s easily absorbed into tooth enamel and creates a strong resistance to tooth decay. Without enough of it, your family may be at increased risk for cavities.

How to Make Sure Your Family Gets Enough Fluoride
Whenever possible, try to fill up a reusable water bottle with water that contains added fluoride. But that’s not the only way to give your family the benefits of fluoride. Fluoride can also be found in many other places besides your drinking water. You can add more of the mineral to your family’s diet by choosing prepared foods and beverages that contain fluoride. There are also fluoride supplements available by prescription for those who live in areas without fluoridated water. Your dentist in Plainsboro can also apply a fluoride varnish to your teeth for added protection.

Drink More Water!
One important thing to remember is that bottled water is better than no water at all. Keeping our bodies hydrated helps us maintain good oral and overall health. For example, when we’re properly hydrated we tend to feel more energetic, our muscles and joints work better, toxins are cleaned from our bodies, and body temperature is more easily regulated. Drinking plenty of water also prevents dry mouth, which can lead to bad breath and tooth decay.

If you have questions about fluoride or your oral health, never hesitate to give our dental office in Plainsboro a call. We’re always happy to answer your questions and listen to your concerns.

Why Do I Grind My Teeth?

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Did you ever wake up in the morning and notice that your face and jaw are sore? Do you get up in the mornings with unexplainable headaches? Our dental office in Plainsboro wants to know if you’ve ever considered that your pain and discomfort could be caused by teeth grinding or bruxism. Read on and see if your smile is at risk because of clenching or grinding...

What Exactly is Bruxism Anyway?
Bruxism is defined as the involuntary habitual grinding of your teeth, mainly while you’re asleep. That’s what makes teeth grinding so dangerous for you and your smile. Many of the 30 million people who struggle with bruxism don’t even know they’re doing it, so they don’t know what signs and symptom they should be looking for. That’s why it’s important to have a partner like your dentist in Plainsboro who can see the early warning signs and help you fight your bruxism before it badly damages your teeth.

What Causes Bruxism or Teeth Grinding?
The American Dental Association says there three big reasons why patients of all ages grind or clench their teeth while sleeping. While we break them down here, ask yourself if any of these could be affecting you oral and overall health.

1. Anxiety or Stress - This is a big one that so many people can relate to, especially when life is busy and demanding. Worrying or feeling stressed can cause us to tense up making it all the more likely you’ll start to clench your jaw or grind your teeth. It’s important to address your stress before it ruins your smile and your sleep.

2. Having a Bad Bite - Sometimes when your teeth are out of alignment, it can cause problems with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the surrounding facial muscles. Your muscle can start to spasm during sleep causing you to grind your teeth together in response.

3. Medical Complications - Some patients who grind their teeth at night could have an underlying, undiagnosed medical condition such as Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease or even acid reflux. Bruxism is also a side effect of certain prescription medications.

Stop ignoring your pain or masking it with medications. It’s time to call our Plainsboro dental office as soon as possible before your teeth become damaged or broken. We can give you a comprehensive, thorough exam, learn more about the symptoms you’ve been experiencing, and monitor your bite. From there, we’ll be able to address the severity of your teeth grinding and put together a personalized treatment plan for you.

I’m Missing a Tooth. What Should I Do?

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Sometimes no matter how much we take care of our teeth, they get damaged and injured or become susceptible to decay and deterioration. This means a tooth can come loose and eventually fall out... if it didn’t get knocked out due to a trauma like a car or sports accident.

If you’re missing a tooth, then you should call your Plainsboro dentist as soon as possible so we can do a comprehensive exam and talk about how we can fix your smile and make it whole again. We understand what it’s like when you’re missing a tooth. Do you hide your smile? Do your teeth make you feel more self-conscious? Do you have to avoid certain foods or chew on one side of your mouth due to the pain or discomfort?

Let’s take a look at some of the dental solutions that are available to you to fix your missing tooth (or teeth) so that we can restore your smile’s function and beautiful look.

Common Tooth Replacement Options
It’s important to call your dentist in Plainsboro as soon as you lose a tooth or if you have one that is loose and in danger of falling out. Depending on your individual needs, there are numerous treatment options delivered with some of dentistry’s most state-of-the-art dental technology.

1. Single Dental Implant
A dental implant is a life-changing restoration that actually acts like your missing tooth’s natural roots to help keep your jaw bone stimulated and healthy. To top it off, you’ll get a custom, tooth-colored crown that will create a natural look. Dental implants restore your smile to its former function so you can eat foods you may have been avoiding. They can last a long, long time or even for a lifetime.

2. Bridge
Just like the name implies, a dental bridge can bridge the gap that’s created when you end up missing a tooth or even multiple teeth. Dental bridges are usually made up of two or more dental crowns. The entire restoration is then anchored to neighboring healthy teeth. The result is a custom solution that can give a full smile again.

3. Dentures
When you’re missing multiple teeth, dentures may be the right solution for you. Thanks to advancements in dental technology, dentures of today look and feel natural and can give you back a confident, healthy smile. Dentures can be used to replace both upper and lower missing teeth.

If you’re missing a tooth or teeth, don’t hesitate to call our dental office in Plainsboro . There are plenty of options available to help bring life back to you and your smile. Your renewed confidence and a healthy smile starts with a phone and a visit to our office. We’re ready when you are!

Healthy Foods. Healthy Smile. Healthy Body. Healthy Life.

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We always like to take a moment this time of year to dedicate a special blog to eating healthy in honor of National Nutrition Month . Ask anyone of our team members at our dental office in Plainsboro , and they’re going to tell you how important it is to make sure you’re only putting good foods into your body. This will help ensure that your smile (and the rest of you) stays healthy so that you can live a long, happy life.

How Do I Know What to Eat?
The first thing your dentist in Plainsboro is going to recommend is that you limit the amount of sugar, fats, and processed foods in your diet. Let’s take a look at some helpful, healthy replacements you can easily incorporate in both your personal diet and the foods you feed your family.

1. Replace sugary sodas and sports drinks with : Water.
It’s just that simple. Water is the best way for your mouth and your body to stay hydrated which is essential to your overall health. Think of water like a superhero when it comes to protecting your body. By drinking plenty of water every day, you’re going to wash away food and debris that can get stuck in your teeth, as well as stimulate your body to produce more saliva-- which is your best defense against smile deterioration because it’s rich with minerals and proteins.

2. Replace acidic foods with : Foods that are high in calcium and phosphorous.
Both calcium and phosphorus aren’t going erode your teeth like foods that cause the formation of harmful acid in your mouth. These elements can help keep your enamel and gums going strong.

- To get more calcium: Try cheese (aged, hard), plain yogurt, low-fat milk, fish, almonds, and tofu
- To get more phosphorus: Try nuts, red meat, eggs, pumpkin seeds, and fish

3. Replace unhealthy snacks with : Hard, crunchy foods that contain large amounts of water.
Again, crunching and munching on these foods is going to signal your mouth to create more saliva, which is beneficial to keeping your smile free from cavity-causing bacteria. Crunchy foods can even act like a toothbrush, helping to remove excess plaque and unwanted food particles. Try raw celery, cucumbers, apples, and carrots to add an extra, healthy bite to your diet.

Do I Really Need to Avoid Sugar?

The simple answer is yes. We know it can be hard, especially when sugars are hidden everywhere. Carbohydrate-loaded foods, even though they’re not overtly overflowing with sugars, will break down into simple sugars in your body, and this is just as dangerous as eating sweets and drinking sugary beverages. Try to be more mindful of what the labels say when you’re shopping at the store for you and your family in order to reduce or even eliminate the number of carbs your family regularly intakes.

Our Plainsboro dental office knows hows challenging it can be to change your diet, especially when you’ve got a hungry, picky family to feed. If you find that you’re not eating as healthy as you should be, try taking small steps to get your diet back on track. You won’t regret making the change for your smile and yourself.

Is Snoring Bad for My Smile?

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At our Plainsboro dental office, we always go out of our way to make sure your mouth and your body are as healthy as possible - even it goes beyond simply treating or cleaning your teeth. Sometimes patients are concerned about how snoring might be affecting their smile, so we thought we’d dedicate this blog to looking at how snoring can be damaging to both your oral and overall health.

What Should I Know About Snoring?

If snoring is causing problems in your life (both for you and your bed partner), maybe it’s time to consider learning more about sleep apnea. Snoring is not only annoying but it also poses dangers to both your teeth and the rest of your body.

Here are signs and symptoms that your loud snoring could be related to sleep apnea:

1. Sudden awakenings causing you to restart breathing
2. Waking up in a sweat|
3. Frequent silences throughout the night when you stop breathing
4. Choking or gasping for air
5. Dry mouth
6. Daytime sleepiness
7. Falling asleep at unwanted times

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your Plainsboro dentist. The side effects of snoring can cause issues for your oral health and we’ll want to monitor you so we can best protect your teeth.

Are My Teeth Suffering Because of My Snoring?

Snoring or breathing with your mouth open during sleep can cause you to develop something called dry mouth. This can cause problems for your smile that include:

  • The decreased ability to wash away particles left over after meals

  • Having enough saliva to keep teeth free from harmful acids and plaque build-up

  • An increased risk for sores, infections, and halitosis (bad breath)

  • An increased risk for breakdown of your tooth enamel

Does Snoring Mean I Have Sleep Apnea?

The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates nearly 90 million Americans are snoring away every night while thinking they’re enjoying a deep, healthy rest. Sometimes snoring has nothing to do with sleep apnea. This is generally true for about 45 million of the 90 million people who saw logs in their sleep each night. But the others can be suffering from sleep apnea.

Who’s at Risk for Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that knows no limits when it comes to age, race, or ethnic background - everyone is at risk. That’s why it’s so important to determine if your snoring issues are sleep apnea related or not. The American Dental Association says your sleep apnea risk is increased if you’re:

  • Overweight

  • Older than 40

  • Predisposed to snoring in your family medical history

  • Struggling with a deviated septum, sinus conditions, or allergies

If snoring has been causing issues with you, your bed partner, or even your family, please don’t hesitate to call our dental office in Plainsboro . We can take a look at your teeth to make sure there are no immediate issues with your smile that need to be addressed and discuss what steps you can take to treat your sleep apnea so you can avoid future health problems such as deteriorating teeth, diabetes, depression, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Top 5 Ways to Ease Pain Caused by Tooth Sensitivity

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The uncomfortable zings of pain associated with tooth sensitivity can be enough to keep you from enjoying your favorite hot or cold foods or beverages. But nobody wants to pass on their favorite treats because of sensitive teeth. At our dental office in Plainsboro , we have a few tips that can help ease pain caused by tooth sensitivity so you can get back to snacking on things such as ice cream, popsicles, hot tea, and steaming soup without fear of pain

Tip #1 - Brush Carefully
One of the things you can do at home to help with tooth sensitivity is to brush gently. Scrubbing your teeth too hard can scratch and wear away enamel or even cause gums to recede. When this happens, the inner workings of the tooth, including the roots and nerves, can become exposed. If those nerves are then introduced to foods or drinks at extreme temperatures, you will feel the shooting pain of sensitivity. If the bristles on your toothbrush are jagged and pointing in various directions, you may be brushing with too much pressure.

Tip #2 - Use Soft Bristles
Similarly to brushing gently, using a toothbrush with soft bristles as opposed to hard bristles can also help protect enamel and gums from damage. Toothbrushes that have bristles that are too stiff can easily scratch enamel and push gums away from teeth again exposing roots and nerves to the elements.

Tip #3 - Select a Toothpaste for Sensitivity
There are tons of toothpaste options available to us at our local grocery stores. From various flavors to different benefits, choosing the right one can be confusing. If you’re living with sensitive teeth, look for a toothpaste that was designed to help ease sensitivity and try to avoid those containing sodium pyrophosphate.

Tip #4 - Avoid Acidic Foods & Drinks
A diet that contains a lot of foods or drinks that are highly acidic greatly increases the risk of enamel erosion and, in turn, tooth sensitivity. The acid in foods such as citrus fruits and beverages like soda or juice can essentially eat away at enamel and expose the roots and nerves.

Tip #5 - Schedule an Appointment with Your Plainsboro Dentist
Even though there are several things you can try at home to reduce tooth sensitivity, there are times when your dentist should get involved. If you’re not seeing relief with any at-home remedies, schedule an appointment with your dentist to determine the best solution for you. Some common treatments for tooth sensitivity include fluoride, bonding, or a root canal and dental crown.

If you’re still experiencing sensitivity-related pain, we welcome you to call our Plainsboro dental office. We’re here to help.

4 Ways to Help Bad Breath

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Halitosis, or more commonly referred to as bad breath, can happen to anyone. It can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. But what’s more concerning for the team at our dental office in Plainsboro is that bad breath can be a sign of something more serious. Let’s take a look at what causes bad breath and some ways you can get rid of it.

What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath can be caused by something temporary such as fragrant food or something like coffee. This type of bad breath usually resolves itself and is probably nothing to worry about. However, when bad breath becomes an ongoing occurrence, you should consider calling your dentist in Plainsboro.

Chronic bad breath is typically caused by an overabundance of bacteria in the mouth. Now, while the bacteria themselves don’t smell bad, the byproduct they give off after feeding certainly does. This byproduct is stinky hydrogen sulfide and it’s what we’re referring to when we talk about smelling bad breath.

Why is Bad Breath Concerning?
Besides causing embarrassment, bad breath can be an early symptom of gum disease. Gumdisease is a serious problem not only for your mouth but also for your body. Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss, sensitivity, and has even been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Essentially, bad breath is something you should take seriously and seek proactive treatment.

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath
If you suffer from bad breath, there are few tips you can try.

1. Practice Good Oral Hygiene. Making sure that you brush and floss daily is a great way to get rid of bacteria that could contribute to bad breath if left alone. Clean the surface of every tooth, under the gum line, and the tongue.

2. Choose Water. Keeping your mouth hydrated helps wash away bacteria which can lower your risk of bad breath. When our mouths don’t get enough water, they dry out and saliva production slows, leaving bacteria free to linger around.

3. See Your Dentist. Maintaining regular visits to your Plainsboro dentist can not only help protect your smile from cavities, it can also help catch any potential problems before they have a chance to become serious... including gum disease. If you’re worried about your bad breath, or if it’s been longer than six months since your last dental appointment, give us a call today.

Can Poor Oral Health Increase the Risk for Heart Problems?

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When it comes to dentistry and oral health, many people think of only the mouth itself. While dentistry is certainly about keeping teeth healthy and cavity-free, it’s also about caring for your gums and protecting your whole body. At our dental office in Plainsboro , we not only focus on treating the mouth, but also understand that what happens in the mouth can affect the rest of the body. This February, in honor of American Heart Month , we want to talk about how poor oral health can increase your risk for heart disease.

Heart Disease Risks You May Not Know About

Everyone knows about the typical things that can increase our risk for heart disease such as a poor diet, smoking, obesity, and even genetics. While those risk factors are absolutely factors that can lead to heart problems, there’s another little-known culprit that many may never even consider -- gum disease.

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Many studies conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) have shown a positive link between gum disease and an increased risk for heart disease. In fact, researchers concluded that those with gum disease are more likely to have a heart attack than those without it. But how does something in the mouth affect the heart?

Bacteria that live up under the gum line and cause gum disease have a direct pathway into the bloodstream. When these bacteria enter our blood supply, they can cause our bodies to increase the amount of C-reactive protein (CRP). When CRP levels are elevated it can cause:

● Blood clots
● Stroke
● Inflamed arteries
● Heart attack

How to Know if You Have Gum Disease?

Gum disease needs to be diagnosed by your dentist in Plainsboro . But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep an eye out for some early warning signs at home. Some signs of gum disease include:

● Swollen, red, or tender gums
● Bleeding while brushing or flossing
● Consistently bad breath
● Chronic bad taste in the mouth
● Loose teeth
● Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, we recommend scheduling an appointment are our Plainsboro dental office as soon as possible so we can check out what’s going on and treat anything that we find quickly.

The best way to protect yourself from gum disease and the heart problems that can come with it is to see your Plainsboro dentist regularly. Your dental team will not only remove any bacteria, plaque, and tartar buildup that can increase your chances of developing gum disease if left alone, they’ll also be able to catch any potential problems early when treatment is often easier and more successful.

Protect your heart and schedule an appointment with your dentist today.

What Can You Do to Make a Toothache Go Away?

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There’s nothing quite like the discomfort of a toothache, and yet, there’s actually an entire day dedicated to them. February 9th is recognized as National Toothache Day, and in honor of this strange holiday, our dental office in Plainsboro is sharing some of the best ways you can make an annoying and painful toothache go away.

Toothache Remedies

Floss
Something as simple as a piece of floss can be the difference between continuing to experience toothache pain and finally getting some relief. If you believe your aches and pains are coming from a piece of food that got stuck in between teeth or up into the gums, gently floss the area. Make sure to get up under the gum line and don’t use too much pressure, this can cause bleeding and increased pain.

Cold Compress
Using an ice pack or anything you have that’s cold will help make the swelling go down and release any pressure that may be on the nerves. However, don’t apply an ice pack or anything similar to it directly on your skin. Instead, wrap your cold pack in a cloth or t-shirt then apply it to the face for about 15 minutes. You can repeat this process throughout the day but make sure to take breaks in between icings.

Oral Anesthetic
If you’re looking for temporary relief through numbing, pick up an oral anesthetic at your local pharmacy. Apply the gel or liquid directly to the painful area and get immediately numb. Keep in mind, oral anesthetics are for short-term use only and are not a permanent solution.

Salt Water
Rinsing your mouth out with a mixture of warm water and salt a few times daily may also reduce toothache pain. The drying nature of the salt will help pull away and dry out any fluid that may be putting pressure on the nerves and causing you pain. Just remember not to swallow.

Anti-inflammatory Medicine
If you’re experiencing a toothache, there’s a good chance that you also have some swelling. Anti-inflammatory medications can also help. Use whichever anti-inflammatory medication is best for you and follow the directions on the packaging. Never place a pill directly on the gums or tooth -- this will only cause more pain and can lead to damage.

There are numerous things you can do to help ease the pain associated with a toothache, but all of these remedies are only temporary solutions. In order to completely make a toothache go away, we always recommend scheduling a visit with your dentist in Plainsboro as soon as you can for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

If you’re suffering from a toothache, we welcome you to call our Plainsboro dental office to schedule an appointment today.

What Happens if You Don’t Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom teeth are often a topic of concern for many patients, and we get asked a lot of questions about these sometimes pesky teeth. How do you know if you need to have your wisdom teeth removed? What happens if you don’t extract wisdom teeth? Does the procedure hurt? We understand that wisdom teeth can be confusing and perhaps even scary, but don’t worry, our dental office in Plainsboro is here to help.

Wisdom teeth are usually first seen on dental x-rays during routine appointments with your dentist in Plainsboro. Typically your dental team can see them before you even know that they’re starting to work their way to surface. This is also when we can most likely tell if they’re going to need to be removed. Most of the time, they will need to come out. In fact, 90% of Americans have their wisdom teeth removed. But what happens if you don’t have your wisdom teeth extracted?

Overcrowding

The top reason why most wisdom teeth need to be removed is that there’s simply not enough room in the mouth for these new teeth. Your dental x-rays will show your dentist whether or not there will be enough space for your wisdom teeth. However, if your mouth doesn’t have adequate room and you do not have your wisdom teeth removed, it can lead to overcrowding, crooked teeth, or even an impaction. Having impacted wisdom teeth essentially means that the teeth are stuck in your bone below the gum line. This can be very painful and increases the risk of infection.

Coming in Sideways

Wisdom teeth also have a funny way of working themselves sideways and start to come through horizontally rather than vertically through the gums. If this occurs, nearby healthy teeth can be seriously damaged and your bite can be affected, causing larger, more serious, and painful problems.

The Dangers of Bacteria

Let’s say your wisdom teeth develop perfectly and there’s room for them in your mouth. While rare, it does happen. If you’re one of the few that can keep their wisdom teeth, problems may still find you in the future. Wisdom teeth are way in the back of the mouth which makes them very difficult to properly care for. If proper oral hygiene isn’t maintained, teeth can decay and the risk for gum disease increases.

Maintaining regular visits to our Plainsboro dental office not only helps protect your existing teeth from decay, but these appointments can also help us identify whether your wisdom teeth should be removed before any problems arise. If your wisdom teeth do need to be removed, don’t worry. The procedure is incredibly common and your dental team will do everything they can to keep you comfortable during and after treatment.

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What Vitamins Are Good for Oral Health?

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Our bodies rely on the vitamins and minerals obtained through what we eat in order to function properly. Our mouth and teeth are no different. The truth is, in order to keep our oral health in good shape we need to make sure we’re getting enough of the right vitamins. In this blog, the team at our dental office in Plainsboro cover the most important vitamins you need to maintain good oral health and protect your smile.

Calcium

We all know that bones need calcium in order to grow and remain strong. But getting enough calcium is also crucial for building strong teeth. Calcium helps strengthen enamel which protects teeth from bacteria and lowers the risk of decay. Some foods that are packed with calcium include:

● Milk
● Yogurt
● Broccoli

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important to oral health for several reasons, such as lowering the risk of infection and keeping enamel strong. Your body also needs vitamin D in order to properly absorb calcium. Find vitamin D in:

● Canned tuna
● Portobello mushrooms
● Egg yolks

Phosphorus

Similarly to vitamin D, phosphorus is also needed in order to give your body the biggest benefit from calcium. Calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus are a strong triangle of needed vitamins that all work together. You can get phosphorus from:

● Salmon
● Lentil beans
● Beef

Vitamin C

Besides boosting your immune system so you can more effectively fight off germs, vitamin C also protects your gums and reduces the risk of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious infection in the gum tissues that can lead to tooth loss. Protect your gums by eating:

● Citrus fruit
● Potatoes
● Cauliflower

The best way to make sure you’re getting enough of the vitamins that keep you healthy is to eat a well-balanced diet and include all food groups. However, if it’s tough to get vitamins through your diet, you can consider a supplement or multivitamin if appropriate.

Fueling your body with the proper mix of vitamins is a great way to protect your oral health. Of course, you still need to brush and floss daily and maintain regular dental cleanings at our Plainsboro dental office.

3 Commonly Asked Questions About Dentistry

Our dental office in Plainsboro is not only dedicated to providing compassionate, comfortable dentistry for our patients, we’re also committed to educating our community on the ins and outs of dental care. That’s why we love when our patients ask us questions related to their oral health. Even though we get asked tons of questions every day, we wanted to dedicate our latest blog to some of the more common ones...

1. How Often Do I Need to See a Dentist?

Most dentists will recommend that you have a checkup at least twice a year, sometimes more if you’re at increased risk of certain problems. These visits allow your dentist in Plainsboro to keep a close eye on your oral health and catch any potential concerns early. When dental problems, such as a cavity, are caught early, treatment is typically faster, easier, cheaper, and minimally painful. However, if you don’t maintain regular dental appointments what may have started as a small problem can quickly become serious and result in severe pain.

2. How Safe Are Dental X-Rays?

We understand that there may be some concerns surrounding the safety of dental x-rays, but thanks to advancements in dental technology, dental x-rays are incredibly safe and have an extremely low risk for any negative side effects. This is in part because dental x-rays use such minimal levels of radiation. Additionally, using protective measures such as a leaded apron lowers the risk even more. Not only are dental x-rays safe, but they’re also a crucial tool. The images produced from x-rays give your dental team the power to see what’s happening below the surface and into the tooth roots. This allows them to diagnose problems before there are even any signs of an issue.

3. How Often Should I Brush and Floss?

One of the best things you can do to help keep your mouth healthy is to brush and floss regularly. This means brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. But simply doing these things isn’t enough, you have to do them correctly. For example, don’t brush your teeth too hard or you can actually do more harm than good. Also, make sure you use fluoride toothpaste to help fight off decay. If traditional floss is difficult for you to use, consider floss picks or even a water flosser.

From questions about preventive, routine care to more complex questions relating to cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, or restorative treatments, the team at our Plainsboro dental office is here to help. Call us today!

3 Ways Stress Can Harm Your Oral Health

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It’s no secret that high stress can negatively affect our health. Prolonged periods of too much stress has been linked to heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, obesity, and difficulty in managing diabetes. But at our dental office in Plainsboro, we know that increased stress can also harm your oral health.

1. Gum Disease

Since increased stress levels can actually make our immune systems less effective, it can greatly affect our health, including our mouths. An ineffective immune system means more bacteria is left behind, which can find its way deep under the gums. When this happens, the chance for developing gum disease increases. If not treated by a dentist in Plainsboro, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, bad breath, and a whole host of other health problems such as heart disease.

2. TMJ

Everyone reacts to stress in different ways. Some people bite their nails, others sweat a lot, and many people clench their jaws. Oftentimes these responses to stress are done automatically and without thought or awareness. But when someone habitually clenches their jaw over and over it can lead to some serious problems. Not only can repeated clenching damage teeth, but it can also cause severe jaw pain. Occasionally the pain is temporary, but other times it gets worse and is partnered with clicking, popping, or a locked jaw. If this occurs, it could be a sign of TMJ (or TMD) and treatment will be recommended.

3. Canker Sores

Canker sores are a potential oral health side effect of too much stress. While they aren’t necessarily dangerous, they can certainly be annoying and often painful. Even though there is no official known cause of canker sores, studies show that increased stress can play a role. Treatment isn’t usually needed as canker sores should go away on their own and aren’t contagious.

Reduce Stress

To protect your overall health and oral health from the dangers of too much stress, practice lowering stress and anxiety by following a few key tips such as:

● Eating Well. Following a well-balanced diet fuels our bodies to function properly, and when our bodies are working as they should, it may be easier to keep stress levels low.

● Working Out. Being active releases “feel good” chemicals in our bodies that make us feel happier and less stressed. Find an exercise program that you enjoy and stick with it!

● Sleeping Enough. Getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep every night can help your body relax and replenish, thus decreasing stress and preparing you to tackle another day.

If you feel that stress may be affecting your oral health, we welcome you to call our Plainsboro dental office to schedule an appointment with us today. We promise that a visit with us will be anything but stressful.