Warning Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Nicknamed for the fact that they come into your mouth and your life by the time you are mature and supposedly “wise”, wisdom teeth are simply the last set of molars that grow furthest back in your mouth. If you’re experiencing some specific pain in your gums and jaw, you may be wondering if you have impacted wisdom teeth. Dr. Ochsner takes care of wisdom teeth from all around Onalaska! Let us tell you more about impacted wisdom teeth and what to do if you have them.

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Senior Dentistry: Embrace Healthy Aging

Someone once said, “Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.” How true!  While it can be frustrating to watch your health change as you age, you don’t have to accept poor oral health and tooth loss as just an inevitable part of the aging process. Your oral health is just as important now as it has ever been, and it has a great deal to do with your overall health and wellness. When it comes to senior dentistry and oral health, Dr. Ochsner shares the top concerns you may have, and how to address them. Read more ›

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Gum Disease & Birth Defects

What is Gum Disease?

The short answer: Gum disease is a common gum infection that can become very problematic, but you can prevent it!

The long answer: All over your body, tissues have a self-defense mechanism called “inflammation.” When bacteria build up in your mouth, your gum tissue will inflame to try and kill it. Inflammation of your gums is called gingivitis. Gingivitis looks like red, soft, and sore gum tissue.

Over time, gingivitis can lead to more troublesome gum disease (called periodontitis) that can grow even deeper and start to harm the bones of your teeth and jaw. Severe gum disease can wreak havoc in your mouth. Pregnant women need to be especially careful because gum disease is linked with pre-term births and babies with low birth weight.

Every mom and mom-to-be wants the best start for their little one, and their journey into parenthood. Read on from Dr. Ochsner at Neighborhood Smiles to learn more about gum disease and pregnancy. Read more ›

Posted in Dental Health, Dental News, Dental Services, Patient Care

Cosmetic Dentistry – A Beautiful Smile is a Powerful Thing

There is a law of nature that “function follows form.” It’s a saying that means that how something looks actually determines how it works.

For example, you may own many screwdrivers of different sizes and shapes (form) to loosen all different kinds of screws (function). Think of a watering can with a long spout that’s perfect for pouring water right where you want it, versus one with a broad spout to cover large areas more quickly.

This principle can also apply to your smile! A mouth missing teeth is not nearly as functional as a mouth with a full set of chompers. Enter: cosmetic dentistry. The word cosmetic makes these treatments sound optional, but many times they are truly needed to improve physical function or mental and emotional wellbeing.

Read more from Dr. Ochsner to learn about cosmetic dentistry and the impact it can have on your life. Read more ›

Posted in Dental Health, Dental News, Dental Services, Dental Technology, Patient Care

TMJ – The Root of Your Pain

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is a really long name … so let’s call it TMJ. Ah, yes, that’s right, now the name is more familiar! You’ve heard it before. Maybe even some lingering pain in your chewing muscles and bones has you wondering if you’ve got it.

TMJ dysfunction is sometimes called TMD, TMJD, or TMJ Syndrome if there seems to be a collection of related issues with your jaw. Dr. Ochsner at Neighborhood Smiles Onalaska is here to tell you more about TMJ and what to do if you’ve got it.

What is TMJ?

A sailboat requires a complex system of ropes, pulleys, and hooks to catch the wind in its sail and get moving. Your jaw is also made of an incredible team of muscles, bones, joints, and tissue in order to function. If anything affects any one part of these pieces in your jaw, it could lead to chronic pain and problems with the joints in your jaw. TMJ is a broad term that includes any of this pain or dysfunction.

TMJ can feel like anything from a headache to an inner ear infection. The pain can move from your face and head down to your neck and shoulders. If you have TMJ, talking, chewing and yawning can be very uncomfortable. You might also hear clicking in your jaw, feel your jaw lock in place, or experience muscle spasms.

Because TMJ has a variety of symptoms, it can be confusing to tell if you have it. A dentist will absolutely be able to help just by looking into your mouth. A comprehensive dentist who is trained in assessing not only your mouth, but your lifestyle and whole body may be especially helpful for diagnosing and treating TMJ. Read more ›

Posted in Dental Health, Dental News, Dental Services, Patient Care

Breastfeeding & Dental Work

If you’re a new mom or you’re about to be, you’re likely already used to putting your needs second to the needs of this beautiful new little person in your life. But your oral hygiene is still important for keeping you and your baby in tip top shape. If something comes up and you need dental work, it shouldn’t prevent you from continuing to breastfeed regularly, or from seeking the dental treatment you need.

Dr. Ochsner is an experienced dentist in Onalaska and can explain how prioritizing your own health needs is safe and important during this stage of a woman’s life.

Dental Procedures Safe for Breastfeeding

You shouldn’t be surprised to hear that regular brushing and flossing is safe for breastfeeding mothers. In fact, it’s probably never felt more luxurious! Especially as you’re likely eating everything in sight (and perhaps indulging in sweet treats, too), it’s a good idea to keep those pearly whites as clean and healthy as possible.

We know how difficult it is to take care of yourself with a new baby, but you deserve to be healthy and a healthy mom is a better mom. Proactive measures are protective and important as your body goes through major hormonal changes. Not to mention, what mom has time for a lengthy dental procedure? You should do all you can to be proactive about your dental health right now to prevent complications later.

If you are a breastfeeding mother who needs some dental work, you’ll be happy to know most procedures won’t affect your milk or your baby. You will only need to pause breastfeeding for the short duration of your dental visits, and all of the following dental treatments are still safe while breastfeeding:

  • X-rays
  • Wisdom teeth extraction
  • Root canals
  • Fillings
  • Teeth whitening
  • Routine cleanings

Dental Drugs Safe for Breastfeeding

Your body does an excellent job of processing medicine and other substances before it gets to the baby (via your milk), and the old practice of pump-and-dump is rarely recommended anymore. Most effects of drugs used in dentistry should wear off as soon as your procedure is over anyway, and you can be back to nursing your bub as soon as you’re home. The following drugs common in dental work are all safe for breastfeeding mothers:

  • Novocain
  • Valium
  • Local anesthetic
  • Nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
  • General anesthesia
  • Antibiotics

More Information

Dr. Thomas Hale’s book “Medication and Mother’s Milk” is a great resource for more information on drug safety while breastfeeding. Of course you should always share your full health history with your dentist and get your own pediatrician’s approval before receiving any dental treatment.

Most dental work is totally compatible with a breastfeeding lifestyle. In fact, relaxing in the dentist chair may be the most quality alone time you get all week!

As a mother, taking care of your own dental needs is truly important for the overall health of you and your baby. Call us today to make an appointment for any regular cleanings or special dental treatment you need.

Posted in Dental Health, Dental News, Dental Services, Patient Care

The Ultimate Toothpaste Guide

Fresh breath really sets the tone for every moment of your day: first thing in the morning, before an important meeting, after working out, or just before bed. Whether you prefer cool mint, invigorating cinnamon, or herbal anise, it’s your favorite trusty toothpaste that delivers that fresh clean feeling.

So, what’s the scoop on toothpaste? What is essential to know in order to get the most out of it? You might be surprised as you learn more about this common product. Dr. Ochsner in Onalaska gives you the full story on toothpaste to empower you to take oral health into your own hands … or your own toothbrush, rather.

What is Toothpaste?

Toothpaste is an important preventative product. It can prevent tartar (hardened plaque) and gum disease if used regularly.

Pastes, gels, powders – toothpaste comes in a variety of forms. But all toothpaste has more or less the same ingredients that make it work, and work well. Read more ›

Posted in Dental Health, Dental Services, Patient Care

Dental Implants – A Security System for Your Smile

Your mouth is a genius system made to work with every piece doing its part. If you’re missing a tooth, the empty spaces are more than unsightly; they can be dangerous! Your other teeth, your gums, and even the bones in your face rely on you having a full smile.

Enter: dental implants. Thanks to improved technology, you can replace a single tooth or a whole row of them quickly and effectively. Dental implants can actually improve your overall oral health and are now considered the gold standard in modern tooth replacement technology.

Dr. Ochsner at Neighborhood Smiles Onalaska in Onalaska offers professional placement and restoration of dental implants, so let us tell you more about them and how they can help protect your greatest asset and secure your smile!

How Do Dental Implants Work?

Teeth have even more going on under the surface of your gums than above. What you see when you look at your teeth is the hard, white crown. (See, you knew you must be royalty!) Then, like a plant, the tooth has a long root extending down into the jawbone. Read more ›

Posted in Dental News, Dental Services, Dental Technology, Patient Care

Oral Health Tips at Every Age

A few things are equally important for your oral health no matter your age or stage of life. Good nutrition, brushing and flossing habits, visiting the dentist and a little fluoride are always (always) the essentials. And you won’t ever hear us say otherwise.

However, your dental hygiene routine requires unique considerations at each new season of growth and maturity. Read below as Neighborhood Smiles Onalaska shares what is especially important to know for your oral health throughout your life. You may be surprised at what we have to share!



From the moment your child enters the world, they are equipped with not one, but two sets of teeth to last their lifetime—even if you can’t quite see said teeth yet. Oral health and dental care are as important now as ever. Don’t wait to start good habits that will ensure a healthy, functioning smile for your newest family member.

  • Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is a serious side effect of overexposure to the sugars in baby liquids. Use only breast milk or formula in your baby’s bottle (never juice or soda) and don’t let her fall asleep with the bottle in her mouth.
  • Wash your baby’s gums and budding teeth with a clean, wet towel every day.
  • Teething begins anywhere from 3-9 months. Teeth emerge in a consistent pattern: lower 2 front incisors; upper 2 front incisors and 2 more lower incisors; first set of molars; canines; then second molars.
  • The third set of molars, known as the wisdom teeth, are not a part of the baby teeth but will come in last among the adult teeth.
  • Thumb sucking and pacifiers serve their purpose but can increase your child’s risk of tooth decay, jaw misalignment, and an improper bite.
  • Bring your child in for her first dentist appointment as soon as her first tooth comes in.
  • Most states cover dental visits (as most do) for children on governmental support.


Though it can be overwhelming to stay on top of your child’s oral hygiene, kids have all the same dental needs as adults. Now is the impressionable age when good habits will really set in for the rest of their life.

  • From age 3 and up, fluoride toothpaste is a proven safe and important part of a child’s dental needs.
  • Kids should visit the dentist twice a year.
  • Consider fun Tooth Fairy traditions to celebrate your child’s growth as she loses her baby teeth and gains the adult set.
  • Sealants are helpful for preventing cavities (and cheaper, too!).
  • It’s important that kids wear mouth guards while playing sports.
  • Braces can be necessary, even on your child’s baby teeth. So, don’t be surprised if your dentist suggests them.
  • Proper nutrition is important to keep growing kids healthy, and make sugary treats a rare occasion to encourage strong bones and teeth and prevent cavities.
  • Older kids and teens start to become aware of their appearance and bad breath. These are extra good reasons to encourage healthy habits that build confidence.


No one is around anymore to remind you to brush your teeth or force/drive you to the dentist. And lots of your favorite vices in this age can wreak havoc on your teeth (the last set you’ll get!). Your teeth and mouth will serve you forever if you continue to prioritize your dental hygiene amongst everything else going on in life.

  • Beware that sugar, coffee, red wine, and nicotine increase tooth decay and stains.
  • Gum disease is very common among adults and can cause all sorts of complications with your health overall.
  • Contrary to popular belief, it’s healthy and important for pregnant and nursing women to see the dentist regularly. It can even prevent birth defects!
  • Adults are familiar with aches and pains all over their body. Always share what’s going on with your dentist as you might be surprised how connected your oral health is to the rest of your body.


The golden years should be about celebration and gratitude for all you’ve seen and done. Make dental care a joyful ritual and stay on top of your dentist visits as things just tend to get complicated with our own health as we age.

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70% of adults over 65 have gum disease.
  • Many states have senior benefits that cover dental care.
  • Oral cancer becomes an issue for many people at this age.
  • Dry mouth (most often caused by prescription drugs) is very common and can lead to increased tooth decay.
  • Be sure to communicate with your dentist about your overall health because other health concerns (especially issues with your joints, heart, and diabetes) can affect your dental health and the care you need.
  • Dentures need just as much TLC as your natural teeth do, so don’t forget them in your daily routines.

What Does Your Mouth Need Today?

Dr. Ochsner treats mouths and teeth of every age throughout Onalaska. Call us today and make an appointment for a routine visit to clean and care for your teeth exactly as they need today.

Posted in Dental Health, Dental Services, Patient Care

Is it Time to Straighten?

When to Straighten Your Teeth

There are a lot of reasons to straighten your teeth, and there are a lot of ways to do it. But you may not know that there are many unique times in your life when it might be best to straighten your teeth.

In general, dentists begin considering the potential need to straighten a patient’s teeth around 8-10 years of age. But people of all ages can get their teeth straightened—there is never a bad time! But there are certain times when it makes more sense.

Onalaska dentist, Dr. Ochsner, is a professional and local provider of orthodontics and teeth straightening treatments. Read below to learn our tips for deciding if it’s time to straighten your teeth. Read more ›

Posted in Dental Services, Patient Care