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Dental Crowns 101

Sometimes in life, you just need a do-over. That’s precisely what crowns are—a new start for your tooth. Teeth are important players in your life! They’re not only the first responders for your digestive tract, but they can make a great first impression – so you deserve a beautiful, fully-functioning set. If your teeth need a real makeover, a crown might be just the thing you need.

A crown is a custom-made shell that fits perfectly over your natural tooth. Crowns look and act exactly like your original tooth – but better. Crowns restore broken and badly decayed or discolored teeth. Crowns also top off dental implants and build dental bridges. Dr. Ochsner, Onalaska dentist at Neighborhood Smiles, shares what you need to know about getting a crown.

If You Need A Crown

Getting a crown usually requires two trips to the dentist. On the first trip, the dentist makes a plan to suit your specific needs and prepares the tooth. You will also get impressions of the tooth so that a crown can be made to fit perfectly over the natural tooth. On the second trip, your crown is installed and cemented on. A crown is a permanent or “fixed” dental piece. This makes it very stable and durable. In some cases, a crown can be designed, fabricated and placed in a single appointment with the help of advanced same-day technology. Crowns can be made of a variety of materials and each type has its advantages and disadvantages. Talk with your dentist when choosing between crowns made of porcelain, resin, or metal.

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Dental Bridges 101

A hole in your smile is never a positive thing. It negatively affects physical appearance, eating, speaking, and your overall sense of confidence and well-being. Let Neighborhood Smiles bridge the gap between where you are with your smile and where you want to be! A missing tooth or teeth can also cause jaw pain and bite misalignment. Without a full set of teeth, your other teeth tend to move into the empty space, causing unnatural alignment in your bite and jaw—which can be very uncomfortable and can lead to bigger headaches and TMJ/TMD problems. Dr. Ochsner shares how each tooth plays an important role in your health and everyday life, and how dental bridges can restore your smile and the function of your teeth.

Types of Bridges

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Baby Dentistry: Teething and Other Joys

It’s easy to think that baby teeth aren’t that important. They make their grand entrance (however painfully) and leave your baby’s mouth soon thereafter. But your baby’s oral health is very important today and to set the stage for a lifetime of health. Today, Neighborhood Smiles would like to discuss those tiny teeth and how to take care of your baby’s oral health.

Teething Facts

  1. Teething begins anywhere from 3-9 months and can continue until your child is 3 years old. Every baby is different.
  2. Teeth emerge in a consistent pattern: lower 2 front incisors; upper 2 front incisors and 2 additional lower incisors; first set of molars; canines; then second molars.
  3. One reason we get baby teeth is that our baby mouths aren’t big enough for the size and number of adult teeth we need later in life.
  4. Babies have 20 teeth that fall out. They are then replaced by 32 adult teeth.
  5. Chewing on a cold, wet washcloth, extra snuggles, and a little pain-relieving medicine are certain to help ease the pain of teething.
  6. Contrary to popular belief, teething is not proven to cause sickness like diarrhea, fever, or a runny nose.
  7. Children should see the dentist as soon as their first baby teeth start coming in.

Taking Care of Baby Teeth

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Adult Dentistry: It’s Never Too Late

Good News for Grown-Ups

“Adulting” can be hard. Between rent, bills, kids, a career, and other responsibilities, it can be hard to make time for yourself. But independence, parenting, fulfilling work, and the wisdom that comes with age can be pretty fantastic, too. So how does your oral healthcare fit into a grown-up lifestyle?

  • Priorities: You manage a lot on any given day. Brushing your teeth and making a dental appointment may not feel like the most pressing of matters, but you know they are important in the long run—so you do it.
  • Family Life: Many people are more motivated to take care of themselves when good habits easily fit in with family life and others are looking to you to set a positive example. Whether you are caring for children or aging parents, preventative oral health care is more likely to happen when done together as a family.
  • Benefits: If you have a job that provides dental coverage, there’s really no reason not to see the dentist. You should even be able to use paid time off for the appointment. Ever heard of “me time”?
  • Holistic Dentistry: As we get older, we tend to know ourselves better. Holistic medicine is getting more popular as people consider all the ways one part of their health affects another. Keep solid notes on how your whole body and mouth are doing and share the notes with both your doctor and your dentist.

Neighborhood Smiles serves adults from all over Onalaska. Read more for our tips on how to care for your oral health at this particular stage in life.

Adult Oral Health Concerns

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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.

 

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