How Does Gum Disease Affect General Health?

Many people tend to ignore problems with their teeth and gums, assuming that any dental health issues they have will remain isolated in the mouth. This is not true. Recent studies have revealed an increasing amount of evidence supporting a strong link between periodontal (gum) disease and your general health.

For example, the inflammation and infection brought about by periodontal disease can also cause problems in the rest of the body, such as:

  • A weakened ability to control blood sugar (insulin)
  • Greater vulnerability to infection in other areas of the body
  • Increased risk of heart problems (since inflammation can raise blood pressure)

Nearly 91% of all patients with heart disease have periodontitis.

Additionally, researchers are examining the role that gum disease may play in pregnancy, since infection and inflammation – no matter where it is located in the body – can interfere with the development of a fetus in the womb. This, combined with natural hormonal changes during pregnancy, can potentially increase a woman’s risk of problems during pregnancy.

If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, it’s important to be diagnosed and t treated by an experienced Nebraska general dentist before it progresses to the point where it affects your overall health.

If you have further questions about gum disease or dental health, please contact The Dentists today to schedule an appointment with our experienced Nebraska general dentists. We have offices in Hillsborough, Village Pointe, Ralston Square, and Dundee, Omaha.

Professional Teeth Whitening vs. Store-Bought Whitening

Teeth whitening remains one of the most popular and sought-after cosmetic dentistry treatments. Because of its popularity, many retail teeth whitening products have been made available. Unfortunately, these store-bought products are not capable of producing the same quality results as professional tooth whitening, and they can also have unwanted side effects.

Apart from being less effective, store-bought teeth whitening is often too abrasive to be used on a regular basis. Some patients who overuse these products end up wearing down the enamel on their teeth. If the yellow dentin layer beneath your enamel begins to show through, you may end up defeating the purpose of teeth whitening. Professional teeth whitening is applied with supervision to ensure it is gentle enough to protect your teeth throughout the process.

At The Dentists, we offer professional take-home teeth whitening kits that allow you to whiten your smile on your own time. We will take impressions of your teeth and create a custom whitening tray that fits tightly over your teeth for optimal results. Custom teeth whitening trays are another major benefit of professional whitening over store-bought whitening. The trays that come with over-the-counter products are usually “one size fits all,” which can pose problems such as:

  • Gum irritation if the bleaching gel leaks out of the tray
  • Uneven results if the whitening gel is not in direct contact with the full surface of your tooth
  • Difficulty keeping the trays in place at night

When our at-home tooth whitening kits are used as directed, you will start to see results in just one to two weeks. We will supervise your progress to ensure you achieve outstanding results while protecting the health of your teeth and gums.

If you have further questions about teeth whitening, please contact The Dentists in Omaha today. We have offices in Hillsborough, Village Pointe, Ralston Square, and Dundee.

What to Do in a Dental Emergency

If your tooth breaks, cracks, comes loose, or is knocked out entirely, you may have a dental emergency. At our Omaha dentistry practice, we offer same-day emergency care for patients who have dental problems that can’t wait. We will diagnose the extent of the problem and, if necessary, perform treatment on the same day to repair it.

When a dental emergency occurs, there are certain steps you can take before you visit the dentist to help protect your teeth. For example:

  • If a tooth is chipped, cracked, or broken – Rinse your mouth with warm water and use a cold compress to help reduce swelling. Take ibuprofen (not aspirin) for any pain. Never attempt to “glue” a chipped or broken tooth into place!
  • If a tooth is pushed out of position – Using very light finger pressure, try pushing the tooth back into its normal alignment. However, if it is not moving easily, don’t force it. Call the dentist right away to schedule an emergency appointment.
  • If a tooth is knocked out – There is still a chance your tooth can survive and be replaced if you see the dentist within an hour of when the tooth was knocked out. Be sure to only touch the tooth by the crown, not by the root. Touching the root can damage cells that are needed in order for the tooth to naturally reattach to the bone. After gently rinsing the tooth in water, place it in your mouth between the cheek and gum to keep it moist, or else wrap it in a clean cloth and immerse it in milk or saline solution.

If you live in the Omaha area and have a dental emergency, please contact The Dentists today to schedule an emergency care appointment. We have offices in Hillsborough, Village Pointe, Ralston Square, and Dundee.

The Advantages of Dental Implants

If you have missing teeth, replacing them is important not just for the aesthetics of your smile, but also for its health. Missing teeth will eventually cause serious problems like bone loss – which can weaken your surrounding teeth and lead to changes in your facial structure over time.

Since dental implants are fused directly to your jawbone, they help prevent tooth loss and stimulate the growth of new bone, providing you with a strong foundation for your replacement teeth.

Dental implants come with several other benefits, including:

  • Longevity – With good care, dental implants can last a lifetime.
  • Convenience – Implants can be cared for just like your natural teeth; there is no special maintenance required.
  • Appearance – We custom-craft your dental restorations to look indistinguishable from your natural teeth.
  • Strength – Implants are designed to be as strong and durable as natural teeth, meaning you can eat what you like and trust the integrity of your new smile.

Dental implants can also be used to anchor a dental bridge, or to stabilize a full or partial denture.

If you have further questions about the benefits of dental implants, please contact The Dentists at Hillsborough, Ralston Square, and Village Pointe today to schedule an appointment with our experienced Omaha dentists. We serve patients throughout the Omaha, Nebraska area.

How Long Do Porcelain Veneers Last?

Porcelain veneers are one of the most popular and effective ways of transforming your smile. Veneers are thin shells of dental porcelain that are strongly bonded to the front surface of your teeth, masking common cosmetic smile flaws such as chips, cracks, and permanent stains. Each veneer is carefully crafted to ensure it matches your surrounding teeth and looks as natural as possible.

If you take good care of your porcelain veneers, you can expect them to last for a decade or longer. In fact, some patients never need to replace their porcelain veneers. However, certain habits can damage and/or reduce the lifespan of your veneers, such as:

  • Grinding and clenching your teeth (bruxism)
  • Chewing on ice or hard candy
  • Using your teeth as an opening or cutting tool
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Bad brushing techniques

The best way to ensure your porcelain veneers last is to come into our office for bi-annual check-ups. We will inspect the integrity of your veneers and polish them when necessary. We will also identify problems (such as tooth decay) and address them before they potentially threaten the longevity of your veneers. In short, if you take good care of your teeth and visit us on a regular basis, you can expect to enjoy your beautiful new smile for many years to come.

If you have further questions about porcelain veneers, please contact The Dentists at Hillsborough, Ralston Square, and Village Pointe today to schedule an appointment with our experienced Omaha dentists. We serve patients throughout the Omaha, Nebraska area.

Root Canal vs. Tooth Extraction

If you have an infected tooth, there are two main ways it can be treated: through a root canal, or a tooth extraction. A root canal (also called “endodontic therapy”) is the most conservative treatment, since it allows you to keep your natural tooth. The infected pulp inside of your tooth is carefully removed and cleaned, and a dental crown is placed to protect and strengthen your weakened tooth.

In contrast, a tooth extraction involves removing your entire natural tooth and replacing it with either a dental bridge or a dental implant. This method is used when your tooth is so damaged that a root canal alone will not solve the problem.

At The Dentists, we approach treating an infected tooth with the philosophy that if a tooth can be saved, it should be saved. There is no substitute for a real, natural tooth. Root canal therapy helps you maintain your natural tooth structure and avoid the lengthy process of placing a dental implant. However, if we determine that your tooth is beyond saving, you can rest assured that we will craft and place your restoration with the highest level of skill, artistry, and concern for the integrity and functionality of your smile.

If you have chronic tooth pain or a significantly damaged tooth, we can help you determine whether or not it is infected, and how best to proceed with treatment. Please contact The Dentists at Hillsborough, Ralston Square, and Village Pointe today to schedule an appointment with our experienced Nebraska general dentistry team. We serve patients throughout the Omaha area.

When Should My Child First Visit the Dentist?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), children should make their first visit to the dentist within six months of their first tooth appearing. Since primary teeth usually start growing in at around six months of age, this means you should plan on taking your child in for their first dental visit by age 1.

Many parents wrongly assume that since primary (or “baby”) teeth will fall out anyway, they are not important to take care of. The truth is that keeping baby teeth healthy is essential for the proper development of adult teeth.

Primary teeth are also important for several other reasons:

  • They help children chew properly, ensuring they maintain good nutrition.
  • They save space for permanent teeth to grow.
  • They play a major role in proper speech development.
  • They promote a healthy smile and self-confidence in children.

During your child’s first dental visit, we will show them around the office, talk about the various tools we use, and provide plenty of fun distractions. Feel free to have your child bring their own comforting toys or blankets as well.

By bringing your child to the dentist early in life, you will not only protect their dental health – you will help them learn that the dentist is nothing to be afraid of, and encourage the development of good oral hygiene habits that will stay with them as they grow older.

If you have further questions about pediatric dental care, please contact The Dentists at Hillsborough, Ralston Square, and Village Pointe today to schedule an appointment with our experienced Omaha dentists.

Causes of Tooth Pain and Toothaches

Tooth pain can be caused by a wide variety of factors. Although one of the most common sources of tooth pain is severe tooth decay, this is not always the case. A recent facial injury may have cracked or fractured one of your teeth, or you may be experiencing heightened tooth sensitivity due to allergies or recent dental work.

Some other common causes of toothaches include:

  • An abscess beneath the tooth
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth at night
  • Malocclusion (a bad bite)

If you are experiencing any type of tooth pain, our experienced Omaha general dentistry team can determine the source of your toothache and identify the right treatment plan to bring you relief. If infection is the cause, a root canal or tooth extraction may be necessary. However, some patients may simply need to correct a misaligned bite through orthodontics, or obtain a mouthguard to protect their teeth against grinding and clenching at night.

If you have further questions about toothaches, please contact The Dentists at Hillsborough, Ralston Square, and Village Pointe today to schedule an appointment with our experienced Omaha general dentistry team. We serve patients throughout the Omaha area.

Preventing Gum Disease

Gum disease is one of the most common general dentistry problems that patients have. If your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, it’s important to take steps to reduce this problem so your gum disease doesn’t grow worse. Advanced periodontal disease can eventually lead to tooth loss if it is never effectively treated.

When your body notices the toxins created by bacteria and plaque, it tries to fight off the infection by creating tiny new blood vessels in the area. This results in inflammation, making your gums look red and swollen. Unfortunately, the same bacteria that raised your body’s defenses will also begin to attack these blood vessels, which then become fragile and bleed.

Although some people are genetically predisposed to gum problems, gingivitis and periodontal disease are most often caused by poor oral hygiene or failure to see a dentist for professional teeth cleanings on a regular basis. The best way to prevent gum disease is to thoroughly brush and floss your teeth once a day. The importance of flossing cannot be overlooked – many people with gum disease brush diligently, but they rarely floss. This leaves food debris stuck in the tight spaces between your teeth and gums, making it all too easy for gum disease to take hold.

If you are noticing signs of gum disease, make sure you get the treatment you need to protect your teeth and gums. Please contact The Dentists at Hillsborough, Ralston Square, and Village Pointe today to schedule an appointment with our experienced Nebraska general dentistry team. We serve patients throughout the Omaha area.

The Benefits of White Fillings

Metal amalgam fillings have been the standard cavity treatment for decades. Although metal fillings protect teeth well enough, they come with several disadvantages. For example, the material expands and contracts with temperature changes, which can heighten your risk of tooth fracture. Over time, metal fillings can also loosen – allowing tooth decay to reach beneath the surface, or sometimes causing the filling to fall out entirely. Additionally, metal fillings can permanently stain your teeth.

At our practice, we use white composite fillings to help you avoid all of the problems listed above. White fillings are made of a dental composite material that bonds firmly to your teeth for the best protection possible. Some of the benefits of white composite fillings include:

  • Better preservation of your natural tooth enamel
  • Will not expand or contract with temperature changes
  • Decreased tooth sensitivity
  • Mercury-free
  • Superior bond to the tooth
  • Tinted to match the color of your teeth

If you are frustrated with the unsightly appearance of your old silver or metal amalgam fillings, we can help you safely remove them and fully restore your teeth with white composite fillings.

To schedule an appointment, please contact The Dentists at Hillsborough, Ralston Square, and Village Pointe today. We serve patients throughout Omaha, Nebraska.