Clear Care Dental

5 Tips for a Healthier Smile

Lady smiling with fruit

Sometimes we skip a tooth brushing every now and then, which may seem like no big deal. While, in the grand scheme of things, it may seem like

missing a tooth brushing here in there isn’t the end of the world, it may lead to unhealthy dental habits, which eventually could result in serious dental damage! By adopting healthy, regular dental habits, you can lower your chance of tooth decay and cavities. Here are some helpful tips towards a healthy, happier smile!

Brush and Floss Regularly:

You should brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and floss once. If you want to have impeccable oral hygiene, you may also brush your teeth after each meal or snack. If brushing isn’t a post-meal option for you, thoroughly rinsing your mouth with water will help as well.

Use Mouthwash:

Using mouthwash twice a day after brushing is a great way wash away leftover bacteria and give your mouth that super clean feel.

Eat Tooth-healthy Foods:

Believe it or not, there are certain foods that are good for your teeth and will help to strengthen them and fight against bacteria and plaque build-up. Some foods that will benefit your dental health include but are not limited to: fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, unsweetened coffee, tea, and sugar-free gum.

Make Routine Dental Visits:

Professional teeth cleanings and dental check-ups should be scheduled for every six months. If you have a history of dental issues, or if you know you need special attention, visiting your dentist more often than every six months may be best for you.

Consider Dental Sealants:

During your next dental visit, ask about dental sealants. Dental sealants will seal up small grooves and nooks in your teeth, preventing bacteria build-up in those hard to reach places. They can also help prevent tooth decay and can last up to ten years with proper dental care!

If you have any questions about your oral health, please give us a call at ClearCare Dental Fredericksburg Phone Number 540-785-4494.

How to Help Your Child Get Through Their Dental Impression

Dental Impression

If your child needs a retainer or other prosthetic or appliance, they will need to have a dental impression made. We all know that impressions are never pleasant and can be uncomfortable, especially for children. It is likely that your child won’t be a fan of the process either, so you are probably wondering how you can help them get through it!

Here are some tips to keep in mind to help children get through the process smoothly.

Breathe through the nose: It’s not easy having to keep your mouth open for a long period of time. But breathing through your nose will take the focus off your mouth and help the minutes go by quicker.

Drooling is okay: It may not feel okay to drool, but sometimes you should let it go. It can be hard to swallow your saliva when your mouth is wide open and it could trigger the gag reflex. Tell your child to let the drool flow. Let them know that it’s normal and happens to everyone.

Distraction, distraction, distraction: The minutes will go by faster if your child is distracted. Sit with your child and talk to them. Tell them a funny story to get their mind off what’s going on in their mouth. If you can’t sit with them, tell them to count or sing their favorite song in their head. That will keep them focused and make the time fly by.

Sitting up: If you child is having a hard time with the impression, have the doctor prop them up in their chair. If they are sitting upright, the material won’t drip back into their throat making them gag.

Reward: Tell your child that when they are done with their impression, you will take them out for their favorite treat. Have them brainstorm an idea of what they want and where they want to go while getting their impression. Not only is it a good distraction, but it will give them something to look forward to after.

Dental impressions may not be everyone’s favorite thing, but once they are done, your child won’t have to deal with it again for quite some time. Remind them that it’s a part of the process and they are once step closer to a pretty smile.

Teens and TMJ

Teen holding her jaw

Our practice is proud to offer teens a comfortable and trusting dental home where they can be assured that the doctors and staff understand their unique needs.Our doctors are trained to look at facial growth, tooth placement and relationships with the jaw, the need for braces, nutritional counseling, hygiene aids, preventive procedures and behavior modifications. With that said, we are always sure to screen your teen for TMJ.

What is TMJ you may ask?

TMJ disorders are muscular AND skeletal issues related to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the joint that connects the bottom jaw to the skull. TMJ disorders (also called temporomandibular disorders, or TMD) can cause discomfort in the head, neck, jaw or face; problems chewing or biting; popping or clicking sounds when opening and closing the mouth; and, occasionally, a jaw that can be locked open or locked shut. TMJ disorders can affect kids of any age, but are much more common in teens, especially girls.

Everyone has experienced some soreness or tightness in the jaw from time to time. Thankfully, they usually go away on their own within a day or so. However, occasionally this mysterious pain becomes worse – making it hard for your teen to smile, chew, or talk. When kids have symptoms like these, they’re likely to have developed a TMJ disorder, which may require treatment.

Causes of Teen TMJ

Often times your teen is under a lot of stress with school and extracurricular activities. This may lead them to grind or clench their teeth while sleeping – a huge factor in TMJ disorders. TMJ disorders also are more common in teens with other dental problems (like a bad bite), joint problems (like arthritis), muscle problems, or a history of trauma to the jaw or face (commonly seen in aggressive contact sports)!

What to do next?

If you think your child may be experiencing TMJ symptoms, call our office today at ClearCare Dental Fredericksburg Phone Number 540-785-4494! Often times, we can advise you on some simple steps that you can do at home to alleviate pain and symptoms before the pain progresses.

Sugar Bugs and Mouth Monsters: 3 Tips for Parents

Sugar bugs Talking to your kids about cavities is very important. But, as with anything else with children, it’s also important to keep it fun. When you make it fun for your kids, they will be more likely to brush and floss without the usual battle. Are you wondering how you can talk to your kids about cavities and good oral hygiene without losing their interest?

We are here to help with some tips for breaking it down so that your kids can better understand the importance of brushing and flossing.

3 Tips for Teaching Kids About Cavities

  1. Use the right words. Try using words like “sugar bugs” and “mouth monsters” to describe the bacterial villains that cause tooth decay. Pretend it’s a game, and tell them that it’s time to battle the monsters. This is especially useful for getting kids to floss – tell them that the only way to win against the sugar bugs is to floss in between the teeth!
  2. Make the bathroom visually fun and friendly. Use brightly colored brushes, walls, towels and a reward system to make hygiene time more appealing and kid friendly. Let them pick out their toothbrush and toothpaste so they are excited to use them. You can even allow them to put the toothpaste on the brush themselves once they are old enough to spit reliably. And, for extra fun, play some music while they brush – find a favorite song that is 2 minutes long (the recommended time for brushing) and brush away!
  3. Create charts, posters and homemade pictures in the bathroom that teach them good oral hygiene from early on. Have them decorate the chart by drawing sugar bugs and personalizing it with their own touch.

These are just a few of the many ideas we have to teach your kids the important of proper oral hygiene and how to fight cavities. For more information, please contact our office at ClearCare Dental Fredericksburg Phone Number 540-785-4494.

Halloween Treats and Your Child’s Teeth

Halloween Candy Halloween is almost upon us! And while we know that there will never be a time when you can avoid Halloween candy completely, there is a way to make sure all that sugar doesn’t hurt your little one’s teeth! In addition to brushing, flossing and dental visits, here is a run down of some of the best (and worst) candies for your teeth:

Enjoy in Moderation:

Chewing Gum
One of the safest candies for your child to enjoy is gum. Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva, which naturally rinses the mouth and teeth and keeps plaque-causing bacteria under control. Whenever possible, choose all natural, sugar-free gum that has been approved by the ADA. Limiting the sugar intake from gum will lessen the amount of sugar that is left on your child’s teeth, which will lessen their chance of tooth decay and cavities.

Chocolate is a better choice than many candies for your teeth as it melts in the warmth of your mouth and therefore can be washed away easier.

Try to Avoid:

Hard Candy
Hard candies and lollipops linger in your child’s mouth, which can expose your child to the most dental damage out of all of the sweet treats. Not only is there a higher chance of cracking a tooth, but there is also a risk of prolonged acid attacks, which could lead to tooth decay. Whenever possible, swap out sugar filled hard candies for sugar free hard candies. If you can’t swap out all of the sugar, try having your child take sips of water as they’re eating the hard candy. This way the water can help to prevent sugar and acid from sticking to the teeth and causing decay or cavities. Once they are done, make sure they follow up with a thorough teeth and tongue brushing to scrub away any remaining sugars!

Sticky Candies
While sticky candies, such as gummy worms or caramels, are one of our personal favorites, they have a tendency to stick to your child’s teeth. To reduce the risk of dental damage, enjoy just one piece at a time. If you can, work these soft, sticky candies into meal time so that between each piece, your child can have a piece of hard food to help dislodge sticky bits from your child’s teeth!

Do your best to combine these sweet treats with food and water to help reduce the risk of tooth decay and to keep your little one’s oral health in tip top shape! And please, always reach out to us at ClearCare Dental Fredericksburg Phone Number 540-785-4494 with any questions you may have!

When Should You Consider Dental Implants?

Lady smiling with implantYou may have heard in the past that dental implants are one of the most effective ways to replace missing or damaged teeth. Dental implants are a great option for a lot of different situations, but when is getting a dental implant the best option for you? There are a few circumstances where receiving an implant might be the best option for improving your smile.

Dental implants typically consist of three components: the post, the abutment, and the restoration. The post is a screw which is inserted into the bone. The abutment is attached to the post and the restoration is placed on top, giving the finished product a beautiful, realistic look.

To restore and preserve your appearance.

One of the main functions of dental implants is to restore a smile back to its original glory. They are built to last a lifetime and last much longer than dental bridges. If you are looking for a permanent solution to damaged or missing teeth, dental implants are your best option.

To protect and preserve a healthy jawbone.

Missing spaces in your smile can lead your jawbone to deterioration, which causes it to lose its strength. Dental implants are the only option which will protect and save your natural bone. Waiting to get a dental implant can continue to increase the chances of your jawbone not being able to support dental implants in the future.

To stop your teeth from shifting.

Losing a tooth can cause the surrounding teeth to shift and look unnatural. These teeth can become crowded or can be shifted unevenly. This can cause your teeth to become harder to clean and can also cause your face to sag and appear sunken.

These are just a few of the instances in which you should consider getting dental implants. Dental implants are one of the most useful and successful restoration options available today. For more information on how we can restore your smile with dental implants, contact ClearCare Dental at ClearCare Dental Fredericksburg Phone Number 540-785-4494 today.

5 Reasons Why Your Teeth Are Changing Color

woman brushing teethBrushing and flossing your teeth every day can keep your smile bright and white. However, you might have noticed that even though you take great care of your teeth, they look a little yellow and have lost their sparkle. This is completely normal. Here are 5 reasons why this could be happening to you.

  1. Food and Drinks: Coffee, tea and red wine play a major role in staining your teeth. They all have Chromogens, which are intense color pigments that attach to the white outer part of your tooth known as enamel.
    Tip: Drink with a straw, keeping those stain-causing dyes in the drink away from your teeth
  2. Tobacco Use: The two chemicals found in tobacco, tar and nicotine, create a tough stain. Tar is naturally dark. Nicotine is colorless, but when it’s mixed with oxygen, it creates a yellowish color. Both together create the stain.
  3. Age: Below the white shell of enamel on our teeth is a softer area called Dentin. Over the years, our outer enamel gets thinner from brushing and the yellowish dentin shows through.
  4. Trauma: If you have experienced an injury to the mouth, your tooth may change color. This is because your tooth reacts to the trauma by putting down more dentin, which is darker than the outer enamel on your teeth.
  5. Medications: Many different kind of medications come with the side effect of darkening your teeth. Also, children who are exposed to medication when their teeth are forming, either in the womb or as a baby, can experience discoloration of their adult teeth later in life.

Some of these reasons are preventable and some of these happen over the course of life. Try to avoid some of these things and continue to brush and floss your teeth every day. If you would like to discuss your teeth whitening options with us, please call our office at 540-785-4494 to schedule an appointment.

Manual, Electric and Sonic Toothbrushes

normal toothbrush vs electric toothbrushWith the many options of toothbrushes available today, we understand that choosing the right one for you can be overwhelming. If you are considering changing your brush style, read more information below about manual, electric and sonic toothbrushes.

Manual Toothbrushes

Manual toothbrushes are the most common type of toothbrushes, available at your local convenience store. Many people choose to opt for the manual toothbrush because it is a much cheaper option compared to the electric and sonic toothbrushes. Studies have shown that there is not a huge difference in using a manual toothbrush vs. an electric/sonic toothbrush, as manually brushing still cleans the surface of your teeth of food debris and plaque. However, manual toothbrushes clean your teeth at a rate of around 300 brush strokes per minute, while electric and sonic toothbrushes operate much faster (see below).

Electric Toothbrushes

Electric brushes operate at a much higher brush stroke rate than manual toothbrushes, with around 3,000 – 6,000 brush strokes per minute. A brush stroke from an electric toothbrush differs from that of a manual toothbrush because it moves much faster in a smaller surface area, using either oscillating or vibrating motions.

Sonic Toothbrushes

Sonic brushes differ from electric brushes slightly in that they vibrate at a much higher frequency, about 30,000 to 40,000 strokes per minute. Sonic toothbrushes have been found to have a slighter higher cleaning rate because they clean harder to reach areas, such as under the gums and in between the teeth. However, while this may be true – nothing compares to flossing in between the teeth. The ADA recommends for adults with arthritis or who have a hard time manually brushing to change to electric or sonic toothbrushes, which increases stability for your hand while brushing.

Whatever option you chose, as long as you are brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing once, you will be able to effectively keep your teeth clean and healthy! If you have any further questions about the toothbrush for you, give us a call at ClearCare Dental Fredericksburg Phone Number 540-785-4494!

How to Take Care of Your Dental Implant

man flossing dental implantsCleaning and taking care of your implant is just as important as cleaning your natural teeth. Here are some things you should know about caring for your implant.

Your implant and your natural teeth are similar because they both rely on healthy tissue for support and both can build up plaque. It’s important to remove that plaque because it can develop into an infection. If the infection isn’t properly treated, it can result in a loss of bone around the implant which could progress to the loss of the implant itself.

It’s important to get your teeth cleaned on a regular basis so your dental hygienist can get that biofilm off your teeth and keep your teeth infection-free. As always, you should be brushing your teeth and flossing twice a day. Never use your teeth, especially your implant as “scissors” to open anything.

Dental implants are the closest thing you can get to real and natural teeth. They don’t require any special products or treatment. Just a simple brush and floss will do the job. They are also long lasting. If they are properly cared for, they can last a lifetime, avoiding any further dental work down the road.

With a dental implant, you can still enjoy all your favorite foods. It will not loosen or fall out if you are chewing something hard.

Overall, dental implants are meant to make life better and easier, not to add issues or interrupt your life. You don’t have to go out of your way to take care of them – a simple brush and floss will ensure that they improve your overall quality of life for many years to come.

If you think a dental implant may be right for you, call ClearCare Dental at 540-785-4494 to schedule a consultation with us.

Where do Dental Implants come from?

kids studyingDental implants have a surprisingly rich and interesting history. Across centuries and throughout cultures around the world there is evidence of attempts at replacing missing teeth with various objects and materials.

The oldest dental implants can be traced back to 2000 BC in China, where missing teeth were substituted with bamboo pegs.

Fast forward a bit to around 1000 BC and you’ll find an ancient Egyptian King whose tomb was recently discovered along with his mummified remains; a copper peg hammered into place where a tooth once lived. This may have been the first time in history that we know of when metal implants were used.

Across the globe some time around 300 BC, an iron tooth was found in a French grave thought to be Celtic in origin. It is possible this implant may have been a post-mortem placement to honor the dead, as an attempt to perform the surgery using a live patient would have been an excruciatingly painful process.

Just 2000 years ago missing teeth were being substituted for animal teeth, and the poor were even selling their teeth to the wealthy, just to make ends meet! The body often rejected these surrogate teeth, causing infection.

More recently in 1931 in Honduras, Dr. Wilson Monroe and his wife found a jawbone amongst other artifacts, with teeth fashioned from shells and attached to the jawbone of an ancient man.

Today we are lucky enough to have dental implants that not only look and feel like real teeth, and anesthesia for the pain is also a plus. Thanks to studies conducted by Per-Ingvar Brånemark of Sweden in the 1950’s, oral surgeons have been able to perfect the process over the years to create today’s implants, which have a 98% success rate! Through a process known as osseointegration, metals and other implant materials are able to be skillfully placed so that your jaw bone actually attaches itself to the implant creating a seamless support system.

Missing a tooth or two? Give us a call at ClearCare Dental Fredericksburg Phone Number 540-785-4494 to discuss your dental implant options today!