Excel Dental Blog

Tooth Sealants Explained

Springfield, MO – Has your dentist recommended tooth sealants, but you aren’t sure what they are? The Springfield dentists at Excel Dental have all of the information you need.

“Sealants are essentially a protective coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth,” says Dr. Tracy Davis. “These back molars are where we most often find decay because they can be harder to reach when brushing and flossing.”

Ozark dental careGood brushing and flossing techniques are great at removing food particles and plaque from the smooth surfaces of your teeth. However, your molars have deep grooves where food particles can get stuck. This can lead to decay and cavities. Sealants help seal those areas, keeping food and plaque from causing damage.

“Sealants should only be applied professionally at a dentist office.” says Dr. Nick Matthews. “At your appointment, we will clean out the grooves on the chewing surface of your molars and place the sealant directly onto your tooth enamel. It bonds to your tooth and hardens, protecting the enamel from the plaque and bacteria that lead to decay.”


How Healthy Are Your Children’s Teeth?

 kid brushing teethSpringfield, MO – Do you make sure your children brush and floss their teeth every day? Childhood tooth decay is the number one chronic childhood disease, and can have lasting effects on your children.

“Beginning a proper oral care routine during childhood is critical to fight off tooth decay,” says Dr. Nick Matthews, an Ozark family dentist. “Many people don’t often pay close attention to baby teeth, because they eventually fall out on their own. But pediatric dental disease can have very serious repercussions for your child and his or her overall health.”

Early childhood caries is five times more common than asthma, four times more common that childhood obesity and 20 times more common that juvenile diabetes. It can begin as soon as a child’s teeth begin to erupt, typically around age 6 months.


Easing Tooth Pain At Home

Springfield, MO – At Excel Dental, we know that tooth pain can sometimes strike at inconvenient times. The good news is, there are some things you can do to ease the pain yourself before you can make it into our office.

“Tooth pain can happen anytime, but can worsen quickly if you’ve got a problem you’ve been ignoring,” says Dr. Nick Matthews, one of the Ozark cosmetic dentists. “The most common sources of dental pain come from tooth sensitivity, cavities or a loose filling, an infection, cracked or chipped teeth, an exposed root or gum disease. It’s best to visit us as soon as a problem arises, even if you think it’s still small. A small issue can worsen and become a much bigger issue in no time.”

OZ cosmetic dentistryBut, until you can make it to your dentist’s office to have repair work, such as a dental crown, done, there are some things you can do to be more comfortable.

An ice pack on the outside of your mouth can ease pain and swelling. Never use heat, and avoid very hot or cold foods until your tooth has been repaired. An over the counter pain reliever will also help relieve pain. Orajel or another benzocaine gel can be placed directly on the sore tooth. Tylenol or


One Third of Americans Don’t Visit the Dentist

Springfield, MO – According to a Gallup poll, in 2013, one third of Americans didn’t visit the dentist. Were you in that group?

Healthy teethWhile it is recommended that you see a dentist twice a year for check-ups, nearly one in three American adults still admitted they didn’t see the dentist even once in 2013. The poll found that women were more likely than men to visit the dentist regularly. African Americans and Hispanics are less likely than Caucasians and Asian Americans to see a dentist.

“This is troubling to us,” says Dr. Nick Matthews, one of the Ozark dentists at Excel Dental. “Study after study shows the intricate link between oral health and whole body health, and failing to maintain regular visits with your dentist can impact not


Common Gum Disease Myths

Springfield, MO – It is estimated that nearly three out of four Americans suffer from some form of gum disease. But while 75 percent of us may suffer from the disease, roughly three percent actually seek out treatment for the disease. And with more research indicated gum disease has significant connections to other serious health issues such as heart disease and diabetes, it’s important that Americans know the facts.

Teeth“Periodontal disease is a serious issue for a majority of patients, and there can be potentially dangerous ramifications from failing to treat the disease properly,” says Dr. Tracy Davis, one of the Nixa dentists at Excel Dental. “There are a lot of myths associated with gum disease, and dental clinics across the country need to do more to educate patients about the seriousness of the disease and the importance of treating it.”

So what are some of those myths?


What Does the ADA Seal of Approval Mean?

OZ dentistrySpringfield, MO – When you buy dental products, do you pay attention to whether that product has the American Dental Association’s Seal of Approval? Do you know why that might be important to you?

“As far back as 1866, the ADA was helping consumers protect themselves against extravagant claims,” says Ozark dentist Dr. Tracy Davis. “The ADA Seal of Approval has been around since 1931 to protect consumers against claims that aren’t true or haven’t been proven. The program is voluntary, but brands understand the power the seal holds, and more than 300 products currently hold the seal of approval.”


Rethink That Sugary Drink

OZ DentistrySpringfield, MO – When you feel yourself dragging in the middle of the day, do you reach for a soda or other sugary beverage for a pick me up? A steady consumption of soft drinks is the leading cause of tooth decay.

“We’ve seen a large increase in the number of sugary drinks Americans consume on a daily basis,” says Ozark dentist Dr. Tracy Davis. “We saw a huge peak in 1998 where the average American


The Importance of Treating Gum Disease

Springfield, MO – Did you know that gum disease is linked to a host of other medical issues, including heart disease, diabetes and stroke? It’s crucial that if you suffer from periodontal disease, you maintain regular visits with your dentist to have it treated and ensure it doesn’t relapse.

“It is estimated that as many as three fourths of Americans suffer from some form of gum disease,” says Ozark dentist Dr. Nick Matthews. “What makes this important is that research shows patients who suffer from gum disease are at higher risk for diabetes, heart disease and even some forms of cancer. So visiting your dentist isn’t just for a pretty smile – it could save your life.”

What is periodontal disease?
Ozark dentistPeriodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is inflammation and infection of the gum and bone tissue that surrounds the teeth. It is a primary cause of tooth loss in adults.

It is caused by plaque buildup on the teeth and is usually painless so you may not even know you have it.

If you experience any of the following, it’s important to visit a dentist as soon as possible:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Gums that are red, swollen or tender
  • Gums that have started to pull away from your teeth
  • Consistently bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth that won’t go away
  • Loose teeth
  • Any change in your bite or in the fit of your dentures

There are also some factors that can increase the risk of developing gum disease. If you have poor oral hygiene, smoke or chew tobacco, are pregnant, have diabetes or take certain medications, your chances for developing the disease are increased. Likewise, some people may simply be predisposed genetically to develop the disease.

Why treat periodontal disease?
Approximately 75 percent of adult tooth loss is due to periodontal disease. Untreated gum disease can turn into periodontitis. Chronic periodontitis leads to the loss of the tissue and bone that support your teeth. As they are lost, your teeth begin to loosen and eventually fall out.

But if you aren’t concerned about tooth loss, you should be concerned about your overall health.

Research on the link between gum disease and other health issues is ongoing. But there are several findings that are of interest.

The American Academy of Periodontology has reported that patients who have periodontal disease are twice as likely to suffer from heart disease. Periodontal disease patients are also more likely to have higher cholesterol levels.

How is what happens in your mouth linked to the rest of your body?

One study found that patients who have higher levels of disease-causing bacteria in their mouths were also more likely to have atherosclerosis of the carotid artery. That means the artery has started to harden as substances stick to it. This can cause clogs, which can lead to stroke or heart attack.

Experts have determined that bacteria can enter a person’s bloodstream though their gums. From there, it can travel through the body and clog arteries.

“When we fight off infection, our body’s natural defense mechanism is inflammation or swelling,” says Dr. Tracy Davis. “If you suffer from periodontal disease, you most likely have red and swollen gums. Think then about what happens when that same bacteria travels through your bloodstream and does the same thing. This can increase your risk for a clot to form in your artery.”

But preventing gum disease, or treating it before it becomes too severe, is as easy as maintaining regular visits with your dentist. If you have experienced any of the signs mentioned previously, schedule a visit with your dentist as soon as possible.

Diagnosing and treating periodontal disease before it progresses will not only allow you to smile bigger, it might just lower your risk for heart disease.

© 2015 Millionairium and Excel Dental. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Excel Dental are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this article is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links


Home Remedies Shouldn’t Replace Traditional Care

Springfield, MO – Oil pulling, an oral care regimen that involves using oil essentially as a mouthwash, is gaining new followers in Western culture. While there is nothing dangerous about the practice, and it can actually be a nice supplement to a traditional dental care regimen, it should not replace traditional dental treatment with a trained dentist.

Tooth Care“The theory behind oil pulling is a rather simple one,” says Ozark dentist Dr. Tracy Davis. “The oil is used in the same way a traditional mouthwash would be. The patient swishes a tablespoon of oil, and the oil works to essentially pull tiny microbes away from the teeth. The oil works like a magnet, pulling bacteria that is hiding in the small crevices of your mouth out and trapping them.”

So how does it work? The tiny microorganisms that live in our mouths are covered with a fatty membrane that that is attracted to the fat in the oil. When they come into contact with one another, the fat of the bacteria will naturally adhere to the oil.

The best type of oil to use is refined coconut oil because of the lauric acid it contains. Laurid acid has antimicrobial properties that inhibit the type of bacteria that are the primary cause of tooth decay.

“A clean mouth can have anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000 bacteria living on each teeth,” says Dr. Nick Matthews. “An unclean mouth can have between 100 million and one billion bacteria on each tooth. Oil pulling can help reduce the number of these bacteria that live in the mouth. But, while it can certainly help, it should never be a replacement for standard brushing and flossing and visits to the dentist.”

For patients who like more natural and holistic approaches to their health and dental care, oil pulling can be a wonderful added practice.

The longer the oil is swished in the mouth, the more bacteria it can remove. To reach maximum effectiveness, the oil should be swished through the teeth until it turns a milky white color. This indicates bacteria has been pulled off, and can take up to 20 minutes. Once you’ve thoroughly swished the oil, spit it out and rinse with water.

Patients who have added oil pulling to their oral care regimen claim that it has helped to whiten their teeth, reduces symptoms of gingivitis and alleviates bad breath. Other claims include helping to prevent cavities and relieving gum and tooth sensitivity.

“The primary cause of tooth decay is bacteria,” says Dr. Davis. “So from that perspective, it certainly makes sense that if oil pulling is effective at removing the bacteria from your mouth, it could then prevent tooth decay. However, there are additional problems that can lead to tooth decay or gingivitis, such as a genetic predisposition or unhealthy habits.”

Adding oil pulling to your dental care routine is a wonderful step, but should never replace care or advice of a trained dentist. If you would like to know more about how oil pulling can help you, ask your dentist at your next check-up what benefits you might be able to reap from the practice.

© 2015 Millionairium and Excel Dental. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Excel Dental are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this article is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.


Treating Tooth Sensitivity

Springfield, MO – Do you cringe every time you take a sip of hot coffee or iced tea? Sensitive teeth are a common problem, but there are some ways you can lessen your sensitivity.

But what causes sensitive teeth in the first place? Teeth are made of enamel, the hard surface that protects the crowns of the teeth, and cementum, which protects the root of the tooth under the gum line. Underneath both of these is something called dentin, which is more sensitive than enamel and cementum.

visit to the dentist“The dentin contains tiny, hollow tubes that, when the dentin’s protective covering is lost, allow heat and cold to touch the nerves inside the tooth,” says Dr. Tracy Davis, an Ozark dentist. “This causes sensitivity when eating or drinking hot or cold foods and even when breathing through your mouth.”

The first step in preventing sensitive teeth is proper oral care. If you have sensitive teeth, it is important to brush and floss regularly, but not to be too aggressive as you may increase your sensitivity by causing damage to the protective structures of your teeth.

If you suffer from periodontal disease, sensitive teeth may be a by-product of that. If left untreated, periodontal disease can progress until the bone and supporting tissue around the teeth are destroyed, leaving the root of the tooth exposed. Regular dental check-ups can catch and treat periodontal disease in its early stages.

What are the best sensitive tooth treatments?

“First, it’s important to visit your dentist so we can rule out any underlying issues that might be causing your sensitivity,” says Dr. Nick Matthews. “Our first step is typically recommending a desensitizing toothpaste. These toothpastes contain special compounds that can block the sensation from traveling through the surface of the tooth. Always look for one that has the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.”

It’s important to remember that it may take several applications of this toothpaste before you notice a difference. Multiple applications will help the compounds build up on the tooth enough to prevent the sensitivity.

Fluoride can be applied to strengthen the surface of the tooth, and decrease sensitivity. Fluoride can be applied in the dentist’s office, and you may also be given a prescription fluoride treatment to apply at home.

If the root of the tooth is exposed or enamel has been lost, bonding resin can be applied to the root surface. If a lack of gum tissue is the cause of the problem, gum tissue can be taken from another area of the mouth and grafted to the affected area. This will then protect the tooth root and reduce sensitivity.

If other treatments don’t work, you may need a root canal. This will target the problems in the pulp of the tooth and is the most successful way to eliminate tooth sensitivity.

The best way to avoid tooth sensitivity is to maintain a proper oral care routine. Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush, using a fluoride toothpaste, twice a day. Floss your teeth once a day. If you have sensitive teeth, it is important to avoid brushing your teeth too hard or using an abrasive toothpaste.

You may also be encouraged to make some changes to your diet. Acidic foods and drinks, such as soft drinks and citrus fruits, should be avoided. Highly acidic foods remove small amounts of tooth enamel every time they come into contact with your teeth. Always use a straw for acidic drinks to limit their contact with your teeth. Drinking milk or water after having an acidic food or drink can balance out the levels of acid in your mouth.

It’s also important to remember to wait to brush your teeth until at least 20 minutes after you’ve eaten. Acid softens enamel, so brushing while they are still at work can actually ae your teeth more vulnerable.

If you’ve been suffering from sensitive teeth, schedule a consultation with one of the trained dentists at Excel Dental today. Help is on the way.


© 2014 Millionairium and Excel Dental. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Excel Dental are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this article is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.