Tooth Decay & How To Prevent Cavities
Preventing Cavities in La Vista, NE
Cavities, often referred to as tooth decay, are tiny holes that develop in the hard surface of your teeth. They are most common in children and teenagers, but they can affect everyone including infants and toddlers. Take a closer look at what causes cavities and how you can prevent them.
Causes of Cavities
Cavities typically occur as a result of poor oral health habits but other various factors can increase the risk of getting a cavity, including:
- Dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when there is a lack of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps wash away food stuck on the teeth and it counters the acid produced from bacteria in the mouth, which reduces the chance for cavities.
- Foods and drinks. Certain foods aren’t as easily washed away from saliva, making them more likely to cause decay. Foods you should limit include: ice cream, honey, sugar, soda, cake, chips, cookies, and hard candy.
- Constant snacking or sipping. Drinking or eating frequently throughout the day results in increased bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria produces the acids that attack tooth enamel.
- Lack of fluoride. Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps prevent cavities and can reverse the early stage of tooth decay. Using a fluoride mouthwash is recommended.
Regular dental visits and daily brushing and flossing are the best protection against cavities. But, cavities left untreated get larger and larger, affecting the deeper layers of your teeth. Deeper cavities result in higher chances of experiencing severe toothache and infection. So, when it comes to cavities, prevention is key. Below are some of our cavity preventions tips:
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste. Brush and floss twice a day, ideally after each meal.
- Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Professional teeth cleanings remove plaque that builds up over time which isn’t removed by regular brushing and flossing. Going to the dentist twice a year is one of the best cavity prevention options.
- Dental sealants. Sealants protect the tooth enamel from harmful plaque and bacteria.
What Is The Best Teeth Whitening Option?
Teeth Whitening at Nebraska Dental Center
When it comes to getting a brighter smile, you can whiten your teeth at home or get a professional treatment. At home whitening typically includes over-the-counter products like whitening strips, pens, or toothpaste. Professional whitening includes custom-made whitening trays you take home or an in-office appointment. So what’s the best teeth whitening option for you?
Both options use peroxide bleaching agents as the main active ingredient. The difference between each option is the amount of peroxide it contains. Over-the-counter solutions use 3 – 20 percent where professional solutions contain 14 – 43 percent. Solutions with higher amounts of peroxide should be left on for a shorter amount of time. Keeping the solution on longer will dehydrate your teeth and make them more prone to sensitivity.
Professional teeth whitening options are much safer and more effective. Additionally, it ensures that all of the proper precautions are taken. So, when it comes to protecting your gums, the whitening agent only gets on your teeth.Learn More About Teeth Whitening at Nebraska Dental Center
At-Home Whitening Products
Over-the-counter products are cheaper, generally take longer to see results, and have limitations depending on your tooth color and health prior. If used incorrectly, at-home teeth whitening kits can lead to burned gums or tooth sensitivity. Always talk with your dentist to decide the best treatment option for you.
If you choose to go for an over-the-counter solution, we recommend that you use one from the list of bleaching products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.Bleaching Products with ADA Seal of Acceptance
One Year Update: COVID-19 and Dental Offices
From Nebraska Dental Center
It’s been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic changed almost every aspect of our daily lives—including regularly visiting the dentist. However, this should soon be a thing of the past. Not visiting the dentist was one of the many ripple-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and even though it is not over, yet, things are looking up.
According to the ADA Health Policy Institute, confidence in going back to the dentist hit a new high since the pandemic started, with 94% of patients stating they are ready to go back to the dentist or they have already gone back to see the dentist, compared to August of 2020 where only 78% of patients had been back or were ready to go back to the dentist.
Continued Safety Protocols
As more and more people become fully vaccinated, the CDC has started to provide less-restrictive guidelines for these people. However, most recommended precautions, such as using personal protective equipment, have not changed for health care settings, including dental offices.
Even though we are seeing COVID-19 case numbers trending down, we still ask that you follow our guidelines for your safety and the safety of others, including:
- Do not come to the office if you have any symptoms of COVID-19
- Limit the number of people you bring to your appointment, if possible
- Wear a mask until notified that you can remove it
Per the CDC, we are regularly consulting with our state and local health departments for region-specific information and recommendations, as they monitor trends in local case counts and adjust accordingly.
We understand that you may not feel comfortable quite yet, or you have questions about the protocols we’ve implemented in our office to keep patients safe. You can review our entire list of COVID-19 Safety Protocols or you can contact us in La Vista, NE and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.Learn More About Nebraska Dental Center COVID-19 Safety Protocols
Pediatric Dental Care: Starting Your Child Off on the Right Tooth
Pediatric Dentistry in La Vista, NE
The quality of dental care a child receives while growing up can have a huge impact on their teeth — and even their general health — for the rest of their life. Dental care sets the stage for the way teeth develop as they grow, and it’s important to begin with a good foundation. To reinforce healthy brushing habits with children and make sure their teeth are coming in nicely, we recommend visiting the dentist early, with the first visit at about twelve months of age, which is usually less than six months after their first tooth shows up.
Here are a few specific reasons to take your children to the dentist early in their lives:
Baby Teeth are Important
Your child’s baby teeth aren’t disposable just because they’re temporary. They play an important role in your child’s development. Making sure their baby teeth are in order will have a positive effect long after they lose them. Baby teeth act as placeholders for adult teeth; they help your child’s jaw and gums develop in the right way. Not only that, healthy baby teeth help children learn to speak by supporting the shape of the mouth correctly. And a dazzling smile is good for their self-esteem.
Experience Calms Anxiety
Many grownups feel anxious about going to the dentist. However, if you bring your children in for a visit at about the age of twelve months, they’ll be too young to think anything bad is going on and they won’t likely be very worried. One of the best ways to help children avoid the development of dental anxiety is to begin building a habit of regular dental visits early in life. Parents who wait until children are two years of age or older likely will have a much rougher time with visits at early ages, and the children could develop lifelong anxiety about going to the dentist.
Tooth Decay Comes Early
Tooth decay can set in as soon as your child develops their first tooth. A CDC report showed that as many as 40% of children will develop some form of tooth decay before they reach kindergarten. And that decay can have a long-term effect on the health of their teeth and gums.
Nip Problems in the Bud
After children have stopped growing, it can be difficult to get crooked teeth back in order. The process is likely to be more difficult, longer and more uncomfortable for the patient than if the problems are taken care of early in life. That’s why there’s no better time to fix misaligned or crooked teeth than when your child is still growing. As soon as their teeth show signs of these problems, we can begin early to guide their teeth into the correct position.
Giving your child’s teeth the care they deserve sets them up for dental success in the future by introducing good dental hygiene habits and preventing problems from getting worse as their teeth age. If you have any questions about how to give your child the best dental care possible or would like to set up an appointment, give Nebraska Dental Center a call at (402) 331-1695. Begin proper dental care as soon as your child’s first tooth shows up and you’ll put them on the road to a healthy, beautiful smile all their lives.Learn More About Pediatric Dentistry Contact Nebraska Dental Center
Sedation: Making Your Dental Procedure as Comfortable as Possible
La Vista Dental Sedation
As we get older, we figure out that many things we didn’t like as children really were for our own good. Sometimes, we even end up liking some of those things, such as vegetables or early bedtime. But let’s be honest – sometimes when you’re sitting in your dentist’s waiting room listening to a poor eight-year-old boy throw a fit, you’re right there with him. Dental visits rarely end up being anyone’s favorite thing to do!
Even if going to the dentist doesn’t terrify you, the idea of a dentist visit can be nerve-wracking and uncomfortable for some people. About 15% of Americans are so intimidated by going to the dentist, they avoid it altogether – unfortunately for their teeth. Waiting to go to the dentist, or never going, can turn small dental issues into bigger, more complicated problems that are potentially more painful, too.
At Nebraska Dental Center, we want you to know we understand coming to see us can seem intimidating, and we are committed to making your visit as comfortable as possible. Among other things we do to welcome you to our office, we can make most procedures relatively painless, thanks to the power of modern medicine.
Usually, a local anesthetic is enough to manage your pain. However, for some people, pain isn’t the only concern. Patients who suffer from anxiety, for example, may be concerned the discomfort of a procedure will cause elevated anxiety. If that’s the case for you, don’t worry! Sedation can make your visit a breeze!
Controlling Dental Pain: Local Anesthesia vs. General Anesthesia vs. Sedation
Dentists use three primary methods to manage patients’ pain and stress during procedures:
- Local anesthesia: numbs the immediate area being worked on
- General anesthesia: makes you unconscious for the duration
- Sedative medication: calms you – dentists can choose different levels of sedative
Local anesthesia is applied with a swab or syringe directly to the skin or muscle in the area the dentist plans to work on. Some sedatives are released into the patient’s bloodstream through a needle or catheter inserted into a vein. Unlike general anesthesia, where the patient is entirely unconscious and may need assistance with their breathing and heartbeat, sedative medication can leave the patient in a semi-conscious state. This means the patient can respond to verbal commands and doesn’t need to be watched as closely.
Many sedatives leave the patient with no memory of the procedure, so they don’t have to worry they will have traumatic memories of the procedure. A combination of local anesthesia and sedative medication makes a patient’s experience both painless and more emotionally comfortable.
Oral sedatives (by mouth) often simply calm a person’s nerves a bit. These sedatives leave the patient fully conscious but help them relax during the dental procedure.
The type of sedation a dentist uses depends on the individual needs of each patient.
Going to the dentist may not ever be one of your favorite things, but at Nebraska Dental Center we have ways (including sedation) to ensure your dental visit is as comfortable as possible. If you have questions about how we can accommodate you during your visit, or if you have specific questions about any procedure, give us a call at (402) 331-1695 and we’ll be happy to ease your anxiety!Learn More About Sedation Dentistry at Nebraska Dental Center
Medit i500 Intraoral Scanner
Dental Technology in La Vista, NE
The Medit i500 is a new breed of intraoral scanner. This easy-to-use system removes the frustration of handling bulky equipment and is designed to improve a dental office’s workflow so that the dentist can focus on dentistry and you as a patient can relax knowing you’re in an office with the best technology on the market.
Here at Nebraska Dental Center, we value your time and want to give you the highest quality dental care. That’s why we have the Medit i500 intraoral scanner.
What is the Medit i500?
The Medit i500 intraoral scanner is a digital scanner that allows us to skip the messy impressions and take a digital impression of your mouth. Now, you won’t have to dread getting dental work done, because we’ve made it easy. The Medit i500 improves patient experiences and allows fast and easy transfer of scan data to dental labs, effective communication and seamless workflows, so you don’t have to wait forever for results.
Benefits of Using the Medit i500
This is a huge benefit to using the Medit i500. The scanner helps make everything from taking the impression to getting the result back from the lab more efficient.
The Patient Experience
This intraoral scanner helps enhance the patient experience. No more messy impressions and the patient and doctors both get a full 3D, high resolution representation of the patient’s mouth.
The Medit i500 has high resolution and vivid color, which allows the doctor to locate margin lines and undercuts as well as distinction between tooth structure and soft tissue. This scanner also has video capabilities, which means it has 3D-in-motion video technology that allows for rapid video-based scans without worrying about choppy results.
You can see that using a Medit i500 is a great alternative to traditional impressions. Here at Nebraska Dental Center, we do everything we can to make sure our patients are comfortable and get the best experience possible. Call us at (402) 331-1695 to schedule an appointment and see what all the hype about our new Medit i500 intraoral scanner is!See All Dental Services Learn More About Nebraska Dental Center
What To Expect When You Get a Dental Checkup
Nebraska Dental Center Checkups
Knowing what to expect when you go in for a dental checkup can help ease the anxiety of going into the dentist. Usually, you should get a dental checkup every six months to ensure the health of your teeth and gums.
Not only are checkups great for your overall health, but they also give your dentist the opportunity to share tips on caring for your teeth and detect oral health problems early. Here is what you can expect from a typical dental checkup in La Vista.
Most teeth cleanings are performed by a dental hygiene professional. Before beginning the cleaning, the hygienist will start with an exam of your entire mouth. By using a small mirror tool, the hygienist will check around your teeth and gums for any sign of gingivitis (inflamed gums) or other potential concerns.
If any major issues are detected, the hygienist might call the dentist over to make sure it’s okay to continue.
Cleaning and Polishing
Next, the hygienist will begin to remove any plaque or tartar that has built up on your teeth. They do so by using the mirror tool and scaler. Usually, plaque build-up happens around the gums and in between teeth, so you’ll notice the hygienist focusing there. The more plaque and tartar there is, the more scraping there will be. Then they will expertly floss your teeth, making sure to get any problem areas where the gums might bleed more. Next, they’ll do a fluoride treatment on your teeth, which is a protectant for your teeth to help fight against cavities for several months.
Another big part of the dental checkup process is education. After the cleaning, the dental hygienist will discuss any hygiene problems that were detected. They’ll also show you ways to more effectively brush and floss your teeth, if necessary.
Both the dental hygienist and your dentist will then do an examination on your teeth, gums and mouth to look for signs of any problems, like a cavity, gum disease, or early signs of oral cancer. The dentist will use the mirror tool to get a better view of your teeth and gums, and if they see any issues, they might recommend a special treatment or refer you to a specialist.
At some of your dental visits, your dentist might ask for x-rays of your teeth. A dental X-ray allows the dentist to see detailed images of specific sections of your mouth to help diagnose problems not visible during the dental exam. X-rays aren’t typically needed at every checkup, so your dentist or hygiene specialist will talk to you about your need for x-rays based on your oral health and risk of disease.
Getting regular dental checkups is so important to your overall health. Dentists and hygienists are here to make sure you’re keeping your mouth and teeth in tip-top shape. Nebraska Dental Center is always here to help you and answer any questions you have. Call our office at (402) 331-1695 to make an appointment for your next dental checkup!Learn More About Regular Dental Checkups
4 Signs You Need Emergency Dental Care
Emergency Dental Care in La Vista, NE
Damage to teeth and gums can’t be ignored. It’s always important to act quickly if something is wrong, but some dental issues are more pressing than others. How can you know the difference between a dental problem that needs to be solved soon and a problem that needs to be solved now?
We never want our patients to put off a dental procedure when it could lead to lasting harm, so we’ve compiled a list of important warning signs that mean you should get your teeth checked out as soon as possible. After all, you’ve only got so many teeth — it’s best to keep them all in good shape.
1. Broken or missing teeth
It goes without saying that obvious physical damage to your teeth is one of the most urgent dental emergencies you can experience. If your tooth has been damaged, rinse your mouth with warm water immediately and call us as soon as possible. If your tooth has come out, gently try to put it back into the socket (without touching the root!) or keep it in your mouth to protect it until we can see you.
2. Dental abscesses
A dental abscess is a small collection of pus inside a tooth or gums that is caused by a bacterial infection. If your symptoms include shiny red swollen gums, a fever, or pain that spreads to your jaw or neck, you may have an abscess, even if you don’t see it. Try to see us as soon as possible, but, in the meantime, you can reduce the pain of the abscess by avoiding cold drinks. Use a soft toothbrush to very gently clean the area until we can get you into the office.
3. Lost filling or crown
A crown or filling can become loose or even fall out for a variety of reasons. If you lose a crown or filling, it’s important to try to save it — we may be able to reuse it. Rinse the area with warm salt water and continue to brush the damaged tooth (gently!) until we can see you.
4. Significant pain or swelling in the teeth, gums or jaw
Constant pain or swelling in your mouth is never normal! This symptom may seem vague or common, but it could be a sign of major damage or an infection that could have nasty results if left untreated. Don’t tough it out. Call us and we will decide together whether you need to come in for an appointment.
Ignoring any of these four dental problems could result in the permanent loss of teeth. Infections can even spread to other parts of your body and cause serious general medical issues, so it’s extremely important to get your teeth examined if you experience any dental emergency on this list!
We want your tooth pain or mouth pain to stop.
First and foremost, if you are in pain, we want to help you get some relief. Then we can address any underlying causes to solve the problem using dental best practices. If you believe you’re experiencing a dental emergency, give us a call at (402) 331-1695 as soon as possible. We’ll get you an appointment in the near future, so you can go back to your life and leave tooth pain behind.Learn More About Dental Emergencies