What Your Dentist Checks for During a Check-Up

Going to the dentist every six months is crucial for maintaining proper oral and overall health. However, for patients who are new to the dentist, haven’t had a check-up in a while or have any anxiety about visiting, it is comforting to know exactly what your dentist will be doing. To help you prepare for your next appointment, here are some of the basics your dentist will check.

TOOTH ENAMEL & DECAY

Through the use of x-rays and visual examination, your dentist will check to make sure you have an appropriate level of tooth enamel to protect against decay. Your dentist will look for cracks or chips that could leave you susceptible to infection. The x-rays will specifically tell your dentist whether or not you have any cavities that need to be resolved.

GUM HEALTH

Your gums say a lot about your oral health. Using a periodontal ruler, your dentist will measure the amount of space between your gums and your teeth. After comparing your current measurements to past numbers, this will indicate whether you’ve had bone loss. Swollen or bright red gums can reveal that gum disease may be present.

YOUR BITE

If your dentist places their fingers near your ears and asks you to bite down, they are checking your jaw alignment. A misaligned jaw or any tenderness in the surrounding area may be a sign of temporomandibular joint disorders. An examination of your bite will help determine if orthodontic or other treatment is needed.

PREVIOUS DENTAL WORK

Just as your dentist is checking on the status of your teeth, they are checking on the state of dental work you’ve already had. If old fillings or crowns break, bacteria can find its way in and cause infection. By making sure everything is holding up, your dentist can see if anything needs to be replaced or if further dental repair is necessary.

OTHER MEDICAL ISSUES

Your dentist can tell if you have more than just cavities. For example, sensitive roots of your upper teeth can be a tell-tale sign of a sinus infection. While not true for every patient, gum disease can sometimes be a symptom of diabetes. Another very important medical issue that your dentist can check is for signs of oral cancer. Your dentist will look for any abnormalities in the mucus membrane lining of your mouth, as well as any swelling or ulcers. Based on your dental exam, your dentist can discuss any treatments that you may need.

 

When you think about all of the important things that your dentist does during your check-up, it’s clear why it is important to visit every six months. Need a great dentist in the Salt Lake area? Give us at Allan S. Thomas Cosmetic & General Dentistry a call today!


4 Myths About Porcelain Veneers

Have you ever wondered how celebrities always seem to have the perfect smile? They sparkle, they shine, and they look enviously perfect. More often than not, Porcelain Veneers are the truth behind those pearly whites.

Simply stated, Porcelain Veneers are thin, porcelain casings that attach to the surface of teeth. Even if you have suffered from cracks, gaps, or chips in your teeth, this procedure can help to improve tooth color and shape to give you a stunning smile.

Regardless of the many benefits of porcelain veneers, some patients still shy away from getting them because of misconceptions they have heard. Here are 4 of the most popular myths about Porcelain Veneers.

Myth #1 – Veneers Look Unnatural

Veneers of the past did look artificially white and noticeable for the wrong reasons. However, thanks to advances in cosmetic dentistry, modern porcelain veneers can be customized to match the shape, thickness, and color of the patient’s existing teeth. Veneers can give you a beautiful, natural-looking smile.

Myth #2 – Application is Uncomfortable

Porcelain Veneers are applied to the teeth only after patients are put under a local anesthetic. Just like during any other dental procedure, we ensure our patients are totally comfortable throughout the appointment.

Myth #3 – Teeth are Excessively Filed Down

While teeth may need to be reshaped before veneers are applied, most patients only require a minimal amount of reshaping. Our team will only file teeth down as much as is needed to preserve tooth structure. This filing is painless and is done to guarantee that the veneers bond firmly to your teeth.

Myth #4 – Veneers are Purely Aesthetic

Although the main purpose of Porcelain Veneers is usually to improve the look of a patient’s smile, we see many other benefits to the procedure. Veneers can be used to fill gaps in your teeth and make your smile more symmetrical. Baggy cheeks and lips can appear fuller with the help of veneers and give you an overall more youthful look.  Worn down or misshapen teeth and molars can be rebuilt to their former glory with the help of veneers, too.

 

Want to learn more about how Porcelain Veneers can benefit your smile? Contact us at Allan S. Thomas Cosmetic & General Dentistry. After a free dental veneer initial consultation, you’ll be surprised to learn just how reasonable and practical Porcelain Veneers can be to beautify your wonderful smile.


6 Tips to Keep Your Smile White

Keeping your smile white takes a lot of work. Whether you have had your teeth whitened professionally or not, keeping your teeth looking healthy requires attention. To lighten the burden for a smile that lights up the room, check these six tips.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

One of the best pieces of advice for all around dental health is to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Here’s why: Brushing removes plaque and helps to prevent dental stains before they start. Flossing once a day is also recommended to remove food from in between the teeth and prevent cavities. Keeping your tongue clean is often overlooked as a component of dental health. But by scraping the tongue from back to front, you can decrease bacteria buildup and lessen the chance of teeth discoloration.

Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly

The American Dental Association recommends changing out your toothbrush at least every 3 – 4 months. If bristles are bent or frayed, replace your brush even sooner. Over time, toothbrushes become less effective at removing plaque from teeth as compared to new brushes. You probably already know your toothbrush can hold germs from any illnesses you’ve had and can still house bacteria and fungus even if you are perfectly healthy. Unfortunately, brushing with a germy and ineffective brush can leave teeth discolored and dull. Replace your brush and your teeth will thank you!

Have a Teeth-Friendly Diet

Fruits and vegetables are good for both your body and your teeth! Eating crunchy veggies and fruits can help you produce saliva, which helps to rinse your mouth of stain-causing bacteria. Be sure to rinse your mouth after eating citrus fruits to stop the acid from corroding your teeth. Healthy foods help your body keep tooth enamel strong, and strong teeth can better withstand staining. Some examples of teeth-friendly foods are apples, broccoli, kale, nuts, milk, cheese and chicken.

Avoid Stain-Causing Foods and Beverages

To keep teeth white, limit your intake on certain foods and beverages. The most popular offenders are coffee, red wine, tea and soda. However, other foods, such as berries, tomato sauce, candy and even strong spices can leave stains on your pearly whites. Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco are habits that are not only bad for your health, but they can cause terrible stains and buildup on your teeth.

Rinse with Water After Eating

If you do choose to indulge yourself with anything that could leave stains on your teeth, don’t fret! The best thing you can do, aside from brushing your teeth, is to swish plain water in your mouth. Rinsing for 30 seconds can loosen bits of food, drink or germs that might be stuck to your teeth. This trick can help prevent staining and keep those teeth bright.

Visit Your Dentist

Visiting the dentist every six months is one of the simplest ways to keep your teeth healthy, clean and white. Dental cleanings are much more comprehensive than the cleaning you get from your toothbrush at home. Your dentist will professionally remove plaque and thoroughly clean your teeth while also checking up on your dental health.

 

At Allan S. Thomas Cosmetic & General Dentistry, we want our patients to be proud of their bright and healthy smiles. (They’re yours for life!) If you are looking to whiten your teeth even more, ask us about our professional teeth whitening services. We look forward to seeing you!


Sedation Dentistry for Pain-Free Treatments

While millions of people confidently visit their dentist regularly, some come with a level of anxiety. Because it is vital to ensure your teeth are healthy, Dr. Allan S. Thomas offers various services to make visits worry-free and successful.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

 One effective service is Sedation Dentistry, which involves the use of sedation by a specially trained dentist to allow patients feel calm and comfortable during a dental treatment.

Various kinds of sedations are available, depending on the patient and the level of discomfort. For example, mild sedation can be used for minor dental procedures, such as a filling or even a cleaning. Other procedures, such as performing a root canal, tooth crown or dental implants, may require heavier sedation.

Is Sedation Dentistry Right for You?

You should consider Sedation Dentistry if you have:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder;
  • negative or traumatic past dental experiences;
  • especially sensitive teeth or oral nerves;
  • easily-triggered gag reflex;
  • complicated dental issues that require long appointments; or
  • strong phobias related to visiting the dentist.

With sedation as a safe and federally approved procedure, your dentist will discuss tailored options with you. Be assured that while a patient is under sedation, the dentist and staff continually monitor the patient to ensure all is proceeding as planned.

Our Treatment

Dr. Allan S. Thomas offers both Nitrous Oxide and Oral Conscious Sedation. Nitrous Oxide, or “laughing gas,” is a treatment that helps you to relax during a dental procedure. The gas should wear off quickly, and most everyone is able drive themselves home afterward.  Oral Conscious Sedation is the use of a sedative that you take orally before the procedure. This kind of sedation allows you to get the care that you need without the discomfort or worry.

 

We hope this has helped you feel better informed on the options for a pain-free dental treatment. If you’re feeling anxious about an upcoming procedure, we are happy to answer all your questions. Please contact us so we can make your next visit to Dr. Thomas worry-free and successful.


Five Health Benefits of a Straighter Smile

The advantages of having a straight smile reach far beyond your mouth. From looking better to feeling better, a straight smile will help you be the best version of yourself. Although teeth that are naturally straight aren’t common, our team at Dr. Allan S. Thomas D.D.S. are here to help you get the smile you deserve.

HEALTHIER GUMS

Let’s start with the foundation. Gums are vital to the health of your teeth. They are made of soft tissue that forms a protective barrier around each tooth to keep bacteria at bay. If teeth are too crowded or are spaced far apart, gums may become inflamed and teeth may become exposed to infections. This can lead to gum disease and possibly tooth loss. Straight teeth allow your gums to fit properly around each tooth and protect against periodontal issues.

PREVENTS TOOTH WEAR AND TEAR

When teeth aren’t aligned properly, your bite could be wrong, which will cause unusual wear overtime. Over time, tooth enamel loss can lead to fractured teeth, jaw problems as well as ineffective chewing abilities. A straighter smile will keep teeth strong and allow them to endure the test of time.

EASIER CLEANING

Teeth that are crooked or crowded have less exposed surface area, making them harder to clean. Because of this difficulty, brushing alone is often not enough to rid the teeth of plaque. Flossing can also be more difficult because of the tightness between the teeth or the awkward angles at which flossing must be done. These factors can lead to plaque buildup and, after time, tooth decay. Straight teeth are easier to clean, which means fewer worries for patients down the road.

OVERALL HEALTH IMPROVEMENT

If your teeth aren’t healthy, it will affect your entire body’s health. The bacteria in your mouth will lead to decay and infections that can spread throughout your body. The ADA has done studies that show that oral infections can lead to heart disease, pneumonia, increased blood sugar and other problems. Straight teeth are easier to clean, which means it is easier to keep infections out of your body.

IMPROVES SELF CONFIDENCE

Your self-image and mental health are every bit as important as your physical health. A study by Invisalign has shown that behind weight, teeth are the second highest item people feel insecure about. Having a straight, healthy and beautiful smile has been shown to lead to higher self-esteem and lower social anxiety.

 

We want all of our patients to be healthy and confident. With our Smile Design services, we can help you achieve the perfect smile and all of the benefits of one! Ask us how we can help you during your next visit to Dr. Allan S. Thomas D.D.S. We look forward to seeing you!


Treatable Cases for Invisalign

It’s rare for someone to have naturally straight teeth that never require orthodontic intervention. For the rest of us, there is a range of common dental problems that can be solved with simple treatment from Invisalign.

Gapped Teeth

Gapped teeth can be caused by missing teeth or extra growth in your jawbone. While small gaps aren’t detrimental to your smile or oral health, they can increase the risk of periodontal disease. If your teeth are spaced far enough apart, your gums are left more exposed to bacteria. If you have gaps in your teeth, Invisalign is an effective solution.

Overbite

An overbite is simply overlapping between your upper and lower jaw. This issue is often genetic, caused by overdevelopment of the upper jaw. Occasionally, bad oral habits can cause overbite as well. When severe or left untreated after decades, an overbite can affect gum health and lower teeth erosion or irritation.

Underbite

Underbites come in different levels of severity depending on the cause. Most often, underbites are caused by excess growth in the lower jaw or a lack of growth in the upper jaw. In other cases, missing upper teeth, especially molars can cause this misalignment. Long term problems with underbites are similar to overbites. With a misaligned bite, those with underbites might experience faster erosion of the upper teeth or painful jaw problems.

Open Bite

You might have heard that thumb sucking as a child can affect your teeth. This is one of the causes for an open bite. This condition keeps the top and bottom teeth from touching each other at all. Bad habits as a child or genetics are the most common causes for this issue. If left untreated, an open bite can result in speech impairment, chewing problems and even Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ.

Overcrowding

Teeth crowding is a common issue for adults, kids and teens alike. Simply an effect of genetics, overcrowding happens when your mouth doesn’t have room for all your teeth. With the help of orthodontic intervention, aligning the teeth can make more room easily. If neglected, crowding can grow worse and cause issues like plaque buildup, decay and gum disease because of the many hard to reach spaces between teeth.

Crossbite

Crossbites are caused by misaligned upper and lower jaws. Like many of these issues, it is often caused by genetics and can be easily remedied. Those with crossbite are at risk for enamel erosion, gum disease and bone loss due to uneven wear in their teeth. Luckily, Invisalign can solve this problem and many others in around a year.

Learn more about Invisalign during your next visit to Dr. Allan S. Thomas D.D.S.


Don’t Forget Your Dental Benefits!

BlogGraphic-UsingBenefits

Another wonderful year is coming to a close. We have enjoyed getting to know each of our patients better throughout the past year and look forward to our visits! As we get closer to 2015, it is important to look at your insurance benefits still available for the 2014 calendar year. We have sent out letters to those who, according to our records, still have these benefits available to them and must use by the end of the year. If you have received one of these letters, it is time to start looking at your options for the end of the year.

 

Check your records and see what benefits you have left in your insurance plan. These advantages can be used for regularly scheduled visits, or more advanced treatment. If we have talked through a treatment plan with you, let’s get you in to complete the work, benefiting your oral health and subsequently your overall health. We look forward to working with each of our patients, helping them achieve their ultimate health goals. Together we can help you achieve these oral health goals by the end of the year, or at least gain significant headway in the process.

 

Don’t let these important dental health benefits go to waste by waiting too long, we want to work with you to take full advantage of these! Call our office to schedule your treatment as soon as possible. We want all our patients to know just how much we value your trust in our services, and your loyalty to our practice. It is an honor and pleasure to be on your healthcare team.


Don’t wait another year, schedule your appointment with Dr. Thomas today: 801-322-4900


Common Oral Diseases: Gingivitis

Oral Diseases GingivitisWhen dealing with your overall well being, there are a few common oral diseases that can be damaging to not only your mouth, but your entire body. One of the most common periodontal diseases is gingivitis, which can come in a couple of different forms. Learn more about the identification and treatment of gingivitis to rid your mouth of this disease.

 

What is Gingivitis?

 

 

Gingivitis is when the gums directly surrounding the teeth become inflamed. This is just one of many periodontal diseases that have a direct impact on the periodontium, better known as the tissue surrounding the teeth, soft tissues, and bones in this area. When left to fester, gingivitis will cause the gums to recede, damaging the teeth.

 

The Cause

 

 

Most commonly gingivitis is caused by poor oral hygiene, but there can be some genetic factors linked as well. Because of this it is important for everyone to practice good dental habits. This includes brushing a minimum of twice a day, flossing every day, and visiting the dentist every six months for checkups. These practices together will help reduce your chances for gingivitis.

 

The Symptoms

 

 

There is a great difference between gums that are healthy and gums that have gingivitis. It is very rare that this disease will be coupled with pain, meaning the other symptoms must be looked for and stopped before they progress:

 

  • Swollen gums
  • The gums appear to be receding
  • Soft puffed up gums
  • The gums will be slightly tender at times
  • When you floss, the gums bleed easily
  • The gums will turn darker red than the normal healthy pink
  • Halitosis

 

If you notice any of these symptoms arising, seek the help of your dentist before they have the chance to get worse. Catching gingivitis early is the best way to eliminate the most frustrating problems associated.

 

Solutions

 

 

The symptoms of gingivitis can often be countered through early detection and treatment. With the help of your dentist, these steps will effectively rid your mouth of this periodontal diseases, and the damaging symptoms it will bring. First, see the dentist to identify that this is the real problem at hand. If so, your dentist will be able to remove the plaque that has built up. After this checkup continue to brush and floss normally, ensuring the plaque does not have the chance to build up again.
Gingivitis is one of many different types of oral diseases. Take better care of your mouth through good oral habits. By brushing and flossing on a regular basis, you can significantly lower your chances for this disease, keeping your mouth healthy.


Dental Care for Pregnant Women

 

Teeth Tips for Pregnant Women

It’s important to take proper care of your teeth and gums through every stage of your life, especially during pregnancy. While a woman is pregnant, there are many hormonal changes that occur, raising the risk for gum disease and other problems. This can not only be damaging to your health, but the health of your baby as well. Take the best care of your teeth during this critical time to prevent more serious health problems.

 

Before Pregnancy

 

 

If you are planning on getting pregnant soon, make sure you are up to date on your dental appointments. You should be going in to get your teeth examined and cleaned at least once every six months. These appointments are a great time to check for any oral health related problems, stopping them before they have the chance to take root.

 

During Pregnancy

 

There are a few different steps to follow once you are pregnant as far as dental care goes. Follow these guides to help insure your teeth, gums, and baby will remain healthy during and after pregnancy:

 

  • Let your dentist know when you are pregnant. All dental treatments should be avoided if possible, excluding a simple checkup, during the first trimester and the last half of the third trimester. These time periods are crucial for the growth and development of your baby.
  • Avoid any procedures that could interfere with health of your baby. This includes optional dental work that can be delayed till later.
  • Avoid taking a dental x-ray during the whole of your pregnancy. Extreme caution must be taken if an emergency situation demands a dental x-ray. While x-ray technology has greatly advanced, making it safer than ever, it is still best to avoid unless absolutely necessary.
  • Make sure you schedule and keep your regular dental appointments while you are pregnant. In this way your dentist will help you monitor gum problems that can result from hormonal changes during pregnancy.
  • Those who experience morning sickness may find it difficult to brush their teeth in the morning, but this important routine cannot be forgotten. Switch to a more neutral flavored toothpaste that will not bring such a strong reaction.

Taking care of your teeth during pregnancy becomes more critical for both you and your baby. If you experience any gum irritation or problems during the course of your pregnancy, see your dentist immediately. Catching the potential of gum disease early on will prevent larger problems from arising later down the road.


The Different Types of Teeth

 

TEETH

After the baby teeth have fallen out and adult teeth have taken their place, it is crucial to continue taking proper care of them, ensuring these teeth will remain healthy no matter what is thrown their way. Learn the differences between the types of teeth in your mouth, and how they function for you. The placement and the shape of the various teeth make them unique, helping to deliver the bite you need.

 

Incisors

 

 

The normal adult mouth will have eight incisors in total. These are present in the center front of your mouth with four on the top and four on the bottom. Within the classification of incisor there are four types, each with two. This includes:

 

  • maxillary central incisor – located on the upper jaw bone at the closest to the center of the lips
  • mandibular central incisor – located on the lower jaw bone directly under the maxillary central incisors
  • maxillary lateral incisor – placed on the upper jaw bone on either side of the maxillary central incisors
  • mandibular lateral incisor – located on either side of the mandibular central incisors

 

Each of these incisors serves a purpose in taking bites of your food. The adult set of these teeth will generally appear near the beginning of your oral development, somewhere between six and eight years old.

 

Canines

 

The canines are the next teeth to develop in the mouth. There are four of these in the normal adult mouth, with the two maxillary canines on the top and the two mandibular canines on the bottom. The upper canines are bigger than the bottom ones, changing the way they are used compared to the other teeth. These four are the sharpest of any teeth in the mouth, being used to tear foods apart. For the permanent teeth, the lower teeth will come through sooner, usually when the child is around nine years of age while the two upper canines will arrive by twelve years of age.

 

Premolars

 

 

Also known as bicuspids, the premolars are the way we grind the foods we eat. There are four of these teeth on both sides of the mouth, with two on the top and two on the bottom. These teeth will not all appear at once, with the first ones appearing by ten years of age and the second one coming in about a year after that.

 

Molars

 

Molars are placed in the back of the mouth. Similar to the premolars, they are used to chew and grind the food into manageable pieces. These adult teeth will usually appear before the last baby molar has fallen out, making way for another option to chew and grind.

 

Wisdom Teeth

 

 

Also known as third molars, the wisdom teeth are the last teeth to develop. In some cases, some or all of the wisdom teeth may not even be present to come through. For those who do have wisdom teeth, they will commonly cause overcrowding in the mouth, leading to their necessary removal. Each tooth serves a different purpose depending on its position in the mouth and shape. Take care of all your teeth as they emerge, ensuring your smile will be healthy for years to come.