What To Expect When You Get a Dental Checkup
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.
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. Collins Dental is always here to help you and answer any questions you have. Call our office at (407) 699-9831 to make an appointment for your next dental checkup!
Tooth Extractions: 4 Steps to an Easy Recovery
There are more than seven billion people in the world, and every one of them has a set of teeth—32 of them, in fact. Unfortunately, from time to time, some of them have to go. It’s not something anyone’s looking forward to. After all, your teeth have all been with you for years, reliably chewing anything you asked them to. Most of us are pretty attached to them!
Many patients dread the recovery period after an extraction, but as long as you know how to take care of yourself, an extraction can be one of the least troublesome medical events of your life. Today, we’ll tell you what you can expect, and what you can do to make your recovery as comfortable as possible.
The main concern in the period after a tooth extraction is the possibility of a dry socket. This is when a blood clot fails to form over the extraction site, or when the clot comes loose and exposes the wound, possibly even leaving the bone underneath exposed. Fortunately, it’s not incredibly common (it occurs in less than 5% of routine dental extractions).
The pain of a tooth extraction can be avoided by following these steps.
Step 1: Clear your schedule
The most important thing you can do to prepare for this procedure or any other is to make sure you’re ready for the recovery period. If you were thinking about going on a ten-mile bike tour or pushing a new one-rep-max at the gym, you’ll have to postpone it. Clear your schedule of strenuous physical activity for a few days after the extraction, so you don’t risk loosening the clot before it has a chance to heal.
Step 2: Stock up on soft foods
Avoid eating anything you’ll have to chew or suck. Stock up on soft foods like yogurt and applesauce. Or you could make a smoothie—but be careful not to use a straw. Sucking up any liquid may dislodge the clot and leave the wound exposed. Eggs can work too, if you’re craving something a little more substantial.
Step 3: Manage your pain
After the procedure, your poor gums are going to need a bit of babying. You’ll probably want a painkiller of some kind. The extraction site might not hurt badly right away, but you can manage the pain best by taking a Tylenol or similar drug early. The pain likely will increase for the first three days or so, but don’t worry, that’s normal. If pain continues to increase after the third day or doesn’t decrease, it’s possible you have a dry socket. Contact your dentist, and they’ll decide how to handle things from there.
Step 4: Be gentle with your teeth
Your nighttime routine will have to change, too. For the first two days, avoid rinsing out the extraction site so the wound can heal. After that, you should rinse gently with warm salt water to encourage healing. Brush your teeth gently but avoid teeth right next to the extraction site for the first couple of days. Even after the first couple days, be very careful not to brush the site itself. When it’s time to go to bed, it’s best to prop your head up with an extra pillow or two.
Tooth extraction is a little uncomfortable for the first few days. But with just a little care, you can minimize the pain, and your teeth will be chewing reliably for you once again in no time. The key is to be patient with the healing process and gentle with your mouth for a few days. Putting up with the pain and inconvenience of an extraction is much better than living with the pain and infection risk of a cracked or impacted tooth!
Collins Dental is here to support you through extractions and all your dental needs. If you’re having tooth pain, or if you have questions about tooth extraction or any other procedure, give us a call at (407) 699-9831, and we’ll do everything we can to help.
The Pros and Cons of Cosmetic Dentistry
Many of us are obsessed with the way our teeth look. Think about it. What’s the first thing you notice about a person? For most of us, it’s the person’s teeth. Nevertheless, even though a lot of us are obsessed with teeth, ⅓ of Americans are dissatisfied with the way their teeth look.
That’s where cosmetic dentistry comes in. Cosmetic dentistry can help improve your smile and overall dental health. However, there are pros and cons to cosmetic dentistry so we’ve compiled a list to help you decide whether it’s the right choice for you.
Cons of Cosmetic Dentistry
While there are many good effects that come with cosmetic dentistry, there are also some that aren’t so great. Whitening your teeth can make your teeth sensitive to temperature, and you’re also encouraged to stay away from foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, such as coffee or berries.
When getting a crown, a dentist has to drill into your tooth, which can lead to gum recession and sensitivity. Implants have also been known to cause infections and post-surgery bleeding.
Many of these procedures are permanent. You have to be completely certain that this procedure is right for you and it’s something you absolutely want because there’s no turning back once it is done.
Many people don’t just have a disposable income available for cosmetic dentistry procedures, so price can be a major con for some. For instance, veneers can cost anywhere between $925 and $2,500 per tooth. Braces can cost up to $5,000 or more. Financing and insurance can help cover these costs, but not everyone has these options.
Pros of Cosmetic Dentistry
Kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, and even oral cancer are some serious consequences of bad oral hygiene. Gum disease and tooth decay are also issues to worry about with poor oral care. After receiving cosmetic dentistry, there is more motivation for the individual to take good care of their teeth, leading to a happier and healthier person.
The most obvious benefit of cosmetic dentistry is the confidence boost one gets from having a brighter, straighter smile. After any cosmetic dentistry procedure, you are guaranteed to feel better about your teeth. No more uncomfortable social situations trying to hide your smile.
Having healthy teeth can help make you look younger. A youthful smile lights up your entire face and can completely change your outlook on life. Not only will you look younger, you’ll also feel younger, which is just as important.
Set up an appointment with Collins Dental Care by calling (407) 699-9831 to talk with one of our dentists about if cosmetic dentistry is right for you. We’re here to answer any and all of your questions to help you make the step for better oral health and a more confident smile.
A Good-Looking Path to Better-Looking Teeth: Invisalign® Systems and Other Clear Aligners
Braces can feel like a bit of a contradiction. You want a clean, straight smile, but you first have to wear a highly visible device on your teeth for months on end. You want a well-aligned bite, but for a while braces make some day-to-day tasks, such as brushing teeth and eating some foods, more difficult.
Fortunately, for those who want to show off their pretty pearly whites as they go AND show off the results of their realignment as soon as possible, one option is clear plastic removable aligners such as Invisalign aligner systems.
The Clear Aligner Fitting Process
For most clear aligners, including Invisalign systems, your dentist will take a mold of your teeth and send it in. From there, orthodontic experts will determine the difference in positions between where your teeth are and where you want them to be and will create several stages of aligners to gradually move your teeth into the desired position. You’ll have to wear the aligners most of the time—about 22 hours a day. At certain points in the process as your teeth change position, you’ll move on to the next device, switching them out until your teeth are right where you want them to be.
Alternatively, there are kits you can order to take a mold of your teeth at home. This is an overall less expensive process, but you aren’t likely to achieve the same results and you lose the benefit of your dentist’s expertise. Clear aligners may not be the best solution for you, so it’s best to consult your dentist beforehand even if you decide to go this route.
How to Pay for Clear Aligners
Depending on the degree of work your teeth need, an Invisalign clear aligner treatment can cost between $3,000 and $7,000. According to Invisalign’s website, your insurance may be able to pay as much as $3,000 of the cost. For the amount your insurance doesn’t cover, you have some options.
Many dentists offer payment plans, which allows you to split a large bill into smaller payments over time. This makes payment much more manageable for some people and can be useful in emergency situations when you don’t have time to save money for the treatment before you begin.
Of course, if you can save the money ahead of time, that’s probably the better option. If you’re planning to save up for an Invisalign clear aligner treatment or something similar, you may want to consider opening a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). Accounts such as these allow you to take a certain amount of money out of your paycheck, pretax, to pay for some expenses—including, in some cases, clear aligners. The types of accounts you’re allowed to open and the amount of money you can put into them will vary depending on your situation, so talk to your bank or another financial professional about your options.
The Benefits of Clear Aligners
Clear aligners, as their name suggests, are clear plastic devices intended to straighten your teeth over time. They are nearly undetectable by observers. Not only are they more difficult to see (getting you closer to being able to show off that perfect smile), but they can be taken out temporarily when needed, allowing you to brush your teeth or eat without distraction.
For those who can use them, clear aligners such as Invisalign systems can be the least intrusive solution for straightening teeth. It’s nice not to have to worry about the looks and inconveniences of traditional braces! The initial cost of clear aligners may seem daunting, but options are available to help pay for them. If you have any questions about clear aligners or other methods of straightening your teeth, please give us a call at (407) 699-9831. We’ll be happy to walk you through your options and help you find the best possible solution for your smile.
Dental Savings Plans
Going to the dentist can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t have dental insurance or your insurance isn’t in network for a certain clinic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get regular dental care. Many dental offices offer dental savings plans, sometimes referred to as membership plans, for those that don’t have insurance.
Signing up for a membership plan with your dental care provider can help make sure you get the dental care you need – even without insurance!
What Are Dental Savings Plans?
Dental Savings Plans are membership based discount plans for dental health care. These plans are a great alternative to dental insurance, and plan members typically save between 10-60% on the regular price of dental care and treatments. By joining a dental savings plan, you gain access to member only discounts that participating dental care providers have agreed upon. You pay the discounted rate directly to the dentist- no insurance needed!
What Do Dental Savings Plans Cover?
This all depends on the practice, but typically they cover the following:
- Cosmetic Dentistry
- Restorative Dental Care
- Specialist Dental Care
- Preventative Dental Care
Talk with your dental office to see what they provide with their own membership plan.
Choosing a Plan That’s Right For You
One big plus of having a dental savings plan is that you have options. Simply by searching for the following, you can choose a plan that’s right for you:
- By savings: Choose the plan that has the best overall savings
- By dentist: Choose the plan that your dentist accepts
- By procedure: Choose the plan you want based on your dental care needs.
Here at Collins Dental Care, we want to make sure everyone has the option to get dental care. That’s why our dental savings plan can help you have peace of mind when you come to the dentist. To find out more about our membership plan, click here or call us at (407) 699-9831. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t get the dental care you deserve.
Emergency Dental Care – The 4 Signs You Need It!
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. 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.
3. 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.
4. Dental abscesses
A dental abscess is a small collection of pus inside of 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.
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 (407) 699-9831 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.
Gum Disease: More Than Just Gums
Your Mouth: A Picture of Health
Did you know that when a dentist looks at your mouth, they can tell a lot more than just how often you’re brushing? It’s true—your oral health is like a window into your lifestyle and habits. Dr. Collins, Dr. Reiter, Dr. Azer at Collins Dental should know. We’ve seen mouths from all over Winter Springs in our office!
If you’re not taking care of the rest of your body, your gums will give it away. Hormones, sickness, stress, diet, smoking, prescription medicine, and more can all affect your gum health, and that goes both ways. If you don’t take care of your gums, the consequences will stretch beyond just your mouth. Unhealthy gums can lead to an unhealthy heart, diabetes, pregnancy complications, memory problems, tooth decay, and more.
Your mouth is naturally good at washing away and fighting germs. But without proper oral hygiene, those bacteria can lead to gum disease. When it comes to your oral health, it’s more than just pearly white teeth you want. Healthy gums play an important role in your overall health. Healthy gums protect not only your teeth and jawbone; they also prevent infection from entering the rest of your body.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is the inflammation of your gums caused by a buildup of too much food, bacteria, or plaque and tartar. You’ll know your gums are not in tiptop shape if they show any of these signs:
- Redness or other discoloration
- Pain or soreness
- Bleeding during regular brushing or flossing
- Gum lines pulling back from teeth
- Chronic bad breath
- Tooth loss
None of these conditions are desirable and left untreated, they can lead to further damage. The longer these symptoms are left untreated, the more detrimental they can become to your dental health. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, 20-30% of Americans have gum disease that puts them at risk of losing teeth.
How Can I Have Better Oral Health?
Prevention is the best medicine. Brush at least twice and floss once a day, and visit your dentist twice a year. Proper oral hygiene is simple, but if you’re not taking care of your teeth and gums, you can do long-term damage to your overall health. If your gums need some TLC, a professional cleaning should do the trick. But if gum disease gets out of control, you may need more extensive gum disease treatment.
Let the team at Collins Dental be your partners in health. Contact us today to take the first step toward a more vital tomorrow!
Do You Have TMJ? You Might Have Sleep Apnea
Your jawbone (the mandible) meets your skull bone (the temporal bone) at the temporomandibular joint or TMJ. On a good day, this joint allows your mouth to open and close, to speak and eat or rest. On a bad day, you can develop pain and dysfunction in the TMJ that affects many areas of your life and health. Winter Springs dentists Dr. Collins, Dr. Reiter, and Dr. Azer explain more below about how problems with your TMJ are connected to problems with sleep.
If you have a recurring problem with your temporomandibular joint, it’s called temporomandibular disorder (or TMD, although TMD and TMJ are often used interchangeably). The National Institutes of Health estimates that 10 million people have TMD, though the cases are usually mild.
TMD frequently includes pain, clicking or popping, and tight, sore facial muscles. TMD can be caused by genetics, arthritis, or jaw injuries. Sometimes it’s hard to diagnose what’s exactly causing the problem because stress and jaw problems can turn into a painful, self-perpetuating cycle.
Clenching and grinding your teeth may be chronic or stress-induced habits that make TMJ pain worse. You may also notice that pain from TMD can spread into your face, neck, head, and shoulders. Many TMD sufferers suffer from chronic headaches and migraines.
TMD & Sleep Apnea
One study found that 43% of people with TMD also have problems sleeping. So what’s the link between TMD and sleep apnea? When the airway collapses as it does with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the body’s automatic response is to push the lower jaw forward to open up the airway. This constant motion of the TMJ throughout the night can cause a lot of stress and tension in the jaw joint and is the primary reason TMD and sleep apnea go hand-in-hand.
TMD is also known to be linked with chronic fatigue syndrome which can exacerbate sleep apnea and impact your overall health. It could also be the physical position or misalignment of your jaw (malocclusion) that prevents the airway from staying open while you sleep. When you think about how connected your airway is to the position of your jaw, the connection between sleep apnea and TMD becomes very clear.
Improving TMJ & Your Sleep
Sometimes TMD goes away on its own, but you don’t have to live with the pain and difficulty of TMD. Because good sleep is so important for every other part of your health, it’s a good idea to take care of yourself and get better rest at night.
Possible treatments for TMD include:
- Oral splints and mouthguards
- Medication such as muscle relaxers or anti-inflammatories
- Surgery for severe cases
- Corticosteroid injections to relieve pain
- Botox® injections to relax muscles
- Counseling to decrease the stress that causes clenching and grinding
- At-home gentle massage and stretching exercises
- TruDenta® therapy
Sleep apnea will not go away on its own and can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. Sleep apnea increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and many other serious diseases, and can even be deadly.
Possible treatments for sleep apnea include:
- Oral appliance therapy
- CPAP machine
- Surgery for severe cases
If you have any sleep issues or develop pain in your jaw, you should see Dr. Collins, Dr. Reiter, or Dr. Azer immediately to begin looking for answers.
Life is no fun if you’re sick, tired, and in pain! Make an appointment today at Collins Dental in Winter Springs to take the first step toward a healthier you and a better quality of life.