Tag Archives: Oral Health

Dental Concerns During Pregnancy

Did you know that pregnancy can impact your dental health? Your body goes through so many changes during those nine months, and your mouth is not immune to those changes. If you are pregnant, let’s talk about what that can mean for your dental hygiene. 


When you are pregnant, the medicines that you are safe to take are more limited. Be sure that your dentist knows that you are pregnant when you go in. There are many prescription and over-the-counter medications that should be avoided by pregnant women. 

During pregnancy, you should avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, herbs, amino acids, and other medications. Consult with your physician before taking any medication. 

Particular numbing medication and anesthetics that can be used in basic dental work such as a cavity filling, are typically safe for pregnant women—but be sure to discuss with your dentist before going through any procedures. 

2. X-Rays

It is usually safe to get an x-ray during pregnancy. Dental x-rays in particularly safe. Radiation levels from dental x-rays are low. Your dentist will cover your throat and abdomen to protect you from exposure. If you have any concerns, discuss options with your dentist before undergoing any x-rays. 

3. Tooth Decay

Pregnancy leaves women much more prone to tooth decay—aka cavities. There are many factors in pregnancy that makes women vulnerable. First off, morning sickness and consistently vomiting will be tough on your teeth and gums. Vomit is very acidic and can eat away at your enamel. Eating more carbohydrates can also cause decay. Carbs are more likely to get caught in the grooves of your teeth and cause cavities. 

Be attentive to your dental hygiene during pregnancy. Be sure that you are brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Pregnancy can be exhausting, but don’t let your dental hygiene habits fall by the wayside—you’ll be happy you kept them up.  

4. Gum Disease

Just like tooth decay, gum disease is prevalent in pregnant women for many reasons. Partly because of morning sickness, poor dental hygiene, and increased sensitivity. Pregnancy can do some weird things to your body, including damaging your gums. Beware of inflammation in the gums and any swelling and tenderness. Flossing daily and dental cleaning can help to reverse and prevent gingivitis. 

5. Pregnancy Tumors

During pregnancy, small growths of tissue may appear on the gums. These growths are referred to as pregnancy tumors—they are most common in the second trimester. Pregnancy tumors are not cancerous. They are often related to plaque build-up. These tumors bleed easily and can be tender. They should disappear after your baby is born—if they don’t, see your dentist about, you may need to have them removed. 

The Dangers of Gaps in Your Teeth

Widespread teeth or a smile with gaps can be problematic for many reasons. Taylor Swift may “love the gaps between your teeth and the riddles that you speak,” but she might not like them so much if she knew the health risks. Gaps in teeth may be hereditary or caused by oral hygiene habits. Consistently thrusting your tongue between your teeth can lead to gaps. Teeth movement can also be a result of grinding teeth. Gaps can also be due to a larger than average jaw, teeth will try to spread out and cover the area. You may also just be missing a tooth or two and left with a large gap. 

No matter their cause, they can look unseemly, leading to self-confidence and self-esteem issues. Looks aside, gaps in teeth can lead to other issues such as oral diseases. Some of these issues include:

  • Gingivitis and Periodontitis—these gum diseases are more likely to occur in a mouth with teeth gaps. Food tends to get caught in those gaps, leaving bacteria to grow and cause decay to your gums. It seems like flossing would be easier with large gums, but it’s just the opposite. When flossing with large gaps, you must be very careful not to scrape your gums. Both teeth and gums can be weakened by disease leading to gingivitis, periodontitis, and cavities. 
  • Heart Disease—when oral diseases are not dealt with, they can lead to bigger issues. Infection in the mouth can get into your bloodstream and eventually reach other organs, leading to bigger issues such as heart disease. 
  • Misaligned Bite—gaps in teeth can lead to a misaligned bite. This can cause teeth to move further out of place and shift regularly, leading to pain. This could lead to pain in the forehead, ear, or jaw. Chewing may become painful and teeth may be more sensitive. 
  • Chewing Problems—with misaligned teeth or large gaps, your bite can become more forceful which can lead to chipped teeth. Chewing is also difficult, leading to swallowing big chunks of food, which can lead to digestive issues. 
  • Bad Breath—because gaps in teeth provide a breeding ground for plaque and bacteria, it can often lead to bad breath due to bacteria growth. It can also cause yellowing teeth.
  • Bleeding Gums—gums may become more sensitive as they are more exposed. Gaps in teeth may lead to excessive bleeding and pain in the gums during everyday activities such as chewing and flossing. 

If you have gaps in your teeth that you’d like to take care of, come see us at Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah. There are many options to move teeth, fill in gaps, or replace missing teeth to make your smile whole again. 


Are Dental Implants the Right Choice for You?

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are made up of a piece of metal and crown that are inserted into the jawbone to replace a missing tooth or teeth. Implants can be done for multiple missing teeth or just a singular tooth. These implants are natural-looking, resistant to cavities, long-lasting, and hassle-free. They look and feel just like regular teeth.

Because of their natural look, they allow you to keep your face shape and smile the same, whereas other tooth replacement options may impact these more. Other teeth you have will not be affected by dental implants—unlike other options like dental bridges.

When are Implants a Good Idea?

If you have a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth, or you have issues with rotting teeth, it’s time to consider dental implants. No matter your reason for missing teeth—if you have a healthy jaw, dental implants are likely the most natural-looking and feeling option. There are, of course, other options for tooth replacement. In some cases, dentures are a simple and cheap option—but dentures can cause discomfort, sores on gums, and even gagging.

Because implants are placed directly into the jawbone, they are a comfortable and natural feeling option. There is no concern that the implant could move or fall out. Implants essentially act like regular teeth—with brushing and flossing, they can last a lifetime.

To have dental implant surgery, you will need to be in good general health. No matter your age, your health needs to be able to handle the surgery.

What Does the Process Look Like?

The process of dental implants does require oral surgery. Implants need to be surgically placed in the jawbone. After the implants are placed, the jawbone may need time to heal. The bone around the implant needs to go through a process call osteointegration—which means “combines with bones.” How the jawbone heals and how long it takes will be up to the patient. Some patients require months of healing to ensure the implant and bone are strong enough to support the crown. Others will be able to have implants and crowns placed in the same day.

The crowns used will be customized to fit your mouth. It will be based on size, shape, color, and fit, designed to fit your mouth specifically.

If you think you may benefit from dental implants, come see us at Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah. We’ll evaluate your situation, ensure that you can handle the surgery and that implants are a good idea for you before moving forward. Come see us for a consultation!  Have a natural-looking and feeling teeth in no time.

Is Chewing Gum Good for Your Teeth?

Whether or not chewing gum is good for your teeth depends on the kind of gum. Chewing the right kind of gum can help prevent tooth decay. Chewing gum, or really chewing most things, can help your mouth to produce more saliva. Saliva is great for your mouth—it helps to rinse out food debris left behind, avoid dry mouth, and neutralizes acids that can cause tooth decay. Both the act of chewing and the flavor of gum can stimulate saliva flow and multiple it significantly. There is a mineral that is generated by extra saliva that can actually help to strengthen the enamel on your teeth and reduce the risk of dental decay.

Chewing gum after a meal can be especially beneficial as it helps you remove food particles left behind from your meal and protects your teeth. However, if you are chewing gum that contains sugar, it may be more harmful than helpful. Sugary gum can increase your risk of cavities. If you’re looking to chew gum to benefit your oral health, go sugar-free.

If chewing your gum is causing your jaw pain—stop. You may have temporomandibular disorder symptoms or TMJ. This is manifested in jaw pain and can be worsened by chewing gum. If you think this is the case, refrain from chewing gum and talk to your dentist or an oral surgeon about options for TMJ treatment.

Sugarless Gum

Most sugar-free gum is sweetened with xylitol. There have been many clinical studies that have revealed that chewing gum with xylitol is good for your oral health. If you want to be sure that you are chewing a gum that will improve your oral health—look for the American Dental Association seal of approval on the packaging.

These artificial sweeteners still taste very sweet. You can easily satisfy your sweet tooth while still protecting your teeth. There are so many options for you at the checkout line at the grocery store—just be sure that you’re looking for options with no sugar and possibly the seal of approval.

Harden Tooth Enamel

Certain gum manufacturers have started to use casein phosphatide amorphous calcium phosphate—a substance that can actually harden tooth enamel. The enamel on your teeth is protecting them from tooth decay.

Overall, there are many benefits to chewing certain gums, and some dangers of chewing other gums. Chewing some dentist-approved, sugar-free gum could save you from some from tooth decay down the line. So next time you’re craving something sweet, chomp on some sugar-free gum to satisfy that craving and fight cavities. Your teeth will thank you! 

5 Ways To Improve Your Oral Health

You may have good oral hygiene habits, but you can always do more. Incorporating these habits into your daily routine can help you to keep tooth decay at bay. Even if you have good oral hygiene, you can be susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems.

1. Floss Daily

No other dental practice can replace diligent flossing. A natural survey conducted by Colgate discovered that about 1 in 4 adults do not floss daily. Flossing effective removes food from between teeth cannot be reached in any other way. Be sure that you are flossing at least once a day to remove food residue and plaque. It may be a good idea to get into the habit of flossing at night before bed to remove any food particles that have built up throughout the day. Flossing daily will help you to avoid tooth decay and gum disease.

2. Try Antibacterial Mouthwash

Bacteria can easily build up in your mouth throughout the day, leading to bad bread, tooth decay, or gum disease. Mouthwash can help to reach crevices and clean germs away that brushing cannot. Mouthwash can give you fresher breath while also fighting cavities and gum disease. When choosing your mouthwash, be sure that you go with antibacterial. It is also important to avoid mouthwash with high amounts of alcohol—alcohol can cause dry mouth and cancel out the benefits of mouthwash.

3. Get a Better Toothbrush

Even if you are brushing twice a day, it may not be very effective if you’re are using an old and soft-bristled toothbrush. You don’t necessarily need a fancy electric brush or tough bristles; these things can actually harm your oral health if you’re not careful. With use, toothbrushes wear down over time and become less effective. You should be replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months to ensure that you are effectively removing plaque.

4. Eat More Fruits and Veggies

There are many foods out there that can help your oral health, mainly crispy fruits and vegetables. Limiting other certain foods can also improve your oral health. Foods that are high in sugar or excessively chewing can easily get caught in your teeth and lead to decay. Crispy fruits and vegetables can dislodge food particle caught in teeth, and certain antioxidants and other attributes to these foods can greatly benefit your mouth, even fighting unwanted bacteria.

5. Drink More Water

Staying hydrated benefits your health in numerous ways. Drinking water can help you avoid overeating. Plus, most tap water these days has fluoride in it, which is great for your oral health. Drinking water can also help to dislodge any food particles stuck in your mouth and encourage saliva production. You can avoid dry mouth with some hydration—dry mouth can lead to bad breath and bacteria growth.   

What To Do When Your Tooth Gets Knocked Out

Whether you’re playing a sport or just took a bad fall, teeth can get knocked out. There is no need to panic! Often times teeth can be replaced, and it not a false replacement can be placed. If you aren’t able to salvage your original tooth—don’t worry! You can still have a tooth that looks and feels real.

What to do if a tooth is knocked out:

1.  Don’t panic—Keep calm and take action. If you are able to salvage the original tooth, you need to act quickly. So, take a deep breath and follow these steps.

2.  Apply pressure to stop bleeding—If you’ve just had a tooth knocked out, you likely have a blood situation on your hands. Use a damp towel to apply pressure to the area to stop the bleeding. If it does not stop bleeding within 30 minutes, seek medical attention.

3.  Gently pick up the tooth by the crown—Be careful not to touch the root of the tooth. If the tooth is salvageable, the root will need to be untouched. Ideally, you will be able to place the tooth back into place, but for this to work, the root needs to be unaffected.

4.  If the tooth is dirty, clean it—Rinse the tooth very gently and briefly with water. If the tooth isn’t dirty or bloody, leave it as is.

5.  Keep tooth moist—As you take the tooth to the dentist to see if you can salvage it, place it in liquid. It should be put in milk, in your mouth, or in an emergency tooth preservation kit. Don’t use regular tap water, root surface cells can’t tolerate tab water for extended periods of time.

6.  See a dentist ASAP—You should see a medical professional as soon as possible. Be sure to bring the tooth with you. For the tooth to be salvageable, it will need to be re-implanted within the hour of it being knocked out.

What will happen at the dentist:

Each case will be different. In some cases, placing the tooth back in place is very simple, whereas other times it’s more complicated—particularly when the tooth or bone is broken.

First, your dentist will flush the socket, and ensure it is clean. Then they will attempt to re-implant the tooth by slipping it back into place. If needed, your dentist may also perform a root canal. This can be done right away or may be done later—depending on how long the tooth has been out of place. There are also other factors that can determine when a root canal will happen.

In any case, an avulsed tooth can be splinted to surrounding teeth with a soft wire or composite material. The splint may only be needed for a few days or may be needed for longer.

In cases where the bone has been fractured, the root will need to be firmly reattached to the gone. This can take around 3-4 weeks. The more damage there is, the longer it will take, possibly up to 6-8 weeks. Your dentist should check the tooth 3 to6 months after the re-implantation to ensure that all is going well, and most importantly that there are no signs of infection. There should be another follow-up appointment 2 to 3 years later. 

Could You Have Sleep Apnea?

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that occurs when breathing is affected while sleeping. When breathing stops and starts during sleep, it can be dangerous. There are a few different kinds of sleep apnea—the most common are obstructive, central, and complex sleep apnea syndrome.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common kind—this occurs when the muscles in the throat relax. This includes the uvula, the tonsils, and the side walls of the throat and tongue. When these muscles relax, airways narrow or sometimes close altogether, making it difficult to breathe. Your brain will usually wake you up to reopen your airways when this happens.

Central sleep apnea happens when your brain fails to send proper signals to the muscles needed for breathing. Complex sleep apnea syndrome is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

What are the Signs of Sleep Apnea?

There are a few signs of sleep apnea, but the most common is loud snoring. Because of the breathing difficulty that occurs, snorts, gasps, and loud snoring are common among those with sleep apnea. Other signs include not feeling rested after a full night’s sleep, having trouble focusing while awake, feeling excessive sleepiness during the day, and general irritability. Those with sleep apnea may also experience difficulty sleeping, waking up with a headache or a dry mouth in the morning. You may also have an episode of difficulty breathing during the night without waking up—this would have to be determined by another person who witnessed you sleeping.

How Do I Know if I Have Sleep Apnea?

There are certain factors that will increase your risk of sleep apnea. Some of these factors are in your control, while others are not. Some unhealthy habits such as smoking, alcohol use, obesity, and use of narcotic pain medication and opioid medications. Other things that increase your risk of sleep apnea include age—the older you are the higher your risk, gender—sleep apnea is much more common in men than women, nasal congestion, medical family history, and heart disorders. Your neck circumference also makes a difference—thicker necks tend to have narrower airways.

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

The most common treatment option for sleep apnea is wearing a CPAP mask during sleep. CPAP therapy can be effective, but if you don’t want to wear a mask at night, you may want to look into other options. Certain oral and dental appliances can help to open airways. There are also surgical options. Surgery in the soft palate, uvula, tonsils, adenoids, tongue, upper and lower jaw, can impact sleep apnea as it can help to reduce or eliminate any extra tissue that is blocking your airways.

Losing weight can also treat sleep apnea. Though if your sleep apnea is caused by narrow nasal passages or airways, this will not be effective.

If you think you may have sleep apnea, come see us at Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah. 


Signs You Have Impacted Wisdom Teeth

What are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are teeth at the back of the mouth—usually the last adult teeth to come in. They become impacted when they don’t have enough room to develop or fully emerge.

Because of their location, they are often difficult to reach and therefore difficult to clean. This makes them vulnerable to decay and the surrounding areas prone to gum disease.

Often times impacted teeth are deep into the jaw without a fully exposed surface, making them even more difficult to brush and keep clean.

Impacted wisdom teeth are often very painful, even more so than regular wisdom teeth can be. These impacted teeth are known to cause infections, damages to other teeth, and further dental issues. 

Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

If you think any of your wisdom teeth may be impacted, there are a few signs to look for. Impacted wisdom teeth often lead to:

  • Swollen, tender, or bleeding gums
  • Jaw pain or swelling around the jaw
  • Bad breath
  • Stiffness in your jaw or difficulty opening your mouth
  • A bad taste in your mouth

In some rare cases, impacted wisdom teeth will not show any symptoms. Whether or not they are painful, they can still have bad side effects. 

What Causes Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

Impacted wisdom teeth become impacted when they don’t enough space to erupt. This can lead them to grow in at strange angles. They can grow into other teeth, leading them to move teeth around in your mouth, causing the need for orthodontics. In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth can grow at an angle that essentially has them lying down on the jawbone. They can also get trapped within the jawbone. When this happens, it causes jaw problems and soreness. 

What to Do When Your Wisdom Teeth are Impacted 

Impacted wisdom teeth should be dealt with as soon as possible. When left untreated they can lead to cysts along the jawbone, tooth decay, gum disease, or damage other to teeth. Unfortunately, impacted wisdom teeth are not preventable, but you can treat them before they get worse or cause more damage. The impaction will not go away and will likely only worsen. 

If your wisdom teeth have come in and you have not gotten your wisdom teeth out yet, come see us at Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah. Our team of experts will work with you to ensure that your wisdom teeth are removed as quickly and painlessly as possible. Putting off taking out your wisdom teeth can lead to many other complications. Getting your wisdom teeth out does not need to be such a painful process. While impacted wisdom teeth can be more difficult to remove, our team of skilled surgeons are pros at making the process as painless as possible. Come in to get a consultation for your wisdom teeth today! 


5 Worst Foods For Your Breath

No one wants to be that person—foul smelling breath is a social faux pas. Even if you practice great dental hygiene, bad breath can still sneak in. There are a few foods out there that will leave your breath smelling…less than desirable. If you’re going to be in close courters with someone, avoid these foods. Or take measures to rid your breath of the lingering smells. Whether you’re going on a big date or just heading to work, don’t be the person no one wants to stand next to.

1. Garlic and Onions

No surprise here, garlic and onion made the top of the list. These pungent smelling foods are delicious, no denying that. Their strong taste is difficult to wash away, it can linger in your mouth all day. Onions contain amino acid allin—when cut this acid turns into propenyl acid—the chemical responsible for the eye-watering effects of cutting onions. It’s also the chemical responsible for the strong smell.

Garlic is a double threat as it impacts multiple parts of your body. When the body digests garlic, it absorbs allyl methyl sulfide into your bloodstream. This is then transferred into the lungs, making it difficult to get rid of garlic breath. As it is digested, garlic also releases gas through your skin. The garlic smell can actually come out through your skin! It’s a difficult one to get rid of.

2. Caffeinated Drinks and Alcohol

Beverages that contain alcohol or high amounts of caffeine can cause dry mouth. When the mouth is dry, bacteria can thrive. Saliva production is one of the best ways to combat bad breath. Bacteria and other bad breath inducing elements can easily be washed away with water and saliva. If you don’t want to cut back on the drinks, be sure to follow up your dry mouth inducing beverage with some water. Dehydration leads to smelly breath, so keep the water flowing and keep your breath smelling good.

3. Spicy Foods

Curry does have some antibacterial qualities that can be good for you, but the smell is strong. Curry is made with strong spices that can linger in your mouth for hours. If you’re indulging in some curry, be sure to wash it down with some water and follow up with a good brushing. Maybe throw a mint in there for good measure.

4. Chewy or Starchy Foods

Chewy and starchy foods may not smell badly going in, but they can easily get caught in your teeth. These foods easily get stuck between teeth or in grooves and lead to decay and bacteria growth—which usually means smelly breath. Be sure to brush and floss after you eat chewy and starchy foods to avoid tooth decay and bad breath.

5. Tuna and Other Fish

Another well-known culprit of bad breath—tuna and other fish. Seafood may be a delicious indulgence, but it can leave your breath smelling fishy. The fishy smell is caused by trimethylamine. When you splash your seafood with something acidic like vinegar or lemon juice, it can also reduce its odor. 


What Your Tongue Says About Your Overall Health

What does a healthy tongue look like? A healthy tongue should be pink and covered in papillae (or small nodules). Any change in your tongue’s appearance or any pain could mean something more about your oral health or your overall health. When you go through your nightly routine, be sure to check your tongue. Notice any differences? In this post, we’re talking about what tongue abnormalities could mean.

If your tongue has white patches on it, it could mean a few things:

  • Oral thrush—this is a yeast infection that develops in the mouth. It usually looks like white patches in a similar consistency to cottage cheese. Oral thrush is most common in infants and the elderly.
  • Leukoplakia—this condition occurs when the cells in the mouth grow too excessively. It can be identified by white patches on the tongue and on the inside of the mouth. Leukoplakia develops when the tongue is irritated. It’s most common in tobacco users.
  • Oral lichen planus—this condition appears as little raised white lines on your tongue. Its cause is unknown, but it usually goes away on its own.

If your tongue is unusually red, it could be:

  • Vitamin deficiency—both vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiencies can cause a red tongue.
  • Geographic tongue—this is a condition that leaves a pattern similar to a map of reddish spots on the surface of the tongue. It is usually harmless.
  • Scarlet fever—this is an infection that can lead to the tongue looking red and bumpy, similar to a strawberry. Antibiotics are usually necessary to kill the infection.  
  • Kawasaki disease—this condition can also lead to a strawberry-like appearance on the surface of the tongue. It’s usually seen in children under the age of 5 and often accompanied by a high fever. It is a serious condition. If you suspect Kawasaki disease, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

If your tongue is sore and bumpy, it may mean:

  • Trauma—have you recently bit or burnt your tongue? Grinding or clenching teeth can also irritate your tongue and mouth.
  • Smoking—smoking irritates your tongue and throat. It can lead to soreness.
  • Canker sores—mouth ulcers are common and can develop on the tongue. It can be caused by stress. They normally heal on their own but can also be treated by ointments.
  • Oral cancer—signs of oral cancer can appear in your mouth and on your tongue. A lump or sore on your tongue that doesn’t go away on its own, usually within two weeks, seek an evaluation from a medical professional. Oral cancer usually is not painful in its early stages, but it much easier to deal with if caught early on.