Pregnancy and Dental X-Rays: Are X-Rays Safe for Expectant Mothers?

dental x-rays pregnancySome women are concerned about how the radiation exposure of dental x-rays might affect their pregnancy. Some pregnant women even worry about being exposed to radiation when they use a mobile phone. Let’s explore whether or not there’s a risk to you and your unborn child from getting a dental x-ray.

The Truth About Pregnancy and Dental X-Rays

It’s true that x-rays do expose the patient to radiation. It’s also true that excessive exposure during pregnancy has been linked to child malformation and impaired brain function. The key word, though, is “excessive.” The radiation exposure from a dental x-ray is negligible.

If you received an x-ray in the past, you may have noticed your family dentist place a thick apron over you. This is designed to protect your chest and abdomen from radiation. Since it covers the torso, it also shields the fetus. Rest assure that you and your unborn child are safe.

If you’re still concerned, one study published in the US National Library of Medicine found no risk between pregnancy and x-rays.

It’s Your Choice

Some women are especially conscious about limiting radiation exposure and will avoid x-rays until after their first trimester. While this is not necessary, if this gives you a peace of mind, then that’s certainly acceptable. However, if you have a dental emergency that requires oral surgery, then you will probably need an x-ray. In this instance, the x-ray cannot be postponed. If you’re having anxiety, please let your dentist know about your concerns.

We Treat Expectant Mothers at Any Stage of Their Pregnancies

Don’t let a pregnancy prevent you from seeing an endodontist. Let our friendly staff at Mukilteo Dental Arts know if you’re with child, so we can take additional precautions. Rest assured that there is little danger to your pregnancy from dental x-rays; the precious jewel inside you is safe.

Dental Care for Expectant Mothers

General family dentistry for Mukilteo, Everett, Lynnwood, Edmonds & Mill Creek

When Is Morning Teeth Brushing Ideal, Before or After Breakfast?

brush teethIt’s common knowledge that you should brush your teeth twice daily: in the morning and in the evening. This raises the question: should you brush your teeth before or after breakfast? Is one more beneficial, or is it inconsequential as long as you brush?

The Importance of Morning Brushing

First, let’s discuss brushing your teeth in the morning and why it’s important. Some people eschew morning brushing. Their reason is that they did not eating anything after brushing the night before. Therefore, their teeth are still clean. Actually, this is not true. Even if you consume nothing, your mouth still produces plaque during your eight hours of sleep.

Morning brushing is a vital part of oral hygiene and can prevent major oral surgeries with routine practice.

Brush Your Teeth Before or After Breakfast?

With the importance of morning brushing established, should you do so before or after the first meal of the day? Both are actually acceptable, though we lean towards brushing prior to eating.

Why Brush Before?

If you brush your teeth before you eat, this removes the bacteria, preventing them from feeding on the sugars left behind from your ensuing breakfast. If you brush after, the time between the meal and brushing may be enough for the bacteria to feed on of the sugars. The bacteria produce acid that attacks your teeth’s enamel until you brush. At the same time, though, you don’t want to brush too soon after eating. Brushing within minutes of a meal will push the acid deeper into your teeth.

If you still insist on brushing after, then wait at least 30-minutes. If this is not feasible, then brush before.

Follow a Morning Tooth Brushing Routine

Our family dentists and endodontists recommend brushing before eating, but what’s important is that you brush. This idea is shared across the board by our team at Mukilteo Dental Arts. Brushing before or after breakfast is secondary as long as you brush and maintain the habit.

Family Dental Care

General family dentistry for Mukilteo, Everett, Lynnwood, Edmonds & Mill Creek

Thanksgiving Food Alternatives for Good Dental Health

Thanksgiving food alternatives, thanksgiving foodThanksgiving is one of those days where it’s acceptable to indulge in food without guilt. Even so, we suggest limiting the intake of certain foods that are hazardous to your teeth. Here’s a of list these not-so good foods and the Thanksgiving food alternatives we recommend in their stead.

Candied Yams

Candied yams are laden with marshmallows, which combines sugar and stickiness, a deadly combination for your teeth. The sticky texture means the sugar remains on your teeth for prolonged periods where it serves as food for bacteria. Furthermore, some varieties may contain food dye that, according to our cosmetic dentists, stains teeth.

Eat This Instead: Settle for roasted whole yams, which contain a heap of vitamins A and C, as well as important minerals.

Store-Bought Stuffing

The stuffing you buy in stores contains too much white bread and butter. The former is no better than sugar. Too many refined carbs of this type promotes cavities and oral surgery. Continue Reading →

Types of Underbite Correction: Improve Your Dental Health and Confidence

underbite correctionAn underbite is a dental abnormality; aside from causing functional complications, it can also make you self-conscious about your appearance. Fortunately, there are several methods of underbite correction, including oral surgery.

What Is an Underbite?

Most people know what an overbite is, but an underbite is a less common term. Clinically known as a malocclusion, an underbite is a condition where the lower teeth extend past the upper teeth. The degree of overlap varies and can range from mild to severe. In the latter cases, the overt protrusion can create an appearance similar to that of a bulldog.

Issues with an Underbite

Beyond the undesirable appearance, an underbite can also cause a number of difficulties, such as difficulty eating and speaking. Those with malocclusion are also at an increased risk of developing chronic jaw pain and migraines. Additional issues include teeth decay, bacterial infections, and halitosis. Continue Reading →

Does Your Child Need a Space Maintainer?

space maintainer, dental space maintainerTooth decay can adversely impact your child’s dental development. To promote healthy growth of permanent teeth, your dentist may recommend a space maintainer. Here’s how this device works and why it’s important for the development of healthy teeth.

What Is a Space Maintainer?

A dental space maintainer is an orthodontic appliance made of metal or acrylic. The material may be removable or fixed to the teeth. It’s installed in the area where a baby tooth is lost prematurely. As suggested in its name, a space maintainer keeps the area of the lost tooth open. It prevents adjacent teeth from crowding into the gap, which can adversely impact the development of permanent teeth.

Due to the implications of shifting teeth, an endodontist may suggest a space maintainer for your little one. This can prevent the need for a major oral surgery a few years down the road. Continue Reading →

Gum Disease, Pregnancy & Birth Defects: What’s the Connection?

gum disease birth defects, gum disease pregnancy, gum disease birth complicationsGingivitis is a form of gum inflammation that eventually leads to periodontitis that affects bones and gums. Aside from the dental ramifications, periodontitis has also been linked to birth complications. What exactly is the correlation between gum disease, pregnancy and birth defects?

Gum Disease, Pregnancy and Birth Defects: The Facts

Roughly three-quarters of women develop gingivitis at some point during pregnancy. This is in large part due to hormonal changes. Additional factors like a higher maternal age and lower socioeconomical status increase your risk of gum disease during pregnancy.

Researchers have linked gum disease to birth complications, such as pre-term birth and low birth weight. This has been confirmed in a study published in the US National Library of Medicine.

Babies born below 5.5-pounds are at an increased risk of slow development later in life. This includes slower physical growth, slower cognitive ability, and delayed emotional maturity.

How to Prevent Gum Disease

Preventing gum disease is important no matter who you are. However, it’s even more important for pregnant women since the disease is affecting an additional person inside them.

As always, maintain daily hygiene habits at home. This means the usual rounds of brushing and flossing. You should also watch what you consume; limit intake of refined sugars and simple carbohydrates. Continue Reading →

How to Stop Bad Breath in Its Tracks

stop bad breath, bad breath, halitosisStinky breath (halitosis) is embarrassing and is especially problematic if you have to talk to people up close. Why does your breath smell like the pits of hell and what can you do about it? Learn how to stop bad breath naturally.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Some causes are obvious. You know why a smoker would have foul breath. The same goes for someone who just ate garlic. Other causes, though, are less apparent and may also be an indicator of more serious dental issues.

One cause is dry mouth. Lack of saliva production, known as xerostomia, prevents the breakdown of food particles. It also allows odor-producing bacteria to proliferate.

Other causes include a high-sugar diet, drinking too much coffee, digestive issues, and even prescription medication. Continue Reading →

Epilepsy and Oral Health: What’s the Connection?

epilepsy oral healthEpilepsy is a complex neural disorder that causes seizures whose health ramifications are far-reaching, to include having an indirect impact on your teeth and gums. Here’s some important information about the connection between epilepsy and oral health.

The Link Between Epilepsy and Oral Health

When epileptics go into convulsion, they are at risk of damaging their teeth. How so? Seizures often cause epileptics to grind and gnash their teeth. This can result in chipped or cracked teeth. In severe instances, this can cause a tooth to loosen or dislodge from its socket. It may also lead to a fractured jaw or TMJ disc displacement.

Unfortunately, some anti-convulsion medications can also cause side effects that impact dental health, including diminished vitamin D absorption, which affects teeth remineralization. Another side effect is overgrown gums, which increases plaque buildup. Continue Reading →

What’s the Connection Between Diabetes and Oral Health?

diabetes oral health, oral health, diabetesAccording to the World Health Organization, 422 million people worldwide lived with type II diabetes in 2014. If you have diabetes, or are at risk, then you may also be at risk of periodontal disease. To know for sure, let’s explore the connection between diabetes and oral health.

Diabetes and Oral Health: What’s the Link?

Diabetes is a condition that adversely affects your body’s ability to regulate blood glucose. This condition also comes with a plethora of side effects, one of which is dry mouth. This means that you produce less saliva. Without saliva, bacteria settle in the mouth, eventually causing teeth to decay and rot.

Diabetes patients are at greater risk of developing cavities. In addition, they are also more prone to mouth soreness, ulcers, and overall poorer dental health.

That’s not all; diabetes also slows the body’s ability to heal from wounds. This may slow recovery time after a major oral surgery, such as a dental implant. Having diabetes might even make you ineligible for such treatments. You would need to speak with your endodontist to find out what your options are. Some dentists will test your blood sugar beforehand to determine whether you’re eligible for certain operations. Continue Reading →

Conquering Your Fear of the Dentist

Conquering Your Fear of the Dentist

Do you fear dental appointments? Being nervous about going to the dentist is fairly common, but

some people are so anxious that they cancel appointments or avoid going altogether. Unfortunately,

this can lead to easily treatable problems becoming issues that are costly and painful to address.

Why do people develop dental phobias? They may have had a bad experience before, either with a

dentist who was insensitive, a procedure that caused pain, or complications after treatment. They

may simply be fearful of what might happen, or dislike the feeling of vulnerability that comes with

going in for dental treatment. Whatever the cause, it is important to try to reduce those fears.

Neglected oral health only makes it likely that someone will have to spend more time in a dentist’s

chair, not less. Here are 5 tips to help overcome your dread of going to the dentist:

1. Talk to your dental specialist

Always tell your dentist if you’re feeling anxious about treatment. While they might have already

noticed if you’re on edge, they’re not telepathic—they won’t know that you’re having a serious

problem unless you say so. When you communicate your qualms, your dentist has the opportunity

to modify their approach to put you at ease.

2. Decide on a “stop” sign together

One issue that causes dental phobia is the feeling of having a treatment be out of your control. If this

is an element of your fear, talk with your dental specialist and come up with a stop signal that will let

them know when you’re uncomfortable or simply need a break. Knowing that you have the ability to

stop at any moment may help you be more comfortable with the overall process, no matter how

long it takes.

3. Don’t hesitate to ask questions

Not knowing what to expect when you go in for treatment can amp up anxiety. Your dentist should

be willing and able to answer any question you have about the length, purpose, and steps involved

in any proposed procedure, whether it’s a simple cleaning or a full root canal. A good dentist will

take the time to ensure that you are comfortable and fully informed.

4. Visit your dentist regularly

Making sure you keep your regular dental appointments serves two important functions in fighting

dental phobia. First, getting regular cleanings helps to avert dental problems that lead to painful,

complicated procedures to address decay and neglect. Second, the repetition of short, positive

experiences at the dentist will help to combat previous negative impressions. Over time, it will

become easier to go to the dentist as you build up a history of good visits, and your teeth will be

better off for it!

5. Use mindful strategies to reduce stress

Anxiety causes a physical reaction, even when logically we know there is no reason to be afraid. You

can counteract this reaction with deep breathing or similar mindfulness techniques both before your

appointment and while you’re in the chair. Also, if the anticipation of a dental visit provokes stress,

make your appointments early in the day, so you don’t have time for pressure to build up.

Many dentists, both here in Northridge and elsewhere, know that fear of the dentist can pose a

significant obstacle to getting the dental care you need, and they want to help. Letting a prospective

dentist know about your anxiety can help you work toward overcoming your fear, so that you can

leave the office feeling wonderful instead of stressed.