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What Oral Pain is Telling You About Your Dental Health

What Oral Pain is Telling You About Your Dental Health

As a quality family dentist in South Jordan, Utah, we at the offices of John D. Stark, DDS are proud to handle a wide variety of dental issues for our clients. From short-term braces to implants, cleanings and everything in between, we’re here to help with any oral care needs you have.

We’re also here to help you address any of the temporary issues that may arise in or around the mouth during daily life. Some of these might be the kinds of things you can handle at home without any need for a trip to the dentist, while others might require more involved or even emergency care. Let’s break down a few of the most common areas of dental pain and what they might be telling you.

Bleeding

Bleeding in the mouth generally takes place at the gum level, or at the gum line itself. It’s generally seen in or around brushing or flossing periods – in many cases, it’s due to people simply brushing or flossing too energetically and causing the bleeding due to this pressure.

However, it’s important to note that bleeding could signal other issues. Particularly if you’ve made efforts to brush and floss more lightly but are still dealing with bleeding gums, you could be showing the signs of gingivitis or gum disease, for which you should seek dental assistance.

Swelling

Swelling will also take place in or around the gums, but unlike bleeding, it can happen virtually anytime. It’s often due to an infection that’s spread to the mouth and is causing inflammation, and the cause of this infection could be gingivitis, gum disease or one of several other issues. Random gum swelling should be examined by a dentist, particularly if there’s pus coming from the area, as failure to do so could lead to tooth loss.

Toothache

Affecting the interior or root of the tooth, toothaches are common aches for both children and adults. It may take place due to contact between teeth, such as tapping, but it also might not be caused by any specific trigger.

In many cases, toothaches that persist are a sign of infection or decay. These problems will often require a root canal and you should see a dentist as soon as possible.

Sensitivity

There are two kinds of oral sensitivity:

  • Chewing sensitivity: Pain when eating hard or soft foods – could be a sign of tooth trauma, gum disease, or even a cracked or chipped tooth that requires a crown.
  • Temperature sensitivity: Pain in the teeth when eating or drinking extremely hot or cold items. This is a very general area that could mean a variety of things, so check with a dentist if it persists.

For more on what common mouth pain symptoms mean, or to learn about any of our family dental services, speak to the staff at the offices of John D. Stark, DDS today.

Foods to Promote and Discourage to Avoid Tooth Staining

Foods to Promote and Discourage to Avoid Tooth Staining

At the offices of John D. Stark, DDS, some our most basic cosmetic dental services come in the realm of cleaning and whitening. Our professional dental cleanings assist with everything from plaque and bacteria removal to gumline assessment and treatment, helping you attain and maintain a healthy white smile.

And while services like these plus your daily brushing and flossing habits are vital here, the foods you eat can also play a big role in the appearance of your teeth. In particular, there are several food or drink types that can stain or otherwise discolor your teeth – temporarily at first in most cases, but becoming more and more permanent as these kinds of stains grow and are not addressed. Let’s go over some of the food and beverage types you should avoid or at least be very careful about consuming if staining is an issue for you, plus a few alternatives that actually benefit oral health and stain reduction.

Foods and Drinks That Stain Easily

Some of the foods or drinks that are likely to stain the teeth most easily include:

  • Wine – both red and white types can stain, though it’s more common with red wine
  • Various berries
  • Juices – grape, cranberry, pomegranate and others
  • Coffee and mixed coffee drinks
  • Soy sauce
  • Tomato sauce (also ketchup)
  • Sodas and various sports drinks high in sugar
  • Tea
  • Hard candy formats
  • Beets

Now, we aren’t necessarily saying you can’t have any of these products whatsoever. Rather, it’s important to take care when you or your child is consuming them. If possible, try to brush or at least rinse the mouth thoroughly after consuming any significant quantities of the items above, even if this brushing is outside your usual schedule. Removing stain risks immediately will significantly limit the potential for them becoming permanent.

Foods and Drinks That Benefit a While Smile

On the flip side, there are several food and drink areas that actually help clean the teeth and prevent staining as they’ve being chewed. Many of these also provide additional oral or general health benefits. They include:

  • Various fruits: Apples, pineapples, and some others
  • Vegetables: Cauliflower, onions, celery, carrots, cucumbers, basil
  • Hard cheeses
  • Seeds, nuts and similar small items
  • Milk and yogurt

Where possible within your overall diet and oral health regimen, look to promote these kinds of foods. In particular, a diet consisting of significant portions of fruits and vegetables will be great for your general health, plus will offer the teeth regular respites from potential stains or other discoloration formats.

For more on preventing stains and discoloration in your teeth through multiple methods, including promoting the right foods while limiting consumption of certain other types, or to learn about any of our general family dentist services, speak to the staff at the offices of John D. Stark, DDS today.

Dispelling Common Root Canal Myths For Good

Dispelling Common Root Canal Myths For Good

There are several important procedures we’re proud to carry out for our patients at the offices of John D. Stark, DDS, and one such procedure is the root canal. Used to repair and save decaying or infected teeth, the root canal involves removing nerve and pulp and sealing the inside of a tooth to prevent future risks it may incur.

Unfortunately, like many dental services that everyone has to go through but far fewer are actually trained in, many misconceptions have surfaced over the years about root canals. Some of these myths may have formed due to movies or TV, while others might just be simple mistakes that became lore and spread around. Regardless, we’re here to set the record straight – here are four popular root canal myths debunked.

Myth #1: Root Canals Are Terribly Painful

We can understand where this particular myth came from – root canals are often used to help manage extremely painful symptoms, present due to dead or decaying teeth that we’re performing the root canal on. And in truth, methods used for root canals many decades ago did indeed have some pain associated with them.

Today, however, root canal procedures themselves are not painful whatsoever. You may feel some minor sensations during the treatment, but we will take several steps in sedation and anesthetic areas to ensure this is as far as things go. You’ll be both safe and comfortable in our staff’s hands during a root canal, which will feel no more painful than a common filling.

Myth #2: It’s Better to Just Pull the Tooth

With this particular myth, we have no idea of the source – but we do know how damaging the information can be, as it’s completely false. There are extremely few situations where keeping your natural tooth as long as you can is not the optimal choice for your oral health, and many problems can crop up if you do remove a tooth in this case. While bridges or implants are options in some situations, they don’t have the same benefits of natural teeth.

Myth #3: Root Canals Cause Disease

This silly myth comes from a piece of “scientific research” done almost 100 years ago – we won’t even link to it or identify it further due to how misleading and ineffective it actually was. This study has been disproven many times over by modern trials, and root canals not only don’t cause disease, but can be effective at eliminating infections and similar issues in the mouth.

Myth #4: If I’m Not in Pain, I Don’t Need a Root Canal

As we noted above, root canals are often used to help address major pain symptoms due to various oral conditions. But it’s important to note that just because you aren’t in serious pain doesn’t necessarily mean a root canal isn’t right for an oral condition you may still be experiencing. Certain conditions in the mouth may not come with specific pain, only visual signs that can be seen by your dentist.

For more properly researched and sourced information on root canals, or to learn about any of our dental services, speak to the staff at the offices of John D. Stark, DDS today.

Daily Habits that Promote a Whiter Smile

Daily Habits that Promote a Whiter Smile

Teeth serve both functional and aesthetic purposes, and within this latter area, whiteness is generally a top priority. White teeth have strong associations with good appearance and high self-esteem, helping craft a bright, friendly smile.

At the offices of family dentist John D. Stark, DDS, our various dental cleaning and deep cleaning services are just part of how we help you maintain a beautiful, white smile. Here are some additional tips we can offer in terms of basic daily habits that will promote whiter teeth without extra products or services required.

Brushing and the Tongue

Brushing the teeth sets the foundation for their white appearance, and also promotes healthy, pink gums that set a nice contrast. We know you’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: A truly healthy smile is promoted by brushing twice daily for two minutes apiece, preferably with a combination toothpaste that includes whitening properties.

One important area to prioritize while brushing: The tongue. You may do a great job brushing away bacteria and food particles from your teeth and gums, but if you leave the tongue area clear, it can harbor this same bacteria and re-spread it onto the teeth, leading to yellowing issues. Be sure to brush the tongue all the way to the back each time.

Toothbrush Quality

If you’re truly brushing twice a day for two minutes apiece, your toothbrush should only last you around three to six months. This will obviously change if you use an electric model, of course. In either case, though, keep a close eye on toothbrush quality and replace yours as soon as it begins to wear down. Worn brushes cannot clean the teeth properly and may even transfer old bacteria into the mouth.

Straw Use

There are many beverages that may stain the teeth, such as coffee or red wine for instance. Luckily, you don’t have to avoid these altogether if you want a white smile – you can just use a straw to drink them, which limits how much time they spend in contact with your teeth.

Items to Promote and Avoid

Some foods and other items to avoid putting in your mouth whenever possible to promote white teeth:

  • Dark-pigmented foods or drinks such as coffee, wine, tea, berries and others
  • High-acid drinks like soda
  • High-citrus items like limes or lemons
  • Cigarettes
  • Various forms of processed food

On the flip side, one food group to promote is raw fruits and vegetables. These are both good for your overall health and a big positive for white teeth – they help you produce more saliva during chewing, which is a major tool for the mouth when it comes to clearing bacteria and keeping the teeth protected.

Post-Eating Habits

Ideally, we’d all be able to brush our teeth after every meal, particularly those that contain any foods or drinks that might stain the teeth. This isn’t always realistic, however, so when you can’t access a toothbrush, we just recommend swishing some water immediately after eating for about 30 seconds. This will loosen items still left in the teeth or gums, helping remove them before they stain or otherwise impact the mouth.

For more on keeping the teeth white and shiny, or to learn about any of our general dental services, speak to the staff at the offices of John D. Stark, DDS.

Steps to Take After Losing a Crown

Steps to Take After Losing a Crown

Losing a dental crown is indeed a concerning situation, but it’s one you can easily manage without panicking – and one that could worsen if you don’t address it right away.

At the offices of John D. Stark, DDS, we can help with all dental crowns, fillings and other general dentistry areas. Let’s go over what you should do if you lose a crown, including areas you should consider in terms of hygiene, pain tolerance and the kinds of things you should avoid putting in your mouth.

Cleaning and Hygiene

When a crown or filling comes out of your mouth, it risks the exposure of the interior of your tooth, and even possibly its root. This is a highly sensitive area that must be protected, and is very susceptible to bacteria or other precursors to tooth decay.

If you lose a crown and there’s food debris in your mouth, gently brush around and inside the affected area to remove it. Rinse the mouth out with warm water, plus a little salt if you want to be sure bacteria is removed. If you have to eat multiple meals between the crown falling out and your ability to come to our offices, perform this process after each meal.

Dealing With Pain

It won’t always be the case, but pain may take place after a crown or filling falls out if nerves in the tooth are exposed. This pain may only take place while you eat or drink, or may only be for certain temperature ranges (colder items tend to lead to more sensitivity). It might be limited to a dull ache, or could be as significant as sharp, heavy pain.

In some cases, using clove oil from your local drug store can do the trick to help limit this pain. Just use a cotton swab to apply it and numb the pain. If this doesn’t work, consider over-the-counter pain medication.

Foods to Avoid

As we noted, there might be situations, such as a nighttime incident, where you have to eat at least a meal or two between the crown falling out and your dental appointment to address the issue. In these cases, we recommend chewing all food on the side of the mouth not impacted by the implant loss. And to take it further, there are a few foods or drinks you might want to avoid altogether during this period:

  • Sweeter foods or beverages, including soda
  • Foods or drinks with extreme temperatures on either side of the spectrum
  • Foods that are hard or difficult to chew
  • Acidic or erosive foods or drinks

For more on how to react if a dental crown or filling comes out, or to learn about any of our other family dentist services, speak to the staff at the offices of John D. Stark, DDS today.

Basics on Caring for Dental Implants

Basics on Caring for Dental Implants

If you’ve recently received dental implants or are planning to do so, you’ve made a good decision. Implants can be very important for helping correct smile and tooth function issues, and can bode well for your oral health for the rest of your life.

At the offices of John D. Stark, DDS, we provide only high-quality dental implants to all our patients who require them. We also provide important expertise when it comes to the care and maintenance of your implants after they’ve been installed. There are several important areas to consider here – let’s take a look at some of the most vital.

Basic Hygiene

The first and simplest care task for your dental implants are to make sure your dental hygiene habits remain – or become – high-quality. We recommend brushing with nonabrasive bristles for at least the first few months after getting implants, and many of our patients find they enjoy these more anyway – they keep the mouth healthy without being too harsh on your implant or any of your natural teeth.

In addition, make sure you’re flossing daily. Dr. Stark will always be able to recommend a specific type or brand of floss based on the kind of implant you have, and he can even recommend a floss threader that will be right for you. He can’t make you use these items, however – whatever motivation tactics you need here, put them into place and create a daily flossing schedule. In addition, if mouthwash isn’t part of your normal routine, make it one.

Things to Avoid

There are a couple items or groupings we recommend you avoid, certainly for the first few months and ideally whenever possible after getting implants:

  • Picks: If you use solid devices to pick at your teeth, we highly recommend avoiding plastic or metal materials here. These can scratch the surface of your implant, which weakens it and promotes bacteria development. If you do require a pick, we can recommend a water pick instead.
  • Foods: You should take caution with foods that may damage the implant or other nearby teeth, including popcorn, apples, nuts, rice and other items that can get between teeth or cause damage from biting too hard. Instead, prioritize softer foods, especially directly after your surgery.
  • Temperatures: Most commonly found in beverages, extremely cold or hot temperatures should be avoided in the mouth following dental implant surgery. Ice, in particular, can be damaging to implants. You should wait at least a few weeks, and possibly longer, to eat or drink anything with extreme temperatures.

Possible Symptoms Requiring Attention

If you have any of the following complications after your dental implant surgery, call our offices immediately:

  • Oozing blood from the surgery site that is not helped by medications
  • Significant, unexpected pain or swelling
  • Post-operative nausea

For more on how to care for your mouth after dental implant surgery, or to learn about any of our family dental services, speak to the staff at the offices of John D. Stark, DDS today.

What Your Bleeding Gums Are Telling You

What Your Bleeding Gums Are Telling You

As one of the most common dental issues out there, bleeding gums can be concerning for those who haven’t experienced them before. Bleeding gums can be caused by a number of different factors, from basic brushing habits to significant health or nutrition concerns, and it’s hard to know at first glance what the underlying reason for your bleeding is.

At the dental offices of John D. Stark, DDS, our general dentistry services include helping you assess the causes of your bleeding gums and work on solutions. During this process, it’s important to note some of the root explanations for your bleeding, as these may signal changes you need to make in your dental routine or even your overall health. Here are some of the common causes of bleeding gums.

Plaque Buildup

Medically termed gingivitis, plaque buildup due to bacteria forming around the gums can cause bleeding in the gyms through an inflammatory response produced by the body’s immune system. Over time, if this plaque isn’t properly removed, it will harden and become tartar, which can cause bleeding even more easily.

Periodontitis

Another common oral condition is periodontitis, which is more severe than gingivitis. Periodontitis is a jawbone disease where bacteria progresses up the gum line, then actually destroys parts of the jawbone itself. Periodontitis can lead to significant risks of tooth decay and tooth loss if not addressed.

Routine Changes

The teeth and gums are very sensitive areas of the body, and if you make big changes to the way you care for them, some bleeding could be a temporary result. Some people see small amounts of blood when brushing with a new toothbrush, for instance, based on new bristles that are rougher on the gums. In these limited cases, bleeding is a temporary concern that you won’t have to worry much about. If it persists for a longer period, call your dentist.

Medications

Certain new medications might lead to increasing gum bleeding, blood thinners chief among them. This may also happen with anticonvulsants, blood pressure meds, and even certain immune-suppressants you might take.

In certain cases, lowered saliva quantity can cause gum bleeding – and this can also be brought on by certain medications. Antihistamines, sedatives, anti-psychotics and anti-depressants all may have this effect on some people.

Nutritional Concerns

If your diet is too short on vitamins C or K, this can lead to bleeding gums. A general practitioner can test blood levels for these vitamins. If you’re low on vitamin C, add more citrus fruits to the diet. For a vitamin K deficiency, look to leafy green vegetables more often.

Hormones

Pregnant women may be more susceptible to bleeding gums due to hormone fluctuations during this period. Within a couple months of giving birth, these issues have usually subsided.

Health Issues

In rare cases, bleeding gums may be a sign of a more significant health issue in the body. Leukemia, for instance, causes excessive bleeding in several areas of the body. Another blood clotting condition called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura may also be possible.

For more on what your bleeding gums are telling you, or to learn about any of the services we provide at our dental clinic, speak to the staff at the offices of John D. Stark, DDS today.

Why Replacing Missing Teeth is Vital

Why Replacing Missing Teeth is Vital

At the offices of John D. Stark, DDS, we understand that certain parts of the dental world can sometimes be tough to grasp for our clients. Some may not understand the exact purpose or procedure of a root canal, for instance, or maybe you’ve never quite understood what dental X-rays are for – our staff is happy to explain any and all procedures to you.

One area that some patients often ask about is dental implants. In particular, some of our patients often wonder why they need these in the first place – if a missing tooth isn’t causing any direct discomfort and the person dealing with it doesn’t mind, what’s so important about getting a replacement implant?

As it turns out, though, there are several reasons why this is vital. Not immediately replacing a missing tooth can lead to the following issues:

Tooth Shifting

As you develop from childhood into adulthood, your jaw grows in a manner specifically meant to hold and properly operate 28 teeth. These teeth function symbiotically – if one of them is removed or falls out, the others begin to shift into that space to ensure everything is covered.

This can quickly throw all your teeth out of alignment. It can lead to bite issues due to the upper and lower jaws not meeting properly, and can also damage the joint in the jaw over time. It may also lead to tooth eruptions and major sensitivity to temperature or sweet items.

Tooth Decay

Another issue with tooth shifting is the way it can make certain teeth in the mouth harder to reach during brushing or flossing, which leads to increased bacteria formation and resulting tooth decay. In addition, that open space where your tooth is missing will serve as a breeding ground for bacteria to grow and spread around.

Digestive Issues

We may not always think of it this way, but the mouth and teeth are part of the digestive system – in fact, they’re the part of the system that kicks everything off. Missing teeth can change the effectiveness of your chewing which can in turn affect the way you digest food. Many people with missing teeth that aren’t replaced develop acid reflux or other digestive issues.

Speech Problems

If the missing tooth is in the wrong area of your mouth, it could cause immediate speech issues. You may begin to slur or lisp certain words or sounds as your tongue becomes confused about forming speech patterns that involvecontact with the teeth. You may also find yourself spitting far more often.

Facial Appearance

Finally, a missing tooth can even affect the way you look. The roots of your teeth are vital for bone development – every chew you make with your jaw stimulates the root structure and bone. But if you lose a tooth, that bone begins to deteriorate, often leading to major issues of a sunken appearance on the face. In addition to this, you may notice decreasing jaw function.

For more on why missing teeth need to be replaced, or to learn about any of our family dentist services, speak to the pros at the offices of John D. Stark, DDS today.

Diet and Cavity prevention

The American Dental Association’s recommendations for healthy teeth are to brush twice a day and floss once a day. These are standard habits for most people and help protect against cavities. However, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey published by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research in 2004 shows that 92% of adults in the United States have cavities in their permanent teeth. With this in mind, there is more that affects dental health than how often we are brushing.

The phrase you are what you eat is a statement that hits close to home here. What we eat directly affectsdental health. According to the Yale School of Medicine, the cells in our mouths can be negatively affected by sugary foods, just like the rest of the body. Eating acidic foods damages enamel and reduces the ability of your teeth to fight decay and infection. An overall unhealthy diet impedes the body’s ability to fight off infection, including in your mouth. The acids produced after eating sugary or acidic food will remain in the mouth for up to 20 many minutes after consumption, working against your teeth the whole time.

Another helpful tip is that after you do eat something sugary or otherwise unhealthy, do not brush immediately afterwards. A specialist from New York University College of Dentistry, Dr. Miriam Robbins, says this is because the acid produced by eating such food remains in your mouth for 20 many minutes afterwards and is breaking down enamel during that time. Brushing your teeth could further damage the enamel that is being attacked. Waiting for about 40 minutes for the acid to reduce will make a brushing much more effective.

There are a few common foods that can fight off cavities. A professor at New York University College of Dentistry recommends cheese and dairy products because they help build strong teeth and actually contain acid neutralizers. Vegetables are also a safe route to go, because there are limited sugars and many of them will naturally clean the teeth and cause an increase in saliva production, which is the body’s way of cleaning the teeth on its own.

Choosing the right color for your porcelain veneers

Nobody trying to improve their smile wants to end up feeling like their smile looks worse after the dental visit than before. Dr. Stark, a dentist in South Jordan, Utah understands that this is especially important when it comes to cosmetic procedures like porcelain veneers.

There are a number of reasons to get porcelain veneers: cracked teeth, crooked teeth, discolored teeth, to name a few. The bottom line is that our smiles are an important part of who we are, so veneers have the potential to help us feel better about ourselves.

Veneers are thin pieces of tooth-mimicking material that are firmly attached to the front of discolored, crooked or chipped teeth. It’s a way to have a new, brighter smile!

But that doesn’t mean that you should get veneers that are white. Teeth aren’t white, but a generally a shade of off-white, which means a mouth full of really white teeth would probably just look strange. Your friends and family would probably wonder why in the world you did that to your smile.

In addition, teeth are semi-transparent, or see-through, so it is important that veneers mimic that. The whole goal isn’t to give you a fake smile, but a real one, and one that matches your appearance and skin tone. Consult with Dr. Stark to learn more about the best ways to pick the right veneers color. Remember that he is very experienced with veneers, and can give you excellent advice.

Also remember that teeth naturally darken over time, and that darkening is often sped up through habits like coffee drinking, smoking, and through other drinks and foods. Older people will look more natural with a darker shade of teeth.

Remember that veneers are meant to be permanent, so decide carefully about the shade you really want. It is good to want a new a look, and you can get it, but also be conservative, so that you don’t leave the dental office with any regrets.