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Dental Health and Oral Hygiene

Why Dental Checkups

We don’t usually think about going to the dentist or the doctor until there’s a problem. We don’t think about the doctor until we get really sick and we don’t think about the dentist until we have a toothache. When it comes to dental health, that’s a problem. The old saying goes, “prevention is the best cure” and it’s never truer than when you’re talking about dental health. Getting to the dentist for your regular cleanings is the best way to prevent common dental diseases like cavities, gingivitis and more.

During a checkup, dentists are looking for a few specific signs that indicate the level of a patient’s dental health. Depending on how things look, a dentist can take preventative measure or intervene to stop a problem from getting any worse.

Examining your teeth for tooth decay is just one part of a thorough checkup with Dr. Stark. During your appointment, he will most likely gauge the health of your gums, perform a head and neck examination, and check your mouth for any indications of diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, or oral cancer. It is not uncommon for your dentist to also examine your face, bite, saliva and the movement of your lower jaw joints.

Your South Jordan dentist or dental hygienist will use your appointment to clean your teeth and advise you in the areas where your dental hygiene might be lacking.

When we don’t keep to our dental hygiene the way we should, which includes brushing and flossing daily, we leave plaque deposits on our teeth. After 72 hours, plaque can harden and turn into tartar that can only a dentist can remove. Failing to remove plaque and tartar buildup, which produces acid that weakens our teeth, makes us more susceptible to tooth decay and cavities.

If it’s been six months or more since your last visit to the dentist, make an appointment as soon as possible to schedule a dental cleaning and an exam. Call us or contact us to schedule an appointment today.

What is the purpose of a Filling

We fight a constant battle against the bacteria is our mouths, and sometimes we lose. Cavities. We all dread hearing that word from our dentist. The solution is often a filling, but why do we need fillings?

Bacteria in the mouth produce an acid that eats away at your teeth. As this decay occurs, pain can begin to show up, and the structure of your tooth can be compromised. Cavities often show up in hard-to-reach places, like between the teeth, or back in the molars, where it can be hard to brush, especially for children.

If it weren’t for fillings, some people might just have to get rid of their decayed teeth, or at least have to have a much more serious dental procedure.

A cavity isn’t just on the surface of the tooth. The decay continues to go into the tooth. For this reason, Dr. Stark will need to remove a portion of the tooth (the decayed part), resulting in a hole. That hole must be filled to maintain the integrity of the tooth, so you can keep using it effectively.

It is important to remember that most cavities don’t hurt until it’s too late, and then a root canal is required. This is why regular dental check-ups are so important.

Modern dentistry has provided a number of different materials for this filling (you are literally filling a hole in the mouth, after all!). Some dentists use silver alloy. Other materials are white, to match the teeth. Consult with Dr. Stark to see which type of filling is best for you. Ask him about amalgam, composite and silver fillings. There are various pros and cons of each:

There will probably be a little discomfort when Dr. Stark performs the procedure, but anesthetic is great at taking away any serious pain. There will be some numbness.

A high speed drill is used to remove the decay. This instrument also uses water, which is why an assistant will be there to suction the water out. After the decay is removed, the location on the tooth needs to be prepared to receive the filling. Then the hole is filled, and the patient is sent on his or her way!

Dental IMplants

Dental implants are a highly effective and very popular procedure for replacing missing or damaged teeth. Dr. John Stark is experienced with dental implants, with the expertise to give you the natural smile you want.

Dental implants require multiple steps. This is because the implant actually needs to integrate with the jawbone and the rest of the mouth, which requires stages of healing.

The first step is to replace the root of the tooth with an implant. This can require removal of an existing tooth that is damaged or diseased. Dr. Stark places a metal implant into the bone underlying the gums. This part of the implant isn’t seen. Sometimes there isn’t enough bone to allow for a safe implant. Different procedures are used to modify the bone so that it can take an implant.

After this new root is planted, some healing must occur, which requires time. Dentists have various options for temporary replacements to fill gaps in the teeth while the implant is healing.

After healing is complete, Dr. Stark will carefully examine the implant, to make sure that the implant has successfully integrated with the bone. If things have gone well, then he will add an abutment onto the top of the implant, which the false tooth will rest on. Then the gum needs to heal around this new portion of the implant.

The new prosthetic tooth or teeth are created to fit perfectly with the other teeth in your mouth.

There are many different options when it comes to replacing teeth, but implants are probably the best option, in both appearance and functionality. Other options, such as dentures or bridges, don’t replicate the natural structure of teeth as well. Changes in the gums and changes of aging can make dentures uncomfortable and bothersome, whereas implants quickly become a secure part of the mouth.

a Guide to Children’s dental health

Tooth decay is more and more prevalent in our world today. Despite all the advances in medical and dental technology, our diet and modern lifestyle is still fighting to keep up with tooth decay. Both adults and children suffer from record amounts of tooth decay, due to inadequate oral hygiene and too many and too frequent consumption of carbohydrates. Despite the fact that tooth decay is almost entirely preventable, it is the most common chronic disease in children.

Tooth decay in children can have negative effects that go beyond the appearance of their smile. Pediatric dental disease can lead to malnourishment, bacterial infections, distracting toothaches and more. Every year, children in the US miss thousands of hours of school due to preventable tooth decay and poor dental hygiene.

Establishing healthy diet and dental hygiene habits at an early age is crucial for the long term health of children, yet more and more children are experiencing gum disease and tooth decay at an earlier age because of short-comings in their diet. With a few simple changes in diet and regular maintenance such as brushing and flossing, we can get the jump on tooth decay and keep our teeth, and our children’s teeth, healthy and strong.

Vitamins A & D are very important to the development of healthy bones in children and many studies suggest that vitamin D can help prevent cavities. Without these crucial vitamins, children are more susceptible to conditions like rickets, tooth decay and poor bone development.

Children can often be picky eaters, making it difficult to ensure they get all the vitamins and minerals their growing bodies need. This is why pediatricians recommend giving children vitamin D fortified dairy as well a daily multi vitamin. Also, using natural products and replacing highly processed foods with whole grains, fruits and vegetables is a great way to get children those critical nutrients their bodies need.

Diets including fish and provide omega-3 fatty acids, an important nutrient for brain development and function, and a rich source of fat-soluble vitamin D. Yellow butter, which comes from grass fed cows, is an important source of a substance called “Activator X” which plays a key role in our bodies’ utilization of vitamins D & A.

Making changes to a family’s diet may sometimes seem overwhelming and costly, but it doesn’t have to be. Changes in diet can be simple and the family’s eating habits don’t have to change drastically. Sometimes the simple choices can make a big difference. The simple choices you make today can make all the difference in the health of your family.

Dr. Stark Partners with the Utah Food Bank.

During December for all new patents we donate 10% of your X-rays, Exam, and Cleaning to the Utah Food Bank. If you don’t have insurance the cost is $99 for a full check up. For most patients with insurance these procedures are 100% covered, but what is free to you could significantly affect the life of hungry child. One in five Utah kids don’t know where there next meal will come from. A normal adult checkup will provide over 50 meals for a hungry child and a family of 5 will generate over 200 meals for the Utah Food Bank.

Best of all we will donate 10% of all of your future checkups to the Utah Food Bank if you come twice a year for check ups and post our Food Bank promotion on Facebook or Instagram. You must mention this promotion when you call to schedule.

Stopping Tooth Decay

Looking in the mirror and realizing that there might be a problem with your teeth can be a frightening experience. Some are forced to wonder if there is serious mouth pain their future, or if their friends and colleagues will notice a flaw in their teeth.

A healthy smile is an important possession, which is why it’s important to recognize tooth decay early. As soon as you recognize these signs, see your South Jordan dentist in Utah as soon as possible.

The whole reason for brushing and flossing is to keep damaging bacteria in your mouth at bay. This bacteria, combined with food, creates acid that can eat away the tooth’s protective layers, leading to pain (toothaches), infection and even losing teeth.

We hear the word “plaque” a lot when talking about teeth. Plaque contains the bacteria that can damage your teeth, which is why we try and get rid of the plaque. And of course it is a constant battle. There is always bacteria in the mouth, and we need consistent brushing and flossing to make sure we win the battle and the war.

In addition to brushing and flossing, the body produces its own fighting force. Minerals in our saliva, like calcium and phosphate, help the enamel of our teeth repair itself. We are always losing and gaining minerals.

If we look carefully, we may be able to see spots on our teeth where the enamel has begun to lose the mineral battle, meaning that the enamel is losing some of its protective power. A white spot may appear.

Dental checkups and cleanings are important because your South Jordan dentist can recognize these problems in the enamel. If caught soon enough, the decay is actually reversible, or at least it can be stopped. If the decay isn’t stopped, a cavity will form, and the dentist will most likely correct the problem with a filling.

The hidden cost of Braces for South Jordan kids

I was still wet behind the ears from dental school when I saw a teenager at our old Riverton office.  He was in braces, but he was not taking care of his teeth.  He had food stuck in his braces everywhere and his enamel around his brackets was turning white. If I knew then what I know now I would have asked his orthodontist to take off his braces until his home care improved.  That teenager is now in his twenties and at last count we have done 14 fillings due to cavities that started while he was in braces.

I mention South Jordan kids here because those are the kids I see on a daily basis along with kids from West Jordan, Riverton and Herriman, but I suppose kids all over are at the same risk when they take on orthodontics.  Teenagers are already at a higher risk for cavities, but teenagers in braces face an even tougher challenge.  Flossing with a floss threader between every tooth is tedious and time consuming.  Brushing is much less effective with so many places for food and plaque to hide.  Consequently, there is is hidden cost to braces if measures are not taken to care for teeth while undergoing orthodontics and those costs can last a lifetime.

So what can you do to keep your or your child’s teeth healthy while in braces?  First of all, parents need to play a role in checking their child’s teeth after they brush until they are convinced that adequate cleaning is taking place. If unsure ask your orthodontist, or better yet ask their assistant. Watch for enamel turning white around the brackets or gum line. Second, utilize technology.  High end ultrasonic toothbrushes are worth every penny.  Water Pik or Air Flosser by Sonicare can make flossing so much easier which increases compliance.  Disclosing tablets can help your child see if they are cleaning adequately as they will stain any plaque left behind.  Oral B even makes a toothbrush that works like a Fit Bit which shares with a smart phone through a bluetooth connection the quantity and quality of each brushing event.

Braces are a great investment that your child will thank you for throughout their life.  Care needs to be taken though that one isn’t compromising healthy teeth while aligning them.  Carefully taking care of teeth while undergoing orthodontic treatment can provide both a beautiful AND healthy smile.

Emergency Dentist Frequently Asked Questions

There is no emergency room for dental emergencies. Although most dental emergencies are not life threatening they can cause incredible pain and inconvenience. I am happy to talk to anyone with a dental emergency when I am available with no strings attached. The easiest way to contact me is to text me at 801-915-5661.The most common type of dental emergency is a toothache, which is discussed below, but first lets go over two types of true dental emergencies where time is of the essence.First, lets discuss a tooth that has been knocked out or avulsed. If this occurs try to put the tooth back in the socket without cleaning it aggressively and get to a dentist ASAP. There are cells on a tooth that are useful to reattachement and we don’t want to clean those off. Gently rinse debris off of the tooth and put it back in the socket. If it won’t go back in the socket put in the patients mouth if (if they are old enough and conscious) until you get to the dentist. We don’t want the tooth to dry out. Milk is third option.

 The second type of true dental emergency is swelling from a dental infection that is growing rapidly and moving toward the airway.  If the swelling is under the under the chin and moving toward the neck don’t wait it out.  Get to a dentist, urgent care center or emergency room to address the tooth, the infection and treatment with antibiotics.

Most dental emergencies involve a toothache or a broken tooth. So what can you do to prevent and treat dental emergencies?  Below are a few tips for avoiding a dental emergency.

Prevention

  • Get regular checkups
  • Treat little problems before they become big problems
  • Wear a mouthguard whenever contact with your teeth could occur
  • Have a dentist.  If you have a toothache you are much more likely to be seen quickly or at inconvenient times if you are a “patient of record.”

I have a dental emergency, what can I do?

  • Taking ibuprofen as well acetaminophen as directed can alleviate pain as well as narcotic pain medications.
  • Cold water or ice can help soothe teeth that are dying but not quite dead yet.