General Dentistry

Young pregnant woman with milk and breakfast on sofa

Dental Care When You Are Pregnant

Young pregnant woman with milk and breakfast on sofa If you are pregnant, you probably have a lot on your mind, but your priority is probably taking care of yourself and taking care of your baby (as well it should be!). You are eating right and exercising, but did you know that taking care of your oral health is also an important part of a healthy pregnancy?

Common dental problems during pregnancy

If you are a few months in to your pregnancy, you may already be getting tired of all of those doctor’s appointments, and you might be tempted to skip those dental checkups. But being pregnant can actually increase your risk for some serious dental problems:

• Pregnancy tumors. This is a scary name, but you don’t have to worry too much if your dentist tells you that you have these. They aren’t cancerous – they are just a swelling of the gums between the teeth. It is caused by a build-up of plaque, and it commonly occurs during the second trimester.

• Tooth damage from morning sickness. The stomach acid from vomiting can damage your teeth and contribute to their decay.

• Pregnancy gingivitis. Your body is going through a lot of hormonal changes right now, and these affect not just your overall health but your dental health as well. An increase in hormones increases your risk of pregnancy gingivitis, which can lead to tender gums, tooth decay, and even gum disease.

Taking care of your oral health

Seeing your dentist regularly is important during pregnancy. If you have any signs of problems, he or she might recommend that you come in more often than just for your twice-a-year cleanings. It is also important that you let your dentist know that you are pregnant. Any medications or x-rays your dentist may suggest are generally safe for pregnant women, but it is always a good idea to keep your dentist up to date about your health situation.

It may be tempting to skip that visit to the dentist with everything else you have going on – but don’t! Your pregnancy may be causing serious problems with your teeth. Contact Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center for an appointment today, at (610) 272-6949!

Pierced tongue licking lollipop

Is your oral piercing affecting your oral health?

Cosmetic procedure for piercing the tongue Do you have an oral piercing, or are you thinking about getting one? They are very popular, but they can cause damage to your teeth and gums, something you might want to think about if you have spent a lot of time and effort getting work done on your teeth. Here is some more information on oral piercings and how they can affect the health of your teeth and gums.

What damage can an oral piercing do?

Here are some of the risks that come with an oral piercing, if it is constantly rubbing up against your teeth and gums:

• Damage to your teeth such as chips and cracks (which can lead to a tooth infection)

• Damage to crowns and other restorations

• Damage to your gums, which can cause gum recession

An oral piercing can also lead to the production of excessive saliva, which can make it difficult to speak, chew, and swallow. And, in the worst case scenario, an oral piercing can lead to an infection spreading to the rest of your body, if bacteria in your mouth gets into the piercing, which can lead to severe health problems such as endocarditis (inflammation of the heart).

Taking care of your oral piercing

If you do decide to get an oral piercing, the most important thing to keep in mind is to keep it and your mouth very clean. Brush and floss often, and make sure you see your dentist at least twice a year so that he or she can check for any issues.

If you play a sport or take part in any activity where there is any chance your piercing could get ripped out or smashed against your teeth, make sure you take it out before you play. Avoid playing with your piercing and don’t put objects such as pen caps in your mouth, as these can carry bacteria that can cause infection.

Hopefully, you will be very happy with your piercing and it will never cause you any problems. But if it does, call Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center in East Norriton, PA, for an appointment, at (610) 272-6949!

Things You Should Know About Your Oral Health (But Might Not)

Afro American teen girl opens mouth widely brushes teeth Having healthy teeth and gums is an important part of feeling healthy – although you probably don’t think of it in that way. It is important to do all that you can to take care of your oral health, and here are a few tidbits about doing just that.

Caring for your teeth and gums

Keep these things in mind if you are having problems with your teeth or gums, or if you just want to make sure they are in the best shape possible:

• It is possible to be allergic to toothpaste. Have you noticed a burning sensation in your mouth? Do you have tissue peeling off of the inside of your cheek? You may just be allergic to your toothpaste, and finding relief may be as simple as changing which toothpaste you use. Ask your dentist for a toothpaste recommendation, or try a natural toothpaste.

• If your mouth is dry, it might not have anything to do with your oral care routine. Some prescription medications come with the annoying side effect of dry mouth. Ask your doctor what you can do (perhaps changing medication may be an option), or ask your dentist for help. Having a constantly dry mouth can be bad for your teeth, because saliva helps to keep your teeth clean and free of debris.

• It is possible to brush your teeth too hard, and if you do, that’s not good. Some people think that the harder they brush the better. However, vigorous brushing can make gums bleed, which is never a good thing.

• It does make a difference if you skip out on brushing or flossing. You may neglect to brush or floss, and you might think it doesn’t matter much – but keeping your teeth clean every day keeps plaque from building up and ends up saving you a lot of pain and problems in the future.

Something else that you should know about your oral health is that cleanings and checkups at your dentist’s office are very important! If you need a cleaning, or if you are having problems or pain, call Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center in East Norriton, PA, for an appointment. Call (610) 272-6949 today!

Do you really need to use mouthwash?

Woman rinsing mouth with mouthwash in bathroom Of course you want to take good care of your teeth! You know the importance of brushing and flossing thoroughly and often and of visiting your dentist twice a year for check-ups and cleanings. But along with these other important ways to keep your teeth healthy, you may be wondering if you should include mouthwash as part of your oral health care routine – does it really do anything or is it just a waste of money?

Should you be using mouthwash?

There is a kind of mouthwash for just about any problem you might have, such as bad breath, tooth sensitivity, and dingy teeth that you want to whiten, and there are mouthwashes with flouride to give you a bit of extra help preventing plaque build-up and cavities. If you are in doubt as to which one you should use, you can always ask your dentist what he or she recommends.

However, maybe you’ve tried mouthwash in the past and just didn’t feel like it did anything. Believe it or not, there is a right way and a wrong way to use mouthwash!

• Remember that using mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing, flossing, and eating a nutritious diet and limiting your sweets.

• You should gargle for at least a minute to get the real benefits of using mouthwash.

• If you have sensitive teeth, you should stay away from mouthwash with alcohol in it, because that will only make sensitive teeth worse.

• After you brush your teeth, wait for half an hour before using mouthwash. The chemicals in the toothpaste and the chemicals in the mouthwash can often cancel each other out so that neither of them work like they should.

If you can find a mouthwash that works for your needs and then use it properly, it can make a great addition to your brushing and flossing routine. Take good care of your teeth every day, and make sure to call Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center if your teeth are causing you pain or if it is time for a dental checkup. Call (610) 272-6949 for an appointment today!

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Two Kinds of Laser Dentistry Advancing Modern Dental Procedures

The History of Laser Dentistry

Lasers. What are they, where did they originate from, and how are they changing dentistry? In 1917, Albert Einstein published a paper on the quantum theory of radiation, which set up the foundation for lasers. In 1959, Gordon Gould introduced the public to the idea of LASER, which is an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

In 1960, Theodore Miaman built the first laser. It was not long before dental researchers were trying to find ways they could use lasers to treat dental problems and in oral procedures. Today, the idea is just beginning to take hold, and it is groundbreaking.

In the past 20 years, the use of laser dentistry has exploded.

Just 20 years ago, dentists weren’t using lasers in their practices. But there has been a tremendous amount of research in the field of laser dentistry, and dental laser technology has advanced significantly in the past two decades. Now dentists have found numerous applications for dental lasers. There are several benefits of lasers over traditional dentistry, such as the fact that the treatments are less painful and less damaging to healthy tissue.

Two Kinds of Lasers

Dental lasers can be grouped into two general categories: soft tissue lasers and hard tissue lasers. At Bentz Dental Implant and Prosthetic Center, we use both. As the name implies, hard tissue lasers are used on the hard tissues. Three of the four tissues that make up our tooth—enamel, dentin, and cementum—are hard tissues.

Soft tissue lasers are used on the soft tissues, such as when treating gum disease, for deep cleanings, and as a tool in some oral procedures, such as crown lengthening and gum reshaping. If you’re wondering how dental lasers could benefit you, we’ve outlined some of the amazing uses for hard and soft tissue lasers.

Hard Tissue Lasers

Hard Tissue Lasers for Removal of Old Restorations

Thanks to hard tissue lasers, old veneers can be removed faster and much more effectively than before. The prosthodontist administers the laser to the base of the existing veneers, weakening the porcelain or composite resin materials, and, after a single drill down the center of the tooth, the veneer can pop right off. This is a much faster and easier way than having to grind down the entire old veneer. If you’re having an entire set of veneers removed, this will mean a lot less time in the dental chair. The same laser technique is also applied to removing old fillings.

Other Uses for Hard Tissue Lasers

The hard tissue laser enables your dentist to safely remove carious tooth material through ablation without damaging the surrounding tissues. Lasers can also be used for detecting cavities and diagnosing other dental diseases.

Another use for hard tissue lasers is teeth whitening as it is a very effective way to remove stains and discoloration.

Soft Tissue Lasers

Soft Tissue Lasers for Treatment of Periodontal Disease

If your gums bleed when you floss, there’s infection there. And when the calculus builds up, it dissolves the bone and the gums around the teeth. Soft tissue lasers are an excellent aid in the treatment of gum disease because we can precisely and neatly laser the diseased tissue away, preserving more of your healthy gum tissue.

Since the laser targets the pigment of the bad bacteria, it disinfects the tissue as well, cleaning out the infected area and reducing the chance of recurring infection. The energy from the laser also encourages biostimulation, a process that is extremely helpful in healing wounds.

The laser is then used at the root of the tooth to remove any calculus without damaging the surrounding cementum. What’s more, the laser can also help to seal up the tooth pockets without the need for sutures and with a lot less gum recession than there would have been using traditional methods.

Other Uses for Soft Tissue Lasers

There are other treatments for gums, such as gum contouring and removing ulcers and lesions from the gums and soft tissues in your mouth. Think about all the soft tissues in your mouth, from gums to the roof of your mouth to the connective tissues, like the frenum. All of these can be treated surgically with soft tissue lasers, reducing the pain caused by the usual surgeries with a scalpel, scissors or other instrument.

Benefits of Laser Dentistry

Lasers interact with your gum tissues in a precise and predictable manner, which produces reliable and more accurate results.

Lasers can provide relief from pain in complex treatments, and simple procedures can be done in a much less invasive manner. For some treatments where anesthetic is normally needed, laser treatment makes it unnecessary. Tissues regenerate more quickly with lasers than with conventional methods.

Faster, more comfortable, higher quality treatment is at your doorstep. If you want to learn more, reach out to Benz Dental Implant and Prosthodontist Center for a consultation on how laser dentistry can benefit you.

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Start Now to Develop a Dental Retirement Plan

Get the best dental care, even after retirement.

Retirement is an exciting milestone. No matter how much you love your job, it’s exciting to gain more time to spend with family and friends and invest in yourself and activities you enjoy. You’ll have more time than ever to catch up on your reading list, rediscover your love of painting, and maybe even travel! As you near retirement, you’re likely starting to think about different areas of life that need to be planned out to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

One of the areas that often gets overlooked is planning for your dental care during retirement. Medicare doesn’t cover dentistry, so it’s important to plan in advance to make sure you have access to the best dental care even once retirement begins—without breaking your budget! We know it can be hard to plan or know where to start, but you don’t have to do it alone! We’ve put together a guide to help you get started.

You can plan for post-retirement care in stages.

It’s important to put a long-term dental care plan in place for your retirement. Just like with any other aspect of your retirement, you want to make sure you’re able to get the best care possible with the least amount of trouble or concern when you need it! Thankfully, you can start thinking about your retirement dental care plan early and in stages, starting about 10 years out. Here’s a breakdown of the major steps you’ll likely want to take during the planning process.

10 Years Before Retirement

When you’re about 10 years out from retirement, it’s a good time to start planning for the future. It’s also a good time to ask your dentist about procedures you may need in the future that you can elect to have now. After all, at this point, you still have dental insurance through your employer, so it’s ideal to do everything you can now. Getting these procedures sooner also allows you to reap the benefits of them longer and potentially saves you money in the long run by taking care of issues before they have time to become bigger, more expensive fixes. Along these lines, it’s important to ensure you’re getting a checkup with Dr. Bentz every six months. This helps prevent any oral health surprises, which also prevents unexpected costs. Saving money is always a plus, but it’s especially important when you’re trying to save up for retirement.

5 Years Before Retirement

Once you reach the five-year mark in your countdown to retirement, you should start putting together a spending plan for your dental care. Do some research to get an idea of what dental care costs, and set aside a specific portion of your retirement savings for dental work to replace your Health Savings Account. Although you don’t have to make any decisions yet, it’s also a good time to start looking into what dental insurance options are out there for retirees, what different plans cover, and how much the type of plans you’re interested in cost. Once you know that, you can add the cost of independent dental insurance into your budget as well if you’re interested in purchasing it.

1 Year Before Retirement

Hitting the one-year mark before retirement is when the countdown really begins! Once you’re a year out, it’s a good idea to use up your Flexible Spending Account. You probably won’t get this money back when you retire, so you’re going to want to get as much benefit from it as possible! Ask Dr. Bentz one last time if there are any dental procedures you can do now while you still have access to your employer’s dental insurance and money sources like an HSA for FSA. It’s also smart to have a conversation with Dr. Bentz about your care after retirement. He might be able to provide some helpful insights and information that you’ve missed in your research. Dentists have a ton of professional insights, after all, so it’s a great idea to take advantage of this!

What financial resources are available for you?

Even without your employer-provided dental insurance, there are plenty of ways to afford your dental care in retirement. Which method is right for you will depend on your budget, lifestyle, and oral and overall health history, but there should be an option out there that works well for you. Aside from dental insurance, most dentists offer payment plans. These plans are incredibly helpful for many people because they allow you to split up the cost of your treatment into more manageable payments that fit into your budget. Most dental offices will also accept credit card payments, which makes it easier to pay off the cost of your treatment in more bite-sized chunks.

Additionally, some dentists offer discounts or membership plans in place of insurance. Like dental insurance, discount plans involve a yearly fee that you’ll typically pay up front. Once you pay this fee, you’ll have access to perks like two free dental checkups a year, a free yearly X-ray, and discounts on a range of other treatments. This helps make regular dental care affordable no matter your budget while also helping to cover the cost of any treatments that do come up after you’ve retired. If you’re unsure what your dentist offers, don’t be afraid to ask! We’re always willing to sit down and discuss what financing options we offer for you and what may work best for your post-retirement plans.

Plan ahead for your dental care.

Retirement is an exciting, enjoyable part of life—and it should also be a healthy one! Planning for your dental care after you’ve retired is an essential part of ensuring that your oral and overall health stay in great shape well after you’ve retired. After all, bad oral health isn’t a natural consequence of getting older! If you have any questions, would like to get started with the planning process, or want to know what procedures you should look into before you retire, feel free to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bentz at any time.

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10 Festive Holiday Recipes You Can Enjoy With Dentures and Implants

Enjoy these holiday recipes for denture wearers this year

If you wear dentures, you have probably dreaded the holidays because of all of the foods you have been unable to enjoy. After all, sticky and chewy candies such as caramel, hard candies such as candy canes, and overly sugary drinks can cause denture damage or oral pain. You also need to avoid gum drops, taffies, cookies, eggnog, peanut brittle, corn on the cob, and many of the delicious pies that are common this time of year. Thankfully, there are some delightful holiday recipes denture wearers, and anybody else, can enjoy.

Denture wearers should not fret, as the Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center team has put together a list of 10 of our favorite recipes that are denture-friendly, delicious, and good for you too. And, if you are wondering what you can and can’t eat while you are recovering from implant surgery, you’ll be pleased to know you can enjoy most of these recipes as well.

1. Roast Beef

Every holiday celebration needs a main dish, and roast beef is about as versatile as they come. Delicious and savory for your holiday meal, roast beef can quickly become a delicious leftover for sandwiches the next day. And the secret to a soft roast beef that doesn’t get stuck in your teeth comes from it slowly cooking over a few hours. Check out this holiday roast beef recipe for denture wearers.

2. Apple Pie

Have you ever heard the phrase that you can have your cake and eat it too? Well, that might be true, but if you are a denture wearer or you have implants, certain pies might have been out of the question in the past. But this vegan apple pie recipe is not only good for you but gentle on your implants and dentures.

3. Rice Pudding

If you have dentures or if you are recovering from recent dental implant surgery, then you will be happy to know you can still enjoy rice pudding as a favorite holiday dessert delight. We love this creamy rice pudding recipe because it is easy to chew and has plenty of protein from milk to help you feel satisfied.

4. Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Berries and Vanilla Sabayon

If you love trying new recipes and want something a bit different for a holiday dessert, give this buttermilk panna cotta with berries and vanilla sabayon recipe a try. We think you’ll love this one so much you’ll want to make it for other holidays too. And those who don’t wear dentures or implants will be sure to love it too, no matter when you make it.

5. Homemade Mac and Cheese

Have you ever had mac and cheese as a side dish for the holidays? If not, you are missing out. In our opinion, macaroni and cheese is one of the best comfort foods there is, and we love this homemade macaroni and cheese recipe because it walks you through how to avoid a grainy cheese sauce. A smoother sauce is better for your dentures, as food particles are less likely to get stuck.

6. Sweet Potato Soup

You’ve probably tried sweet potato casserole or sweet potato pie in the past before you got dentures or implants. But have you ever tried sweet potato soup? This creamy sweet potato soup recipe will help you tackle your cravings without wreaking havoc on your mouth.

7. Irish Mashed Potato Casserole

Mashed potatoes tend to be a staple at the holiday table, But mashed potatoes aren’t always a good holiday recipe for denture wearers. Denture and implant wearers can find the dish harder to chew when the potatoes are left with skins on and aren’t thoroughly mashed. But this Irish mashed potato casserole recipe is both delicious and denture safe. Not only that, you can make this recipe ahead of time, too, making it easier for when the holiday arrives.

8. Tuna White Bean Salad

This one may sound a bit weird at first glance. After all, tuna salad isn’t often served at the holiday dinner table. But when you have plenty of turkey and ham leftovers, sometimes it is fun to change up the side dish in the days following the holiday. This tuna white bean salad is protein-packed and easy to chew, making it an excellent holiday recipe for denture wearers.

9. Soft Cheese Appetizer

Every holiday spread needs an appetizer, and soft cheeses are an excellent choice. Put together an assortment of common soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, ricotta, cream cheese, Camembert, Chevre, Roquefort, and gorgonzola. Add a bowl of cottage cheese too and adorn it with some soft fruits such as oranges, tomatoes, peaches, bananas, or mangos. Feel free to add some slices of summer sausage or some sliced ham as an accompaniment.

10. Homemade Ice Cream

We have saved one of our favorite denture-friendly recipes for the end. Not only is this recipe gentle on dentures and easy for those recovering from implant surgery to enjoy, but other guests at the holiday table will love it too. This homemade vanilla ice cream recipe is not only delicious, but it will likely be the easiest homemade ice cream recipe you have ever made.

Rest assured, if you have dental implants, you will soon be able to use them like your natural teeth.

If you have recently made the switch from dentures to implants, you are probably wondering when things in your mouth will get back to normal again. And though the denture-friendly foods  we have suggested above are good for dental implant wearers and anyone else who wants to enjoy a tasty recipe this holiday season, we know the waiting period can be a bit challenging. So just be sure to avoid hard candies and very sticky candies, and give these recipes a try. Before you know it, you’ll be able to switch up your diet and cook up some of those tried and true recipes of that past that you once loved.

Interested in getting dental implants so you can thoroughly enjoy your favorite treats this holiday season?

If you feel you are suffering through another holiday season because of poorly-fitting dentures or because you just don’t have enough teeth left in your mouth to enjoy your favorite holiday foods, it might be time to explore dental implant options. The team at Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center can help you determine if you are a candidate for dental implants. We can also provide you with recommendations on foods that will be comfortable for you to eat. So if you live in the East Norriton, PA, area, now is the time to request an appointment with our team. We look forward to seeing you.

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How Serious Is Periodontal Disease Really?

The Dangers of Periodontal Disease

Perhaps you’ve been recently diagnosed with periodontal disease or maybe your dentist has mentioned that you have gingivitis. Now you’re wondering, “Is gum disease really that big of a deal if my teeth feel just fine?”

Sadly, gum disease is an oral health problem that isn’t discussed often enough considering how detrimental it can be to your oral and overall health. While tooth decay and cavities often take the spotlight, it’s actually gum disease that has the most destructive potential behind it.

Let’s take a closer look at what gum or periodontal disease is, why it’s such a serious problem, and what you can do about it.

Understanding Periodontal Disease and Its Stages

There is often some confusion about what exactly periodontal disease is. Is it gum disease? Gingivitis? How does periodontitis fit in? Here is a rundown of each of these terms and what they mean.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is the layman’s term for periodontal disease. They are used interchangeably and both describe a state of chronic inflammation or infection of the gum tissue.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is the proper terminology for infected or “diseased” gums. You’ll often hear your dentist use this term the most when discussing your condition, especially if an infection is present.

Periodontal disease isn’t a specific disease, but a category of two specific conditions — gingivitis and periodontitis.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is how nearly all cases of periodontal disease begin. This condition is a state of chronic gum inflammation and can be described as a mild form of periodontal disease. At this early stage, patients experience some symptoms and discomfort, but the gum tissue isn’t yet infected.

Periodontitis

Periodontitis is the most severe stage of periodontal disease. When gingivitis isn’t treated and inflammation persists, infection will eventually occur. Once the gums have become infected, permanent damage to the gums, teeth, and even the jawbone can occur. Periodontitis is extremely serious as it not only causes irreversible damage to your mouth, but the infection can also cause or greatly increase the risks of other bodily diseases and disorders.

Periodontitis causes anything from tooth loss to systemic disease

When discussing the dangers of periodontal disease, it’s typically periodontitis that is the culprit. While gingivitis is certainly not something to ignore, it doesn’t have the same destructive force as a periodontitis infection.

When left untreated periodontitis can cause:

Tooth Loss

As gum tissue recedes and erodes they no longer provide the support healthy teeth need. This loss of structure combined with infection and bacteria leads to damaged and loose teeth needing to be extracted. Restorative care will then be needed to replace missing teeth.

Malocclusion

Loss of teeth and receding gums can cause teeth to shift out of place and in different directions. Abnormal movement of teeth easily leads to malocclusion, meaning a crooked or misaligned bite. Problematic malocclusion may need intensive restorative or orthodontic care to reverse.

Gum Tissue Loss

Infected gum tissue can erode away or need to be surgically removed as part of the treatment process. Gum recession and loss will need to be fixed with a gum graft to rebuild healthy soft tissue.

Jaw Bone Loss

Infection in the gums quickly works down to the hard tissue and bone within your jaw. Bacteria can eat away at the bone, causing it to shrink or become brittle. This also is a contributing factor in tooth loss. Bone loss can only be fixed with a bone graft.

Systemic Disease

The mouth is a very vascular area of the body, rich in blood vessels. Bacteria from periodontitis can leach through the thin skin in the mouth and get a free ride throughout your body through your circulatory system. Because of this, periodontitis is linked to either causing or exacerbating a number of systemic diseases and disorders, such as heart disease, kidney disease, dementia, diabetes, infertility, and cancers.

Signs That Gingivitis Is Evolving Into Periodontitis

Gingivitis often presents itself as minor to moderate gum irritation, tenderness, light bleeding while brushing and flossing, and halitosis. However, if your mild gingivitis begins to worsen, this is a clear sign that you’re headed toward periodontitis.

Some signs that this is happening include:

  • Worsening bad breath
  • Very red, swollen gums
  • Visual signs of pus
  • General mouth discomfort
  • Sore teeth when chewing
  • Receding gums
  • Teeth feeling wiggly

If you notice this happening, it’s imperative that you seek help from your dentist right away.

How Periodontal Disease Is Treated and the Damage Reversed

The good news is that gingivitis responds very well to treatment. It is a reversible condition and you can reclaim healthy gums by following a thorough at-home dental regimen, using dentist-recommend products for periodontal health, and seeing your dentist for deep cleaning or periodontal therapy.

Periodontitis can also be healed, though the damage it causes isn’t reversible. In a case of periodontitis, you’ll need frequent, thorough cleanings that remove plaque, bacteria, and dead tissue from deep within the gum pockets. These techniques are called scaling and root planing. You may also need periodontal laser surgery as well as gum or bone grafts.

While periodontitis damage isn’t reversible, that doesn’t mean your smile can’t be restored. Prosthodontics like dental implants replace missing teeth and cosmetic care like porcelain veneers can help you achieve a beautiful, healthy smile once again.

Periodontal Therapy and Prosthodontics With Dr. Bentz

Dr. Bentz provides the whole gamut of periodontal care and prosthodontic solutions for patients with minor to extreme periodontal disease. This includes extensive periodontal therapy cleanings, laser gum surgery, stunning dental implants, and cosmetic dentistry enhancements.

You can begin gaining control over your gum disease today by calling Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center or using this online form.

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What Is Occlusal Disease And How Do You Treat It?

What is occlusal disease?

Did you know your bite plays a major role in your overall dental comfort? When it’s properly aligned, you can chew, speak, and even breathe more easily. However, the opposite also holds true. A misaligned bite can lead to a host of issues, most of which can be attributed to occlusal disease. Today, we’re taking an in-depth look at what this disease entails, common symptoms to note, and how to treat it.

Occlusal disease is the destructive process that results from a bite in which the teeth are not properly aligned. Or it can occur when the teeth in your upper and lower dental arches are in incorrect relation to one another. This issue is also called malocclusion.

In short, every time your teeth meet, there is a force applied. An aligned bite is capable of supporting this impact, which protects your teeth, jaw muscles, and jaw joints. If you have an underbite, overbite, or crossbite, the impact could cause major issues with these dental features.

If left untreated, occlusal disease doesn’t only damage your teeth. It can also wear down the bones and gums that support your teeth, as well as your jaw muscles and temporomandibular joints. This is one of the most common jaw pain causes, and it’s important to take action quickly if you notice the signs.

Symptoms of Occlusal Disease

There are a few key symptoms that can help your dentist diagnose occlusal disease. These include:

  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Recessed gums
  • Worn-down tooth enamel
  • Sore teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity to thermal changes
  • Cracked, chipped, thinned, flattened, or fractured teeth
  • Fractured or broken dental work (e.g. fillings or crowns)
  • Grooves or indentations on exposed root surfaces
  • Sore, achy jaw muscles or jaw joints
  • Popping, clicking, or locking jaw joints
  • Muscle pain in the head and neck
  • Unexplained headaches or frequent tension headaches
  • Tooth grinding (bruxism) or other habits that cause teeth to come into contact
  • Localized bone loss around teeth

If your bite is misaligned, an eroded biting surface will be one of the first signs of trouble. Once the outer layer of your enamel is worn down, you’ll expose the inner dentin layer. This material is softer and wears more easily.

If the impact occurs toward the front of your bite, you’ll notice that your front teeth may appear smaller than others. If it happens in the back, then your back teeth can erode and become flat. Though it’s common to attribute such changes to aging, your dentist can help identify and treat signs of occlusal disease.

How to Treat It

If your dentist notices signs of occlusal disease, there are steps you can take to reverse or mitigate any damage. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common occlusal disease treatments.

Mouth Guard

If your condition is mild, your dentist may recommend a mouth guard or nightguard. This is a special device designed to gently correct your bite. It also prevents your teeth from coming into direct contact with one another.

Your dentist will custom-design your mouth guard from a mold of your teeth. It will be made of a hard acrylic outer material and a soft inner lining that goes against your teeth. When you wear your mouth guard, it will shield your teeth and cushion your jawbones and surrounding muscles. This can help reduce your symptoms and discomfort.

Orthodontics

Sometimes, orthodontic care is required to correct a misaligned bite. This type of treatment can help ensure that your teeth properly meet and that biting forces are equally applied across your teeth. Orthodontic braces are most commonly suggested as this form of treatment. As with a mouth guard, braces are custom-made to fit your teeth. They can help ease your teeth into a more aligned position and alleviate your discomfort.

Orthodontics work by exerting constant, gentle pressure on your teeth for an extended period of time. The shape of your jaw will gradually adapt and conform to this pressure. In time, your teeth will slowly shift to the desired position. When you use orthodontics to correct malocclusions, you can help preserve your natural teeth. This type of treatment also promotes healthy gums! When your teeth are in proper alignment, it’s easier to brush and floss around them, which can help your teeth remain cleaner between dental appointments.

Restoration

If your occlusal disease is advanced, your dentist may recommend a dental restoration to correct it. This is most often suggested as a form of treatment if your malocclusion has progressed to the point that it has caused one or more of your teeth to:

  • Fall out
  • Become loose
  • Become damaged

In our office, we perform a range of smile restorations. These treatments can help build up and restore worn-down dental enamel, and they all work a little differently. These include:

  • Dental bridges
  • Dental crowns
  • Dental veneers

As their name implies, dental bridges help restore missing teeth by bridging the gap where one or more teeth would have been. Crowns are used to help restore the form and function of an existing tooth, specifically one that is broken or worn. The crown will fully cover the portion of your tooth above the gumline. Dental veneers, on the other hand, are thin shells that cover the front sides of your teeth. These are most often used to address aesthetic concerns caused by a malocclusion.

All of these restorative treatments are custom-made to fit your mouth. They will be designed to match your natural teeth as closely as possible in color and shape.

Learn more about occlusal disease.

Occlusal disease can result in toothaches, jaw pain, and even frequent headaches. It can also lead to physical changes in the appearance of your smile. Thankfully, treatments exist that can help you take control of your symptoms and eliminate them for good. If you’re experiencing any of the issues listed here, it’s important to visit your dentist soon for an evaluation. To request an appointment or ask a question, feel free to contact us today.

how to reduce dental anxiety with mindfulness 62a20f2add75f

How to Reduce Dental Anxiety with Mindfulness

Make mindfulness a part of your everyday life.

At Bentz Dental Implants, we do everything we can to make your visits to our office as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Still, we know that some patients may experience anxiety around the idea of receiving any form of dental treatment. We understand these concerns and want to help address and mitigate them.

While we offer several approaches to help reduce dental anxiety, there’s one method you can start practicing right at home: mindfulness. Today, we’re taking a closer look at how mindfulness works and the ways you can harness it to ease your nerves before your appointment.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a type of meditation that encourages you to focus intently on the sensations that you’re feeling in the moment. In short, it’s a practice that puts you fully in the present and in tune with your inner being rather than reactive to what’s going on around you.

While that sounds easy enough to accomplish, the reality is the second we sit down and close our eyes, our minds tend to ramble in a million different directions. If you’re in the throes of dental anxiety, your thoughts may fixate on your upcoming appointment.

Rather than judging those mental diversions, mindfulness allows those thoughts to gently enter then fade away. As you become more in tune with your internal rhythm, you’ll find it easier to turn inward and focus only on the moment.

The Keys to Mindfulness Meditation

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to set up a designated Zen zone in your home to practice mindfulness meditation. In fact, you can try mindfulness exercises almost anywhere!

This can be a seated, standing, walking, or moving meditation. However, if you’re just starting out, you may find it easier to drown out the world in a spot that’s quiet and comfortable.

There are several techniques you can try, but the most important aspect to understand is your posture. Your sitting surface should be stable and solid and allow you to sit up straight without leaning back. Allow your spine to assume its natural curvature, and let the bottoms of your feet touch the floor. If you’re sitting on the floor, cross your legs comfortably in front of you. Then, gently allow your hands to rest on the tops of your legs. Drop your chin slightly and let your gaze fall downward. You don’t have to close your eyes fully, but you can if you find it comfortable.

Breathing Practice

Once you’re in a relaxed position, you can start focusing on your breath. Rather than forcing yourself into an unnatural inhale/exhale pattern, simply allow your breath to flow naturally. This is called “following your breath” and is a tenet of many forms of meditation.

As it does, pay close attention to the way it makes your body feel. When you narrow your focus to this one point, you’ll find that peripheral thoughts and external stressors will slowly fade. Inevitably, however, your mind will begin to veer in different directions. When this happens, allow the thought to enter, then come back to your breath. It will ebb and flow like this for a while. You’ll start at your breath, go away for a while, and come back to it.

This is all a natural and expected process and one to embrace. The goal isn’t to suppress your dental anxiety or any other mental burden. Rather, you’re just trying to ease the pressure on your mind by focusing more on what you can control (your breath) over what you cannot.

MBSR: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

The application of mindfulness as a treatment tool for anxiety and unease is known as MBSR. This stands for mindfulness-based stress reduction. Any time you feel a wave of anxiety, you can remember your mindfulness practice and use it to help control and soothe your racing mind. This is a natural, effective form of stress relief that not only improves your mental health but can also benefit your physical well-being too.

A few of the many health benefits of MBSR include:

  • Chronic pain relief
  • Improved sleep
  • Cognitive improvements
  • Reduced stress levels

How can Bentz Dental help?

While mindfulness is largely an individual practice, there are other forms of stress relief that are more collaborative in nature. At Bentz Dental, we’re your partner in managing dental anxiety, and we offer resources to help.

These all center around different levels of sedation dentistry, which can help you relax before and during your dental treatment. In addition to those suffering from dental anxiety, sedation dentistry can also help patients who:

  • Find it difficult to sit still for extended periods of time
  • Have a hard time becoming (and staying) numb from anesthetics

Our team is licensed by the American Dental Association and closely follows all legal and regulatory requirements for sedation dentistry. The three sedative states we can administer include mild, moderate, and deep sedation.

Mild Sedation

Mild sedation, or anxiolysis, is the lightest form of sedation dentistry. Usually administered orally, it’s recommended for patients with light dental anxiety or ones who are undergoing longer or more complex procedures. In this state, you will remain awake during the entire procedure and can breathe on your own. However, you will feel sleepy and relaxed.

Moderate Sedation

Moderate sedation, or conscious sedation, is best suited for patients with moderate dental anxiety. Similar to mild sedation, it allows you to remain awake for the procedure. Though you will be conscious, you will be in a deep state of relaxation. For this reason, the effects can take a while to wear off, so we recommend bringing a friend or relative to drive you home from your appointment.

Deep Sedation

Even if your dentist recommends deep sedation, you’ll still be conscious part of the time.

As you move between consciousness and unconsciousness, you may have little to no recollection of the procedure. Again, it’s best to have someone accompany you for your after-visit care.

If you have mild to moderate dental anxiety, your dentist will likely use nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, as an inhaled sedative. We also offer oral sedation in the form of a prescription pill. You’ll take the pill one hour before your appointment so you’re fully relaxed when you arrive.

We can help reduce your dental anxiety!

If you want to reduce dental anxiety, you already have one powerful tool that can help keep it at bay: your mind. Through practicing mindfulness meditation, you can ease your thoughts in a new, restorative direction. In addition to leveraging this mental superpower, you can also call on our dental team to make your experience stress-free.

Through our different levels of sedation dentistry, we can help you sit back, relax, and enjoy your time in the dentist’s chair. Together, we can make your appointment comfortable and pleasant. For more information on our services, feel free to contact us.

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2601 Dekalb Pike
East Norriton, PA 19401

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Tuesday 7:30am - 5pm
Wednesday 8am - 5:30pm
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Friday 9am - 3pm

610-272-6949

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