Preventive Dental Care

Why Do I Have White Spots on My Teeth?

Young female girl with a perfect smile wearing sweater We all want nice white teeth, but what if your teeth aren’t just white: what if you have white, splotchy patches on them instead? You may be upset because you feel like these spots are ruining your smile, but are they something you should see your dentist about?

What Are Those White Spots?

“White lesions” are the technical term for those spots, and, yes, you should see your dentist about them! They can be a sign that your teeth are lacking enamel – that outermost layer that helps to protect the inner layers. There can be a few different reasons why you have white lesions:

  • A buildup of plaque. If your oral hygiene routine isn’t as good as it should be, plaque can buildup on teeth and cause white spots (just one more reason to make sure you brush and floss thoroughly every day!). These white spots are an early sign of cavities forming.
  • Poor diet. If you eat a diet full of too many sugary or acidic foods, it can wear down your tooth enamel. If you suffer from acid reflux, the acid can also eat away at tooth enamel and cause damage.
  • Fluorosis. We need fluoride for healthy teeth – especially when we are younger and our permanent teeth are coming in. However, if a child gets too much fluoride during those crucial years, it can actually lead to a weakening of the enamel, which results in tooth discoloration and white lesions. Children can get too much fluoride by drinking too many fluoridated beverages or by swallowing toothpaste with fluoride in it.
  • Enamel hypoplasia. This is when a person has a very thin enamel on the teeth, or maybe the enamel is missing altogether. It can be the result of a mom smoking when she was pregnant, a mineral loss because of a nutritional deficiency, or certain medications.

If you have white spots on your teeth, if your teeth are causing you pain or discomfort, or if you are just due for a cleaning, make an appointment at Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center! Call the office in East Norriton, PA, at (610) 272-6949 today!

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!

October is National Dental Hygiene Month

Young woman brushing her teeth at mirror Are you doing all you can every day to keep your teeth as healthy as they can be? If you are like most people, you may not be – maybe you don’t floss as often as you should, or maybe you skip brushing a couple of times a week. October is National Dental Hygiene Month, which makes it the perfect time to take a look at your oral health care routine and make sure you are doing all you can to take good care of your teeth and gums!

How are your dental care habits?

It is easy to fall into bad habits – maybe you do brush, but you don’t really do it as thoroughly as you should, or maybe you don’t floss correctly. Take the time this month to change your bad dental habits to good ones. For instance

• Are you brushing your teeth at least twice a day? It should take you at least 2 minutes to do a really thorough job. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and toothpaste with fluoride. For the outer part of the teeth, put your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to the gums, and for the inner surfaces place it at a vertical position. Use gentle strokes. And make sure to brush your tongue!

• Are you flossing at least once a day? It’s best to do it at the end of the day, using string floss. Make sure to get up into the gums, and move the floss up and down five times.

• Are you using mouthwash after you brush and floss? Mouthwash should be used to supplement brushing and flossing – not as a substitute! You don’t need a lot of mouthwash, only a few teaspoons. Swish it around, gargle for 30 seconds, and then spit it out.

October as National Dental Hygiene Month is a great reminder of how important it is to take good care of your oral health. It only takes a few minutes a day, and it will save you time, trouble, and pain. The staff at Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center wants to help you have beautiful and healthy teeth. Call to make an appointment today, at (610) 272-6949!

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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You Can Avoid Jaw Bone Loss After a Tooth Is Pulled

Are you aware of jaw bone resorption as a result of tooth loss?

If you have had a tooth extracted or lost a tooth and didn’t have it replaced, you could be losing density in your jaw bone. This is because there is no longer a tooth root stimulating the bone and your body starts to reabsorb it. Socket preservation and dental implants can protect your jaw, and the dental specialists at Bentz Dental Implant and Prosthodontic Center have the experience and skill to help fix missing teeth and prevent future jaw bone resorption.

Common Reasons For Tooth Loss

More than 120 million people in the US are missing at least one tooth, so it is quite a common problem. There are many reasons why people need tooth extraction or lose teeth. Here are some of the main ones.

Broken or Damaged Teeth

If you are in an accident or if you break a tooth by biting down on something hard, that tooth may need to be removed. After your tooth extraction, you can have a dental implant put in to restore the function of your teeth, but first you will need socket preservation to ensure that you don’t experience jaw bone resorption because of the missing tooth.

Tooth Decay

It’s very common for people to have teeth fall out or break because of cavities caused by tooth decay. Tooth decay is bacteria that starts to eat through the enamel of your tooth when you don’t brush and floss effectively. Over time, that bacteria will eat through your enamel and all the way through your tooth until it gets to the pulp of your tooth. The hole that the decay creates as it travels through your tooth can cause teeth to break, fall out, or need to be extracted.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease can also cause tooth loss. Periodontal disease is a more advanced stage of gum disease and occurs when bacteria irritates your gums, which react by pulling away from your teeth, forming pockets. Unfortunately, these pockets just give bacteria an ideal home to collect and grow in, which causes more plaque and more irritation. Periodontal disease is irreversible, and if not treated by a dental professional, will eventually lead to loss of your tooth.

Crowded Teeth

If your teeth are very crowded your dentist may need to remove teeth in order to relieve the crowding and allow you to bite, chew, and speak normally. Your dentist may also recommend removing teeth if you’re undergoing a smile makeover so your teeth have room to shift into the ideal position. Straighter teeth also have the benefit of being easier to clean and less susceptible to cavities and tooth decay.

What happens to your jaw when a tooth is missing?

When you bite and chew with your natural teeth, these motions send signals to your body to send cells (called osteoblasts) to build up your jawbone and teeth. When there is no tooth in the socket and no activity, your body starts to reabsorb that bone. Jaw bone resorption may cause changes, such as:

  • Differences in your bite.
  • A change in your facial structure (giving you a “sunken in” look).
  • Difficulty chewing.
  • Shifting or loosening of your teeth.
  • Lips that look like they are sinking inward.
  • Deep wrinkles or loose skin around your mouth.
  • Headaches, facial pain, and jaw pain.
  • Difficulty forming words or speaking.
  • Changes in the way your dentures fit.

If you are starting to see any of these symptoms of jaw loss, you should immediately talk with your dentist about socket preservation and dental implants to see how you can stop further damage.

What is socket preservation?

Socket preservation is a dental procedure that can protect your jaw bone or, in some cases, replace missing jaw bone. If your jaw bone loss isn’t too severe, the dentist can place a collagen plug where the tooth was until a dental implant can be inserted. Putting in a collagen plug will preserve your natural bite and chewing pattern, which will signal your body to continue building up bone in that area.

If you have lost a significant amount of bone already, you may need a bone graft. In that case, an oral surgeon would graft a small amount of bone onto your jaw bone, place a collagen layer over it, and suture your gum. The bone will replace the bone that you have already lost and preserve the structure of the bone until you are ready to have an implant placed..

How do dental implants help?

A dental implant is a replacement for your natural tooth that is surgically installed into your jaw bone. It is made up of a titanium post, which is the part inserted into the bone, and a natural-looking crown. The implant’s post replicates the role of your tooth root, stimulating your jaw bone, and signaling to your body to maintain the density of the bone. Your body will continue to build up the jaw bone and keep it strong and healthy.

Jaw bone preservation is one of the biggest benefits of dental implants, but it’s not the only benefit. Dental implants function just like natural teeth, so when you have an implant, you can chew, bite, and speak naturally again. And since implants look like natural teeth, you will have a healthy, attractive smile again, with no gaps.

If you’re missing a tooth or multiple teeth, and you want to find the best dental implant dentist in Philadelphia, book an appointment with dental experts at Bentz Dental Implant and Prosthetic Center today. We can help you prevent bone loss from missing teeth and restore your smile.

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10 Migraines Causes and What to Do About Them

Learning what triggers your migraines can help you handle them better.

If you get migraines, you’re likely familiar with the way they seemingly come out of nowhere, bringing an immediate end to your day. It’s easy to feel like the only thing you can do is find somewhere dark and quiet while you wait for it to pass. Despite how random migraines sometimes seem, few things are truly random. So what causes your migraine?

Migraines have several common causes, and while it’s not always easy to pinpoint what’s triggering them, doing so can be a crucial key to learning how to prevent them or navigate around them. To help you get started, we’ve created a guide on 10 common migraine causes and what you can do about them.

1. Stress

There are a few ways high stress levels trigger migraines, which makes it a major trigger for many people. When you’re stressed, you tend to tighten a lot of your muscles without realizing it, creating extended tension in your shoulders, neck, and jaw that can easily lead to a migraine. Stress also changes the levels of feel-good chemicals, like serotonin, in your brain. Instead of your body adjusting smoothly to these fluctuations, this change can trigger a migraine. Similarly, if you’re stressed for a long time, the sudden change in these chemical levels when your stress goes back down can cause a migraine as well.

Thankfully, though, if this is what causes your migraine, there are a lot of ways to manage your stress. You can start by setting priorities and limiting your responsibilities so you’re not overcommitting yourself. Building good habits, like setting aside time to relax every day, getting enough sleep, exercising daily, and practicing mindfulness or journaling, can also significantly reduce your stress levels. Figuring out the right way to manage your stress can be a bit of a journey, but it can cut down on how often you get migraines!

2. Genetics

Genetics play a surprisingly major role in whether you’re susceptible to migraines. Studies have indicated that up to 80% of people who experience migraines have an immediate relative who also gets them. Still, even if there’s a genetic aspect to your migraines, you’ll have migraine triggers. Identifying those and addressing them will be just as helpful as they’d be without the genetic aspect. Additionally, while you can’t change your genetics, being aware of a family history of migraines is incredibly helpful for your doctor to know as they come up with a treatment plan for you.

3. Hormonal Changes

Women are three times more likely than men to experience migraines. This is largely due to the hormonal changes that are a natural part of women’s cycles. The fluctuations in estrogen levels that occur right before menstrual cycles, during pregnancy or ovulation, and during menopause can trigger migraines. Hormonal birth control helps reduce the frequency of some women’s migraines, but it can worsen migraines for others.

As a result, there’s a bit of trial and error that goes into reducing or preventing hormonal migraines. It’s far from impossible, though! If this is what causes your migraine, the best thing you can do for migraines linked to your hormones is to discuss them with your doctor. They deal with these issues all the time with many different people, so they’ll likely have several methods you can try!

4. Jaw Issues

Even by themselves, issues with your jaw like those caused by arthritis and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome aren’t fun. In addition to their usual symptoms, they often cause muscle tension or inflammation that can lead to migraines. In some cases, doing gentle jaw exercises to strengthen the muscles around the joint of your jaw improves discomfort and reduces the frequency of migraines. You can also try icing the area or taking anti-inflammatory pain medications to reduce swelling or inflammation in the joint. If you don’t have a diagnosis for what’s causing your jaw issues, you should seek one! Knowing the root cause will help you come up with a more targeted treatment for your discomfort and the migraines it’s causing. Ask your dentist about temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD.

5. TMD

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is an umbrella term for issues involving the joints, muscles, ligaments, or nerves in your jaw. It has a range of potential causes, including joint disorders, injuries, a misaligned bite, bruxism, and more. TMD leads to a range of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) symptoms, from painful chewing or lockjaw to migraines. Just like with other jaw issues, TMD can cause migraines because of muscle tension, inflammation, or swelling around your jaw. Since there are so many potential causes of TMJ, the best thing you can do is contact your dentist about your symptoms.

The good news is there are plenty of TMJ treatments out there, and finding the right one for you should relieve your migraines as well as any other symptoms you’re experiencing! Dr. Bentz will identify the root cause of your TMD and suggest treatments, which could include anything from daily jaw exercises to orthodontics or Botox. While it might sound strange at first, we sometimes use Botox as a TMJ treatment because it forces the muscles in your jaw to relax, bringing you relief from your symptoms and helping to prevent migraines.

6. Sensory Stimuli

For many people, sensory stimuli, like bright light, sudden or loud sounds, and strong smells like perfume and secondhand smoke, trigger migraines—sometimes quite suddenly. While you can’t avoid all sensory stimulation, you can do your best to limit it. Wear sunglasses when you go outside, and don’t be afraid to wear them inside if fluorescent lights are too bright for you. Ask people to be mindful of your sound sensitivity whenever possible, and bring ear plugs or sound-canceling headphones if you know you’re going to be in a noisy place. Avoid wearing perfume or cologne, and ask your loved ones to do the same around you. You can also do your best to air out rooms with fans or open windows if you’re going to be working with strong scents, like cleaners or paint.

We live in a world full of stimuli, so we know it’s not easy to limit how many you encounter each day. Despite this, you might be surprised by how much simply making the people around you aware of these things and taking a few small steps to lessen major stimuli can help cut back on your migraines!

7. Changes in the Weather

Weather is quite variable, and its changes often affect us more than we think. Variations in weather patterns, like storms, changes in barometric pressure, humidity, and heat, are common migraine triggers. Since we can’t control the weather, this is admittedly a very difficult trigger to actively prevent. In this case, sometimes the best you can do is work around the weather. Figure out which weather changes trigger your migraines, then watch the forecast carefully and plan your schedule around it. If your trigger is heat, staying inside when you can and trying to get errands done either early or late in the day when it’s cooler can help minimize your migraines.

8. Diet

The foods you eat help fuel your body and give you the nutrients you need to function at your best, so not eating enough or going too long between meals are both common migraine triggers. What you eat can also impact your migraines. Some people notice that certain foods, like nuts or cultured dairy products, trigger migraines for them, while others notice that additives, like aspartame, are responsible for theirs. Consuming too much caffeine—or quitting your usual caffeine intake cold turkey—are also common culprits.

If you’re not sure what causes your migraines, try making a food chart. Write down everything you eat and drink, then make note of when you get migraines. After a while, if there aren’t any obvious answers, check the ingredients of products you ate before getting a migraine to see if they have any additives in common. Once you’ve identified them, you could cut back on problematic foods or eliminate them entirely to significantly reduce your migraines. Of course, always consult your primary doctor before making drastic changes to your diet.

9. Unusual Sleep Pattern

Sleep is essential for your health because it’s when your body renews and repairs itself. The average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. If you get too much or too little, you can wind up with a migraine. Similarly, sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, that keep you awake or make it hard to get quality sleep often cause migraines.

Thankfully, your sleep schedule is usually easy to fix! Do your best to get to bed around the same time every night at a time that’ll allow you to get enough sleep. If you don’t feel rested enough with just seven hours of sleep every night, plan for a little more! If you’re still getting migraines and waking up tired despite sticking to your schedule, you may need to consider looking into treatment for a sleep disorder. Diagnosing issues like these is incredibly important for your overall health, and you’ll feel so much better with treatment!

10. Physical Activity

Some people experience exertion migraines, where physical activity, like exercise, triggers them. These kinds of migraines are particularly common when people work out in a hot or humid environment because it’s very easy to become dehydrated. Exertion migraines don’t mean you have to give up on exercising or living the healthy lifestyle you want to! There are several things you can do to combat them. The first is to always make sure you stay hydrated. You can also pay attention to the weather. If it’s going to be hot and humid, you might be better off exercising indoors or doing your outdoor exercises early in the day before it gets hot.

Additionally, you should always be careful to go through a warm-up and cool-down routine when you exercise. This can help acclimate your body to the different levels of activity you’re putting it through. If you notice certain activities are more likely to trigger migraines, you can also limit or eliminate them from your exercise routine. When you do these steps, you can keep the exercise routine you want with fewer migraines.

Bentz Dental Implant and Prosthodontic Center can help manage your headaches.

Once you’ve identified one or more of your migraine triggers, you’ll be able to take steps to prevent them so you can live a happier, more active life. If you’d like to learn more about your TMJ and how it could be causing your migraines, feel free to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bentz at any time.

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How Today’s Seniors Are Preventing Dental Diseases Longer

As we get older, we are more prone to unique dental challenges that can impact how we look and feel. Older adults often face ailments, such as untreated tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, oral cancer, and other chronic dental diseases, that can put them at higher risk for periodontal disease. However, with the appropriate attention and the invention of modern dental technology, these conditions are more treatable than ever.

5 Tips to Protect Your Teeth for Your Golden Years

We’ve learned a lot in recent years on how to better protect our teeth. And, the great news is that when it comes to your oral health, it is never too late to make vital changes that can aid in the prevention of dental diseases. Check out our list of 5 things you can do to protect your teeth so that you can keep them longer.

1. Don’t stop brushing and flossing.

Brushing and flossing is the best way to prevent dental diseases as it assists in the removal of dental plaque, a sticky film of bacteria on the surface of your teeth. When plaque builds up on the teeth, it causes tooth decay or gum disease. So, be sure to brush your teeth twice a day, ideally after breakfast and before bed, using a fluoride toothpaste. And, be sure to brush for at least two minutes at a time. Don’t forget to floss between your teeth every day too. If flossing is difficult for you, your family dentist can recommend a special brush or flossing pick.

2. Rinse with a fluoridated mouthwash.

Many people think that brushing and flossing is enough. But rinsing with a mouthwash serves an important purpose as well. Fluoride mouthwash strengthens your dental enamel and helps to reduce tooth decay and cavities. Further, since fluoride helps to protect the enamel, it can also help repair early stages of tooth decay.

3. Watch for changes in your mouth.

As we get older, our risks of developing oral cancer increases. And, we are at greatest risk once we reach the age of 45. Thus, it is important to pay attention to changes in your mouth and let your dentist know if any of these changes appear.

  • Unexplained swelling in your jaw.
  • A white or red patch of soft tissue in your mouth.
  • An uncomfortable or sore spot in your mouth, lip, or throat.
  • A lump or thickened area in your mouth, lip, or throat.
  • New trouble chewing, swallowing, moving your tongue, or moving your jaw.
  • Numbness in your tongue or mouth.
  • Pain in one of your ears not accompanied by hearing loss.

4. Stop the use of tobacco products.

Smoking, vaping, and chewing tobacco or snuff not only increase your risk of developing dental diseases like gum disease, but make you more susceptible to oral cancer too. If you use tobacco products, every day that you continue can be detrimental to your health. Your doctor or dentist can help with strategies and techniques to quit smoking and to aid in helping with nicotine addiction. The sooner you can make a change, the better your oral health will be.

5. Select tooth-friendly foods that are also good for your body.

Diet and nutrition play a significant role in our overall health. Be sure to eat a balanced diet daily, but also pay attention to foods that are better for your teeth than others. For example, cheese, yogurt, leafy greens, carrots, celery, almonds, and apples are all great tooth-friendly food choices.

How restorative dentistry can help prevent dental diseases.

Preventive dentistry aids in preventing dental problems and in keeping your mouth healthy. For example, when you go to the dentist every six months, your dental checkup will include important elements of preventive dentistry, such as an oral examination, dental X-rays, and a tooth cleaning. When you fail to get preventive dental care, it can lead to more costly and invasive restorative dentistry down the road.

This leads us to restorative dentistry, which focuses on restoring function and structure to teeth that are missing, damaged, or infected. Common restorative dental treatments include dental crowns, dental implants, and dentures. Dental implants and dentures, in particular, are designed to replace missing teeth so that the function and appearance of your mouth can be restored. Restorative dentistry can also help with traumatic dental injuries caused by a trip or fall.

Let Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center help you protect your teeth from dental diseases.

If you live, work, or are retired in East Norriton, Pennsylvania, and want to prevent dental illness or improve your smile with restorative dentistry, give us a call at Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center. Or, request an appointment using our convenient online form. We look forward to meeting you and helping your teeth last longer.

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What Is a Tooth Root Resorption, and What Can Be Done About It?

Understanding Tooth Resorption

Many of the terms you hear during your dental visit are familiar, even if you need a little explanation from your dentist to fully understand them or how they impact you. Occasionally, though, your dentist may use a term you’ve never heard before, and that can raise alarm bells in your head. A term like “tooth resorption” can be especially concerning because it’s just descriptive enough to give you a picture of what might be happening with no idea if you’ve got it right or what can be done about it. Thankfully, you don’t have to figure it out on your own! We’re here to help you protect and restore your oral health, and a big part of that is helping you understand conditions like tooth resorption.

If Dr. Bentz has mentioned tooth resorption to you, don’t be afraid to ask him any questions you may have; he’ll be happy to take the time to answer all of them! However, we know that it’s not always easy to come up with questions on the spot, and absorbing a lot of information at once can be difficult. To help with that, we’ve put together a guide you can access any time on tooth resorption and what it may mean for you.

What is tooth resorption?

Much like it sounds, tooth resorption is a condition where your body begins to break down and absorb your tooth. Tooth resorption is split into two types: internal and external tooth resorption. During internal tooth resorption, the tooth begins breaking down from the inside until it’s hollow. The internal structure of your tooth contains the blood vessels and nerves that keep it strong and hydrated, so this weakens your tooth and makes it more vulnerable to injury and decay. External tooth resorption occurs when the protective coating around the outside of your tooth root begins breaking down, making the tooth more vulnerable to decay and infection. It can happen on its own or along with internal tooth resorption.

While tooth resorption sounds like a major process that you’d likely notice, it can be completely symptomless, with no pain or other signs that there’s something wrong until it’s too late. This is particularly true of external tooth resorption. In other cases, though, symptoms can include a toothache, swelling and redness around the gums, an unusually brittle tooth, or a tooth that has turned a distinct, light pink color. Eventually, both types of the condition will lead to tooth loss without treatment, so identifying and treating it early is essential.

What causes it?

Tooth resorption is a natural process in baby teeth, as root resorption makes room for adult teeth to form, but it can happen in adult teeth for a myriad of reasons. The most well-known cause is an injury to the teeth, jaws, or mouth. When an injury like this occurs, it’s normal for your body to mount an immune response, but sometimes the body overreacts and rejects your tooth, identifying it as foreign and attacking it like it would an infection. In this sense, tooth resorption often acts like an autoimmune condition. This reaction can also occur because of an untreated cavity or infection in the tooth or surrounding gums or because of an injury to the periodontal ligament that holds your tooth in your jaw.

In some cases, dentists simply aren’t sure why tooth resorption happens, but there are a few known risk factors. Anything that puts extensive pressure on your teeth for a long time or shifts their position in your jaw can increase your likelihood of experiencing tooth resorption down the road. This includes issues like teeth shifting around after tooth loss and bruxism, which is when you habitually clench or grind your teeth. Additionally, orthodontics and certain tooth bleaching methods can also raise your future risk. That said, the benefits of treatments like orthodontics often far outweigh the risks, so don’t let this discourage you from seeking out orthodontic treatment! Every treatment has pros and cons, so you and Dr. Bentz can always take the time to discuss what those are for you before you decide on any treatment.

What can be done to prevent it?

While tooth resorption sounds complicated and happens beneath the surface where you can’t see it, there are still several ways you can reduce your likelihood of experiencing it. Since dental injuries are such a huge cause of tooth resorption, one of the best things you can do to prevent it is to simply wear a mouth guard during contact sports to prevent injuries to your teeth and gums that a fall or blow to the face could cause. If you do suffer dental trauma or a major blow to your teeth or jaws, it’s also always best to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bentz just in case. Even if a hard blow to your teeth or jaw doesn’t do damage that’s immediately visible, it could have still damaged your tooth roots, so it’s important to get an X-ray to make sure your teeth are OK.

You can get tooth resorption even if you take great care of your teeth, but practicing good oral hygiene is still incredibly important for this issue because it helps prevent cavities and infections of your teeth or gums that could trigger tooth resorption. Visiting your dentist every six months is also an essential part of preventing oral health issues and identifying any problems early. An X-ray is the best way to spot tooth resorption, so a regular dental X-ray during your routine appointment can be the key to getting an early diagnosis that saves your tooth! Additionally, it’s also wise to address bruxism, which can be done using a nightguard, stress management, orthodontics, or Botox treatments. Doing this protects your teeth from injury and will help lower your chances of getting tooth resorption, but the best treatment is different for everyone, so don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Bentz about your options.

Can it be treated? If so, how?

Yes! When root resorption is caught early enough, there are a few ways Dr. Bentz may be able to save your tooth. The first is simply by treating any cavity, infection, or injury that is causing the tooth resorption. In some cases, such as when the condition is progressing slowly and hasn’t done much damage, he may even be able to stop its progression and leave the tooth as it is or reverse some of the damage. Other times, a root canal and dental crown can be instrumental in saving your tooth. Dr. Bentz may perform the root canal on its own or pair it with other treatments to address issues like infections. Tooth resorption does eventually lead to tooth loss, however, so if your tooth is too severely damaged, Dr. Bentz may need to extract it and replace it with a tooth replacement option like a dental implant.

Are there any alternative options?

Everyone’s case is unique, so your treatment options will vary based on details like the severity and cause of your condition. Dr. Bentz will be able to walk you through all of your options, explaining each and giving you any recommendations he may have. If you lose your tooth due to tooth resorption, modern dentistry ensures that you still have plenty of options for tooth replacement! Dental implants are generally seen as the best tooth replacement option out there, but you can also choose a bridge or partial dentures.

Will it happen again?

Tooth resorption isn’t a common occurrence, and there’s no evidence that having had tooth resorption once makes you any more or less likely to get it again. This means it’s not more likely, but it’s also not impossible. Just like any other oral health issue, the key to ensuring it doesn’t happen again is to take preventive measures. This means building tooth-healthy habits like wearing a mouth guard during sports, practicing great oral hygiene, and talking to Dr. Bentz about addressing issues like bruxism. You should also make sure you visit Dr. Bentz every six months for your regular dental evaluation, as keeping up-to-date with these appointments is a huge part of catching tooth resorption and other oral health issues early — plus treating the issue is much easier. These habits are simple and don’t take a lot of time out of your day, but they could save your teeth!

Have a few questions? Reach out to the Bentz dental team for help!

Just like any oral health issue that can lead to tooth loss, tooth resorption shouldn’t be taken lightly — but it isn’t a guarantee that you’ll lose your tooth. Identifying and treating it quickly could save your tooth, so it’s important to visit your dentist regularly and know what to look for at home. If you’d like to learn more about tooth resorption or what treatment options might be right for you, feel free to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bentz at any time.

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Can Tooth Scaling and Root Planing Cure Your Gum Disease?

If you have gum disease, you have likely been told by your dentist that it can impact your smile and overall health. Unfortunately, gum disease is quite common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease. When not treated, gum disease can lead to infection in the soft tissues that surround your teeth. This can lead to bone loss in the jaw. To prevent gum disease from worsening, your dentist may suggest tooth scaling and root planing therapy.

What is scaling and root planing?

Sometimes referred to as “deep cleaning,” scaling and root planing is the removal of dental plaque and calculus. When the scaling or removal is completed, the root surfaces are smoothed, otherwise known as planing, removing cementum or dentine full of calculus, toxins, or micro-organisms that lead to inflammation. Many patients with gum disease prefer scaling and planing as it is a part of non-surgical periodontal therapy.

However, many patients don’t understand the difference between scaling and root planing and regular dental cleaning. Patients need to realize that regular dental cleanings, such as those conducted during your visit to the dentist every six months, are done to maintain the cleanliness of the teeth and gums. But, the tartar that is removed in a typical dental cleaning isn’t quite as invasive as that tartar that is removed during scaling and planing therapy.

If you’re wondering how long a scaling and root planing takes, you should know that therapy is generally completed within one to four visits, depending on the extent of your condition. You may also be wondering if scaling and root planing is painful. Patients with sensitive gums sometimes find that scaling and root planing therapy is mildly uncomfortable, however, Dr. Bentz uses an anesthetic to make your gums numb and reduce discomfort.

Who needs scaling?

Regular dental cleanings are critical for all patients, and should occur every six months. But scaling and root planing therapy are necessary for patients who have gaps between their gums and teeth that a dentist can’t get to in a typical dental cleaning. Plaque gets trapped in these gaps, and brushing twice a day and flossing once a day isn’t enough to remove it either. When these gaps are left untreated, patients can experience bone and tooth loss, thus, patients with these gaps who have gum disease are candidates for dental scaling and root planing.

The benefits of scaling and root planing for gum disease.

If your dentist has suggested root planing and scaling to cure your gum disease, you will experience many benefits from this therapy.

  • Root planing and scaling is non-surgical and may be the only treatment necessary.
  • Gum tenderness and chronic inflammation will be alleviated after the bacteria and plaque are removed.
  • You will have fresher breath.
  • Your wide periodontal pockets caused by the infection will heal and reattach to your teeth, allowing your gum tissue to fit snugly around your tooth, providing a barrier to decay.
  • Root planing and scaling is a highly effective treatment for gum disease.

Aftercare tips for scaling and root planing therapy.

As with any procedure, there can be risks and it is no different for tooth scaling and root planing. This type of therapy can introduce harmful bacteria into your bloodstream. Your gum tissue is also at increased risk of infection while it heals from the procedure. Dr. Bentz will prescribe antibiotics before and after surgery for patients with a high risk for severe infection or if an infection would be particularly dangerous based on their pre-existing medical conditions. Antibiotics are commonly prescribed for patients with heart problems, an impaired immune system, or for anyone who has had major surgery recently.

The great news is that if you maintain good dental care after your therapy is completed, the progression of gum disease should stop. Your gums will heal and become firm and pink again. Patients should brush and floss regularly afterward, as without proper dental care at home, your gum disease may progress. Further, it is highly recommended that patients stop all use of tobacco, as smoking or using spit tobacco reduces your ability to fight infection in the gums and delays healing.

It is also important to know that if anesthesia is used during your scaling and root planing therapy, your mouth may remain numb for a few hours. Finally, if you have dental implants, periodontitis will not affect the implant itself, but can affect the surrounding teeth, gums and jaw. Thus, scaling and planing are still used for those who have dental implants.

Chat with the Bentz Dental team to learn how tooth scaling and root planing can cure your gum disease.

If you have gum disease, you probably have a lot of questions about what to do to prevent the illness from worsening. If you live or work around the East Norriton, PA, area, then Dr. Bentz can help. Feel free to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bentz at any time to learn more.

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Is There Such a Thing as Brushing Too Hard?

What happens when you brush your teeth too hard?

How do you feel after brushing your teeth in the morning? Does your mouth have that fresh, minty taste? Or have you noticed a recent soreness in your gums—maybe even a toothache? This may come as a surprise, but it could just be that you’re brushing your teeth too hard. Let’s talk about it a little more.

Why You May Be Brushing Too Hard

Most people don’t put a lot of thought into the amount of force they use while brushing their teeth. After all, you’re trying to “scrub” the stains and plaque away, right? But when it comes to cleaning your teeth, harder is never better. Brushing is meant to remove  food particles and plaque, which are often soft and loose. In fact, applying too much pressure when brushing is counterproductive. One common misconception that has contributed to more people brushing too hard is the belief that toothbrushing is meant to eliminate all the bacteria in the mouth. The human mouth is home to 700 different species, totaling over 6 billion bacteria—there’s no way you can kill all those oral microbiomes in 2minutes! Truthfully we don’t want you to either because not all of them are harmful. In fact, some are necessary for good health. So there’s really no need to put much elbow grease into brushing. You’re only trying to rid your mouth of sticky plaque.

How To Know if You’re Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard

If your toothbrush bristles bend into your teeth as you brush or become frayed before the recommended three months are up, you’re probably brushing too hard. Repeated, forceful brushing only leads to more dental issues. Let’s take a look at some symptoms to watch out for:

Increased Tooth Sensitivity

Applying too much pressure when brushing can cause your enamel to wear down and become thin. If enough enamel breaks off, the dentin, which sits close to the pulp tissue (where all the nerves are), becomes exposed. This increases your sensitivity to extreme temperatures and leads to more staining and cavities.

Gum Recession

When you brush and floss your teeth too hard, you’re removing more than just stains—you’re also removing gum tissue. Over time, forceful brushing will not only make your gums bleed but will also cause your gums to recede, affecting the aesthetics of your smile. If gum recession progresses far enough, the roots of your teeth become exposed to the acid-producing bacteria that causes decay.

Yellow Teeth

Cleaning your teeth harder doesn’t make them whiter. Actually the opposite is true: It makes your teeth yellow. Since forceful brushing wears the hard, white enamel on the outside of the teeth, it exposes the inner dentin layer, which is a pale yellow color. The thinner the enamel, the more this yellow hue shows through.

How To Avoid Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard

After years of brushing twice a day every day, you probably don’t give much thought to this mundane task that takes only four minutes of your time. Unfortunately to change your hard-brushing ways, you’ll need to focus on the task at hand—literally.

The way you hold your toothbrush affects how much pressure you apply to your teeth. One way to make sure you don’t apply too much pressure is to brush with your nondominant hand. Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums so that the bristles can sweep gently underneath your gumline. Wiggle the brush in small circles, making sure to clean the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of your teeth. Set a timer for 2 minutes and spend 30 seconds cleaning each quadrant, or fourth, of your mouth.

Knowing how much time you have left for brushing will also help you be more mindful about the amount of force you’re using because you won’t be rushing to finish. If you use an electric toothbrush, there’s no need to apply pressure at all. Just make sure the bristles are in contact with your teeth, and the brush does all the work for you.

What You Can Do if You’ve Been Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard

By practicing mindfulness when brushing, you can learn to clean your teeth gently and prevent further damage. But if brushing too hard has already led to sensitivity, discoloration, or receding gums, schedule an appointment with your dentist today so they help you get your oral health back into tip-top shape.


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2601 Dekalb Pike
East Norriton, PA 19401

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