Our Apex Dentist Shares Why Getting Dental Crowns Is A Good Thing!

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You already have plenty of reasons to be anxious about going to see your doctor. Dreading the thought of having a crown installed shouldn’t be one of them! As you’re about to find out, dental crowns are tremendously reliable and they play a very important role in restorative dentistry.

Reasons Why You May Need Dental Crowns

Crowns are dental appliances that almost always cover the entire surface of a tooth. (In certain cases your dentist may recommend a partial crown, but these are rare.) Dental crowns are necessary in a wide variety of different situations, from major cavities to supporting other forms of restorative dentistry. If you’re also having a bridge or a partial denture installed, for instance, you may require one or more crowns to support the larger appliance.

Any tooth that is vulnerable to further damage and incapable of functioning normally is a good candidate for a crown. Large cavities are probably the most common reason to install crowns, but plenty of others exist. Physical damage may call for a crown after an impact-related injury. Crowns may even sometimes be required to protect a tooth following a root canal.

How An Experienced Dentist Installs Crowns

Your road to a successful crown installation begins with a preparatory visit. The first thing your dentist will do is shape your tooth to receive the new appliance. This is done under anesthesia to minimize discomfort. Depending on the kind of crown you and your dentist pick out, roughly 1 millimeter of material needs to be removed from your natural tooth.

Once your tooth is ready, your dentist will take impressions to send to a dental lab. You’ll then likely be fitted with a temporary crown to keep your teeth in working order while the permanent piece is created. Once it’s ready, you’ll return to your dentist’s office so your new crown can be cemented in place.

One of Restorative Dentistry’s Greatest Success Stories

While no artificial replacement can match a healthy, natural tooth for strength and longevity, properly-installed crowns come close. Most experienced dentists will confidently predict that a crown will last at least ten years. In fact, longer lifespans (thirty years of more) are entirely possible if you take care of your crown and your other teeth.

Few dental appliances are quite as refined and reliable as good crowns, and they can make a world of difference in your mouth. Talk to our apex dentist today if you already know you need a crown installed.

 

One Stop Dental Needs with Our Apex Family Dentists

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A good family dentist is not only in their child’s life from infancy to adulthood but also can give great care to the kid’s grandparents. It is hard to find a dentist that has the skill level to treat all of the young, the adults, and the elderly in the family. Most dentists give excellent care to one age group but are lacking in other areas. A family wants a dentist that they can build trust with, to encounter no problems with, and to eliminate the wait time. The search is over with our Apex family dentists.

They provide general dentistry and expert care for the entire family and take care of all of the family needs. Most children despise going to the dentist. The local dental office provides a painless and comforting experience. Apex family dentists is a one stop destination for all of the family needs. Be on a first name basis with the staff and experience an extremely friendly atmosphere.

The family’s dentist appointments do not have to be a hassle anymore. Currently, many families are separated into general dentistry all over the city. Who would prefer that over the whole family with coordinated appointments in one day? No more working around everyone’s schedule to get every family member an appointment that works with them and each different dentist. The local dental office will provide everyone coordinated appointments with a fantastic experience.

Some parents even have to deal with the kicking and screaming of their children because they hate the dentist. They have to actually convince or bribe the child to go to the dentist. No parent wants that stress. Get rid of it with Apex family dentists. Their dentists have complete expert training making them a very professional practice and an irreplaceable family dentist. Make the family’s lives easier and their teeth healthier.

 

Gingivitis Prevention – What You Need to Know to Maintain Good Oral and Physical Health

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Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease. It causes your gums to become reddened, irritated and swollen. Many people are unaware they have this condition, but it’s important to take symptoms seriously and seek treatment promptly as it is the early stage of gum disease.

When diagnosed early, this conditions can be treated and even reversed. However, if left untreated, this condition can advance to gum disease, which is a far more serious oral health issue that is not reversible. Gum disease can result in tooth and bone loss, and is one of the leading causes of tooth loss among adults. Gum disease affects more than your mouth, proven by recent studies that have linked gum disease to diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.

Associated Symptoms

Healthy gums appear pale pink and are firm. This condition is rarely painful, making it difficult for you to be aware of its presence. The following are symptoms you should look for:

  • Receding or swollen gums
  • Soft, puffy gums
  • Occasional tenderness of gums
  • Bleeding gums from flossing or brushing
  • Dusky red gums
  • Bad breath

Causes of This Early Gum Disease

Typically, poor hygiene is the primary cause of this mild gum disease. The following are also contributing factors:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Certain medications
  • Genetics
  • Stress
  • Substance abuse
  • Pregnancy
  • Poor nutrition
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Certain diseases and conditions
  • Puberty

Steps for Gingivitis Prevention

The most important step in prevention is to visit your general dentist on a regular basis. You should have dental maintenance visits at least twice per year, unless told otherwise by your local dentist office. This condition can usually be reversed with a thorough, professional cleaning and dental checkup followed by good oral health practices at home.

To be sure you are cleaning your mouth properly, ask your general dentist to show you the proper technique. According to the American Dental Association, your teeth should be brushed, using the proper technique, twice per day. In addition, an interdental aid, such as dental floss should be used daily. Other recommendations for gingivitis prevention include using a toothpaste with antimicrobial properties, and including your tongue in your brushing routine.

While sleeping, there is no disruption to the growing bacteria in your mouth. Therefore, your mouth should be the cleanest before going to bed so bacteria aren’t doing damage to your teeth and gums while you sleep.

If you’re concerned about gingivitis or have noticed symptoms, don’t delay and schedule a visit to our local Apex dentist office today.

 

Tips for Relieving Dry Mouth, from Our Apex Family Dentist

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Occasionally, a patient will visit our office expecting to have no dental cavities, and is very surprised to learn that they have one. Often, this patient is middle-aged or older, brushes and flosses every day, and has no prior history of tooth decay. When this happens, dentists immediately begin to suspect dry mouth caused by new medications or an undiagnosed condition. Dry mouth causes a decrease in saliva production, which is crucial for regulating oral bacteria and keeping the teeth healthy. Below is more information about the causes of dry mouth, and some treatments that can help.

Common Causes of Dry Mouth

Many medications can cause dry mouth as a side effect. Common dry-mouth inducing medications include muscle relaxants; pain medications; antidepressants; blood pressure and heart rhythm medications; Parkinson’s and Alzheimers disease medications; antihistamines; and decongestants. Recreational drug use, chemotherapy, nerve damage due to injury or surgery, and poor nutrition can also cause dry mouth. Note that this list is far from comprehensive; to learn whether a medication, behavior or condition may be causing your dry mouth, consult with your doctor or pharmacist.

Treatments for Dry Mouth

Regardless of the cause of your dry mouth, it’s important to do something about it, as lack of saliva can lead to cavities, gingivitis (gum disease), and halitosis (bad breath). Below are some tips on managing dry mouth from our Apex dentist.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is important for many aspects of your health in general, but for those suffering from dry mouth, it is even more important. Strive to drink at least 8-12 eight ounce glasses of water a day, unless your doctor advises against it. Taking small sips throughout the day will benefit you more than consuming a large amount in one sitting, as it helps to “wash” your teeth all day long.

Chew Sugarless Gum

Chewing sugarless gum can help to stimulate saliva production, providing your salivary glands are still operational, and not permanently damaged by injury or chemotherapy. The best sugar substitute, from a dentist’s perspective, is xylitol, a plant-derived sweetener that actively kills harmful tooth bacteria. Sucking on sugar-free lollipops can also help boost saliva production.

Avoid Drugs, Alcohol & Citrus 

Alcohol, caffeine, and citric acid can all dry out the mouth and inhibit saliva production. If you use an alcoholic mouthwash, you might want to try switching to a saltwater rinse instead. On the subject of indulgences, tobacco and marijuana can also worsen dry mouth, so if you use these, try to decrease or eliminate your use. Note that the nicotine in electronic cigarettes also contributes to dry mouth.

Add Moisture to Your Environment

Moistening dry foods with broth, sauces, milk or melted butter can make it easier to chew and swallow; you could also simply try adding more non-citric fruit and vegetables to your diet. You can also use a humidifier to add moisture to the ambient air around you, especially while you sleep.

Suffering from Dry Mouth? Talk to an Apex Dentist Today  

As oral healthcare specialists, dentists are able to assess potential causes of dry mouth, and prescribe or recommend products that can treat it. Many moisturizing gels, lozenges, and mouthwashes designed specifically to treat dry mouth are available over the counter; if these prove to be ineffective, your dentist can prescribe medications that stimulate the saliva glands. To reach a dentist in Apex NC, please click here.

Our Apex Dentist Explains Why Hydration is Good for Your Teeth!

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You probably already know that water is good for your overall health, but did you know that it has significant health benefits for your teeth, too? It’s true! Staying hydrated helps strengthen your teeth and keep your smile bright and strong. Below are some reasons to encourage your entire family to drink plenty of water, as shared by our Apex family dentist.

Fight Tooth-Destroying Bacteria  

We generally think of saliva as something rather purposeless, but saliva is actually your mouth’s first line of defense against tooth decay. Its neutral PH levels are low enough to dilute acid from soda and other foods, and high enough to impede tooth-destroying bacteria. It also contains minerals like calcium and phosphate that keep your teeth strong. The drier your mouth, the easier it is for bacteria to thrive and grow. So if you want to fight tooth decay, stay hydrated!

Flush Away Sugars and Starches

Whenever you eat or drink anything sweet or starchy, sugar residue is left behind on your teeth. Both of these ingredients are favorite foods of tooth-destroying bacteria, which convert them into acid that eats away at enamel. Staying hydrated helps wash away leftover sugar and carbohydrates, helping to starve bad bacteria and prevent tooth decay.

Get Enough Fluoride

The U.S. is one of the many countries that add fluoride to municipal water. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral, like calcium or salt, that has been consistently shown to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay. The more municipal water you consume from your tap, the more fluoride you apply to your teeth and the stronger they become. And, unlike fluoride treatments you have to pay for at the dentist’s office, this fluoride is totally free!

Water: Dentists’ Favorite Drink!

If dentists around the world filled out a survey on the #1 beverage they recommend to patients, water would top the list. It does not cause stains, like coffee, wine and tea; it does not erode the enamel, like citrus juice and soda; and it doesn’t contain high amounts of sugar, like “energy” drinks and sports drinks. With zero calories and plenty of health benefits for the rest of your body, water is the best beverage you can choose every time!

Get a Bright, Healthy Smile at Our Apex Dentist Office

If you are looking for a pediatric dentist in Apex NC, head over to Hansen Dentistry. Our amazing dental team is dedicated to creating a comfortable, relaxing environment from the moment you walk through the door! To request an appointment, please click here.

Dog Owners: Watch Out for These Household Items Containing Xylitol 

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We have written before about xylitol, a sugar alcohol that has excellent benefits for dental health. Although xylitol is highly recommended for fighting tooth decay in humans, however, it poses a significant risk to dogs. When a dog ingests xylitol, its body releases a massive surge of insulin, and this rabid influx can quickly become life-threatening. Therefore, it is important to look out for the following common household products which contain xylitol, and keep them out of your pup’s reach. 

Sugar-Free Gum

Dentists love when our patients chew sugar-free gum containing xylitol. Not only is the ingredient deadly to harmful tooth bacteria, the action of chewing stimulates also saliva production, which further helps cut down on bacteria. However, xylitol-containing gums can cause serious problems for your dog. In fact, the Pet Poison Helpline cites gum as the source of nearly 80% of xylitol poisoning cases. The solution? Keep all of your gum in a closed cabinet or high place. If your dog does get its teeth on some gum, be sure to note the brand and your best guess at the amount ingested. Since different gums contain different amounts of xylitol, this is crucial information for your vet. 

Food Items  

More and more consumers are checking the calories in food items before making their purchases, so in order to keep the calories low, many companies are forgoing natural sugar in favor of xylitol. These items, sometimes marked as “low-sugar” or “sugar-free,” are much more dangerous than other items on this list, because they contain a much higher amount of sweetener. Therefore, pay close attention to the ingredient list on all foodstuffs you buy, and never let a dog snack on human food, no matter how cute their begging face might be. Ketchup, peanut butter, protein bars, and pudding are all common culprits of doggy xylitol poisoning. 

Lotions, Gels, and Deodorants

While xylitol is used in food as an artificial sweetener, it also has great humectant properties, or the ability to help a product retain its moisture. For this reason, many lotions, gels, toothpastes, and liquid or “meltaway” medications contain it. Like everything on this list, your best course of action is to keep such products out of reach of your four-legged friends. Even if you think it’s unlikely your pooch will take a bite out of your deodorant, it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Hansen Dentistry is a family dentist located in Apex, NC. We provide dental exams, dental cleanings, cavity fillings, oral surgery, same-day crowns, and more to our Apex and Cary patients. To schedule an appointment, please click here

5 Health Trends That Are Damaging Your Teeth

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Over the past few years, many members of the public have come to distrust commercial products—and are instead turning to homemade concoctions promoted by celebrities and trendy health blogs. In many cases, though, the advice of internet influencers and self-proclaimed health “gurus” may do much more harm than good. In today’s post, our Apex cosmetic dentist explains why, if you want better teeth, you’re better consulting a professional with a dental degree than a model with 1 million followers. 

Lemon “Detox” Recipes 

The concept of “detoxing”—or consuming various foods and drinks to remove “toxins” from the body–has become very popular in recent years. Instagram is chock-full of celebrities and influencers boosting various “detox” juices, water infusions and smoothies. But beware of any recipe that advises you to suck on a lime, or drink a glass of what is essentially mostly lemon juice: lemon is extremely acidic, and is one of many foods that can damage the enamel. As for the detoxification benefits, the only things that can remove ingested bi-products from drugs, medicines or alcohol are the kidneys and liver. Now, is a glass of lemon water as bad for your teeth as a glass of Coke? Of course not. Just be aware of the risks of prolonged contact, and be sure to brush when you’re done. 

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is the practice of swishing oil, usually coconut oil, around the mouth for up to 20 minutes a day. Advocates believe that bad tooth bacteria, food, and plaque will “stick” to the oil and are eliminated when the oil is spat out. Some also believe that the oil pulls (hence the name) toxins out of the body. However, as we mentioned above, only the kidneys and livers can remove toxins. As to the other claims, plaque really needs pressure to be removed, from a toothbrush, floss, or dental tool. While oil pulling itself probably isn’t doing any harm, any benefits could be duplicated just as easily with regular mouthwash. 

Apple Cider Vinegar

Many celebrities like Miranda Kerr have advertised the supposed health benefits of drinking a glass of apple cider vinegar water each day. Some “influencers” even promote drinking a straight teaspoon of pure vinegar once a day. However, excessive consumption of vinegar over a prolonged period of time will likely cause the tooth’s enamel to erode. This isn’t just speculation: 2012 case study found that the erosive wear in a young woman’s teeth was a result of consuming a glass of apple cider vinegar water once a day. Your best bet for dental health and weight loss are tried-and-true methods: calorie counting, exercise, and toothpaste. 

Charcoal Toothpaste

Charcoal toothpaste is another trend that has emerged in recent years, this said to whiten the teeth better than whitening toothpastes and treatments. However, to date there have been no studies demonstrating that this is true. What is likely is that, like baking soda and other abrasive substances, charcoal toothpaste scours away the tooth’s enamel. While users will initially see results, eventually, the teeth will become more sensitive and cavity-prone. They may even begin to look yellow as the naturally yellowish dentin beneath the enamel starts to show through. 

Fluoride-Free Toothpastes 

As concerns about the safety and efficacy of vaccination have emerged, so too has suspicion about another common safety measure: fluoride. Though fluoride is a natural mineral, similar to calcium, which has been proven to strengthen tooth enamel, many consumers have begun to believe that it can cause cancer, dementia and diabetes. These claims have been disproven many times, however; American dental health has continued to improve, thanks to both it and other factors. countless studies have shown that patients who use fluoride toothpastes experience less cavities and better overall dental health than those who don’t. Since fluoride was added to our public drinking water over 75 years ago, American oral health has dramatically improved, thanks to it and other factors. 

Need a dentist in Apex, NC? Click here to schedule an appointment at Hansen Dentistry. 

Our Apex Cosmetic Dentist Explains the Top Benefits of Invisalign 

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You may have heard of Invisalign, a newer method of straightening the teeth that doesn’t involve the wires, brackets, or rubber bands used by traditional metal braces. If you are curious about this procedure, and are considering getting Invisalign aligners in Apex, here are some of the top advantages they can give our patients.    

Removable 

If you had braces as a child or teenager, you may remember how irritating—not to mention unsanitary—it was to get food particles stuck between your teeth. One of Invisalign’s main benefits is that the trays can be removed while you eat or drink, then placed back on when you’re finished. 

However, note that this same removability makes Invisalign a poor choice for some people, especially children and young teenagers. Teeth straightening, though not painful, will usually cause some discomfort, so you will need strength of will to keep yourself from removing the aligners if you choose this method. 

Discreet 

The main benefit of Invisalign (or other brands of clear tooth aligners) is that they are discreet. Unless someone sees you removing the aligners to eat, they will never know that you are straightening your teeth. Many adults often avoid straightening their teeth because they feel that metal braces will make them look juvenile, so Invisalign is a great option for anyone with that concern. 

Comfortable

While metal braces are tougher and more aggressive in straightening the teeth, they can rub against the lips, mouth, and gums, causing discomfort for the patient. Although the metal brackets can be covered with wax, this can be time-consuming and irritating. Invisalign aligners have no brackets, and are therefore much easier to wear. However, note that this same benefit also means they are less powerful and take longer to create optimal results. 

Easy to Clean

Cleaning in, around, and underneath metal braces is challenging, since they are firmly attached to the teeth. But since the Invisalign aligners can be totally removed, they can be simply soaked in lukewarm water and brushed with a special cleaning agent, or even regular toothpaste. This in turn decreases the chance of developing cavities and keeps your mouth smelling and feeling fresh. 

Want Invisalign in Apex NC? 

While Invisalign is not often the best option for correcting all misalignments, as long as the misalignment is mild, it is a gentle, discreet, clean option that will allow you to gain a beautiful smile with none the wiser. However, if you are experiencing a more complex, unique, or severe dental issue, tougher measures may be required, i.e. metal braces. The only way to know for sure is to head into our Apex NC dentist office for an exam and consultation! To request an appointment, click here

Our Apex Dentist Explains why Xylitol is Good for Teeth, Bad for Dogs

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Now that Halloween’s in the rear-view mirror, you might be motivated to give your body a break from all that sugar by switching to low-calorie sweeteners. If so, xylitol is a great option, because it’s natural, tasty, and deadly to the bacteria on your teeth. In fact, xylitol is one of the few things that can truly kill cavity-causing bacteria, which is why dentists highly recommend it. However, it’s important to be aware that xylitol is also very dangerous to dogs, for reasons we will explain below.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is found naturally in fruit, vegetable fibers, hardwood trees, corncobs, and certain other plant species. It was first used as a sweetener in Finland during World War II, when sucrose was unavailable. Xylitol has become very popular in the last few decades due to the fact that it’s just as sweet as sucrose, but has far fewer calories. Additionally, xylitol causes very little insulin release in humans, making it an excellent alternative for people with diabetes, prediabetes, obesity, or other metabolic problems. However, this is unfortunately not the case when it comes to dogs and other animals.

Why Does Xylitol Harm Dogs?

In people, rats, horses, and rhesus monkeys, xylitol causes little to no increase in insulin release or blood sugar levels. However, in species like dogs, cats, cows, goats, rabbits, and baboons, xylitol causes a large insulin release and drop in blood sugar. For dogs, the insulin release from is so massive that it causes the blood sugar to drop dangerously low, resulting in weakness, trembling, seizures, collapse, and even death. At very high dosages, xylitol can cause massive liver necrosis in dogs, in which large numbers of liver cells die abruptly, killing the animal.

Xylitol is just as harmful to cats, but there is less cause for concern when it comes to them. This is because cats typically ignore xylitol-heavy foods like gum, cookies, cake, and peanut butter.

Foods Which Contain Xylitol

While we highly encourage patients to chew sugar-free gum that contains xylitol, we also don’t want any harm to come to family pets. Make sure that you check the following products carefully for xylitol:

  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Chewing gum
  • Peanut butter
  • Sugar-free candy
  • Sugar free breath mints
  • Fruit drinks
  • Jellies and jams
  • Cereals
  • Baked goods
  • Sugar-free puddings and Jello
  • Over-the-counter vitamin supplements

Be aware, too, that not all product labels clearly state whether or not they contain xylitol. If a label states only, “artificially sweetened,” presume that it contains xylitol to err on the safe side. Always keep xylitol-containing products high out of reach, and try to induce vomiting immediately if you think your dog has ingested any.

Need a Dentist in Apex NC?

If you want to keep your teeth healthy and safe, head over to Hansen Dentistry. Our Apex dentists can’t wait to make your teeth strong and beautiful as possible! To request an appointment, click here.

Learn the Parts of the Teeth from Our Apex NC Family Dentist!

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While the mouth is just a small part of our overall anatomy, it’s responsible for some of the most important things we do—eating, drinking, speaking, and making facial expressions! In today’s blog, our family dentist in Apex explains the different parts of the teeth, including the enamel, dentin, pulp, and miscellaneous tissues.

Enamel

The outer covering of the tooth, enamel is the strongest, hardest, and most highly-mineralized substance in your body. Enamel is also the most visible part of teeth, a semi-translucent material that ranges in color from light yellow to grayish-white. Enamel does not contain any living cells, and cannot regenerate itself, so it’s critical to preserve it. Proper oral hygiene – brushing, flossing, regular professional checkups and cleanings – help to keep your enamel from eroding away.

Dentin

Dentin is a layer of living cells that lies underneath the tooth enamel. Dentin is also what primarily gives your teeth their color. This is why people who scour their teeth with harsh, abrasive substances like charcoal or baking soda often wind up with yellower teeth than they started out with. Since the white enamel has been worn away, the yellow dentin shows through. That’s why it’s best to stick to safe, professional whitening treatments!

Dental Pulp

Pulp is the living center of your teeth, filled with blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerves. Pulp’s role is to keeps your teeth nourished and moist. Without pulp, our teeth would resemble dried, bleached bones, just like the turkey wishbone that you leave out for a few days after Thanksgiving.

Other Parts of the Tooth and Jaw

Teeth are held in place by the cementum, a layer of connective tissue that grips teeth to the gums and jawbone, and the Periodontal ligament, which helps hold the teeth to the jaw. You also (hopefully!) have gums, upper and lower jaws, a tongue, salivary glands, a uvula (the dangly ball bit at the back of your mouth), and a frenulum linguae (the tissue under your tongue). All of these structures, except your teeth, are covered by a protective lining called the oral mucosa, similar to the mucous membranes inside your nose and inner ears.

The health of all these structures are directly related to the health of your teeth. Your mouth is a holistic system, and if one part of it is not well, other parts will also suffer.

Take Care of Your Mouth with our Apex NC Dentists!

Thankfully, teeth can typically be kept healthy and happy with basic oral hygiene and twice-yearly dentist appointments. Regular exams and professional teeth cleanings help your dentist screen you for oral cancer, tooth decay, and gum disease. If you’re searching for dentists in Apex or Cary, contact Hansen Dentistry today!