What You Should Know About Baby Pacifiers

Baby pacifiers tend to inspire strong feelings among parents on both sides of the debate. Some claim that any pacifier use at all is dangerous for developing teeth, while others argue that pacifiers are a harmless and highly useful tool. The reality is that pacifiers are neither all bad nor all good. Here is a look at the reality of baby pacifiers.

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Gum Disease & Risk of Stroke

Gum disease is a very common oral health issue. The symptoms include swollen and bleeding gums caused by a bacterial infection. While it may not seem severe, there is an alarming statistic that suggests it may be more serious than previously thought. Studies show that having gum disease doubles your chances of suffering a stroke. 

That means that you are twice as likely to have a stroke if you suffer from gum disease. The question is why? What is it about gum disease that can lead to having a stroke? 

How Gum Disease Can Cause a Stroke

Bleeding gums and inflammation from gum disease can lead to changes in the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. Large arteries in the brain can become hardened which increases the risk of blockages. A reduction or blockage of blood flow and oxygen to the brain leads to a stroke. A stroke can result in permanent brain damage and can be fatal if severe enough. 

Signs of Gum Disease

Noticing the signs and symptoms of gum disease early can help you get the condition treated and significantly reduce your risk of stroke. Here’s what to look for:

  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Red gums (natural gum color is pink or flesh color)
  • Receding gums (gums that have pulled away from the teeth)
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Any other unusual gum symptoms

If you notice any of the above, you may be in the early or even advanced stages of gum disease. Catching gum disease early when the gums are only slightly inflamed and before gums start to recede or teeth become loose can reduce your stroke risk. 

Treatment for Gum Disease

There are a range of treatment options for gum disease that range from a professional dental cleaning to surgical procedures. The best course of treatment will depend on the severity and the cause of your gum disease. Treatment options include:

  • A thorough dental cleaning. Sometimes all that is needed is a thorough professional dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar that builds up along the gum line. Remove what is feeding the bacteria and the infection goes away.

  • Scaling and root planing. When plaque and tartar build up beneath the gum line, scaling is a procedure used to scrape it away. Planing involves smoothing out rough spots on the roots of the teeth to prevent bacteria from building up.

  • Surgical procedures. Sometimes it is necessary for the dentist to go way beneath the gum line to clean out plaque and tartar, requiring cutting into the gums. Other procedures like bone grafts and soft tissue grafts are used to restore bone and gum tissue that has been lost. 

Preventing Gum Disease

Prevention is always the best medicine. Proper oral hygiene and gum care can prevent gum disease from getting a foothold. Here are the best steps to take to avoid gum disease:

  • Regular Dental Care. It is important to see your dentist for cleanings at least every 6 months. If you suffer from chronic and recurring gum disease, your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings.

  • Good Oral Hygiene. Between professional cleanings, it is important to practice good oral hygiene habits at home, like brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day.
  • Avoid Smoking. Smoking is linked to multiple oral health issues from gum disease to oral cancer.

  • Eat Healthy Foods. Following a healthy diet full of crunchy vegetables and fruits as well as dairy foods like milk and cheese are said to be good for your teeth. Avoid sugary foods and beverages. 

Preventing gum disease will significantly reduce your chances of suffering a stroke, and these steps are crucial to prevention. 

Visit Creekview Dental for Regular Oral Care

Preventing gum disease is easier when you are under the routine care of a dentist. Schedule regular appointments at Creekview Dental to have your teeth cleaned and your oral health examined. Professional tooth and gum care can improve your overall health in other ways as well. 

Call (651) 738-8204 today or contact us to request an appointment. We look forward to helping you maintain excellent oral and general health. 

Are Implant Supported Dentures Right for You?

If you are missing some or all of your teeth, you might worry that you will need to cope with dentures for the rest of your life. With a reputation for slipping, pinching, and causing chewing difficulties, dentures can be tough to get used to. Today, however, there is an alternative to traditional dentures. Here is what you should know about traditional vs implant supported dentures.

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Dentistry for Diabetics: What’s Important to Know

dentistry for diabetics

Diabetes affects 29.1 million people in the United States, which is 9.3% of the population. It is estimated that 8.1 million people are living with diabetes but have not been officially diagnosed. 

What does this mean for diabetes and dentistry? Diabetes, as a chronic medical condition, affects many aspects of your overall health, including your oral health. Many symptoms and side effects of the disease lead to a higher risk of oral health issues, making dental treatment for diabetic patients especially important. 

An Overview of Diabetes

Having diabetes means that your body is unable to effectively process sugar. Insulin is a hormone your body makes that helps move the sugar in the blood to the cells that need it for energy. For patients with Type I diabetes, the body is unable to make enough insulin to regulate the level of sugar in the blood. In patients with Type II diabetes, the body simply stops responding to insulin. Often medication is necessary to control spikes in blood sugar. 

Understanding the Link Between Diabetes and Dentistry

Many cases of diabetes go undiagnosed, and even some people who know they have the disease are not aware of the ways it can affect their dental health. Here are some of the ways diabetes takes its toll on the mouth:

  • Dry mouth. As a diabetic you may have less saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry. 
  • Higher risk of cavities. Because saliva protects your teeth, dry mouth puts you at a higher risk of tooth decay and cavities. 
  • Gum disease. Gums may become inflamed and bleed often, which is a sign of gum disease, otherwise known as gingivitis. 
  • Diminished sense of taste. You may have problems tasting food. 
  • Slower healing. You may experience delayed wound healing in the mouth and throughout the body. 
  • Increased risk of mouth infections. You may be susceptible to infections inside of your mouth, an additional symptom of dry mouth. 
  • Early teething. For children with diabetes, teeth may erupt at an age earlier than is typical.

Decreasing Your Risk of Dental Health Problems as a Diabetic

Dental treatment for diabetic patients is extremely important. In order to avoid many of the above mentioned oral health problems, routine teeth cleanings and oral examinations are crucial, as well as self care. Be sure to do the following: 

  • Brush your teeth twice a day.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day.
  • Keep your mouth moist by drinking plenty of water.
  • Use mouthwash to kill bacteria in your mouth.
  • Visit your dentist regularly (at least every 6 months or according to your dentist’s recommendations).
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Clean dentures daily.
  • Follow a healthy diet. 

Creekview Dental is Experienced in Diabetes Dental Care

If you have diabetes you need a dentist who understands the disease and the effect it can have on your oral health. It is important that you inform your dentist about your condition and any medications you are taking so that they can treat you to the best of their ability. You and your dentist must work as a team to maintain your oral health, and Creekview Dental has the knowledge and experience necessary to be an equal partner in this goal. 

Call (651) 738-8204 today to schedule a consultation or contact us to request an appointment. We look forward to helping you achieve and maintain excellent oral health. 

4 Anxiety Management Options for Dental Procedures

nervous woman at dentist

Management Options for Anxiety in Dental Procedures

Do you fear going to the dentist? You’re not alone. Dental phobia is one of the most common phobias among Americans. But if your anxiety prevents you from going to the dentist on a regular schedule (every 6 months is recommended), then your oral health may start to suffer. 

You don’t have to let your fear keep you from a lifetime of healthy teeth. There are many dental anxiety management options that your dentist can offer you or that you can do yourself to help ease your fear of dental work. Don’t avoid the dentist. Try one or any combination of these 4 options to help you overcome your fears. 

1) Sedation 

There are different types and degrees of sedation that can help relax you during dental visits from routine cleanings to more in-depth procedures. Mild sedation includes nitrous oxide (known as “laughing gas”) that can help you to feel more relaxed. Oral sedation involves taking medication that helps to relax you while still allowing you to respond. You may drift in and out of sleep during the procedure while under oral sedation. The highest level of sedation involves anesthesia by IV. Sedation is an ideal option for those with extreme procedural anxiety because you will be essentially asleep for the entire procedure and won’t remember anything about it when you wake up. 

2) Consult With Your Dentist

For some patients with dental anxiety, a simple consultation with the dentist where you can ask questions and receive answers in a non-threatening setting is all that is needed. If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you may not know what to expect. At Creekview Dental, we typically start your first appointment with a consultation in an office rather than a procedure room. That way you will feel comfortable knowing that this first visit starts with just a conversation and no actual dental work will take place. If the conversation goes well we will typically proceed with a data gathering exam. 

3) Meditation

One tried and true way to relax is through meditation. This does require some practice ahead of time and possibly some lessons in meditation from a professional prior to your dental visit. Once you have become skilled at keeping your focus on your meditation, you may be able to use the technique during a dental cleaning or procedure. It should help yourself relax enough to get through it without anxiety. 

4) Music

It may help to bring earbuds or headphones and a device to listen to music during your procedure. Music can relax you and also help to drown out the sounds of the dental tools if that is a source of your fears. Noise-canceling headphones can also help. If you don’t bring your own, we have music available for you.

Creekview Dental Specializes in Dental Anxiety Management 

Overcoming your fear of dental work may simply involve choosing the right dentist. Dr. Haag and the staff at Creekview Dental specialize in helping patients overcome their dental anxiety. Our caring, empathetic style of treatment helps even the most anxious patients feel at ease. We understand your fears and will strive to find the best possible combination of anxiety management options for you so we can effectively treat and maintain your dental health. 

Call (651) 738-8204 today to schedule an initial consultation or contact us to request an appointment. 

How to Prep For Your First Dental Visit

female dentist and patient

10 Questions to Ask Your Dentist During Your First Visit

Whether you’re going to your first dentist appointment or you’re about to be a new patient at a dental office, you will likely have some questions to ask your dentist. But you may not know what to ask at first or you may draw a blank when you’re put on the spot. 

If you’ve never visited the dentist before, here’s what to expect. Your first trip to the dentist will be more like a consultation. You and your dentist will have a conversation about your oral health and then the dentist will examine your teeth to get an idea of their current condition. Next, your dentist will make a plan for your care going forward. If you have dental issues that need to be corrected, such as cavities or gum disease, your dentist will explain what type of procedures will be needed to restore your oral health. If your teeth are relatively healthy, you may only need to schedule regular cleanings. 

Consider asking these 10 questions at your first dental visit. You may even want to write them down or pull this list up on your phone while you’re there.

What do typical appointments entail?

A regular preventive care appointment will include an examination of your teeth, a thorough cleaning of your teeth, and perhaps a fluoride treatment or other preventive measures. You will have X-Rays taken of your teeth once a year, which usually equates to every other appointment when you’re on a recommended twice yearly schedule. 

How much notice do you require for cancelations?

Ask how long you have to cancel or reschedule an appointment without being charged. Most dental offices have a cancelation policy in place that may or may not be subjective based on the reason for your cancelation. 

Do you accept/are you in-network with my insurance?

If you have dental insurance it is important to ask if they accept your insurance provider and also if they are in-network with your insurance provider. There is a difference. 

  • Accept: By accepting your insurance, it means we will honor the coverage that your insurance company offers toward any of our dental services, but that you may have to pay more out of pocket. 
  • In-network. If we are in-network with your insurance provider it means that the cost of services and the amount your insurance will pay has been predetermined so you should have fewer out of pocket costs. 

What is the cost of certain procedures after or without insurance?

Your insurance plan may not cover every procedure and may only cover part of some procedures. Pre-estimate requests can be submitted to your insurance to find out exactly how much they will pay for procedures and how much you will owe. At Creekview Dental, we routinely do this for our patients.

What can I do about my sensitive teeth?

If you suffer from sensitive teeth, ask the dentist what they recommend for desensitizing teeth. Also ask what they do to make regular cleanings and procedures less harsh to sensitive teeth, such as using warmer water to rinse.

What’s the best teeth whitening product/procedure?

Another common question new patients ask is what teeth whitening options are best. Some dental offices offer in-office treatments and others recommend at-home whitening products. Your dentist can offer options that will be safer and less abrasive to your teeth.

What technology do you use?

Asking about technology helps you ensure that your dentist keeps up with current best practices and uses state-of-the-art equipment for diagnostics and procedures. Dental technology has come a long way in making procedures less invasive and more comfortable, resulting in shorter recovery times. Technology also aids in the early detection of dental issues and even oral cancer.

How do you handle patients with dental anxiety?

If you struggle with dental anxiety and fear about going to the dentist, you need a dentist who understands this and is willing to work with you. Empathy and patience go a long way, as well as offering options such as sedation dentistry for procedures. At Creekview Dental we take the time to address your concerns. 

How often should I come in for cleanings?

The American Dental Association recommends dental cleanings and exams every 6 months. However, if you have periodontal (gum) issues you may require more frequent visits. It is best to honor your dentist’s recommendations. 

When should my child have their first dental visit?

Creekview Dental begins seeing patients between age 18 months and 2 years. Pediatric dentistry is important because it builds a foundation for healthy teeth that can last a lifetime. 

Your First Visit to Creekview Dental 

We understand that your first dentist appointment can be a source of anxiety or stress if you don’t know what to expect. At Creekview Dental we welcome your questions and strive to answer them as accurately as possible. Call (651) 738-8204 today to schedule an appointment or contact us and we will be in touch. 

6 Tips If You Forgot to Pack Your Toothbrush on Vacation

man pouring mouthwash

Forgetting to pack something you need when you go on vacation is frustrating, especially when it’s your toothbrush. Depending on where you’re vacationing, you may be able to buy a dentist-recommended toothbrush or get one from your hotel. But if you’re camping or visiting a rural area, you may not be able to find a convenience store right around the corner. 

Don’t fret. There are ways to clean your teeth without a toothbrush when you’re in a bind. You can prevent food buildup and freshen your breath using other everyday items. Consider these 6 tips if you forgot to pack your toothbrush. 

Napkin/Paper Towel

Wrap a napkin or paper towel around your finger and rub it over your teeth. This will remove food residue and even some tartar and plaque that may have built up on your teeth. Also rub it over your tongue, which is where bacteria like to stay and cause bad breath. If you happen to have toothpaste or even baking soda, use that in combination. 

Mouthwash

Can you borrow some mouthwash from a fellow traveling companion? Many people will willingly share mouthwash before sharing their actual toothbrush. Mouthwash will help to remove food residue from your teeth, especially in between them, and will kill the bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath and cavities. Fluoride mouthwash will also strengthen your teeth against decay. 

Chew Gum

Sugarless gum is best, but chewing gum helps to remove food and tartar from your teeth. It can also freshen your breath when you’re not able to brush. Chewing gum between meals when you don’t have your toothbrush can give you some of the same benefits as brushing. 

Eat Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables

Biting into apples, celery, cucumbers, carrots, and other veggies can help to scrape tartar and plaque off of your teeth. Vegetables tend to be lower in sugar than fruit, making them even better for your teeth. And the added bonus is that you’ll be sure to get all of your daily servings of vegetables. 

Eat Dairy

Dairy products such as milk and cheese are full of calcium, which strengthens your teeth. They also cause you to produce more saliva, which can help keep your mouth cleaner and your breath fresher. 

Drink/Swish with Water

Probably the best thing you can do for your teeth when you don’t have a toothbrush is to drink plenty of water. Water keeps your mouth moist and keeps you well hydrated so that your mouth can produce saliva. Swishing with water can also help to remove food particles and bacteria from your mouth. 

Get Additional Tips for Healthy Teeth from Creekview Dental

Your dental health is our top priority at Creekview Dental. We want to equip you with all the tools (such as a dentist-recommended toothbrush) and information you need to keep your teeth healthy throughout your lifetime. Our dental services include everything from preventative dentistry, such as teeth and gum cleanings to cosmetic dentistry, such as teeth whitening and everything in between. 

If you have questions about your dental health, don’t hesitate to call (651) 738-8204 or contact us. New patient? Schedule an appointment today for your initial consultation or call (651) 738-8204. 

6 Reasons Going to the Dentist is More Affordable Than You Think

Healthcare, in general, is pretty expensive. Costs have gone up significantly over the past several decades causing more and more people to avoid going to the doctor or any medical professional. That includes dentists since most people assume that dental care is expensive. However, that is mostly the perception of dental care with the reality being a bit different. Dental care procedures can have benefits that make the overall cost more affordable. Here are a few reasons why going to the dentist is more affordable than you think. 

Preventive Care

Perhaps the most widely enjoyed perk of affordable dental care is preventive care benefits. Regular visits to your dentist will help you maintain good dental health. If you see your dentist and hygienist twice a year for preventive cleanings, x-rays and exams and practice good dental habits, then you can avoid many of the more serious dental health problems. We can catch potential problems while they are smaller and cheaper to fix. Most people see high dentist bills when they have a more serious problem that requires more involved treatment.

Long-term Benefits 

Dental solutions have come a long way in the last few decades. Depending on the dental solution that you need, you could solve a particular dental health problem for years to come. For example, dental implants are permanent placements and should last you the rest of your life. In terms of financial costs, this means that you won’t need to replace your dental implant, so it is essentially a one-time cost. Many dental solutions last much longer than they used to, making them more cost-effective over the long-term. 

Dental Health Education

Going to the dentist can teach you a lot about good dental health practices. Learning to manage your dental health at home can make a big difference in your overall dental health. Most of your dental care happens at home, so small changes can have big results. Your dentist and hygienist can teach you skills and give you the tools to improve your dental health, which will help you avoid more serious problems. 

Improved Overall Health

Going to the dentist can also help you save money by improving your overall health. Your mouth is connected to the rest of your body, and improving your dental health can improve conditions in other places. For example, treating gum disease can also help you fight diabetes by lowering the amount of bacteria in your mouth, which reduces your overall blood sugar. This will make it easier to avoid other health conditions. 

Mental and Emotional Benefits

Improving the look and quality of your smile can also affect your mental and emotional health. This is especially true if your teeth are heavily damaged or missing. You can work with Dr. Haag to create the smile you want. 

Ready to Get Started?

If you need help with your dental health, call Creekview Dental at (651) 738-8204 to schedule an appointment. We offer a wide range of dental services that can help you have a healthier smile.

Are Natural Toothpastes Effective at Cleaning Teeth?

Are Natural Toothpastes Effective at Cleaning Teeth?

There is a recent trend toward using natural toothpaste for brushing teeth at home instead of conventional toothpaste. Many patients wonder if a natural toothpaste works as well at cleaning teeth. Others are surprised to get negative feedback from their dental hygienist during an appointment after they deviate from their regular cleaning and gum care routines and embrace a new oral care trend such as oil pulling. Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to using natural toothpaste and its effectiveness 

Natural Toothpaste Hype

Patients become interested in natural toothpaste as an eco-friendly and chemical-free alternative to traditional toothpaste (such as Colgate and Crest). Sometimes they simply want a way to buy toothpaste free from any disposable packaging. Some big box stores have even started to sell natural toothpaste with clay, charcoal, or baking soda formulas.

While it is true that natural products have been used to clean teeth for centuries, it doesn’t mean that natural toothpaste is safe. Most natural toothpaste claims have not been evaluated by independent sources. The few studies that suggest these formulas are effective are often not peer-reviewed and replicated. 

This doesn’t mean that all natural toothpaste formulas are unsafe or bad. Many of the natural toothpastes available do not contain fluoride, an ingredient proven to help protect your teeth against cavities. Other ingredients, such as charcoal, can neutralize the positive benefits of other ingredients, such as fluoride. 

Not All Natural Toothpaste is Equal

Not all natural toothpastes are the same. Each has its own formulation, which may or may not be able to provide adequate protection for your teeth against cavities, discoloration, or temperature sensitivity. If you are interested in using a more natural toothpaste, ask your dentist for a recommendation. They will be able to advise you on your best options.

ADA Seal of Acceptance

The ADA Seal of Acceptance from the American Dental Association is given to toothpaste, mouthwashes, and floss that the organization recognizes as effective at cleaning teeth. Using a product that has the ADA Seal means that you can trust its quality and that it will help you keep your teeth clean. Very few natural products have this recognition. If you’re going to go through the effort of brushing your teeth, you might as well make sure you’re using an effective product.

Importance of Regular Check Ups

Whether you try natural toothpaste or not, it is important to schedule regular dental exams. If something changes in your oral hygiene routine, your dental hygienist will be able to give you feedback at your regular appointment. Waiting a year or more between appointments could lead to undetected dental decay or other dental issues.

Ready to Make a Dental Appointment?

If you’re ready to get started with a progressive yet conservative approach to your dental health, contact Creekview Dental today at 651-738-8204 to schedule your first appointment. You can schedule comprehensive adult dental exams or pediatric dental check ups with our experienced team of dental professionals.

Electric vs. Manual Toothbrush: Which Is Best?

Electronic toothbrush vs. a Manual toothbrush: Which One is Best to Use?

Brushing your teeth regularly is one of the best ways to avoid dental health problems. Over time, bacteria grows in your mouth and can damage your teeth and gums. Regular brushing ensures that the bacteria are sterilized and any buildup is removed. Your toothbrush makes a big difference in the quality of your dental care. 

Dental care technology has improved over the last several decades to give you a variety of toothbrush options. You can use a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush. Deciding between the two main options can be difficult since both have their advantages. Here is a look at the differences between electric and manual toothbrushes.

Manual Toothbrushes

Manual toothbrushes are the most common choice for the vast majority of people. They have been around for hundreds of years and are what people think of when they think about toothbrushes. While electric toothbrushes provide many benefits that manual toothbrushes don’t have, there are some things that manual toothbrushes can do better. 

The most important benefit from a manual toothbrush is that it always works. Since it is not electric, you can use it anytime, anywhere without additional equipment. They are also easier to use. Teaching someone how to brush their teeth is easier since there are no moving components or use restrictions. Plus, most young children dislike the feel and sound of an electric toothbrush, making a manual toothbrush the best choice. 

Manual brushes have changed in design over the last several decades. There are different versions for every dental health need. The bristles are more durable and come in many more hardness levels for added comfort and to protect your teeth from damage. The brush heads are also designed for better, deeper cleaning action. That way, you get a more thorough clean, which leads to better dental health. 

Drawbacks to Manual Toothbrushes

The biggest drawback to manual toothbrushes is that the quality of the cleaning depends on the user. That means that every time you use the toothbrush, you may not get the same quality of cleaning. It also means that every brush provides different results for each person. This can lead to a lot of effort trying to find the right brush for the right type of cleaning that meets your needs. 

Manual Toothbrushes are also limited in how much they can clean. Electric toothbrushes can clean in multiple ways at the same time thanks to their design. This often leads to a more detailed and deeper clean than manual toothbrushes. 

Electric Toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes have only been around for a few decades, becoming more popular in recent years thanks to their improved cleaning abilities. Electric toothbrushes manually clean your teeth in the same general way as a manual toothbrush. However, it can do it with several key changes. The cleaning action for some electric toothbrushes is in a circular motion, making it easier to clean a specific area and giving it a greater ability to remove stuck-on plaque. It also moves the bristles much faster than a person can and with a lot less physical work. 

Aside from the faster motion, some brands of electric toothbrushes also provide sonic cleaning abilities. It vibrates at a high frequency that can help break-down plaque and other stuck-on substances. This often leads to a much deeper clean. 

Drawbacks to Electric Toothbrushes

The two main drawbacks to an electric toothbrush are both related to the fact that the toothbrush is electric. Because it uses electricity, it needs to be charged. You will have to take a charger with you if you travel for longer than a few days. The other drawback is that some electric toothbrushes may not be entirely waterproof. If water gets into some brands, it may short-circuit and break. You have to be more careful with an electric toothbrush, especially since you use it around water every day. For many brands this is not an issue.

Which One Should You Use?

Choosing between a manual and an electric toothbrush is relatively easy. If you can afford one and it won’t hurt your teeth, you should get an electric toothbrush. The cleaning benefits make it worth the added cost. If you are going to travel for extended periods of time, don’t know what type of brush works for you, or money is tight, then get a manual toothbrush. They are easy to use, don’t require any additional equipment, and are affordable. 

Ready to Make Your Dental Appointment?

If you’re ready to get started with a progressive yet conservative approach to your dental health, contact Creekview Dental today at 651-738-8204 to schedule your first appointment. We offer teeth cleanings, preventative dental care, Invisalign, pediatric dentistry, and many other dental best practices intended to make you more comfortable.