Sealants are one of the best cavity prevention measures available today. Sealants help prevent cavities on the biting surface of molar teeth by filling in deep grooves and pits where food particles and bacteria tends to hide. Most insurance companies cover it at 100% on both 6 and 12 year molars for children.
The American Dental Association recommends children receive sealants as soon as the adult teeth erupt. It is quick, easy, painless and relatively cheap (as opposed to future dental bills). However even as an adult, if you have teeth that have deep grooves and pits that do not already have sealants or restorations in them, we would encourage you to consider getting sealants. While most insurance don’t cover sealants for adults, it is still much more economical to get a sealant than a filling.
The next time you and your family are in the office, ask the dentist about applying sealants to molars.
Making Smiles Happen!
Davidson Family DentistryPosted August 23rd, 2016
It’s that time of year again. The nice weather of the summer allows people to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. School is just around the corner and with school comes the fall sports season. It’s always great being active this time of year but it is important to stay safe doing your favorite activities.
Many activities require protective equipment to help prevent injury. Biking, roller-skating and football all require helmets to protect your head. It’s also important to think about protecting your teeth! Chipped and broken teeth are common sports and outdoor activity injuries which can easily be prevented by wearing a mouth guard.
A mouth guard is a simple appliance which can be made to fit your teeth to provide protection from bumps, falls and collisions. This protection can mean that a broken tooth is no more than a bruised lip! We would recommend wearing a mouth guard for all contact sports as well as any activities where you may accidentally fall or bump teeth.
There are many types of mouth guards. Although, they can be bought at many sports stores, the custom made ones from Davidson Family Dentistry are better (and easier). The most important thing to remember is that you and your family need to actually wear them each and every time. The quality makes no difference if the mouth guard isn’t in your mouth!
Have a great rest of the summer! Go USA in the Olympics!!
Making smiles happen,
Davidson Family Dentistry
Posted August 3rd, 2016
Davidson Family Dentistry is now at the 1 year anniversary mark for publishing our blog. We have done as promised – written a twice monthly blog that dealt with commonly asked questions, general topics of interest in the dental field, or updates from our office. We have written every blog ourselves (with the occasional typo or grammar error to prove it).
We would at this point like to ask our readers for feedback. What do you think? Are you finding them worth your time to read? What topics would you like to see covered in the future? Is there something we could do to improve them?
Please take a few minutes to let us know your thoughts. Facebook posts work, but e-mails work the best. Please send them via firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much for your time and effort!
Making smiles happen,
Your Davidson Family Dentistry Team
Posted July 25th, 2016
We would like to welcome Dr. Alyson Siegrist to our office. Dr. Siegrist is a native of Wesley, Iowa, earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Iowa and was the recipient of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain award at graduation.
Although Dr. Siegrist is new to our office, she is not new to dentistry. Dr. Siegrist has practiced at other offices in Des Moines as well as the Twin Cities.
Dr. Siegrist has volunteered with numerous community service projects involving dentistry including Iowa Mission of Mercy, Children’s Dental Services in Minneapolis, MN, and has an extensive list of Honors, Awards and professional memberships.
Outside of practicing dentistry, Dr. Siegrist is an avid runner and competes in half marathons. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, plays the violin and piano, and is active in her church.
Please welcome Dr. Siegrist to Davidson Family Dentistry when you have the chance. We know she will be a wonderful addition to our office and we feel privileged to have her.Posted July 8th, 2016
Implants are the closest thing we have to replacing teeth. Someday dentists hope to grow new teeth for people but sadly that is not yet available. So what can implants do for you? Well the obvious thing is to simply replace a tooth that was lost to decay, gum disease, or cracking. If one of these has happened, or you know you have a tooth that needs to be pulled, do not despair! Replacing the tooth with an implant will restore function to the same or nearly the same as before you lost the tooth.
Some people occasionally ask us since they don’t have beautiful teeth if we can just pull them all and give them new teeth. This really isn’t the point of implants. Instead, dentists will use crowns or veneers to make the teeth pretty. If there are missing teeth and teeth that don’t look great, a combination is possible of implants and crowns.
Now, if you have teeth that don’t look great because they have problems this totally changes the conversation. Dentures, no matter how well done by themselves are HORRIBLE. There are some people who can eat anything under the sun and just love them but they are a unicorn in rarity. Implants are a huge blessing for denture wearing patients. Implants can be used several ways for people totally without teeth on either the upper, lower, or both.
One way is to make a denture and instead of having it float around like a hockey puck in your mouth, we give it the ability to attach to an implant. This can make dentures work. Another option is making a bridge on top of implants for a treatment that is almost like getting your teeth back. After doing something like this most people will have more beautiful and better functioning teeth than they have had for a long time, or possibly ever.
You can live a happy life without a tooth or even any teeth. People in third world areas live without teeth for decades. While this is possible having a missing tooth causes problems. When a tooth is missing beyond the obvious esthetic issues there are two functional issues that arise as well. Movement of teeth and loss of bone. As a tooth is missing progressively bone is lost that can lead to a space where no replacement is possible. Teeth like to have friends. When a tooth is pulled the opposite chewing partner of the tooth will start to come down (or up) trying to find a partner to chew with. Often with time this makes the replacement of that tooth difficult and may even result in the need to pull the opposite tooth and do two implants when a single timely implant would have worked earlier in life.
Missing all your teeth, even with a denture, poses significant problems with chewing. Studies show that patients with either dentures or no teeth live 10 years less than people with the same health issues. Also people that don’t have teeth or simply dentures take 20% more medications. Teeth do matter. People who have replacement with implants or supported denture with implants revert to being similar to people with teeth.
Lack of teeth is not just an annoyance it can compromise esthetics, function and even health.
At Davidson Family Dentistry, we strongly believe in implants as a solution to lost teeth. However, the cost of placing implants in the office of a specialist (usually an oral surgeon) made it restrictive to many patients of modest means. We have made it a priority to start doing all steps of the implant process in our office so that implants are a more cost effective solution for all our patients. Dr. Michael Davidson has recently completed his training in implant placement and has started to place implants for our patients. The placement can be done with or without the addition of IV sedation. The restoration of the implant, will continue to be performed in our office by the dentist preferred by the patient.
So if you were holding off on doing an implant because of cost, timing, or the fear of going to someone new, now is the time to rethink what an implant can do for you.
Making smiles happen,
Your Davidson Family Dentistry teamPosted June 20th, 2016
As any of you who have had appointments in the last three months know, Dr. David Davidson has been on medical leave while he has been recovering from surgery to his right shoulder to repair his torn rotator cuff. The surgery was successful at repairing the tear and Dr. Davidson has been faithfully performing physical therapy to regain full use of his right shoulder. Originally, it was hoped that he might have only a 2 month leave of absence, but because of the stresses put on the shoulder by dentistry, it was decided by his orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist that it was more prudent to give him longer to recover.
Dr. Davidson will be back in the office effective Monday, June 6, 2016. He is expected that he will need to take some breaks during dental procedures at the beginning as he builds up his strength and endurance. However, he will be able to perform all the same dental procedures that he did prior to his surgery. Hopefully without pain now!
A big thank you to all the patients who prefer to see Dr. Davidson during your dental visits for your willingness to see a different dentist from our office during this period of leave. We have a wonderful group of dentists in our office who stepped up to work extra during Dr. Davidson’s period of leave. They have enjoyed being of service to you and hope that if the need arises again you will think of them.Posted June 6th, 2016
Why do I have to pull these teeth…for that matter why do I have them?
We will start with the second question first. Wisdom teeth are biologically designed for helping replace a tooth that was damaged by having a caveman’s diet of eating rocks (or close enough). Of course, cavemen lost these teeth at a MUCH younger age so your wisdom teeth will not do the job of a tooth that you lost through extraction in adulthood. An implant or bridge will be needed to replace the gap caused by the extraction.
Okay that is why I have them but why do I have to pull them?
Wisdom teeth are just a problem waiting to happen. Most wisdom teeth have two stages of problems. Your first stage is as they are trying to come in. People always empathize with babies as they are teething but really wisdom teeth can be way worse. As they develop, wisdom teeth can not only give you the pain of erupting through the bone and gums but also the pain of pushing against the tooth in front. This eruption into the mouth gets stopped for almost everyone because people don’t have space (refer back to eating rocks). Since they don’t have space, the teeth get stuck (or impacted is the other word for it). As they are stuck, trouble develops in the partly erupted tooth. Bacteria gets down between the gums and the partly erupted tooth and can cause infection between the teeth, (pericoronitis), or a cavity on either the wisdom tooth or more importantly the tooth in front of it. The cavity on the tooth in front can lead to losing a good tooth just because of a wisdom tooth.
Later on in life all of these earlier troubles can still happen but there are additional risks of getting a cyst around the wisdom tooth that can eat away the bone leading to a fractured jaw.
Well if my wisdom teeth may not cause me problems until later in life why don’t I wait until then to remove them?
The difficulty in removal is not the same at age 18 as it is at 60; especially for impacted wisdom teeth. An impacted wisdom tooth removed at 18 will make for a sore weekend of sitting on the couch. An impacted wisdom tooth removed at 60 can lead to a horrible couple of weeks or even a hospital stay. Wisdom teeth removed at the right time, (talk to your dentist here), when they are not fully developed is ideal. As those roots develop, they can grow around the nerve of the jaw leading to a dramatically increased risk of permanent nerve numbness to the whole lower jaw. And as mentioned earlier, waiting can cause a cavity on the tooth in front of the wisdom tooth leading to the patient losing a good tooth.
Fine, you convinced me. I know I need them out, who should pull them?
Talk to your dentist at Davidson Family Dentistry. Dr. Michael Davidson of our office does a number of wisdom teeth removals and generally recommends twilight sedation for the procedure. Usually the patient has no memory of the surgery at all.
Well if they specialize in surgery why don’t I just go to an oral surgeon?
Specialists are great to have. Especially for situations where you have a cyst that has pushed your wisdom tooth up by your eye. Or a wisdom tooth that grew too long and grew around the nerve. God bless specialists. Many other times referral to a specialist is just overkill. For routine wisdom teeth, a general dentist can do it at a lesser cost in the same office that has made you comfortable.
My dentist told me to keep my wisdom teeth so I’m confused.
There are times, albeit rare, that wisdom teeth do not need removed. This is when the wisdom tooth is buried so far under the gums in a high risk area that the benefits do not outweigh the risks. It doesn’t mean the benefits of removing the wisdom teeth have gone away; it just is too risky. The other set of people who do not need to remove their wisdom teeth are people that have space. By the time wisdom teeth start coming in, it will be obvious if you have space and your dentist will tell you if you are one of the lucky ones.
Of course with all of this if you have questions the best thing you can do is talk to your dentist. And please remember that individual advice from your dentist for your unique situation trumps any article written to discuss the subject in general terms.
Making smiles happen,
Your Davidson Family Dentistry Team
Posted May 19th, 2016
What’s the scoop on soda and other drinks?
Numerous articles in social media have discussed soda and other beverages and the approach is usually from a health perspective but rarely from the dental health perspective. Truthfully, dentists and hygienists consider the issue differently than other health care professionals. For your teeth, sugar is sugar and it doesn’t matter if the sugar is from a soda, juice, performance beverages or lattes.
Sugary liquids bathe the teeth in sugar and are able to get into every nook and cranny of the mouth. It’s even worse if you are sipping on the drink because it increases the amount of exposure time your teeth have to the sugars. If you want to have a sweet drink, you are much better having it with a meal so your teeth are exposed all at once to the sugars from the drink and the sugars from the foods.
Artificial sweeteners are better for the teeth than sugars. However, many artificially sweetened beverages still have a high acidic level that can be damaging to your teeth and of course, many beverages stain your teeth. In order of preference, here’s our recommendations for drink selections from a dental standpoint:
Remember, brushing and flossing after drinks with sugar can help. So if you drink juice and sweetened coffees with your breakfast make sure you brush your teeth after breakfast instead of before. Brushing and flossing before you go to sleep at night will allow your teeth a whole night without the attack of sugars.
Making smiles happen,
Your Davidson Family Dentistry Team
Posted April 19th, 2016
A frequently asked question we get is, “What is the difference between a dental assistant and a dental hygienist?”
A dental assistant assists the dentists at chair side. Dental assistants are trained in many things to help with the dentist while doing dental procedures to make it actually more of 4-handed dentistry rather than 2-handed. They do anything from preparing instruments, managing dental materials to be placed in the mouth, suctioning during the procedure, and handing the doctor instruments they need.
Eight of our dental assistants have taken additional training for expanded functions that go beyond assisting the dentists. To name a few of these functions, they are all able to do procedures such as making and removing temporary crowns, monitoring nitrous oxide (laughing gas), placing and removing dry socket material, and testing the vitality of the tooth. Our dental assistants are primarily the ones that oversee the care for children 13 and under and do a wonderful job of working with the parent/guardian to discuss ways to help improve the patient’s dental health. They also oversee the whitening process of taking impressions, pouring up the models from the impressions, making the whitening trays from the models then instructing the patient on the procedure for whitening.
Dental hygienists have been trained to take care of and address the oral health of the patient. Dental hygienists do a procedure called periodontal probing where they measure the space between the teeth and gums called a pocket area. The numbers that are recorded help them determine the health of the mouth along with any bleeding spots. If the numbers indicate any gum disease called periodontal disease, the dental hygienist will discuss with the doctor and the doctor will decide if the disease can be helped with good oral hygiene by the patient at home and a dental cleaning by the hygienist or if the patient will need a procedure referred to as a deep cleaning or scaling and root planning. If the deep cleaning is indicated, the dental hygienist is able to do this procedure which is essentially removing all the plaque and calculus (tartar) that has accumulated below the gumline. The dental hygienist is also able to administer the nitrous oxide and local anesthetic if needed during any appointment with them.
At our office, dental assistants and dental hygienists work together, along with the dentists, as a team to help each other in order to make the clinical portion of your visit run smooth. All dental assistants and dental hygienists are able to take x-rays, discuss patient education and prepare instruments for sterilization. All of our dental assistants and dental hygienists also stay current with ongoing continuing education classes, lunch and learns, team meetings, and various trainings. All of our employees are CPR certified.
We have 191 years of combined dental assisting years with several dental assisting programs represented. Some of those colleges include DMACC, Vatterott, Marshalltown CC, Hawkeye CC, and Iowa Central CC. When going through training, assistants learn how to assist for both general and specialty dentistry, laboratory procedures, radiology and office administrative duties.
The dental hygienists at Davidson Family Dentistry have 151 years of combined years of practice. Most of our dental hygienists graduated from DMACC with an AAS degree but we also one who graduated with her AAS degree from Rochester CC and another graduated from the University of South Dakota with a BS degree. Dental hygienists have background studies in microbiology, anatomy, and chemistry classes along with their dental related classes. They are trained for dental offices, schools, public health settings or even hospitals.
As you can see, there is a difference between a dental assistant and a dental hygienist even though several of their roles do overlap and it may be hard to tell. Regardless, at Davidson Family Dentistry our main combined role that we focus on is serving you and making your experience here one that you leave our office with a smile on your face.
Making Smiles Happen,
Your Davidson Family Dentistry team
Posted March 21st, 2016
Understanding the causes of bad breath can be a big start to fixing bad breath. The top three causes for bad breath are 1) odorous foods or habits, 2) gum disease and 3) other medical conditions.
The usual suspect for bad breath is smelly foods or habits. Certain foods like garlic and onions can cause bad breath for hours after eating them. If you have eaten garlic the night before your dental appointment, your dentist or hygienist is going to know it even with wearing a mask. And everyone knows that bad breath is only one of the problems created by tobacco use. Brushing your teeth, flossing and brushing your tongue will help to remove some bad breath or at least make it harder to smell for people engaged in normal conversation with you. Gargling with mouthwash and chewing gum can also mask the odor at least temporarily. However if you are going to be close to someone, your best option is to either avoid stinky foods or habits or make sure the person you will be closest to eats the same food.
Gum disease (or periodontal disease) smells bad. When tartar builds up below the gum line, it creates pockets. As the disease progresses the gums can start to recede and odor producing bacteria is at a high level which can smell like rotting flesh. Again, you can temporarily mask the smell of periodontal disease especially to people engaged in normal conversation around you but you are not going to eliminate the problem without dealing with the root of the problem. Provided the disease has not gone too far, deep cleaning of your teeth and gums, (also called scaling and root planing), will clean out the pockets of buildup, diseased tissue, and help get the bacteria to a healthier level. Regular periodontal maintenance will help keep the problem at bay.
Finally if the source is not from foods, habits or gum disease, then you need to consider whether a medical condition is causing the issue. Two common medical sources for chronic bad breath are dry mouth and secretions from enlarged tonsils. Chronic dry mouth can be the result of medicines or from sleeping with an open mouth. Sinus drainage and stomach acids can also cause your breath to be less than pleasant. However before jumping to a medical condition as causing bad breath, we suggest you eliminate some of the obvious other sources and brush and floss.
Making smiles happen,
Your Davidson Family Dentistry team
Posted March 7th, 2016