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"Quality Dentistry, Affordable Service, Compassionate Care."

How To Fix Bad Breath

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.

Odorous Foods or Habits

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

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.

Other Medical Conditions

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

Team Approach to Dentistry

The goal of Davidson Family Dentistry since its creation in 1980 is to provide quality dentistry, affordable service and compassionate care. The way we accomplish that goal is with a team approach to the delivery of dental services. We have five different teams at Davidson Family Dentistry: 1) dentists; 2) dental hygienists; 3) dental assistants; 4) front desk; and 5) financial. Each team has a team leader and each team meets on a regular basis. The team leaders meet together regularly to make sure we are working well together as an overall team. Each of the team leaders report to the clinic administrator. The clinic administrator reports directly to Dr. David Davidson who is the owner of the clinic.

A team approach allows the dentists to concentrate on the delivery of dental services and not administrative functions. It also allows for the gathering of ideas for improvements from the whole staff to make sure that the needs of our patients are always met. The team approach provides for consistency and excellence in dental services and the availability of same day services and emergency dental services for our patients. A spirit of professionalism and comradery amongst all of our teams and the office is another benefit. Finally, one of the noticeable effects of our use of teams for our patients is that it allows us to make a fairly big office continue to feel small and friendly.

Our managerial staff is as follows:

Diane Davidson – Clinic Administrator
Jan Wood – Clinical Team Lead
Dr. Michael Davidson – Dentists Team Lead
Cami Brocka – Hygiene Team Lead
Allie Spikes – Front Desk Team Lead
Lois “Star” Harkin – Financial Team Lead

Making Smiles Happen,
Your Davidson Family Dentistry team

Posted February 5th, 2016

How to Handle Children Who Won’t Brush Their Teeth:

Here is the trick. Don’t give them a choice in the matter. When your children were really little, you would brush their teeth for them. Most parents stop helping their children brush their teeth way too young. Children don’t have the hand eye coordination to effectively brush their teeth (also true for flossing) until they are 8 or 9 years old. If your older children don’t want to brush their teeth, then brush their teeth for them. In actuality, this can still be better than having them brush their own teeth, because you can see areas where their teeth need the cleaning (like how the dental hygienist can see the problem areas of your teeth that you cannot). So if your children don’t want to brush their teeth, then go ahead and brush them. Don’t even give them the choice.

If your child likes gadgets, let us work with them on an electric toothbrush that will make brushing a game. The new electric toothbrushes can 1) time the amount of time spent on each quarter of the mouth; 2) let’s your child know if they are brushing too hard; and 3) connect through an application on your smartphone to give you and them a record of their brushing history.

The other important thing you can do to help your children brush and floss their teeth is to model good dental habits for them. Brush and floss your own teeth twice a day using good techniques. Replace toothbrushes or toothbrush heads regularly. Notice and point out smiles on television or in magazines and talk about how important good dental hygiene is for maintaining a smile. Schedule regular dental visits for them and praise them for their successes and develop action plans for correcting areas that need help. Children who realize that maintaining good dental health is valued in their family are much more likely to maintain those habits throughout their lifetime.

Please talk to one of our staff if you have questions about your family’s dental health or if you would like tips or a demonstration on brushing your children’s teeth. We also have some nice videos designed for everyone in the family about preventative care.

Making Smiles Happen,
Your Davidson Family Dentistry team

Posted January 7th, 2016

More Than Just Esthetics

Many patients ask our dentists if there is a medical reason to straighten the teeth, or if it is purely esthetic. As the title of this post suggests, the benefits of straight teeth are much greater than purely esthetic. Straight teeth are easier to keep clean, which decreases the rate and severity of periodontal (gum) disease. In addition, straightening the teeth can reduce formation of abfraction lesions. An abfraction lesion is a ditching of the enamel right at the gum line. This scooped out area can trap food and is prone to cavities and sensitivity. Finally, movement of the teeth may be indicated prior to fabrication of crown, bridges, or implants for optimal outcomes. A certain amount of space needs to be present to accommodate an implant, and that space can be gained by moving the adjacent teeth if it is not already present.

Now that you know the many benefits of straightening the teeth, you may be wondering how we can help. At Davidson Family Dentistry, we offer clear aligner therapy to move the teeth using Invisalign. A new set of clear aligners is worn every two weeks during treatment to slowly move the teeth into the desired position. Aligners are worn approximately 22 hours/day and are only removed to eat and clean the teeth.

The major advantage over traditional braces is the ability to clean the teeth without brackets and wires impeding your brush and floss. However, some cases are still best treated with traditional braces. Patients that may benefit from traditional braces are treated by an orthodontist. They continue to be seen at Davidson Family Dentistry for regular check-ups, cleanings, and other dental work.

If you’re wondering if clear aligner therapy is right for you, give us a call and set up a free consultation.

Making Smiles Happen,
Your Davidson Family Dentistry team

Posted December 17th, 2015

Do I Really Need to Floss Every Day?

Do I Really Need to Floss Every Day?

Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Yeeeeesssss! You do need to floss every day. In fact, you should floss at least once a day if not twice a day. “But,” I can hear you say, “flossing is so inconvenient!” “It takes too much time out of my morning.” If you find that adding an extra couple of minutes to your morning or evening ritual is adding too much hassle, then we would suggest combining flossing with another activity you already do every morning or evening. Examples that work with flossing are showering, watching the weather or your favorite television show, checking your cell phone or your calendar. Combining an existing activity with flossing your teeth will make the extra time required suddenly not so time-consuming. Problem solved! Go forth and floss away! Sorry, mouth rinse can be useful but it doesn’t count as flossing no matter what the commercials say.
Making smiles happen,
Your Davidson Family Dentistry team

Posted November 23rd, 2015

Dental Implants

Many people have now heard about dental implants, but do not know what they are. So what are they?

A dental implant is a prosthetic root that can be placed into a patient’s mouth to replace single or sometimes even multiple teeth depending on an individual’s situation. Dental implants can also be used to help make dentures more comfortable and stable. Dental implants have become an increasingly popular choice by many patients and doctors alike to replace missing teeth and stabilize dentures.

* Looks like a natural tooth
* Teeth next to the implant do not have to be worked on to replace the tooth
* The implant stays in the mouth and does not need to be removed for cleaning
* Implant can be treated like a normal tooth while eating, brushing and flossing
* Very predictable procedure with a high success rate

As with any good thing, it takes some time. This time is needed to make sure the bone has plenty of time to heal if a tooth had to be removed and to check and make sure the bone is properly attaching to the implant. The checks and healing time help ensure a successful treatment. Once the implant is planned and started, it can take 4-7 months before the final restoration is placed.

Dental implants are a fantastic option for replacing missing teeth and to make dentures more comfortable. Implants can be used in many situations and should be given consideration in a treatment plan to have a healthy and functional mouth.

At Davidson Family Dentistry, we have been involved with dental implants for many years and while they are a more expensive restoration, our patients who have elected this option have been very pleased with their decision. All five of the dentists at Davidson Family Dentistry have been trained and do dental implant restorations.

Making Smiles Happen,

Your Davidson Family Dentistry Team

Posted November 4th, 2015

Tobacco: Is there anything worse for your teeth?

Our first thought on the question of “Is there anything worse for your teeth than tobacco” was “maybe a hammer and chisel.” But that isn’t exactly a fair comparison, as we can’t think of anyone who would willingly subject their teeth to a good breaking with a hammer. And yet, people willingly use tobacco products, often quite eagerly. Smoking leads to all kinds of problems, including bad breath, tooth discoloration, increased plaque/tartar on the teeth, increased risk of gum disease, and increased risk of developing oral cancer to name a few! For a complete list, please look at the excellent articles on WebMD

Our office has always taken the approach that most smokers/tobacco chewers understand that their habit is not good for them. We work hard to accept our patients in whatever dental health they come to us. You should never receive a lecture from us. We will, however, offer to help a patient in tailoring a program to help them stop smoking/chewing tobacco if they would like assistance. We have found that some of the new medications have been helpful in assisting a patient to break the habit. If fear is helpful in stopping, take a look at some of the photos of the oral cancer consequences of tobacco use. They are not for those with weak stomachs. It may be why you find so few tobacco users in the dental profession. As always, we are here to help with all your dental needs.

Making smiles happen,
Your Davidson Family Dentistry team

Posted October 21st, 2015

Art Work At Davidson Family Dentistry

First time visitors to Davidson Family Dentistry are many times amazed at all of the art work displayed within the walls of Davidson Family Dentistry. Everywhere you look there is something new to entertain the mind whether your interests run from classical art, whimsical, historical or political. The art work also raises questions in the minds of visitors and the purpose of this blog entry is to answer some of those questions.

“Where did all this art work come from?”

Dr. David Davidson is the collector and has been a collector since he was a young boy. His tastes are wide and diverse and he has collected art work from many different places including his travels to other countries, auctions, art shows, and art dealers. A few pieces have been commissioned from local artists to support the Iowa art community. Most of the autographs have been collected personally along with all of the photographs. Because of his varying interests, the price must always be right to make a purchase. He learned early on in the world of art that good things can happen to those who wait, whether it be when the dollar is stronger, later in the auction or a different auction or a later trip. He can be heard telling patients that he often spends pennies on the dollar for each acquisition. Dr. Davidson remembers every acquisition and is always willing to discuss a specific piece of art with a visitor. There are also black notebooks over the coat rack that describes all the art work that was here in 2005 for the grand opening of this clinic. A future retirement goal of Dr. Davidson is to update the notebooks.

“Are your dental prices higher to pay for all of this art work?”

At Davidson Family Dentistry, we compare our prices regularly using and various American Dental Association survey sites to make sure that our dental pricing is reasonable as compared to other dentists in the Des Moines market. Because we use top dental equipment, supplies and labs and we hire and keep some of the highest trained (as well as the nicest) dental professionals, we realize that we cannot be the lowest cost supplier of dental care in the Des Moines area. On the other hand, because we are a larger dental clinic we are able to obtain better pricing from suppliers and we can better utilize our dental space so that we can pass those savings on to our patients.

Some of the art work on display at Davidson Family Dentistry is still owned by Dr. Davidson and is only shared by him at the office. Most pieces, especially those contained in the public areas or in the individual dental operatories, are owned by the clinic and will continue to be here even after his retirement.

“Why do you have so much art work?”

Many people think they know the answer to this question. Visitors will assume that the reason there is so much art work in our office is to support Dr. Davidson’s hobby of collecting. The assumption is only partially correct. There is also a true dental reason for all of our art work. Our goal is to make everyone as relaxed and comfortable during their dental appointment as humanly possible. One of the ways we can do that is to not look like your typical dental office. This is especially true for our high anxiety patients who come to us for sedation dentistry. If your mind is occupied with many interesting and fun things to look at and think about, then it can’t make a standard dental procedure into something scary. It’s the same reason we let you select music to your taste to listen to during your dental visit and the reason we play relaxing but mind-stimulating music in all of our public areas. Dr. Davidson also believes that being around natural beauty, beautiful music, beautiful surroundings, and beautiful art inspires our dental team to perform the “dental arts” to the highest level.

Making smiles happen!
The Davidson Team

Posted October 2nd, 2015

Fluoride Varnish

For those of you who have recently had your teeth cleaned, you may have noticed a strange “goop” that was painted on your teeth at the end of your appointment. That goop is fluoride varnish, and it is the absolute best way to protect your teeth with fluoride. Not only is it easier to apply than the old “bite in these trays with a vacuum between them for four minutes,” but it protects your teeth up to four whole months! That’s fantastic! What isn’t fantastic is that most dental insurance plans will only pay for fluoride varnish once a year, if they cover it at all.

The old adage of “penny wise, dollar foolish” comes to mind on the issue of dental insurance treatment of fluoride. Fluoride has been shown to not only help with strengthening your teeth and making them resistant to decay but it decreases sensitivity which is a common patient complaint.

That profound cavity protection truly should be applied more than once a year to get the most protection possible. To help with getting that second fluoride covered, Davidson Family Dentistry has established its price for fluoride varnish to cover two varnishes with one price. The patient pays for the first treatment and then the second one is free. Under the Davidson Family Dentistry membership plan, two fluoride varnishes a year are covered with your membership fee.

Next time you are in the dental chair and the hygienist asks if you want fluoride, please do not let your dental insurance companies make a poor decision for you. While it may be a few dollars out of your pocket now, it will likely save you money in the long run.

Making smiles happen,
Davidson Family Dentistry

Posted September 9th, 2015

Family Dentistry Means That We See Children!

One of our Facebook friends suggested that we do a post on all of the things we do to make the young patients in our office feel at ease. Her quote was “[My son] might be squirmy in the chair at times, but he has never been afraid of going to the dentist. He looks forward to going. Anytime I say he has a doctor’s appointment, he says, “With Dr. Michael?”

It all starts with the scheduling and matching our doctors’ personalities with our younger patients. Dr. Michael Davidson has two young children himself and is our high energy dentist. He does great with those children who are high energy as well. He will make the appointment fun – singing and talking about super heroes – and it is common for children to ask to stay because they don’t want the appointment to end.

Dr. Amanda Vonnahme also has two young children and is our doctor who does well with the quiet or timid children. She is soothing and has a calm, friendly voice and manner. She is great at talking to not only the parent at the visit but directly to the child to help develop the trust.

Dr. Justine Stemper and Dr. John Biegert have adapted their style with children from their personalities and watching the other two dentists. Dr. John’s style following more closely to Dr. Michael’s and Dr. Justine’s style following more closely to Dr. Amanda’s. [We tend to use first names with the children because it makes them more approachable and it avoids some of the harder to pronounce last names.]

Many patients will fondly remember having Dr. David Davidson as their dentist since they were children. While he will occasionally still see our younger patients at the request of parents and grandparents or the needs of the schedule, he has mainly passed that torch down to the younger dentists.
Occasionally, we will make the referral to a pediatric dentist if we feel that there are dental issues that they should see or if we feel that the younger patient would be better served in that environment. At Davidson Family Dentistry, it is all about doing what is best for the patient.

While it brings us great satisfaction to help new adult patients overcome their phobias and help them develop good dental health, it is extremely rewarding to watch the children in our practice develop beautiful healthy smiles and lifetimes of great relationships with their dentist.

Making smiles happen,
The Davidson Team

Posted August 19th, 2015