6 Tips for Fighting Bad Breath

**This post is not intended to be expert medical advice

Bad Breath suits

Nobody likes bad breath. Have you ever wanted to get your hazmat suit ready because of someone else’s breath? In this post, we dive into 6 tips for fighting halitosis.

Halitosis is the technical term for chronic bad breath. Everyone has bad breath from time to time, but halitosis is a chronic condition. This means that it is persistent and long-term. Chronic bad breath can also be a symptom of an oral health problem. According to the American Dental Association, bad breath is primarily caused by 6 main factors: Bacteria, Dry Mouth, Gum Disease, Food, Smoking/Tobacco and Medical Conditions. Another less common cause of halitosis is tonsil stones. This post will give you a few tips for fighting bad breath and improving your oral health along the way.

Use Proxabrushes or Waterpiks – When you floss, focus on areas that tend to trap food. Sometimes gaps between certain teeth can trap more food than others because of the position or shape of the teeth. Consider using a proxabrush or a waterpik to reach hard-to-get areas. Ask your dental hygienist for more information on these products (which we carry at Nampa Dental). Making these areas a priority when you brush and floss can eliminate plaque and chunks of food that can cause bad breath.

proxabrushes.jpg

Don’t Rely on Mints or Gum – Mints, mouthwash and gum can be useful in a pinch if you need fresh breath quick. Although mouthwash kills bacteria, it does not remove plaque and tartar, which are the usual sources of bacteria in the mouth. Attentive brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist for professional dental cleanings are the only way to eliminate plaque and tartar.

Stay Hydrated – Your oral health is connected to the health of the rest of your body. Staying properly hydrated will help keep your mouth from getting dry. Dry mouth is a condition when glands in the mouth stop producing saliva. It can be caused by nervousness, stress, certain medications, aging, and various autoimmune diseases. Smoking may also increase risk of dry mouth. Dry mouth can directly contribute to bad breath and other oral health problems. We recommend a special mouth lozenge called Salese for patients who suffer from chronic dry mouth. Ask your dentist or doctor for more information if you think you might suffer from chronic dry mouth.

Salese

Visit the Dentist Regularly – Visiting the dentist’s office for professional dental cleanings and exams is the best way to discover and eliminate the underlying causes of bad breath.  Your dental hygienist is professionally trained to remove plaque and hard, calcified buildup called tartar (or calculus) that produce unhealthy bacteria. These bacteria can cause tooth decay and periodontal disease in addition to bad breath.

Use a Tongue Scraper/Cleaner – Our tongues are incredible muscles that allow us to speak, sing and eat the way we do. Unfortunately, they can also be a culprit of bad breath. Your mother was right when she told you to brush your tongue… But only half right. Brushing the tongue with a toothbrush is not sufficient to remove all of the bacteria and buildup that cause bad breath. A tongue cleaner is a small, flexible plastic instrument that can remove this layer. Brace yourself, this can be disturbing!

tongue-cleaner.jpg

Check Your Tonsils – Tonsils are located at the very back of the throat, where most people’s gag reflex kicks in. As you probably know, tonsils can become infected and inflamed. What you might not know is that they also have nooks and crannies that can accumulate food, mucus and other debris. This debris can form “tonsilloliths” or tonsil stones. These stones are white or yellow in color and can become calcified. They are extremely foul smelling and can cause halitosis. If you suffer from tonsil stones, you are not alone. Some research indicates that between 16-24% of the population may suffer from tonsil stones, but the research is limited. Tonsil stones can be removed, but the best thing to do is consult a doctor who may refer you to an otolaryngologist to have the tonsils checked. Tonsillectomy (surgical removal of tonsils) is the only reliable method for permanently treating tonsil stones.

Keep in mind that everyone has bad breath sometimes. If you suffer from chronic bad breath, we hope these tips are helpful! As always, consult a doctor or your dentist for more detailed information and treatment.

Periodontal Disease and Gingivitis: What is it and Why Does it Matter?

What is the difference between gingivitis and periodontal disease? How can they be treated?

Image result for warning sign

Gingivitis: A Warning Sign

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gum tissue caused by buildup of bacteria and plaque. It can be treated effectively by careful brushing and flossing at home as well as regular professional dental checkups. Gingivitis is the earliest sign of periodontal disease. Symptoms include redness and inflammation of gum tissue and bleeding of the gums when brushing and flossing. Gingivitis should be treated as a warning sign, because it is reversible. Proper brushing and flossing, combined with regular professional dental cleanings, will likely return your gums to full health and prevent periodontal disease. If left untreated, gingivitis will progress into periodontal disease.

perio disease picture

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is the result of plaque and bacteria buildup over time. All it takes is 24-48 hours for plaque to mineralize and become tartar. Tartar (AKA Calculus) acts as a sliver that gets between your gums and teeth. Like a wedge, tartar can open a gap between the teeth and gums, known as a “pocket,” which collects bacteria and plaque. These bacteria not only eat away at teeth and cause cavities, but they also eat away at jaw bone. Surprisingly, this is not painful and many people are unaware that they have periodontal disease. As you can imagine, loss of jaw bone results in loss of teeth. Damage to jaw bone from periodontal disease is irreversible.

perio model 3.jpg

The only way to treat periodontal disease is to see your dental hygienist. The hygienist can perform therapy to prevent further damage. First, the entire root surface of affected teeth needs to be cleaned so that your gum tissue can heal and reduce the pockets around teeth. This involves an extensive “deep cleaning,” below the surface of the gums, which is known as Scaling and Root Planing. This is not a routine dental cleaning. Once a person has undergone Scaling and Root Planing, it is critically important to visit the dentist every 3, 4 or 6 months depending on the recommendation of your dentist. The reason these maintenance visits are more important than ever is to prevent future loss of jaw bone, which will give the best chance possible to preserve teeth when done in combination with proper brushing and flossing at home.

Comparing Crowns, Fillings and Dental Implants

A guide to deciding which treatment option is best for you

Dentists are often able to give you multiple options to solve a toothache or other dental problem. Sometimes, your dentist may even present two different treatment plans and help you decide which one is the best fit for you. There are lots of factors to consider, including cost, quality of care, and longevity of the treatment. This can be confusing if you’re not sure how to compare different treatment options. The goal of this post is to provide you with information about different dental procedures so that you have the tools to assess the quality of your dental care. We hope you never need to know details about these procedures, but you know what they say: “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best!”

Crowns

A dental crown is a prosthetic tooth that fits directly over an existing tooth. The tooth beneath the crown is still alive. The purpose of the crown is to protect the decayed or broken tooth from further damage. You may also have heard of dental bridges. A bridge replaces a missing tooth by securing a crown to the teeth on either side of the empty space and having a false tooth in between two crowns. The prosthesis is cemented directly to the adjacent teeth.

Crowns and bridges are permanent and easy to clean. They typically last many years. Regular check-ups are an important part of maintaining all restorative dental work. Dr. Mansfield uses crowns made of zirconia because of its extreme durability and beautiful look. All crowns are custom made by a professional dental lab here in Nampa.

crown

Fillings

Fillings can repair chipped or decayed teeth as long as the damage isn’t too extensive. This is the least invasive restorative procedure a dentist can do to repair a tooth that has been damaged by decay or has been chipped or broken.

With a filling, the dentist removes decayed material from the tooth. After removing the decay, the dentist places new filling material and bonds it to your tooth. Fillings can be made of composite resin (tooth-colored material), amalgam, porcelain, or gold. Dr. Mansfield recommends composite resin for all fillings.

While fillings are most commonly used to treat cavities, more serious cavities may require crowns. It depends on how large and how deep the cavity is, as well as what previous dental work has been done on the tooth.

Implants

A dental implant is the major alternative to a bridge. This procedure involves placing an implant into the jawbone. The implant is made of metal (usually titanium), which is compatible with the body.

Osteointegration is the process of your jawbone cells fusing to the dental implant. This process takes about 3 months from the time the implant is placed. While bridges compromise adjacent teeth, implants will not. They are stable and durable. Implants can last a lifetime with good care. Implants are an option that doesn’t affect nearby teeth and are easy to care for. Because of the durability of dental implants, the surgery involved, and the expensive materials implants can be more costly. However, dental implants are widely recognized as the most permanent, stable and effective solution to replacing missing teeth.

In the end, our goal at Nampa Dental is to give the best dental care available. Sometimes there are multiple treatment plans that can lead to excellent outcomes. Dr. Mansfield will always recommend the best option for optimal oral health. Our office staff will help you determine the financial details of the treatment plan so that you can make a decision about your oral health with all of the factors in mind.

5 Questions You Probably Have About Dental Insurance

*This post is not intended to be legal or professional advice about your insurance plan. It is intended for information purposes only. If you have specific questions about your dental insurance plan, contact your insurance company or HR representative at work.

5 Questions You Probably Have About Dental Insurance

By: Bryan Mansfield, Office Manager at Nampa Dental Health Center

When it comes to money, most of us are interested in knowing why we owe the amount we owe. But sometimes, when it comes to insurance, we throw up our hands because it seems so complicated. And it is. Here are 5 questions to consider as you make decisions about dental insurance:

1. Is my dental provider in network with my dental insurance? Dentists can choose to join a network of dental providers by establishing a contract with an insurance company. Part of that contract is an agreement between the dentist and the insurance company to establish a “fee schedule.” A fee schedule is a complete listing of fees used by insurance companies to determine how much they pay dentists for dental procedures. When a dentist is “in-network” with an insurance company, it typically means that the dentist has agreed to accept the insurance company’s fee schedule and not charge the patient the difference between the office fees and the insurance fee schedule. For most people, this is a deal-breaker when it comes to selecting a dental provider. If the dentist is not in network, they find a different one. But should it be an automatic deal-breaker? Not necessarily. It depends on the cost difference between in-network and out-of-network providers (which can be minimal or significant depending on the plan) and how much you like your current dental provider.

2. How will my insurance company calculate my deductible and co-insurance portion? Co-insurance usually refers to the amount the patient will pay after insurance has paid for its portion. The average deductible for dental insurance is between $25-$100 per individual. This is the amount of money that you must pay before your dental insurance will kick in and pay its portion of dental services. Deductibles must be paid annually per individual. Typically, deductibles are waived for cleanings, x-rays and other preventive services. A simple example below will help illustrate how insurance companies apply the deductible.

Example: John Smith needs a crown, which costs $999.00. But with his in-network provider, the cost is reduced to $975.00. Insurance will pay 50% of the crown, but only after the deductible is satisfied. If the deductible is $50, we want to know how much the insurance company will pay:

$975  (contracted fee)
    -50 (deductible)
   925 * 50% = 462.50 (Insurance company’s portion)

The insurance company will pay $462.50 toward the procedure. The total procedure cost is $975.00. So the co-insurance portion (the amount the patient will need to pay), including the deductible, is $536.50.

3. How do dental insurance maximums work? Typically, dental maximums are between $1,000 and $2,500. This is the total amount an insurance company will pay for dental care in a given year. I’m aware of no instance in which an insurance company will exceed this amount in a given year. It’s important to be aware of when your benefit period ends (and your maximum renews). Sometimes it’s helpful to think of dental insurance maximums as an annual gift card. Once benefits run out, the plan is “empty” until the benefit renewal period when the maximum resets.

4. Who is the plan subscriber? There are different terms for each person covered under an insurance policy. Subscriber, spouse, and dependent are the most common terms. If the insurance is through an employer, the family member whose employer provides the plan is the subscriber. If it’s an individual plan, the subscriber was established when the plan was created. This is usually the person who pays the insurance premium. The subscriber’s family members covered under the plan are either “Spouse” or “Dependent.” The reason this matters is because in order to answer most questions about insurance benefits, insurance companies need the Date of Birth of the Subscriber and Social Security Number or Subscriber ID Number. Without that information, they won’t be able to release information to a provider and, in some cases, even a dependent on the plan.

5. What is a pre-authorization and why should I submit one? In addition to submitting claims for work that has already been done, your dentist can submit a pre-authorization request for a treatment plan for future dental work. Why? Because it allows the insurance company to give an estimate of coverage before the treatment is completed. This is usually recommended for all major treatment such as dental implants, crowns, and other major services. The downside is that you can’t expect a quick answer, and most pre-authorizations come with the disclaimer that they’re not a guarantee of benefits. It takes 3-6 weeks for most insurance companies to respond to a pre-authorization request.

Insurance can be complicated. Here at Nampa Dental, we make every effort to ensure that you are well-informed in order to make decisions about your oral health. Insurance is a tool that can be used to help pay for dental procedures, and understanding it will allow you to make financial arrangements based on accurate information.

 

 

Mouth Guards!!

Many people who play sports know about mouth guards and the benefits they offer. But how many actually wear them?

There are some GREAT benefits to wearing a mouth guard. Not just any mouth guard now, a custom fit mouth guard! You might ask, “What’s the difference?”. Well let me tell you.

According to dentalcare.com “an issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) it was reported that 13-39% of all dental injuries are sports-related, with 2-18% of the injuries related to the maxillofacial.  Males are traumatized twice as often as females, with the maxillary central incisor being the most commonly injured tooth.”

Basically, quite a few of the total dental injuries are sports-related! The most injured tooth as it states is the maxillary central incisor. Basically one of your front two teeth on the bottom of the tooth. For example:

before and after Flyer(Picture used with patient’s consent.)

This is a fairly common injury. At our office alone we have seen at least 4 of these in the first 3 weeks of January! 3 of them were sports related injuries!

You may think, “That doesn’t look too bad”. Well in order to fix this tooth we had to to not only restore it will bonding material, but we had to do a root canal as well! Yikes is right! Root canals really aren’t as bad as all the hype might suggest, but they are tedious and yep you guess it kind of spendy. Especially when you end up needing a crown to strengthen the tooth. Luckily in this case we were able to fill it and it was okay. before and after Flyer2(Picture used with patient’s consent.)

Looks pretty good right? We thought so! But after seeing so many of these broken teeth we decided we needed to get the word out about protecting our teeth in situation where they are more likely to get damaged. We think mostly about sports but there are a lot of activities you could need one for! Maybe you are just prone to face plants and need one for going on walks. Most likely not but anything is possible, especially when it’s icy outside.

Well, like I said with all of these injuries happening we wanted to provide you with an option that will help you prevent these injuries so you don’t end up spending hundreds on fixing them!

Our custom fit mouth guards are created to fit you specifically. We take an impression of your teeth and create the mouth guard around that.

Benefits:

  • The custom fit creates a greater durability and protects against the hardest impacts, thus lowering the risk of damage.
  • Your mouth guard will fit snugly, protecting not only your teeth, but the surrounding gums and bone.
  • We make sure your mouth guard is the correct thickness, unlike products you can get off the shelf.
  • We know you’d probably like to breathe while you’re competing, and since our mouth guards are fit specifically to your teeth it allows more room in your mouth so there is almost no interference with speaking or breathing.

Still not sure if you need a mouth guard? You may need a mouth guard for any of the following activities:

  • Acrobatics/Tumbling
  • Basketball
  • Bicycling
  • Boxing
  • Extreme Sports
  • Field Events
  • Field Hockey
  • Football
  • Gymnastics/Cheer
  • Ice Hockey
  • Inline Skating
  • Lacrosse
  • Martial Arts
  • Racquetball
  • Rugby
  • Shot putting
  • Skateboarding
  • Skiing
  • Skydiving
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Volleyball
  • Water Polo
  • Weight-lifting
  • Wrestling

That’s quite the list! I’m sure there’s more to it than this. Any contact sport or any activity where you have an increase chance of falling would definitely be included.

So why not prevent an injury like this with a custom fit mouth guard from Nampa Dental! Rather than paying hundreds to fix a tooth we can make you your own protective mouth guard for as low as $38!

We have a lot of colors for you to choose from too! Here are some that we are offering right now!

  • Red
  • Blue
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • White
  • Black
  • Clear
  • (Available colors subject to change. Multiple colors may not be offered.)

And here is an example of what our mouth guards will look like when they are finished!

Call Nampa Dental today to get your custom fit mouth guard!

You thought I forgot didn’t you! I would never, alright here it is my glorious smile (okay glorious is taking it a little far but I am happy with it!) no more spots! Bleaching every once in a while helps too. 🙂

FullSizeRender

No Photoshop or anything I took this with my iPhone! I really am happy with it and you can find your perfect smile at Nampa Dental!

It’s All About YOU!

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about the DENTIST? Good or bad connotations? For most people I’d assume it doesn’t have the best associations. That’s where we come in.

At Nampa Dental we are here to help you and your family optimize your visits to the dentist. We offer a wide range of services to help you get the specific and customized services you need and want.

I am personally a patient at Nampa Dental, which you probably assumed since I work here, but in my experience they have been able to help me achieve my perfect smile. I really should have taken some before and after pictures so I could just show you the difference they’ve made. After braces my teeth were somewhat discolored. I have had white spots on the bottom half of my teeth since I was young and they got a lot worse while I wore braces. Imagine something like this(picture from www.smileartsny.com)

Except instead of just the front two it was the front six! As a teenager I never wanted to smile and playing sports (which I did a lot of) made it stand out a whole lot more because they became oxidized. Of course my teenage mind couldn’t imagine anything worse (except for maybe the acne I already had, how unfair!) so I asked my dentist if there was anything to be done.

I was fully prepared for the big “NO” that I was sure would leave me hideous forever, but to my surprise they had an option! They were going to “etch” my teeth (still not 100% sure how it works) and apply a paste called MI (minimal intervention) paste. According to http://www.mi-paste.com/faq.php, MI paste is “the only product for professional use containing RECALDENT™ (CPP-ACP), a special milk-derived protein that releases calcium and phosphate to the surface of the teeth.” This gives it many functions one of which is removing calcium spots like I had. They recommended combining this treatment with bleaching, using the MI paste right after bleaching to reduce sensitivity and then it would soak in faster after bleaching. I immediately agreed and they were able to etch my teeth right then and there! (It only take a couple of minutes, not as awful as it might sound.)

After a couple months of this treatment (applying MI paste and bleaching all from home) my spots were almost gone. To this day I don’t have to worry about it. I still apply MI paste once a month or so and bleach my teeth regularly, but thanks to the help and patience of the wonderful staff here I was able to get a great smile and gain confidence in it! Thanks to Dr. Mansfield and his staff my irrational teenage fear has now been replaced with a confident smile that I love!

That’s really what they are here for, to help you get exactly what you want. No one should feel insecure about their smile, I know what a drag it is. The staff here wants what is best for you. They aren’t out to sell you more than you need, or try to make you try expensive products just to get a lot of money out of you. They will always recommend the services you want, need and what they think will help you best achieve that. You can trust Nampa Dental with your smile, because here it’s all about YOU!

Want to see my final product?? Check out the next post to see an up close and personal picture of it!