Cahill Dental Care

5 Reasons Why Your Teeth Are Changing Colors

'woman brushing teeth'Brushing and flossing your teeth every day can keep your smile bright and white. However, you might have noticed that even though you take great care of your teeth, they look a little yellow and have lost their sparkle. This is completely normal. Here are 5 reasons why this could be happening to you.

  1. Food and Drinks: Coffee, tea and red wine play a major role in staining your teeth. They all have Chromogens, which are intense color pigments that attach to the white outer part of your tooth known as enamel.
    Tip: Drink with a straw, keeping those stain-causing dyes in the drink away from your teeth
  2. Tobacco Use: The two chemicals found in tobacco, tar and nicotine, create a tough stain. Tar is naturally dark. Nicotine is colorless, but when it’s mixed with oxygen, it creates a yellowish color. Both together create the stain.
  3. Age: Below the white shell of enamel on our teeth is a softer area called Dentin. Over the years, our outer enamel gets thinner from brushing and the yellowish dentin shows through.
  4. Trauma: If you have experienced an injury to the mouth, your tooth may change color. This is because your tooth reacts to the trauma by putting down more dentin, which is darker than the outer enamel on your teeth.
  5. Medications: Many different kind of medications come with the side effect of darkening your teeth. Also, children who are exposed to medication when their teeth are forming, either in the womb or as a baby, can experience discoloration of their adult teeth later in life.

Some of these reasons are preventable and some of these happen over the course of life. Try to avoid some of these things and continue to brush and floss your teeth every day. If you would like to discuss your teeth whitening options with us, please call our office at 651-451-9101 to schedule an appointment.

How to Make Your Own Ice Cream

'ice cream'As you may or may not know, July is officially National Ice Cream Month! While it is fun to go and grab ice cream from your local shop down the street, it can be more fun and rewarding to make your own ice cream for you and your family to enjoy. Ice cream is also a great treat to enjoy after different types of oral surgery. You don’t need an ice cream maker in order to make delicious, creamy ice cream. Just follow our instructions below!

Servings: 2-3

Ingredients:

– 2 cups of milk
– 3 tablespoons of sugar
– 2 teaspoons of vanilla

Materials:

– 3-4 cups of ice
– 2/3 cup salt
– 1 quart sized Ziploc bag
– 1 gallon sized Ziploc freezer bag

Instructions:

– Combine milk, vanilla and sugar in quart sized bag
– Press any air out of bag and seal tightly
– Mix ice and salt in gallon sized bag
– Place quart sized bag into gallon sized bag and seal tightly
– Shake the bag vigorously for about 5 minutes
– It will be very cold, be careful!
– Liquid inside smaller bag should start to harden
– Let bags sit for a few minutes with ice in large bag surrounding small bag
– Open bags up and scoop ice cream out
– Enjoy!!

As you can see, it isn’t hard to shake up some ice cream that the whole family can enjoy, using fairly standard household ingredients. Use chocolate/strawberry milk instead of regular milk to change the flavor, or use half and half for a creamier product. This year, celebrate National Ice Cream month by making your own ice cream at home!

Teeth Bleaching Vs. Teeth Whitening

'regular and whitened teeth'You’ve probably seen someone with pearly white teeth before and wondered, “How have they managed to keep their teeth so bright all these years?” The truth is, many people these days are opting to whiten their teeth with artificial methods to achieve that picture-perfect smile.

Bleaching vs. Whitening

When teeth are whitened beyond their natural color, the process is referred to as “tooth bleaching”. This type of whitening usually involves using some form of “bleaching” agent such as hydrogen-or-carbamide peroxide.

Another method of restoring teeth to their original, whiter state of being is known as “teeth whitening”. This process is different from bleaching in that it involves cleaning the surface of teeth to remove stains, dirt, and other brightness inhibitors to restore the teeth to their original color. Sometimes this process also involves the use of bleaching agents.

Nowadays, these terms are used almost interchangeably – (their distinction is one mostly used by the FDA).

When you get your teeth whitened in our office, we utilize a highly-potent peroxide bleaching gel that can be better activated with a laser. We will also apply a gel to your gums to protect from chemical exposure.

Store-bought whitening kits contain a lower-potency whitening gel, but implement a similar process. These kits can be a significantly cheaper solution, but are usually not as effective and can even be damaging if not applied correctly.

And many people these days are even trying DIY methods to enhance their smile. Whatever method you choose, its always best to contact us first at Inver Grove Heights Office Phone Number 651-451-9101 so that you can make sure you are choosing the safest teeth whitening option for you.

Invisalign – Working For Men

'man with straight smile'Guys: More and more of your colleagues, coworkers and neighbors are having their teeth smoothed, whitened and aligned to gain that competitive edge in the business world.

So, we have to ask: How is your smile looking today?

Let’s face it, in today’s world, men and women will likely work for more employers over the course of their career than at any other time in history. Long gone are the days where people work for the same employer, climbing the ladder toward retirement. The modern worker knows that he must constantly adapt his skills, and possibly even his personal appearance, to stay in the game. Often, that work starts in the orthodontist office.

More and more men these days are choosing Invisalign® clear aligner orthodontic treatment to get their smile in tiptop shape. After all, first impressions in the business world are, indeed, everything.

Invisalign®: What Men Love

  • Discreet Meetings: By far one the most appealing aspects of Invisalign® is the fact that it provides orthodontic treatment that goes nearly undetectable while in progress. This means that you can go to those meetings and no one will know from across even a small board-room table that you are in the process of aligning your smile.
  • Safety in Numbers: Even if someone does notice, you can rest assured that you are in good company. With so many adults, including men, choosing clear braces to fix decades-old smile issues, you will still “fit in”.
  • Convenience: Invisalign® can be removed for eating and brushing.
  • Length of Treatment: Most cases require just 12-18 months of treatment.
  • Compatible with Your Personal Life: Because it is removable, Invisalign® encourages you to continue on with your personal life as planned and without restrictions.
  • Confidence: A great smile projects your worth, both in the professional and social realms. You may just land that promotion or dream job when you flash a bright, handsome smile that exudes confidence.

If you’d like to find out about the cost of Invisalign® and whether you are a good candidate, please give us a call at Inver Grove Heights Office Phone Number 651-451-9101!

Tooth Extraction – Managing Pain

'man kicking away pain'The Procedure Itself

Thanks to a wide variety of anesthesia choices available to us these days, you should feel no pain during your extraction.

After the Surgery

  • Over-the-Counter Medicines: Generally speaking, over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen are all that you will need following your surgery.
  • Staying On Top of Pain: It is very important to stay on a strict schedule of medication the first few days following your surgery. Getting behind on medication will result in more pain and may even make it difficult to catch up with pain control again.
  • Ice for Swelling: We want you to ice your cheeks for the first 24 hours following surgery, twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off alternating. Managing swelling can help greatly with pain management, and the act of icing may even feel good on its own.
  • Rest: Your body was expertly designed with high-tech systems in place to heal – but you have to give it the space and conditions to do so. Rest is one of the most important things you can do to help your body heal faster.
  • Salt Rinse the DAY AFTER Surgery: The day after surgery, you should rinse your mouth very gently with a mixture of one cup of warm water and ½ teaspoon of salt. You may do so up to 4 times a day. Designed to gently clean the wound site (but NOT dislodge the blood clot), some patients also feel that the warm water helps with pain relief.
  • Prescriptions: Most often, our patients do not require prescription pain medication post-op. However, in the case that we feel your case calls for such, please keep the following in mind:
    • Antibiotics – If we have ordered antibiotics for you, you must take them on schedule and for as long as we prescribe – Never stop antibiotic treatment prematurely without our specific orders.
    • Pain-Killers – In the event that you require prescription pain killers, please note that we are required to prescribe these sparingly and in accordance with certain laws, due to rising rates of substance abuse. You can help keep these drugs off the street by taking only what you need, and taking unused pills to a pharmacy for safe disposal – never “keep them around” in your cabinet for future use.

For more information, please visit our surgical instructions page and feel free to call us at Inver Grove Heights Office Phone Number 651-451-9101

Straight Teeth for Lifelong Benefits

'family smiling'Many people think that keeping your teeth straight is just about maintaining a great smile. However, straight teeth bring health benefits, too – both inside and outside your mouth. Read on for more information on how a straighter smile can help you be a healthier person!

Easy Maintenance

Simply put: straight teeth are easier to clean. With crooked and crowded teeth, flossing and brushing is not as effective because it’s hard to get in between them. This allows bacteria to find pockets in which to hide, building up and causing decay.

Avoiding Inflammation and Infection

When teeth aren’t straight they can cause gums to become inflamed. Inflamed gums can be a characteristic of periodontal disease, which can be serious. We can help you avoid this by aligning your teeth with traditional or invisible braces.

The Mouth-Body Connection

In addition to the damage caused to gums, periodontal disease is also linked to other diseases in the body including heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria builds up and begins to wear away your gums, teeth and bones. Straight teeth, as mentioned above, are easier to clean and thus come with a reduced risk of periodontal disease and may help you reduce your risk of heart and diabetes conditions.

Straight Teeth are Safe Teeth

Teeth that are straight are less likely to be chipped or damaged. When everything is all lined up, there are less surfaces sticking out that can be damaged.

Your Smile and Your Happiness

A healthy set of teeth leads to a more confident smile. Beautifully aligned smiles are associated with increased self-confidence and lowered stress. And when stress is lowered, your whole body functions and performs better.

Start reaping the benefits of a healthy, straight smile! Schedule an appointment by calling us at Inver Grove Heights Office Phone Number 651-451-9101. We look forward to helping you get started.

Guarding Your Athlete’s Smile

'child protecting teeth with mouth guard'

Let’s face it: kids are going to be kids. They’re going to fall down and play rough, and most of the time there’s just not much you can do about it.

When it comes to sports though, it is imperative that you make sure your child has the proper equipment to keep them safe in the game. In fact, children are most vulnerable to mouth injuries while playing sports from seven to eleven years of age.

Your mini-athlete will be 60x less likely (yes sixty, that’s not a typo), to experience oral injuries if they choose to wear a mouth guard! This is why the Academy for Sports Dentistry, or ASD, recommends wearing a mouth guard when participating in any sport with a high-risk for collision.

Common sports requiring mouth guards include football, hockey, and martial arts. Other sports such as soccer, basketball, and gymnastics are also prone to these types of injuries but do not usually require participants to use the same protection.

Store-bought mouth guards come in most colors and some even have fun designs on them like wolf teeth, encouraging kids to feel confident about wearing them.

The most common type of mouth guard is the “boil-and-bite” kind, allowing you to mold and shape them to fit your teeth using only water and heat. These can be found at most sporting goods stores, and some even come with a protection guarantee!

Whenever possible, stay away from stock or preformed mouth guards. They don’t allow a tight enough fit to properly protect your teeth and while you might save on the up-front cost a bit, your dental bill will quickly offset those savings.

The best way to keep your child’s teeth safe is always to talk to us about your options and, whichever you choose, just remember that preventative action is always the best solution to save your child the pain of a dental emergency, and yourself the pricey consequence that comes with waiting until its too late.

Want to learn more about protecting your little one’s smile? Give Cahill Dental Care a call at 651-451-9101 to schedule an appointment today!

Why do we have wisdom teeth, anyway?

'woman thinking about wisdom teeth'Wisdom teeth were once an extremely valuable asset to our ancestors. When a typical diet consisted of chewy plants and uncooked meat, third molars (wisdom teeth), which fit easily into our ancestors’ larger jaws, were absolutely necessary. Wisdom teeth were the evolutionary answer to the need for chewing power to combat excessive wear.

Today, our diets are not as rough as those of our ancestors. With modern marvels like forks, spoons, and knives, as well as softer food, the need for wisdom teeth is virtually nonexistent. And yet, on average, about 65% of the human population is born with wisdom teeth which usually erupt between the ages 17 and 25.

Although wisdom teeth were incredibly advantageous for our ancestors, they pose a bit of a problem for the modern mouth. Humans have evolved to have smaller jaws, and so wisdom teeth are often either too big for the jaw or the jaws themselves are just too small. Either way, third molars crowd the mouth. Because of this lack of space, molars often grow sideways, only partially emerging from the gums, or actually get trapped inside the gums and jawbone.

These impacted wisdom teeth can be chronically contaminated with bacteria associated with infection, tooth decay, inflammation, and gum disease. And because they’re so far back in the mouth or trapped underneath gums, it’s difficult and sometimes impossible to keep them clean. Even when wisdom teeth come in fully, they are so far back in the mouth that it’s just too easy for food to get trapped, leading to plaque, cavities, and gum disease.

Although wisdom teeth were very important to our ancestors, nowadays, they pose a serious problem to oral health. Call Cahill Dental Care to find out if your wisdom teeth are ready to come out!

Prepare Your Little One

'child holding toothbrush'Unfortunately, not every dental visit is remembered fondly.

Many of these experiences occur during childhood with a not-so-great trip to the dentist!

Yet, with a bit of preparation and lots of communication, you and your pediatric dentist can work together to ensure that your little one remembers their visit as pleasantly as possible.

Prepare Your Child

The most important way you can prepare your child for the dentist’s office is to start a healthy oral care routine at home. As soon as teeth start to appear in your child’s mouth, brushing and flossing (with supervision) is crucial in having healthy and happy teeth.

Communicate

Before the visit, discuss with your child what dentists do, why they’re important, and what they look for.

Be Supportive and Reassuring

During your appointment, be supportive and reassuring. The new faces, sights, sounds, and machines in a dentist’s office can be daunting! Sit next to your child during their appointment, and make sure to give your doctor time to explain what the different machines do before they are put into use.

Praise and Rewards!

Afterwards, praise and compliment bravery: your little one did it! Make sure to grab a prize on your way out, encouragement and a reward go a long way. A little bit of preparation means you can ensure your child has a positive experience at the dentist that will set the stage for happy memories!

If you’re looking for a dentist that specializes in working with children, call Cahill Dental Care on 651-451-9101 today!

If You MUST Eat Candy…  

When it comes to candy, kids tend to make choices that make pediatric dentists cringe. In fact, the average trick-or-treater will consume three and a half pounds of candy on Halloween. Multiply that across 41 million trick-or-treaters, and you will understand why this can be such an important issue to tackle from a dental perspective.

Now, it might be unrealistic to tell you to keep the candy away from your kids when they’re looking up at you in those adorable homemade costumes. We get that, but you can make smarter choices that keep your child’s teeth healthy enough to make it through to your next visit to the dentist. Sorting through your child’s candy offers you the chance to weed out problem-causing candy and help them make better decisions. And don’t forget a good, solid brushing and flossing before bed, especially on Halloween!

What Candy to Avoid

Sticky and gummy candy tends to latch onto teeth making it harder to brush off, and allowing bad bacteria to feed on t'child holding candy'he sugar. When teeth are exposed to these sugars for long periods of time, cavities are formed. In addition to that, hard and chewy candies create the perfect circumstances for dental disasters such as dislodged fillings and create a greater potential for accidental chipping and injury.

If you’re stuck on chewy candy, sugar free gum is a better alternative. Gum containing Xylitol may help to combat the effects of bad bacteria and plaque (but it is not a substitute for brushing and flossing).

Why Chocolate Rocks!

Choose chocolate instead. Why? Chocolate melts and disappears more quickly than other candies, lessening the chance for those sticky sugars to stay behind. It also has a lower acidity than most other options.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, dark chocolate is high in tannins, providing the antioxidants your mouth needs to stay healthy, while polyphenols and flavonoids found in chocolate help battle gum disease and tooth decay.

One last tip: Making sure your child eats a well-balanced meal before going door-to-door makes it harder to fill up on sweets before feeling full. Finally, make sure your children brush and floss before bedtime to keep the cavity creeps away! Oh, and set up your next teeth cleaning as soon as possible to ensure your teeth don’t suffer any casualties – call us at 651-451-9101.