Beautiful Smiles Rely on Healthy Gums

Your oral health goes beyond just teeth. Gums play a big part in a healthy and beautiful smile.

It is the gums that hold the teeth together in the perfect way and protect them by providing armor underneath. Even when your teeth are disease-free, you need to constantly care for gums for long-lasting teeth. 

Tips for Healthy Gums:

Good oral hygiene goes a long way when it comes to maintaining healthy gums. Some of the things patients should add to their oral care routine include:

Brush Twice a Day

Brushing at least twice a day is essential to keep gums healthy. Patients should not only focus on teeth when brushing. The gums and tongue should be cleaned as well. This removes plaque buildup and bacteria from teeth surfaces.

Floss Daily

Using floss at least once a day is just as important as brushing. Dental floss should be used to clean the spaces between teeth and keep them healthy. Failing to do so daily still leaves teeth and gums susceptible to decay.

Use a Mouthwash

An antibacterial mouthwash goes a long way when it comes to oral hygiene. It helps to clean the spaces brushing and flossing cannot reach, and it kills some of the bacteria in the mouth. A good mouthwash also helps to re-mineralize teeth and freshen breath.

Regular Visits to the Dentist

Dentists are trained to detect early signs of gum disease. If you go to your dentist regularly, they are more likely to be able to catch signs of gum disease early and treat it before it causes serious damage. Professional cleanings are also the only way you can remove tartar. Tartar leads not only to tooth decay but also gum disease. Your hygienist is trained to remove this tartar to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Healthy teeth rely on healthy gums to keep them in place. Take care of your gums to maintain a beautiful, functional smile that lasts a lifetime!

Learn more about the ways to take care of your gums at Dentistry by Design Sister Bay. Request an appointment with us for a check-up. Call our office at (920) 854-5200 or book an appointment online.

Tips on Preventing a Dental Emergency

dental emergency

A dental emergency is defined as an issue that requires immediate care. These can range from pain, swelling, and abscesses to fractured, lost, or chipped teeth due to trauma.

While some dental emergencies occur randomly, others can be preventable. The best way to manage a dental emergency is to prevent one from happening. Here are 5 ways to prevent dental emergencies:

Practice Daily Dental Hygiene

While breaking a tooth from falling or getting hit in the face may be the first image that comes to mind when you think of dental emergencies, it is common for dental emergencies to be related to basic dental health issues such as pain associated with cavities or decay. Preventative care is key. 

Dr. Sledge recommends brushing your teeth twice a day, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to clean all surfaces of your teeth for at least 2 minutes. Besides brushing, you should also floss in between each tooth every night before going to bed to remove harmful plaque and bacteria missed by your toothbrush. For more instructions on proper oral care, visit our suggested “Home Care” instructions.

Schedule Regular Dental Check-ups

Checkups and cleanings allow us to detect problems with your teeth and gums before they become an emergency. Not only can we find cavities before they become painful, we can also find small fractures or weak spots that may cause a chipped or broken tooth if untreated. The dentist has the tools to eliminate stubborn plaque deposits that cannot be cleaned by regular brushing. If you fail to visit the dentist, you put yourself at the risk of cavities and gum diseases.

During your appointment, Dr. Sledge will carefully examine your oral cavity for signs of oral health issues and provide preventive care. For more information, see “Cleanings and Preventions”.

Protect Your Teeth from Trauma & Grinding

Many dental injuries result from trauma or injury to the face, such as from an accident, fall, or sports-related event. You cannot always prepare for this type of situation; however, you can if you play sports wearing an athletic mouth guard significantly reduces your risk of injury to your teeth, gums, and oral structures.

Trauma can also be caused by long-term pressure or strain on your teeth, like what is caused by bruxism. The grinding and pressure will wear down your enamel, increasing your risk of a fracture or even a loose tooth. A nightguard provides a protective barrier between the upper and lower teeth to prevent a costly dental bill down the road.

For more information on custom athletic mouth guards and nightguards, please give us a call. (920) 854-5200

Use the Correct Tools, Not your Teeth

Get in the habit of using an appropriate tool for each task. Do not use your teeth to open or rip apart items, which puts unnecessary stress on them. You should only use your teeth for consuming food.

When it comes to opening packaging or cutting stray strings, reach for the scissors or other appropriate tools, and you could likely prevent a dental emergency.

Avoid Chewing Extremely Hard Foods

Although biting and chewing are natural functions of the teeth, attempting to bite or chew extremely hard foods can result in damage to the teeth. Most commonly teeth will become chipped or cracked from foods that are too hard. For a list of the most common food that can damage your teeth, see the American Dental Association’s “Top 9 Foods That Damage Your Teeth”. 

The Bottom Line

Dental emergencies can be debilitating. They cause pain, long-term damage and sometimes require expensive, invasive dental procedures. With preventive care, you can reduce your chances of having a dental emergency.

Request an appointment here or call Dentistry by Design at (920) 854-5200 

Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month!

Did you know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease in children? It’s true! Helping your children maintain a healthy smile takes some extra work and vigilance, especially when they are still very young and may not be able to brush on their own. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM), so there is no better time than now to learn more about children’s oral care from your dental team at Dentistry by Design!

Dr. Sledge recommends the following strategies to set your kids up for a lifetime of dental success:

  • 2×2 – Your children should brush for two minutes, twice a day and they should floss just as often. Brush right alongside your kids to watch for proper technique, and play some fun music on your phone to make sure you brush long enough. Encourage them to spit out toothpaste, since getting too much fluoride can impact the appearance of their teeth.
  • Eat Healthy – Every parent knows just how many sweets are aimed at their kids. This compounds the problem for kids, since they’re already prone to tooth decay and cavities. Limit sugar – in foods and drinks (like fruit juices) – and stick to water, high-protein snacks, leafy greens, and dairy products. Cheese can protect tooth enamel so enjoy this healthy treat.
  • See Your Dentist – Since dental problems can arise as soon as teeth show up in the mouth, the ADA recommends scheduling your child’s first appointment no later than their first birthday. Kids should see our team at least twice a year for exams and cleanings.
  • Make It Fun – It’s important that kids get a good impression of the dentist when they’re young to encourage a lifelong habit of dental wellness. Watch cartoons and read children’s books about the dentist. Do dental activity sheets before your children’s appointment. (see below) Get them excited to visit the dentist!!
  • Set A Good Example – You know that your kids look up to you, so if you drink soda all day long, skimp on flossing, and don’t visit the dentist yourself, your children will pick up on that message.

Fun activity sheets for your children:

Now that you know what Children’s Dental Health Month is all about, take advantage of our $65 kids smile special  and give your son or daughter a smile that will last a lifetime! 

Schedule an appointment today! (920) 854-5200

What Does Proactive Dentistry Mean Anyway?

If you are a patient at either our Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay or Algoma practice, you may have heard us refer to our type of dentistry as ‘proactive dentistry’, well what does that really mean anyway?  For us it means honestly addressing potential issues before they become painful and problematic.  Getting to the root of the problem and taking care of it in the best way possible for long-term success.  Yes, many times this puts the expense on the front end, but in the long run it saves you from being in pain, spending more money than you need to and more time in the dentist chair than you should. It’s definitely a different way of approaching your dental care.

Let’s put it into perspective. If you come into our office for an appointment and we notice that you have some separation between your tooth and its filling, we see it as our responsibility to inform you of this and make a plan of action to correct it, even if it is not causing you pain or discomfort at the moment.  By replacing the filling when the problem is found, you remove the opportunity for bacteria to slowly creep into the opening over time and cause infection.  Once infection has set in the procedures to correct the problem are more in-depth and costly then doing a replacement filling when the separation was first noticed.

 Cycle of Dental Neglect Dentistry By Design Door County Dentist(Infographic courtesy of Smiles in the Gardens)

Often we have patients come to us and say “Well, why didn’t my previous dentist see that?” To be honest, there are many factors for this. Did it happen in the time since you were last seen by a dentist?  Do they use an inter-oral camera that can see what is hard for the human eye to see?  Was your dentist keeping an eye on the issue in an effort to save you money at the time? Dentists have different beliefs when it comes to diagnosing and suggesting treatment, it doesn’t mean one is better than the other, patients just need to be on the same page with their provider.

At our practices we feel it is essential to long-term oral health to be proactive as opposed to reactive.  It is our practice policy to tell you upfront what we see, give you a plan of attack and suggest steps to have it addressed.  Of course the next step is always up to our patients, but we are always going to passionately suggest doing what is best for your overall oral health.

Community Benefits from DBD Volunteer Workday

Our volunteer workday utilizes the skills of our team members as a means to give back to the wonderful communities we are apart of.  The volunteer workday occurs three times a year at both our Sturgeon Bay and Sister Bay offices (Algoma will begin in 2016).  On each of those days our amazing team members, who previously agreed to volunteer a half day, come in on their day off to see patients for dental cleanings and various procedures.  What makes this day different from any regular clinic day is that not only is our team volunteering their time, but they donate two-thirds of the funds they receive to the community.

Boys&GirlsClub

DBD team members drop off a donation to the Boys and Girls Club of Door County.

“When the team donates their time, it eliminates our greatest expense.  We then take two-thirds of that half day’s production and donate it back to the community.  We retain a third to cover expenses like lab fees and supplies that pertain to that specific day, but nothing more.  With donated time and expertise and only having to cover costs we incur from outside sources we are able to make a more impactful donation.” states DBD Accountant, Teri Hooker.

Our volunteer workdays were established as a result of an unsuccessful attempt to help build a house with Habitat for Humanity.  Dr. Paul Feit states, “Originally we wanted to get a crew of DBD team members together to help build a house for a family in need, but due to conflicting schedules and weather challenges our team was unable to help build in 2014. We all felt strongly about giving back so we decided that the best way to do so was to utilize our professional talents.  We presented the idea and our amazing team jumped onboard right away.  It is a great way to help organizations like Habitat and individuals in our area in need in a way that fit into our busy schedules.”

Presenting a donation to Southern Door Elementary teachers.

Southern Door Elementary teachers receive a donation from DBD.

Our volunteer workdays are a collaboration between our team members and patients, with our team members collectively agreeing on who the funds are distributed to. Since the inception of the program in 2014 we are proud to announce that we have donated approximately $29,000 to individuals and families in need and various organizations in the Door County community. Organizations that have benefited include Backpack Buddies, Bark for Life, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin, Door County 4K & 5K Teachers, Door County High School Senior Banquets, Door County Veteran’s Council, Go Bo Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Loaves & Fishes, Neighbor to Neighbor, Northern Door Childcare Project, Special Olympics, The Boys and Girls Club of Door County, and The Ronald McDonald House Charities.

We would like to thank our amazing patients for helping us with our Volunteer Workdays. We couldn’t have done this without your continued support and patronage to our practices.