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Oral Cancer Awareness | May 2021

WHEN PEOPLE GO TO THE DENTIST
, it’s generally because they have a toothache, they need some dental work done, or they want to get their teeth cleaned. Being that spring is Oral Cancer Awareness season, we want to emphasize more than ever how important regular, twice-yearly dental exams are. Of course your dentist will make sure you don’t have any cavities, but what you may not realize is that regular dental exams could actually save your life.
 
What You Need To Know About Oral Cancer
 
Some people think oral cancer is rare, but here are the facts: approximately 132 individuals are diagnosed with oral cancer each day in the United States alone, and someone dies of oral cancer every hour. It is a particularly deadly cancer–only about half of oral cancer patients survive five years past their initial diagnosis. But what we really want you to remember is that early detection saves lives. When oral cancer is detected early, survival rates increase by 80 to 90 percent!
 
Be Aware Of The Risk Factors
 
Certain lifestyle activities can put you at a higher risk of developing oral cancer. Familiarize yourself with these risk factors:
 
Tobacco use–Smoking and other tobacco use makes you three times more likely to develop oral cancer
 
Alcohol consumption–Drinking alcohol more than doubles your risk of oral cancer
 
Excessive sun exposure–Frequent and prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays increases your risk of developing lip cancer
 
Age–Two-thirds of individuals with oral cancer are over age 55
 
While knowing the risks can help us prevent oral cancer, it still occurs in people without any of the above risk factors. In fact, it is becoming increasingly more prevalent among non-smoking, healthy individuals. The reason for this shift is the rise of HPV, or human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted infection. Individuals with HPV are 32 times more likely to develop oral cancer–even more so than tobacco users.
 
Get Screened Regularly At Routine Dental Exams
 
Oral cancer often begins as a painless sore in the mouth. We encourage doing frequent self-checks at home as well as visiting your dentist regularly, where you will receive routine oral cancer screenings. Come and see us immediately if you experience any lumps, white or red patches, numbness, or a sore that doesn’t heal within two weeks in and around the mouth and throat.  Any suspicious areas can be detected with our Velscope, a device which uses tissue fluorescence to identify trouble spots.
 
As dental professionals, we are the first line of defense against this awful disease. Next time you’re in our office, ask us more about how we screen for oral cancer. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have.
 

 
Help Us Raise Awareness
 
Unfortunately, we don’t hear as much about oral cancer as we do other cancers, and many people are unaware of their need to get screened on a regular basis at routine dental exams. As your trusted oral health care providers, we want to change that. Help us spread oral cancer awareness this month by sharing this post with your friends and loved ones.
We love being the dental practice you trust! Thank you!
 
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
 
 

Easy Ways To Improve Your Dental Health | April 2021

WE’VE ALL HEARD that if we want healthy teeth, we should brush twice a day, floss once a day, and schedule regular dental cleaning appointments twice a year. Definitely keep doing those things, but if you want to step up your oral health game, here are a few easy ways to do that.
 
Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly
 
One of the simplest ways you can improve your dental health and hygiene is to replace your toothbrush on a regular basis. Vigorous brushing will make the bristles fray and reduce the brush’s cleaning ability, but that’s not the only reason toothbrushes should be replaced often.
 
A lot of the bacteria we brush off our teeth stays on the bristles of our toothbrushes. Proper storage–meaning storing the toothbrush upright and letting it dry out between uses–can keep a toothbrush from getting smelly and nasty too fast, but it’s still important to replace your toothbrush at least every 3-4 months.
 
Use A Tongue-Scraper
 
Brushing your teeth twice daily is a no-brainer, but don’t forget your tongue! The same bacteria and gunk that flourishes on teeth can hide on your tongue too. Using a tongue scraper or just running your toothbrush over your tongue will leave your mouth feeling much fresher than if you only focus on your teeth and gums.
 
Don’t Brush Too Hard
 
Sometimes it seems like we need to really work at those teeth when we brush, to get absolutely all of the food particles and plaque out. However, if we brush too hard, we risk scraping away at the tooth enamel, which is your teeth’s first line of defense against decay. Brush using toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid damaging your teeth.
 
Eat Teeth-Friendly Foods
 
Many foods are bad for your teeth. Sugar and carbs feed the harmful bacteria living in your mouth and acidic drinks erode tooth enamel. Avoiding some of these foods will help, but there are also plenty of foods you can eat that are actually good for your teeth.
Adding more cheese, yogurt, leafy greens, apples, carrots, celery, and almonds to your diet will make your teeth happy, whether by scrubbing them as you eat, fighting bad bacteria, treating gum disease, neutralizing your mouth’s pH, or remineralizing your enamel.
 

 
We’d Love To See How Your Teeth Are Doing!
 
If it’s been a while since your last dental exam, we’d love to see how your teeth are doing, and we’ll be excited to see how adopting these simple habits will affect your oral health by the time we see you again!
 
We Love Our Patients!
 

Chocolate And Your Teeth | March 2021

UNDER MOST CIRCUMSTANCES, dentists are not fans of candy. The sugar in candy is the favorite food of bacteria that cause tooth decay. However, when it comes to chocolate, certain types may actually be good for oral health!  
To be clear, this is not a blog post in which we give you a free pass to eat all the chocolate you want. Only certain types of chocolate have any health benefits, and too much of even the healthiest kinds probably isn’t a good thing.
 
All Chocolate Is Not Created Equal
 
How can you tell where any given chocolate falls on the spectrum from most processed to least? It helps to know a little about how chocolate is made. The most important ingredient is the cocoa bean. After fermenting, the beans can either be roasted or made into cocoa powder, or cold pressed into cacao powder, which retains more of the original nutrients. You’ll get the most nutrients from cacao nibs or powder, but the stuff is pretty bitter and the chocolatey taste isn’t as strong.
 
If you’d rather stick with the chocolate you’re used to, there are still factors to consider. The main ingredients in a chocolate bar are cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, and milk (if it’s milk chocolate). White chocolate is made with cocoa butter and sugar and contains no cocoa solids, so it has none of the beneficial nutrients. Milk chocolate tends to contain at most 10 percent cocoa solids, so the tiny amount of nutrients from the cocoa beans is offset by a ton of sugar. Not a healthy choice. But let’s talk about dark chocolate.
 
The Benefits Of Dark Chocolate
 
Dark chocolate, particularly 70 percent cocoa (or cacao) or higher, is where you’ll start hearing buzzwords like “superfood.” That’s because the cocoa bean is full of healthy antioxidants–specifically, polyphenols, flavonoids, and tannins–and dark chocolate has enough cocoa in it to keep most of them. Bonus points: there isn’t much sugar.
 
Antioxidants have all kinds of benefits for overall health, but let’s focus on oral health. Saliva is the mouth’s first line of defense against tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath, and antioxidants play a crucial role in all of those. They help stabilize and strengthen your own oral tissues, protect against cell mutation, and make it harder for harmful bacteria to flourish.
 

 
Chocolate Still Isn’t Everything
 
Like we said before, this blog post isn’t a license for you to eat as much chocolate as you want. No matter how full of antioxidants it is, dark chocolate still doesn’t replace other important oral health habits like brushing, flossing, and regular dental appointments. If you love to snack, however, you might consider swapping a few items heavy in processed sugars for dark chocolate or cacao nibs. Your teeth will thank you!
Your healthy teeth are our pride and joy!
 
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
 

What Is Plaque? | February 2021

 

Most people have heard of the word “plaque,” and know it’s not something you want on your teeth. Yet, they don’t know what exactly plaque is or how it contributes to dental decay and periodontal disease.
 
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that lives on the surface of your teeth and along the gumline. It is also referred to as “biofilm”, which is the term preferred in the dental literature. 
 
It accumulates from normal daily activities such as eating and drinking, especially if
you’ve been consuming a lot of sugars and starches.
 
Ever had that fuzzy feeling on your teeth that goes away after you give them a good brush? Yep, that’s plaque.
 
Plaque is what contributes to dental decay, as bacteria that live in the plaque (the biofilm) like to  consume the sugars in your mouth and excrete acids that wear away at your tooth enamel. Acid and other byproducts from the bacteria also cause gum irritation (what we call gingivitis) and can eventually lead to a loss of bone support for the teeth themselves (periodontal disease).
 
When you don’t regularly brush and floss away plaque, it forms tartar, or what we call “calculus”. Tartar is the calcified substance on your teeth that only a professional cleaning can remove. The rough tarter further acts as a substrate for more plaque to attach to, causing further and faster Irritation of gums and acid release to the enamel of teeth.
 
Learn more about plaque: https://spearedu.co/Nr3Gt6i
 
To regularly remove plaque:
 
1. Brush thoroughly with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day.
 
2. Floss at least once a day to remove plaque that your brush can’t reach.
 
3. Visit us for your regular dental cleanings.
 

Get To Know Our Team | January 2021

We have had some new additions to our team the last few months and wanted to give our friends and clients a little more information about our new staff members.  
 
Here at Madsen and Hirsch Dental Care, we carefully screen our new members to make sure they are caring, empathetic individuals who support our mission of providing high quality dental care in a caring, family like atmosphere.
 
 
Kristin
 
Many of you have already know Kristin, our patient care coordinator and business assistant.  She is that smiling friendly face you meet when you enter the office. She is always ready to help and assist you with billing and insurance concerns, appointments, and promoting great oral health.  She is a Sun Prairie native, graduate from UW-Stevens Point with a B.A. in Communications.  Did you know that Kristin is also a 3rd degree black belt?  She also is a pickle enthusiast, cat lover, and her favorite move is “Labryrinth”.  She is also a new mom to be this coming spring.
 
 
 
 
 
Evelyn
 
Evelyn is a Patient Care Coordinator/Dental Assistant at Madsen and Hirsch Dental Care. She grew up in Oak Park, IL and currently resides in Madison, WI where she attends UW-Madison. Evelyn is double majoring in Biology and Piano Performance and serves as the music director of an all-female a cappella group, Tangled Up In Blue (TUIB). After completing her undergraduate education, Evelyn would like to pursue dentistry. Some of her hobbies include singing, playing the piano, taking photographs, reading, and spending time with friends. She is thrilled to be a team member of Madsen and Hirsch Dental Care and is committed to providing patients with outstanding care and hospitality. 
 
 
 
 
Sydney
 
Sydney is a current full time Dental Assistant at Madsen and Hirsch Dental Care. She was born and raised in Wisconsin. She currently resides in Janesville. Sydney graduated high school in 2018, and then went on to graduate from Blackhawk Technical College program for Dental Assisting in 2019. Her hobbies include spending time with her cats and family as well as driving her Jeep. She is very excited to be working with us and learning more at Madsen and Hirsch Dental Care.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We are happy and excited to have these team members join us to provide a comfortable and high quality experience for our friends and clients.  We hope that you will welcome them and find them to be of great help and comfort as you visit our office for your dental needs.
 

Visiting the Dentist During a Pandemic | December 2020

With the resurgence of the coronavirus in our community, treatment for inflammation and prevention of infection and disease is more important than ever. The human body can only handle so much inflammation and the healthier a person is - the less chronic inflammation taxing the body - the easier it is to fight off other infections, including viral. This is why we at Madsen and Hirsch Dental Care take any infectious oral conditions, even asymptomatic gum disease, so seriously. And this is why it is still important to make sure your dental health is in top notch condition.
 
Brushing, flossing and homecare may seem mundane, but so is washing your hands. These “mundane” acts can help keep you healthy.  It is also important to maintain your regular dental appointments to prevent any slippage in dental and oral health that may affect your immune system. Unfortunately, with the added stress to daily lives with the pandemic and delays in treatment, we are witnessing this slippage in people’s oral and dental health.
 
Even though we again are experiencing renewed calls for staying at home and reducing our exposure, CDC officials have determined that dental offices are a safe space to be and that routine dental services are an essential service.  We have had procedures in place since the days of the HIV-AIDS epidemic to ensure a clean and safe environment.  All patients are screened for any exposure, temperature taken, and traffic flow arranged for limited exposure. All patients have the option of staying in their car until called up to their appointment and escorted directly into the treatment room. We have installed a commercial clean air filter (developed for medical surgical suites) that uses 6 stage filtration included UV lite that is capable of killing bacteria and viruses.
When you enter the treatment room, you are being asked to brush with a peroxide gel which reduces the viral load in the saliva, thus reducing transmittable aerosols in the office.  Any residual aerosols are handled by our air filter.
 
We will get through this pandemic and our lives will return to a more normal state in due time.  In the meantime, we hope to see you soon for your regular checkup. This experience has helped us refocus on those things which are really important.  High among those things are the dental profession, which allows us to be a part of many lives, and you, our patients have made our lives fuller and better. Please be cautious and stay safe and enjoy the happiness of the Holidays.
 

Surgically Clean Air | October-November 2020

 
We have previously talked about our Surgically Clean Air Filter that we ordered to maintain a sterile operatory for implant surgeries.  Coincidentally, this occurred just as Covid 19 was surfacing and we were fortunate to have ready this additional layer of protection for our patients and staff in the dental office here at Madsen & Hirsch Dental Care.
 
We are proud to announce that we have received our whole office Surgically Clean Air filtration unit, the Cascade White.
 
The Cascade White utilizes Surgically Clean Air's multi-stage air purifying technologies that work together to clean, purify and re-energize the indoor air. The six (6) stage filtration system captures dust particles, pollen, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), mold, allergens, viruses, odors (like formaldehyde and smoke), bio-aerosols, nitrous oxide, and many other pollutants that are found in the inside air in workplaces. The negative ion generator makes indoor feel more pure, clean and energized to help combat fatigue. For an air purifier to deliver its benefits throughout the indoor space it needs to move large volumes of air through its filtration system effectively without impacting those people that are closest to it by creating a 'breeze' or being too loud.
 
An efficient air cleaner will remove particulate matter from the air – including potentially infective droplet nuclei. This reduction or complete elimination of viruses and bacteria breaks the cycle of airborne disease transmission.
 
We are happy to provide a clean indoor environment for our patients and staff and to provide additional confidence to your feeling of safety and well-being in the office.  
 
Check out the video:
 

This chart describes the six stages:
 
 

The Why, When, How and Where of Tongue Scraping | September 2020

Imagine it’s still winter … you’re standing at the door, ready to brave the cold. You’re layered-up with three shirts and a sweatshirt, your heavy winter coat, and two layers of socks underneath and your waterproof winter boots. Then you’ve got those awesome jeans with the flannel on the inside, your comfy hat, scarf, and gloves. You’re set! But wait. As you step toward the door, you suddenly realize you have an itch … and it’s deep down … buried beneath all those layers. And,

try as you may, every attempt to reach that bugger-of-an-itch fails. Defeated, you realize the

only relief you’re ever gonna’ get is to remove each one of those layers. Where are we going

with this?!

 

The Tongue

 

We’re going inside your mouth, of course, to your tongue – this is a dental article, after all!

Because whether you know it or not, like you in the wintertime, your tongue is also “all covered

up” – buried beneath layers of bacteria, fungi, and food residue that can inhibit your ability to

taste, let alone cause your tongue to appear various shades of yellow, white, or green! Remove

the bacteria, though, and your food will once again directly interact with those taste buds, and

return to its natural hue. So how does one do that? With a tongue scraper, of course!                      

WHAT is a tongue scraper?

 

A tongue scraper is a U-shaped device designed to “scrape” the top layer of scum from your

tongue. They have been in use since ancient times, and have been made of everything from

wood to whalebone. Nowadays, they are made of more hygienic material, and come in a

variety of shapes, sizes, designs and colors.

 

WHY use a tongue scraper?

 

The residue on your tongue includes things like the cavity-inducing Streptococcus mutans

bacterium, fungi, rotting food (that’s not good), and what’s referred to as “volatile sulfur

compounds.” In other words, sulfur – that “rotting egg smell.” Talk about ew! So, as you can see,

there are several reasons why you’d want to get rid of this gunk in your mouth. Let’s tackle

them one by one:

 

Reduce bad breath: ‘nuff said!

 

Reduce your risk of periodontal disease and cavities: Bad bacteria contribute to plaque

and tartar on teeth, making them more susceptible to cavities. Bacteria build-up can also lead

to inflammation of gum tissue (gingivitis). If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontal

disease, which means a more expensive dental visit (plus other unwanted consequences!).

Speaking of avoiding an expensive dental visit, when was the last time you came in to see us?

Come see us now if it’s been awhile, by calling in at

 

Make room for good bacteria: see our article here on probiotics for your mouth

 

Prevent heart disease? While the debate is still up in the air, some studies suggest there

could be a correlation between gum disease and heart disease.

HOW does one use a tongue scraper?

 

In general, make sure to rinse your tongue scraper before and after use. Apply the tongue

scraper to the back of your tongue and drag it forward. Then, rinse and repeat. Make sure to

get the sides of your tongue as well, not just the center!

Make sure not to press too hard or you can cause yourself to bleed. And, if you’re wondering if

you should scrape your tongue while recovering from a dental procedure, that’s a good

question … ask your dentist for the best advice particular to your situation. Still not sure how

this thing really works? The next time you’re in ask Dr. Madsen or Dr. Hirsch or one of our team

for a quick tutorial.

 

WHERE do I buy one?

 

Your first choice is, believe it or not, us, here at Madsen & Hirsch Dental Care. When you come in

for your cleaning, just ask for a free sample.  Tongue scrapers are relatively inexpensive, and can

also be found at any local drugstore. It doesn’t matter the material, color, or brand – just find the one you like and get scraping!

 

Overcoming Dental Anxiety | August 2020

MANY OF US,
even though we know that going to the dentist is a safe, normal, and important part of life, don’t find it particularly fun to lie flat on our backs while someone pokes around our teeth and gums. For some, though, the very thought of visiting the dentist fills them with anxiety, and it could even be a full-blown phobia. During this pandemic, that anxiety can be heightened and even the most stoic patient can have some anxiety.  That’s why we’d like to put our focus on helping our patients overcome their dental anxieties and fears.
 
Dental Anxiety Stats
 
Fear of going to the dentist is fairly common, with an estimated nine to 15 percent of Americans completely avoiding visiting the dentist because of anxiety and fear. That means up to 40 million Americans are taking a serious gamble with their dental health. Putting off a basic twice-a-year cleaning out of fear leaves patients much more susceptible to tooth decay and painful infection. It’s always better to view dental care as preventative, not just reactive.
 
Your Friendly Neighborhood Dentist
 
If you’re worried about going to the dentist, that might be because history and pop culture have given you the wrong idea. Before WWII made anesthetics the norm, dental procedures were uncomfortable, to say the least, but the field has come a long way since then. Modern dental offices maintain a high standard of comfort and care for patients.  We have a multitude of options to offer to make you feel at ease, so that you can have your dental needs addressed while they are simple and easy to fix, rather than waiting to treatment becomes more complicated and expensive.  During this pandemic, if your anxiety is directed toward being exposed to the virus, the dental office is probably the cleanest, most disinfected place you will visit.  We have been experts in office infection control since the HIV-AIDs crisis many years ago.  In Addition, good dental health is important for a healthy immune system.
 
Advice For Overcoming Dental Anxiety
 
If you or a family member or friend experiences dental anxiety, make sure to tell us.  Your first visit to the office can be meeting the doctors and having your questions answered without sitting in a dental chair.  This way you can take in the sights and sounds of the office and meet our wonderful and caring staff without having to have dental work done that day.  We can discuss the use of oral conscious sedation techniques which allow you to be relaxed during your dental procedure. Here at Madsen & Hirsch Dental Care, we work hard and take the time to make you comfortable and anxiety free.  
 

 
 
We Will Work With You!
 
Your care and comfort are our top priorities. If you or someone in your family struggles with dental anxiety and it’s interfering with getting needed dental care, we’d love to schedule a time for you to come to our practice so that you can get used to the facility and get to know our team. We can answer any questions you may have.
 
We hope to see you soon!
 
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions
 

Oral Health During a Pandemic | July 2020

With the outbreak of the coronavirus, treatment for inflammation and prevention of infection and disease is more important than ever. The human body can only handle so much inflammation and the healthier a person is - the less chronic inflammation taxing the body - the easier it is to fight off other infections, including viral. This is why we take any infectious oral conditions, even asymptomatic gum disease, so seriously. 
 
Brushing, flossing and homecare may seem mundane, but so is washing your hands. These “mundane” acts can help keep you healthy.
 
Our office prescribes Perio Protect, a homecare system to prevent and treat gum disease. Special therapeutic prescription trays, called Perio Trays®, are made just for your mouth through an easy digital scanning process to deliver medication deep below the gums to fight infections causing disease. The primary medication applied with the trays, Perio Gel® with 1.7% hydrogen peroxide, is highly effective at killing infectious bacteria and reducing inflammation.
 
Peroxide also kills the coronavirus. Using peroxide in these special prescription trays will not prevent you from contracting the virus, but the peroxide therapy, rinsing with peroxide or brushing with the peroxide gel may help reduce the viral load in saliva and the risk of oral transmission. For this reason, we at Madsen & Hirsch dental care are having everyone we see in the office brush with this same peroxide product at the start of your appointment.
 
We will get through this pandemic and our lives will return to a more normal state in due time. This experience has helped us refocus on those things which are really important.  High among those things are the dental profession, which allows us to be a part of many lives, and you, our patients have made our lives fuller and better. Please be cautious and stay safe. When this is over, we look forward to us sharing a happy future together.
 

How to Handle Common Dental Emergencies | June 2020

How to Handle Common Dental Emergencies/June 2020
 
You are heading up North or going on vacation.  Let’s say you sprained an ankle. What are your first steps? Most of us probably would say something along the lines of plop down on the nearest couch, ice the ankle, elevate it, add some compression, and see a doctor if it’s a bad sprain.
 
But what about a dental  emergency, like a broken tooth? What’s your first step?
 
Don’t be surprised if you don’t know. Most of us aren’t that familiar with the recommendations. But after this post, you’ll be the go-to source if it happens.
 
So What, Exactly, is a Dental Emergency?
 
A dental emergency is any event that warrants immediate care to save a tooth, stop bleeding from the mouth, or relieve tooth or mouth pain. Some of the most common examples we see at Madsen & Hirsch Dental Care include a cracked or knocked-out tooth or a toothache.
 
Tips for Treating Common Dental Emergencies
 
We see our fair share of dental emergencies here in Madison, WI and we’re equipped to handle them all.
If you or a family member experiences any of these, call us as soon as possible, and we’ll let you know if you’ll need to see us.
 
Knocked-out tooth
 
For adults, place the tooth in the socket without touching the root; if that’s not possible, place the tooth between your check and gums, in milk, or in ADA-approved tooth-preservation solution. It’s crucial to keep the tooth wet. For children with baby teeth, come to our office as soon as possible; do not try to place the tooth in the socket.
 
Cracked Tooth
 
Rinse your mouth, and place an ice pack on your face to reduce the swelling. Wrap the tooth piece that has fractured off in wet gauze or a towel, and bring it to the office.
 
Toothache
 
Use warm water to rinse your mouth, and gently floss to remove any food.
If you note any facial swelling (which may signal infection), come to our office or your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
 
Bitten Tongue or Lip
 
Clean the area with a cloth, or rinse your mouth with water. Apply an ice pack to the area. If the bleeding doesn’t slow, come to our office or go to the ER.
 
Tips for Preventing Emergencies
 
Taking the right measures can keep your teeth safe. Here are a few easy precautions you and your family can take each day:
 
Use scissors or a tool, rather than your teeth, to open or cut items
Wear a mouth guard when playing high-impact sports, like football, basketball, and soccer
Wear a helmet when using a bike, scooter, or skateboard
Never chew hard foods, like ice and hard candy
Help young children keep toys and small items out of their mouths
 
Need More Information?
 
Give us a call or send us an email. Everyone at Madsen & Hirsch Dental Care is happy to answer any questions you have!

A Healthy Lifestyle-Good for the Body and Teeth | May 2020

A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE is the best prevention for illness and chronic disease. It can also be just as effective as any medicine a doctor could prescribe. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, or simply live more healthily, the good choices you’re making not only do wonders for your body and overall health, but they also have a beneficial impact on your smile!
 
Congratulations On Making Better Food Choices
 
Oral health depends on more than how many times a day you brush your teeth, it also depends on your diet! As you choose healthier foods for your body, you are also choosing better foods for your teeth.
 
If you’re trading chips and fruit snacks in for healthier snacks like cheese, veggies and nuts, you’ve made the right choice! A diet low in sugar and processed foods can help you trim your waistline, fend off illness and prevent cavities.
 
Check out the video below to learn more about where added sugar could be hiding in your diet!
 

 
We See You’re Drinking More Water… Great Job!
 
Perhaps before you made your goal to live a more healthy lifestyle, you would reach for your favorite soda rather than water at mealtime. Did you know that one in four Americans get at least 200 calories a day from sugary drinks like soda? Not only can frequent soda consumption lead to weight gain, it also contributes to tooth decay!
Eliminating soda from your diet, or at least consuming it in moderation, is a good way to cut back on calories and cavities. And now that you’re starting to drink more water, you’re probably realizing how good it makes you feel, especially since it is calorie-free!
 
Keep Up The Good Work With Regular Exercise
 
By maintaining a healthy weight, you are protecting yourself from health conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, to name a few. As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, these diseases often go hand in hand with periodontal, or gum disease. In fact, 91 percent of patients with heart disease and 22 percent of those with diabetes have gum disease.
 
So keep up the good work! Regular exercise does wonders for your body’s health and your smile reaps the benefits too!
 
One Last Tip For Our Wonderful Patients
 
It is widely known that almost nothing tastes good after you brush your teeth. So we recommend that you let good oral hygiene help you stem cravings!
 
If you’re experiencing a craving and want to avoid it, brush your teeth! Or even pop a piece of sugar-free gum into your mouth. Not only will this help your craving pass, but you’ll be less inclined to eat after making your mouth minty fresh! Added bonus? Your pearly whites stay squeaky clean. Oh and did we mention that two minutes of brushing burns around 5 calories? It’s not much, but it’s something!
 
Thank you for being such wonderful patients!

Stay Safe | April 2020

At Madsen & Hirsch Dental Care, your health and wellbeing are our No. 1 priority. As the world continues to act and react to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a lot of misinformation floated out through the news and social media. So you can stay informed, we wanted to pass along resources that we've found helpful.
 
Coronavirus Prevention
 
As it works on a vaccine for COVID-19, the CDC has many recommendations on how to prevent contracting the virus, chief among them: washing your hands vigorously, using disinfectants, staying home if you are sick, and avoiding close contact with others.
 
Here is a complete list of CDC recommendations.
 
COVID-19 Symptoms
 
If you have been exposed to the virus, the following symptoms may appear within 2-14 days of exposure:
 
Fever
Cough
Shortness of breath
 
Severe symptoms include the following. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following:
 
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
New confusion or inability to arouse
Bluish lips or face
 
What to Do If You Are Sick
 
There is a long list of precautionary measures. Above all, the CDC recommends that you stay home, stay in touch with your doctor, and avoid public transportation.
 
Here is a link to the CDC's complete list of recommendations.
 
Official COVID-19 Updates
 
Like we mentioned above, there is a lot of misinformation about this pandemic as news and regulations continue to rapidly shift.
 
Here is the CDC's main page, where they update on everything from new cases to safety practices.
 
Stay safe and in good health, and know that we will get through this together!
 
Remember that we are here to serve any dental emergencies or urgent dental needs because a healthy mouth is a necessity for a healthy immune system.
 
Call:  608-216-2613.
 
 

Understanding the Five Stages of Tooth Decay | March 2020

Did you know there are five distinct stages of tooth decay? And, that in the first stage of decay, you can actually take steps to reverse the progression of the disease? Indeed, it’s true. In the first stage of decay, whether you’re a child or an adult, the application of fluoride via fluoride treatments, your toothpaste and even the local water supply can stop a cavity from penetrating through the enamel and reaching its second stage. Even the saliva in your mouth and the foods you eat help to re-mineralize a tooth in jeopardy. But that’s just the first stage! What about the rest? Understanding how a cavity progresses can assist you in preventing each successive stage from occurring in your own mouth and in your child’s mouth.
 
Stage One: White Spots
 
In stage one, the tooth begins to show signs of strain from the attack of sugars and acids, and white spots will begin to materialize just below the surface of the enamel. These white spots are representative of the demineralization of the tooth and can be easy to miss because they’re likely to occur on your back molars. A dental exam, of course, is designed to catch such cavities! Can you see why regular visits to the dentist are recommended? As mentioned previously, at this stage, the cavity can be repaired without the need to excavate the tooth.  The dentist and the hygienist are trained to spot these areas and will notify and educate you about how to prevent the weak spot from progressing.
 
Stage Two: Enamel Decay
 
 Stage two marks the beginning of the end for the surface enamel that is being attacked. Initially, the tooth erodes from the underside outward, so the outer enamel will still be intact for the first half of this second stage. Once the cavity breaks through the surface of the enamel, there is no turning back, and you will need to have the cavity corrected with a filling. This is why it is critical to have regular exams.  When the tooth is at this stage you still may not notice the break in enamel.  The filling will be small at this point if detected early.
 
Stage Three: Dentin Decay 
 
If a cavity in your mouth were to progress beyond stage two without you knowing, you’d tend become aware of it when it started to hit stage three because it would probably start to cause some pain. At this level, the cavity begins to eat away at the second level of tooth material that lies beneath the enamel: the dentin. A filling can still be used to stop the onslaught of bacteria assaulting the tooth in order to prevent the cavity from reaching the tooth’s most critical component: the pulp.
 
Stage Four: Involvement of the Pulp 
 
Once the cavity reaches the pulp, it’s going to hurt- A lot.  Or, the tooth may be so weakened, it fractures or breaks. So if you’ve unfortunately missed all the signs to this point, instead of a small filling or a reversible spot, your tooth may become an emergency situation for you. Stage four is serious, and a root canal is the only option of treatment at this stage, save for a complete extraction.  Fortunately, due to advances in dentistry, both of these procedures can be done comfortably for you, but at a much greater expense than preventive measures.
 
Stage Five: Abscess Formation
 
In the fifth and final stage of a cavity, the infection has reached the tip of the root and exited the tip of the tooth’s structure. This in turn infects the surrounding tissues and possibly the bone structure. Swelling would be commonplace and pain severe.  An abscess can be fatal if not dealt with immediately. Root canal or extraction would be the order of the day should decay reach this stage.  You need to call the office right away if this happens so you can be evaluated and most likely prescribed antibiotics.
As you can see, cavities don’t happen overnight. In the early stages, regular visits can stall and reverse the progression of these dastardly little devils, so it really does pay to visit the dentist at pre-selected intervals. You and your children can stay away from stage five their whole lives, and if a little bit of prodding to get them to the dentist accomplishes that, you can rest easy despite the griping.  And don’t think cavities are just for kids.  Older adults often end up with recurrent decay around old fillings or crowns due to inadequate oral hygiene, dry mouth due to medications, or other health factors. So remember the old adage you have often heard:  Prevention is the Best Medicine. 

 

 

All About Invisalign | February 2020

 
Invisalign is a popular orthodontic treatment for adults who are looking to have their teeth straightened to be more attractive, cleansable, and functional in their bite.  It is the perfect alternative to expensive and  unattractive traditional braces, and is oftentimes similar  in cost and treatment time. The primary benefit of Invisalign treatment is the fact that treatment is completed with nearly invisible aligners. These aligners are made of clear medical-grade plastic that fit over the top of your teeth in order to slowly push and move teeth into their correct locations over time. Most treatment cases will take anywhere from six to eighteen months to complete.
 
Invisalign clear aligner trays are usually changed weekly. They have small adjustments to them which allow them to move your teeth while you are wearing them. While they are worn all day and night, they are removed in order to eat, drink, and to care for your teeth. This is a huge benefit over traditional metal braces, which can make it hard to floss and properly care for your teeth during treatment. With Invisalign, you can  remove the trays to clean  them, as well as brush and floss your teeth as you did before. This allows you to keep problems such as periodontal disease at bay during your treatment.
 
You are a great candidate for Invisalign if your gums are healthy, you have no decay in your teeth and you have the motivation to make your smile look its best. Extensive issues such as a skeletal misalignment may be treated  better with traditional orthodontics.  Invisalign requires the patient to comply with the directions for treatment in order to experience the expected results in a timely manner.  When patients follow the directions and are compliant, they are  extremely satisfied with their smile. Additionally, patients will want to continue to wear a retainer in order to maintain the results of their treatment.
 
We want your treatment to reflect your unique smile, lifestyle and personality. Call us today at Madsen & Hirsch Dental Care to discuss any questions you might have about Invisalign or make an appointment for a FREE consultation by calling 608-216-2613.

Bad Dental Habits To Break | January 2020

Nobody’s perfect. We all pick up bad habits along the way. Even our oral health isn’t immune. Try as you may, odds are you’ve picked up a habit or two in the name of convenience.

That’s totally okay! We get it. And that’s why we’re here: to ensure your oral health is in fantastic shape.

Here are a few less-than-stellar dental habits that we often see, with some tips on how to break them.

 

Putting Off a Dental Visit

You knew we had to start here! If you don’t visit the dentist every six months, or if it’s been a while

since we’ve seen your smile, schedule an appointment today!

You can call us at 608-216-2613 or go through our scheduling portal HERE- to make an appointment. Staying on top of your health today can save yourself a lot of time and money down the road. Problems caught early and small are easier to treat and always less expensive than waiting till it hurts.

 

Not Flossing

Again, you probably figured this would be on here. And you know what, it’s for good reason.

Flossing helps prevent decay and gum recession. It’s super important!

So how can you remember to floss more? Put a post-it note on your mirror as a reminder. Invest in a flossing stick — some people find it much easier than the traditional method. Floss at the same time each day to build up a routine. You can also start small, setting a goal of once per week. After that settles in you may find yourself craving a good floss after brushing.  If flossing is difficult for you or you have hard to reach area, a water flosser or waterpik may be the answer for you.

 

Not Brushing Long Enough

Many people simply aren’t being effective with their oral hygiene routine because they just aren’t brushing long enough.  A 30second to 1 minute swipe with the brush around the mouth just isn’t good enough. You should be spending a minimum of 3-5 minutes brushing your teeth to make sure you are getting the backs, fronts and tops and bottoms of all your teeth. Keep your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward the base of the gums, and move the brush in a gentle, circular motion. Using an electric toothbrush such as a Sonicare or an Oral B brush with a timer does a far better job than a manual brush. The brushing and not the toothpaste is what keeps the biofilm from organizing. Organized biofilm is what causes decay and gum disease. Use a minimal amount of toothpaste and brush longer.

 

Using an Old Toothbrush

When was the last time you changed your toothbrush? It’s not something you often think of, right?

The problem with using an old toothbrush its frayed bristles can end up damaging your teeth rather than cleaning them properly. Also, an old brush will accumulate bacteria, You should change your toothbrush every three to four months. A good mnemonic device is to change your toothbrush on the first day of every new season. That way you’ll never have an old brush!

 

Letting the Water Run

This one is self-explanatory, and it’s an easy fix. After you wet your tooth brush,turn off the tap.

That initial wetting is all the water you’ll need. Turning off the water is good for your bill and great for Mother Earth.

 

Filling In The Gaps: Dental Implant Basics | December 2019

DENTAL IMPLANTS ARE
permanent false teeth designed to look just like your other teeth. They’re a popular alternative to dentures or bridges, and the American Dental Association considers them to be “one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past 40 years.”
 
How Do They Work?
 
Unlike dentures and bridges, which don’t feel or look entirely real and must be removed and cleaned outside of your mouth daily, dental implants are surgically affixed to your jaw. In place of the roots your native teeth have, the new tooth is held in place by a surgical screw. The crown is carefully selected to match the shape and color of the surrounding teeth, so it blends right in.
Dental implants can be used for a variety of situations, such as replacing a single, missing tooth; replace and support bridgework; and to help support removable dentures. Additionally, Drs. Madsen and Hirsch complete several other oral surgeries in conjunction with dental implants, such as bone grafting and tooth extractions. These procedures can even be done with sedation dentistry to allow you to have a positive experience at the dentist, regardless of any past fears or anxieties you may have about visiting the dentist's chair.
 
Who Are They For?
 
If you’ve lost teeth due to injury or disease, dental implants could restore your smile more effectively than other options. However, not everyone with missing teeth is a candidate. Just as with real teeth, oral health is crucial to successful implants. Before you get an implant, you need good, strong bone and healthy gums to support it, and once it’s in, you have to keep it clean by brushing and flossing. Regular dental checkups are critical in maintaining dental implant health and longevity.
 
But What About Braces?
 
If you don’t already have your implants but need orthodontics to straighten your teeth, we recommend you do Invisalign . Because implants are screwed into your jaw bone, they will not move, which can make them excellent anchors to help move your other teeth where they need to go—but only if they’re in the right place to begin with. If not, your existing implants may need to be removed and then reattached after you’ve finished with your orthodontics.
 
Still Have Questions? We Have Answers!
 
If you’re thinking about getting dental implants or know someone who is, we can answer any questions you may have about them. We’re here to help you achieve the smile of your dreams!
Dr. Madsen will be happy to answer your questions in a free consultation.  Call (608) 216-2613.
 
We love our patients!
 
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
 

Foods That Cause Tooth Decay | November 2019

When it comes to tooth decay, it’s important to know the main culprit – acid. 
 
Acid is what eats away at our enamel and causes cavities.
 
Acid can enter our mouths in one of two ways: either directly through what we eat 
 
(citrus fruits) or as a byproduct when oral bacteria consume the sugars that we eat.
 
Ultimately, a simple way to identify foods that cause tooth decay is to ask whether it’s acidic or sweet/starchy
.
Acidic foods include things like citrus fruits, tomatoes, vinegar, kombucha and sour candy.
 
Sweet/starchy foods include things like candy, soda or sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit, bread, cereal, pasta and crackers.
 
The longer these things interact with your teeth, the greater the chance for tooth decay to occur.
 
For example, sipping on soda throughout the day, or chewing a gooey caramel treat, increases the amount of sugar that coat your teeth. Bacteria love to feast on this sugar, creating an acidic environment and putting your teeth at risk for decay.
 
Conditions such as gastric reflux or bulimia can also create an acidic environment in the mouth which can be extremely destructive to tooth enamel contributing to tooth abrasion and wear.
 
To help protect your teeth against tooth decay:
 
- Reduce your consumption of sweets and refined starches
- Enjoy acidic foods in moderation or as part of a meal
- Decrease or eliminate your consumption of soda or sugar-sweetened beverages
- Swish with water after meals and snacks
- Maintain good oral hygiene to brush away plaque buildup (floss at least once a day
- and brush twice a day)
- -See your physician if you suffer gastric reflux or bulimia.
    
And, as always, make sure to visit us regularly so we can remove tartar buildup and assess for early signs of decay.  https://rwl.io/2iVBcfy
 
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.