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Tips For A Younger Looking Smile | April 2022

THERE ARE COUNTLESS methods we use to try and turn back the clock on our appearance. Whether it’s hip wardrobes and hairstyles or costly cosmetic surgeries, people go to great lengths to recapture the look and feeling of their youth.       

Despite all of these anti-aging fads and gimmicks, studies show your smile can do more to make you look younger than anything else!

Now is the time to do a makeover on your smile, before the holidays and spring weddings.  
 
Good Oral Hygiene Keeps Your Smile Looking Younger, Longer
 
The simplest thing you can do to keep Father Time at bay is to practice good oral hygiene habits. Brushing twice a day and flossing regularly promotes healthy teeth and gums and keeps your smile looking and feeling clean. If we ignore these simple habits, we put our smiles at risk of harmful bacteria which can lead to unsightly effects such as:
 
Cavities,
Tooth discoloration or tooth loss,
And periodontal disease.
 
Maintaining good oral health throughout your life doesn’t just preserve the appearance of your smile, but it can preserve your overall health too. Bleeding gums caused by periodontal disease can allow bacteria from your mouth to enter your bloodstream and affect other parts of the body. Research suggests gum disease can increase our risk for serious health problems, including…
 
Diabetes
Endocarditis and cardiovascular disease
Osteoporosis
Strokes
Alzheimer’s Disease
 
Brighten Your Smile With Professional Tooth Whitening
 
Even when you take good care of your teeth, over time they naturally yellow. Micro-fractures, thinning enamel, and built-up stains all make your teeth look duller and older. But, that can be changed with tooth whitening!
 
There are several tooth whitening solutions, each with their own unique benefits. From over the counter whitening strips to in-office whitening treatments, we can help you decide which whitening solution is best for your smile.
Cosmetic Dentistry Can Give You The Look You Want
 
Whether you need just few touch-ups or would like an amazing dental makeover, cosmetic dentistry can provide exactly the look you want. Cosmetic dentistry has both therapeutic and aesthetic benefits. Treatment can repair your teeth and correct your bite, and at the same time give you the gorgeous smile you’ve always wanted!  
 
Be Confident In Your Smile
 
One of the best ways to appear more youthful is to smile more! This can start a wonderful cycle too! Smiling more can actually make you happier, and make you want to smile more.
 
We love our patients and love seeing your bright shining smiles each day. If you have any questions about how we can give you a healthier, more beautiful smile, give us a call and set an appointment to visit our practice or let us know in the comments below!
 
Thank you for brightening our day.
 

In Honor of National Dentists Day | March 2022

We deeply appreciate our patients and do our best to provide you with the latest innovations in dentistry that are available to handle your dental needs.  As many of you who have been with us over the years know, we regularly attend continuing education seminars and conventions to continue our commitment to provide the best, most comfortable care that results in dental health that last a lifetime.
 
     For those patients not so familiar with this commitment, here is a brief summary of our backgrounds and love for continuing education.  Dr. Madsen is a Fellow with the Misch Implant Institute and has been one of the first dentists in Madison to place dental implants and do bone grafting procedures.  He has continued to follow and take courses related to dental implants and is well read in current techniques and trends.
 
      Every other year, he has attended the world renowned Rjamford Symposium at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. Implantologists and Periodontists from around the world attend this symposium where the latest peer reviewed science is presented.  He is also a faculty member of the Spear Institute headquartered in Phoenix where courses are offered in all ranges of dentistry from Preventive dentistry to Restorative dentistry, Implants, and Dentures.  Dr. Madsen has also studied and become certified to provide Botox and Xeomin injections for facial and joint pain.
 
     Dr. Hirsch is a Fellow with the Academy of General Dentistry, and a certified provider of Invisalign and Sure Smile aligners.  Dr. Hirsch has also previously been a part time faculty member at Marquette University School of Dentistry and the Madison College Dental Hygiene program.  In recent years, Dr. Hirsch has become study club leader for our Spear Institute club.  Both Dr. Madsen and Dr. Hirsch meet monthly with other community like-minded dentists to discuss different dental techniques and how to provide the best that dentistry has to offer to our respective patients.
 
     We just recently attended the Chicago Midwinter Dental Convention after a year’s hiatus (due to Covid).  It is at this convention two years ago that we recognized the importance of air filters for our office with the threat of the oncoming pandemic and decided to make that investment.   Continuing education is not only about the dentistry, but also about investing in products and equipment that promote the safety and comfort of our patients.  So in honor of National Dentists Day this month in March, we recommit to offer you, our patients the best that modern dentistry has to offer.
 
 

Understanding the Five Stages of Tooth Decay | February 2022

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.

How To Quickly Treat Cold Sores | January 2022

Got a Cold Sore?  Here’s How to Treat It Quickly
 
Ugh. A cold sore appears a couple days before a party where you’ll be photographed as much as the Royal Couple. That smile that we’ve been working on together just went from hero to zero, right?
 
Not necessarily. Finding which cold sore treatment works best for you can help speed along its healing. And that’s why we’re here.
 
Maybe It Isn’t a Cold Sore, Right? Let’s clear the air about what a cold sore is and isn’t.
 
Cold sores are highly contagious blisters that usually appear on your lips or around your mouth. Caused by a virus (herpes simplex type 1), cold sores usually start with a tingling sensation, evolve into numerous tiny, painful blisters, and later crust over.
 
Canker sores or what we call “Apthous ulcers” on the other hand, aren’t contagious, but they still sting. Unlike cold sores, they usually appear as flat white oval lesions inside your mouth, especially near or on your gums, tongue, throat or inside your cheeks.
 
Remedies for Cold Sores
 
The key to treating a cold sore is acting fast. As soon as the first symptom appears, consider these steps to move the healing process along quickly:
 
• Apply Ice to the Cold Sore
 
At the first sign, grab an ice cube, wrap it in a paper towel, place it where you feel the cold sore coming on, and let it melt. Back-to-back applications can reduce the pain.
 
You can boost your immune system’s fight against this viral nuisance with the right foods. Fill your plate with cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, kale, and cauliflower, and avoid foods with arginine, a cold-sore-triggering amino acid found in nuts, chocolate, and oats.
 
• Dial Down the Stress
 
One of the most common causes of cold sores is, surprise, surprise, stress. Minimizing stress these days can get so complicated that it causes more stress, right? But try giving yourself some time for the restorative, restful activities that drop your heart rate and raise your smile.
 
• Reach for Aloe Vera or Even an Over-The-Counter Cream
 
Both natural and medicinal creams have shown promise as cold sore remedies. Some studies suggest that aloe vera can help the fever blister heal, and over-the-counter creams, like docosanol, also tout their ability to knock the sore out of cold sores. Prefer the medicinal route? Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before using it.
 
• Relieve Pain with Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen
 
Some cold sores can get really painful. For those intense ones, acetaminophen or ibuprofen may provide well-needed relief. Just be sure that your healthcare provider’s on-board with that type of over-the-counter med.
 

Erosion: What You Eat and Drink Can Affect your Teeth/ Nov, Dec. 2021

Think that only sweet-tasting drinks and snacks are harmful for your teeth? Think again. 

Sugar isn’t the only dietary factor that can damage your smile. Now that we are entering the Holiday Season, it’s a good time to think of what we are eating and drinking.   Foods and beverages that are high in acids wear away the enamel that protects your teeth, a process known as tooth erosion. This changes the appearance of your teeth and opens the door for bacteria that can cause cavities or infection.

 

What Does Tooth Erosion Do to My Teeth?

Tooth erosion is permanent. If your enamel has started to wear away, you may:

  • Feel pain or sensitivity when consuming hot, cold or sweet drinks
  • Notice a yellowish discoloration of the teeth
  • Find that your fillings have changed
  • Face greater risks for more cavities over time
  • Develop an abscess, in very extreme cases 
  • Experience tooth loss, also in very extreme cases

Once erosion occurs, you may need fillings, crowns, a root canal or even tooth removal. Veneers may also be an option to restore the look of your smile.

 

Acidic Foods and Beverages to Watch For

Here’s a quick tip: If what you’re eating or drinking is citrus or citrus-flavored, carbonated or sour, it’s best to limit how much you consume. 

Nutritious, acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits can have some acidic effects on tooth enamel, so eat them as part of a meal, not by themselves. Dried fruits, including raisins, can also cause problems because they are sticky and adhere to teeth, so the acids produced by cavity-causing bacteria continue to harm teeth long after you stop eating them. 

Still, the major erosion culprit is soft drinks, especially soda and sports drinks. Even if they are sugar-free, they are more likely to be acidic thanks to carbonation. That bubbly fizz raises the acid level of any drink, regardless of its flavor. 

Acid in beverages can also come from citrus flavorings such as lemon, lime and orange. Even all-natural beverages like orange juice or fresh-squeezed lemonade are higher in acid than regular water, so make them an occasional treat instead of a daily habit. 

And speaking of treats, some sour candies are almost as acidic as battery acid, and many use citric acids to get that desired effect. If you like a little sour with your sweet tooth, please pucker in moderation.

 

Tips for Protecting Your Teeth

You can reduce tooth erosion from what you eat and drink by following these tips:

  • Wait an hour before you brush after eating acidic foods to give your saliva a chance to naturally wash away acids and re-harden your enamel.
  • Limit – or avoid – acidic beverages like soft drinks. If you do indulge, use a straw. 
  • When drinking something like a soft drink, do not swish or hold it in your mouth longer than you need to. Just sip and swallow. 
  • After acidic meals or beverages, rinse your mouth with water, drink milk or enjoy a snack of cheese right afterward. Dairy and other calcium-rich foods can help neutralize acids. 
  • Saliva helps keep acids under control. To keep your saliva flowing and protecting your teeth, chew sugarless gum with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. 
  • Look for dental health products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. This means the product is safe and effective, and some have been awarded the ADA Seal specifically because they help prevent and reduce enamel erosion from dietary acids.
  • Talk to your dentist. Your dentist can explain the effects of nutritional choices on your teeth, including the various foods and beverages to choose and which ones to avoid. Knowing all you can about the effects of what you eat and drink on your teeth can help keep your smile bright over a lifetime.
 

How Your Medications Can Affect Your Oral Health | October 2021

MANY OF US
need to take medications to treat a wide variety of conditions. However, even as those medications treat our illnesses, they could be causing problems for our teeth and gums.
 
Medicine And Oral Chemistry
 
Some medications—even some vitamins—can damage our teeth for the brief period that they’re in our mouths. This can pose a particular problem for children. As adults, we swallow most of our medicines. Children’s medicine tends to come in the form of sugary syrups and multivitamins, which feed oral bacteria and leads to tooth decay.
 
Inhalers for asthma can also cause problems, specifically oral thrush, which is white patches of fungus in the mouth that can be irritating or painful. The best way to avoid this complication of using an inhaler is for you or your child to rinse with water after each use, and the same goes for sugary cough syrups and chewable multivitamins.
 
Side-Effects For Your Mouth
 
Plenty of other medications, though they don’t do any damage while you’re ingesting them, can be harmful to your mouth in the long term because of the side-effects. Let’s take a look at some of the more common side-effects.
 
Inflammation And Excessive Bleeding
 
If you notice your gums becoming tender and swollen shortly after you start on a new medication, you should talk to a medical professional about it. Several medications can cause gingival overgrowth(or excessive growth of the gums), which puts you at increased risk of gum disease.
 
To learn more about the risks of gum disease, watch the video below:
 
 
Altered Taste
 
Some medications, such as cardiovascular agents, central nervous system stimulants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and smoking-cessation products can leave you with a bitter or metallic taste in your mouth, or even interfere with your overall sense of taste. This isn’t necessarily a serious side-effect, but it can be unpleasant, especially for food-lovers.
 
Dry Mouth
 
The most common mouth-related side-effect of medications is dry mouth. A wide range of medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, high blood pressure medications, muscle relaxants, drugs for urinary incontinence, Parkinson’s disease medications, and antidepressants can all cause it.
 
Aside from feeling uncomfortable, dry mouth is very dangerous to oral health. Saliva is the mouth’s first line of defense. It contains compounds that remineralize your teeth, neutralize acids, and keep bacteria in check. Without enough saliva, that bacteria runs rampant and there’s nothing to neutralize the acid or add minerals back into your tooth enamel. From there, you can develop mouth sores, gum disease, and tooth decay.
 
Taking Medications? Let Us Know!
 
The best thing you can do to ensure your medications aren’t clashing with your oral health is to tell your dentist about your prescriptions and any over-the-counter medications you’re taking. From there, we can formulate a plan for how to counteract the medications’ effects.
 
At our practice, we’re rooting for your oral—and overall—health!
 
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.