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Brighten Your Smile with Tooth Whitening | May 2019

IT IS NOT UNCOMMON for your teeth to lose their luster over time, which is why so many people are interested in whitening them!
 
Teeth Get Yellow For A Number Of Reasons
 
Teeth becoming yellow over time are as normal as graying hair–it is a natural part of the aging process. As we get older, our tooth enamel begins to thin due to everyday wear and tear. This causes the layer beneath our enamel, called the dentin, to show more, giving our teeth a more yellow appearance.
There are other factors that can cause teeth to yellow other than aging however, such as:
 
Tobacco use
Food and drink
Poor dental hygiene
Dental trauma
Certain medications
 
If you want to prevent your teeth from yellowing as best you can, we suggest you change some of your lifestyle habits. If you use tobacco in any form, quit. Consume acidic food and drink in moderation and monitor your intake of beverages that can stain your teeth such as wine, coffee, tea, soda, etc. And as always, brush up on your oral hygiene habits and make sure you’re getting frequent cleanings!
 
The Way You Whiten Your Teeth Depends On The Stain
 
There are two types of stains that you can have on your teeth. Surface, or “extrinsic” stains, caused by smoking and diet occur on the surface of the enamel. “Intrinsic” stains are deeper, and happen inside the tooth.
 
You can remove surface stains on your teeth by using a whitening toothpaste. These kinds of toothpastes usually contain special abrasives that gently polish the teeth as well certain chemicals that can help break down stains. These toothpastes can be tough on tooth enamel, so make sure to always read labels when using them–some should only be used temporarily.
 
Intrinsic stains can’t be helped by whitening toothpastes. To get that brighter smile, you’ll need to actually change the color of your teeth. You can do this using a bleaching agent. The bleaching agents most products use are hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These chemicals break stains into smaller pieces, making their color less concentrated and leaving your teeth much whiter! Some of the most common ways to bleach your teeth are whitening strips and gels, tray-based tooth whiteners and in-office whitening services supervised by a dentist.
 

 
At our practice, we offer in-office whitening that will get you the white smile you’ve been dreaming of in half the time or less than other whitening options.  We now have the Zoom Whitening System   In as little as 45 minutes of treatment time; you can whiten your teeth up to 8 shades lighter.  We will also carefully monitor the whole process to ensure its safety and efficacy.  
Or, if you’re looking to use a tray-based whitening system, we can customize your mouthpiece to exactly fit your teeth! This will protect the soft tissues of your mouth, especially your gums, as well as ensure maximum contact between your teeth and the whitening solution.
 
Either way, we’d love to see you, whether that’s for a cleaning, checkup, or whitening treatment!
Have any questions? Call us at 216-2613. Thank you for reading our blog!
 

Oral Cancer Awareness | April 2019

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. But this month being Oral Cancer Awareness Month, 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.
 
In support of the Oral Cancer Foundation, Madsen & Hirsch Dental Care will be offering free oral cancer screenings on Thursday, April 18th.  Call the office now to reserve your slot for a screening.
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.
 

Reasons Why Your Gums Might Be Bleeding | March 2019

 
Seeing some red in the sink after brushing or flossing may raise an eyebrow or two. It may seem like your gums are bleeding for no reason. But before you venture down the rabbit hole of what-ifs, consider these common causes of gum bleeding.
 
Common Causes of Bleeding Gums
 
•Tooth Brushing Habits
 
Good oral hygiene always starts with the toothbrush to remove biofilm left from the combination of bacteria and broken down food particles. When using a manual toothbrush aim for a soft brush and be patient: place the bristles along your gums at a 45-degree angle, and gently brush two to three teeth at a time, spending at least 2-3 minutes brushing. A good option is an electric toothbrush.
 
• Inadequate Flossing
 
No matter how well you may brush your teeth; there are some spots that the toothbrush just doesn't reach no matter your technique. The tight spots between your teeth and the gum areas just below these areas often will often collect biofilm-what we sometimes refer to as plaque which is a combination of bacteria and broken down food particles. These areas can become irritated and bleed as result. Remember to floss daily and with ease.
 
•Medication
 
Some over-the-counter medications, including aspirin, as well as prescription drugs, like blood thinners, may lead to gum bleeding. Be sure to let us know which medications you’re taking, and keep us in the loop if you and your healthcare provider change your medications.
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• Vitamin Deficiency
 
A deficiency in vitamins is a common factor in gum bleeding. Vitamin A helps form your teeth and protects your mouth’s membranes; vitamin C helps maintain the health of your teeth and gums; and vitamin K ensures your blood clots. If you’ve upped your hygiene game but still spot blood after brushing, try adding more vitamin-rich foods to your diet.
 
 
• Gingivitis and Periodontitis
 
Gum bleeding, as well as swelling and tenderness, is a common symptom of gingivitis and periodontitis. Lack of good oral hygiene will result in the biofilm leaching acids that can not only cause tooth decay, but can cause an infection in the gums and bone that supports your teeth. This may lead to tooth loss. Both gingivitis and the more-serious periodontitis do require treatment.
 
It's important to catch these diseases early and learn the skills to avoid them. Patty, our hygienist, will show you how to maintain good oral health without lecturing or shaming you. If you have active disease, we have many treatments that can guide you back to health and maintain health in order to save your teeth as long as possible.
 
When it’s Time for a Visit
 
If you make changes to your oral health routine but the bleeding doesn’t improve within 10 days,
It’s best to come in for a visit. Give us a call at 608-216-2613 or schedule your visit online.
 

 

Reasons You May Have A Dry Mouth | February 2019

We all know drinking enough water is good for our health. And when you’re feeling parched, there’s nothing better than a tall drink of ice-cold water to dampen that dry mouth of yours.

But what do you do when you find yourself constantly needing to wet your whistle?

There are numerous reasons you could be suffering from dry mouth. Below are the top five.

Physiologic

Sometimes having a dry mouth is just a normal part of life. Temporary anxiety, open-mouthed breathing, mild dehydration, menopause, pregnancy, and decreased saliva due to sleep are all normal causes of dry mouth.  However, if you consistently notice yourself doing open mouth breathing or having problems with snoring during sleep, you may have an airway problem.

Prescription Medication

Sixty-three percent of the top 200 most commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S. are known to cause dry mouth. And the higher the number of medications a person takes, the higher the chance of dry mouth.

As we age, we tend to experience more instances of dry mouth. It’s not necessarily age-related, but our consumption of medication may cause this side effect.

Habitual Use of Alcohol & Tobacco

Use of any of these products will dry out the oral cavity.

Please drink in moderation, and make sure to up your water intake when you imbibe. As for tobacco, we always recommend quitting as soon as possible.

Chronic Disease

Diabetes, Sjogren’s disease, Sarcoidosis, Hepatitic C can all cause dry mouth. 

Psychogenic or Idopathic

When symptoms are present without an identifiable cause (idiopathic), or because of psycho-logical causes (psychogenic), they can be difficult to diagnose. 

If you find yourself with a persistent, unidentifiable case of dry mouth, you should make an appointment. Call (608) 216-2614.

Figuring out which one is causing your dry mouth is so important because a dry mouth has a big effect on your dental health. Saliva is so important for swishing away bacteria. There are now a number of products available over the counter that can be used to counter the problems of dry mouth.  We also can recommend professional products for more severe cases.  It also may be necessary to come more frequently for professional teeth cleanings as the natural saliva flow which is so necessary for washing away biofilm decreases.

The dryer your mouth is, the more prone you are to cavities, bad breath, and gingivitis. 

We recommend visiting us or your medical doctor for a consultation on why you may be experiencing a dry mouth.

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Do Dental Fillings Last Forever? | January 2019

YOU MAY BE SURPRISED TO LEARN that dental fillings don’t last forever! While they are extremely durable and can last years, there will come a time when they will have to be replaced.

We Check Your Fillings at Your Visits

You may be wondering, “If fillings don’t last a lifetime, then how long DO they last?” That depends on a number of factors, such as the type of procedure performed, the size or area being treated or replaced, the kind of materials used for the filling and the patient’s level of oral hygiene and care.

At your six-month appointment, we will check your fillings and make sure they are still intact. We will look for early signs of wear and tear so we can replace a dental restoration before it breaks, loses its effectiveness or falls out on its own. We also take x-rays to make sure there is no decay under or around a filling, which can cause it to come loose.  This is especially important for fillings that wrap in between the teeth, as we cannot always visually see or feel decay in those areas. 

We're Here For You in an Emergency

Despite your best efforts, a filling may crack or fall out unexpectedly.  A lot of times, you wouldn’t even notice a crack, but if you experience any tooth sensitivity to cold or sweets, or a twinge when you bite down, there may be a crack.  This is unlikely to occur if you visit your dentist regularly, however accidents can happen. Over time, dental fillings can be weakened by:

  • Tooth decay
  • Frequent jaw clenching and teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Chewing on hard items or foods
  • Injury or trauma, such as those sustained during sports activities
  • Time; no filling lasts forever no matter how well kept

If you ever have a filling fall out just remember, don’t panic and don’t wait. Even if it falls out after hours, call us immediately–we’re here for you in an emergency! We will get you in as quickly as we can. In the meantime, keep your filling if you can but don’t try to push it back into place. Part of your tooth may have broken along with the filling, so we need to examine it to evaluate what type of restoration would make a suitable replacement.  If the tooth has broken and sensitive, you can use a product from a drugstore for a temporary filling but  make sure to keep the affected area clean and debris-free before inserting it.

If you don’t experience any pain after losing a filling, it’s still important to come in as soon as possible to have it treated. Not seeking immediate care could result in pain, discomfort and even tooth loss.

Regular dental visits are imperative to maintaining a healthy smile. With that being said, we know not every dental emergency happens during normal business hours. That’s why we strive to make ourselves available to our patients as often as possible. If you need us, call us! 216-2613. Your health and comfort is our number one priority.

Thank you for reading our blog and supporting our practice!

Take Charge of Your Dental Health | December 2018

The holidays are a time to reflect on our blessings, our family, and friends. As a dental office, we are thankful for our wonderful patients, many whom we consider friends over so many years. We enjoy our role as dental health care providers that allow us to help people maintain their best smiles and oral health throughout their lifetimes. We strive to do this in an atmosphere of personal care and comfort, while also offering the latest in dental technology. 

In an age where health care is becoming so impersonal and assembly line like with the huge corporation owned clinics, we are pleased to offer you another choice where your concerns are listened to; your treatment is scheduled and planned according to your needs, and you are explained and educated about your treatment options. 

Your concerns about the costs of dental care have also been listened to. We are now pleased to announce an in office membership plan, exclusive to Madsen and Hirsch Dental Care called the

SMILES WORTH MEMBER SAVINGS PLAN

Smiles Worth is a membership-based dental savings plan that provides the quality care you deserve at a price you can afford. Members pay an annual fee to receive regular exams, cleanings and X-rays along with access to significantly reduced rates on all other restorative and cosmetic dental procedures performed in our office.

Plus, the plan offers many benefits including no annual caps, no limits and no waiting periods. This provides quick access to the care you need!  If you are frustrated with dental insurance that offers little benefit and high premiums, give us a call today at (608) 216-2613 to learn more about how you too can use this wonderful service.

 

Foods That Cause Tooth Decay | November 2018

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.

 

Flossing 101 | October 2018

OF ALL THE THINGS you can do to maintain a healthy mouth, flossing has got to be the least expensive! But many patients don’t take the time to floss. And if you do, you might not be doing it correctly!  Welcome to Flossing 101…

 

Why Should You Floss?

Your toothbrush isn’t enough to brush away the plaque or biofilm that can build up between teeth and at the gumline. A complete dental routine includes both brushing and flossing.

How Often Should You Floss?

Once a day is ideal. Believe it or not, flossing more often (or with more rigor) can damage your gums. The only exception to once-a-day flossing is if you need to remove pieces of stringy or sticky foods that get stuck after eating. Don’t leave those in there too long.

Should You Floss Before or After Brushing?

Either one is fine! My preference is to brush, floss, and then touch up brush.

How Should You Floss?

Pull out about 18 inches of floss (any brand is fine). Wind the floss tightly around your index or middle fingers on both hands so that the floss between your hands is taut. Slide the floss between each set of teeth that touch, as well as where your last molar meets your gums. Slide the floss up and down the teeth, following the natural curve of each tooth in a “C” shape.

 

Imagine the floss giving each tooth a little hug! Floss between teeth and where your teeth meet your gums. Use a new clean section of floss for each set of teeth.

For a helpful infographic, use this one from the American Dental Association. You can also ask our hygienist, Patty, to show you how to floss at your next visit. Here’s a video from the ADA to show you the technique.

 

 

Remember, it takes a good 2-3 weeks to develop a habit, so stick with it and soon you will feel like you’re missing something if you skip it.  The thing is you are missing something is you skip it-those nasty biofilms that linger between teeth causing tooth decay, periodontal disease, and bad breath.

Can’t floss?

If arthritis in your hands or another condition prevents you from flossing adequately, consider a dental pick, oral irrigator, or a handled flosser.  Patty will advise you and give you recommendations. Give us a call: (608) 234-4295 or ask about options at your next visit. We will help find a solution for you!

 

Facts About Tooth Whitening | September 2018

IT IS NOT UNCOMMON for your teeth to lose their luster over time, which is why so many people are interested in whitening them!

Teeth Get Yellow For A Number Of Reasons

Teeth becoming yellow over time is as normal as graying hair–it is a natural part of the aging process. As we get older, our tooth enamel begins to thin due to everyday wear and tear. This causes the layer beneath our enamel, called the dentin, to show more, giving our teeth a more yellow appearance.

There are other factors that can cause teeth to yellow other than aging however, such as:

• Tobacco use

• Food and drink

• Poor dental hygiene

• Dental trauma

• Certain medications

If you want to prevent your teeth from yellowing as best you can, we suggest you change some of your lifestyle habits. If you use tobacco in any form, quit. Consume acidic food and drink in moderation and monitor your intake of beverages that can stain your teeth such as wine, coffee, tea, soda, etc. And as always, brush up on your oral hygiene habits and make sure you’re getting frequent cleanings!

The Way You Whiten Your Teeth Depends On The Stain

There are two types of stains that you can have on your teeth. Surface, or “extrinsic” stains, caused by smoking and diet occur on the surface of the enamel. “Intrinsic” stains are deeper, and happen inside the tooth.

These toothpastes can be tough on tooth enamel, so make sure to always read labels when using them–some should only be used temporarily.

Intrinsic stains can’t be helped by whitening toothpastes. To get that brighter smile, you’ll need to actually change the color of your teeth. You can do this using a bleaching agent. The bleaching agents most products use are hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These chemicals break stains into smaller pieces, making their color less concentrated and leaving your teeth much whiter! Some of the most common ways to bleach your teeth are whitening strips and gels, tray-based tooth whiteners and in-office whitening services supervised by a dentist.

We Would Love to See You at Our Office

At our practice, we offer in-office whitening that will get you the white smile you’ve been dreaming of in half the time or less than other whitening options. We will also carefully monitor the whole process to ensure its safety and efficacy.

Or, if you’re looking to use a tray-based whitening system, we can customize your mouthpiece to exactly fit your teeth! This will protect the soft tissues of your mouth, especially your gums, as well as ensure maximum contact between your teeth and the whitening solution.

Either way, we’d love to see you, whether that’s for a cleaning, checkup, or whitening treatment!

Have any questions? Call us at 216-2613. Thank you for reading our blog!