Mouthwash: More Harm Than Good?

Walker-Barr DMD talk about the good and bad of mouthwashesAt Walker – Barr DMD, we know a lot of people feel they’re adding a layer of tooth decay and gum disease prevention to their oral hygiene routines when they swish with mouthwash—which may be true, but it depends on the mouthwash. If you floss and brush properly, mouthwash isn’t always necessary, and certain types could even be harmful to your oral health.

Think about it this way: do you take antibiotics when you don’t have an infection that requires them? Like antibiotics, certain mouthwashes can kill beneficial bacteria and either create or aggravate problems.

It’s All About the Ingredients

One of the conditions that can be exacerbated by mouthwash is dry mouth, and it’s usually due to the alcohol content many of them carry. Do you know that burning feeling that makes it feel like it’s working? That’s the alcohol, and it’s actually doing more harm than good. 

If you have any questions or concerns about this topic or any other oral health subject, contact Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr today. We love staying in touch with our dental family!

The content of 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.

Tagged with:
Posted in Blog, Patient Care

Dentistry in the Digital Age

Walker-Barr DMD discuss technological advancements in dentistryTechnology has changed nearly every aspect of human life and modern society. New tools, programs, and education can greatly improve your healthcare, too! Let’s say you need any kind of standard dental restoration for a cracked or missing tooth. From x-rays and impressions to surgery and installation, your whole treatment could be digital. We’re so used to digital tools these days, you may not even notice how much technology a dentist can utilize to best serve your oral health needs. Below are some of the ways your oral care may be digitized.

CAD/CAM Software

Short for computer-assisted design and computer-assisted manufacturing, this software brings you better-fitting crowns, veneers, inlays and onlays, and bridges. CAD/CAM technology comes out of industrial engineering and manufacturing and into the dental office to provide faster, superior products and services in oral health. Using computers to design oral appliances increases accuracy, efficiency, appearance, and function. 

CAD/CAM dental services start with 3D images. The computer takes the images and creates a model of whatever restorative appliance you need. Research shows that dental restorations made with CAD/CAM technology are stronger and less likely to break. This is great news if you’re already dealing with oral health issues and you just want everything to look natural and work well.

Same-Day Milling
Thanks to CAD/CAM technology, you can now get many dental restorations placed in just one visit to the dental office. This is good news for busy people! All crowns, veneers, and onlays need to actually be created and shaped out of porcelain or composite. After using digital images to get a picture of your mouth, the information will be sent to a machine that can automatically create a natural-looking restoration on the spot. 

The machine can usually make these in about 20 minutes. The milling machine may also glaze or stain the porcelain to best match your natural teeth. Like clay pottery, the porcelain or composite then needs to be fired. All of this should take anywhere from one to two hours. You can walk into the dentist toothless and walk out with a full, vibrant smile the same day. 

Guided Surgery
Surgical guides are 3D computer images that your dentist may use to improve the accuracy and safety of having dental implants placed. Not everyone is a good candidate for implants, but if your dentist believes you are, they may also use a surgical guide during your procedure. 

A surgical guide uses digital images to give us a realistic picture of your jawbones, gums, nerves, and more. A computer will help your Brandon dentist plan the whole procedure so that each step and measurement is more accurate. With all of this important information, dentists can work faster so you’re in the chair less (as much as we love to see you).

Cone-Beam Imaging

When your doctor or dentist needs to see beyond the naked eye, they can use one of many different x-ray and imaging technologies. Cone-beam images are 3D scans that use cone-shaped laser beams to get a complete scan of your entire mouth. Cone beams use more radiation than a standard dental x-ray, but far less than a standard medical CT scan. Cone-beam images especially help with placement and installation of dental implants.  

Electronic Booking & Billing

Gone are the days of endless stacks of paper you need to keep track of and store. Gone are the days of being on hold with a receptionist. Many dental offices now make use of email and online programs to communicate with patients both for billing and making new appointments. 

Now, everything you need to know about your oral care can be kept in one place to easily see and understand. Nothing can replace the friendly and professional environment of a good dental office, but digital communication helps ensure that you, your dentist, and the insurance providers are all on the same page. So when you walk in for your appointment, things should flow seamlessly and with no surprises.

Finding a Digital Dentist

An everyday visit to the dentist looks a lot different today than it has in decades past. The services you need may require any or all of the above technology to provide quality care and favorable outcomes. 

At Walker – Barr DMD, we are always learning more about how to use technology to better serve you. Make an appointment today to learn more about what we can do for you and your smile!

 

The content of 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.

 

Tagged with:
Posted in Blog, Dental Technology

Pregnant Moms & Oral Health: Brushing & Flossing for Two

Walker - Barr DMD discuss the importance of oral hygiene for pregnant clients in Brandon, FloridaThere are so many things to be concerned about when you find out you’re expecting. Eating right, taking enough vitamins, getting enough rest, telling your husband there is absolutely no way you are naming your firstborn son Bud Light… but what about your teeth? There’s an old saying—“you lose a tooth for every baby”—but those beliefs are outdated, thank goodness! Still, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker – Barr DMD has some important information to share about pregnancy and oral health.


Taking Care of Yourself is Taking Care of Your Baby

Moms-to-be can become so focused on preparation for the new bundle of joy that they neglect their own health—but try to remember that taking care of yourself is taking care of your baby. If you are pregnant, remain proactive about your oral hygiene routine and don’t skip your regular dental visits. Your teeth and gums need special attention during this time, so be on the alert for symptoms like bleeding gums and dry mouth. 

 

Gingivitis & Gum Disease

Hormonal changes and diabetes during pregnancy can cause pregnancy gingivitis (inflamed, tender and irritated gums)—about 75% of pregnant women end up with it. Left untreated, gingivitis can become periodontitis, an even more severe form of gum disease that leads to actual bone loss. Older mothers have a higher risk of gum disease in general, and research has linked preterm delivery and low birth weight to gingivitis—sufferers were seven times more likely to have either or both conditions. Researchers also estimate that advanced gum disease could be linked to about 18% of premature births in the United States.

Gum disease may also contribute to preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition that affects about 5% of pregnant women, leading to a sharp increase in blood pressure. The only cure for preeclampsia is giving birth, which can put the baby at risk if it happens prematurely. Additional potential complications of preeclampsia include hemorrhage, stroke, and kidney failure. A handful of studies have linked gum disease with preeclampsia, but more research is needed to show a true cause-and-effect relationship.

 

Acidity & Dry Mouth

Not every pregnant woman has morning sickness, but if you are one of the unlucky ones, keep in mind that along with nausea, stomach acid can make its way into the mouth and erode your teeth. Try rinsing your mouth with water or a fluoride mouthwash to help control the acidity level. This is not only a protective measure for your teeth but may help with nausea a bit as well.

Dry mouth during pregnancy can put pregnant women at higher risk for tooth decay and dental infections. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and chewing sugarless gum to enhance saliva production—try to find sugarless gum sweetened with xylitol, which has been shown to be effective in preventing cavities.

If you’re hungry a lot—which is not unheard of while pregnant—frequent snacking keeps teeth in constant contact with sugars. Bacteria feed on these sugars, speeding up acid production which creates more opportunities to weaken a pregnant mom’s tooth enamel. Be aware of your snacking habits and be sure to rinse your mouth frequently with water after eating or drinking.


How Does Mom’s Oral Health Affect Her Baby?

It’s quite simple: the bacteria in Mom’s mouth is the link to the baby’s health. When a pregnant woman has excessive oral bacteria, pathogens can enter the bloodstream via the gums, travel to the uterus, and trigger the production of chemicals suspected to induce preterm labor. After the baby is born, a mom in poor oral health can still pass harmful bacteria to her newborn in a process known as vertical transmission. This can lead to negative dental consequences down the road for the baby—no one wants to see an active toddler with cavities. 

Good oral hygiene—brushing at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and flossing at least once each day—is your own insurance policy to reduce the risk of dental infection in your newborn baby. Good nutrition and balanced meals limiting acidity and sugar have the most benefits for both Mom and baby

Most important of all, don’t forget that when you’re brushing and flossing during pregnancy, you’re doing it for two! If you have any questions or concerns about pregnancy and your dental health, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

 

The content of 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.

Tagged with:
Posted in Blog, Dental Health, Patient Care

Destination Dentistry – Are the Savings Worth the Risk?

Walker - Barr DMD discusses Destination Dentistry in Brandon FloridaAh, vacation. The sun, the sand, the… gauze in your mouth? Dental work and recovery might not be your preferred use of your precious vacation days, but some people are packing their bags and heading to exotic locations for dental work in hopes of saving money. As medical education and technology improve all around the world, destination dentistry or dental tourism is becoming an attractive option for many. Dental tourism is a kind of medical tourism and can reportedly save up to 70% of costs compared to getting dental work done in the US. 

Who Gets Destination Dentistry? 

You might have to be a little adventurous to leave your home country for something as vulnerable as dental work, but healthcare costs in the US prevent many people from getting dental work they might really need or want. Due to cheaper education, licensing, materials, and less bureaucracy in other countries, dentists abroad are able to charge a fraction of those in the US. The most common treatments for patients seeking dental care abroad include dental implants, crowns and dentures.

If you’re already flying out of the country anyway, you’ll have the opportunity to spend a few extra days somewhere exciting. But dental tourism may not be all it’s cracked up to be, and there are some issues to consider before renewing your passport. Those licensing and bureaucracy standards in the US do serve an important purpose for your safety and well-being.

Top Destinations

The most popular destinations for dental tourism include:

  • Mexico
  • Thailand
  • Spain
  • Turkey
  • Czech Republic
  • Dubai
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Costa Rica
  • Hungary

Destination Dentistry Pros & Cons

The potential benefits of dental tourism include:

  • Your dental work is likely to be a lot cheaper.
  • You can visit an exciting or relaxing foreign location.
  • You can find quality care in many places outside the US.
  • In Europe, dentists have similar education, training, and oversight as dentists in the US, and dental practices are held to the same standards.

However, reasons not to travel for dental work include:

  • The practices and conditions might not be to a standard that you’re used to or comfortable with. National standards in the US ensure clean facilities to prevent infection, and drugs and equipment are regulated for safety. This may not be the case for dentists outside the US.
  • It will be very hard to get follow-up care from the same dentist who did your work.
  • You probably can’t get an exact quote for your total costs until the dentist sees you in person for a consultation.
  • Some dental treatments (like dental implants) require two visits, which means more time away from home.
  • Costs of airfare, hotels, car rental, and food add up quickly.

Considerations

Weigh all of the pros and cons of traveling far away for dental work, and consider your current lifestyle and well-being. If you’re already very busy and tired from the responsibilities of life, you might want a real vacation and not a medical one. Any health complications could also seriously hurt your chances of having successful treatment in a foreign country. Talk to your primary care doctor to get their opinion. 

If you’re interested in destination dentistry, talk with your Brandon dentist first. Even if your dentist isn’t a fan of this idea (they probably won’t be), the decision is ultimately yours, and it’s still important to keep your dentist (who knows your medical history) in the loop. We will probably need to send x-rays and files to the dentist abroad and will want a way to contact the dentist in case of questions about follow-up and recovery.

If you decide dental tourism is right for you, do your research to find the highest quality of care possible. The Organization for Safety, Asepsis, and Prevention (OSAP) has a checklist that can help you determine if you are making a safe choice for dentistry abroad. And the World Dental Federation is a good place to check for qualified dentists around the world.

Your oral health is crucial to your overall health and long-term well-being. Only you can decide if the gamble on safety and quality is worth the potential monetary savings. If it’s just a matter of saving money, many dentists offer payment plans and flexible financing options to help you afford the dental care you need. Or, you might qualify for state support to cover costs.

If you have any dental needs or concerns, before you pack your bags, make an appointment with your Brandon dentist, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker – Barr DMD today and let us be your partners in health!

 

The content of 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.

Tagged with:
Posted in Blog, Patient Care

Can Plaque Cause Tooth Loss?

Can plaque cause tooth loss?If you’ve ever gone too long between brushing your teeth, you know how slimy and dirty your teeth can feel. Some people lovingly call this layer of grime “teeth sweaters.” But it has a real name: plaque. Plaque is common but it can cause poor oral health if you ignore it. Read below for more information on what plaque is and how to deal with it.

What is Plaque?
To best understand what exactly plaque is, let us paint you a picture of the inside of your mouth after a meal. After enjoying your delicious food, someone else (or something else) is enjoying the leftovers. Oral bacteria are natural and normally present in everyone’s mouth.

These bacteria feed off tiny bits of leftover food on your teeth – kind of gross, but it’s true! As bacteria eat the food, they digest and process it. Finally, the bacteria produce plaque as an aftereffect of digestion. This process happens with any food you eat, but the bacteria especially love carbohydrates and sugar.

Plaque sticks to any and all parts of your teeth. In fact, the plaque on the sides of your teeth and near your gums can be different than the kind of plaque found in the grooves on the chewing surface of your teeth.

 

Effects of Plaque on Teeth

The real problem with plaque is that it contains acid, which ruins your teeth. Over time, acid can erode your enamel and harm your gums. While plaque is totally normal, it’s still important to keep it at bay.

The buildup of plaque can cause:

In summary, plaque is the basis of most oral health problems. Left untreated, many of the oral health problems listed above can lead to tooth loss and other oral health complications down the road.

What Causes Plaque?

You can’t avoid plaque completely. Plaque is simply the natural outcome of oral bacteria. Either the bacteria naturally reproduce or you pick up new bacteria from your environment. And some oral bacteria are actually good for you.

So the idea isn’t to completely get rid of bacteria in your mouth. But certain foods (like sugar) and bad habits (like not brushing and flossing) can cause excessive plaque and harmful buildup that hardens into tartar and can wreak havoc on your oral health.

 

Fighting Plaque

The benefits of good oral hygiene go far beyond just your mouth. A healthy mouth is important for a healthy body and a joyful life.

To keep your mouth healthy and plaque-free:

  • Brush your teeth for two minutes twice every day, especially in the morning and before bed. Saliva helps wash food off your teeth, but you have less saliva while you sleep, so it’s important to go to bed with very clean teeth to give the bacteria less to enjoy. Also, be sure to replace your toothbrush every three months to keep it clean.
  • Floss and clean between your teeth every day. A lot of plaque hides along and under the gum line, and flossing is the only way to get to this hard-to-reach plaque that brushing will miss.
  • Mouthwash can help loosen up plaque before or after you brush your teeth, and most have ingredients to fight bacteria. You might be sensitive to mouthwash and mouthwash should never replace regular brushing and flossing, so talk to your dentist about using it.
  • Eat less sugar. Especially avoid sugary drinks, which prolong your mouth’s exposure to sugar all day. Sugar is sneaky, you might be surprised how many snacks and beverages actually contain it. If you do have snacks with sugar, rinse your mouth with water right afterward.
  • Eat fewer snacks between meals. If you eat all day long, it’s like giving the bacteria in your mouth an all-day buffet. Eat a healthy meal, then either rinse your mouth or brush your teeth, then give your mouth a break from the plaque process.
  • See your Brandon dentist. You can do a lot to fight bacteria and plaque every day, but professional cleaning is still necessary at least twice a year.
  • Ask your dentist about dental sealants for an added layer of protection against plaque and tooth decay.

To schedule a professional cleaning for your teeth, or to develop a new relationship with your Brandon dentist, contact Walker – Barr DMD today! Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr are taking new patients and would love to serve all your oral health needs, and help you keep plaque at bay.

 

The content of 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.

 

Posted in Blog, Dental Health, Dental Services

Keep Lipstick Off Your Teeth with These Handy Tips

Keep lipstick off your teethYou work with Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr to achieve your most beautiful smile, but if you also add makeup to enhance your appearance, you may have had the problem of drifting lipstick. At one time or another, we’ve all talked to someone with lipstick on their teeth and faced that awkward question: “How do I let them know?” Here are a few tricks Walker – Barr DMD has learned to prevent sporting runaway lipstick:

  • Outline your lips and help anchor lipstick color with lip liner.
  • Apply lipstick with your finger in your mouth and slowly pull it out when the application is complete, transferring any excess lipstick to your hand.
  • Use a lip brush to control the amount of lipstick used.
  • Drink through a straw—excess lipstick will end up on the straw rather than your teeth.
  • Try not to bite your lips—it leads to smudging!
  • Finally, for your own peace of mind, check your teeth from time to time.

 

If you have any questions about keeping your brightest smile or it’s time for your oral hygiene appointment, get in touch with your Brandon dentist today.

The content of 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.

Posted in Blog, Patient Care

Do You Hate Needles?

Do you hate needles?If you fear shots, injections, or medical needles in general, you may be suffering from trypanophobia—and an estimated 10 percent of Americans share the same aversion. The general public calls it “needle phobia” but the DSM-IV classified it as a specific phobia of medical needles as of 1994.

Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr understand these fears, and Walker-Barr DMD treats patients dealing with them every day. We do everything we can to keep your dental treatment as comfortable and stress-free as possible, but it’s good to be aware of needle phobia and its effects.

Negative Effects of Needle Phobia

  • Dreading medical care, especially shots and injections
  • High blood pressure, elevated heart rate, anxiety
  • Extremely low blood pressure, fainting
  • Avoiding the dentist to avoid possible injections, even routine checkups

Causes of Needle Phobia

The short answer: scientists aren’t sure. It does seem to be inherited—about 80% of sufferers have a close relative with the same phobia. It is possible, however, that it is a learned fear rather than a genetic one. Some evolutionary psychologists maintain the fear may be rooted in survival before antibiotics, when puncture wounds could be deadly, concluding fear of puncturing the skin was an evolutionary adaptation.

Treatments for Needle Phobia

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has proven an effective treatment for phobia, as have exposure therapies like systematic desensitization or therapy involving hypnosis. Many dentists offer “painless injections”, and if you’re really having trouble relaxing, ask Dr. David Walker or Dr. Sarah Barr about sedation dentistry options.

Your Brandon dental team will do everything we can to help you overcome any dental anxiety or fears. Get in touch with us today and we’ll talk you through it!

The content of 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.

Posted in Blog, Dental Services

Suffering with a Sore Throat & Bad Breath? You Might Have Tonsil Stones

Tonsil StonesYou’ve heard of kidney and gallbladder stones, but have you heard of tonsil stones or experienced their formation yourself? The symptoms of tonsil stones may include:

  • Bad breath
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Ear pain

None of these are pleasant, so your dental team at Walker-Barr DMD is here to tell you ways you may be able to treat them at home as well as offer advice on how you can prevent them from returning.

Leave the Stones to Sisyphus

Tonsil stones are the result of bacteria and debris accumulation in what are called the crypts of your tonsils, so your best defense is—surprise!—a diligent oral hygiene routine!

Your tonsils are an important part of a strong immune system; in fact, the American Academy of Otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat doctors) refers to them as your “body’s first line of defense.” That’s just one example of how your oral health is linked to your overall wellness, which is something we work hard to convey to our dental family because we want you to feel as fantastic as possible!

So, what should you do if you suspect you have tonsil stones? You may be able to see them if you open your mouth widely and stick out your tongue (like doctors ask you to when they use tongue depressors)—they may be white, yellow, or gray nodes on your tonsils, or they might be burrowed within your tonsil and thus out of sight.

Whether or not you see any, you may be able to dislodge them by gargling salt water or using a water flosser to flush the debris from your tonsils. Or, better yet, why not contact your Brandon dentist, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr today to schedule a visit? We can perform a thorough and gentle examination and get you back on the road to optimal oral health!

The content of 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.

Posted in Blog, Dental Health, Dental Services

A Deeper Dental Cleaning: Scaling & Root Planing

a deeper dental cleaning: scaling and root planingTeeth are typically the first thing that comes to mind for people when they hear the words dentist or dentistry, which makes sense—the root word dent actually means tooth! However, your teeth require healthy gums to hold them in place.

Did you know gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss? That’s why it’s important for us to examine your gums just as thoroughly as your teeth, and for you to remain diligent about your oral hygiene routines and cleaning visits with your Brandon dental team.

If You Have Gum Disease

First, know that you’re not alone. Nearly half of adults in the U.S. over the age of 30 experience chronic periodontitis (the advanced stage of gum disease, which starts as gingivitis). Gum disease can be treated, and one of our first steps might be scaling and root planing.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a visit with Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr  to ensure your teeth and gums are in good shape, contact Walker & Barr, DMD today!

The content of 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.

Posted in Blog, Dental Services

What Does Your Dentist Have Up Their Sleeve? Tools of the Dental Trade

Unless you’re frequently using your teeth as scissors or a nail file (we hope you aren’t!), the most common things placed in your mouth are food, beverages, eating utensils, and your oral hygiene BFFs: floss and toothbrushes. This script gets flipped when you visit your Brandon dentist, though.

At Walker & Barr, DMD, we utilize a few different types of gadgetry to evaluate your state of oral health and determine if anything is necessary to improve it—from our traditional and hand-held mirrors to our sickle probes (not as scary as it sounds), up to the digital x-rays and intraoral camera images we’ll take to create the most accurate record of your oral health.

All Bark & No Bite

You’ve heard this phrase when it comes to doggos with a ferocious bark that end up turning into cuddle puddles when you pet them, but you’d probably never think to apply it to dental visits and tools, right? Well, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr cares about your comfort, so you can count on their touch to be gentle and for consistently check in with you on how you’re feeling while we use the tools of our trade.

One of the things we love about dentistry is its evolution, which is evident when we see how tools have been upgraded over the decades to maximize your comfort and convenience—like the dental drill being swapped for air abrasion whenever possible.

Do you have questions about the tools we’ve mentioned in this blog, or any other dental related topic? Contact us today to schedule a visit and have them answered! We love talking all things dentistry and sharing smiles with our Brandon friends and neighbors.

The content of 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.

Posted in Blog, Dental Technology