4 Signs You Need Emergency Dental Care

A Guide to Understanding Your Dental Emergency

Damage to teeth and gums can’t be ignored. It’s always important to act quickly if something is wrong, but some dental issues are more pressing than others. How can you know the difference between a dental problem that needs to be solved soon and a problem that needs to be solved now?

We never want our patients to put off a dental procedure when it could lead to lasting harm, so we’ve compiled a list of important warning signs that mean you should get your teeth checked out as soon as possible. After all, you’ve only got so many teeth — it’s best to keep them all in good shape.

If you believe you’re having a dental emergency, follow our tips below and keep reading for specific dental emergency information.

  • Call your dentist immediately. At Sound Dental in Morehead City, NC—we’re here to help, give us a call!
  • Manage the pain. You can reduce the pain of the abscess with over-the-counter pain relievers, avoiding hot/cold drinks, or applying a cold compress to your cheek for 10-15 minutes.
  • Avoid smoking or checking tobacco.

1. Dental abscess

A dental abscess is a small collection of pus inside of a tooth or gums that is caused by a bacterial infection. If your symptoms include shiny red swollen gums, a fever, or pain that spreads to your jaw or neck, you may have an abscess, even if you don’t see it. Abscesses can lead to very serious complications if left untreated—don’t wait! Call today. Signs of a worsening abscess include increased swelling, fever, difficulty swallowing, or facial numbness. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

2. Broken or Knocked Out Tooth

Physical damage to your teeth is one of the most urgent dental emergencies you can experience. If your tooth has been damaged, rinse your mouth with warm water immediately and call us as soon as possible. If your tooth has come out, gently try to put it back into the socket (without touching the root!) or keep it in your mouth to protect it until we can see you.

3. Significant pain or swelling in the teeth, gums, or jaw

Constant pain or swelling in your mouth is never normal! This symptom may seem vague or common, but it could be a sign of major damage or an infection that could have nasty results if left untreated. Don’t tough it out. Call us and we will decide together whether you need to come in for an appointment.

4. Lost filling or crown

A crown or filling can become loose or even fall out for a variety of reasons. If you lose a crown or filling, it’s important to try to save it — we may be able to reuse it. Rinse the area with warm salt water and continue to brush the damaged tooth (gently!) until we can see you.

Ignoring any of these four dental problems could result in the permanent loss of teeth. Infections can even spread to other parts of your body and cause serious general medical issues, so it’s extremely important to get your teeth examined if you experience any dental emergency on this list!

Get Relief Today!

First and foremost, if you are in pain, we want to help you get some relief. Then we can address any underlying causes to solve the problem using dental best practices. If you believe you’re experiencing a dental emergency, give Sound Dental a call at 252.247.6704 as soon as possible. We’ll get you an appointment shortly, so you can go back to your life and leave tooth pain behind.

Learn More About Emergency Dentistry See All Services at Sound Dental

Take Care of Your Teeth With Regular Dental Checkups

Regular dental care is so important, not only for your dental health, but your overall health as well. It is generally recommended that you should get a checkup once every six months. However, depending on your dental history, your dentist might ask you to come in more.

Typically, dental checkups are easy and painless. Nonetheless, it is always good to know what to expect when going in for your regular checkup.

How You Can Prepare

If you’re looking for a new dentist or if you’re scheduling your first adult cleaning, ask your family and friends for recommendations. Take into consideration the location of the office and if they participate in your dental plan. If you don’t have a dental plan, make sure you take a look at the office’s membership plan and if it fits your needs.

Talk with the dentist if you’re anxious about your visit and communicate what they can do to help make you more comfortable.

What You Can Expect

No matter where you go for your checkup, you can expect several things to happen.

  • Cleaning. A dental hygienist will typically bring you back and begin cleaning your teeth. Using a small mirror and tool called a hand scaler, the hygienist will remove all the plaque and tartar from your teeth.
  • Expert Flossing. Even if you floss regularly at home, nothing can beat an expert flossing session with a dental hygienist. They can get deep between your teeth and locate any problem spots where you might bleed at the gums.
  • Applying Fluoride Treatment. Fluoride treatment is used as a protectant for your teeth to help fight against cavities for several months. Your dental hygienist may ask you what flavor you like best. They’ll then place the foamy gel (or sometimes a sticky paste) into a mouthpiece that fits over your teeth. It’s usually left on your teeth for one minute. Besides the foamy gel, fluoride varnish is also painted onto the teeth with a small brush. Fluoride varnish will harden when in contact with saliva, so you can eat and drink immediately after.
  • X-Rays. At some of your dental checkups, you might get x-rays done on your teeth. This is to look for decay, gum disease, or other dental problems. X-rays expose you to radiation so in order to avoid having them done more than necessary, bring copies of previous X-rays with you when you’re visiting a new dentist.

What To Do In Between Regular Dental Checkups

After your exam, the dentist or hygienist will discuss your oral health, including your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health problems, and preventive measures you can take to improve and protect your oral health. Be sure to take care of your teeth and gums in between your regular dental visits. Plaque is always forming on your teeth, but you can manage it by brushing and flossing regularly. Make sure to schedule your next appointment to ensure you keep on track with your checkups.

 

Regular dental checkups are a must to keep a healthy and clean mouth. Remember to talk with your dentist about any issues you are having with your teeth right away. Here at Sound Dental, we’re always here to help you. Call us at 252.247.6704 to get an appointment for a dental checkup. The key is to keep going back to the dentist for regular teeth cleanings to prevent problems altogether. By understanding what is going on in advance, you’ll feel more at ease and maybe even look forward to visiting your dentist!

4 Signs You Need Emergency Dental Care

Are Dental Implants Safe?

Dental implants have become many dentists’ go-to procedure for replacing missing teeth. Dental implant surgery replaces tooth roots with metal, screwlike posts and replaces damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function much like real ones. This surgery is a great alternative to dentures and can offer an option when a lack of natural teeth roots don’t allow building denture or bridgework tooth replacements.

What are the risks?

Like any type of surgery, there are a few risks to getting dental implants. However, the problems that come with dental implant surgery are rare and typically minor and very treatable. Risks include:

  • Sinus problems, when dental implants placed in the upper jaw protrude into one of your sinus cavities
  • Injury or damage to surrounding structures, such as other teeth or blood vessels
  • Nerve damage, which can cause pain, numbness or tingling in your natural teeth, gums, lips or chin
  • Infection at the implant site

The advantages of using dental implants

Dental implants are one of the most reliable dental procedures with a 95% success. They also offer advantages that other missing teeth solutions do not, such as:

  • Appearance – Implants look and feel like your natural teeth.
  • Speech – No need to worry about slipping dentures or loose bridges that can cause slurred speech.
  • Comfort – Implants are permanent and stable, so no chaffing or discomfort will happen like with dentures.
  • Oral health – Implant placement does not require modifying surrounding teeth as a bridge does. Also, implants stop bone deterioration and stimulate healthy bone tissue growth.

Dental Implant Procedure

When considering having a dental implant procedure, a patient will typically go through the following steps:

  1. First, the patient will go through a thorough exam and consultation with the dentist. The dentist will then make an individualized treatment plan.
  2. At the next appointment, the team will place your implant, which acts as a substitute tooth root.
  3. Then, the tooth is given time (about 2-3 months) to heal and integrate with the bone tissue.
  4. Once the implant has bonded to the bone tissue, a small connector called an abutment is attached to the implant.
  5. Impressions are taken of your teeth to create either a custom crown to replace one tooth or an implant-supported bridge or denture for multiple missing teeth. Crown restorations are custom tinted, so they blend in beautifully with your natural teeth.
  6. The finished crown, bridge, or denture is attached to the implant(s).

Once you get the finished implant, your new teeth are ready to use! If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at 252.247.6704. We want your implants to look and feel like real teeth and you smile looking its best!

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What are the Pros and Cons of Dental Veneers?

The Pros and Cons of Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are a very popular cosmetic dental procedure. For those who wish to improve the appearance of their smile, but do not have teeth that are in serious condition, dental veneers may be an excellent option.

Even though veneer treatment has proved to be a highly effective, safe and minimally invasive treatment, patients are constantly asking their dentists about the advantages and disadvantages of dental veneers.

Disadvantages

While there are a lot of great things about dental veneers, there are also a couple drawbacks. For example, getting veneers is a procedure that is irreversible. Once the doctor shaves down the enamel of your teeth, there is no turning back.

Shaving down that layer of enamel can also make your teeth more sensitive to hot and cold as the veneers are not thick enough to act as a barrier. Veneers are also not a good option for people with badly failing teeth.

Veneers have a shorter life span compared to dental restorations like bridges and crowns. If you’re looking for a long term solution, dental veneers might not be the right choice for you.

Advantages

While there are some disadvantages to dental veneers, there are also quite a few advantages. Veneers help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted by straightening and whitening your teeth. However, those are the most obvious advantages.

Another advantage is that veneers are also a more conservative dental restoration. A dentist only needs to remove a little enamel to accommodate a veneer. In contrast, a crown needs much more space. To accommodate a crown, a dentist may need to remove a significant portion of the enamel first.

Veneers are also versatile in that they can match a certain shade of teeth. There are also different types of porcelain that are strong enough to provide structural support to slightly damaged teeth.

 

If you’re looking to get veneers, it’s always a good idea to talk it over with your dentist to make sure you weigh the pros and cons. Your dentist can help you decide if dental veneers are right for you. Call us today at 252.247.6704 and we’ll set up an appointment to talk through the advantages and disadvantages.

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What are the Different Types of Dental Implants?

Dental implants are changing the way we think about dental care. More and more people are discovering the great benefits that come with having one. But, what are they exactly? Every dentist has a different approach to the procedure of tooth replacement, but they all work in a similar way: by supporting a new tooth or crown. Here is a brief list explaining the most common types of dental implants.

Types of Implants

Each dental implant is different in terms of coating, connector and size options. However, while there are several methods to placing implants, the different types typically fall into one of two categories.

Endosteal (Endosseous) Implants: This is the most common type of dental implant. They are sometimes used as an alternative to a bridge or removable denture. Endosteal implants include screw types (threaded), cylinder types (smooth) or bladed types. Your dentist can help determine which type of dental implant will work best for you, but endosteal implants are safe, effective and the most popular choice used today.

For this type of implant, the dentist begins by drilling into the jawbone to insert a titanium screw, which acts as an artificial root. Before you can finish the treatment, you have to wait for the soft tissue and bone to heal around the root, which can take a couple of months. Endosteal implants are known for looking and feeling like natural teeth.

Subperiosteal Implants: Subperiosteal are hardly used today. They were once primarily used to hold dentures in place in patients with insufficient bone height. When subperiosteal implants are used, they are placed on the jawbone within the gum tissue, with the metal implant post exposed through the gums to hold the denture.

With subperiosteal implants, the overall treatment process is done in two appointments and is often a far shorter treatment plan than with an endosteal implant. However, subperiosteal implants don’t have the same level of stability since the implant doesn’t go into the jawbone but rather rests on top of the bone and is held in place by only soft tissue. This still gives more support than dentures without implants but is still less stable than a full endosteal implant system.

Dental implants are a great solution for people who suffer from tooth loss. Give us a call today to talk about which type of dental implant is best for you. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have!

 

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The Pros and Cons of Cosmetic Dentistry

Unveiling Your Dream Smile

Many of us are obsessed with the way our teeth look. Think about it. What’s the first thing you notice about a person? For most of us, it’s the person’s teeth. Nevertheless, even though a lot of us are obsessed with teeth, ⅓ of Americans are dissatisfied with the way their teeth look.

That’s where cosmetic dentistry comes in. Cosmetic dentistry can help improve your smile and overall dental health. However, there are pros and cons to cosmetic dentistry so we’ve compiled a list to help you decide whether it’s the right choice for you.

Challenges of Cosmetic Dentistry

Teeth Sensitivity

While many good effects come with cosmetic dentistry, such as improved appearance and confidence, it’s essential to be aware of the potential downsides before you consider pursuing any procedures. Certain cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening, can make your teeth sensitive to extreme hot or cold temperatures. You’re also encouraged to stay away from foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, such as coffee or berries.

Permanence

Some procedures are permanent or semi-permanent where once you’ve received treatment, it’s very challenging to go back. Dental crowns or bridges, veneers, and dental implants all have a level of permanence to them. Your dentist will thoroughly review all risks, including permanence with you before any procedure.

Cost

The biggest challenge we see associated with cosmetic dentistry is the cost of procedures, as insurance companies generally don’t offer coverage for cosmetic (elective) services. Many people don’t just have a disposable income available for cosmetic dentistry procedures, so price can be a major drawback. For example, veneers can cost anywhere between $925 and $2,500 per tooth. Financing options are available to help cover these costs for those interested.

Pros of Cosmetic Dentistry

Health Boost

Kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, and even oral cancer are some serious consequences of bad oral hygiene. Gum disease and tooth decay are also issues to worry about with poor oral care. Certain procedures can help protect your teeth and gums from further damage and make it easier to maintain positive oral hygiene. Typically after a cosmetic procedure, patients are more motivated to take good care of their teeth, leading to a healthier, happier person.

Confidence Boost

The most obvious benefit of cosmetic dentistry is the confidence boost one gets from having a brighter, straighter smile. After any cosmetic dentistry procedure, you are much more likely to feel better about your teeth, smile, and overall appearance. No more uncomfortable social situations trying to hide your smile.

Looking Younger

Having healthy teeth can help make you look younger. A youthful smile lights up your entire face and can completely change your outlook on life. Not only will you look younger, you’ll also feel younger, which is just as important.

Set up an appointment by calling our office at 252.247.6704 to talk with a dentist about if cosmetic dentistry is right for you. We’re here to answer any of your questions to help you make the step for better oral health and a more confident smile.

 

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What is the Process of Smile Design?

Unlocking Your Dream Smile

Smile design is a dental procedure that creates a straighter, whiter, and more naturally beautiful-looking smile. Smile design can do wonders for a person’s confidence by helping them love their smile again, but it can also help restore full dental health to a person.

Decoding the Smile Design Process

First, you’ll talk with your cosmetic dentist to customize and plan for your personal smile design. We’ll work with you to discuss any underlying dental issues and help you achieve your dental goals, whether that be a better smile or all-around better dental health.

Then, we’ll help you create a timeline to help plan for any event or social function you want your smile design done by. From there, any dental diseases are taken care of and a dental hygiene visit is completed. Patients are encouraged to bring photos of how they want their teeth to look, either from celebrities or photos from their younger selves.

The patient and cosmetic dentist then sit down to discuss issues like the arrangement of teeth, teeth position, and the overall effect this procedure will have on their appearance. They then make an individualized plan before the teeth are prepared.

Treatments for Smile Designs

Each patient is different and the plan of action is made specifically for that individual. Common treatments include veneers, crowns/bridges, teeth whitening, or dental implants. With these treatments, you’ll have your dream smile in no time!

Who can get a smile design?

Any person who wants to look younger is a great candidate for a smile design. This process can help take years off your appearance. Anyone who wants to have more confidence in their smile is also a good candidate.

Talk with your cosmetic dentist today to see if a smile design is right for you. Everyone deserves to have healthy looking teeth and have confidence in their smile. Here at Sound Dental, we’re here to help give you that. Call us today at 252-247-6704 to set up an appointment to start getting your smile design plan made.

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A Good-Looking Path to Better-Looking Teeth: Invisalign® Systems and Other Clear Aligners

More Than Just Straight Teeth: The Benefits of Invisalign®

Braces can feel like a bit of a contradiction. You want a clean, straight smile, but you first have to wear a highly visible device on your teeth for months on end. You want a well-aligned bite, but for a while, braces make some day-to-day tasks, such as brushing your teeth and eating some foods, more difficult.

Fortunately, for those who want to show off their pretty pearly whites as they go AND show off the results of their realignment as soon as possible, one option is clear plastic removable aligners such as Invisalign®.

Clear aligners, as their name suggests, are clear plastic devices intended to straighten your teeth over time. They are nearly undetectable by observers. Not only are they more difficult to see (getting you closer to being able to show off that perfect smile), but they can be taken out temporarily when needed, allowing you to brush your teeth or eat without distraction.

The Clear Aligner Fitting Process

For most clear aligners, including Invisalign®, your dentist will take a mold of your teeth and send it to a lab. From there, orthodontic experts will determine the difference in positions between where your teeth are and where you want them to be and will create several stages of aligners to gradually move your teeth into the desired position. You’ll have to wear the aligners most of the time—about 22 hours a day. At certain points in the process, as your teeth change position, you’ll move on to the next device, switching them out until your teeth are right where you want them to be.

Alternatively, there are kits you can order to take a mold of your teeth at home. This is an overall less expensive process, but you aren’t likely to achieve the same results and you lose the benefit of your dentist’s expertise. Clear aligners may not be the best solution for you, so it’s best to consult your dentist beforehand even if you decide to go this route.

Financing Your Straighter Smile

Depending on the degree of work your teeth need, an Invisalign® clear aligner treatment can cost between $3,000 and $7,000, according to Invisalign®’s website. The cost of your treatment depends on the length of treatment required and your insurance coverage.

For the amount your insurance doesn’t cover, you have some options—many dentists offer payment plans, which allow you to split a large bill into smaller payments over time. This makes payment much more manageable so you can get a straighter smile with ease. If you’re planning to save up for an Invisalign® clear aligner treatment or something similar, you may want to consider opening a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). Accounts such as these allow you to take a certain amount of money out of your paycheck, pretax, to pay for some expenses—including, in some cases, clear aligners. The types of accounts you’re allowed to open and the amount of money you can put into them will vary depending on your situation, so talk to your bank or another financial professional about your options.

Get A Straighter Smile in Morehead, NC Today!

For those who can use them, clear aligners such as Invisalign® systems can be the least intrusive solution for straightening teeth. It’s nice not to have to worry about the looks and inconveniences of traditional braces! The initial cost of clear aligners may seem daunting, but options are available to help pay for them. If you have any questions about clear aligners or other methods of straightening your teeth, please give us a call at 252-247-6704. We’ll be happy to walk you through your options and help you find the best possible solution for your smile.

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Tooth Extractions: 4 Steps to an Easy Recovery

Tooth Extraction: Everything You Need to Know

There are more than seven billion people in the world, and every one of them has a set of teeth—32 of them. Unfortunately, from time to time, some of them have to go. It’s not something anyone’s looking forward to. After all, your teeth have all been with you for years, reliably chewing anything you ask them to. Most of us are pretty attached to them!

Many patients dread the recovery period after an extraction, but as long as you know how to take care of yourself, an extraction can be one of the least troublesome medical events of your life. Today, we’ll tell you what you can expect, and what you can do to make your recovery as comfortable as possible.

The main concern in the period after a tooth extraction is the possibility of a dry socket. This is when a blood clot fails to form over the extraction site, or when the clot comes loose and exposes the wound, possibly even leaving the bone underneath exposed. Fortunately, it’s not incredibly common (it occurs in less than 5% of routine dental extractions).

The pain of a tooth extraction can be avoided by following these steps.

Step 1: Clear your schedule

The most important thing you can do to prepare for this procedure or any other is to make sure you’re ready for the recovery period. If you were thinking about going on a ten-mile bike tour or pushing a new one-rep-max at the gym, you’ll have to postpone it. Clear your schedule of strenuous physical activity for a few days after the extraction, so you don’t risk loosening the clot before it has a chance to heal.

Step 2: Stock up on soft foods

Avoid eating anything you’ll have to chew or suck, very hot or cold foods, or any large pieces of food. Stock up on soft foods—broth, yogurt, eggs (scrambled), tofu, or applesauce. Or you could make a smoothie—but be careful not to use a straw. Sucking up any liquid may dislodge the clot and leave the wound exposed. And make sure to rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water after eating anything.

Step 3: Manage your pain

After the procedure, your poor gums are going to need a bit of babying. You’ll probably want a painkiller of some kind. The extraction site might not hurt badly right away, but you can manage the pain best by taking a Tylenol or similar drug early. The pain likely will increase for the first three days or so, but don’t worry, that’s normal. If pain continues to increase after the third day or doesn’t decrease, you may have a dry socket. Contact your dentist, and they’ll decide how to handle things from there.

Step 4: Be gentle with your teeth

Your nighttime routine will have to change, too. For the first two days, avoid rinsing out the extraction site so the wound can heal. After that, you should rinse gently with warm salt water to encourage healing. Brush your teeth gently, but avoid teeth right next to the extraction site for the first couple of days. Even after the first couple of days, be very careful not to brush the site itself. When it’s time to go to bed, it’s best to prop your head up with an extra pillow or two.

Tooth extraction is a little uncomfortable for the first few days. But with just a little care, you can minimize the pain, and your teeth will be chewing reliably for you once again in no time. The key is to be patient with the healing process and gentle with your mouth for a few days. Putting up with the pain and inconvenience of extraction is much better than living with the pain and infection risk of a cracked or impacted tooth!

 

Sound Dental is here to support you through extractions and all your dental needs. If you’re having tooth pain, or if you have questions about tooth extraction or any other procedure, give us a call at 252-247-6704, and we’ll do everything we can to help.

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Sound Dental

306 Penny Lane
Morehead City, NC 28557
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Monday - Thursday: 8:30am - 4:30pm
Friday: 8:30am - 2:00pm

Phone

252.247.6704

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