April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

oral-cancer-screening.pngA very important part to regular dental visits is an oral cancer screening which is included in all 6 month dental check-ups in our office in Boise, Idaho.

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, over 49,750 people in the US will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year – 132 every day. One person every hour a day will die from it.

Detecting Oral Cancer

As with many cancers, early detection is crucial and can result in an 80-90 percent recovery rate. Keeping up with your preventative care schedule (most dentists recommend a professional cleaning every six months to one year) allows for consistent screenings by your dentist.

The exam is painless and takes only a few minutes. During the screening, Dr. Dave will check the inside of your mouth for sores, red or white patches or changing tissues. He will use  gloved hands to check for lumps or other irregularities in the tissues. If an abnormality is found, further tests such as a biopsy, dye test or light test may be performed.

The two major risk factors for oral cancer are tobacco and alcohol use. Anyone who has ever had a prior diagnosis of any oral cancer is also considered high risk. Oral cancer is most likely to be detected by your dentist and early detection and proper diagnosing are imperative to successfully fighting this disease.

If you have concerns about lumps or discolorations in your mouth, contact your dentist. Call today to schedule your next check-up and oral cancer screening in our office. (208) 402-1040

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How to Eat Healthier

We all say that on January 1st of every new year that we will make it our New Year’siStock_Mouth Biting Apple_ExtraSmall Resolution to eat healthier and lose weight, but not many of us make it much farther than Valentine’s when we fall off the wagon by eating a huge heart shaped box full of chocolates. Whoops! Let’s get real. March is National Nutrition Month so in honor of that, we thought we’d go a little beyond just teeth and talk about overall health for a minute. As we know, they can very much be connected after all, especially when considering the correlation between diabetes or heart disease with oral health.

Keeping that in mind, here are some realistic and simple ways to simply eat healthier.

  1. Check Labels: It’s not only for dieting or counting your calories, reading labels for the first time may be surprising. It’s always good to know what you are putting in your body. You may switch it up on your next grocery list.
  2. More Fruits & Veggies: Not to beat a dead horse, but we all need more! Try to fill half of your plate with fruits and veggies and the other half with grains and lean proteins. The recommended portion size for meats is 3oz.
  3. Cook Your Own Meals: Stay away from boxed foods and eating out. Fresh fruits, veggies, and good ol’ fashion home-cooked meals are the way to go. Boxed and processed foods contain large amounts of sodium that are much higher than the recommended daily amount. Other things to keep in mind when buying premade meals are additives like MSG, artificial sweeteners, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Trans Fat, and much more.

Life can be busy. Throwing in a pizza in the oven on soccer night once in a while is understandable. Just knowing these very basic tips help make a big difference in your health.  Keep these fundamentals in mind and you are well on your way to eating healthier! And while your on a health kick in the month of March, it’s a good time to make sure you are on schedule with your 6 month dental check-ups as well!

If you have questions or concerns about your oral health, be sure you contact your dentist. Dr. Dave in Boise, Idaho is happy to help you with your oral health needs.
Contact our office today, (208) 402-1040! 

Dry Mouth – Bad Breath for Valentine’s?

shutterstock_heart-covering-mouthDry mouth, a condition that affects about 10% of all people, may be one annoyance that gets in the way of your romantic plans this Valentine’s Day.

Symptoms of dry mouth include:

  • Bad Breath
  • Hoarse Voice
  • Frequent feeling of thirst
  • Dry feeling of the tongue, mouth or throat
  • Mouth Sores
  • Difficulty tasting, chewing and swallowing

Dry mouth is not just an annoyance. Saliva also works to prevent bacteria and infection in our mouth. When there is not adequate saliva, we are at higher risk for gum disease, tooth decay and more.

Some of the common causes of dry mouth include: side-effects of certain medications, certain diseases and infections, life style choices such as chewing tobacco or smoking, dehydration, and nerve damage.

There are many things that you can do to treat dry mouth and stimulate saliva throughout the day.

  • Drink increased amounts of water
  • Use a mouth rinse or toothpaste specially formulated for dry mouth
  • Avoid salty foods, dry foods, and foods and beverages with high sugar content
  • Make a conscious effort to increase breathing through your nose rather than your mouth
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption
  • Use a humidifier/vaporizer
  • Sucking on sugar free candy or gum
  • Keep a lip moisturizer handy

Dry mouth and the symptoms it presents can be problematic and uncomfortable.  Fortunately, Dr. Dave in Boise, Idaho has many treatment options available. If you are suffering from persistent dry mouth call our office today for a consultation. (208) 402-1040. 

Get A New Smile in 2017

A self esteem and confidence boost is often gained by the restoration of your smile! Teeth that are decaying, broken or left untreated can account for chronic tooth pain, difficulty speaking and eating and can also become a deterrent when it comes to social engagements and job opportunities. At Victory Dental, we are grateful for the opportunity to help those suffering from extreme tooth problems to restore their confidence and get their life back.tooth-whitening-large

A smile makeover is a detailed process with many factors that must be taken into consideration. The goal is to make the new smile look natural and beautifully blend in with the patient’s mouth and face shape. Some of the aspects that Dr. Dave in Boise, Idaho considers are:

  • Tooth shape – the shape and length of teeth play a big part in making a smile seem more masculine or feminine, older or younger. The dentist may look at old photographs to try to match the natural appearance of the patient’s youth as much as possible.
  • Tooth color – of course we all want white teeth, but it is possible to go too white. The dentist may choose a slightly less brilliant white for an older patient to make the smile look more natural. A good rule of thumb is to choose a color that is not whiter than the whites of your eyes.
  • Tooth proportions – the dentist will examine the teeth to correctly proportion each one against the other teeth so the two central front teeth are dominant and the smile line appears natural.

Call today for a free cosmetic consultation.

Let us help you smile with new confidence! (208) 402-1040

 

Use Your 2016 Benefits!

Use Those Benefitsshutterstock_Garbage Can Money_Medium (1).jpg

It’s that time of year again. Do you still have money available from your dental insurance company that will be lost come midnight on December 31st? If you have an insurance plan that starts over every January, this pertains to you. Once the New York Times Square Ball drops at midnight, any remaining insurance money not used will magically be gone, just like 2016!

Big Treatment Plans

If you have a large treatment plan, your dental benefits can easily be drained by one large procedure. If you don’t want to wait an entire year to get the next step done, begin work this month in 2016 and in 2017 you benefits will have started over so you can move on to the next step in your treatment. Here are a few ways using up your 2016 benefits now can help you maximize your insurance money and get a start on your treatment plan:

  • Root Canals: After the initial procedure has been completed for a root canal, oftentimes a dental crown still needs to be placed on that same tooth. Root canals can easily use a large portion of your insurance money leaving little to nothing for the dental crown. Not to worry, simply wait until January to do the crown so you will have a fresh pot of insurance money to use.
  • Dental Implants: The initial root replacement procedure is done and billed at your first visit. After the allotted healing time takes place, then the actual tooth pieces are finished. This is a great procedure to split up and do part in 2016 and part in 2017.
  • Wisdom Teeth: It is wise to use December for large procedures like getting wisdom teeth out! This month has plenty of holiday vacation for teens to stay home and recoup while they are out of school. Plus, getting wisdom teeth out usually drains most insurance benefits for the year.
  • IV Sedation: If you have any appointments that require sedation dentistry, patients usually need the rest of the day off if not a couple days to heal depending on the procedure performed. Again, holiday vacations in December make this a great time to stay home without taking off extra vacation days.
  • Extractions: No one likes missing work with a toothache, so get on top of your treatment plan. If you know there are teeth that need to be extracted, use this time for recovery as well as using 2016’s insurance money up. As the new year brings in more insurance money to use, you can decide how to best replace those missing teeth whether that be a dental implant, bridge, or denture.

Other Benefits of Using Your Money Now

Deductibles: Depending on your insurance plan, most insurances have a deductible that will be applied to your account annually. It’s best to get as much work done this year so you can avoid that deductible until January 1st.

Flex Spending: Just like dental insurance, some Flex Spending accounts start over with the coming new year. This is money to be used for your out-of-pocket healthcare costs including dental care. If you don’t use this money, you lose it! That’s like throwing away money!

Don’t put off your dental care until 2017. Start it now!

Treatment plans can be difficult to read sometimes with all their dental codes and jargon. Not to worry, we can help. Dr. Dave in Boise, Idaho is here to answer any questions that you may have about your treatment.

We want to see you maximize your dental insurance benefits and flex spending accounts. Give us a call today and we’ll help you finish 2016 with a smile!

Healthy Diet, Unhealthy Teeth

iStock_Mouth Biting Apple_ExtraSmallWe are always striving to better ourselves whether it’s a new workout or a new diet plan. Our society is all about self-improving, DIYs, and “going green”. With so many new ideas and sources to follow, how do you know what is truly good for your overall health? Of course eating more fruits and veggies will always be better for your diet, but many may not consider the effects that changing our diets can have on other parts of your health, like your teeth!

Some common foods that are all the rage may have negative effects on your teeth. Here are some things to think about before eating some of these “superfoods”:

  • Cracking a tooth: Popcorn is a great low-cal snack and a newfound superfood. Though the popped pieces are soft and melt away in your mouth, it’s the unpopped kernels and kernel slivers that cause issues. Accidently chomping down on a kernel can crack a tooth in a second, not to mention those pesky pieces of kernel that get lodged down into your gums. If not flossed out quickly, those pieces can cause inflamed, red gums and an infection.
  • Acidic foods that erode enamel: Green Smoothies are trending and proving to be a great source of your daily fruit and veggie intake. Leafy greens aren’t too tasty on their own, so the addition of fruits is usually a must. This addition of fruits, though, adds fruit acids and fructose (fruit sugar). Both are normally okay in small dosages, but the high concentration in smoothies and being in a liquid form can cause tooth erosion and decay. The key is to keep the fruit content down and try drinking through a straw to avoid the juice sticking to the tooth surface.
  • Staining your teeth: Beetroot is high in fiber and a great source for vitamins A and B. Unfortunately, this vegetable is one of the worst foods to stain your teeth! Instead of juicing this veggie in a full glass all by itself, try mixing it with other fruits and veggies or just eating it as a whole. When considering other things that can stain your teeth, imagine a white t-shirt. Would that item stain a white T? If you answered yes, then it will probably stain your teeth too!

Before you join that next diet plan or add some new foods to your diet, be sure to do your research! If you have questions about the health of your teeth or concerns about your oral health, be sure to visit Dr. Dave in our Boise, Idaho location. Call our office today, (208) 402-1040.

About Sleep Apnea

123rf_snoringHave you ever been told that you stop breathing when you are sleeping?

Have you ever woken up suddenly with shortness of breath, gasping or with your heart racing?


Do you feel excessively sleepy during the day?

 

What is it?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea by definition derives from the Greek word meaning “without breath”. This condition is caused when the airway collapses restricting or completely blocking the flow of air into the lungs while sleeping. People who struggle with sleep apnea may not even be aware that have this condition, however, they are unknowingly being woken up many times – sometimes upwards of 100 times per hour! Episodes of apnea can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes at a time. This makes for very broken up and unrestful sleep.

On top of being physically exhausted by being partially awoken so many times during the night, this lack of oxygen in the bloodstream causing the heart to pump harder and faster and even releases adrenaline to force the body to snap awake to gasp for air. Ongoing sufferers of sleep apnea can develop high blood pressure, heart problems and even stroke.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your dentist cannot diagnose sleep apnea, though it can be evident in your teeth. People who suffer from sleep apnea often snore, clench or grind their teeth, and may have sore jaw muscles. In order to make the first step in your diagnosis, you may be referred to your medical doctor for a sleep study. They will have you spend the night in a room hooked up to monitors to track your oxygen levels and sleep habits. If you are found to have apnea, there are a few options to try.

The first choice by medical professionals is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). This is a mask that fits over the face and blows pressurized air into the airway to keep it open. It works the best for treatment, but can be very bulky and hard to wear while trying to sleep. This is where we at Brewer Dental Center can help you. We are now offering sleep apnea oral appliances that hold the lower jaw forward to open the airway. It’s a simple device, small like a mouthguard that is made to fit each individual patient.

If you (or maybe your partner) are having sleep apnea symptoms, don’t wait any longer! It can wreak havoc on the body and should be diagnosed as quickly as possible. Call our office in Boise, Idaho today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Dave! (208) 402-1040