Excel Dental Blog

Get to Know Your Excel Dental Dentist: Dr. Tracy Davis

We get it — sometimes, seeing the dentist can feel a bit scary. But hey, we’re all just human too! The staff here at Excel Dental in Ozark, MO are passionate for ensuring all of our patients feel cared for and comfortable. Part of that process is getting to know you better, and for us to share a little bit about ourselves with you, too.

As part of our two-part interview series, you’ll get to learn more about Excel Dental’s top docs who have made it their mission to bring out the best in your smile: Dr. Nick Matthews and Dr. Tracy Davis. Today, we round out the series by interviewing Dr. Tracy Davis.

Originally from Conway, MO, Dr. Tracy moved to 417-land in 2004 to be closer to family. Dr. Tracy graduated with distinction (in the top 10%) from the University of Missouri School of Dentistry in Kansas City. Dr. Tracy has also received national recognition as a dental researcher.

Dr. Tracy and her husband, Matthew, have been married since 1997. They live in Ozark, MO with their four children: Ethan, twins Elijah and Isabella, and Owen. With an obvious love for children, rest assured that Dr. Tracy will make your kiddos very comfortable at the Excel Dental office!

Read on to learn more about Dr. Tracy’s passion for her patients, love for Indian food, and her three “fur-kids,” Chipper, KC, and Oreo!


When did you know you wanted to become a dentist?

After graduating college with a Bachelors in Biochemistry, I began searching for a career that allowed me to use my science background in a health environment. I love science, but I missed interacting with people. I love being a dentist!  It is the best of many worlds! The field of dentistry is a beautiful blend of patient care, science, art & business owner.

What is your favorite part about being a dentist?

It’s hard to choose my favorite part—so, I’ll tell you about my two favorites!

One of my favorite parts about being a dentist is interacting with patients. It seems like our office attracts so many interesting patients. I love finding out more about the patients and their families.  Much can be learned by listening to others. Not only will one discover what they are wanting for their oral health, one can also connect with patients on a personal level and this makes life fun!

My other favorite part has been growing in the last five years. I love the art of dentistry. I have been taking many continuing education courses to allow my “art” to continue growing. It is the small details that really make the difference. More and more patients are coming to our office to have their smile transformed. Materials and techniques are constantly changing and improving and I love to attend courses that allow me to incorporate these into our office. There is something so magical about handing a mirror to a patient after finishing treatment. The smiles, the tears of joy, and the happiness that comes with a new updated smile is very satisfying to me. I love to watch how a smile can really impact how a patient interacts with the world and gives them more confidence.  

What do you love most about Excel Dental?

Our Excel Dental Team is exceptional. It’s our team working together that really makes the difference. Our team works so well together and when one steps in the office, you can feel this camaraderie. The Excel Dental Team also attends many continuing education classes to improve our team care. We meet daily to prepare for the day, always tweaking little systems to improve patient care and their dental experience. As a team, we read a book monthly and review it at our monthly meetings. Book reviews help us to constantly grow together as a team.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

In this season of my life, being with my kids takes priority. We have a 15-year old son, 13-year old boy/girl twins and a 12-year old son. Whether I am playing the role of soccer mom, gymnastics team mom or running all over a field to cheer on the cross country field, I am found at a child’s athletic event many times a week. We are definitely a physically active family and also like to hike and swim. When time allows, I like to garden in our yard and enjoy learning about flowers, plants and shrubs.

Do you have any pets?

We love our little fur-babies! Chocolate Chip “Chipper” is a little grey Shih Tzu that has a lot of spunk! He knows many tricks and even plays hide-and-seek with the kids! Kitty Christmas “KC” is a sweet grey cat with an alter ego when people come over and becomes somewhat of a guard-cat!  Oreo is our latest cat—she loves to play fetch and is black with a white stripe—just like an Oreo cookie.

What’s your favorite thing to do in 417?

I love to go out to eat and eating Indian food is my favorite.  

What activities do you enjoy doing with your family?

Ooops…I think I answered above!

What is your most important piece of dental advice?

People with healthy lifestyles are the ones with the healthiest smile.There is more to a healthy smile than just your oral home care. In addition to brushing and flossing, drinking lots of water and eating a healthy diet are very important to keep a healthy bio-friendly balance.


Getting to Know You

Now that you’ve learned a bit more about Dr. Tracy Davis, we’d like to learn more about you! Schedule an appointment today with the trusted team at Excel Dental. Find us in Ozark, Missouri — just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield.

Related Reading

Searching for more advice on this topic? Make sure to check out these related posts from our blog:



Get to Know Your Excel Dental Dentist: Dr. Nick Matthews

We get it — sometimes, seeing the dentist can feel a bit scary. But hey, we’re all just human too! The staff here at Excel Dental in Ozark, MO are passionate for ensuring all of our patients feel cared for and comfortable. Part of that process is getting to know you better, and for us to share a little bit about ourselves with you, too.

 In this first part of our two-part interview series, you’ll get to learn more about Excel Dental’s top docs who have made it their mission to bring out the best in your smile: Dr. Nick Matthews and Dr. Tracy Davis. Today, we kick off the series by interviewing Dr. Nick Matthews.

 Dr. Nick grew up in Southwest Missouri and is a graduate of Republic High School and Drury University. He received his Doctor in Dental Surgery degree from the University of Missouri Kansas City and graduated with honors in Endodontics. Dr. Nick has been privileged to receive many professional awards, including 417’s “20 Under 30,” “Best of the Ozarks,” “Top Dentist” and more. Dr. Nick and his wife, Ali, have been married since 2008 and reside in Nixa, MO with their two sons.

 Read on to learn who inspired Dr. Nick’s ongoing interest in dentistry, why 417-land will always be considered home, and how diet is a key aspect of oral health and prevention.


When did you know you wanted to become a dentist?

I first decided that I wanted to be a dentist in Junior High. I greatly admired my local dentist, and loved to watch him work. He was very kind and often let me come to his office to observe and ask questions about what he was doing. It was those early experiences that really inspired me.

What is your favorite part about being a dentist?

There are two things about dentistry that I really like. I have always loved people, and having the opportunity to stay in touch with so many different people and families, and to get updates every 6-12 months about what’s new in their lives is very rewarding to me. I get to meet people from all walks of life, and I enjoy hearing their stories and getting to know them.

I also really get excited about helping people restore their ability to enjoy life, food and get proper nutrition. My grandmother wore dentures for decades, and I watched parts of her life dwindle. She lost the ability to enjoy her favorite foods, she could not obtain proper nutrition, and she often had pain or infection associated with her mouth. I didn’t become a dentist soon enough to help my grandmother, but I still think about her every time I help someone who is in a situation similar to hers. Working with patients to achieve a level of function and comfort that allows them to get back to living their life to the fullest is the most rewarding part of what I do.

What do you love most about Excel Dental?

I would have to say that the best part about Excel Dental is our Team. We are blessed to work with a wonderful group of people every day. I can’t imagine a more genuine, kind group of people to work alongside. They truly are the “secret sauce” behind what makes our practice shine.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I’m an outdoorsman to the core. I enjoy anything that will get me outside. I love to hunt, fish, hike, canoe, jog and play games in the yard with my boys.

Do you have any pets?

Two boys names Levi and Luke. : ) Until I have them house-broken I don’t have the energy for a pet.

What’s your favorite thing to do in 417?

Work and play! I love living in 417, I love my job, and I love my family. The combination of these things makes 417-land my favorite place to be. There’s so much to do, and we are perfectly positioned to explore a large part of the Midwest during weekend getaways. I have visited a large part of the country, and coming back to 417 is always exciting. I love it here.

What activities do you enjoy doing with your family?

Any outdoor activity, especially swimming, hitting the lake, and playing tennis.

What is your most important piece of dental advice?

Appreciate what you have and don’t neglect it. We spend a lot of our professional time helping people regain ground that they lost due to neglect. A lot of the treatment that we provide could have been prevented with diligent home care and improved dietary habits. These bad habits often lead to significant problems that can last a lifetime without intervention. A good home care regimen seems inconsequential but has important lasting benefits.


Getting to Know You

Now that you’ve learned a bit more about Dr. Nick Matthews, we’d like to learn more about you! Schedule an appointment today with the trusted team at Excel Dental. Find us in Ozark, Missouri — just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield.

Related Reading

Searching for more advice on this topic? Make sure to check out these related posts from our blog:


Seal Out Cavities with Dental Sealants

Cavities are small holes in your teeth that can lead to big problems, such as serious infections and eventual tooth loss. Children are especially susceptible to cavities; in fact, The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that 42% of children between the ages of two and 11 have experienced at least one cavity in their short lifetime.

Cavities occur when harmful bacteria in the mouth, which thrive off the tiny particles of food and sugar trapped between your teeth, produce an acid. This acidic environment allows the tooth to lose minerals in the enamel shell of the tooth. Although your teeth are constantly demineralizing and remineralizing, in an acidic environment enough net minerals can be lost until the enamel collapses with a cavitation or cavity. This is why brushing and flossing is considered one of the best ways to prevent cavities, as you’re essentially cutting off the bacteria’s food supply by physically removing it from your teeth.

The problem with brushing and flossing alone, though, is that some teeth are often missed — especially molar teeth in the far back of our mouths. For this reason, the most likely location for a cavity to develop in your child’s mouth is on the chewing surfaces of those back teeth.

So, what if we told you there was another solution that is nearly 100% effective in cavity protection, according to the Academy of General Dentistry? That solution is called a dental sealant. This thin, protective coating has been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. This is especially important when it comes to your child’s dental health; studies have shown that children without sealants have three times as many cavities as those with sealants.

Read on to learn more about preventing tooth decay and cavities for you or your child with dental sealants.

What Are Sealants?

As explained earlier in this article, when the cavity-causing bacteria that live in our mouth meet leftover food particles, they produce acids that cause tooth demineralization that later lead to cavities. Sealants work to keep out those food particles and stop bacterial acid from settling onto your teeth. The sealant itself is made from a completely safe, thin layer of clear resin and other dental materials.

Sealants can keep cavities from forming and may even stop early stages of decay from becoming a full-blown cavity. Sealants can also be used over areas of early demineralization to prevent further damage to the tooth.

Who Should Get Sealants?

Both children and adults can benefit from sealants to protect those area of your teeth that a toothbrush is hard to reach. At Excel Dental, we especially recommend sealants for children, around the time their first molars appear (age six), and again when the second set of molars break through around age 12. Sealing these teeth as soon as they break through can prevent cavities from the start, which helps save time, money, and headache in the long run.

Our Ozark, MO dentists also recommend sealants for patients who have existing teeth with deep pits or grooves, as they are typically more susceptible to decay.

Make sure to ask your Springfield, MO dentist if dental sealants are the right option for you or your child.

What to Expect

The application of dental sealants is a fast and painless process. Your dentist will begin by cleaning and drying the teeth. Then, an acidic gel is applied. The gel helps to lightly roughen each tooth’s surface so a strong bond will form between your teeth and the sealant. Then, your dentist will rinse off the gel and dry your teeth once again before applying the bonding agent and the sealant onto the grooves of each tooth. Finally, a special curing light is used to harden the sealant.

That’s it! The entire process from start to finish usually takes about 5 – 45 minutes, depending on how many teeth you’re sealing.

Caring for Sealants

Sealants will often last for up to 10 years before needing to be reapplied. Keep in mind, though, that sealants are not a substitute for daily dental hygiene. Sealed teeth require the same conscientious oral care as unsealed teeth. Continue to encourage your child to brush and floss his or her teeth daily, along with regular professional cleanings. During your regular dental visit, your dentist will check the condition of the sealant and can reapply as needed.


Will dental sealants make my teeth feel different?

  • The sealant material is very thin. Sometimes, children may feel the sealant with their tongue for a short period after the sealant is placed. This feeling will dissipate over time.

 Our tap water has fluoride. Are dental sealants still necessary?

  • Sealants and fluoride both prevent tooth decay, but in different ways. Sealants keep germs and food from settling into the grooves of your teeth by covering the surface with a protective shield. Fluoride in drinking water, toothpaste, and mouthwashes protects against cavities by making teeth stronger.

 Is sealing a tooth better than filling a cavity? 

  • You know what they say: A stitch in time saves nine! Prevention is always preferred over corrective treatment. Sealants are a quick, easy, and painless way to prevent cavities. A tooth without a cavity is stronger and healthier than a tooth with a filling or untreated decay. Sealants are also more cost-effective and easier to apply than fillings.

Seal Out Cavities!

Prevent cavities and protect your child’s smile with dental sealants. Schedule an appointment today with the trusted team at Excel Dental, Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews. Find us in Ozark, Missouri — just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield.

Related Reading

Searching for more advice on this topic? Make sure to check out these related posts from our blog:



Restore Your Teeth With Dental Bonding: Improve Chipped and Fractured Smiles

A minor cosmetic dentistry issue often feels anything but minor if you’re the one afflicted. Cracks, chips, discoloration or gaps can all lead to smile insecurity. Fortunately, dental bonding is a quick and simple solution for minor cosmetic dentistry woes that offers lasting results. There are a handful of benefits to dental bonding in comparison to other cosmetic restoration solutions, such as:

  • Ease of application
  • Affordability
  • Usually only requires one quick dentist visit
  • Removes less tooth enamel

Dental bonding is most effective for areas of the mouth with low bite pressure, like your front teeth, and for those who need only minor repair. If your dental issue is more severe or in an area of high bite pressure, your Ozark, MO dentist may suggest a veneer or crown.

Read on to see if dental bonding may be right for you and what to expect with this simple procedure.

Who Should Get Dental Bonding?

Dental bonding is ideal for those who are looking to:

  • Repair chipped or cracked teeth
  • Restore the appearance of discolored teeth
  • Close gaps between teeth
  • Change the shape of teeth or make them appear longer
  • Protect a tooth’s root that has become exposed due to gum recession

The professionals at Excel Dental use the latest technology and materials to provide dental bonding that offers superior fit, function, and aesthetics.

What to Expect

From start to finish, the entire dental bonding procedure typically takes about 45 minutes per treated tooth. Most people do not experience any pain or discomfort during the procedure, and numbing may not be required. Dental bonding is truly the quick and comfortable way toward a more beautiful smile!

Your Springfield, MO dentist will begin the dental bonding process by gently roughening your enamel to create a surface that is ideal for bonding.

A bonding resin is then color-matched to your natural teeth, making it virtually indistinguishable from your natural enamel. The resin is molded and hardened to fill cracks or chips in your teeth. With the help of a special light, the resin is then set to your teeth until the bonding has adhered perfectly and to your dentist’s satisfaction. Following the procedure, you may feel as though your tooth is thicker with the addition of the resin. Over time, this sensation will eventually subside.

Depending on the treated bite area and your quality of aftercare, dental bonding can last up to ten years.

Maintaining Your Dental Bonding

Ensure your bonding lasts with proper aftercare. Dental bonds are more susceptible to staining and chipping than other forms of cosmetic dentistry, so special care is required to keep your bonded teeth looking natural. Follow these tips to keep your dental bonds looking great:

  • Bonding material does not respond to whitening treatments, so maintain a vibrant smile overall with regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings. Additionally, you might want to consider cutting back on food and drink that can stain enamel, such as red wine, coffee, and tea.
  • If you’re a smoker, there’s no better time than now to quit. (Not to mention, smoking increases your risk of gum disease and oral cancer).
  • Avoid actions that can crack the bonded material, such as using your teeth to open food wrappers, biting your nails, and chewing on hard objects like candies, ice, and pencils.

If you notice sharp edges or if your teeth feel uneven when you bite down, a touch-up or repair may be necessary. Such procedures can be quickly corrected by Dr. Davis or Dr. Matthews at Excel Dental so you can get on with your day quickly!

Form a New Bond!

Form a bond with your new and improved smile. To discover if dental bonding is the right solution for you, schedule an appointment today with the trusted team at Excel Dental, Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews. Find us in Ozark, Missouri — just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield.

Related Reading

Searching for more advice on this topic? Make sure to check out these related posts from our blog:





Have a Gummy Smile? The Solution is Gum Contouring.

If your smile shows a greater proportion of gums than teeth, you’re not alone. A “gummy smile” is a very common cosmetic complaint. Technically, a gummy smile is defined as a smile with more than three to four millimeters of gum showing. If you’re self-conscious about the look of your smile, there’s a solution called gum contouring that may be right for you.

Also called gum reshaping, tissue sculpting or gingivectomy, gum contouring can even out your gum line for a smile you’ll be proud to put on display. Although this procedure primarily helps patients whose gums are uneven or cover too much of their teeth, similar procedures can also correct cases where gums have receded, exposing more tooth surface than normal.

Read on to learn more about gum contouring and how this procedure can put your smile back in balance.

What Causes a “Gummy” Smile?

A gummy smile can be caused by a number of reasons. For instance, some people have a naturally occurring high lip line, which causes their smile to show more teeth and gum. A gummy smile can also be caused by bacterial infections, side effects to medication, certain medical conditions or poor oral hygiene, causing the gums to abnormally swell and appear larger than usual.

Additionally, a condition called “altered passive eruption” can prevent adult teeth from fully protruding, leaving teeth looking unusually small and partially hidden by excess gum tissue.

Hereditary causes of a gummy smile usually don’t pose serious health problems, beyond being a cosmetic concern to some. Health issues do arise, however, when there is too little gum (or gum recession). Besides causing teeth to look elongated or discolored, receding gums expose the roots of your teeth to harmful bacteria and plaque. A higher risk for gum recession is sometimes caused by genetics, but more often it’s caused by overzealous toothbrushing or periodontal (gum) disease.

Your dental professionals at Excel Dental will examine your teeth and gums to determine the root cause of your concern. From there, an appropriate treatment plan will be developed to address your unique gum issue.

How Gum Contouring Works

Before your procedure to treat an excess gum line, you’ll receive a mild local anesthetic to gently numb your gums. While most patients experience little to no pain during this procedure, you may feel some sensitivity in your gums afterward, which can be remedied with over-the-counter pain relievers.

 Once your gums are numbed, a soft tissue laser is used to carefully strip away the excess gum tissue. The laser is used to contour, graft, and then seal the tissue to create a more uniform gum line and prevent excessive bleeding. Careful approximation to bone height and health is very important to this procedure.

 Treatment of gum recession is usually a more involved procedure, which requires grafting your own gum tissue from a nearby tooth or part of the palate in order to cover the recessed area. The surgical site from a gum graft typically takes about six weeks to heal. You can avoid most cases of gum recession by practicing good oral hygiene. Remember to clean your gums as well and often as you clean your teeth to prevent the need for this type of corrective gum surgery.

 In some cases, your Ozark, MO dentist may also recommend a crown lengthening. In this procedure, part of the gum and some of the underlying bone are removed to change the actual anatomy of your teeth.

What to Expect Afterwards

Once your gummy smile has been reshaped, you can smile brighter knowing that your gums not only look better, but are healthier, too! Reshaped gums are healthier because the pocket depths of spaces between the gums and teeth are now shallower and easier to brush clean.

Recovery time usually takes a few weeks, unless your procedure involved a gum grafting, which can take up to six weeks to fully heal.

You also might experience minor swelling, pain, or teeth sensitivity; however, these symptoms will quickly dissipate as your new gum line heals. During the recovery period, you should work to avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, and using a straw. It’s also important to maintain your normal oral hygiene routines of brushing and flossing. However, use caution in not brushing or flossing too hard, as this type of abrasive action at the gum site can cause bleeding that may lead to infection.

Your Springfield, MO dentist will provide you with personalized instructions following your procedure. Make sure to follow those instructions carefully for a speedy recovery process. With a little patience and due-diligence, you’ll be debuting your new smile in no time!

Get Your Gums in Shape

If unsightly gums are preventing you from the smile you deserve, schedule an appointment today with the trusted team at Excel Dental, Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews. Find us in Ozark, Missouri — just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield.

Related Reading

Searching for more advice on this topic? Make sure to check out these related posts from our blog:

●      What Causes Gum Disease?

●      Common Gum Disease Myths

●      Exposed: The Truth About Receding Gums


Teeth Sensitivity: How to Relieve The Pain

Teeth Sensitivity: How to Relieve The Pain

Does just the thought of eating ice cream make you cringe? How about a bite of hard candy, or a sip of ice water? If these actions tend to leave you writhing with oral pain, you may be suffering from dentin hypersensitivity, more commonly known as teeth sensitivity. The pain from teeth sensitivity can range from mild to severe, and is often described as being intensely sharp in nature. It’s estimated that nearly half of the U.S. population suffers from some form of teeth sensitivity. If you’re one of the millions who understand the agony of having sensitive teeth, then you’re likely already familiar with the most common “triggers” of your pain: hot, cold, sweet or acidic foods and drinks, and breathing in cold air.

What causes teeth sensitivity for so many people, and what can be done to ease its symptoms? Read on to learn more about this common dental issue and what you can do to treat the pain.

Causes of Teeth Sensitivity

Sensitive teeth are usually caused by worn tooth enamel or exposed roots. Sometimes, however, the discomfort is fueled by other factors, such as plaque buildup, teeth grinding, or gum disease. The following are just some of the reasons why you may be experiencing teeth sensitivity:

  • Brushing too hard. Over time, brushing your teeth with too much gusto can wear down the protective layers of your teeth to expose microscopic canals that lead to your dental nerves. When this damage is exposed to extreme temperatures, acidic or sticky foods, teeth sensitivity and discomfort can result.
  • Acidic foods. When the pathways to your nerves are exposed, acidic foods such as tomato sauce, citrus fruits, or pickles can cause discomfort.
  • Teeth grinding. Grinding wears down the enamel in your teeth, exposing the dentin, which contains the hollow canals that lead to your nerves. If you tend to grind your teeth at night, consult with your local Ozark, MO dentist who can help you find a custom-fit mouth guard that’ll put a stop to your grinding.
  • Certain mouthwashes. Some over-the-counter mouthwashes contain alcohol and other ingredients that can heighten your teeth sensitivity — especially if your dentin is already exposed. Try neutral fluoride rinses instead, or ask the professionals at Excel Dental for a recommendation that’s personalized to your needs.
  • Gum disease. Receding gums are increasingly common with age, leading to root sensitivity. If you suffer from gum disease or gingivitis, your Springfield, MO dentist will work with you to determine an appropriate treatment plan.
  • Excessive plaque. Excessive buildup of plaque can cause tooth enamel demineralization. As your teeth lose that critical layer of protection, sensitivity can result. Make sure to practice good daily dental hygiene and schedule a professional cleaning at Excel Dental every six months or as frequently as advised by your dental professional.


If you believe you’re suffering from sensitive teeth, the first step is to make an appointment to see your dentist. He or she can help determine the root cause of your sensitivity and rule out any underlying issues that may be causing your pain.

From there, your dentist may recommend one or more of the following treatment options, based off your individual needs:

  • Desensitizing toothpaste. Desensitizing toothpaste uses specially-formulated compounds that help block the pain associated with sensitive teeth. Your Ozark, MO dentist can help recommend the best product that can work for you. Patience is key when starting a desensitizing toothpaste regimen; it may take several applications of this toothpaste before you start to notice a difference.
  • Fluoride. Another treatment option is the application of fluoride varnish to the sensitive areas of your teeth. The fluoride varnish helps to strengthen the surface of your teeth and reduce pain.
  • Desensitizing or bonding. In some cases, exposed root surfaces can be treated by applying bonding resin to the sensitive root surfaces.
  • Root canal. If your sensitive teeth cause severe pain and other treatments have proven ineffective, your dental professional might recommend a root canal to treat the core of the problem deep within your dentin. Although a root canal may seem like a significant procedure, it’s considered one of the most successful techniques for permanently eliminating sensitivity.

Your local dentist is best equipped to diagnose the cause of your sensitivity and determine an effective treatment plan.


The number one way to avoid teeth sensitivity is to maintain a proper oral care routine, including brushing twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush, using fluoride toothpaste, and flossing twice daily.

 You may also want to consider making changes to your diet. Acidic foods and drinks (citrus fruits and juices, soda, wine) should be avoided, as they tend to remove small amounts of tooth enamel minerals over time. Should you want to consume the occasional glass of orange juice or carbonated beverage, use a straw to limit the acidity making direct contact with your teeth. Drinking milk or water after consuming an acidic food or beverage can balance the levels of acid in your mouth.

 It’s also important to remember to wait to brush your teeth at least 20 minutes after you’ve eaten. This is because acid softens enamel, so brushing while the acid is still active can actually make your teeth even more vulnerable.

Sensitivity Shouldn’t be a Pain!

Teeth sensitivity can be a real pain, but it doesn’t have to be. Schedule a consultation appointment today with the trusted team at Excel Dental, Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews. Find us in Ozark, Missouri — just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield.

Related Reading

Searching for more advice on this topic? Make sure to check out these related posts from our blog:



Ready for a Better Smile? Try Dental Contouring

Ready for a Better Smile? Try Dental Contouring

Is there something slightly “off” about your smile? Maybe it’s a tooth that’s a tad longer than the rest. Or, perhaps you have a couple teeth that are a bit asymmetrical. If minor cosmetic problems have you taking extra pause in the mirror, then dental contouring may be the right solution for you.

 Dental or cosmetic contouring, also known as enameloplasty or tooth reshaping, can fix minor imperfections like slightly misshapen teeth. This relatively simple procedure offers instant gratification — you’ll be enjoying a perfected new smile in a little under an hour!

 Read on to learn more about cosmetic dental contouring, and if it’s right for you and your smile.


Who Can Benefit From Dental Contouring?

Many people with minor cosmetic irregularities can benefit from dental contouring. Your Springfield, MO dentist may recommend dental contouring to:

  • Change the length, shape, or size of your teeth
  • Improve the appearance of irregularly shaped teeth
  • Correct teeth that appear too long
  • Smooth out imperfections on the tooth surface
  • Correct minor tooth overlapping

If you’re generally satisfied with your smile, but wish your teeth were a bit shorter or slightly more even in size, dental contouring may be the perfect solution for you. However, if your teeth are severely crooked, crowded or misshapen, your Ozark, MO dentist may recommend procedures that can deliver more dramatic results. Serious cosmetic problems can be repaired with braces, veneers, bonding, or other methods. Talk to the professionals at Excel Dental, who can help you select the procedure that is right for your smile.


What Should I Expect?

Dental contouring is considered a simple dental procedure. First, your dentist will gently remove some of your teeth’s enamel in order to manipulate the length or shape. This part of the procedure is usually completed using either a drill or laser. But, don’t worry — there are no nerves in your enamel, so you won’t feel any pain. Once the enamel has been removed, your dentist may incorporate another procedure called bonding. Bonding is a cosmetic dentistry treatment that uses tooth-colored composite material to sculpt and shape the teeth.

Once your teeth have been contoured to an ideal shape, your dentist will finish things off by polishing your teeth for a smooth, clean look.


What Are The Benefits?

There are a handful or benefits to dental contouring:

  • Pain Free. Dental contouring is a nice choice for people who have dental anxiety or are worried about the pain associated with obtaining a perfect smile.
  • Fast. Typically, dental contouring can be completed in just one visit to your Ozark, MO dentist. Since the treatment usually takes less than an hour, it can be considered a “lunch break” type of procedure!
  • Permanent. Once your teeth have been reshaped to your satisfaction, you won’t need to worry about getting the procedure redone in the future.



Following a dental contouring procedure, your enamel will be thinner than before. This means you’ll need to be extra vigilant with your dental care, especially over time. Continued thinning of enamel can sometimes lead to increased teeth sensitivity.

To reduce your chances of experiencing sensitivity following a dental contouring procedure, we recommend that patients follow these guidelines:

  • Avoid excessive consumption of sugary foods and drinks
  • Make sure to incorporate plenty of calcium in your diet
  • Avoid brushing too hard or fast
  • Use an enamel-strengthening toothpaste, as recommended by the professionals at Excel Dental
  • See your dentist for regular checkups

Your dentist will provide detailed instructions following the procedure to ensure your new smile stays healthy and preserved for years to come.


Little Changes Make a Big Difference!

Sometimes it only takes a few small tweaks to make a big difference in your smile. Dental contouring is the easy way to finally perfect your smile in less than 60 minutes. Schedule your dental contouring appointment today with the trusted team at Excel Dental, Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews. Find us in Ozark, Missouri — just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield.


Related Reading

Searching for more advice on this topic? Make sure to check out these related posts from our blog:

●      Beyond Appearances: Why Straight Teeth Are Healthy Teeth

●      Get a Megawatt Smile With Veneers

●      Do I Really Need to Fix My Broken/Chipped Tooth?



Children’s Dentistry: Instilling Good Habits Early

The number one chronic childhood disease may surprise you. It’s not juvenile diabetes, asthma, or obesity. The most common disease plaguing children today is tooth decay. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42% of children between ages two and 11 have cavities in their baby teeth — that’s nearly half of all children in the U.S. Tooth decay is 20 times more prevalent than diabetes, five times more than asthma, and four times more than obesity, according to The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Childhood tooth decay can have lasting, devastating effects on your child’s oral development; fortunately, this chronic disease is almost entirely preventable.

It’s easy to overlook the importance of routine dental cleanings for children, especially when their teeth are just starting to emerge. However, your child’s baby teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they first appear — typically around six months of age. Sugar consumption and lack of routine oral hygiene from the start can cause a harmful reaction to bacteria in the mouth, resulting in cavities or even gum disease.

As with many matters of health, prevention is key. Teach your children good dental habits early, and they’ll enjoy healthy teeth for years to come. Read on to learn how you can make your child’s daily oral routine something they’ll actually look forward to.

At-home Tips

Preventing childhood tooth decay can largely be done at home with routine, daily dental care: brushing, flossing, and avoiding too many sugary beverages and snacks. Easy enough, right? Not quite. As many parents will agree, oftentimes kids view “brushing time” as a chore. And if your child doesn’t like the task, it’s going to be even harder to establish that task as daily routine. That’s why we’ve curated some foolproof tips below for making dental care an easy new habit for your little one.

  1. Pick out a special toothbrush together.

Allow your child to pick out their own toothbrush. If your child has ownership in the process, he or she will be more willing to take part.

  1. Don’t forget toothpaste!

While adults tend to prefer toothpaste with minty flavors, children’s palettes do not. Look for fun flavors like bubblegum, strawberry, or even sugar-free chocolate. Then, make sure to limit the amount of toothpaste on your child’s brush. Kids who are aged 3 – 6 need only a pea-size amount of fluoridated toothpaste on their brush in order to scrub properly. Children younger than three need only a rice-sized amount on their brush.

  1. Pump up the jams.

When it’s time to brush those teeth, turn on some tunes! Let your child pick out their favorite Disney track or song. Most songs are around two minutes long, which just so happens to be the dentist-recommended amount of time for brushing. So not only will music make brushing more fun, but it’ll also serve as a timer for you and your child.

  1. Start flossing.

No, we’re not referring to the viral dance move here. As soon as your child’s teeth start to touch, it’s time to start flossing. Kids flossers are designed for little hands and are easier for children to maneuver around their mouth with help from Mom or Dad.

  1. Snack smart.

Sugary snacks and drinks are one of the main culprits of childhood tooth decay. Start making healthy eating a habit by always keeping fresh cut fruits and veggies on hand. Before bedtime, try to avoid giving your child milk or juice. The natural sugars in these drinks can settle on your child’s teeth overnight.

  1. Lead by example.

Your children learn by your example. Take the lead and brush alongside your children as they get ready for the day.

The Importance of Professional Cleanings  

While it’s important to instill good oral hygiene habits at home, that’s really only half of the equation. Within six months of your child’s first tooth emerging, it’s time to schedule a dental visit.

The primary objective of your child’s first dental exam is to examine his or her mouth for proper growth and development, to provide a gentle first cleaning, and to further educate your child on good oral habits. Your Ozark, MO dentists are well-equipped to make your child feel comfortable and at ease upon their first visit to Excel Dental. Establishing trust with a dentist early in life is critical for ensuring that regular dental visits remain a lifelong habit for your child.

During your child’s appointment, your Springfield, MO dentist will also work to determine if your child is engaging in habits which could negatively impact their dental health, such as poor flossing, brushing, or teeth grinding. X-rays may be ordered to help diagnose any potential problems with your child’s adult teeth as they start to emerge.

We recommend that parents schedule regular dental check ups every six months, or more frequently if recommended. Taking your child to the dentist regularly at an early age will help them to continue practicing healthy dental habits well into adulthood.

A Healthy Smile is a Happy Smile!

Give your child the gift of a great smile by instilling proper dental habits today. Make an appointment for your child to meet the trusted team at Excel Dental, Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews. Find us in Ozark, Missouri — just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield. We can’t wait to brighten your child’s smile and their day with our friendly dental care.


Related Reading

Searching for more advice on this topic? Make sure to check out these related posts from our blog:


Ease Your Dental Phobia With Oral Sedation

Imagine sitting through your next dental visit feeling relaxed, zen, and so peaceful that you’re actually able to drift away into a light, sedated state. Upon recovery, you realize your smile has been completely restored. Surprisingly, though, you barely felt anything during the entire procedure.

Too good to be true? For those with dental phobia or anxiety, the above scenario may seem a bit far-fetched. Dental phobia is a real psychological fear that causes an estimated 30 – 40 million Americans to dodge the dentist each year, according to the Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center. Dental phobia can stem from a variety of reasons. Even though most dental procedures are relatively painless, many people with this condition fear the possibility of pain, discomfort, and helplessness. Other reasons why some people fear the dentist include embarrassment about their oral health or anxiety about an extensive procedure that may require taking time off of work.

If you or someone you know suffers from dental phobia, fear not — at Excel Dental, we have your solution. Oral sedation dentistry is the easy way to calm your nerves for a tolerable and even relaxing experience in the dental chair. With oral sedation dentistry, you may even start to look forward to your next trip to the dentist!

Read on to learn more about easing dental anxiety with oral sedation.

What is Oral Sedation?

Oral sedation is a medication that helps patients relax during their dental appointment. In most cases, the medication is a small pill that is taken orally prior to your appointment. Your Ozark, MO  dentist will determine the optimal dose according to your body weight and phobia severity. For most people, a minimal to moderate sedative dose is administered, which typically won’t cause you to fall asleep completely, but it will give you a sense of calm, peace, and relaxation.

If needed, a larger dose may be administered to produce a heavier sedation. Some people do become groggy enough from this type of oral sedation to fall into a light sleep during the procedure.

Those with certain medical conditions (sleep apnea, obesity, etc.) should first talk to their Springfield, MO  dentist about oral sedation as there may be some risks involved. However, oral sedation dentistry is considered very safe for the general population.

Who Can Benefit From Oral Sedation?

If you have a real, debilitating fear or anxiety of the dentist that is preventing you from obtaining the dental care you need, then you may be a good candidate for oral sedation. Sedation dentistry may also be appropriate for people who have:

  • A low pain threshold
  • Sensitive teeth
  • An intense gag reflex
  • A need for extensive dental or cosmetic work

You may be wondering if oral sedation is a good solution for children, who can often become squirmy and anxious in a dental chair. Children can be given sedation if they fear the dentist or refuse to cooperate during the visit; however, nitrous oxide is usually the option of choice as it’s easier to administer. Your dentists at Excel Dental are professionally-trained in various pediatric sedation solutions, and will help you determine the best option for your child.

After the Procedure

Your dentist will provide you with instructions following your procedure with oral sedation. Make sure to follow the provided guidelines carefully to ensure a full recovery. The most important instruction that you should follow is to give your body plenty of rest. Go home, set up on the couch and enjoy a Netflix binge! Do not overexert yourself, especially in the 24 hours following your procedure. If you live alone, we recommend arranging to have someone stay with you for at least three hours after you leave the office.

The following tips will ensure you’re back to normal relatively quickly after oral sedation:

  • Arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home after the appointment. Avoid driving for the remainder of that day.
  • Move slowly. Use help or assistance when getting up, climbing stairs, or switching position. If you experience dizziness, lie down until the feeling dissipates.
  • Resume taking any prescribed medications as directed once you are drinking fluids. Over the counter pain relievers can be taken according to the instructions on the label.
  • You may start drinking fluids immediately following your procedure. Begin with frequent, small quantities of clear liquid such as water or broth. Progress slowly from liquids to soups and solid foods. Taking your time easing into your diet will help you to avoid any post-procedural nausea.

Fear Not!

Don’t let dental phobia get in the way of having the smile of your dreams. Make an appointment today with your trusted team at Excel Dental, Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews. Find us in Ozark, Missouri — just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield.

Related Reading

Searching for more advice on this topic? Make sure to check out these related posts from our blog:





Whitening Your Teeth: The Safest Way to Get That Million-Dollar Smile

One of the first features we notice about other people is their smile. It’s no wonder then why nearly 80 percent of Americans report wanting whiter teeth, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Are you one of the majority who yearns for a brighter smile? Many people who wish to whiten their teeth will first turn to at-home solutions, such as whitening toothpaste, mouthwash, or strips. These solutions can work okay for removing surface stains, but often fall short of the dramatic whitening most people wish to achieve. Additionally, off-the-shelf whitening solutions can sometimes be too harsh on tooth enamel, especially for those with sensitive teeth.

For safer whitening results that’ll really get you noticed, we recommend a combination of simple lifestyle changes and a cosmetic consultation with the professionals at Excel Dental. When combined, these solutions will result in a dazzling white smile that won’t compromise your oral health.

Read on to learn how you can safely take your smile from drab to fab in no time.


#1: Upgrade Your Lifestyle

What you choose to put in and around your mouth can drastically affect the color of your teeth. Here are some simple tips for keeping the “yellow” at bay!

  • Avoid dark-colored food and drink. This includes red wine, black tea, beets, coffee, soda, and dark-colored juices. Dark-colored beverages and food can turn teeth yellow or brown over time. Carbonated and acidic beverages such as soda pack a double-whammy by eroding your enamel and causing stains to appear more pronounced. If you do decide to indulge in a dark-colored food or beverage, make sure to brush your teeth immediately following.
  • Eat more “detergent” foods. Foods that are firm, crisp, and/or contain naturally-occuring enzymes can help clean your teeth as they’re eaten. Apples are considered “nature’s toothbrush” for this very reason. Other foods that clean as you eat include raw carrots, celery, oranges, pineapples, strawberries, and nuts.
  • Practice good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing twice daily removes surface stains to keep your smile naturally white and healthy.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking cigarettes and cigars will discolor your teeth, period. The buildup of tar and tobacco on your teeth can become especially difficult to remove over time, not to mention the other dangerous oral health risks associated with this habit.
  • Swap your regular toothbrush for an electronic one. Electric toothbrushes are more efficient at removing plaque buildup. To properly clean your teeth with an electric toothbrush, grip the brush like a pencil and place the head at a 45-degree angle against your teeth while gently moving in a circular motion. Make sure to change the head of your toothbrush at least every two to three months.
  • Add some color. For the ladies, try reaching for a medium coral or light red lipstick. These colors tend to make teeth look whiter, whereas lighter-color lipsticks can bring out yellow undertones in teeth.


#2: See the Professionals

For a solution that can brighten your teeth several shades whiter, plan to make an appointment with your Ozark, MO dental professionals. Professional teeth whitening treatments produce more effective and dramatic results than over-the-counter solutions alone.

At Excel Dental, we offer our patients a couple ways to take their smile to the next level:

  1. Custom Whitening Trays

This is one of our most popular options. Our dental professionals will begin by making an impression of your teeth to design custom mouth trays. You’ll be given a professional-grade dental bleach for use with the trays as an at-home treatment. The length of time that you’ll be required to wear the trays depends on the degree of staining and your desired level of whitening. Your Springfield, MO cosmetic dentistry professionals will provide you with detailed instructions for wearing your trays so you can achieve the whitening result you desire. The best part about the custom whitening trays is that you can use them for many years so future “touch ups” are quick and easy.

  1. Laser Whitening

 Laser teeth whitening provides instant whitening gratification! One laser whitening treatment typically takes about an hour and can whiten your teeth up to 12 shades. Laser whitening is the use of a laser light to trigger professional-grade bleaching agents and speed up the agents’ whitening effects on the teeth.

The process is fairly simple. Professional-grade whitening gel is first applied to the surface of your teeth. The laser light is then pointed at the bleaching agent to speed up the whitening process (You will be equipped with protected eyewear during this process). Within 60-90 minutes, a drastically whiter smile will be yours. And with proper maintenance, your new smile should last for up to two years.

Some patients use a combination of these treatments by getting laser whitening and then maintaining that platinum white with custom take-home trays.

Your friendly dental professionals at Excel Dental are best equipped to advise on the optimal whitening treatment for you. And once you’ve achieved your desired level of “wow,” make sure to schedule a regular professional cleaning every six months to further maintain your pearly whites.

Schedule Your Appointment!

Make a big impression with a brighter, whiter smile. Schedule your teeth whitening appointment today with the trusted team at Excel Dental, Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews. Find us in Ozark, Missouri — just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield.


Related Reading

Searching for more advice on this topic? Make sure to check out these related posts from our blog:

●      Take Care of that Summer Smile with Teeth Whitening at Excel Dental!

●      Get a Megawatt Smile With Veneers

●      How Can You Get Rid of Tetracycline Stains on Your Teeth?