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:
- 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.
- 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.
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Ahhh, summer. Time for pool parties, BBQs, bonfires under the stars, and…
…re-evaluating your child’s oral health routine!
Of course, summer brings with it an abundance of sun and plenty of fun. It also brings an increase in outdoor activities and sugary beverages that can put your child’s oral health at risk. In fact, nearly 30 percent of parents say summer vacation is the most difficult time to get their children to keep up good oral health, according to Delta Dental. That’s why summer is the perfect mid-year checkpoint for re-evaluating your household’s current dental routine and adjusting as necessary for seasonal influences.
Below, we’ve compiled the top summertime threats to your child’s oral health. Read on to learn how you can combat these risks for a sunny smile all summer long!
Top Summertime Threats to Kids’ Oral Health
1.Sugary Foods & Carbonated Drinks
Popsicles, lemonade, ice cream sandwiches and sugary soda are all staples of the “summer diet.” As satisfying as these treats are on a hot summer day, they can wreak havoc on your child’s teeth. Sugary foods and carbonated beverages are one of the primary causes of cavities and decay.
Tip: Stock your pantry and fridge with healthy, tasty snacks that are easy to grab-and-go. Examples include apple slices and cheese, celery sticks with peanut butter and frozen banana slices.
Dehydration is the result of of too much summer heat and a lack of quality fluids. Most people understand the dangers of dehydration to the body, but did you know that dehydration is also harmful to your teeth? Our teeth and gums depend on saliva to help keep them healthy; a dry mouth creates the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive.
Tip: Emphasize to your children the importance of staying hydrated, especially during physical activity. Pack a water bottle or two anytime you leave the house, because a source of water is not always guaranteed while on-the-go.
3. Outdoor Sports
Outdoor sports and activities are a given during the summer months. This is the time of year when children flock to playgrounds, sports parks and ball fields. An increase in physical activity outdoors, though, also increases the potential for accidents and injury.
Tip: We recommend always wearing a mouthguard when participating in outdoor activities—even if the activity doesn’t involve any physical contact. Mouthguards can protect teeth from accidentally being knocked out by a flailing elbow or fly ball. Your dental professionals here at Excel Dental in Ozark can help select a mouthguard with the perfect fit for your child.
It’s simply not summer without a day at the pool. Fun at the pool can quickly turn into an emergency, though, when a slip on wet concrete results in a cracked, broken or lost tooth.
Tip: Discuss proper pool safety with your kids to avoid injuries that could compromise their oral health.
5. Later Bedtimes
Daily schedules often go awry during the activity-filled months of summer; kids tend to sleep in and stay up later. When normal AM and PM routines are thrown off, kids often forget to brush their teeth twice a day—or at all.
Tip: Post a daily brushing chart in your home as a fun reminder to brush and floss twice daily. For every week of successful brushing and flossing, reward your kiddos to a special outing or healthy treat.
Don’t forget about your child’s lips! The skin on our lips is very sensitive to hazardous UV rays, which can burn the lips with extended, unprotected exposure.
Tip: Use a lip balm with SPF 15 or higher and apply liberally after every hour in the sun. Keep the balm close at hand this summer so you’re prepared for every afternoon baseball game, day at the pool or outdoor birthday party!
More Hot Summer Tips
Replace your family’s toothbrushes. Toothbrushes should be replaced approximately every three months. Replace your entire family’s toothbrushes during summer break and once again when back-to-school rolls around. Seasonal changes serve as a great reminder for dental health!
Schedule a dental checkup. Take advantage of when your child won’t have to miss school for their dental check-up. At your child’s appointment, a cleaning and cavity check will be performed along with an evaluation of overall oral health. At Excel Dental, we’ll also take the opportunity to educate your child on the importance of good brushing and flossing habits.
Smile on This Summer
Keep smiles shining this summer! Make an appointment for your child with Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews at Excel Dental. Find us in Ozark, Missouri—just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield.
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It’s Valentine’s Day. Following a perfectly romantic dinner for two, you head home and cozy up on the couch with your special someone. Candles are lit. Music is playing. The moment is yours to lean in for the kiss.
But you don’t.
What’s holding you back? Halitosis, otherwise known as bad breath.
If your breath is less than fresh—know that you’re not alone! Anyone can develop bad breath and at any point in their life. Read on to understand what causes halitosis and what you can do for more kissable breath this Valentine’s Day and every day!
What Causes Halitosis?
According to the American Dental Association, bad breath is caused by bacteria in your mouth. When this bacteria begins to decay, it produces a sulfur compound that results in a foul odor. The bacteria can range in terms of severity. Some cases of bad breath can be fixed rather easily, but more severe cases may require the attention of your local Ozark dentists at Excel Dental.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are many possible causes for halitosis, including:
- Less-than-stellar dental hygiene. Brushing and flossing daily is important for preventing the buildup of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that grows on your teeth. If plaque is allowed to fester, it starts to produce an unpleasant odor. Plaque that isn’t brushed away will eventually begin to irritate your gums and form plaque-filled pockets between your teeth and gums. This will increase your risk of developing periodontitis.
- The food you eat. When certain food particles breakdown in your mouth, it can increase bacteria and cause an unpleasant odor. Furthermore, these foods can continue to cause bad breath as they enter your bloodstream through the process of digestion. Onions and garlic are the most common culprits of bad breath, but coffee, pickles, ketchup and fatty meats can also bring out the bad breath for some people.
- Smoking. We all know that smoking is bad for your health, but did you also know it’s bad for your breath? Smoking in itself produces an unpleasant mouth odor. Smokers are also more likely to have gum disease—another cause of bad breath.
- Dry mouth. Saliva helps to cleanse your mouth by removing particles that cause bad odors. Dry mouth is a condition where the mouth doesn’t produce as much saliva as needed, often leading to bad breath and general discomfort. Naturally-occurring dry mouth can also happen during sleep, which results in that dreaded “morning breath”.
- Mouth, nose and throat conditions. Bad breath can occasionally stem from small stones that form in the tonsils and are covered with bacteria that produce odor. Infections or chronic inflammation in the nose, sinuses or throat, which can contribute to postnasal drip, also can cause bad breath. Bad breath in kids can sometimes be caused by a foreign obstruction, such as a piece of food lodged in a nostril.
- Certain diseases. Although less common, there are some cancers and disorders that can cause a distinctive mouth odor as a result of chemical production associated with these conditions. Chronic reflux of stomach acids (gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD) can also be associated with bad breath.
How Do I Treat Halitosis?
There is no true “quick cure” for halitosis. Mouthwashes and mints can temporarily mask bad breath, but these methods don’t get to the root of the problem. You must first identify the cause of your halitosis in order to treat it effectively. Below are a few tips for ensuring optimal breath health:
Brush and floss at least twice daily to physically remove surface bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath.
Use a tongue scraper to gently scrape debris off the top of your tongue.
Make sure to schedule bi-annual dental checkups with your Springfield dentist. Your dentist can examine your mouth to diagnose and properly treat your halitosis.
If you smoke or chew tobacco, consider stopping. Your body and breath will thank you!
Avoid foods that contribute to bad breath. Onions and garlic are perfectly healthy foods, but you may want to avoid them before a big event or special occasion.
Eat more foods that’ll improve your breath! Foods that are fortified with vitamin D, such as yogurt, salmon, eggs, and orange juice have been shown to reduce mouth bacteria, which may help improve your breath. Parsley has long been used as a breath freshener due to its high levels of naturally-deodorizing chlorophyll.
Goodbye Bad Breath!
Anyone can fall victim to bad breath due to a buildup of bacteria, but with optimal oral hygiene and a combination of a few other tactics, you may be able to resolve halitosis on your own. If your breath doesn’t improve with any of the above approaches, make an appointment with Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews at Excel Dental, located in Ozark, Missouri—a short 10 minute drive from Springfield. We can diagnose the root cause of your halitosis and develop a treatment plan for a healthy mouth and fresh breath.
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Do you often find yourself hiding your smile because of gapped teeth or overcrowding? If so, you’re not alone. A whopping one-third of Americans are unhappy with their smile, according to the American Association of Orthodontics. The thought of braces, though, can be daunting—especially for an adult. Sporting a mouth of metal doesn’t sound appealing to most, not to mention the wire tightening and sometimes having to avoid your favorite foods.
Fortunately, cosmetic dentistry and orthodontic technology continue to revolutionize. One of the most exciting advances has been the introduction of Invisalign®, a clear alternative to metal braces.
Will you be ringing in a new smile in 2018? Read on to discover if Invisalign® is the right solution for you or your teen.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a custom-fitted, clear aligner that fits snugly over your teeth. The aligner is interchanged by your local Springfield dentist approximately every week for two to 18 months (depending on your individual needs), gently moving your teeth toward a beautiful smile.
How Does it Work?
As certified Invisalign® providers, Drs. Davis and Matthews at Excel Dental will develop a personalized treatment plan that’s unique to you. Your custom-made aligners are designed to gradually move your teeth in the right direction at the right time.
The process begins with an initial consultation where we’ll discuss your needs and evaluate if Invisalign® is the right solution for you. If it’s determined that Invisalign® is the proper course of treatment, the first appointment includes photos and a digital scan of your teeth to create a precise 3D image of your teeth. From there, a custom plan is developed that shows how your teeth will move each step of the way and how long your treatment will last. The most exciting part at this stage in the process? You could get a digital sneak peek of what your smile will look like at the end of your treatment plan.
Your custom-made aligners will be ready to go within a few weeks. You will be so excited to start the journey of your new smile! At the second visit, you will be fitted with your first aligner and given precise directions for inserting, removing and cleaning your them. You will be given several aligners and our office will ensure that you have the schedule and know when to advance to the next aligner. With each new set, your teeth will gently and gradually be guided into place. One of the many benefits of Invisalign® is that you’ll be able to see your smile’s progress at every stage of treatment.
Patients typically are given six to eight aligners at a time before given their next set. This means you usually only need to come to short office visits every two months. Besides being nearly invisible, another huge benefit over traditional bracket and wire orthodontics is that you can take the aligners out to eat and when you clean your teeth. Because they are removable, it is important to commit to wearing your aligners at all other times (20-22 hours/day) for best results. Our team will ensure that you will love your final straight smile and fit you with a retainer to keep your smile looking great!
What are the Benefits of Invisalign®?
Although the treatment paths may be different, your journey wearing Invisalign or traditional braces will lead you to the same result—a beautiful smile! Invisalign® does have some unique benefits in comparison to braces, however, all depending on your dentistry needs and lifestyle.
- Invisalign® aligners are virtually invisible, so you don’t have to shy away from the camera or meeting new people during treatment.
- You can still enjoy all of your favorite foods and easily brush and floss your teeth with Invisalign® removable aligners.
- Wires and brackets used for traditional braces can occasionally break. Invisalign® aligners are made from a flexible, thermoplastic material that does not poke or prod.
- Typically, office visits will be scheduled every six to eight weeks. That means more time back in your busy schedule.
Your hometown Ozark dentist will be best equipped to determine the optimal path to a beautiful smile. No matter what course you take, make sure to keep your eye on the end goal and remember that a new, more confident you is just around the corner.
Make the Resolution!
This year, resolve to take back your confidence with a new smile! Schedule your appointment with Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews at Excel Dental, located in Ozark, Missouri—a short 10 minute drive from Springfield. We’ll work with you to determine if Invisalign® is the clear choice for you or your teen.
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Is snoring keeping you—or someone you love—up at night?
If so, you’re hardly alone. The National Sleep Foundation says that 90 million American adults snore at least occasionally, while 37 million do so on a regular basis.
Dr. Eric J. Kezirian, Professor of Otolaryngology at the University of Southern California, explains that snoring is simply the vibration of structures inside your throat while you sleep.
While we’re sleeping, muscles of the throat and soft palate may relax, causing airflow to become turbulent, or irregular, which produces those annoying, familiar sounds of snoring.
But why do some people snore? Snoring can be caused by sleep apnea, but not always: about half of people who snore regularly have sleep apnea, while other cases are caused by other factors.
Snoring treatment involves determining what is causing the irregular airflow, then identifying ways to correct it. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, help may be as close as your dentist’s chair. A customized mandibular positioning device can be worn while you sleep, keeping your airway open, your bedroom quiet and helping you breathe easy while you sleep.
When you have dentures, dental care looks a little differently than it does for everyone else. Despite these differences, there are several important rules you should be following to maintain your dental hygiene.
We have three easy steps you can take to prolong the life of your dentures.
If you or your child are diagnosed with a bacterial infection, chances are you’ll get a prescription for antibiotics.
And tetracycline is one of the most widely used antibiotics in the world.
From acne to pneumonia to urinary infections, this family of antibiotics has proven effective against some 90% of bacterial infections since its discovery in 1945 by Dr. Benjamin Duggar at the University of Missouri.
But did you know tetracyclines could also affect your teeth? Let’s take a look at how it can cause tooth discoloration, how to reduce the risk, and what to do if you’ve been affected.
Our pets are near and dear to our hearts and some even feel as though they’re family. Playing with your dog or puppy brings joy to all. You may love having your dog close, and letting your dog lick your face might not seem like a big deal. After all, we’ve all heard that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than our own, right? Unfortunately, your teeth may not be thanking you for those puppy kisses. Let’s go over how your dental safety can be compromised by those dog kisses.
Pregnancy means an endless amount of checkups, ultrasounds, and doctor’s visits, but have you thought to check in with your dentist? Common misconceptions may have told you that a trip to the dentist is unsafe during pregnancy, but years of research show that dentist visits during pregnancy are actually incredibly necessary. Keep reading to learn how pregnancy makes you more susceptible to dental ailments like swollen and bleeding gums.
You may be happy with the way your teeth look and think you don’t need braces. Or perhaps you’ve just decided it’s okay to live with crooked teeth.