Should you be concerned about canker sores?

The team at Avenue Dental wants you to have a healthy, beautiful smile – and they also want to do all they can to make sure that you never have a problem with your oral health that causes you pain or discomfort. Canker sores are little things but they can definitely cause pain! So what are canker sores, and what can you do about them?

What are canker sores?

Canker sores can form on your soft palate, under your tongue, or inside your cheeks or lips. They are painful and annoying but are not contagious. They are yellowish-white ulcers, and they are different than cold sores, which are caused by the herpes virus and are very contagious.

They are very common, and they may be triggered by a few different things, such as: stress; hormone shifts; an iron or other vitamin deficiency; a food sensitivity (some people may notice canker sores after eating eggs, nuts, cheese, or chocolate); an injury to your mouth (such as a sports injury); an irritation to your mouth (such as braces or other dental work rubbing up against your cheek); or they may be caused by a reaction to sodium lauryl sulfate, which is found in mouth rinses and toothpaste. They might also be a sign of an underlying disease or condition, such as celiac disease or HIV/AIDS.

How are canker sores treated?

Most canker sores will go away in 7 to 10 days, which can feel like a long time when you are in pain every time you move your mouth. There are over-the-counter ointments and pain relievers available that can help you to find some relief. A mixture of half hydrogen peroxide and half water dabbed on the canker sore a few times a day can help ease the discomfort and can help your sore to heal a bit faster. However, if you keep getting canker sores, it might be time to see your doctor to determine if there is an underlying cause, such as a vitamin deficiency.

If you need help keeping your mouth healthy and beautiful, contact Avenue Dental. Call the office in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at (734) 484-4710, today!

What is that spot on my gums?

You strive to take excellent care of your teeth; they are beautiful, straight, and white. And then one day you notice a dark spot on your gums, which doesn’t look good, and it definitely doesn’t look natural. You are concerned with the aesthetics of this, but even more concerning – is this spot a sign of a serious health problem?

Amalgam tattoos

The good news is that, most likely, this spot is nothing to be concerned about. The odds are good that this is just something known as an “amalgam tattoo,” the result of an amalgam filling that you probably got a long time ago.

Nowadays, cavities are filled with a composite/ceramic material that is the color of your teeth, but if you are over a certain age, you may still have some amalgam fillings. Amalgam fillings are made of a combination of materials such as mercury, tin, copper, and silver. These fillings can sink down into the gums (and can even end up in the lips, tongue, or cheeks) and cause a grayish or black spot. Parts of an amalgam filling can get pushed down into gum tissue if your dentist is removing the filling or drilling out tooth decay.

Although amalgam tattoos are pretty common and nothing to worry about, they do resemble mucosal melanomas, which are something to be concerned about! Mucosal melanomas are a rare but deadly form of cancer that typically affects people who have used tobacco products for many years. Besides an odd-looking spot, another symptom is swelling in the mouth – you might notice that your dentures don’t fit as well as they used to because of this. If you think you might have a mucosal melanoma, you should see your dentist or your doctor right away. They can perform an examination and can x-ray the spot to determine what exactly it is.

Are you concerned that something about your teeth or gums just doesn’t look right? Are you having pain in your teeth – or is it just time for a cleaning? Maybe it is time to make an appointment with Avenue Dental! Call the office in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at (734) 484-4710!

Thumb Sucking and Your Child’s Oral Health

Little asian girl sucking thumb on sofa.

Does your child have a habit of sucking his or her thumb? As they get older, you may start to wonder if this might be affecting how their teeth are developing and if it might cause problems in the future. Read on for some more information about thumb sucking and what the professionals have to say about it.

What will years of thumb sucking do to your child’s teeth?

Thumb sucking is very common in babies and toddlers – they do it as a way to calm themselves when they are upset or anxious. However, around the age of 3 or 4, this habit can start to cause damage. The constant pressure of the thumb can cause the front teeth to jut forward and the teeth that are coming in to be out of alignment. Eventually, this can lead to crooked teeth (and the need for orthodontics) and even jaw problems and pain.

How can you stop your child from thumb sucking?

In the best case scenario, your child may just quit on their own. They may start to notice if they are the only one in the play group who sucks their thumb, and they may quit because they feel self-conscious. However, most parents know that things usually aren’t that easy with kids!

There are many different techniques out there you can try to stop the thumb sucking habit. Reward systems are always popular with kids; you could use a sticker chart and give them a sticker for each day they don’t suck their thumb, with a bigger reward after a week of no thumb sucking. You could try to taper it off, by only allowing thumb sucking at bedtime. There are also thumb guards out there that can physically prevent any thumb sucking. And of course, your dentist may have their own tried and true way to help your child break the habit.

Thumb sucking can be a bad habit that can be harmful to your child’s oral health. For help taking care of the whole family’s oral health, make an appointment with Avenue Dental today. Call the office in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at (734) 484-4710!

Should you be using charcoal toothpaste?

Some people are convinced that “all-natural” products are the way to go – and this includes toothpaste made from natural ingredients. Charcoal toothpaste has become more popular in the past few years as a natural solution and a product that whitens teeth, but is it something you should be using?

Why do people use charcoal toothpaste?

First of all, you should know this isn’t the same kind of charcoal that you use to light your barbecue. It is made from natural materials, such as wood and coconut shells, that are ground into a fine powder. It is a big trend now to use charcoal in beauty and health products, such as face scrubs, face masks, and, of course, toothpaste.

Besides wanting a natural product, people may use charcoal toothpaste because they don’t like the mint or cinnamon flavor that other toothpastes have. Other people swear that their charcoal toothpaste helps to keep their teeth white, removes stains, and even prevents bad breath.

However, there is no real, scientific proof that charcoal toothpaste really does these things. It can actually end up making teeth look less white and more dingy – charcoal is abrasive and can wear down tooth enamel. This not only makes teeth more sensitive, but this exposes the dentin underneath, which is yellow.

Most brands of charcoal toothpaste also don’t have fluoride in them, which is an important ingredient for keeping teeth healthy. And, yet another reason why you might not want to use charcoal toothpaste is that no one is really sure what the long-term effects of using charcoal toothpaste might be, and it is also unclear how it might affect veneers, bridges, and other restorations.

Deciding on a toothpaste may seem like it should be an easy decision, but for some people it’s not! Maybe you want a natural toothpaste, or maybe you are looking for something besides those “minty” toothpastes that irritate your mouth. If you need help finding the right toothpaste for you or with keeping your oral health the best it can be, the staff at Avenue Dental can help. Call the office in Ypsilanti, Michigan, for an appointment, at (734) 484-4710 today!

What is a tooth abscess?

Man suffering from tooth ache in morning

You should always take good care of your teeth – not just so they look great, but also so that they can serve you well throughout your life. It is also important to take care of your teeth so that you can avoid serious problems, beyond just plaque. One such serious problem is a tooth abscess. Read on for more information about tooth abscesses and how you can avoid them!

What causes a tooth abscess?

A tooth abscess is an infected tooth. It can become infected when you have a chip, crack, or a cavity in the tooth that is left untreated. Bacteria gets into the tooth, and infection forms in between the root and the gums, or it may be located just at the root.

An abscess isn’t something you can treat at home. Pus and bacteria begin to collect, and it just gets worse. The infection can damage the teeth around it and eventually even the jaw bone. The infection can even spread to the rest of the body and cause very serious health issues.

Signs that you might have a tooth abscess include teeth that are sensitive to hot or cold, gums that are very tender, tooth pain, and a swollen area of the jaw. You may even have a fever and swollen neck glands because of the infection.

You should see your dentist right away if you have a damaged tooth, to prevent bacteria from collecting and causing an infection. If you do have an abscess, your dentist will try to save the tooth by draining the abscess and killing the bacteria. You may need to have a root canal so that the infected tissue can be removed from the tooth, and if the infection is very serious you might have to have the tooth removed.

It is important to take good care of your teeth, not just so you have a brilliant smile, but for your health as well. Brush at least twice a day, floss at least once a day, and see your dentist for cleanings twice a year. If you are having tooth pain, contact Avenue Dental in Ypsilanti, Michigan, for an appointment. Call (734) 484-4710 today!

Does an oral piercing affect your oral health?

Are you thinking about getting an oral piercing? They are all the rage nowadays – a piercing through the lip, tongue, or another part of the mouth. However, if you are thinking of getting an oral piercing, there are some things you should be aware of, both for your overall and oral health.

Will an oral piercing damage my teeth?

It is possible that your oral piercing can end up doing damage to your teeth – for example, by causing chips or cracks in the tooth, which can lead to infection if not treated quickly. But an oral piercing can also cause damage to your gums, by rubbing against them and causing them to recede. An oral piercing can also do damage to crowns or other restorations.

Oral piercings can cause other problems, too. They can increase the amount of saliva in your mouth, which can make it difficult to talk, chew, and even swallow. And, they can cause an infection if bacteria gets into your mouth by way of the piercing. In the very worst case scenario, this bacteria can get into your blood stream and cause other health issues, such as endocarditis (inflammation of the heart).

Caring for your oral piercing

If you do decide to get an oral piercing, the most important thing you can do is to keep it clean. Brush and floss thoroughly and often, and make sure you visit your dentist at least twice a year so that he or she can check and make sure that your piercing isn’t causing any problems.

You should also avoid playing with your piercing, putting nonfood items in your mouth (such as pen caps and pencils), and using tobacco products, as these can increase the risk of infection. If you are playing a sport where there is potential for contact with another player, you should take your piercing out before the game, so that it doesn’t get caught on something or end up smashing into your teeth.

Take care of your oral piercing, and take care of your oral health! If you do have any issues with your oral piercing (or even if it is just time for a cleaning), contact Avenue Dental in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Call (734) 484-4710 today!

The Benefits of Professional Tooth Whitening        

Having nice, white teeth is an important part of having a confident smile – and having a confident smile can make a big difference in everything that you do. You can get special toothpastes, mouthwash, and kits at the grocery store that claim to whiten your teeth – but do these really do what they say they’ll do? Or should you head to your dentist’s office for the professional touch? Read on for some information to help you decide.

Why should you get your teeth whitened professionally?

It may seem easier to buy a product at the store to whiten your teeth, but a whitening treatment at your dentist’s office is better for many reasons.

For one thing, you’ll see results as soon as your treatment is complete (as opposed to at-home treatments, which can take quite a bit of time). Tooth whitening from your dentist’s office will ensure that your teeth look their best just in time for a special occasion – a guarantee you won’t get from an at-home product.

Another benefit to having your teeth professionally whitened is that your dentist can use products that are much stronger and more effective than those you can buy at the store. And, your dentist knows how to use these products safely, to protect your teeth and gums – often, at-home kits have bleaching agents and other chemicals that can make gums and teeth painful and sensitive.

If you would still rather prefer to whiten your teeth at home, you can have the best of both worlds when you opt for an at-home kit from your dentist. A kit from your dentist is more effective than something you get at the grocery store, but it comes with advice and expert monitoring from your dentist to ensure that you’ll safely get the results you want to see.

So, should you head to your dentist when you want whiter teeth? Yes! Products you can get at the store make a lot of promises about getting your teeth whiter, but for results you can depend on, contact Avenue Dental in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Call (734) 484-4710 for a tooth whitening appointment today!

Are Root Canals Really That Painful?

Root canals have gained a horrible reputation through the years, and if you tell people you have to have this procedure you will probably get many, many sympathetic looks. But what exactly is a root canal, why would you need one, and is getting one really all that bad?

What happens during a root canal?

A root canal is simply the removal of infected pulp within a tooth. “Pulp,” the tissue inside of your tooth, includes blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. It can become infected if you have a damaged tooth, such as a chip or a crack in the tooth or a cavity that you’ve had for a while that hasn’t been treated. Such damage allows bacteria to get into the tooth and cause an infection.

It can be difficult to tell just from looking if your tooth is infected. It may look fine on the outside, but it doesn’t feel fine. You may have a sudden sensitivity to hot or cold, swollen gums, or pain when chewing (or pain all the time).

So, do root canals hurt?

Before the root canal, you will be given an anesthetic so that you won’t feel any pain. The infected pulp is removed, the inside of the tooth is cleaned out, an antibiotic coating is applied, and your tooth is covered with a crown. After the procedure, your mouth may feel sore, but over-the-counter pain medication can help.

Most patients report that a root canal hurts about as much as getting a dental filling. In a recent study, a root canal was cited as the most painful dental procedure for only about 20% of the participants. No one knows for sure how root canals came to be thought of as horribly painful, but it seems they don’t deserve this reputation.

Getting a root canal probably won’t be the best part of your day, but it will help to ensure you have healthy teeth, and it will prevent future pain, discomfort, and even more serious problems. If you need help for tooth pain, contact Avenue Dental in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Call (734) 484-4710 today!