Bruxism – “Tooth Grinding”

Of the three causes for tooth loss, the one that surprises most people is excessive bite forces.  The American Dental Association says that approximately one in three adults grind their teeth when they sleep.  The condition, called bruxism, places unhealthy forces on teeth that can cause flattened or worn-down teeth, chipped areas at the gumline, loose teeth, and damages to your jaw joint.

The most frequent causes of bruxism are stress and bite discrepancies.  In a healthy bite, the teeth come together in harmony to protect the teeth and your jaw joint.  That harmony can be lost when you have periodontal disease, tooth crowding, or missing teeth that have allowed the remaining teeth to shift or tilt.  Even if your bite is perfect, stress can cause you to grind your teeth.  Of people that are restless sleepers, 95% grind their teeth.  The same brain activity that causes you to toss and turn also causes the bruxing.

Let’s look at an example of bruxism.  In this photo, the teeth have already been shortened by at least one-fourth of their length.  Often patients with problems even this severe are not aware that they are bruxing, and many will even deny it when shown the severity of the problem.   And if your spouse sleeps more soundly that you, he or she may also be unaware of the problem.

As a dentist, I hear patients make comments like “I sleep with my mouth open, so that can’t be happening.”  Bruxing doesn’t occur constantly when you sleep, but if it’s happening, it still will cause damage.

Below are some questions that may tell you a problem is present:

  • Have you noticed worn teeth that seem to be getting gradually worse?
  • Do your teeth feel like they have more than one place that feels like a “home base” to touch when all of the teeth come together?
  • Do your jaws feel tired at the end of the day or when you awaken in the morning?
  • Do you sometimes awaken with headaches?
  • Do you avoid eating foods like bagels because it’s not comfortable?

One treatment for bruxism is the use of a bite guard.  A bite guard is a plastic appliance that fits over your teeth and protects them from damaged that’s caused by grinding.  The kind of bite guards sold at the pharmacy can actually make things worse.  Custom nightguards can be made that are extremely comfortable, and the newest designs, like the one shown here, actually have a relaxing effect on the muscles.

If the arrangement of your teeth lacks harmony, there may be advantages to changing how your bite comes together.  Orthodontic treatment (“braces”) can make dramatic changes, or your dentist can use a process called equilibration to reshape the biting surfaces of your teeth to improve the way they come together.

If you’re suffering headaches, or see tooth wear that you’re concerned about, give us a call at 845-2273 (or toll-free 888-917-2273).  Your teeth and your mouth will thank you!

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Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041

Charles Curtis wins iPod Nano

Congratulations to Charles Curtis and Charlie Wenz!  Charles Curtis won the drawing for the IPOD Nano, and Charlie Wenz won the IPON Shuffle.  Thank you so much to all of our patients who referred new patients between October 1st and December 23rd and were eligible for the drawing.

Dr. Moorhead presents iPod Nano to Charles Curtis
Charles Curtis accepts iPod Nano from Dr. Moorhead

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Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041

26th Annual Free Dental Treatment Day

For the twenty-sixth Christmas, Flemingsburg Dental Care will be offering an early Christmas gift to families in Central and Eastern Kentucky. Dr. William J. Moorhead started his annual Free Treatment Day in 1982 as his way of giving back to the community and providing aid to the growing number of Americans who could not afford dental care. His team of dentists, sponsors and volunteers will host their twenty-sixth annual event on the Saturday before Christmas.

On Saturday, December 20th, Flemingsburg Dental Care will devote the entire day to providing free dental services such as cleanings, x-rays and fillings to individuals in need. This year, Dr. Moorhead has joined the “Dentistry From the Heart” network. Formed in 2001, Dentistry From the Heart has helped over 5,000 people and given away over one million dollars of free dental work.

“The Holiday season is for giving,” states Dr. Moorhead, who has been giving this gift every year since 1983, “and there are still many who just can’t afford the dental care they need.” “This has become a holiday tradition that our entire team enjoys. It’s the real meaning of Christmas,” says Amanda Faris, the team leader at Flemingsburg Dental Care. Last year, almost $8,000 in free dental care was provided.

“Since moving to our new larger office, we look forward to being able to help many more people this year than in the past.” Dr. Moorhead’s office moved to the former Public Library building this past spring.

This year, walk-in patients will be accepted on Free Treatment Day. For those that can be screened in advance, a brief appointment prior to the big day will be scheduled to determine what needs to be done. Dr. Moorhead especially encourages patients with toothaches to be seen for advance screening in case antibiotics are needed. The pre-screening appointments are free as well.

Patients with internet access can fill out their registration and history online. Go to FlemingsburgDental.com, and click on “New Patient Log In.” Only the form “Annual Free Treatment Day – Registration” is required.

The entire process is completely free. Patients are asked to provide proof of economic need such as an unemployment card or pay stub. Please call Flemingsburg Dental Care at (606) 845-CARE today for further information and to schedule your appointment.

Click here for television coverage from previous year’s event

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Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041

How Your Diet Affects Your Dental Health

One of the most commonly misunderstand concepts of good oral hygiene is that one should avoid sugar at all costs.  Why?  Well, sugar causes tooth decay.  Yes, that is true, but did you know that most diet sodas are one-tenth as strong as battery acid?  How good do you think that is for your teeth?  You guessed it, not at all!

Furthermore, once tooth enamel has become weakened by sugar and acid, we see a lot of damage caused by hard candy or other tough foods.  Throw in the double-whammy of the fact that most people with a diet high in sugar and diet sodas are not getting enough of the right nutrients, and you’ve created an environment that will very likely lead to dental caries.

Here’s what happens.

You get up in the morning and brush your teeth before leaving for work.  On the way to work, you stop for a cup of coffee, maybe a muffin.  If you’re like most people, you don’t have or take the time to brush your teeth immediately.  What’s happening in your mouth is that that food leaves a film that becomes bacterial in nature, also known as plaque.

The next thing you know it’s time for lunch.  You grab a sandwich, maybe some chips, and a diet soda.  When the plaque that has been building up all morning comes into contact with these new sugars, (from the sandwich and chips), acid is produced which attacks the enamel on your teeth.  This process takes about 20 minutes, and, if nothing is done, the attack can eventually result in tooth decay.  The more often you eat and the longer foods are in your mouth, the more damage occurs.

Now imagine that you skip the step of the bacteria and sugar and go straight to the acid attacking the enamel.  That’s what you’re doing when you drink diet sodas.  Even if no plaque is present, for each sip of diet soda, the acid gets to eat on your enamel for 20 minutes.  Getting the picture?

So what’s the answer?  Here are 8 suggestions for good dental-diet habits.

  1. Whenever possible, as often as possible, brush and floss after each meal and snack. Eliminating the bacteria is the best defense.
  2. Strive for a healthy diet. Balance is the keyword here.  It’s not about avoiding sugar at all costs; it’s about enjoying the sugar, but taking care of your teeth, too.
  3. Drink water whenever possible.  Most other drinks are either going to be high in sugar, or high in acid.  Remember, every sip of pop attacks your teeth for 20 minutes per sip.  Most importantly, once you’ve brushed and flossed after that meal, don’t go back to your desk and sip on a sugary or acidic drink.  Sip on water – it’s better for you in many ways!
  4. Limit the number of between-meal snacks. When you must snack, choose nutritious foods that are low in sugar and skip the diet drinks.
  5. Brush thoroughly twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and helps protect against, and even helps reverse, the effects of nutritional acid.
  6. Floss and/or use a floss substitute such as a Hydrofloss daily to remove plaque from under your gums and between your teeth.
  7. Schedule regular dental visits for checkups and cleanings. You cannot get all of the plaque off by yourself.  After plaque sits on your teeth for about 24 hours, it absorbs calcium from your saliva, hardens and becomes tartar.  Just like dust clings to more dust, the more tartar buildup you have, the more difficult it will be for you to get the plaque off as well.  Most people need professional teeth cleanings every three months.
  8. Keep a food journal for a couple of weeks and ask your dentist or hygienist to evaluate it with you to see if there are any potential pitfalls you can avoid just by changing a couple of food habits.

If you have further questions about how your diet affects your dental health, please contact us using one of the methods below.

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Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE

(2273)

The Link Between Your Smile and Your Self Esteem

One of the first pieces of advice professionals give when treating people with low self-esteem is: “Smile!” Smiling releases endorphins which make you feel better about everything, including yourself and your circumstances.

But what if you don’t like your smile? What if you have problems with your teeth and for whatever reason, have never had them corrected? What if you have a very good reason for not smiling? Is there no hope for your self-esteem?

Obviously, there is, or we wouldn’t be writing this article! Below are the most common complaints we hear from patients about their smile, and what you can do to fix them.

“I’m embarrassed by how crooked my teeth are.” Many people have grown into adulthood with crowded teeth and misaligned smiles. Unfortunately, this can lead to issues with the desire to display your pearly whites in public. While many are aware that orthodontics (braces) is an option, most don’t want to go through two to three years of treatment or be called “metal mouth.” But did you know that we now have options available that take much less time than traditional orthodontics, and some that would not be noticeable at all?

Invisalign® is a product that can be used in many adult cases to give the effects of traditional orthodontics. The difference is that the appliances are clear and virtually undetectable to others. Many famous actors, news casters, and other TV personalities have worn aligners on air and no one noticed!

The procedure for Invisalign is that plastic “aligners” are made for your teeth that will gently and gradually move them into proper alignment. Your teeth will become a little sore, just as with traditional orthodontics, but it’s not anything you can’t bear. In a few months, or some cases weeks, your teeth are straight!

Another option for correcting tooth alignment is veneers. Dr. Moorhead can remove a layer of your tooth structure and replace it in a way that straightens the alignment of your overall smile. Veneers are porcelain or composite (a mixture of about 75% glass dust and 25% acrylic) “shells” that are chemically bonded to the surface of a tooth to repair it or just change the tooth’s appearance, and are vastly considered the fastest way to straighten teeth.

“I often have bad breath. I don’t know what to do about it, so I just don’t risk it and avoid opening my mouth as much as possible.” While there are many causes of bad breath, the most common is a long hiatus from your dental hygienist! With that said, be sure to tell Dr. Moorhead if you’ve noticed breath problems so that he can help identify the cause professionally and refer you to the appropriate specialist if necessary.

When the problem is strictly dental related, there are lots of options, the first being to get regular cleanings. Most adults need regular dental cleanings every 3 to 6 months. Only a dentist or hygienist can determine the proper schedule for you, but they will be glad to do so.

Foods such as garlic, onions, and other strong substances contribute to objectionable breath odor. Once the food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is transferred to the lungs, where it is expelled when you talk. Brushing, flossing and using mouthwash will mask the odor temporarily, but odors will continue until the body eliminates the food. Dieters sometimes develop unpleasant breath due to infrequent eating. Drinking water to keep your mouth moist will help with this problem.

Brushing and flossing daily helps to eliminate particles of food that can remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, and causing bad breath. Food that collects between the teeth, on the tongue and around the gums can rot, leaving an unpleasant odor.

Since saliva cleanses the mouth and removes particles that may cause odor, bad breath can also be caused by a lack of saliva, or “dry mouth.” The clinical term for dry mouth is xerostomia, which occurs when the flow of saliva decreases. This problem seems to develop most often in older adults. Dry mouth may be caused by various medications, salivary gland problems or continuously breathing through the mouth. If you suffer from dry mouth, Dr. Moorhead can prescribe artificial saliva. Other suggestions include using sugarless candy and increasing your fluid intake.

Tobacco products cause bad breath. We’ve noticed that after awhile, a smoker’s breath will have a “stale” smell to it. If you use tobacco, consider quitting and ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit. Dr. Moorhead has special training in this area and can offer everything from advice, to prescriptions as needed.

Mouthwashes are generally cosmetic and do not have a long-lasting effect on bad breath. If you find yourself constantly using a breath freshener to hide unpleasant mouth odor, see your dentist. He or she may recommend using a special antimicrobial mouth rinse.

Bad breath may be the sign of a medical disorder, such as a local infection in the respiratory tract, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, liver or kidney ailment. If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your family doctor or a specialist to determine the cause of your bad breath. Learning the cause and that there is hope will do wonders for your self-esteem.

“I have these spots on my teeth that have been there since I was a child. I just assume that since they’ve always been there, there’s nothing I can do.” Oh, but there are plenty of things Dr. Moorhead can do! Sometimes these spots are a decalcification of the tooth enamel that can be treated with a simple fluoride solution, or a new material called MI Paste. Special trays are made for your mouth, and then the fluoride solution or MI paste is placed in them so that it can be held against your teeth for several minutes. The length and number of treatments just depends on the severity of the problem. There is also a process called micro-abrasion. Dr. Moorhead can use a special substance and appliance to gently, but effectively, remove the trouble spots to give your teeth a smoother, more consistent appearance.

“My teeth have an overall gray (or beige) appearance. I’ve tried whitening, but it doesn’t work. I just don’t think a white smile is ‘in the cards’ for me.” What you probably have is the result of tetracycline treatment, or excessive fluoride that you encountered as a young child while your teeth were forming. It’s true that even some professional whitening systems are not effective against this condition, but we do have other methods of treating this problem. Some dentists use a resin material to bond over stained teeth. This method is quick and easy, but the material does stain and chip over time.

The best method, and what we use most in our office, is porcelain veneers. Veneers are like shells for your teeth, and are much more durable than bonding. Porcelain is more translucent than resin, meaning that it is more like a natural, healthy-white tooth, giving you a more natural-looking, beautiful appearance.

“Too much of my gums show when I smile.” Believe it or not, there is an answer for this, too! Crown lengthening is a procedure where the gum line is altered in order to expose more of the tooth structure, and less of your gums.

This operation is sometimes necessary in order to properly restore a tooth, but it can be purely cosmetic also to give the result of a better smile line. Some general dentists are performing this procedure in their own offices, but some cases still require referral to a specialist. Either way, the investment is well worth it.

If you just don’t feel like smiling, do it anyway! Studies show that the act of smiling can actually boost confidence, and everyone knows that a confident person smiles. Try it; you’ll be glad you did!

Most importantly, whatever the reason for your not liking your smile, please discuss it with us. We’re professionals and take your trust in us very seriously. We never laugh, joke, or kid around when it comes to something as important as your smile, or your self-esteem.

Thanks for visiting,
Have a great day!

Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

The Truth about Tooth Whitening

The options for whitening or “bleaching” one’s teeth have become very common today and we have some wonderful techniques in our office for getting great results with our patients’ smiles.  However, we still get a lot of questions regarding “the truth” about all of those products you see at the grocery and drugstores, along with questions and doubts about their effectiveness compared to what might seem like “over-priced” professional options.  This article will dispel some common myths that we hear, answer some questions, and hopefully address some of the most common problems we see in our office daily with regard to teeth whitening.

How does whitening work? Basically, no matter which product you choose, the bleaching chemicals must get down into the tooth enamel and set off a chemical reaction known as oxidation.  To do this, most tooth whiteners use one of two chemical agents: carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide (the same stuff that will bleach your hair). When used in the mouth, carbamide peroxide breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea, with hydrogen peroxide being the active whitening ingredient.   The key to how effective any product is depends on two factors:  1) how strong the solution is, and 2) how long the agent remains against your teeth in order to allow the oxidation process to take place.  Typically, the longer you can hold it on there, the closer you can keep it, and the stronger the agent, the better the results.

How well do over-the-counter products work? For the most part, the products that you can purchase at your local supermarket do exactly what they claim.  The strips cover 6 to 8 teeth, and the effects will last anywhere from 3 to 6 months, with monthly touch-ups, depending upon your own personal habits, both oral hygiene, and the foods and drinks you consume.   They seem very affordable, given that your short-term investment is anywhere from $20 to $50, but the concentration is not always listed on the container, so if cost is an issue, try to compare apples to apples.

The problem with these systems is not so much in the products themselves, because as we said, they do exactly what they claim to do.  The problem we see in our office, is that patients have too high of expectations for these products.  Let us give you some examples.

Whether you’re using strips or decided to pay a little extra for the trays, the product is not custom designed for your mouth.  What does that mean?  It means that unless your teeth are perfectly straight, you’re going to get spotty results.  Some of the strips can be especially problematic in that they cover only 6-8 teeth per arch, leaving you with a two-tone mouth!

When you smile, most people show 10 to 14 teeth per arch.  This is especially true when you laugh.  Most patients want that younger-looking, beautifully-white, natural-looking smile, with no stain or discoloration showing at all when they’re at a party, wanting to relax and enjoy themselves, or especially at a networking event where impressions matter.  The more crowded your teeth are, the more you need the custom trays that only a dentist can provide.

Also, you are probably already aware that most over-the-counter medications are weaker, by law, than prescription meds.  The same is true for whitening agents.  What they are allowed to sell in the grocery store is not the same strength that your dentist can provide.  Why does that matter?  A stronger agent will give you longer-lasting results, which both makes you happier in the long run and saves you money in the long run.  With over-the-counter products, you’ll spend just as much, if not more, as you would with your dentist and you’ll have a lot more hassle with touch-ups as well.  The whitening systems used by dentists today can get very satisfying results that last up to 20 years.  And if you’re a smoker or heavy coffee drinker, touch-up kits are available in professional formulas as well.

What should I know before using an over-the-counter option? The biggest problem we see in our office is when a patient decides to use an over-the-counter method, and then comes in for a cleaning.  If you have tartar buildup on your teeth when you whiten, the agent cannot get through to the enamel, so when the tartar comes off, guess what – that’s right, those portions of your teeth are the same color as before you whitened.  Very disappointing!  So if you are going to use an over-the-counter product, at least get your teeth cleaned immediately before-hand so that you get the best results possible.

Another issue we commonly deal with is that even though the over-the-counter whitening solution is weaker than our professional brands, if you have cavities, you will likely experience some extreme sensitivity if you don’t get them taken care of prior to bleaching.  Likewise, if you have any issues with your gums, you’ll want to get that taken care of prior to whitening as well, as any amount of peroxide can be irritating to the delicate gum tissue.

What about “the light?” More and more patients these days are asking us about “the light.”  Some whitening systems have been developed that utilize a high-intensity light to expedite the oxidation process.  In our office, we use Deep Bleaching, which is now recognized all over the world as the most effective whitening technique ever invented.  The technique is so effective that it will even whiten tetracycline discolored teeth, (which were previously thought to be impossible to bleach), in a short period of time.  Just imagine getting your teeth MUCH whiter, and having it last for your ENTIRE life!  With very simple periodic maintenance at home, the results are entirely permanent.

Take-home whitening systems can be just as effective, but usually require wearing your custom trays with the bleaching solution for about 1 hour per day, for 14 days.  Newer professional products require only 3 minutes per day for 14 days.  There are many combinations of time frames and systems available, but Dr. Moorhead can help determine what is going to work best for you.

Are there any “down-sides” to professional whitening? None of these systems, professional or over-the-counter, work on white fillings, crowns, veneers, and certain spots.  Only in-office deep bleaching can whiten tetracycline stains.  In the case of spots and stains that will not respond to the oxidation process, Dr. Moorhead might recommend crowns or veneers; the course of treatment most suitable for you.  If you’re having white fillings or veneers placed soon, you’ll want to have your whitening completed before choosing the final shade for your cosmetic work.

Sensitivity can be a problem with any of these systems.  Dr. Moorhead will work with you to find a solution that is acceptable to you, and can provide fluoride to help strengthen your teeth and reduce sensitivity.

Is whitening my teeth safe from an oral health perspective? Most studies show that tooth whitening is both safe and effective. If tooth sensitivity or gum irritation occur, it is best to stop using the whitening product for a few days, and then start again, but less frequently — say, every other day instead of every day — and reduce the amount of time spent with the whitening agent against your teeth.

These are the most common questions and concerns raised by our patients, but we’d love to hear from you!  If you have a question or comment about specific whitening options for your teeth, please contact us using one of the methods below.

Thanks for visiting,
Have a great day!

Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

How to Get a Younger-Looking Smile

One of the most common requests from our patients at Flemingsburg Dental Care is a “younger-looking smile.”  Most people start to notice a change in their smile sometime in their late 30’s or early 40’s, so the effects of aging on the teeth are generally slow.  Fortunately, there are lots of things that Dr. Moorhead can do to reverse the effects that have been building up over time.

  1. Tooth reshaping. Believe it or not, one of the most common ways a dentist can guess your age is by how evenly worn your teeth are.  The more uneven the smile, the younger the person tends to be.  The longer you live, the more you chew and grind your teeth, making them more even over time.  To give you back a more youthful look, we can:
    • Perform some minor re-shaping of the enamel on your front teeth.  This is a very non-invasive procedure, and you don’t even need to be numbed.
    • If you need more than a minor re-shaping, cosmetic dentistry offers a plethora of solutions including crowns and veneers, which would replace a portion to nearly all of the tooth structure.
    • If wear is just starting to become noticeable, or once you have the reshaping or cosmetic dentistry performed, you’ll want to protect your work from future wear.  This can be done by equilibrating, or “equalizing,” your bite so that all your biting surfaces hit at the same time without excessive force that can damage teeth and new dental work.  For patients that are restless sleepers or show signs that the brain actually causes them to grind their teeth when they sleep, a plastic device called a bite guard will protect your teeth from future wear, and hold your teeth in place to prevent shifting.  Bite guards are also wonderful for eliminating headaches caused by nightly teeth-grinding, a growing problem among adults.
  2. Whiten your teeth. White, but not too white.  Most people by now are familiar with tooth-whitening procedures.  But have you ever wondered why people are so obsessed with white teeth?  You guessed it – whiter teeth make you look younger!  Our teeth are white when we’re young and become discolored over time as we drink, smoke, and get too busy to take proper care of them.  Getting back to white is easy to accomplish and Dr. Moorhead can help you choose a shade that’s right for you.  A couple of things to remember:
    • Don’t over-whiten.  If it’s too obvious, you’ve just traded one obvious fact for another.  A youthful smile is not obviously white, but healthfully white.  Your dentist or hygienist can help you choose the appropriate shade for your coloring.
    • Once you’ve whitened your teeth, avoid staining drinks such as grape juice, tea, and coffee, and definitely don’t smoke.
  3. Correct decay issues. Unfortunately, many people believe that if a cavity doesn’t show when you smile, it’s not noticeable.  This just isn’t true.  When you laugh, your entire mouth shows and cavities are obvious.  So aside from the health-related reasons for getting tooth decay taken care of as soon as possible, also do so for a more youthful smile.  Not sure if you have decay issues?  Ask for an exam at the time of your next scheduled cleaning.
  4. Replace silver fillings with tooth-colored fillings. There are a couple of reasons for this:  First, the amalgam material that was used several years ago to repair cavities in teeth expands and contracts, causing tiny cracks in your teeth that can become troublesome over time.  Replacing that material with new, solid, tooth-colored resin is just a good move health-wise.  Second, for the same reason that decay looks bad, those silver fillings cause you to “show your age” as well.  Replacing them is easy, just ask Dr. Moorhead.
  5. Freshen breath. Over time, if you smoke or drink coffee heavily, your breath will develop a “stale” smell to it.  Good oral hygiene habits are a must if you fall into either of these categories, but there are several products on the market that will move the process along a little faster.  Products of this type are only available at professional retailers, like Flemingsburg Dental Care, so ask us about them at your next appointment.  Once you have the problem under control, remember:
    • Don’t smoke.
    • Get regular cleanings.
    • Drink water as much as possible.
  6. Overcome “age” lines. Wrinkles around the mouth are a sure sign of aging, but there are several things you can do to avoid them, or get rid of them:
    • Quit smoking.
    • Smile – don’t frown.  Frowning requires more muscles than smiling and your face really will “freeze that way” – or at least appear to!
    • Use moisturizer around your lips, and wear a lipstick or gloss with an SPF of at least 15, preferably higher.
    • Cosmetic fillers can eliminate deep wrinkles and give you a temporary boost when necessary.
  7. Crown lengthening is a procedure where the gum line is altered in order to expose more of the tooth structure.  Sometimes the procedure is necessary in order to properly restore a tooth, but it can be purely cosmetic also to give the result of a better smile line.  If your smile shows a lot of your gums at the top, ask Dr. Moorhead about this procedure.  It might require a referral to a specialist, but it will be well worth it in the long run.
  8. Orthodontics (braces) is sometimes required to get the placement of the teeth just right and to correct bite problems that crop up in adulthood.  Whether you choose a traditional approach with standard wires and brackets, or qualify for a less-invasive method like Invisalign, Dr. Moorhead can help you in making your decision, as well as show you lots of “before” and “after” photos of patients with problems similar to yours.
  9. Replace missing teeth. Not only can a hole in your smile make you look older, but missing teeth cause a couple of problems that contribute to a less youthful smile as well.  When a tooth is extracted and not replaced, the remaining teeth will begin to shift in order to compensate for the gap.  The result is 1) bite-related wear due to the new positioning, 2) sensitivity, 3) bite-related headaches, as well as other problems.  Depending upon the exact location of the missing tooth or teeth, there can be an effect on your facial muscles as well.  When molars are not replaced after extraction, jaws sink in.  Lips will become thinner and have that sunken-in look, affecting your overall appearance.  The three most common methods we use to replace natural teeth are:
    • Removable partial dentures, also known as “partials.”  Dr. Moorhead can make an appliance that contains a very natural-looking tooth or teeth to replace what you’re missing.
    • Bridges. The missing tooth or teeth are replaced with a device (the bridge) by crowning the tooth on either side of the teeth to be replaced.  Since the crowns are placed with cement, it is a more permanent and stable option over removable partials.
    • Dental implants are probably the most effective and durable option for replacing missing teeth in that the materials that are used are extremely natural looking, and the procedure itself involves attaching the implant root to your natural bone.  Dental implants have a very high success rate and our patients love the results.

There you have it!  Everything you need to know about how to obtain a younger-looking smile.  If you have any questions or would like to discuss the possibilities for your treatment, please contact us using one of the methods below; we’d love to see you and help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted and deserve!

Local Phone (Fleming County, Kentucky): (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll-free from the 606, 859, and 937 area codes: 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Is there Bacteria on Your Toothbrush?

Did you know that the #1 tool most people use for cleaning bacteria from their teeth, gums, and mouth, already contains millions, possibly trillions, of bacteria?  If you leave your toothbrush in the bathroom and never disinfect it, you’d better read this article.

In his book, Why Your Toothbrush May Be Killing You Slowly, James Song, a biochemist from Wisconsin University, suggests that a range of serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, arthritis and chronic infections, could be linked to unhygienic toothbrushes.  Further research by Manchester University found that the average toothbrush contained around ten million germs, including a high percentage of potentially fatal bacteria such as staphylococci, streptococcus, E. coli and candida.  Other studies have shown that over time, a single toothbrush can be the breeding ground for trillions of bacteria specimen.

There are many ways these bacteria latch on to toothbrushes:  Use from an infected user, spray from a flushing toilet, a damp environment that allows the bacteria to breed and grow, and just a general lack of oversight.  Think about it for a moment; would you leave your eating utensils in the bathroom, use them over and over again, and never wash them?

As bad as it sounds, overcoming this potential time bomb is not complicated.  Below are Dr. Moorhead’s 5 simple tips to keep your toothbrush bacteria free.

  1. Store your and your family’s toothbrushes in a closet or other dry area outside of the bathroom, where toilet spray and humidity will not be a problem.

  2. Clean your toothbrushes daily in the dishwasher along with your eating utensils.  Make sure you have enough toothbrushes to last between dish washings.  If you run your dishwasher every three days, you should own four toothbrushes, unless it takes you 2 days to unload the dishwasher, in which case you would need 6 – you get the drift!

  3. If you’re using one toothbrush, you should replace it at least every three months.  If you’re using four toothbrushes, for example, disinfecting them in the dish washer between each use, four brushes should last about a year.  But don’t be skimpy.  If the bristles feel or look weakened, replace it.  Fortunately, toothbrushes are still very inexpensive.

  4. Don’t share your toothbrush with anyone.  While it may seem like common sense that the person you kiss daily you’re already sharing germs with anyway, there’s no need to add to that sharing.  We’ve also seen cases where children develop gum disease at an early age just because they use the same toothbrush as their parent who already has the disease.  Gum and bone diseases are not hereditary, but bad habits are often “passed down.”

  5. Always use a soft-bristled brush on your teeth and gums.  Hard bristles are for specific dental appliances and Dr. Moorhead will tell you when you need a brush of this type.  Hard bristles on soft gums cause a myriad of problems, ranging from gum shrinkage to a greater risk of infection due to cuts and scrapes.

If you have any questions or would like further advice on disinfecting your toothbrush, please contact us using one of the methods below, or ask us at your next appointment.

Thanks for visiting,

Have a great day!

Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Open House in New State-of-the-Art Facility

We had our open house for our new state-of-the-art dental office Saturday, June 7, 2008, and oh, what an event! Food, a clown, office tours; nearly 200 friends, relatives, and patients came out to celebrate with us and we appreciate you all very much.  With the launch of our new blog, we decided that this would be a good place to showcase some of our favorite photos of the event.  Enjoy!

It was a fabulous day, thanks to all of you. We are very proud to be located in Flemingsburg, serving those in Central and Eastern Kentucky. We appreciate our team, without whom this business, let alone this new office, would not be possible.

Our sincere gratitude goes out to all of our patients, family members, and friends, and especially to those of you who drove from up to three hours away to be with us, (and do so on a regular basis!) We love and adore you all!

For those of you who could not attend, we’d be happy to give you a private office viewing. Just call the office and tell them you want the “VIP tour!”

Thanks for visiting,

Have a great day!

Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)