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6 Surprising Habits That Can Wreck Your Teeth


6 Surprising Habits That Can Wreck Your Teeth

We know all the list of things that can be bad for your teeth - soda, gummy candy, smoking, etc. But there are a handful of habits with the potential to wreck your chompers that may not be quite as obvious. Here's the low down ...

1. Chewing Ice

Ice can easily be thought of as harmless - its juts H20 after all. But crunching down on hard, frozen cubes can cause cracks, chips and wear on your teeth. If you chew ice regularly enough, you may even cause aches in the soft gum tissues around your teeth. Often times a habitual ice-chewer gets "shorter" tooth appearance from all the wear. Dr. Kivel can fix this cosmetic issue but will only do so after the patient has curbed their ice habit!

2. Playing Sports (Without Proper Protection)

We love sports! All of us here at Soulsmile not only grew up playing many sports, but still take part in a myriad of outdoor sports including biking (motorized and non-motorized, running, surfing, kayaking - you name it! But we are also huge proponents of mouth protection! Mouth guards are a piece of molded plastic that protects your teeth. Without it, contact sports can easily result in chips or even a full tooth knock-out. We can make these for you or your whole team. Just contact us to schedule an appointment. 

3. Bottles Past Bedtime

Just like adults, a baby's teeth should be cleaned before bed. Putting a baby to sleep with a bottle of milk, formula or juice can put new teeth in harm's way. This can basically bathe the baby's teeth in sugars overnight. Its best to keep them out of the crib and establish a good hygiene routine. 

4. Tongue Piercings

Dentists have long lamented tongue piercings. Accidentally bumping a metal stud along teeth for years can definitely pose a risk to your teeth. In a study published by the Journal of Periodontology, "nearly half of the participants who wore either long or short barbells for four or more years had chipped teeth." The study also found receding gums in up to 50% of participants who had worn long-stemmed barbells for two or more years. Furthermore, the mouth is a haven for bacteria, making tongue piercings a likely candidate for infection and sores. Bottom line - research the health risks before you decide on a tongue piercing. 

5. Grinding

Bruxism (the fancy name for teeth grinding) wears teeth down over time. It is most often caused by stress and sleeping habits, making it a hard habit to control. We just wrote a whole blog on teeth grinding if you want to find out more about diagnosing an treating this condition. 

6. Cough Drops

We'd like to think that anything you find in the medicine aisle is healthy, but that's just not the case. Most cough drops are packed with sugar. We still love them, but recommend that after you sooth a sore throat with a lozenge, break out the toothbrush. Think of them like hard candy! 

Have any questions for us about habits that you suspect may be compromising your oral health? Feel free to write them in the comments section below or feel free to make an appointment with our Ashland, OR dental team here at Soulsmile. We'd love to have you in as a new patient! 



Are Dental X-rays Safe and Necessary?


Are Dental X-rays Safe and Necessary?

One of the great things about the Ashland, OR community is the level of health intelligence. Its evident by ready the local publications or driving around town and seeing the many natural food stores and health care providers. We’ve come to realize that concern around x-rays is even greater here than many parts of the country – and rightly so! We hear questions regarding the safety and necessity of x-rays on a daily basis. This is a great question and the answer differs from patient to patient. Let’s dive in a little deeper – we think you’ll be surprised to leave just how safe today’s x-ray practices are.

First of all, there is an ever-changing landscape when it comes to dental x-rays. The American Dental Association (ADA) together with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) routinely revises their guidelines when advances in technology provide new methods of reducing exposure to radiation. In fact, today’s dental X-ray is already far superior to those of just a decade ago. This is due largely to the advent of digital technology.

The following guidelines come from the ADA and are supported by our practice:

New Patients: 

Full X-rays are generally suggested for new patients to provide us with a full history of your prior oral care and current needs. If you’ve recently had x-rays taken at another office, we’re happy to obtain those on your behalf.

Continuing Care Patient:

One set of X-rays every 6-18 months. We generally aim for 12 unless a patient is at a higher risk or is presenting with an issue.

Continuing Care Patient with Periodontal Disease: 

Dependent upon the professional judgment of Dr. Kivel.

Patients with, but not limited to, Proposed or Existing Implants and Root Canals:

Also dependent upon the professional judgment of Dr. Kivel.

In conclusion, it’s important to realize that exposure to all sources of radiation - including the sun, home appliances, minerals in the soil, X-rays - can damage the body's tissues and cells. Fortunately, the dose of radiation you are exposed to from dental X-rays is tremendously small, especially with our use of digital x-rays. Our recommendation is to follow the ADA guidelines. This is because allowing a major dental issue to go undiagnosed can be much more damaging to your health than a small amount of radiation. Please feel free to ask us any questions or voice your concerns regarding x-rays and we will do what we can to accommodate your preferences.

You can also check out our great FAQ Page on Digital Xrays.


Large Filling vs. Partial Crown (Onlay)


Large Filling vs. Partial Crown (Onlay)

So you have a cavity, a broken tooth or an old leaking or breaking filling that requires attention. In my view, if the area of the tooth affected is greater than two thirds of the surface area of the tooth, then you have a choice to make: a plastic (aka composite) filling or a lab fabricated partial crown (also called onlays). A filling of this size is generally around $275. It is stacked in a jelly form into the tooth where it is then light cured to become hard. You can imagine that its strength, while incredible for the jelly-to-rock transformation, is somewhat limited as compared to a partial crown constructed outside of the mouth and then glued in place.

Partial crowns/onlays are fabricated with modern chemistry, under pressure and subjected to massive crystallization heat - outside of the mouth of course! Partial crowns cost $1100 and require only two hours to make start-to-finish. They can be done with no temporary filling if you are in a digital office like ours, or two weeks if a dentist sends out to a lab while the patient wears a temporary filling. If the problem area on your tooth is smaller than two thirds of the surface area of the tooth, then the modern composites offer great strength at that size, look great, flex like a natural tooth, and provide a unifying strength to the tooth due to its adhesive nature. But will a filling last if it is two thirds or greater? Maybe. And that’s where the decision rests. Let’s jump right into the main question.

Ask yourself if you mind the filling not lasting in order to save the money or if you would prefer to spend a little more to have something that will last longer. (Yes insurance covers both, just be sure to have great photos/xrays and maybe even a pre-authorization from your insurance company for an onlay).

If money were not a consideration, I would choose an onlay. I would choose a more flexible material such as Lava Ultimate if it was slightly smaller and on a premolar, or Emax if it was slightly larger and/or on a molar. That said, stopping decay or handling a problem immediately with a filling is much better than letting it go or blowing your budget on a single tooth if you have several teeth to work on. I’ve done large composites that last for years. It’s an especially common choice for students and people getting started or restarted in the workplace who just need to buy a little time. We monitor these large fillings closely. After a few years or in the event of breakage, often the patient is ready to graduate the filling to an onlay.

There is no right or wrong answer; just a risk-tolerance preference and financial comfort level assessment.

I hope this post helps you decide between a partial crown/onlay or a filling. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or contact our office.

Thank you for your interest.