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Five Ways Cosmetic Dentistry Can Improve Your Smile

Ever notice someone who has a smile that can light up a whole room? A lot of people have a beautiful smile naturally. But many are not as lucky. While a primary focus of dentists is to keep your teeth and mouth healthy, cosmetic dentistry provides treatment options to help improve your smile. There are several cosmetic dental treatments designed to help you have the smile of your dreams. Here are the top five treatment options and how they work to make your smile great.

Professional Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening remains one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatments. Our Saginaw dentist offers both in-office professional teeth whitening options and at-home kits. During your visit, Dr. Jennifer Schau, DDS will discuss the pros and cons of each method and help you decide which is the best option for you. Having bright, white teeth is a sign of a healthy smile.

Dental Implants

Missing teeth are a cosmetic issue. But they can also cause functional challenges. Recently, dental implants are used to replace missing teeth instead of using removable dentures. An implant is more convenient, reliable, and comfortable. They feel more like your real teeth. Dental implants are becoming the go-to choice for replacing missing teeth because they produce natural-looking results. They are designed to look and feel more like your natural teeth. Your smile will be so natural, most people will never know you have implants unless you choose to tell them.

Dental Veneers

Dental veneers can give you a smile makeover in just a couple of visits. Porcelain veneers are bonded onto the surface of a tooth or teeth. They are often used to hide stains or correct damaged teeth. Dental veneers are a thin outer layer and are often used to hide chips or fill in gaps. They offer a cosmetic advantage by being resistant to staining. Dr. Schau uses dental veneers to help restore the brilliance, shape, and color of your natural teeth.

Cosmetic Bonding

When teeth need small, minor corrections dental bonding is often the best choice. It is a common cosmetic treatment that can have a huge impact on your smile. Dental bonding uses a special type of resin that bonds to the tooth and corrects cracks or chips. It is usually done in a single visit to Dr. Jennifer Schau unless multiple teeth are undergoing treatment. Most of the tooth is left intact with just a small amount of enamel being removed in order to get a solid bond.

Invisalign

Having crooked teeth can make you feel self-conscious. Invisalign is a modern cosmetic treatment used to straighten teeth. They work as effectively as traditional metal braces to move teeth into their proper positions, but without the brackets and wires. The see-through progressive trays gently push the teeth into alignment.  They are fully removable and can be taken out to eat, for oral hygiene, and for special occasions. Your smile can be totally made over as Invisalign can fix common problems like an underbite, gaps, crossbite, overbite, or overcrowding. Talk to your Saginaw dentist about using Invisalign for your total smile makeover.

What can Dr. Jennifer Schau, DDS do for you?

Your Saginaw dentist is skilled and also has the experience and expertise to provide a wide variety of cosmetic dental treatment options. We believe a bright, vibrant smile exudes beauty and confidence. Call us to set up your exam to learn how Dr. Schau can help improve your smile with cosmetic dentistry.

What to Expect from VELscope Oral Cancer Screening at your Saginaw dentist

woman smilingJust hearing the words, “oral cancer” is scary. As frightening as it is, most of the time, if it is diagnosed in its early stages it is treatable. The sooner any form of cancer is diagnosed in your body, the more likely of having a positive outcome.

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer is cancer that occurs in or around the oral cavity. This includes the lips, cheek, tongue, and even the bottom of your mouth. It can also be in the throat, sinuses, or plates (both hard and soft). If left undiagnosed they can be extremely dangerous. This is why routine dental visits to your Saginaw dentist where we regularly screen for oral cancer are so important. The diagnosis is the first step in implementing an effective treatment plan.

How does a VELscope screening help?

At the dental office of Jennifer Schau DDS, we use the VELscope enhanced oral assessment system to help detect oral cancer. This innovative device is a safe way to find oral cancer that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Being able to discover cancer earlier using VELscope equipment assists Dr. Schau in providing an official diagnosis and in developing a treatment plan.

What happens during an oral cancer screening with a VELscope?

Patients 16 and older can be scanned using a VELscope device. It is done during a regular visit most of the time. It is a painless way to check for oral cancer. The device emits a blue light that causes abnormalities in the mouth to show up. Tissue fluorescence visualization is the term for using blue light to cause abnormalities in the tissue more apparent.

The dentist performs a visual exam of the mouth and face. They will check the glands, cheeks, palate, tongue, and teeth. Then, the lights will be dimmed and you will be given special eyewear to protect your eyes. The VELscope bends and reaches to project the blue light into the mouth. Any lesions or other indicators of the presence of oral cancer become noticeable as they look a lot darker in the specialized light.

Are there any advantages to using VELscope technology?

There are numerous advantages to using VELscope. These include:

  • Can combine it with digital photography 
  • Detects white and red patches as well as lesions 
  • Detects problems not seen under white lights
  •  Exposes both precancerous and cancerous cells
  • Approved by the FDHelps dentists check if the soft tissue was completely removed         

Are there any common symptoms of oral cancer?

Tobacco use is the one habit that greatly increases the risk of developing oral cancer. Not one type of tobacco is safe. Smoking pipes, cigarettes, or cigars can lead to oral cancer. So can chewing tobacco. But there are some other risk factors too, including:

  •   A weakened immune system
  •   Family genetics and history
  •   Previous diagnosis of oral cancer
  •   Facial sun exposure
  •   Heavy use of alcohol

There are also a few symptoms that are often noticed in the early stages of oral cancer. These symptoms include:

  •   Sores in the mouth that do not heal
  •    Loose teeth
  •    Unexplained bleeding
  •    Persistent sore throat
  •    Difficulty swallowing
  •   Growths in your mouth
  •   Red or white patches in your mouth or on your gums
  •   Pain in the ear, jaw, or tongue

If you notice any sudden changes in your mouth, don’t wait. Schedule a visit with our dental offices. Dr. Schua can often find oral cancer in a routine exam, but the VELscope can detect its presence even before it is noticeable.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Jennifer Schua or her team. If you notice any changes in your mouth or gums, please schedule a visit for an oral cancer screening.

Seven things to do during a dental emergency

Most people know a little first aid and what to do in a medical emergency. You may remember how to do the Heimlich maneuver if someone is choking. But what are you supposed to do if you encounter a dental emergency? The thing about emergencies is you never know when they are going to occur. Obviously, you didn’t schedule for your tooth to break when you bit into that corn on the cob! 

Non-Emergency Dental Conditions

Basically, you have two options in dental emergencies. If the injury is severe such as a broken jaw, call 911 or go directly to the Emergency Room for immediate treatment. The other option is to call your dentist for an emergency appointment. How do you know if your condition is urgent or not? Not every dental issue merits a trip to the ER or a midnight call to your Saginaw dentist. Some non-emergency conditions that can wait until morning include:

  • A dull toothache
  • Lost filling, crown, or bridge
  • Chipped or broken tooth (unless accompanied by severe pain)
  • Objects stuck between two teeth
  • Broken wires or braces

Urgent Dental Issues

In most cases, dental problems can be treated at home until you can get in to see the Saginaw dentist. Examples of true dental emergencies include:

  • Injured jaw
  • Painful swelling
  • Severe toothache
  • If a permanent tooth is partially or totally knocked out
  • A toothache, or tooth infection that is accompanied by fever, swelling, or severe pain

What to do in a Dental Emergency

No matter what the cause, a dental emergency is serious. If left unaddressed it can worsen and lead to other issues such as the loss of a tooth. Do not ignore a serious issue or dismiss it even if the pain subsides some. Here are seven things to do during dental emergencies.

  1.  React carefully, but quickly should a tooth, pieces of a tooth or a dental appliance become dislodged. Gather up all the pieces to take with you to the dentist’s office. Dr. Schau may be able to restore the tooth.
  2.  If a tooth gets knocked completely out, find the tooth, and handle it by touching only the crown, not the root. You may rinse it with water but do not scrub it or wash away any tissue that may remain on the tooth. Put the tooth in a cup of milk or in some warm water with a tiny bit of salt. When possible, put the tooth in the socket and hold it there. If you can get to the dentist within an hour, it is possible the tooth might be restored.
  3.  If a tooth gets broken, rinse your mouth with warm water and hold a cold compress to your face to help reduce the swelling. Gather up any pieces of the tooth and call your dentist immediately.
  4.  Did your tongue or lip get bitten? Apply pressure with a cloth or a cold compress to help minimize swelling. If it is bleeding a lot, go to the Emergency Room.
  5.  If tooth pain becomes severe, rinse your mouth with warm water. Floss can be used to gently dislodge debris or food that might be trapped between teeth. Call Dr. Schau and explain your discomfort so she can see you as soon as possible.
  6.  A fractured or broken jaw needs immediate medical attention. While en route to the ER or the dental office, apply a cold compress to help reduce swelling.
  7. Broken or loose wire on braces can damage nearby tissue. Cover any sharp or jagged ends with orthodontic wax or gauze. If a wire is stuck into your cheek, gum tissue, or tongue, do not try to remove it yourself. Seek immediate dental treatment.

Contact Dr. Jennifer Schau

Some dental emergencies can be avoided with routine checkups. If it’s time for your regular dental checkup, contact our offices to schedule your appointment. If you have a dental emergency, please call Dr. Schau as soon as possible or go to the Emergency Room.

Sleepless in Saginaw? Learn how a dentist can help you overcome sleep apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a common sleep disorder that causes shallow breathing while you are sleeping. It can also cause you to stop breathing while you sleep. What many people don’t realize is that your Saginaw dentist Jennifer Schau can offer help in treating sleep apnea since it is often related to oral health.

What are the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea?

Sometimes people are unaware that they are waking up during the night. There are other more apparent signs of this sleep disorder, including:

  • Waking up with a headache.
  •  Experiencing excessive sleepiness throughout the day. This may feel like you never quite catch up on your sleep even if you go to bed and sleep for what seems like a reasonable time.
  •  Excessive snoring or feeling like you are choking during sleep.
  •  Waking up trying to catch your breath. This is a major sign of dental sleep apnea and needs to be treated as soon as possible.
  • Irritability, impaired emotional and mental functioning, and major mood swings are three symptoms that can be caused by getting too little sleep. This occurs because you wake up several times throughout the night.

What are signs a Saginaw dental professional might link to sleep apnea?

A dentist may be able to tell you suffer from a sleep disorder during a routine dental exam. They may recognize one or more of these as signs of a sleep disorder:

  • Bruxism (Tooth Grinding): Your dentist can tell if you grind your teeth in your sleep because the surfaces of the teeth wear down and your gums may recede. Both of these are signs of nighttime tooth grinding. When you grind your teeth at night, clenching them signals your brain to wake up.
  • Cavities: In some cases, a noticeable increase in cavities along with other symptoms can indicate you suffer from a sleep disorder.
  •  Sore Mouth, Dry Throat: If you wake up with a dry mouth or throat, or a sore throat, you may be snoring at night without realizing it. Snoring often accompanies sleep apnea.

A Sleep Apnea Diagnosis from Your Dentist in Saginaw, MI

A dentist can often diagnose sleep apnea during a routine exam or after discussing symptoms with you. Dr. Jennifer Schau can recommend treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea diagnosis. Dentists can also check your jaw, tongue, and airway for signs of the disorder. Special x-ray technology such as the 3D dental cone beam x-ray for a deeper look to help diagnose a sleeping disorder. If a diagnosis is confirmed, then your Saginaw dentist will move forward with a plan for sleep apnea treatment.

Dental Treatment Options

Dentists often treat mild to moderate sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. Most people find an oral appliance to be more comfortable than a CPAP mask. An oral appliance is worn while sleeping. The mouth guard helps support the jaw to help alleviate snoring and teeth grinding. The design of most oral appliances helps move the lower jaw forward to help keep the upper airway open while you are asleep.

Your Saginaw dentist will customize an oral appliance by taking an impression of your teeth. Once the impression is made, a dental lab will make the device. The dentist will make sure it fits well before you wear it.

Contact Dr. Jennifer Schau

If you suspect you are suffering from sleep apnea, please contact Saginaw dentist, Dr. Jennifer Schau for a dental examination. Effective treatment can begin at your dental office.

How Effective is Invisalign Teen?

Invisalign Teen is a modern, invisible way to straighten teen teeth without the problems that can stem from traditional metal braces. Invisalign helps straighten teeth without the use of wires and brackets. Instead, Invisalign involves using a series of aligners that are custom-made for your mouth and bite. They are clear making them almost invisible. Teens wear them over their teeth and change them out for new aligners about every two weeks. They gradually shift the teeth into the desired position.

Are Invisalign aligners as effective as traditional braces?

The short answer is yes. When aligners are worn according to the recommendations made by your dentist in Saginaw, MI, they can be as effective as traditional braces. Invisalign Teen is effective for mild to severe cases. They are a suitable treatment option for an overbite, underbite, gaps, and overcrowding. In most cases, teens are good candidates for the use of Invisalign aligners to straighten their teeth. To be certain, you can visit with your Saginaw pediatric dentist. After an examination, Dr. Schau can explain if your teen is a good candidate and how beneficial aligners may be in their case.

Practical Advantages of Invisalign Teen

Aligners are custom-made for your teenager’s teeth. They are worn over the teeth and are changed every two weeks. As the teeth move gradually into their correct positions, a new aligner is worn. There are some practical and distinct benefits besides being as effective as traditional braces for straightening teeth. Here are a few of the advantages to using Invisalign Teen.

Aligners are Removable

Unlike traditional braces, aligners are removable. For teens who play sports, this alleviates the concerns about getting hit in the mouth and causing damage to the braces. Teens who play instruments in band can remove the aligner so they can play instruments more comfortably. Also, when wearing traditional braces, there are some restricted foods like popcorn, apples, and carrots. The aligners used with Invisalign teen can be taken out so that enjoyable and healthy foods can be eaten. Since they are removable, brushing and flossing are also much easier.

Teens Feel Less Self-Conscious

Parents understand teens go through a lot of challenges during their teen years, especially when it comes to their self-image. Teens can be very self-conscious about crooked teeth. But they can also be as self-conscious about the solution when it is traditional braces. Invisalign Teen aligners are nearly invisible which can be helpful for reducing anxiety about needing to wear them.

Saves a Lot of Time

Since they don’t need adjustment and there isn’t any hardware to adjust or repair, teens won’t have to spend as much time with a dental professional. Follow-up visits are scheduled for about every four to six weeks to ensure treatment is progressing as it should.

Invisalign is Effective

Invisalign Teen aligners are just as effective as traditional braces as long as teens wear them as recommended by your dentist in Saginaw, MI. Most teens are good candidates for Invisalign. Of course, effective treatment requires responsibility on the part of the teen. Metal braces are more involved since orthodontists often prescribe headgear and elastic bands along with the many visits to their office to tighten and adjust the braces. With Invisalign Teen, teens just have to wear the aligners and take them out for eating, oral hygiene, sports, and playing instruments. They can even take them out for a date or prom if they like, as long as they put them right back in.

Contact Dentist Jennifer Schau

If you are interested in Invisalign Teen aligners for your teenager, please contact our Freeland family dental offices to schedule an exam. Schedule an exam to determine if your teen is a good candidate for aligners.

Is it Safe to go to the Dentist During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Dr. Schau and team are continuing to provide dental healthcare during the pandemic. The American Dental Association (ADA) has provided recommendations, and we are following these strictly as we continue to provide emergency and case-by-case dental care providing you do not have symptoms such as a fever, shortness of breath, or a persistent cough.

What safety precautions are being taken by your dental office?

We do have some new check-in processes to ensure the safety of our patients and the community.

  1.     We check temperatures at check-in. Anyone who has an elevated temperature will be rescheduled.
  2.     Adults are asked to come to appointments alone.
  3.     Children can be accompanied by a parent, but please only bring the child who has an appointment scheduled.
  4.     Patients are asked to wait in their vehicles once they are checked in. This limits the number of people in the office at any one time. We will call or text you when the dentist is ready for you.

Frequently Asked Questions About the COVID-19 Pandemic and Dental Care

We understand there may be many questions for your Saginaw, MI dentist. Here are the questions we hear the most from our patients and our community.

Is it safe to go to the dentist during the COVID-19 pandemic?

We assure our patients that your Saginaw, MI dental team is adhering to the recommendations provided by the ADA and the CDC and OSHA as well as the local and federal regulatory bodies to ensure you continue to have safe and compassionate care. We will continue to keep you updated should there be a reason dental care cannot safely continue.

What precautions are Dr. Schau and team taking to prevent the spread of infection?

Prior to Covid-19, our offices followed best practices to ensure the safety of our patients and our staff. We have always followed strict infection control measures provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the American Dental Association.

  • Sanitation Procedures: Our personnel cleans all our public spaces including restrooms, waiting rooms, and treatment areas.
  • Disinfectant Spray: We apply medical-grade disinfectant sprays after each patient per the CDC guidelines. This includes high-touch areas like equipment, countertops, and chairs.
  • Protective Barriers: We place protective barriers on items such as suction tips, computer keyboards, overhead lights, armrests, and curing lights.
  • Sterile Instruments: After each patient, we sterilize our dental instruments. We adhere to the protocols outlined by the CDC pertaining to the proper sterilization of dental instruments.

Are Dr. Schau and her team taking any extra precautions?

  • Our staff knows to stay home if they are showing any symptoms such as difficulty breathing, a fever, or coughing.
  • Staff members are encouraged to refrain from traveling but if they travel to a region with a large breakout, they are required to self-quarantine prior to returning to work.
  • We’ve implemented screening procedures for patients to determine if they have symptoms or have possibly been exposed. The three-point screening process includes when they book an appointment when the appointment is confirmed, and once they reach our offices.
  • Time intervals between appointments have been increased.
  • We also request patients to stay in their vehicles once they have checked in. We will text or call when the dentist is ready to see them.

Should I reschedule my appointment?

If you have been to a country or region with a large outbreak, or have been exposed to the Coronavirus, you should wait 14 days to see Dr. Jennifer Schau. If you are healthy and have not been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with the virus, there is no need to change your regular appointment.

Contact Us!

If you have more questions about your appointment or Covid-19, please don’t hesitate to call your Saginaw, MI dentist. Thank you for being patient during this time. If you have a dental emergency, please call us. Once we return to normal operations, we suggest you have a routine exam twice a year as part of your preventative dental treatment plan.

The Risks of Delaying Dental Care

Regular checkups, along with daily brushing and flossing help keep your teeth and mouth healthy. Many people who have good oral hygiene habits think they can skip their routine exams since they aren’t in any pain. Skipping those in-between appointments with your Saginaw, MI dentist can put you at high risk for serious conditions. Delaying your dental care means your teeth are not under the watchful eye of dental professionals. It’s just an exam, right? Routine checkups allow dentists to discover early signs of gum disease and decay. Treatment can be quick and effective without being extensive. But for those who choose to delay dental exams and preventive dental care, there can be more serious ramifications.

Dental Problems Won’t Just go Away

Like other health issues, dental problems don’t just go away. Instead of being treated, so they don’t cause further problems, they tend to worsen as time goes by. Small cavities left alone will not improve even if you maintain good oral hygiene habits. Once decay has started, it won’t stop on its own. It will take a dental professional to stop the decay and repair a tooth. Trying to treat a problem tooth with DIY home remedies or homeopathic remedies sometimes give an infection time to get worse. If a cavity or infection isn’t caught in time, you can end up needing more invasive and aggressive treatments. Regular checkups with Dr. Schau and team can reveal problems early on so treatment can be swift and effective.

Can’t I wait Until I’m In Pain to Go to the Dentist?

Another argument for delaying dental care is the absence of pain. No doubt, the pain has a way of getting your attention and making you call the dentist. But the lack of pain doesn’t necessarily mean nothing serious is wrong. In some instances, an abscess can damage the nerve. In severe cases such as this, getting dental care is imperative to your health, even though you are not sensing any pain. Regular exams should be scheduled with your Saginaw, MI dental team, whether you have pain or not. Delaying checkups can create a much worse situation for you. If a small cavity is left untreated, decay can spread, even to other teeth. It’s possible for it to worsen to a point you need a root canal and possibly a crown. Plus, other teeth may need repairs. When dental visits are delayed, the treatment often becomes more extensive and invasive and may take more than one visit to complete.

Delaying Dental Care Can Cost You More

By delaying dental treatment and allowing problems to grow worse, treatment options will likely change. Most insurance will cover fillings even if you have small co-pay. More extensive treatment options may or may not be covered, and required co-pays may be more expensive. Your out-of-pocket costs may increase, and it will certainly cost you more time at the dental office. If you do not have insurance, more complex treatments will likely be more of a strain on your budget. Routine visits can prevent many of these complications. They can save your money, your time, and your teeth.

 Contact Your Saginaw, MI Dental Team

Is it time for your routine exam? Dental professionals suggest scheduling a checkup about every six months. Call our offices today to schedule an exam with Dr. Jennifer Schau. Let us help you maintain a healthy mouth!

 

Your Oral Health and Vaping

It’s just been over the last few years that the popularity of e-cigarettes and vaping has grown. Many people make the switch from traditional cigarettes because they think vaping and e-cigs pose fewer health risks. However, most don’t realize there can be some hazards presented to your oral health. Vape juice doesn’t have tar, this is true, but there are some other aspects which can be harmful to your gums and teeth.

What is an E-Cigarette?

E-cigarettes are an electronic device that works by heating a liquid. This vape juice turns into a vapor as it becomes hot. Vape juice is made from a mixture of flavorings, glycerin, water, and propylene glycol. Even though vape juice doesn’t contain tar, most of them do contain some nicotine.

Can Vaping Be Harmful to Your Mouth?

Since there isn’t any tar, one harmful chemical has been removed from vape juice. The research to determine if there are any long-term negative effects caused by other ingredients is still ongoing. Whether they are safe or not is not known. However, your Saginaw, MI dentist does know some of the chemicals are harmful to your dental health. Here are a few of the potential hazards users might face:

Inhaling Bacteria

Bacteria that settle into the bumpy and uneven areas of your teeth, such as pits and crevices, is often responsible for promoting tooth decay, which ultimately leads to cavities. When users inhale the vapor from an e-cigarette, they also bring bacteria into their mouths. This is just as bad for the teeth as eating sugary candies. Bacteria cause plaque buildup in the mouth. Those who use e-cigarettes may find they are more prone to cavities, especially for those who do not maintain good oral hygiene habits.

Leads to Dry Mouth

Some users experience dry mouth, which is primarily caused by propylene glycol. It may sound annoying, but it can lead to other, more serious oral health problems. The saliva in the mouth is a natural defense against bacteria. Vaping presents heat and chemicals into the environment in the mouth. This removes some of the natural moisture. When there isn’t enough saliva, then it is easier for tooth decay to occur. This can also cause more cavities. In some cases, painful sores develop on the gums or other tissue in the mouth. Also, chronic bad breath can become a problem.

Gum Disease and Vaping

When there are excess bacteria, and the mouth is dry, the gums can be affected negatively. Just vaping may be harmful to your gums. Some people develop sores on their gums or in their mouths, and others are sensitive to the chemicals used in e-cigarettes. They often inflame and irritate the gums. If the case is severe, the gums might develop pockets, bleed, and recede. These are all signs of gum disease.

Sugary Flavors

One of the things that makes vaping popular is the many different flavors you can choose from. Maybe you noticed how sweet the vapor from e-cigarettes can be. The flavorings, however, contain the same properties as sweet drinks and candy. The bad thing is, they also have the same effects on the teeth. That means an increased chance of both cavities and tooth decay.

If You Are Choosing to Vape

Please note that while e-cigarettes may not have exactly the same harmful effects on your health as traditional cigarettes, vaping can affect your oral health. There are some hazards. Your Saginaw, MI dental team wants you to be aware of the potentially harmful effects on your oral and physical health. Here are a few tips to help lessen the dangers if you choose to vape.

  • Avoid vape juice that contains nicotine. 
  • Drink lots of water to replace the moisture vaping removes from the mouth.
  • Continue good oral hygiene habits.
  • Keep your regular dental checkups and cleanings as scheduled.

Contact Us

 Please contact  Dr. Schau and the team if you have any questions about the effect of vaping on your oral health. And please schedule your next checkup with Dr. Jennifer Schau. Maintaining good oral health is our priority.

 

Tips for Oral Care During Cold and Flu Season

It’s that time of year everyone dreads, cold and flu season. If you or someone in your house gets sick the first objective is to help them feel better as soon as possible. Honestly, it’s probably not your teeth you are worried about. But cold and flu season can present some real problems for your teeth. Your Saginaw, MI dental team has compiled a few tips for oral care to help you protect your teeth and mouth when sickness is rampant.

Time to Toss Your Toothbrush?

Dr. Jennifer Schau suggests you never share a toothbrush with another person. It’s not a good idea and you can end up sharing germs and viruses. You do cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, right? That’s because it helps protect others from catching a cold or the flu. Not sharing your toothbrush is another way to protect each other. You may also have heard you should toss your toothbrush after being sick. This is not necessarily true. It’s not likely you will get re-infected if you continue to use it. However, it’s better safe than sorry and if it’s been three or more months since you replaced your toothbrush, you might consider tossing it for a new one.

Cough Drops and Oral Care

When you get a cold or the flu, you may use cough drops to help soothe your throat or help clear your sinuses. The problem is they have a lot of sugar in them and that can be bad for the teeth. Sucking on a cough drop gives the bacteria in your mouth just what it needs to survive and thrive. Even though they provide a little bit of relief, it can lead to cavities down the road. Before buying cough drops, read the ingredients listed on the container to see if there is sugar in them. You can purchase cough drops that are sugar-free to help protect your oral health.

Use a Mouth Rinse

Throwing up is not a pleasant experience and talking about it is not fun. However, when you have the flu or a virus it’s a real possibility. When you vomit, your teeth are exposed to stomach acid. Brushing can be detrimental and end up coating your teeth with acid. Rinsing your mouth out with water can help get rid of the acid. You can also make your own mouth rinse using a little baking soda in water. Swish it around and spit it out, and then wait about 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.

Hydration to Protect Your Teeth

Your doctor will probably suggest drinking more liquids when you are sick to prevent dehydration. But when you are well hydrated, it can also protect your teeth. Getting dehydrated can lead to dry mouth which can lead to having cavities. Also, when you take some medications that are used to treat flu-like symptoms, they can dry your mouth out some too. Staying hydrated helps prevent dry mouth. Using sugar-free cough drops can help the mouth produce adequate amounts of saliva which can help prevent dry mouth as well.

Water is the overall best and safest choice for staying hydrated. If your doctor suggests a sports drink to help with electrolyte balance, just drink it for as long as you need to. You can also try sugar-free sports drinks to help protect your teeth.

Contact Your Saginaw, MI Dentist

If you still have questions about these tips for oral care, or how you can protect your oral health during flu and cold season, please contact our offices. Dr. Schau and the team will be happy to answer your questions. If it’s time for your routine exam, please schedule yours today!

How Does Getting Dental Implants Work?

It’s never good to lose a tooth, but it does happen sometimes. Fortunately, there are several solutions for tooth replacement. Choices for replacing missing teeth include getting a dental bridge, full or partial dentures, or dental implants. More people have started choosing implants over dentures since they are a more natural solution. Dr. Schau and the team can discuss your situation with you to help you determine if you are a good candidate for implants. They are not removable fixtures like dentures, instead, they are surgically attached to the jawbone. If you are in good health, have healthy gums and a strong jawbone, you may be an ideal candidate.

Will implants look and feel natural?

One of the main reasons people choose dental implants is that they look more natural, but they also feel more natural. The implant will be attached to the jawbone by a surgical procedure. The post won’t be visible, but it looks sort of like a screw. This replaces the root of the tooth that was lost. The post can be made out of titanium, or an alloy so that it is not likely to cause a reaction when it comes in contact with the gum tissue. Once the customized tooth is placed on the post, it will look like your natural teeth. It will function and feel more like your normal teeth too.

What will the procedure be like?

dental implantOnce your Saginaw, MI dentist determines you are a good candidate for implants, they will discuss the procedure in great detail with you. You’ll be able to ask them any questions you may have at that time. The procedure itself is often done in the dental office. Dr. Jennifer Schau will administer local anesthesia. It will require more than one visit to complete the entire procedure which is usually done in three phases.

  •       Phase 1 – The first phase in the process will involve surgically placing the implant in the jawbone. It will then grow to the jawbone. It will take a little time for healing to become complete. It can take up to three to six months for it to heal completely.
  •       Phase 2 – Once the implant has been placed into the jawbone, the metal post will be attached to it. The post provides stability like a root and will anchor the tooth replacement. In some instances, the dentist can do both of these steps at the same time. For others though, it will be done in two steps.
  •       Phase 3 – In the last phase, once the areas around both the implant and post have healed, the custom made crown will be attached to the post.

What makes implants a good tooth replacement option?

There are several things about dental implants that make them a more popular choice than other tooth replacement options. Some of the main reasons patients choose them include:

  •       More Like Natural Teeth. Once the implants have been placed and healed, they tend to feel more like your natural teeth. This helps a lot when eating and talking. They are the next best thing to your real teeth.
  •       Long-Term Options. When it comes to a long term option, implants have the best track record. Bridges have to be replaced from time to time and usually don’t last more than 10 years. However, dental implants can last for your lifetime given proper care.
  •       Better for Bone Structures. Deterioration of jawbone and facial muscles begins quickly and they can change in shape and diminish in strength over time. Wearing dentures even accelerates the rate of deterioration. Implants, though, help to restore the normal function in the jaw, face, and bones so that bone loss is prevented.

Who Shouldn’t Consider Implants?

There are some instances when the Saginaw, MI dental team may discourage a patient from dental implants. In these cases, other tooth replacement alternatives will be recommended. Pregnant women should not undergo the procedure until after they have had their baby. And those who have either a chronic condition or suffer from immunosuppression shouldn’t have the procedure since they are at risk of developing an infection which could be dangerous for them. Children are not good candidates since their jawbones are still in the developing process. And if you grind your teeth, you may not be a good candidate because it can put too much pressure on the implants.

Contact Us

Please don’t hesitate to contact the Saginaw, MI dental team if you have more questions or concerns. Dr. Schau will be happy to discuss the possibility of dental implants with you and help you determine if you are a good candidate. Call us today!

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