Is Alcohol Bad For My Teeth?

Whether you drink a lot or a little, knowing how alcohol affects the body is important. We know about the detrimental effect on the liver, for example, but have you ever really thought about how alcohol can affect your teeth? Here’s a rundown on a few of the reasons why you may need to change your drinking habits if you want to keep your teeth healthy.

Drinking Alcohol Can Cause Tooth Decay

Depending on the sort of alcohol you’re drinking, it can contain more sugar than you realize. While spirits generally don’t contain sugar, mixing them with sodas or fruit juices in a cocktail can send the sugar content soaring. And sipping on strong drinks slowly means they stay in the mouth longer, encouraging harmful bacteria to grow.

If you’re worried about cavities and tooth decay, try swapping to drier wines instead of sweet and keep an eye on the sugar content on the label if you’re buying drinks in a store. Drinking water between alcoholic beverages will also help wash away harmful bacteria.

Alcoholic Drinks Can Stain Your Teeth

What other effects does alcohol have on your teeth? You may have noticed your lips becoming discolored after drinking red wine but consumption of dark colored drinks such as wine and dark beer can eventually stain the enamel of your teeth, too, leading to dullness of your smile that’s hard to get rid of. To counter this, remember to also drink water to dilute the effect of the deep colored chromogens and consider using a straw to limit the amount of tooth enamel the alcohol will come into contact with.

At the end of the night, remember to floss and brush your teeth thoroughly. There are many whitening toothpastes available that may help counteract staining from alcohol and you can check with your dentist to find out which ones they recommend.

Alcohol Causes Dry Mouth and Bad Breath

You may not think about the function of your saliva too much, but it’s an important factor in keeping your mouth healthy. Saliva washes away bacteria from inside the mouth and drinking alcohol decreases the amount of saliva you produce. This causes a drier mouth and an increase in bacteria on the surface of your teeth which then increases the likelihood of tooth decay. More bacteria in your mouth also leads to bad breath so do everyone a favor and help your salivary glands out with frequent sips of water and using some sugar-free chewing gum.

What to Do if Alcohol Has Damaged Your Teeth

Drinking alcohol in excess of recommended limits can be extremely damaging to your body and overall health. Please contact your doctor or a local support group if you are having trouble reducing your alcohol intake.

If consumption of high-sugar drinks has left your teeth and gums in a bad condition, or if drinking dark colored beverages has stained your smile, contact your dentist to see how they can help. Discovery Dental in Missoula, MT offers patients a variety of cosmetic and general dental treatments from fillings to teeth whitening to get your smile back in shape.

Are There Benefits to Chewing Gum?

If your parents always told you not to chew gum or you’ve heard horror stories about swallowing it, you may be surprised to learn that dentists are actually advocates for using chewing gum. Let’s find out more about the benefits of gum and whether you should be using it as part of your oral care routine.

Is Chewing Gum Good for You?

Humans have been using chewing gum in some form for hundreds of years so there must be some reason it’s stuck around. There are plenty of flavors and options out there but if you choose a sugar free chewing gum, this can actually benefit and improve your oral health.

  • Sugarless gum can help prevent tooth decay by increasing saliva when you chew it. Saliva washes away harmful bacteria in your mouth, so using chewing gum after a meal can be a beneficial step.
  • Tooth enamel can also be strengthened by chewing gum as the extra saliva it produces contains calcium and phosphates that your teeth need to stay healthy.
  • Look for chewing gum that contains xylitol, a natural sweetener. Not only can xylitol reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth, it also helps keep your teeth healthy by neutralizing the acids produced by bacteria.
  • If you have bad breath (also known as halitosis), chewing gum increases your saliva and helps get rid of bacteria that cause your breath to smell. Choose a fresh, minty flavor for an extra helping hand!
  • The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends chewing gum and states: “Chewing sugarless gum has been shown to increase the flow of saliva, thereby reducing plaque acid, strengthening the teeth and reducing tooth decay.”

Can Chewing Gum Be Bad for You?

All this sounds great but can there be instances where you shouldn’t chew gum? Here are some examples of when chewing gum might end up being bad for your oral health:

  • Chewing gum that contains sugar is not good for your teeth. Because of its nature, chewing gum spends all its time in contact with your teeth so if it contains sugar, you’re increasing your risk of developing cavities and tooth decay.
  • If you have orthodontic work such as braces, give the chewing gum a miss. It can get stuck in your appliances and also cause damage to them. Similarly, constant chewing when you have crowns or fillings might also end up causing damage to your dental work.
  • Avoid chewing gum if you have TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder as it can put extra strain on your jaw and end up making the issue worse.

Chewing Gum Benefits Your Oral Health

If you’re looking to up your oral healthcare, try adding a piece of gum to your routine. Chewing on a sugar free piece of gum for around 20 minutes after a meal can help protect and strengthen your teeth and even combat bad breath. Look for the ADA Seal on a pack of gum to ensure you’re choosing one with the most dental benefits.

If you have any other questions about gum, bad breath or repairing teeth, feel free to contact your dental office. Patients in Missoula, MT and surrounding areas can call Discovery Dental for the most up to date dental technology and techniques in a welcoming and relaxed environment.

What Are My Denture Options? Fixed Implant vs. Removable

Dentures have come a long way since the cliche of a grandparent putting their teeth in a glass of water by the bedside table at night. These days patients have the options of traditional removable dentures and also fixed or removable dentures by way of dental implants. What do these terms mean and which is the right option for you?

What Are Implant Dentures?

If you have a missing tooth, the most effective treatment is to replace it with a dental implant. If you have many missing teeth, or one or both arches need replacing, dentures fixed to dental implants may be the way to go.

In this case, your dentist will place several dental implants into your jaw to replace the roots of the missing teeth. A fixed or removable denture, or false teeth, can then be attached to the denture implants, creating stable, natural looking and functional teeth replacements.

Removable Implant-Supported Dentures

If you are already used to traditional removable dentures, upgrading to denture implants might be a good move. For an upper arch, dentists will usually place 4 to 6 denture implants to ensure a strong anchoring point for the dentures. A full arch replacement is also known as an “All on 4” restoration, where a denture is attached to 4 implants.

For lower jaw dentures, as few as two implants can be used, depending on the patient. The prosthetic teeth are then attached to the implants via a bar attachment which allows for removal and also gives them the nickname of “snap-on dentures”.

Why Choose Removable Denture Implants?

  • May be more cost effective than fixed denture implants.
  • Allow for a more natural feel than traditional dentures that cover the palate.
  • Removable dentures are easier to clean and care for.
  • If your bone density can’t support fixed implant dentures, removable implant dentures may be a viable option.

Fixed Implant-Supported Dentures

As the name suggests, fixed implant dentures are not meant to be removed by the patient and are permanently attached to the dental implants. In this way, patients can brush and care for their dentures as if they were real teeth.

Fixed denture implants are also called “screw-retained dentures” as the prosthetic teeth are attached to the implants via a screw, meaning they are extremely stable and not removable.

Why Choose Fixed Denture Implants?

  • Look and function like natural teeth
  • No need to remove prosthetics to clean them
  • Patients can forget they have dentures

Are Denture Implants Right For Me?

To see which type of implant dentures are right for you, schedule an appointment with your dentist. If you’re in Missoula, MT and surrounding areas, contact Discovery Dental Group for cutting-edge dental solutions in a welcoming environment.

How Long Do Veneers Last?

Veneers are a great fix for all kinds of cosmetic dental issues, from covering misshapen, crooked, stained or gappy teeth to giving you a brighter, more even looking smile. Before you spend your hard-earned money, however, you may want to do some research on your investment by finding how long veneers actually last.

What are Veneers?

Veneers are thin shells of a material such as porcelain or ceramic that are bonded to the front surface of a tooth or teeth. After a consultation, your teeth are prepared by removing a small layer of enamel and your veneers will be created and fitted in a later visit. Veneers look like your natural teeth, only better!

Types of Veneers

Ceramic or porcelain veneers are the most common types. Each material is durable, easy to color match to the rest of your teeth and resistant to staining. They have their pros and cons, though, and at Discovery Dental, porcelain is most likely to be recommended. Here’s why:

  • Porcelain is the more durable material, so will generally last longer than ceramic veneers.
  • It is stain resistant.
  • It is translucent, giving a more natural look.

How Long do Veneers Last?

Depending on the type of material and care taken, veneers can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years and sometimes even longer. Let’s break it down.

How long do ceramic veneers last?

While they are durable, ceramic veneers are not generally as long lasting as porcelain veneers. You can expect a ceramic veneer to last around 10 years.

How long do porcelain veneers last?

Porcelain veneers are currently the dentist-preferred material for their natural look and durability. With care, a porcelain veneer will last up to 15 years.

It’s not unheard of for ceramic or porcelain veneers to last even longer than this, sometimes 20 years or more! To ensure a long life for your veneers, it depends on what risk factors you encounter, what you eat and drink and your oral health routine and habits.

Let’s see how you can make your veneers last for as long as possible.

How to Care for Veneers

Here are our top tips to care for your veneers:

  • Visit your dentist A regular visit to the dentist can spot any potential issues your veneers might have before the issue gets worse.
  • Brush and floss with care A veneer covers the front surface of a tooth but you will still need to make sure you’re brushing and flossing every day. Even though porcelain is stain resistant, it will get discolored over time if not properly cared for. When flossing around a veneer, try pulling the floss all the way through the gap between teeth, not yanking it downwards.
  • Avoid damaging your teeth It sounds obvious but to extend the life of your veneers, do not do things that can damage them. This includes biting your fingernails, crunching ice, biting into hard or sticky food with your front teeth and doing things like cutting tape with your teeth. Also, use a mouthguard if engaged in contact sports and ask your dentist about a custom night guard if you’re showing signs of bruxism or teeth grinding.

What Type of Veneers Are Right for Me?

Whether you need a single veneer or a row, schedule a consultation with your dentist to see what options they can offer. Patients in Missoula, MT and surrounding areas can contact Discovery Dental for expert smile design and guaranteed results.

Crowns vs Veneers: What To Know and What They Do

These days there’s a fix for any kind of dental issue you can think of and probably some that you can’t. You may have heard of veneers and dental crowns but would they be suitable for your specific problem? Let’s find out more about these dental solutions and work out whether veneers or crowns are the best answer.

What Is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is a protective cap that’s placed over a damaged tooth and cemented into place. It looks like a normal tooth and functions in the same way but is usually made of ceramic or porcelain, although they can also be made of metal or a metal amalgam.

With good care, dental crowns are long lasting and durable. You can avoid excess wear on them by stopping things like chewing your fingernails, crunching down on hard things like ice and by using a nightguard if you grind your teeth at night.

Crowns are a great option to restore the appearance and strength of a decayed or broken tooth. They can also be used to cover discolored or misshapen teeth. The crowned tooth is still susceptible to bacteria and decay, though, so don’t forget to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Discovery Dental Group in Missoula, MT can create same-day ceramic crowns for patients, making the process a lot more convenient.

What Are Veneers?

Dental veneers are thin shells of porcelain or composite that are fixed to the front surface of a tooth to make it look perfect. They are a common fix for many cosmetic issues such as discolored, crooked, gappy or chipped teeth.

Veneers can last for between 10 and 15 years and you can keep them in good shape by avoiding biting directly into things (use your back teeth), maintaining a good oral healthcare routine and not using any whitening products on your teeth as this can damage the surface of the veneer. Porcelain veneers are quite stain resistant but try to cut back on dark, staining food and drink such as black coffee, red wine, tomato sauces and dark berries.

While veneers are quite simple to apply, your oral health needs to be at a good level before they’re added. This is because they don’t offer protection to teeth, they just provide a more aesthetically pleasing look. If you have gum disease or cavities, you may not be a candidate for veneers until your oral health has improved. You also need enough enamel on your teeth to hold the veneer in place.

Are Veneers Better Than Crowns?

YES if:

  • You are looking for a cosmetic solution to misshapen, discolored or crooked teeth
  • You have a chipped or broken tooth at the front of your mouth that is otherwise healthy

NO if:

  • You need a extensive restoration or replacement of a tooth
  • The affected teeth are at the back of your mouth
  • Your oral health is poor

Are Crowns Better Than Veneers?

YES if:

  • You need restorative dental work to protect or replace a tooth
  • You have a damaged or decayed tooth at the back of your mouth

NO if:

  • You want a more uniform, whiter or more perfect looking teeth
  • Your teeth and oral health are in good shape but you just want a cosmetic improvement

What Else Do I Need to Know About Veneers or Crowns?

There are some circumstances where you will have the option of choosing between a crown or a dental veneer. In these cases, your dentist will be able to advise which will be the most effective treatment. In general, crowns are used to protect and repair damaged or decayed teeth and veneers are used to improve the look of a tooth. If you’re in Missoula, MT, and want to find out more about your options to improve the look of your smile, call Discovery Dental Group for the latest in dental technology.

How to Improve Your Smile

Your smile should be something to be proud of and it’s one of the main things people notice about you. If you’re embarrassed or less than happy with your smile, there’s always a way to improve it. Whether you are missing teeth, have receding gums, have misshapen or crooked teeth or just want to turn up the brightness, a visit to your dentist can get your smile looking great in no time.

How To Get Better Teeth Naturally

Before resorting to cosmetic procedures, there are some things you can do to improve the look of your teeth and gums. Oral health is important not only for your teeth but for your general health too, so looking after your smile is beneficial on many levels. Here’s what you can do at home to keep your teeth looking nice:

  • Brush twice daily

Everyone knows they need to brush at least twice per day for 2 minutes each time but how many people manage to keep up with this routine? Removing food particles and bacteria from your mouth is extremely important in keeping tooth decay and gum disease away.

  • Floss daily

Flossing before brushing lets the toothbrush get rid of particles better than flossing after brushing. Keep your breath smelling sweet and your gums looking healthy by flossing at least once every day.

  • Avoid tobacco

Smoking and using tobacco products are very bad for your health. As well as causing discoloration of your teeth, you are more likely to develop gum disease and oral cancers.

  • Skip the sugar

Sugar is bad for your teeth so try to cut down on sugary treats and drinks. Prolonged contact with the surface of teeth can lead to cavities and gum disease.

  • See your dentist

Don’t fall behind with your regular check ups. Seeing your dentist every six months can help prevent things like cavities or gum disease from getting worse and you will also get a professional cleaning that will leave your teeth smoother and brighter than when you walked in.

Improve Your Smile With Better Teeth and Gums

Nowadays there are many techniques dentists can use to correct and improve any aspect of your smile that you’re unhappy with. Got gaps? No problem. Teeth looking yellow? Yep, got a fix for that. Patients in Missoula, MT can contact Discovery Dental Group for the best dental services in a friendly environment.

Here are some of the most common cosmetic issues and solutions to get a better smile:

Get Rid of Yellow Teeth

If brushing just isn’t cutting it, get your teeth professionally whitened by your dentist. This will get them several shades brighter after one treatment so you can feel confident whatever the occasion. Dentists use professional grade bleaching materials or tools which are more effective and last longer than over the counter whitening kits so really, what are you waiting for?

Fix Crooked or Misshapen Teeth

Do you have one tooth that has always looked different and is ruining your entire smile? Whether you have misshapen, gappy, crooked or even discolored teeth, contact your dentist. Dental bonding can be used to fill in small gaps or reshape the look of a tooth, while dental veneers can be placed on the surface of a tooth to give it a perfect outward appearance.

Repair A Broken or Cracked Tooth

If you’ve chipped, cracked or broken a tooth, don’t worry, it can be fixed. For minor chips or breaks, dental bonding material can be color matched and fixed to the tooth to repair it. For more damaged teeth, a crown can be used to protect the tooth and to match its look and functionality. A dental veneer can be attached to the front of a broken tooth to make it look even better than new and veneers can also be used to disguise superficial cracks in the enamel known as “craze lines.”

Replace Missing Teeth

If you have missing teeth or need to have teeth removed, it’s important to replace them. Gaps in your jawbone can cause surrounding teeth to move and lose support and you’re also more susceptible to gum disease or an infection. Dental implants are the best answer to replacing a missing tooth and getting your smile looking great again. These are permanent screws placed in your jaw to which realistic crowns are attached. You can have one implant, several attached to a bridge or even get your whole mouth replaced.

Now you know that there’s an answer to any cosmetic issue out there, you can get better teeth and a nicer smile with one call to your dentist office. If you’re in Missoula, MT and surrounding areas, contact Discovery Dental Group for the latest in dental technology paired with a welcoming and professional atmosphere.

Can You Overbrush Your Teeth?

Some people find it difficult to brush for the recommended 2 minutes, twice a day, but others go to the other extreme and brush vigorously after every meal. Is this the correct approach? Did you know that brushing too soon after eating or brushing incorrectly can actually damage your teeth and cause gum recession? Don’t panic, we’ll go through the correct way to safely brush your teeth but let’s look at overbrushing first.

Can You Brush Your Teeth Too Much?

Unfortunately, it is possible to brush your teeth too much. Yes, this sounds counterproductive to normal dental advice, but that’s why twice a day is recommended, not after every time you eat, for example. Overbrushing can lead to tooth abrasion, which is a permanent loss of the tooth’s enamel, and gum recession, which in many cases is not reversible. If you’re worried that you might be over brushing, there are warning signs you might see so you can ease back on the tooth cleaning.

Main Signs of Over Brushing

Keep a lookout for these signs if you’re brushing more than twice a day or you think you might be brushing too hard:

  • Your toothbrush bristles wear down quickly or are splayed outwards
  • Your gums are red or swollen after your brush
  • Your gums bleed regularly after brushing and flossing
  • You can see signs that your gums are receding from your teeth
  • Your teeth have become sensitive to hot and cold food and drink

Now let’s take a look at the way you brush so you can see if you might be over brushing or brushing too vigorously.

How Not To Brush Your Teeth

Here is a list of things not to do in order to maintain healthy teeth and gums:

  • Do not use a hard-bristled toothbrush. Go for a soft one.
  • Do not use too much pressure as this can damage your gums.
  • Do not drag the brush backwards and forwards over your teeth, use a more circular motion.
  • Do not hold the brush straight against your teeth and gums, try angling it up about 45 degrees for the most effective gum line clean.
  • Do not brush straight after a meal. While brushing after your three main meals is fine, applying a toothbrush immediately after eating can have an abrasive effect on your tooth enamel due to sugars and high acid levels still being present in your mouth. Wait at least an hour after eating before brushing your teeth.
  • Do not just brush the front of your teeth and neglect the back sides and chewing surfaces.

How to Brush Your Teeth Properly

OK, now we’ve lectured you on how not to brush your teeth and how not to brush them too often. So what is a safe way to do it? Here are the best tips for getting the most out of your brushing routine and keeping your smile healthy:

  • Use a soft-bristled brush. You may assume it’s not as effective for removing bacteria but it is and it’s also gentler on the enamel of your teeth and on your gum line.
  • Think of your mouth in 4 quadrants and spend equal time brushing each part, not over-concentrating on the fronts.
  • Floss before brushing instead of afterwards.
  • Brushing three times a day is great, but wait for at least an hour after every meal.
  • Change out your toothbrush or toothbrush head regularly.
  • Use a toothpaste with fluoride and avoid abrasive toothpastes.
  • Drink more water and reduce your intake of sugary drinks and foods.
  • Use a lighter touch to clean your teeth as brushing with too much force can cause damage.

What to Do If You Have Damaged Your Teeth or Gums From Over Brushing

As we have said, brushing your teeth too much or too hard can result in damage to the tooth enamel and the wearing away of your gums. If your gums start to recede, this can lead to periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, which carries the risk of decay and tooth loss.

Sometimes overbrushing is caused by people worried about the look of their teeth who then brush too much, which makes the issue worse. Contact your dentist if you have any concerns about the health or appearance of your teeth and gums. Patients in Missoula, MT can contact Discovery Dental Group for a wide range of options regarding preventive care or restorative dental work.

Some cases of tooth abrasion (loss of enamel) can be fixed with fillings or dental bondings, restoring the look of the surface of the tooth. Alternatives such as porcelain veneers can also be a solution to correct the look of damaged teeth. If you’re over brushing because your teeth just aren’t looking white enough, your dentist can also help with dental whitening treatments.

To treat gum recession, your dentist might use deep cleaning techniques to encourage reattachment and in some cases gum grafts can be performed. Good oral hygiene is the most effective way to halt gum recession in its tracks, however, so don’t be afraid to get back to brushing, just use a lighter touch.

Top Dental Crown Problems

Dental crowns are great for protecting damaged or decayed teeth, or for replacing missing teeth. They are realistic looking artificial teeth, usually made from ceramic or porcelain, that look and function just like a normal tooth. With good care, dental crowns can last many years but sometimes issues occur that mean you need to get in touch with your dentist a bit earlier than planned.

Let’s check out the top problems concerning dental crowns and what you need to do to solve them.

Dental Crown Sensitivity

When applying a crown to an existing tooth, some enamel may need to be removed first. This can cause an increase in sensitivity around the crowned tooth area, especially when eating or drinking hot or cold things. This is a common side effect of having a crown and is not usually a cause for concern. Sensitivity can be treated by using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth, or by taking over the counter pain relief. If the pain doesn’t go away after a few days, contact your dentist to see if the crown needs adjusting.

Tooth Decay Under the Crown

Just because you have a crown over your tooth doesn’t mean you can forget about oral hygiene! The tooth inside or below the crown is still susceptible to decay and potential gum disease so it’s just as important to get into a good brushing and flossing habit after having a crown placed as it was before. Tooth decay that occurs or worsens after a crown is placed might mean another trip to the dentist for a brand new crown which would be an expensive and avoidable lesson to learn.

Gums Going Gray

If you have a crown that’s made of gold or another metal, you might see a dark line on your gum or your gum might appear gray or dull. This is just the metal in the crown showing through and is not harmful, although it doesn’t look particularly nice. This won’t go away in time but if you change out your crown to a non-metal porcelain or ceramic one, your gum will return to its normal color.

Loose Crown or Broken Crown

Crowns are made from very durable material but things can happen and they can be damaged just like normal teeth. If a part of your crown breaks off, a dentist may be able to fix it, but a large crack or break may require a new crown.

Your crown can become loose from injury, impact, or if it’s dislodged soon after it’s been fitted. Avoid eating hard foods such as nuts and hard candies for a couple of weeks after you get a crown. This gives it time to bond strongly to your tooth.

Nerve Problems From a Crown

This is not that common but sometimes the nerves of a tooth are affected when a crown is placed. If this is the case, you can experience pain almost immediately but sometimes it can take weeks or months to become painful. If you have discomfort or tooth pain after having a crown fitted, go back and see your dentist. They can perform a root canal to treat the nerve and your crown can be removed and replaced.

Allergic Reactions From a Crown

These are rare as alternatives to metal crowns are becoming more and more popular. You’re only potentially going to have an allergic reaction to a crown if it’s made from metal or metal amalgam. If you’re not sure whether you’re allergic to metal or you experience soreness in the area after your crown has been fitted, go back to your dentist and swap out the metal crown for a ceramic or porcelain one.

Dental Crowns in Missoula, MT

Now you know the most common problems people face when having a dental crown fitted. If you are interested in protecting or replacing broken or decayed teeth with crowns, get in touch with your dental office. Patients in Missoula, MT can contact Discovery Dental Group for the latest in dental crown technology, including same-day crowns created in-office with the CerecⓇ system.

What Is An Overbite and Do I Have One?

Most people have front teeth that slightly overlap their lower teeth when their jaws are shut and while that’s technically an overbite, it’s also the ideal alignment and not any cause for concern. There are different kinds of overbite, however, with some that would definitely benefit from dental intervention. But what exactly is an overbite and what should you do if you have one? If you’re worried about whether you have an overbite and what possible treatment options there are, you can find out all about it below.

What Does An Overbite Look Like?

An overbite is a type of malocclusion or misalignment of the teeth. Someone with an overbite will have their front teeth protruding or significantly overshooting their bottom teeth or jaw. Severe cases can result in the “buck tooth” look where the two front teeth actually overhang the bottom lip. Thankfully, it’s usually straightforward to correct an overbite at any age, although intervention in childhood is much easier than dental work that starts in adulthood.

Main Types of Overbite

Overbites can occur for a variety of reasons such as habits started in infancy, genetics or several things connected with your teeth, jaw and muscles. In general, the main types of overbite can be assigned as either a skeletal overbite or a dental overbite.

Skeletal Overbite

A skeletal overbite is when your jaw is causing the issues. Usually, it means that your lower jaw is smaller than your upper jaw, meaning the upper teeth are pushed forward, out of natural alignment. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, this is the most common reason for an overbite. In severe cases, surgery may be needed to correct the issue as well as orthodontic treatments such as braces.

Dental Overbite

A dental overbite is when your teeth are causing the issue. Even from early childhood, bad oral habits can impact your teeth alignment. Things like thumb sucking, tongue thrusting and overuse of a pacifier can affect the way teeth grow and other factors such as tooth loss, nail biting, bruxism or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders as an adult can also create an overbite.

Can An Overbite be Fixed?

Yes! Overbites are extremely common, with the American Dental Association stating that 70% of children show signs of developing them. The most effective treatment is early orthodontic intervention.

For children and teenagers, braces are the most common treatment, with some tooth extractions if necessary. After the treatment plan is completed, aligners or retainers are used to keep the top teeth in their new positions.

For adults, it can be more difficult to treat severe overbites, and sometimes surgery may be necessary on the jaw. Otherwise, similar treatment with braces and retainers will bring the front teeth back into alignment.

What If I Leave My Overbite As It Is?

If you don’t think your overbite is that bad, you may be tempted to just leave it as it is and not worry about getting it corrected. If your regular bite is fine, with your back teeth meeting correctly, you don’t always need to have your overbite corrected. However, there are several reasons for getting treatment for it:

  • Aesthetically, an overbite may cause you to feel self-conscious which can have knock-on repercussions on your mental health.
  • Untreated overbites can cause you to grind your teeth, leading to an increase in the risk of tooth decay and tooth loss.
  • Severe overbites can cause wear on your gums, leading to gum recession and periodontal disease.
  • You may develop jaw issues such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder which can cause pain and affect the way you speak and eat.
  • It can affect your sleep by causing sleep apnea due to your lower jaw being further back in your mouth. A lack of restful sleep will have negative impacts on your overall health.

If you’re worried you have an overbite or you just want straighter front teeth, call your dentist for a professional opinion. Patients in Missoula, MT and surrounding areas can get expert dental care in a welcoming atmosphere from Discovery Dental Group.

Regular Cleaning vs. Deep Dental Cleaning

When you go to the dentist for a regular check-up, you’ll get your teeth cleaned at the same time. While this is more thorough than your at-home brushing, it’s not classed as a “deep clean” which is usually something reserved for patients with gum disease or gingivitis. Let’s find out more about the differences between a regular dental cleaning and a deep dental cleaning so you know what to expect heading into your next appointment.

Regular Dental Cleaning

If you brush twice daily and also use floss every day, your teeth should be in pretty good shape. During a routine appointment, your dentist or a dental hygienist will take things a step further in the regular dental cleaning. A regular cleaning will remove any hardened plaque or tartar from your teeth which is not always possible to remove during a normal at-home brushing session. This can prevent cavities and tooth decay and keeps you on a great oral health track.

What Happens in a Regular Dental Cleaning?

After your general dental exam, your dentist or dental hygienist will carry out the cleaning which usually involves:

  • Removing any tartar, plaque or calculus from the tooth’s surface and the gum line. This is done with a small handheld tool.
  • Flossing.
  • Sometimes a mild abrasive paste will be used to remove surface stains from your teeth.
  • A fluoride treatment may be applied either directly onto your teeth or via a rinse.


The regular dental cleaning takes a few minutes and will leave your teeth feeling and looking smoother and cleaner. If you have no other dental issues, a cleaning will take place every 6 months during your regularly scheduled appointments.

Deep Dental Cleaning

While a regular dental cleaning might feel like a deep clean compared with your normal routine, a deep dental clean is a more involved process, usually for patients who are in various stages of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. It can be split across two or more appointments, and uses processes called dental scaling and root planing. Together, these processes remove plaque and excess bacteria from below the gumline and also clean out the roots of your teeth. If caught early enough, it’s possible to successfully treat gum disease and sometimes even reverse it.

How is a Dental Deep Cleaning Carried Out?

Dental scaling is a non-surgical procedure also known as periodontal scaling. During your appointment, your dentist may numb your mouth before scraping away the calculus or plaque above and below the gum line with a handheld tool like a curette or periodontal scraper, or sometimes an ultrasonic instrument.

Depending on the severity of the gum disease, half your mouth may be treated at a time. Scaling reaches deep into the periodontal pocket under your gum line where you cannot clean with a normal toothbrush.

After the scaling process, the rough surfaces on your tooths’ roots will be smoothed, or planed, enabling them to better reattach to the gums. This is carried out with the same small tools used for scaling.

What Else Do You Need to Know About a Deep Dental Cleaning?

  • It can be uncomfortableWhile your dentist may use a local anesthetic to numb the area, your gums will probably feel a bit sore and your teeth may be more sensitive for a couple days after a deep clean.
  • Results can varyIf you have advanced periodontal or gum disease, scaling and planing may not help your gums to reattach.
  • Aftercare may be necessaryAn additional appointment to check the results might be needed. There is also a risk of bacteria entering your bloodstream, in which case antibiotics may be prescribed.
  • It has other advantagesHalitosis, or bad breath, can be successfully treated with a dental deep clean as more bacteria is removed than with a regular cleaning.
  • It’s a great treatment for gum diseasePeriodontal scaling and root planing is a tried and true way to combat or control the effects of gum disease.


Now that you know the differences between a regular dental cleaning and a deep dental cleaning, you can head to your next appointment with confidence. Patients in Missoula, MT and surrounding areas can contact Discovery Dental Group for the best in general and cosmetic dentistry.