Preventive Dentistry Minot, ND

Checking for Oral Cancer

Though you may think that cigarettes are no longer cool, the truth is many people still smoke. And using chewing tobacco or cigarettes on a regular basis has been linked to oral cancer. If you use tobacco products on a regular basis, we recommend that you perform an oral cancer check often at home, around once a month. A thorough examination should be performed by your dentist during every check-up, too. Keep reading to learn about oral cancer and what to keep an eye out for.

Who is at risk for oral cancer?

Though some people are more at risk of developing oral cancer, the truth is, anyone can be at risk. You should receive regular cancer screenings if you smoke or not. That being said, if you are male, you do run a higher risk of getting oral cancer than if you are female.

Like other cancers, the chances of getting oral cancer rise as you age. If you are above the age of 55, for example, then you are also at an increased risk of developing oral cancer. If you smoke cigarettes, use chewing tobacco, or even consume alcoholic beverages excessively, the chances increase dramatically.

Signs of Oral Cancer

Cancer can look and act differently depending on where it is in the body. Make sure to keep track of any physiological changes in your mouth when examining for oral cancer, like:

  • A lump in your cheek
  • Difficulty eating
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Problems moving your jaw or tongue
  • Changes in your voice
  • Weight loss
  • Bad breath that doesn’t go away
  • Loose teeth
  • Sores in your mouth
  • Pain in the mouth

What will happen if my doctor finds oral cancer?

Treatment will vary, depending on your specific situation and what you and your dentist agree on. Medication, radiation, or surgery may be recommended. Your dentist will discuss with you the particular issue and the best treatment options during your consultation.

If you are at a higher risk for oral cancer, we recommend performing monthly checks to take note of changes in your mouth. If you do notice changes, please call us right away at (701) 839-1299 to schedule a consultation. We can help identify oral cancer and help develop a treatment plan.

Teeth Whitening Minot, ND

Spring Cleaning And Teeth Whitening

Did you know that the first day of spring is in March? March 20th marks the official beginning of spring, and we’re already spring cleaning and sprucing up our lives. It’s never a bad time to spend a little extra time working on our goals.
We may think that the practice of making goals only once a year is overkill. Our New Year’s Resolutions seem so far away, but that doesn’t mean that you should just give up and settle. If you’re interested in improving your appearance and your confidence by brightening up your smile, keep reading.

Why should I whiten my teeth?

If you hide your teeth by avoiding smiling or covering them with your hand when you start to smile or laugh, know that you’re not the only one. So many of us are self-conscious about our teeth and with how dull or yellow they have become. The years of drinking coffee, wine, and tea add up, piling on stains that dull our smile.
But, it could be more than surface stains dulling your smile. That’s because, as we age, the enamel on our teeth becomes thinner. This exposes the layer underneath, which is more yellow and called dentin. To add insult to injury, dentin darkens as we get older, which is why you may notice older people with noticeably darker teeth.

Aren’t the whitening strips at the grocery store good enough?

The grocery store offers a lot of necessary items you may enjoy, such as fruit, vegetables, or freshly baked bread. But, when it comes to higher strengths of active ingredients, grocery stores aren’t allowed to offer them.

What do you offer?

We offer two amazing options to help you whiten your teeth. If you’re short on time, an in-office visit can noticeably whiten your smile. In just one hour, we can help you dramatically brighten your teeth! If you’d rather whiten your teeth at home, we can create custom-fit trays to help give you professional results at home.

Call us today at (701) 839-1299 to schedule an appointment to learn more about teeth whitening.

Oral health Minot, ND

Making Your Personal Dental Plan

Maintaining excellent oral health includes more than merely brushing. To keep your mouth, teeth, and gums in top condition there are specific elements you should have as part of your personal dental plan.

Knowing your personal dental needs

Understanding your overall health can go a long way in helping you know what to include in your personal dental plan. If you have had cancer treatments, are pregnant, have heart disease, or diabetes, what you need to include (or not include) in your dental plan will be different. Many health conditions, including dentures and braces, can impact the health of your mouth. At your next dental appointment, be sure to mention any health conditions you are experiencing.

Create and follow a daily dental routine

Daily dental care should include brushing in the morning and evening, as well as flossing and rinsing. Whenever you have a particularly sugary snack, be sure to brush your teeth soon after to rid your mouth of the acid build up.

Use fluoride

Adults and children can gain a lot from fluoride use. Fluoride will strengthen teeth that are developing as well as hinder cavity creation. Find out if fluoride supplements are right for your family. Antibacterial mouth rinses are also available to help decrease bacteria that cause gum disease. Consider getting a fluoride mouth rinse.

Eat right

Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Try avoiding foods that create acid buildup quickly like cookies, cakes, candies, ice cream, dried fruit. Eating a healthy diet will help stave off gum disease and other problems that can contribute to poor dental health.

Schedule regular dental cleanings

Even if you think you have healthy teeth, regular dental checkups are absolutely essential to catching dental problems before they develop into bigger and more expensive issues. A dental cleaning every six months is generally recommended.

Arrange your consultation

For more information about how to improve your dental health, call Broadway Family Dental today. You can reach us at (701) 839-1299. We look forward to helping you!

TMD Treatment Minot, ND

Understanding Your Jaw Pain

At Broadway Family Dentistry our goal is to help you live pain-free with a beautiful smile. In addition to cosmetic dental services, general dental care, and more, we also address problems associated with jaw pain. A temporomandibular disorder (also known as TMJ or TMD) is a problem associated with the muscles in the face and the jaw. TMJ can be caused by problems within the jaw muscles or trauma to the area. For instance, a car crash can give you whiplash, resulting in TMJ. Let’s discuss the signs you should watch out for that indicate if you have TMJ.

TMJ: The signs

If you experience one or more of the following, you could be dealing with TMJ:

-Tenderness, pain or swelling in or around the jaw, neck, or ears

-Difficulty opening the mouth wide

-A feeling of the jaw being ‘stuck’ or ‘locked’ in the open or closed position.

-A popping, clicking, or grating sound when chewing food or yawning.

-Feeling tired in the face or having problems with chewing

-Headaches, toothaches, neck aches, dizziness, earaches, hearing issues, shoulder pain, or tinnitus

Some of the habits or issues that can lead to TMJ are grinding or clenching the teeth, arthritis of the joint, stress (which can tighten muscles in the face, or movement of the disc between the ball and socket of the joint.

How to diagnose TMJ

If you have any of the aforementioned signs or symptoms, arrange a consultation with Broadway Family Dentistry today to determine what is causing your jaw pain. During your visit, the dentist will do a physical exam of your jaw and face. They will check your bite, ability to chew, and ability to open and close your mouth. An X-ray or MRI may be necessary to properly diagnose TMJ.

Arrange your consultation

If you are suffering from jaw pain, don’t wait another minute to schedule your consultation with Broadway Family Dentistry. You can reach our office by calling us at 701-839-1299. We look forward to assisting you.

Dr. Jensen’s Orthodontic Journey – Part 2

Last blog post I wrote about WHY I am doing orthodontics. Recap: I had allergies as a child and it led to mouth breathing and sleep symptoms. Mouth breathing took my growth/development off track and led to a challenging orthodontic case, jaw surgery, and still poorly shaped jaws and worse – a poorly impacted airway. Predestined for sleep apnea problems as an adult, I decided to DO something to change my fate.

Though people have seen me in brackets and my super cool appliances, you may still have no clue as to what the process is. Here’s a walk through of what’s happened so far.

First, I took a CBCT 3D X-ray of my head which was evaluated by a maxillofacial radiologist. Several different orthodontic analyses were used to determine the problems present and a game plan of how to treat it using these orthopedic-like appliances and protractive Controlled-ArchTM orthodontics (moving teeth forward in mouth rather than back).

Next, we put separators between my teeth and sent digital models of my teeth to a specialized orthodontic laboratory to custom-make my appliance.

The orthodontic appliance was cemented onto my top teeth with 4 bands and a wire bonded on the tongue-side part of my front teeth. Springs on the cheek-side part were activated once a month.

This put pressure on an acrylic pad on the roof of the mouth. At the same time, we put flat pads of tooth-colored composite resin on my lower molars. These were crucial to allow my lower jaw to go where it needed/wanted and to follow the upper jaw.

Over time, space developed behind my canines (the long pointy teeth) as the front portion of my upper jaw remodeled forward. According to my treatment plan recommendation, our goal was 6-8mm of space. For me, it took about 5.5 months in the appliance to reach that desired outcome. We removed the appliance and I spent a few weeks in a clear retainer to keep the teeth/bone stable until brackets could be placed.

Brackets were placed and in addition, a stainless-steel wire runs across the roof of the mouth to help provide more support/anchorage to move teeth safely and efficiently. A broad shaped, specialized wire is attached on the cheek-side part of the mouth to the brackets/bands. This is guiding my teeth and ultimately changing the shape of the arch of teeth to better accommodate my tongue.

I have started aligning my teeth to match the midline of my face. This is more complicated for me personally because a surgeon changed how my jaws are attached to my skull and my jaw joints. Chain-like elastics are starting to close the spaces between my front teeth. Once this is complete, I will start pulling the rest of my back teeth forward to close the space.

For me, the amount of time spent in orthodontics will be dictated by how quickly my teeth move. The entire process will likely take a few years, but I am thrilled with the progress and change in profile so far.

Dr. Jensen’s Orthodontic Journey – Part 1

Many people ask me “Why?” when they see me with brackets and wires in my mouth. The question is usually followed by the statement, “I thought your teeth were pretty straight before” or the question “Why, did your previous orthodontics not work?” To answer some of these questions and clarify some of these observations, I will give you my backstory.

My teeth were straight by orthodontic standards when my braces came off at age 14. We were attempting to treat my “gummy smile” and the narrow roof of my mouth. I learned later while in dental school that cases like mine are very difficult to treat (long face) because of my growth trajectory of my jaws. My orthodontist did his very best with the tools/knowledge he had to help try to prevent/correct my problems. We tried several appliances, braces more than once and even double jaw surgery. The trouble is that we didn’t understand WHY I was cursed with a long face, so even after orthodontics to line up my teeth and surgery, the teeth weren’t necessarily in the best position in my face and for my jaw joint.

I have had several eye-opening moments over the last few years that lead to a better understanding of the WHY. I contest that there were likely several factors that influenced why my growth went off track (long face), but the greatest of these is mouth breathing. Mouth breathing? Yes, mouth breathing.

I, Dr. Bethany Jensen, am a recovering chronic mouth breather. I say recovering because it is a habit now that is very difficult to change but I am working on it as it has continued to affect my anatomy negatively.

Mouth breathing happens for a variety of reasons but usually starts in children. Allergies and chronic illness/colds that create stuffy noses can lead to mouth breathing. Pet dander, dust, mold, dairy, gluten, etc can all be culprits. Pacifier use or finger/thumb sucking can also lead to open mouth at rest.

Our nose is designed specifically for breathing air. The shape, filtering mechanisms, and warming capabilities are optimal for air exchange and keeping the “yuck” out of our lungs. Our mouths are great for eating and speech, but are TERRIBLE at doing the nose’s job. When the mouth does the nose’s job, sadly the tonsils try to act as an air filter, often causing swelling/enlargement (airway gets smaller) and letting lots of “yuck” into our lungs (sometimes leading to/contributing to asthma). Bottom line is that when the mouth does the work for the nose, there are really BAD consequences for our airway.

When we are breathing through our nose, our lips should be closed and the tongue should be on the roof of the mouth. If the tongue is NOT on the roof of the mouth, the jaws do not grow the way they should. Our tongue is the pillar that helps guide growth of our jaws forward and out. If you search “aglossia” on the internet, you can see photos of jaws that do not develop well in absence of the tongue (super narrow and crowded).

Back to my story, I likely had some allergies that were undiagnosed as a child and as a consequence I developed a mouth breathing habit. I did not keep my lips together because eventually I couldn’t keep my lips together as I was breathing through an open mouth and I was doing it at night as well as during the day. I struggled as a child with nightmares and restless sleep. Because this issue was never addressed, my body continued to remodel my face to keep air flowing as fast as possible and my jaws over the last 20 years continued to remodel keeping a narrow, deep/high arch.

Humans are highly adaptable, though how we adapt isn’t always sustainable. In my case, my airway issues as a child were subacute but have compounded into a worsening situation. My airway has adapted and those adaptions are predisposing me for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea? This post suddenly took a very serious tone as you probably thought I was talking about straight teeth and braces right?

The reality is that straight teeth are awesome, but my goal in treating myself now isn’t just straight teeth. My goal is straight teeth lined up with enough room for my tongue with the largest airway my face can accommodate. I am striving daily to increase the strength of muscle tone in my lips/cheeks/tongue to better position and support my jaws/teeth/face. Most importantly, I am striving to return to nasal breathing and ditch the mouth breathing habit. This is not a small undertaking and has required commitment to be the best me I can be.

Great. Mouth breathing is bad, airway is as important as straight teeth. So what do we do now?

1. Help children be nasal breathers.
Address allergies/runny noses with physician, ENT or allergist.
Ditch unhealthy habits: pacifiers, finger/thumb sucking, etc (condemn the habit not child)
2. Look at sleep symptoms in kids closely (bedwetting, mouth breathing, snoring, night terrors)
Ask Dr. Jensen about habit corrector appliances like HealthyStart to help put kids back on the right track for growth (can be used in kids as young as 2 or 3 if needed)
3. All grown up and a mouth breather? Its not too late. Great books are available to learn more:
Sleep, Interrupted by Dr. Steven Parks MD
Close Your Mouth by Patrick McKeown
Jaws: The Hidden Epidemic by Sandra Kahn and Paul Ehrlich
4. Only given “jaw surgery” as option for you?
Talk to Dr. Jensen about whether this type of orthodontics may be appropriate for you.

Teeth Whitening Minot, ND

Get ready for the New Year with a Whiter Smile

It is no surprise that having a whiter and brighter smile can make you feel more confident and capable. Why wouldn’t it? Whether your are shopping, giving a presentation, or answering your front door, a white smile just makes you feel better and more sociable. Also, people with whiter teeth are perceived as more professional and capable. What’s not to love? Here’s what you need to know about whitening your teeth.

In office bleaching

In office bleaching by your dentist is the fastest way to achieve a whiter smile. During your in office bleaching appointment, a whitening gel or other product is put directly on the teeth. With the use of heat, a laser, or special lighting, the product works to whiten your smile. Whiter results are apparent after only 30-60 minutes in the dentist chair. For those who want to have dramatic teeth whitening results, more in office appointments may be required. To discuss more of your in office teeth whitening options, contact Broadway Family Dentistry today!

Out of office bleaching

Other methods are available and effective, but they do not give the same immediate results as in office treatments do. These options include: over the counter whitening strips and gels, whitening toothpastes, and whitening rinses.

How long does teeth whitening last?

How long your whiter smile lasts depends on the type of bleaching treatment you used and your current lifestyle. For instance, if you love a cup of coffee every day, you may start to notice staining on your teeth. If you avoid drinks and foods that are known to stain teeth, you can make your whitening treatment last much longer.

The strength of the bleaching agent used for your teeth whitening will also impact how long your whiter smile survives. Out of office treatments typically contain a considerably lower strength bleaching agent than in office treatments.

Arrange your consultation

To learn more about what teeth whitening options are available to you, contact Broadway Family Dentistry. You can reach our office at 701-839-1299. We look forward to hearing from you!

Preventive Dentistry Minot, ND

The Absolute Worst Foods for Your Teeth

With the holiday season underway, it can be easy to fall into the trap of eating candies and treats on a regular basis. It is well known that sweets are bad for your dental health, but other foods like potato chips, dried fruits, and citrus can also pose a risk. Read on to learn why.

Citrus

Citrus is a wonderful source of vitamin C and should be consumed regularly. Unfortunately, many major sources of vitamin C, like oranges, lemons, and limes can also wreak havoc on your teeth. Here’s how: the amount of acid in citrus can erode enamel, leaving teeth exposed to greater amounts of decay. Even a simple squeeze of lemon in your glass of water can increase the acid in your mouth. The solution? Brush immediately after or rinse with mouthwash.

Potato chips

The combination of crunch and savory salty flavor packed into potato chips can be undeniably heavenly. Unfortunately, your taste buds are the only ones enjoying the experience. Your teeth are the ones paying the price. Potatoes are a starchy food that quickly transforms into sugar when broken down. This sugar can get lodged between the crevices of your teeth and feed the bacteria wedged in there as well. To help stave off tooth decay, be sure to floss your teeth soon after eating this crunchy treat.

Dried Fruits

Dried fruits can add a tasty and healthy punch to oatmeal, but they can also negatively impact the health of your mouth. Dried fruits like raisins, prunes, figs, and apricots are immensely sticky and can easily get stuck on and in between the teeth. Make sure you have a toothbrush ready to brush away the sticky leftovers that can cause tooth decay!

Arrange a consultation

At Broadway Family Dentistry, we understand that a bright and confident smile are key to feeling your best. If it has been a while since your last dental cleaning and check up, schedule one today! You can reach our friendly staff by calling our Minot, North Dakota office at (701) 839-1299.

Preventive Dentistry Minot, ND

Halloween Tricks to Avoid Too Many Treats

Halloween seems to usher in mountains of candy at every turn. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to avoid candy overload this season. Not only will these tips help you and your family feel better, but you’ll still be able to enjoy the occasional Halloween treat.

Don’t forget about dinner

On Halloween, make sure the kids don’t leave for their trick or treating adventures before eating a protein and fiber packed meal. This can be quick turkey sandwiches on whole grain bread, hearty finger foods like whole grain chips and hummus, or a tasty pot of homemade chili. Whatever you choose, just make sure the kids eat well before they head out the door. This will help them avoid constant snacking on their candy throughout the evening.

Wait until the last minute to buy candy

Halloween is a month long celebration of all things scary, but the actual day for trick or treating doesn’t arrive until the end of the month. Instead of stocking up on Halloween candy in preparation for handing out goodies on Halloween, just wait until the week of. This way, you won’t have tempting stashes of candy in your house to snack on all day.

Mix it up

When you do purchase your candy for the ghouls and ghosts that will come trick or treating to your door, opt for healthier and more exciting options. Instead of strictly candy, get fruit leather, bubbles, small toys, mini Play-Doh containers, tattoos, glow sticks and more. Keep in mind that most of the excitement children have on Halloween is connected to the act of collecting the candy, not actually eating all of it.

Join your kids

Instead of driving your kids around as they trick or treat, join them for the walk. Wear a pedometer to track how far you’ve walked and make it into a game to try and get more steps in. Plus, you can enjoy the experience of stopping at houses with your kids!

Arrange a consultation

If it has been some time since your last dental exam, don’t hesitate to call Broadway Family Dentistry today. You can reach our friendly staff by calling 701-839-1299.

Dental Implants Minot, ND

Am I a good candidate for a Dental Implant?

Dental Implants Minot, NDIf you are missing a tooth, or need a tooth replaced, dental implants may be the solution you’re looking for. Dental implants are an excellent option for those wanting to complete their smile. But are you a good candidate?

The right candidate

Generally the best candidate for dental implants should have healthy gums and enough bone in the jaw to anchor the implant. If you have lost bone, you can still get a dental implant but you may need a special procedure to restore the bone that is missing. You are also an excellent candidate if you are committed to daily oral care and cleaning the implant area. Regular professional dental cleanings are integral to maintaining a healthy smile and a healthy implant.

You may not be the best candidate for a dental implant if:

  • You are pregnant.
  • You are too young and your jaw has not stopped growing yet.
  • You are a heavy smoker, which makes healing in the mouth difficult.
  • You abuse alcohol or other substances that are harmful to the body. This may make you unprepared to follow proper implant care instructions after your procedure and less likely to practice proper oral hygiene.
  • You have been given a high dose or radiation treatment in the head or neck area.
  • You have a systematic problem or chronic disease like hemophilia, connective tissue issues, uncontrolled diabetes, or immune deficiency problems.
  • You take certain medications like steroid drugs
  • You have significant issues with clenching or grinding your teeth. Such habits can put undue pressure on the implant area and make the risk of failure high.

The process

A few months after the dental implant is placed by a trained specialist or periodontist, a crown will be added. This time period between the two procedures allows for the implant area to heal. Depending on your individual situation and needs, your treatment plan may be different.

Arrange a consultation

To find out more about how dental implants can improve your smile, call Broadway Family Dentistry today. You can reach our team by calling 701-839-1299.