Understanding the Frenectomy Procedure

There are many different types of tissues in the oral cavity that may need attention by a dentist for a healthy smile. At Broadway Family Dentistry, we deal with patients who may have concerns about their frenums. Frenums are bands of tissue that are located either on the top of the smile or the bottom. The upper frenum is called the labial frenum and connect the upper gums to the lip. The lingual frenum is the lower frenum and connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. If either of these frenums are abnormally long or wide, they can cause issues for patients. This includes problems with:

  • Swallowing
  • Speaking
  • Movement
  • Ability to drink from a bottle (for infants)

To address these limitations, a doctor or dentist may perform a procedure called a frenectomy which is used to essentially cut this band of tissue to free the mouth and/or tongue for proper functionality and movement.

What happens during a frenectomy?

A frenectomy is actually a very simple and fast procedure that can be done at Broadway Family Dentistry by one of our professionals. The dentist may use either a scalpel with a blade or a dental laser to cut the soft tissues. In just seconds, the dentist will be able to free the frenum bands. There is very little post-operative discomfort and swelling, and most patients are able to enjoy complete changes in just one appointment. Patients can have this procedure done and go about the remainder of their day without any pain.

What should I do after my frenectomy?

This simple procedure requires no post-operative care or attention because the cut in the band will heal quickly. Patients are still urged to visit their dentist for routine visits including cleanings and examinations.

Schedule your visit with our dentists today!

The team of Broadway Family Dentistry is pleased to offer a variety of oral treatments, including frenectomies. Drs. Stanley Hirst and Bethany Jensen encourage you to book a consultation appointment to find out if this procedure can be beneficial to you or a household member. Call (701) 839-1299 today to book an appointment at the office, conveniently located at 1839 South Broadway Street in Minot, ND.

Commonly Misunderstood Dental Facts

There are so many untrue ideas about teeth floating around, and we don’t know where they came from. They can occur when people don’t ask questions at the dentist, and make assumptions about what’s going on instead of truly understanding. Other times these ideas can come from other people, blog articles, or even Hollywood movies (which take liberties to make the story more dramatic or interesting). Regardless, it’s time to clear up some misconceptions about teeth.

Baby Teeth Don’t Need To Be Brushed

This is completely not true. Setting your child up with proper dental hygiene and habits before they get their adult teeth is important to future health. Understanding how to keep their teeth healthy is key to your children being able to establish good habits by the time their adult teeth come in. Also, it may be harder for you teach your child quickly enough when they have their adult teeth, which is just going to make it harder to maintain a good routine.

Sugar is Sugar

With Easter in the near past and summery treats upon us, we do have to stress that sugar isn’t good for your teeth. It never will be. So, the less sugar you can eat, the healthier your teeth will have a chance to be. Granted, you still may have some bad intel regarding sugar and cavities.

When you reach for that sugary cookie at a BBQ, think twice about how you’re eating it. That’s right, HOW. When you consume sugar, the bacteria in your mouth take about 20 seconds to convert that sugar to acid, which then stays in your mouth for about 30 minutes. Think about the time the acid stays on the surface of your teeth when snacking. Eating that cookie all at once is actually better for your teeth than a few bites spread out over a few hours. But remember, less sugar will always be better for your teeth.

Sensitive Teeth Mean Cavities

Sensitivities can sometimes indicate cavities or broken teeth, but the chances are good that it could be something else that’s much more harmless. You may just have a sensitivity that requires some sensitive toothpaste and nothing more.

Interested in learning more about teeth, or looking to schedule a visit? Call us today at (701) 839-1299 to schedule an appointment.

NuCalm Dentist North Dakota

Sedation Dentistry vs. NuCalm

Some people worry about seeing the dentist so much that they put off regular appointments, or feel a rush of anxiety when they arrive at the office. You may even be one of those anxiety-ridden people! But, you shouldn’t ignore what’s going on in your mouth, even if you are a little nervous about the dentist. Fear can take over and impact your mind, making you feel like things are worse than they really are. Much like flying, but you wouldn’t let a little anxiety keep you from exploring the world, would you?

And you don’t need us to tell you that ignoring your dental health can negatively impact other aspects of your health. So, sedation dentistry can help you keep in great health while helping control anxiety. But, have you heard of NuCalm and how it is different from the average sedation dentistry?

Sedation Dentistry and NuCalm can help patients relax and can be great for patients who:

  • Require a large amount of dental work
  • Have a strong gag reflex
  • Have trouble sitting still during a visit
  • Have sensitive teeth
  • Have a low pain tolerance

But, how is NuCalm different?

Sedation dentistry often refers to the use of anti-anxiety medication or laughing gas, but NuCalm offers a more holistic approach.

How does it work?

NuCalm helps you reach a state of deep relaxation through four simple steps. NuCalm is administered by our dental team at the beginning of your appointment and takes just a few minutes to apply. While listening to soothing music, NuCalm helps you relax comfortably during your appointment.

  • Step 1 – All-natural dietary supplements containing a proprietary formulation of amino acids go on as cream.
  • Step 2 – Then, an FDA-cleared micro-current stimulation is started. Research shows this helps facilitate the relaxation response.
  • Step 3 – Soothing music is presented through headphones. This is no ordinary music, though. Layered in the music is proprietary neuroacoustic software designed to guide you into deep relaxation.
  • Step 4 – You will wear a light-blocking eye mask or glasses to block visual stimulation and help you maintain a state of relaxation.

NuCalm could be a great option for you if you experience anxiety before or during your dentist appointments. Give us a call today at (701) 839-129 to learn more about how we can help you overcome anxiety about the dentist with NuCalm.

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!