Your Child’s First Dental Visit: Getting It Done in Year One

dental checkupWhen your child is born, his or her primary teeth have already started to form inside the gums. And within approximately six months to a year, their first tooth will start to come through. You may be surprised to learn that tooth decay can occur as soon as this first tooth erupts. Once this happens, the teeth become susceptible to decay if not properly cared for. That’s why it’s important to take your child to the dentist no more than six months after the first tooth appears and no later than the first birthday. Here’s what you can expect at your child’s first dental visit:

The Meet and Greet
The first dentist appointment is really a time for you and your child to meet the dentist and learn how best to care for his or her developing teeth and gums. Until your child reaches age two, these dental visits will largely consist of a visual exam, as well as an introduction to the dental chair, the equipment such as air and water, and other items found in a dental office like safety glasses and a bib.

The Exam
With a child under a year old, you’ll likely be asked to hold your child while the dentist examines their mouth, checking your child’s gums, jaw and bite. This keeps your child at ease during the exam, as well as helps you point out areas in the mouth you may have questions about. If your child has several protruding baby teeth already, your dentist may clean your child’s teeth and apply fluoride.

The Follow-up
Depending on the condition of your child’s teeth, your dentist will advise you about when to schedule your next visit. When there are no significant problems, he or she will recommend you visit again in six months.

While every child has their own specific oral health needs, what it universally true is that early dental exams are a preventive measure that can effectively save you time, money and your child’s teeth in the long run.

To schedule your child’s first dental visit, contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling 701-839-1299. We look forward to hearing from you!


Signs You Grind Your Teeth (And How to Stop)

bruxismBruxism (or teeth grinding) is a common condition, but many people aren’t even aware that they do it. Grinding your teeth can cause irreparable tooth damage or other health complications. That’s why it’s important to identify the signs of teeth grinding and the ways to overcome it.

To determine if you might be grinding your teeth, check for symptoms first thing in the morning. That’s  because teeth grinding occurs at night. Signs that you may be a teeth grinder include:

  • Sore jaw
  • Gum inflammation (gingivitis)
  • Sensitive teeth when eating or drinking hot or cold food and beverages
  • Dull, persistent headache
  • Sores inside your cheeks

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, consider the following tips to abolish teeth grinding once and for all:

  • Cut out caffeine. Partaking in beverages that contain caffeine, such as soda, coffee and energy drinks will make you unable to relax your body and mind, and can make it hard for you to relax your jaw.
  • Chew on food and only food. Many people absentmindedly chew on pens or pencils when they’re concentrating or feel stressed. Put a stop to this practice and opt for a stick of gum or a mint to help retrain your brain to keep the chewing to foods alone.
  • Use a mouth guard. Ask your dentist about the type of mouth guard he recommends, whether it’s provided by him or purchased over the counter. Wearing a mouth guard is an effective way to deter you from grinding your teeth while you sleep.
  • Reduce stress. Helpful stress relievers include spending time with friends, eating a balanced diet to curb irritability, and going to bed and waking up at the same time each day to maintain a healthy and stable energy level.

To learn more about how to eliminate teeth grinding, contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling 701-839-1299. We look forward to hearing from you!

The Benefits of Laser Light

Laser TherapyGoing to the dentist can be a dreaded affair for many. The thought of drills and sharp objects isn’t fun for anyone. But today’s dentistry is changing, thanks in part to the more frequent use of dental lasers. Check out the many ways laser dentistry is making a trip to the dentist feel a little less daunting.

Less Pain
Dental lasers are considerably more comfortable than traditional surgical treatments. This can be welcome information to patients who are fearful of dental anesthesia for certain procedures. By eliminating the need for anesthesia, your recovery time is much quicker and there is considerably less pain.

Reduced Bleeding
Before lasers, certain dental procedures involved a lot of bleeding. Dental lasers significantly reduce bleeding because the high powered light that is used actually helps coagulate open blood vessels, healing wounds faster and speeding up your recovery time.

A wide range of hard and soft tissue procedures can benefit from laser dentistry. These procedures range from decay removal and cavity preparation to root canals and gum and bone surgical procedures.

Improved Precision
Laser dentistry makes it possible to treat decay or cavities in hard to reach areas without affecting the surrounding tissue. When using a laser, the accuracy of treatment is improved, and more of your healthy tooth structure remains intact. With better precision comes an increase in dental health into the future.

Less Risk of Infection
The high energy beams from a dental laser not only heal open wounds, they also sterilize the area the laser is working on to protect against bacteria that causes areas of bleeding and infected gums. In this way, laser dentistry is especially helpful for patients with gum disease, as they can use this treatment at every appointment.

Discover how laser dentistry can benefit you! Contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling (701) 839-1299 to schedule a check-up.

5 Common Dental Fears and How to Overcome Them

dental healthDental phobia is surprisingly common. But putting off going to the dentist can lead to more serious complications down the road. If you are a “Dentaphobe”, here are five ways to help you cope with this fear and get the dental treatment you need:

  1. Fear of the unknown. Being whisked away from the waiting room, draped with a green bib and positioned with a nice view of the ceiling, can be a little intimidating. You likely have some questions before the dentist gets to it, so don’t be afraid to ask for a break-down of the procedure. By learning more about the details of your check-up, you can begin to feel more at ease.
  2. Dental equipment. Having sharp metal objects stuck into your mouth can instill fear in the hearts of many. You probably want to know what these tools used for. And, perhaps more importantly, will this hurt? Ask your dentist if you can hold the tools first so they don’t seem so foreign. You may also want to ask for a quick demonstration on how the tool will be used.
  3. Trying to breathe through the nose. If you breathe primarily out of their mouth, a visit to the dentist can feel stifling when the dentist must work in your mouth. It may help to wear nasal strips, which can open up your nose for easier breathing. And if you need to take a break during the procedure to catch your breath, work out a hand signal with your dentist to indicate that he needs to stop working for a moment.
  4. Gag reflex. For those with a tendency to gag during dental work, the thought of putting those tabs into your mouth for an X-ray – or the molding clay in for an impression – can feel daunting. To combat the urge to gag, breathe through your nose. It may be a good idea to use a nasal spray or strip to open up nasal passages beforehand. Another trick is to moisten your finger and put a dab of salt on the end of your tongue right before the procedure.
  5. Fear of needles. For many, needles can be terrifying, especially when inserted into your mouth. Before the injection, ask your dentist if numbing gel will be used. This can help tremendously with discomfort. Additionally, try to focus your attention away from the pain of the needle in favor of how the needle will eliminate any pain during dental treatment.

Don’t put your dental appointment off any longer! Contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling (701) 839-1299 to schedule a check-up.

The Truth About Teeth Whitening

teeth whiteningYour smile says a lot about who you are. It can convey confidence, charm and an overall pleasing appearance. That’s why having a brighter, whiter smile is important. To achieve this, many turn to teeth whitening, a treatment that continues to grow in popularity. If you’re looking to refresh those pearly whites via teeth whitening, here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the procedure:

Is teeth whitening a permanent solution?
The effects of teeth whitening do not last forever. Typically, you can expect the treatment to last anywhere from six months to two years. To maintain the whitest smile possible (for as long as possible), avoid foods and beverages that stain, such as red wine and coffee.  And avoid smoking to help preserve the results.

Does teeth whitening harm tooth enamel?
Teeth whitening products that use 10% carbamide peroxide do not damage the surface of your tooth’s enamel or any other tooth structures.

Can I whiten my teeth if I’ve had restorative dental work?
Yes. Tooth whitening has very little effect, if any, on dental work such as tooth-colored fillings, crowns, veneers or bridges. However, existing restorations do not lighten, so it may mean replacing dental restorations to match the whiter shade of your teeth.

How long does a professional tooth whitening procedure last?
Unlike over-the-counter teeth whiteners, which are to be used over a two- to four-week period, a professional treatment lasts about an hour.

Will my teeth be sensitive?
At first, there will be some sensitivity from teeth whitening, but it will diminish in about one or two days after treatment. Also, teeth whiteners do not damage the tooth’s nerve, which is a common concern for those looking into the procedure.

Is teeth whitening safe?
Many studies have shown that tooth whitening is safe. To protect your tooth enamel after teeth whitening, you can use calcium sulfate and fluoride.

Learn more about the many benefits of teeth whitening. Contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling (701) 839-1299 to schedule a check-up.


The Benefits of Chewing Sugar-Free Gum

sugar free gumThere has been some debate on whether sugar-free gum is good for your oral hygiene or if it’s detrimental to your oral health. It may come as a surprise to you to learn that the American Dental Association actually promotes chewing sugar-free gum. In fact, there are a number of reasons why chewing sugarless gum is beneficial:

  1. It’s good exercise. Chewing gum is a great way to exercise your neck and jaw. It’s also beneficial for preventing teeth grinding and reducing the craving for unhealthy sweets and beverages.
  2. It increases saliva production. When you chew sugarless gum, you’re boosting the flow of saliva in your mouth, which helps wash away digestive acids and food particles after you eat.
  3. It’s safe for your oral tissues. This can result in fewer cavities, better breath, and increased enamel production, less gingivitis, dry mouth and stained teeth.
  4. It relieves stress. Studies suggest that people who chew gum typically consumed less alcohol, were more alert, experienced lower levels of depression and work-related stress, and had lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
  5. It reduces tooth decay. Most sugarless gum is sweetened with xylitol, which is a healthy alternative to sugar. Xylitol prevents the growth of oral bacteria that causes cavities by inhibiting bacteria’s ability to stick to the tooth.
  6. It minimizes acid reflux and heartburn. Acid reflux is a condition where the stomach contents reflux into the mouth. This can cause tooth erosion which may lead to permanent and sometimes severe loss of tooth structure. If you suffer for acid reflux and heartburn, chewing gum after you eat may help limit acid in the esophagus. That’s because gum chewing increases saliva production and increases how much you swallow, which then clears the acid.

While it’s true that chewing sugarless gum has more health benefits than risks, it’s important to note that chewing gum should not be used as a substitute for regular brushing and flossing, which is imperative to your oral health. It’s also important to schedule regular dental exams.

Contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling 701-839-1299 to schedule a check-up.

Tips to Keep Smiling with Dentures

denturesLearn to live with dentures can be an adjustment. You may experience areas of soreness of discomfort, and you may find it difficult to talk or chew in the way you’re accustomed for the first little while. It’s also possible for you to have an increase in saliva flow during the first few weeks of wearing your dentures. Not only can these issues be a nuisance as you get used to your new chops, it can also make you self-conscious. Take heart: these inconveniences go away in time (typically after about 30 days), leaving you to enjoy your new smile relatively trouble-free.

Here’s how to wear your dentures with self-confidence:

  • Keep them clean. At bedtime, remove your dentures and use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean them. Use the same brush to massage your gums gently, removing any lingering food particles. Place them in a contained filled with denture-friendly liquid and rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash before calling it a day.
  • Go easy on the denture adhesive. Good-fitting dentures require a small amount of denture adhesive to keep them securely in place. When your dentures get older and don’t seem to fit as well, it can be tempting to remedy this by using a larger amount of adhesive. The better idea is to visit your dentist as soon as possible to improve fit and comfort of your existing dentures or discuss the possibility of getting new ones.
  • Easy slowly. As you adjust to your new mouth, it’s best to start with soft, easy-to-chew foods, and cut your food into small bites. Don’t feel rushed during meals; the more deliberate you are while eating, the more successful you will be at learning how to eat with new dentures.
  • Stand tall. Wearing dentures is an excellent way to improve your facial appearance AND your confidence. Don’t be afraid to smile!

Are you wondering if dentures may be right for you? Contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling 701-839-1299 to schedule a check-up.