Laughing Gas Eases Dental Procedures: We’re Not Joking!
By now, most people have heard dentists often use nitrous oxide – laughing gas – to make procedures more comfortable for their patients. But many people don’t know exactly what laughing gas is or what it does. At The Dentist of Siouxland, we offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) as a sedative for any procedure for one low cost, because we know dental fear is no laughing matter!
Our patients sometimes want us to answer questions about the gas before they decide it’s right for them. Some even ask, “If I’m laughing, won’t it be hard for the dentist to work on my teeth?” Though it’s called laughing gas, you won’t actually double over with belly laughs – you’ll just be less worried about what’s going on inside your mouth. You’ll still be awake and more-or-less alert, so if the dentist needs to ask you to tip your head a certain direction or open wider, you’ll be able to do so.
Above all, our patients want assurance that it’s safe. Nitrous oxide IS safe. It was first used as an anesthetic drug in 1844. Since then, modern medicine has perfected safe methods of delivery. Occasional use of nitrous oxide in small amounts for dentistry has no known side effects. It’s a tested and verified sedation choice used by thousands of dentists and their patients to take the edge off during dental work.
Laughing Gas is Easy and Comfortable During Procedures
Unlike other more-complicated methods of sedation used for complex or serious dental procedures, laughing gas is easy on both the dentist and the patient. Your dentist simply fits a special mask over your face and asks you to breathe in the mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. Before long, you’ll feel the effects of the gas.
Under the effects of nitrous oxide, you feel calm and comfortable. Some people feel as though their arms and legs are heavy, though you’ll be able to move them if the need should arise. The sense of calmness you get from the gas keeps your feelings of anxiety at bay. It also is likely to make you care less if you feel pain.
After your dental procedure is complete, the dentist removes the mask used to deliver the nitrous oxide, and the effects of the drug wear off quickly. Unlike with other sedation methods that put you further “under,” you’ll be able to drive yourself home shortly afterward your appointment without needing much time to rest.
For many years now, dentists have used this process to deliver calmness to dental patients using laughing gas. It’s accepted the world over as a safe, effective and fast way to make sure dental procedures cause as little stress as possible.
At Hall Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, we provide this important service, because we know dental anxiety is no joke. We want to make sure any visit to our office is as quick and comfortable as possible. If you have any questions about nitrous oxide/laughing gas sedation or want to schedule an appointment for any reason, just give us a call at (205) 991-7840 and we’ll be happy to help!
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Are Dental Implants Safe?
Dental implants have become many dentists’ go-to procedure for replacing missing teeth. Dental implant surgery replaces tooth roots with metal, screw-like posts and replaces damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function much like real ones. This surgery is a great alternative to dentures and can offer an option when a lack of natural teeth roots don’t allow building denture or bridgework tooth replacements.
What are the risks?
Like any type of surgery, there are a few risks to getting dental implants. However, the problems that come with dental implant surgery are rare and typically minor and very treatable. Risks include:
- Sinus problems, when dental implants placed in the upper jaw protrude into one of your sinus cavities
- Injury or damage to surrounding structures, such as other teeth or blood vessels
- Nerve damage, which can cause pain, numbness or tingling in your natural teeth, gums, lips or chin
- Infection at the implant site
The advantages of using dental implants
Dental implants are one of the most reliable dental procedures with a 95% success. They also offer advantages that other missing teeth solutions do not, such as:
- Appearance – Implants look and feel like your natural teeth.
- Speech – No need to worry about slipping dentures or loose bridges that can cause slurred speech.
- Comfort – Implants are permanent and stable, so no chaffing or discomfort will happen like with dentures.
- Oral health – Implant placement does not require modifying surrounding teeth as a bridge does. Also, implants stop bone deterioration and stimulate healthy bone tissue growth.
Dental Implant Procedure
When considering having a dental implant procedure, a patient will typically go through the following steps:
- First, the patient will go through a thorough exam and consultation with the dentist. The dentist will then make an individualized treatment plan.
- At the next appointment, the team will place your implant, which acts as a substitute tooth root.
- Then, the tooth is given time (about 2-3 months) to heal and integrate with the bone tissue.
- Once the implant has bonded to the bone tissue, a small connector called an abutment is attached to the implant.
- Impressions are taken of your teeth to create either a custom crown to replace one tooth or an implant-supported bridge or denture for multiple missing teeth. Crown restorations are custom tinted, so they blend in beautifully with your natural teeth.
- The finished crown, bridge, or denture is attached to the implant(s).
Once you get the finished implant, your new teeth are ready to use! If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at (205) 991-7840. We want your implants to look and feel like real teeth and you smile looking its best!
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Who Qualifies as a Good Candidate for Dental Veneers?
Everyone wants an award winning smile, but very few people have one naturally. With all the new technology and techniques coming out, it’s easier than ever to get the smile of your dreams. One great option to achieve that is dental veneers.
It’s a well known fact that porcelain veneers are one of the most effective and popular solutions to cover up a single or several teeth imperfections. Dental veneers are a really great option for people who want to improve the appearance of their teeth. But who qualifies as a good candidate for dental veneers?
What Are Dental Veneers
Veneers are essentially a thin, durable mask that can be applied to your natural teeth. Once applied to your teeth, the veneers instantly change the appearance of your teeth. Veneers are made of a very thin shell of porcelain, which is carefully selected so it matches the look and color of your teeth.
Depending on how they are made and what your needs are, veneers can whiten your teeth, close large gaps between your teeth, change the shape of your teeth, cover up crooked teeth, or fix large cracks or chips. Each veneer will be customized by your dentist from the length and width of the veneer to the overall shape, thickness, and color.
Who is a Good Candidate for Veneers?
Veneers are a great cosmetic dental treatment that helps people become confident with their smiles again. The following are signs you might be a good candidate for veneers:
- You want to fix several cosmetic problems with your teeth at once
- You want to fix discolored teeth
- You want to correct stains on your teeth from old fillings
- Ability to avoid chewing on your nails, crunching hard candy or food, or gnawing on pens – these bad habits can damage veneers.
- Sufficient tooth enamel must be present – your natural teeth need to have enough enamel left after the small layer has been removed to create a strong bonding surface for the veneer
Veneers are a great option for many people to correct their smile. Give us a call today at (205) 991-7840 to see if veneers are the right choice for you.
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One Year Update: COVID-19 and Dental Offices
It’s been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic changed almost every aspect of our daily lives—including regularly visiting the dentist. However, this should soon be a thing of the past. Not visiting the dentist was one of the many ripple-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and even though it is not over, yet, things are looking up.
According to the ADA Health Policy Institute, confidence in going back to the dentist hit a new high since the pandemic started, with 94% of patients stating they are ready to go back to the dentist or they have already have gone back to see the dentist, compared to August of 2020 where only 78% of patients had been back or were ready to go back to the dentist.
If you’re ready for your next dental checkup, contact us today to set up an appointment!
Continued Safety Protocols
As more and more people become fully vaccinated, the CDC has started to provide less-restrictive guidelines for these people. However, most recommended precautions, such as using personal protective equipment, have not changed for health care settings, including dental offices.
Even though we are seeing COVID-19 case numbers trending down, we still ask that you follow our guidelines for your safety and the safety of others, including:
- Do not come to the office if you have any symptoms of COVID-19
- Limit the number of people you bring to your appointment, if possible
- Wear a mask until notified that you can remove it
Per the CDC, we are regularly consulting with our state and local health departments for region-specific information and recommendations, as they monitor trends in local case counts and adjust accordingly.
We understand that you may not feel comfortable quite yet, or you have questions about the protocols we’ve implemented in our office to keep patients safe. You can review our entire list of COVID-19 Safety Protocols or you can contact us and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
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Take Care of Your Teeth With Regular Dental Checkups
Regular dental care is so important, not only for your dental health, but your overall health as well. It is generally recommended that you should get a checkup once every six months. However, depending on your dental history, your dentist might ask you to come in more.
Typically, dental checkups are easy and painless. Nonetheless, it is always good to know what to expect when going in for your regular checkup.
How You Can Prepare
If you’re looking for a new dentist or if you’re scheduling your first adult cleaning, ask your family and friends for recommendations. Take into consideration the location of the office and if they participate in your dental plan. If you don’t have a dental plan, make sure you take a look at the office’s membership plan and if it fits your needs.
Talk with the dentist if you’re anxious about your visit and communicate what they can do to help make you more comfortable.
What You Can Expect
No matter where you go for your checkup, you can expect several things to happen.
- Cleaning. A dental hygienist will typically bring you back and begin cleaning your teeth. Using a small mirror and tool called a hand scaler, the hygienist will remove all the plaque and tartar from your teeth.
- Expert Flossing. Even if you floss regularly at home, nothing can beat an expert flossing session with a dental hygienist. They can get deep between your teeth and locate any problem spots where you might bleed at the gums.
- Applying Fluoride Treatment. Fluoride treatment is used as a protectant for your teeth to help fight against cavities for several months. Your dental hygienist may ask you what flavor you like best. They’ll then place the foamy gel (or sometimes a sticky paste) into a mouthpiece that fits over your teeth. It’s usually left on your teeth for one minute. Besides the foamy gel, fluoride varnish is also painted onto the teeth with a small brush. Fluoride varnish will harden when in contact with saliva, so you can eat and drink immediately after.
- X-Rays. At some of your dental checkups, you might get x-rays done on your teeth. This is to look for decay, gum disease, or other dental problems. X-rays expose you to radiation so in order to avoid having them done more than necessary, bring copies of previous X-rays with you when you’re visiting a new dentist.
What To Do In Between Regular Dental Checkups
After your exam, the dentist or hygienist will discuss your oral health, including your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health problems, and preventive measures you can take to improve and protect your oral health. Be sure to take care of your teeth and gums in between your regular dental visits. Plaque is always forming on your teeth, but you can manage it by brushing and flossing regularly. Make sure to schedule your next appointment to ensure you keep on track with your checkups.
Regular dental checkups are a must to keep a healthy and clean mouth. Remember to talk with your dentist about any issues you are having with your teeth right away. Here at Hall Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, we’re always here to help you. Call us at (205) 991-7840 to get an appointment for a dental checkup. The key is to keep going back to the dentist for regular teeth cleanings to prevent problems altogether. By understanding what is going on in advance, you’ll feel more at ease and maybe even look forward to visiting your dentist!
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Reasons to Visit a Cosmetic Dentist
Your smile is one of the first things people notice, and if you’re not confident in yours, it can be a cause for low self esteem and insecurities. That’s where cosmetic dentists come in. Cosmetic dentists are here to help you be confident in your teeth and smile.
There are lots of things cosmetics dentists can do to make you love your smile. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of just some of the reasons why you should visit a cosmetic dentist.
Whitening Your Teeth
Everyone wants that million dollar smile that sparkles when you show it. Getting whiter teeth can help you have brighter teeth. Having your teeth whitened by a professional is safer and more effective than doing it yourself at home. It can also last longer.
Whitening your teeth is one of the more popular ways to improve your smile and dentists offer a wide variety of ways to do it. There are several methods your dentist can try, and they can even provide you with take home kits. Talk with us to find out what method is best for you!
Crooked or misaligned teeth are really common for most people, but not everyone had braces in middle school. Now you might be an adult and don’t want to go the traditional teeth straightening route. That’s where your cosmetic dentist comes in.
We can provide you with different methods of straightening your teeth, including but not limited to, clear braces, Invisalign, and veneers. These options give you a way to straighten your teeth without the pain of braces and the hassle of going to an orthodontist.
Replacing Missing Teeth
Got some missing teeth? No worries! Cosmetic dentists have a variety of ways to fill gaps and missing teeth. These include crowns, implants, dentures, bridges and more. No matter how you lost your teeth, we can help get your smile complete again.
Some people don’t love the shape of their teeth, whether they are pointy or oddly shaped or whatever the reason may be. Reshaping your teeth can help get you that straight, even tooth look. Most people opt for the veneer route if they want to change the shape of their teeth, but talk with us and we can decide the best option for you.
No matter if it’s a small change or a big change, cosmetic dentists can help give you confidence in your smile again. Call our office at (205) 991-7840 to set up an appointment to talk with our dentists about what we can do to get you loving your smile again.
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How to Manage Being Scared and Stressed at the Dentist
If you get anxious about going to the dentist, you’re not alone. Not by a long shot. Some studies show nearly three-fourths of American adults experience anxiety or outright fear when they even think about visiting the dentist. About 1 in 10 Americans experience enough fear to classify it as a phobia. It’s okay. We know going to the dentist can seem scary!
But avoiding dental care as a result of dental anxiety can result in serious consequences for you and your teeth. Even if you’re nervous about going to the dentist, it’s extremely important to do what’s necessary to keep your mouth clean and healthy.
We want all of our patients to be as comfortable as possible when they visit our office, so we do everything we can to give our guests a comfortable, calming environment. But there are a few things you can do on your own to help make your visit a little easier.
1. Talk with your dentist
If you’re stressed about your upcoming visit to our office, one of the best things you can do is talk with us about it. Having a clear understanding of what your visit will be like – even visualizing what will occur during your appointment – can do wonders. It’s possible we can make special accommodations to make things more comfortable for you. You’re not the first person who’s been worried about a visit to your dentist’s office, and you won’t be the last! We’re here to help.
2. Plan your appointment well
Yes, life is stressful. But you don’t need the stress of life to cause extra anxiety during your dental appointment. If you’re already nervous about your visit, it won’t help to carry in the anxiety of a bad day at work. Schedule your appointment for a day when you don’t have anything big going on outside of our office. If you have a dental appointment scheduled, try to keep the rest of the day clear. That way, your mind can be rested and fresh for your procedure.
3. Bring a friend
Bringing someone you trust to our office with you is one of the best ways to reduce the stress of your dental appointment. Not only will your companion’s presence be comforting, but that person can help make sure everything is going well and get you home safely if you’re under the effects of anesthesia. Pleasant conversation can distract you from your nervousness and help pass the time more quickly.
4. Take deep breaths
We all know that deep, relaxing breaths can help reduce our stress, but sometimes we need a reminder. If you’re feeling anxiety about your visit as you drive to our office or you begin feeling fear as you sit in our waiting room, begin by taking a deep breath in, holding it for a second, and slowly letting it out. That’s the most basic start toward relaxation, and it works for almost any situation. Continue relaxing breaths throughout your appointment.
Whatever the cause of your anxiety over a visit to our office for your cleaning or other dental procedure, we can manage it together. We want all our patients to be as comfortable as possible, and we want you to look at your visit to the dentist as a good thing. If you have any questions about a dental procedure, or if there is something we can do to ease your worry, give us a call at 205-308-1801. We’ll work as a team to keep your next visit to the dentist stress-free!
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Emergency Dental Care: 4 Signs You Need It!
Damage to teeth and gums can’t be ignored. It’s always important to act quickly if something is wrong, but some dental issues are more pressing than others. How can you know the difference between a dental problem that needs to be solved soon and a problem that needs to be solved now?
We never want our patients to put off a dental procedure when it could lead to lasting harm, so we’ve compiled a list of important warning signs that mean you should get your teeth checked out as soon as possible. After all, you’ve only got so many teeth — it’s best to keep them all in good shape.
1. Broken or missing teeth
It goes without saying that obvious physical damage to your teeth is one of the most urgent dental emergencies you can experience. If your tooth has been damaged, rinse your mouth with warm water immediately and call us as soon as possible. If your tooth has come out, gently try to put it back into the socket (without touching the root!) or keep it in your mouth to protect it until we can see you.
2. Dental abscesses
A dental abscess is a small collection of pus inside of a tooth or gums that is caused by a bacterial infection. If your symptoms include shiny red swollen gums, a fever, or pain that spreads to your jaw or neck, you may have an abscess, even if you don’t see it. Try to see us as soon as possible, but, in the meantime, you can reduce the pain of the abscess by avoiding cold drinks. Use a soft toothbrush to very gently clean the area until we can get you into the office.
3. Lost filling or crown
A crown or filling can become loose or even fall out for a variety of reasons. If you lose a crown or filling, it’s important to try to save it — we may be able to reuse it. Rinse the area with warm salt water and continue to brush the damaged tooth (gently!) until we can see you.
4. Significant pain or swelling in the teeth, gums or jaw
Constant pain or swelling in your mouth is never normal! This symptom may seem vague or common, but it could be a sign of major damage or an infection that could have nasty results if left untreated. Don’t tough it out. Call us and we will decide together whether you need to come in for an appointment.
Ignoring any of these four dental problems could result in the permanent loss of teeth. Infections can even spread to other parts of your body and cause serious general medical issues, so it’s extremely important to get your teeth examined if you experience any dental emergency on this list!
We want your tooth pain or mouth pain to stop.
First and foremost, if you are in pain, we want to help you get some relief. Then we can address any underlying causes to solve the problem using dental best practices. If you believe you’re experiencing a dental emergency, give us a call at 205-308-1801 as soon as possible. We’ll get you an appointment in the near future, so you can go back to your life and leave tooth pain behind.