All You Need to Know About Dental DecayDental decay is what happens when both dentine and enamel of your tooth softens because of the acids from all the sugary food and drink that you consume. This acid creates a cavity in the tooth which indicates tooth decay. A decaying tooth either needs to be filled or has to be extracted, depending on its condition.

This article will brief you about all the essential things that you need to know about dental decay. Reading this information will help you take better care of your teeth.

The Reason behind Decaying Teeth

When the sugar in foods and drinks you consume react with the bacteria in your mouth, it results in the creation of plaque. With time, the acid in food continues to thin the enamel, which makes teeth susceptible to decay. As it turns out, sugar in the food you eat is not the only thing which is harmful. Carbohydrate-rich foods are also responsible for reacting with plaque and forming acids.

What Signs Indicate Dental Decay?

There are no symptoms in the early stages of dental decay. However, if you regularly visit a dentist, your dentist might be able to spot a cavity in the early stages of tooth decay in an x-ray. Given that it’s easier to treat small cavities than the advanced ones, it’s important to visit your dentist periodically.

What Happens If Someone Has a Cavity?

If the cavity in your tooth reaches the dentine, it would make the tooth sensitive. Later, as the decay gets closer to the dental pulp, you will experience a toothache when you eat or drink something either hot or cold. The pain you’ll feel will only last for seconds. But if you let it persist, the pain would get severe and you’ll have to take painkillers. Without any further delay, you must visit your dentist and save your dying tooth or else you’ll end up developing a dental abscess.

When Should One Visit a Dentist

A toothache is a sign that indicates something is not right with your tooth. That’s when you should visit a dentist. Delaying the visit will only make the matters worse and you might end up losing a tooth that could’ve been saved if you had made a timely visit to a dentist.

What Treatment Will a Dentist Recommend?

Paying an early visit to a dentist can save your decaying tooth. If the decay hasn’t spread much, the dentist will remove the decay and fill the cavity. In case the decay has damaged the nerve, the dentist will have to perform a root canal. In the worst case scenario, if the tooth is beyond saving, the dentist will have no other option but to remove it.

The best way to avoid dental decay is to brush your teeth first thing in the morning and before going to sleep at night. Brush the inner, outer, and biting surfaces of your teeth. Flossing your teeth also helps prevent tooth decay because it cleans between your teeth and removes all the stuck remnants of food. If you want a proper regimen for maintaining oral hygiene in order to avoid dental decay, then contact us at 586-247-3500 or visit us at We are always accepting NEW patients!



Categories: Dental Hygiene

Understanding the Need to FlossBrushing your teeth is not the only thing that keeps your teeth healthy. We all know that flossing is just as much important as brushing. Cleaning between your teeth with floss is highly recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) because it’s the best way to keep cavities and gum diseases at bay. Also, it prevents your teeth from plaque.

Plaque consists of bacteria that never miss a chance to feed on the leftover sugar and food particles in your mouth. When it feeds on the leftovers between your teeth, it secretes an acid that damages the surface of your teeth. This whole process leads to the formation of cavities.

If you allow plaque to grow in your mouth by not brushing and flossing your teeth, then soon it would begin to solidify into tartar. Tartar is a substance that you can see deposited along the base of your teeth or gum line. Although most people don’t take tartar very seriously, it’s perfectly capable of causing gum infections.

The best way to keep your teeth hygienic is to clean between them. And the easiest way to do that is flossing. This article will inform you how flossing must be done to protect your teeth from gum diseases.

What Should Be Used to Floss?

When you have a food particle stuck between your teeth you’re tempted to remove it by any means possible. You would be surprised what Americans sometimes use to get those particles out of their teeth. According to a research, Americans have used some of the most unusual things to clean between their teeth, including fingernails, strands of hair, folded paper, cutlery (spoon, knife, or fork), visiting cards, and safety pins.

It doesn’t take a genius to understand that using almost anything you can get your hands on to remove the food stuck in between your teeth can cause pain. Make sure you only use the tools that are medically approved and specially designed for this purpose. This would include toothpicks, tiny brushes, string floss, and water flossers.

Which Flossing Tool Should You Use?

The best way to pick the right flossing tool is to consult your dentist. After examining your teeth, your dentist would be able to advise you which tool you must use to floss your teeth with. Dental picks would help you get the particles stuck in the corners of your mouth that are difficult to reach. Water flossers would be good for you if bridges or braces in your mouth prevent you from flossing your teeth with string floss.

The Best Time to Floss My Teeth

There’s no ideal time for cleaning between your teeth. Just pick a time that suits you the best and be done with flossing your teeth. It can be after dinner before you go to bed (most people find this time the most convenient) or it can be early in the morning when you get up. Flossing between teeth is important even for kids. Make them do it as soon as they have two teeth that touch.

Try not to floss too hard or else you would end up injuring your gums or damaging the tissue between your teeth. You would feel some discomfort when you first start flossing your teeth, but once you make flossing your habit, the pain would wear out within a week or two. If the pain persists, then make an appointment with The Gentle Dentist at your earliest for a thorough dental checkup.  We can be reached at 586-247-3500.



Categories: Flossing

All You Need to Know About Fluoride

All You Need to Know About FluorideWhen we talk about dental health, it’s difficult not to mention fluoride. For some people, fluoride is something that keeps teeth healthy and clean. They don’t know anything more than that about fluoride. This article will give you the necessary details about this mineral compound so that you should at least know what properties of fluoride keep your teeth healthy.

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral compound found in soil and water. The basic reason why fluoride is used in toothpaste and other dental products is that it prevents the tooth surface from the acid attacks made by the bacteria in plaque. Aside from that prevention, fluoride provides your teeth with minerals that are good for your teeth, like calcium. This helps in repairing any previous tooth decay or cavity in your teeth. There are two types of applications with which you can increase fluoride protection – systemic and topical applications.

Systemic Fluoride

Systemic fluoride is what you get by drinking fluoridated water or consuming fluoride-rich foods and drinks. People also prefer taking fluoride supplements to increase their fluoride intake.

Topical Fluoride

Topical fluoride is what you apply directly to your teeth. It’s found in oral hygiene products, including toothpaste and mouthwash. The fluoride content in all these products helps prevents tooth decay and gum infections. Other than that, topical fluoride is found in foams and gels that are used in various dental procedures.

How to Make Sure Your Toothpaste Contains Fluoride

The best way to check whether or not the toothpaste you’re using contains fluoride is to see if it’s mentioned in the ingredients. Also, check your toothpaste has the seal of ADA’s approval. This would tell you that the toothpaste you’re using has the appropriate amount of fluoride in it.

Fluoridated Water

Fluoridated water is what you might be using in the area you live in. Adjusting the fluoride levels in the water supply to maintain the optimum level required for better oral health gives you fluoridated water.

Drinking Bottled Water

If you rely mostly on bottled water, then you’re not taking advantage of the fluoride-rich tap water which is really necessary for the prevention of your teeth from cavities. The thing is the fluoride content in bottled water is less than the ideal range required to prevent cavities. Thus, if you mostly drink bottled water, you should ask your dentist to recommend you fluoride supplements, mouthwash, and topical gels.

Fluoride for Children

Fluoride is easily absorbed by the developing teeth. That’s why excessive intake of fluoride can cause mild discoloration of teeth in children. Parents must make sure their children are using the right toothpaste and mouthwash. Consult a dentist to ensure that your child is not ingesting too much fluoride, especially if you’re giving your children fluoride supplements as well. Your dentist will advise you on how much fluoride consumption is healthy for your child and if there’s any particular toothpaste that your child must use.

For a thorough consultation regarding your fluoride intake, contact The Gentle Dentist today and find out if your fluoride consumption is under or above the required levels, and what needs to be done in either case.  We can be reached at 586-247-3500.  Call us today!



Categories: Fluoride

Correcting Dental Imperfections with VeneersWhen it comes to cosmetic dentistry, you may be unaware of the options available to help give you the beautiful smile you’ve always dreamed of.  Many people believe that it requires long, painful dental procedures to correct imperfections in their teeth.  In fact, many people simply live with having stained or cracked teeth because they don’t realize the options.

The truth is, correcting imperfections doesn’t have to be a lengthy or painful procedure.    Having veneers placed can correct many of those issues that keep people from having the smile that they’ve always wanted.

What are Veneers

You may be wondering what exactly veneers are and how they can help you correct your teeth.  According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, a veneer is a thin piece of porcelain used to recreate the natural look of teeth.  Veneers are placed on teeth that are stained, chipped, or have gaps to provide a durable, pain-free option to correct these imperfections.

Why Veneers are a Great Investment

One thing that holds people back from considering having veneers placed is the cost.  However, having veneers placed is a great investment because of the durability of the veneers.  Veneers are made out of a durable material that is comparable to the tooth’s natural enamel.  Once your veneers are placed, they can generally last anywhere between 12 to 25 years before imperfections need to be corrected.

The Benefits of Having Veneers Placed

The fact that veneers are durable isn’t the only benefit that makes having them worthwhile.  When considering if veneers are the right option for you, it’s important to understand all the benefits of veneers over other dental options.  Here are just three benefits to consider.

  1. Porcelain veneers are a low maintenance option that rarely requires extra upkeep outside of your regular oral hygiene routine and dental cleanings.
  2. Veneers can correct many issues with your teeth such as discoloration, malformation or misaligned teeth.
  3. Having porcelain veneers placed is an easy process that can be completed quickly, generally in just a few visits. Correcting issues such as gaps or misalignments doesn’t take months or years like braces would.

What to Expect at Your Dental Visit

If having veneers placed sounds like just the simple procedure to correct your dental imperfections, you may be right!  When you go in to have your dental veneers placed you can expect a few things at your visit.

First, your dentist will clean your teeth and remove a small amount of enamel to make room for the veneers.  Your dentist will then make an impression of your teeth to be sent to the lab, where your custom veneers will be made.  In the meantime, your dentist will place temporary veneers on your teeth until your next visit.

When your custom veneers are complete, your dentist will remove the temporary veneers and place the custom veneers on your teeth.  These veneers are held in place with adhesive cement and light cured to ensure they stay perfectly placed.

Choose Veneers Today

This simple procedure can give you the smile that you’ve always dreamed of.  Correcting issues such as cracked, stained, or misaligned teeth doesn’t have to be a painful or lengthy process.  Give us a call today at (586) 247-3500 and see for yourself how easy the process can be!




Categories: Dental Veneers

Shelby Township Dentist Explains the Importance of Back to School CheckupsA new school year is approaching and parents are checking items off of their shopping list: binders, backpacks, pencils and more. When completing your back to school checklist, don’t forget to schedule a dental exam for your child. Preventative dental care can prevent missed days at school due to emergencies and toothaches.

The back to school season is often a busier time for dental offices in Shelby Township, so be sure to schedule an appointment if you have not already.

What to Expect at a Back to School Checkup

During a back to school dental check up, your dentist will perform a thorough cleaning, check for cavities, decay, discolored teeth, and examine your child’s jaw to ensure healthy growth.

If your child will be participating in any sports this year, your back to school exam is the perfect time to have a custom mouth guard fitted to prevent dental emergencies and even concussions.

Tips for a Successful Back to School Dental Exam

Ease Dental Anxiety

If your child has a fear of the dentist, try to make the experience fun and perhaps even provide a special treat such as a trip to the movie theatre or park after the dental visit. Also, ask your dentist how they can make your child feel comfortable and ease their anxiety. For example, The Gentle Dentist in Shelby Township provides special music with noise canceling headphones and many other options for dental patients of all ages.

Ask About Low Cost Plans and Financial Arrangements

If you’re on a tight budget or you do not have dental insurance, many Shelby Township dentists can provide financial arrangements and affordable dental plans.

Dr Antolak from The Gentle Dentist offers the Gentle Dental Plan which includes 2 cleanings and 2 exams with x-rays every year. The cost is $247 per year and $187 per year for children 12 and under.

Often families will put off dental exams to save money but end up paying more in the long run due to expensive treatments that could have been prevented in a routine checkup. So be sure to make you and your child’s oral health a top priority.

Make it a Family Activity

Children should not be the only ones receiving a dental checkup, so schedule cleanings and exams for the entire family. In addition to parents keeping up on their oral health, they will set an example for their children. Also, participating in the dental exam experience can make your child feel more comfortable with their own exam if they see Mom and Dad are visiting the dentist too.

Schedule a Back to School Checkup with a Shelby Township Dentist

Looking for a new dental office to call home? Dr. Antolak provides general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry for everyone in the family in a comfortable, caring environment.  Schedule your dental visit with Dr. Antolak in Shelby Township today by calling 586-247-3500 or visit our website at


Macomb County Dentist Lists Reasons for Tooth Sensitivity

Macomb County Dentist Lists Reasons for Tooth SensitivityDoes drinking hot or cold drinks cause you to wince in pain? Or do you find brushing or flossing to be unpleasant?

Keep ready to learn why you could be experiencing this discomfort and what you can do to find relief.

  1. You Brush With Too Much Force

Your tooth sensitivity could be the result of brushing your teeth with too much force or using a toothbrush with bristles that are too hard . Consistently brushing in this manor can remove protective layers of your teeth and expose microscopic openings , exposing your nerves. When these openings come in contact with hot and cold temperatures or acidic foods, it will cause dental discomfort. Try to brush more gently or switch to a softer tooth brush.

  1. You Have Too Many Acidic Food in Your Diet

If your nerves are exposed, as mentioned above, acidic foods such as tomato sauce, citrus fruits, and many junk foods can irritate these nerve endings, causing pain. Try avoiding acidic foods and see if that stops the tooth sensitivity discomfort.

  1. You Grind Your Teeth in Your Sleep

Although tooth enamel is the strongest substance in your body, if you’re a tooth grinder, this can break down the enamel and expose the dentin layer, which exposes the nerve endings. Consult with your dentist about having a mouth guard made and wearing it at night to prevent grinding.

  1. Youre Using the Wrong Toothpaste or Mouthwash

Many toothpastes have tooth-whitening chemicals in them and some people are more sensitive to these chemicals.  If you are experiencing any sensitivity, check your toothpaste to see if it contains any whitening agents. If it does, switch to a different toothpaste and see if the discomfort is relieved.

Similar to toothpastes, certain mouthwashes contain alcohol and other chemicals that can make your teeth more sensitive. Use a neutral fluoride rinse or skip the mouthwash altogether.

  1. You Have Periodontal Disease

Receding gums, which is a symptom of periodontal disease (gum disease) can cause tooth sensitivity while brushing or eating and drinking. If periodontal disease is the problem, it is important to treat the disease as soon as possible before more serious problems develop such as damage to the bone and even tooth loss.

  1. Plaque Build Up

Plaque can cause damage to the tooth enamel, exposing the dentin layer and nerve endings.  Be sure to have a professional cleaning every 6 months to remove any plaque build up.

  1. You Recently had Dental Work Done

If you have recently had work done on your teeth, it is not unusual to experience tooth sensitivity. However, experiencing sensitivity long after the procedure could be the sign of an infection.

Looking for a Macomb County Dentist to Help Treat Your Tooth Sensitivity?

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, the best way to determine the cause of your discomfort is scheduling a dental exam.

If you are looking for a dentist in the Macomb County area, Dr Antolak from The Gentle Dentist may just be your new dental home.

Contact Dr Antolak by Calling 586-247-3500




Categories: Mouth pain

By: Jessica Wendt, RDH – The Gentle Dentist

Commonly “Feared” Dental ProceduresIf you are scared to go to the dentist, you are not alone. It is estimated that about 30-40 million Americans have some type of dental anxiety or phobia. This can stem from negative past experiences, pain, embarrassment, or a feeling of not being in control. Some people are even scared to have a simple healthy mouth teeth cleaning. Yet, most of the time it is the more extensive dental work that causes people to be extremely nervous. Many times patients do not fully understand what is being done so their mind is left to wander. Some commonly feared dental procedures will be addressed below and tips on how to cope.

  • Root Canal – The dreaded root canal. These two words alone cause most people to cringe but why? Most of the time it is because of a past experience where a root canal was painful. A root canal needs to be performed on a damaged or an infected tooth where the nerve is dying off. It is a procedure where the nerve tissue in the root of the tooth is removed and the nerve space is filled with a substance to seal it off. The tooth will then have a permanent filling placed and may also need to be crowned. If the tooth does have an active infection, it may be harder to get the tooth fully numb or it may require more anesthetic than normal. In some cases, a round of antibiotics a few days prior to the root canal appointment can lessen the infection, which in turn will lead to better numbness for the tooth. With proper anesthesia, a root canal should feel no different than a regular filling.
  • Tooth Extractions – No one usually looks forward to having a tooth extracted. Extractions tend to be a dentist’s last resort because having a full set of teeth is important for many reasons. A tooth may need to be extracted if it is beyond repair, painful, and a source of infection. Also, wisdom teeth may need to be electively extracted if they are impacted or very hard to keep clean. If an extraction is a must, the dentist will give adequate anesthesia so no pain is felt. There will be pressure at times, but there should not be any pain. If there is pain, make sure there is a signal that can be given so the dentist can stop and give more numbing medication. There may be some minimal post-operative bleeding, but do not let this alarm you. The dentist will give you warning signs on when to contact him or her for continued bleeding or pain.
  • Dental Implants – Dental implants are becoming more common in modern day dentistry to replace missing teeth. However, most people squirm at the idea of it. A dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically placed in the bone. The bone will heal and integrate into the threads of the post. Once this healing takes place, the post can be restored with a crown making it look just like a natural tooth. The fear usually comes because an implant requires dental surgery, but most patients are unaware that the bone around the teeth does not have nerve endings. The dentist will still give adequate anesthesia to numb the gum tissues where the post will be placed, but the bone itself will not be in any pain so to speak. From patient testimonies, it sounds like dental implants feel just like a normal tooth if not better, and there usually isn’t a noticeable difference between the two.

What to do for moderate to extreme dental fear?

If just numbing the tooth is not enough to calm your nerves, there is more a dentist can do to help ease dental anxiety. Most dentists have nitrous oxide gas in the office to help with relaxation. It was commonly referred to as laughing gas, but most people tend to relax and not laugh when they are on it. The gas is mixed with oxygen and then is inhaled by the patient through a nosepiece. It does produce a mild sedative effect, which wears off within five minutes after it is done being used.

For more extreme fear, some dentists offer either oral conscious sedation or IV sedation. These types of sedation do require a driver to and from the dental appointment. The oral conscious sedation is administered through a series of anxiety-reducing medications taken the night before and day of the dental procedure. In IV sedation, the anxiety medication is given in an IV in your arm. You will be very sleepy and relaxed, but will still be able to respond to verbal commands if necessary. Both types do create an amnesia effect in which patients have little to no memory of the procedure.  For additional information on sleep sedation, please visit our website at or call us at 586-247-3500. We look forward to hearing from you!



Categories: Dental fear

Ditch the Dental AnxietyIf the thought of your regular dentist visits gives you anxiety, you’re not alone. Surveys show that 9 to 15 percent of Americans, around 40 million people, face anxiety when it comes to their oral health. The severity may range from anxiety and stress to full blown panic attacks at the thought of going to their dental appointments.

Some common reasons people may get anxious at the thought of going to the dentist include:

  • Fear of Pain. Many people are afraid that cleanings or procedures will cause discomfort or pain. In a survey of people who haven’t seen a dentist in over 12 months, 6% of people said fear of pain was the reason.
  • Control Issues. For chronic sufferers of anxiety, situations where there is a loss of control is a major trigger. This is true for people who fear elevators, airplanes, and yes, leaning back in that dental chair.
  • Past Experiences. Many people get anxious going to the dentist due to bad prior experiences. They may have had a painful experience in the past, and haven’t gone back, or seen the improvements made in the field of dentistry to help prevent those experiences.
  • Many people feel embarrassed at the thought of someone closely examining their mouth, making them feel like all their faults are under a microscope. Oftentimes there is a particular dental issue that makes them feel self-conscious and unwilling to face a dentist. This forms a vicious cycle because avoiding dental exams may exacerbate the problem and make the person even more embarrassed than before.

Those are all normal reasons for feeling anxious, but they shouldn’t stop you from taking care of your oral health. For those people who are anxious at the thought of pain, there are methods to help reduce or eliminate those painful experiences. Many procedures are now done with lasers dentistry which can provide short, pain-free healing times. Making a point to maintain an oral health routine can help reduce sensitivity in the gums and the potential for pain, as well.

As far as feeling embarrassed, it’s important to understand that your dental team is not there to judge you. They care about your general health and understand that you’re nervous. Your dentist has seen many of the issues you may be embarrassed about and treated those issues with compassion. After all, they wouldn’t have picked a field based on a passion for helping people if they saw it any other way. Speak up about being nervous or embarrassed, and without a doubt, you will be treated with compassion rather than judgment.

If those reasons weren’t enough to help you ditch the dental anxiety, remember that your kids learn from watching you. You may be taking your kids to their regular dental visits, but if they see you blanching at the thought of going to your dental appointments, they may start to fear their own appointments. As adults, they may feel that same dental anxiety and embarrassment that you’re currently fighting. As parents, we want better for our kids and I’m sure we’d never want them to deal with the same fears and anxiety.

Remember, you’re not alone!  Your dental team can help you with any dental anxiety you may have. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment, and see just how caring your dentistry can be, at (586) 247-3500!




Categories: Dental fear

By: Jessica Wendt, RDH

The Gentle Dentist - Ow! My Aching Jaw!Do you wake up frequently with headaches? Does your jaw click or pop when you open wide or are chewing? Do you have muscle tension in your temple region or in your cheek muscles? If you answered yes to one or all of these questions, then you may be clenching or grinding your teeth. Bruxism, which is considered excessive teeth grinding and/or jaw clenching, is rather common and affects up to 30-40 million Americans. Teeth grinding can occur at night during sleep or during the day, or both. Bruxism can be something that is done temporarily during a stressful season in life. However, long-term bruxism that is a habit can be symptomatic and negatively affect dental health.

The cause of bruxism can be due to many factors. It could just simply be a habit as some dental professionals see it as. It could also be caused by stress, anxiety, or anger. When the teeth and jaw do not line up properly, this can trigger teeth grinding as well. Rarely, it can be caused by a side effect from certain depression medications or from an uncommon disease affecting the nerves and muscles in the face. Smoking, heavy alcohol use, caffeine, and sleep disorders such as sleep apnea may also contribute to grinding.

No matter the cause, excessive grinding and clenching can cause uncomfortable symptoms. The most common symptom of bruxism is headache. The headache is usually on the sides of the forehead in the temple region but it can also mimic a tension headache. According to Colgate, other symptoms include tight or painful jaw muscles, contractions in the muscles, ear pain, long lasting pain in the face, and clicking or popping in the jaw joint.

Dentally, there can be damage to teeth and broken fillings from the excessive force being applied to them. Your dentist may notice an enlargement in your facial muscles. (Dr. Antolak always likes to reference the former Detroit Tiger, Plácido Polanco, when he was up at bat due to his bulging cheeks!) If you feel some of these symptoms, but want to confirm that you are in fact grinding, it is beneficial to ask your spouse or someone you share a room with if they hear a teeth grinding or chattering sound when you sleep at night. Often those who grind their teeth may have dreams that their teeth are falling out or breaking.

Bruxism can be treated to help lessen symptoms. It is always important to minimize stress and anxiety as much as possible when dealing with teeth grinding and clenching. Your dentist can also fabricate a custom-fit mouth guard for you that will help to take pressure off of your jaw joint, and it serves to protect your teeth from grinding on each other as well. If your bite is misaligned, your dentist can perform a bite adjustment procedure where microns are taken away from your teeth so that they come together in harmony.

With advances in technology, a 3-dimensional scanner called cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) could be helpful in diagnosing jaw joint disorders. According to Hubar and Caballero in Decisions in Dentistry, jaw joint disorders may be related to bone changes in the jaw joint itself. CBCT scans will help reveal degenerative changes in this region.  We at The Gentle Dentist in Shelby Township have this 3-dimensional scanner to better serve its patients. Dr. Antolak will be attending a dental course in Orlando this April on CBCT scans and will be learning how to better read and understand scans of the jaw joint and airway.

If you have any of these issues with your jaw please give us a call and we can recommend treatment and behavioral modification.  The technology is useless unless the dental team knows how to treat or recommend care for you.  This is a complex diagnosis and treatment can be complex.

If you want to learn more, please call us at 586-247-3500 or visit our website at Also, a reminder that we are still running our Smiles for Life promotion where you can professionally whiten your teeth and all proceeds go to charity. Call today to schedule!



Categories: Bruxism

By: Jessica Wendt, RDH

Ask the Gentle Dentist: Should I Use Mouthwash?Who doesn’t love that feeling of minty fresh breath that comes from swishing with mouthwash? Even though most people would answer “yes,” the question is whether mouthwash is for everyone and should it be used daily.  Mouth rinses, like most things in dentistry, are not “one size fits all.” There are hundreds of mouth rinses on the market with each one designed to meet specific dental needs.  Some are considered cosmetic (no true health benefit) while others are therapeutic (contain health benefits).

Cosmetic mouthwash may leave a pleasant taste, but its benefit will be temporary. There is no chemical agent in these mouthwashes that actually kill the bacteria that cause bad breath, so the benefit is considered solely cosmetic. On the other hand, therapeutic mouthwash contains active ingredients that help reduce conditions like cavities, plaque, gum inflammation, and bad breath. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), look for active ingredients listed as: cetylpyridinium chloride, chlorhexidine, essential oils, fluoride, and peroxide.

Each of these ingredients has a different benefit to offer. A fluoride mouth rinse is beneficial for those prone to cavities. It helps to prevent decay by remineralizing enamel in the teeth. Whitening mouthwashes may contain peroxide, which helps to reduce staining and lighten the color of teeth. Chlorhexidine and essential oils are used to control plaque and gingivitis, while cetylpyridinium chloride is added to reduce bad breath according to the American Dental Association. Most therapeutic mouth rinses are available over the counter, however some require a prescription especially those that contain chlorhexidine.

Even though using mouthwash has its benefits that were discussed above, there are also risks that should be considered. There has been an ongoing debate on whether there is a link between mouthwashes that contain alcohol and oral cancer. The ADA states that a recent review failed to find a strong association between the two since mouthwash isn’t ingested. However, alcohol-containing mouth rinses are not advised for those with dry mouth because it can worsen the condition. Also, alcohol in mouthwash can increase tooth sensitivity for some and can irritate existing canker sores. Some mouth rinses may cause your oral tissues to slough, or shed, at a faster rate than normal leaving stringy saliva leftover in your mouth. Dr. Antolak has noticed this with Crest ProHealth mouthwash. It is also important to note that children under the age of 6 should not use mouthwash because of the risk of swallowing it.

Mouthwash is not considered a cure for any oral condition, but it can be a helpful aide. It should never be used in place of brushing and flossing. If good oral hygiene habits are in place and cavities, gum disease, and bad breath aren’t present, then using a mouthwash isn’t really necessary. You can use one if you would like, but some dentists may tell you to spend your money elsewhere. As a dental hygienist, I do not use a mouth rinse on a consistent basis because of my regular brushing and flossing habits. There are times when I have used a fluoride mouthwash to prevent cavities and a whitening mouthwash to brighten my smile, but I do not use them on a long-term basis. However, some people do benefit from long-term mouthwash use and their dentist may recommend them to do so.

It is always advised to ask for your dentist’s recommendation on if you should use a mouth rinse, and if so, what type to use. When selecting a mouthwash, always check to make sure it has the ‘ADA Seal of Acceptance.’ This means that the mouth rinse company has provided scientific evidence to the American Dental Association that proves the safety and effectiveness of their product. Also, make sure to read the specific instructions on your selected mouthwash because some need to be used before you brush and some need to be used after brushing. It is important to swish with the rinse for the specified time as well otherwise it may not be as effective.

To learn more about our office, please contact us at 586-247-3500 or visit us at We are always accepting NEW patients!



Categories: Oral Health

Should I Get Dental Implants - Yes or No?Healthy teeth are extremely important for a healthy individual. The teeth are not only crucial for biting and chewing food but also deeply influence a person’s personality and confidence. Furthermore, they also provide structure to the face.

A person can have severe damage to their teeth or even lose their teeth for several reasons. Decay or diseased gums or an accident can be some of the causes for tooth loss. People used to wear dentures or fixed bridges to compensate the missing teeth. But dental implants have become a better option, since they provide better adjusting and close to a natural feel. This permanent solution can help in overcoming the problem of the missing tooth.

When a missing tooth is not replaced and is left unattended, it can cause damage to the jaw. And if several teeth are missing the damage can be greater and the remaining teeth are also negatively influenced.

Like any other medical procedure, the doctors and the patient need to consider whether the dental implants are the best choice, and should the patient get the dental implants at all. Following are the advantages and disadvantages of dental implants that can help you decide if the procedure is for you or should you consider another alternate.

The Procedure for Dental Implants

The procedure for dental implants is comprised of several steps. Several specialist dentists will perform this procedure over a course of time. First, the dentist will insert the dental implant, a titanium screw. The dentists wait for the dental implant to fuse with the jawbone. Once the dental implant is completely fused, the dentists will put together the replacement tooth with the screw.

The Advantages of Dental Implants

The obvious advantages of dental implants are:

  • Dental Implants look more aesthetically pleasing.
  • They Look More Natural
  • Teeth replaced with dental implants don’t damage neighboring teeth unlike other procedures.
  • The jaw bone is protected from degenerating because dental implants have properly replaced the missing tooth, even the roots.
  • There are no chewing and speaking difficulties with this procedure.

The Disadvantage of Dental Implants

The dental implants are a great solution for tooth loss but there are some downsides to the procedure as well that need to be considered.

  • There can be surgical complications like damage to the sinus cavity or some nerves. The likelihood of complication is very slim when the surgery is performed by experienced professionals.
  • Since the procedure is performed in steps it takes a long time of up to 6 months.
  • If proper dental care is not taken, infection can happen.
  • Healing is delayed due to certain conditions, such as diabetes.
  • Dental implants are an expensive procedure.

The Bottom Line

Dental Implants are often the best treatment for tooth loss. Highly qualified and experienced dentists can help with making the decision regarding whether you should get dental implants or not.

Helping your child conquer their fear of the dentistTaking your child to the dentist is important to maintain healthy teeth and start healthy oral hygiene habits. However, your child may not care about the benefits of the dentist. Instead, he or she may show fear of the dentist. With the unfamiliar sounds, objects, and a stranger working in their mouth, who can blame them? It is our mission to have children conquer any fear they may have, so they are more apt to visit the dentist as a part of their regular routine in adulthood. In this article, you will find some tips that we find beneficial in helping children conquer their fear of the dentist.

Don’t Wait Too Long

The sooner your child can visit the dentist, the better. This will allow your child to feel a sense of comfort and familiarity the more often they go. Some parents may think that children do not need to visit the dentist on a regular basis due to them having baby teeth (they’re going to fall out anyway, right?). Wrong! It is best for a child to visit a dentist whenever their first tooth breaks through.

Be Careful of Your Words

Be sure not to mention any words that may be alarming to your child. Any talk about pain, shots, etc. should be avoided at all costs. The dental staff will be able to use the correct terms, and in a way that is not scary for your child. We want their experience to be positive, happy, and more importantly, educational on why it’s essential to maintain a healthy smile.

Role Play

It may benefit your child if you play “dentist” with them. We suggest allowing them to be the dentist, giving them a toothbrush, and having them count your teeth. You can reverse roles, and pretend to use a mirror to see their teeth better, etc. Make sure you DO NOT make any alarming noises (that may mimic a drill, for example). Playing dentist on a stuffed animal may also be beneficial. The primary goal is to have them become comfortable and prepared for what they can expect when they visit the dentist.

Be Prepared for Fussing

Dentists have seen it all. Fussy kids, tantrums, you name it. Expect your child to whine, fuss, cry and wiggle. Most importantly, remember to remain calm! The dental staff and dentist are professionals and will be able to guide you and your child if need be. They may ask for you to sit with them, hold their hand, or other ways that may provide comfort to your little one.

Teach Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits

The most important factor is for your child to learn healthy dental habits. Making sure they know visiting the dentist is something that has to be done, not an option, is crucial. They need to know that having strong teeth will allow them to eat, have a beautiful smile, and prevent cavities.

If you would like any more information about bringing your child to the dentist, or conquering any dental fear, give us a call at The Gentle Dentist! We can be reached at 586-247-3500. We would love to help guide your child in creating healthy oral hygiene habits!

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