Back to School Oral Health Tips for Your Kids

Now that summer is coming to an end, it’s time to get your kids ready for another long school year. In addition to getting new backpacks, pencil boxes, and clothes, there are a few other things that you can prepare your kids with like some oral health tips. To make sure that your kids start the year off without cavities and end it in the same way, let’s go over a few tips to give them.

Get a Dental Exam Before School

Once school starts, things can turn from busy into hectic in a matter of seconds. In between carpools and soccer practice, it can be hard even to fit their homework in, let alone a dentist appointment. Before their school year starts, schedule a dental cleaning at our office to get it out of the way before all of the hustle.

Get them gum

In an ideal world, kids would brush their teeth after every meal (even lunch), but the last thing any kid wants to do is clean their teeth at school in front of all of their friends. Although sugar-free gum can’t replace regular toothbrushing, it is a good alternative for your kids. Chewing gum is proven to help speed up your salivary glands, which are a natural way for you to get rid of plaque, bacteria, and tartar on your teeth.

Get them a water bottle

The more water your kids drink, the better they will feel overall, and the same can be said for their oral health. Similar to chewing gum, water also speeds up your mouth’s salivary glands which is a plus. Plus, water will naturally rinse your child’s teeth as they drink it, which makes it ideal for drinking after snacks and lunch.

The tricky thing about parenting school-aged kids is that you can’t keep tabs on their every move, but you can help give them the tools they need to be happy and successful. Before school starts, keep these things in mind to ensure that our little ones keep their mouths as healthy as ever. To learn a little bit more, contact our Albuquerque office and call (505) 881-1159.

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How to Avoid Broken Dentures

It’s not uncommon that we have some denture patients come into our office because they dropped and cracked their dentures.  To help you avoid being that person, we have a few ways for you to take better care of your dentures and avoid dropping them anytime soon.

Put them in a Case

When you’re not soaking your dentures in a cleaning solution or wearing them, don’t just set them on your counter or bedside table; they could fall off and crack, or they could fall off, and someone could step on them. Make sure that you get into the habit of putting your dentures inside of a plastic case every time you take them out; that way you now that they are safe.

Use Both Hands When Taking them Out

You may be able to do a lot of things with just one hand but taking out and putting your dentures back in doesn’t have to be one of them. In fact, it’s something that we don’t recommend. When you use both hands when you’re holding onto your dentures, you have more control over them and are less likely to drop them.

Don’t Be Distracted

It can be hard not to be distracted sometimes; especially as we age. When you are cleaning, putting your dentures back in, or taking them out, try not to be distracted. If you have someone who is testing you or trying to call you, call them back after you’re done handling your dentures; trust us, it will be a lot cheaper to just call them back than accidentally dropping your dentures.

If you’re careful, dentures can last a really long time. Keep these tips in mind to avoid dropping and breaking your dentures. To learn more, contact our  Albuquerque office and call (505) 881-1159.

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Abscessed Tooth? What to Know About It

Cleanings & PreventionCavities are one of the most common oral problems that patients run into. Caused by bacteria and germs that sit on the tooth for too long, cavities cause holes in the tooth, which can lead to a variety of problems like an infection or pain. Often, a cavity is mistaken for an abscessed tooth when an abscessed tooth may be the result of a cavity.  So, what is an abscessed tooth?

What’s an Abscessed Tooth?

An abscessed tooth is when the tooth itself or the gums around it get infected. There are two types of abscesses that we commonly see patients for:

  • Periapical Abscess: A periapical abscess occurs when a cavity goes untreated and then it causes infection at the tip of the root.
  • Periodontal Abscess: A periodontal abscess occurs within the gums on either side of the tooth’s root.

How Is It Treated?

If we can, we will try to save the tooth and perform a root canal. During a root canal, we will clean out the bacteria and infection from the inside of the tooth and take out the root. Then, we will seal it off so that no more bacteria can enter into it.

In some instances, if we cannot perform a root canal, we will have to remove the tooth and then replace it with a dental implant.

What are the symptoms?

Having pain in your mouth is never a good thing; especially if it’s persistent. One of the reasons why patients mistake a cavity for an abscess due to the constant pain. Other signs of an abscessed tooth include:

  • Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Swelling
  • Pressure when chewing or biting
  • Tender, swollen lymph nodes
  • A sudden foul smelling or tasting fluid in the mouth if the abscess ruptures
  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Fever

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it could mean that you have a cavity or it could mean that you have an abscess. The best thing that you can do is come into our office, get an exam, have some x-rays done, and then get a proper diagnosis. To learn more about tooth abscesses, contact our Albuquerque office and call (505) 881-1159.

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How to Tell if You Need a New Filling

All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately, that’s true when it comes to your dental fillings. Although your filling may have saved your tooth during a cavity, the average composite filling only lasts 10 to 15 years, but sometimes it can last a lot longer. If you have had a filling for at least that long, you may be wondering when on earth you should have it replaced? Let’s go over a few signs.

Food Gets Stuck In One Spot

Does it seem like every time you eat a meal that you’re always picking food out of one part of your mouth? When a filling falls out, it opens back up that hole in your tooth which make sit easy for food to get trapped inside of it. Until you get your filling redone, try rinsing your tooth with water after you eat to get rid of any bacteria, extra food, or germs.

Tooth Sensitivity

Often, when a filling falls out, it can cause a lot of tooth sensitivity. If you have started to experience tooth sensitivity to both hot and cold food when you go to eat something, then this may be a sign that you need to get a new dental filling.

A hole in your tooth

The most significant way for you to spot whether or not you have a missing filling is to look at your tooth. Is there a black or brown spot on it? Does it seem like there’s a hole in the tooth? These are all signs that your filling fell out and that you need to have it replaced.

General Tooth Pain

If you are experiencing general tooth pain in the tooth that has a filling in it, then you may need to have a filing put on the tooth again, or it may be a sign that you have new bacteria in your tooth and that you need a root canal.

If you suspect that you have a missing filling, but you aren’t sure, then schedule a dental appointment with us and call our Albuquerque office at (505) 881-1159.

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4 Myths About Sedation Dentistry Debunked

Sedation dentistry is a newer form of dentistry that is designed to help patients feel calmer and comfortable while in the dentist chair. If you have a hard time getting yourself to the dentist because you’re so anxious about the what-ifs of your cleaning or procedure, then one form or another of sedation dentistry may help do the trick. To help you learn a little bit more about it, we have created a list debunking a few common myths.

Myth: Sedation Dentistry is Only for Patients with Anxiety

Although sedation dentistry is primarily used to treat patients who have a lot of anxiety, it is also used on patients who are elderly, who have a disability, or who want to feel relaxed while getting some dental work done.

Myth: Sedation Dentistry Is Only For Complex Surgeries

The unique thing about sedation dentistry is that it’s designed to help ease patients with all ranges of anxieties which are getting a variety of different procedures. For instance, a lot of patients have anxiety about dental cleanings, and so we might use a mild form of sedation to help ease their fears. Sedation dentistry can be used for small procedures or large ones.

Myth: You Will Be Unconscious

Our goal with sedation dentistry is to take the edge off and help you feel relaxed during your procedure. Even though we can completely sedate you, that’ s usually not necessary. In fact, we can generally use a mild sedative like valium or laughing gas, which means that you will be calm but completely conscious.

Myth: It’s Not Necessary

To some people who don’t have anxiety, they may think that sedation dentistry isn’t necessary, but if you are a patient with anxiety, you would agree to disagree. If your stress and dental fears are getting in the way of you getting regular cleanings or dental work done, then sedation dentistry is necessary. Look at it this way; if sedation dentistry helps us give you the proper dental work that you need, then it’s a must.

Are you interested in learning more about sedation dentistry? If so, contact us at our Albuquerque office and call (505) 881-1159.

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Is Your Toothbrush Doing Its Job?

brushing TMJ steven e. holbrook DMD albuqurque NM

The most basic thing that you can do to take care of your teeth is to brush them at least twice a day. But, because brushing your teeth is so basic, it may not be something that you necessarily put a lot of thought into— especially when it comes to your actual toothbrush. So, how can you make sure that your toothbrush is actually doing its job?

Fancier Isn’t Always Better

You may think that if you spend hundreds of dollars on a vibrating toothbrush that you are getting the cleanest mouth around, but just because a toothbrush has a high price tag on it, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to get your mouth any cleaner. In fact, we have seen a lot of patents get just as clean of teeth with a regular toothbrush than with an electric toothbrush.

Bristles Need to Be Intact

Do you brush your teeth while trying to get laundry done, cleaning your kitchen, or writing a bunch of emails? If you do, then you probably bite down on your toothbrush which can make your bristles all disheveled. When your bristles aren’t in good shape, they are definitely not going to be able to do their job to keep your mouth clean. If you can’t kick your habit of biting down on your toothbrush to the curb, then make sure that you replace your toothbrush more often.

Strong Enough Bristles

You used to be able to buy soft, medium, and hard bristled toothbrushes but now you can usually only find soft bristled toothbrushes. Why?Because hard bristled toothbrushes were too abrasive and were eroding away at enamel and causing bleeding gums. The trick though, is finding a toothbrush that is hard enough to get plaque off your teeth without being so abrasive tha tit auss damae.

It may sound basic, but knowing what to look for in a toothbrush can really save your oral health. If you want to learn more tips and tricks, contact our Albuquerque office today at (505) 881-1159.

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Why You May Want to Give Sedation Dentistry a Try

Sedation Dentistry Albuquerque NMOne of the number one things (other than a healthy smile) that Dr. Holbrook and our staff want for our patients is to be relaxed and calm during their appointment. But because coming to the dentist isn’t exactly something that most people would classify as relaxing, we may recommend sedation dentistry.

What’s Sedation Dentistry Used for?

Yes, sedation dentistry is used to help you get rid of your jitters, but it’s also used for some other things as well. Specifically, we may recommend it to help patients who:

  • Have a bad gag reflex
  • Have a low pain tolerance
  • Need a lot of dental work
  • Have sensitive teeth
  • Cannot stay still

What types of sedation options are out there?

When it comes to sedation, it’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all sort of deal. Depending on the procedure you are having and how much anxiety you are going through, it will help us determine which route is best to take. Options include:

  • CONSCIOUS SEDATION

This is the most common form of sedating that we use because it allows patients to still remain awake and respond to Dr. Holbrook while also staying relaxed.

  • DEEP SEDATION

If you have a lot of anxiety, then we may recommend deep sedation. This level of sedation is a state that is somewhere between conscious and unconsciousness which is a good medium.

  • UNCONSCIOUSNESS

Occasionally, general anesthesia is necessary in oral surgery cases, but it is riskier so we try not to use it.

If you think that dental sedation is something that’s worth trying out to calm your nerves, contact us at our Albuquerque office and call us at (505) 881-1159.

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3 Tips to Speed Up Your Dental Implant Recovery

Dental ImplantsHaving one or more missing teeth isn’t exactly anybody’s idea of a good time, but it is a lot of people’s reality. Having missing teeth doesn’t just make you look a little less than perfect but it can also have more detrimental impacts on the health of your mouth. When you have a missing tooth, it can lead to deterioration of the jaw bone and it can also result in shifting teeth. To prevent this from happening, we have a variety of different restorative options including dental implants.

 

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are one of the most popular types of restorative dentistry because they give patients an almost permanent way to restore their smile without having to worry about things like dental bridges or dentures. As a two step process, we will first surgically implant a rod into your gums which will require several months of healing. To make sure that your mouth heals fully, let’s go over a few tips.

 

Watch What You Eat

For the first few days after your implant has been placed, we encourage our patients to be especially mindful of foods they eat. For instance, try to avoid foods that are hard to chew or that are hard in general. Why? Because they may open up your incisions which can lead to things like infections.

 

Take Some NSAIDs

If you are in a little bit of pain or if your mouth is swollen, that’s pretty normal. To help you get rid of any pain or swelling, try to take some over-the-counter anti inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen for the first few days; this should do the trick and help you feel better in no time.

 

Use Ice

If you have a lot of swelling on your cheeks, then you should ice. Just make sure that you wrap the ice pack in a towel or cloth so that it doesn’t give your cheeks a burn.

 

Healing from dental implants doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it shouldn’t be much of a process at all. If you notice any signs of infection like more swelling, pain, or irritation on your gums, then contact us. To learn more about dental implants and recovery, contact us at our office today and call us at  (505) 881-1159.

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How to Spring Clean Your Smile

Dental Cleanings Albuquerque NM While your neighbors are spring cleaning and getting rid of thing in their garages and basements, you can take spring cleaning to a whole new level and take better care of your smile. From getting a thorough dental cleaning to getting your teeth professionally whitened, let’s take a closer look at a few tips from Dr. Holbrook to help you get a more vibrant smile.

Thorough Cleaning

The best way to spring clean your smile is to get your teeth professionally cleaned. During your cleaning, Dr. Holbrook will scrape off any tartar and plaque build up on your teeth, check for cavities, take some ex-rays, and then polish your teeth. As long as you are cavity-free and there are no signs of gum disease or other issues, you are good to go!

Whiten

Another way that you can get a more vibrant smile this spring is to get your teeth professionally whitened. Whether we use our Opalescence at-home bleaching trays or our power whitening treatment, we can help you get visibly whiter and brighter teeth in virtually no time at all. Plus, we will make sure that you have a system that you can use at home to touch up your teeth so that you don’t get any extensive stains.

Drink More Water

After you have had your teeth cleaned and whitened, one of the best ways for you to keep them clean is to drink more water. If you normally drink a lot of coffee and tea, you may actually be staining your teeth which is the last thing that you want. But, by getting into the habit of drinking more water, you can help keep your teeth in the best shape possible.

These three tips are easy ways for you to essentially spring clean your smile. If you want to learn a little bit more about how you can take better care of your teeth, schedule a consultation with us at our Albuquerque office and call (505) 881-1159.

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Signs of Gum Disease

Gum Disease, Albuquerque, NM There are few things that you want in life like a good job, a healthy family, and maybe a trip to the beach every year, but there are lots of things that you don’t want anything to do with like gum disease. As one of the most common oral conditions that Dr. Holbrook sees patients for, if you have gum disease, you certainly are not alone. But before you self diagnose yourself with this oral condition, there are a few signs for you to look out for.

  • Red, swollen, bleeding, tender gums- These are the most common symptoms of gum disease. If you are the type of person who only flosses on occasion, then you may experience red, swollen, tender gums when you start flossing again. However, if you floss on a regular basis or if these symptoms don’t subside, then it may be an indication that you have gum disease.
  • Receding Gums- In more advanced stages of gum disease, some patients start to notice that their gums are pulling away from the teeth which causes them to look longer than before. If this goes untreated, it can result in loose or separating teeth.
  • Pus in between your gums and teeth- This is a big indication that you either have gum disease or you have another sort of oral infection.
  • Persistent bad breath- Having bad breath after you eat a garlic burger or if you haven’t brushed your teeth in a few hours is normal, but having persistent bad breath isn’t.
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite or the way your partial dentures fit- In advanced stages of gum disease, patients experience shifts in the way that their teeth or dentures fit together which isn’t something you should necessarily be experiencing.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed in this article, make sure that you contact Dr. Holbrook today and schedule an appointment. To learn more or to schedule your next appointment, contact us at our Albuquerque at (505) 881-1159.

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