Archive | Cleanings & Prevention

The importance of dental cleanings and routine examinations

Patients are advised to see their dentist every six months for an evaluation and a dental cleaning. But why? Why are these recall appointments so important? Dr. Steven E. Holbrook of Albuquerque, NM explains to patients why these routine visits are essential for maintaining oral health and wellness.

The importance of dental cleanings

While most patients properly brush and floss their teeth, there are areas of the mouth that might not get the full attention they need. Teeth near the back of the mouth can be difficult for children to reach, and this can result in bacteria forming and contributing to the development of cavities and periodontal disease. By having a thorough cleaning performed by the dental hygienist, all areas can be reached. Dental cleanings also help in removing plaque, tartar, and calculus from the surfaces of the teeth and gums.

The importance of routine dental examinations

In addition to a dental cleaning, visits at our practice include dental examinations. Our evaluations include both a physical examination of the teeth and gums as well as x-rays. X-rays are images that allow the dentist to see below the gum line to spot potential issues that could develop. X-rays are also used to see areas of decay that might not be visible on the exposed part of the tooth. When a dentist is planning certain dental procedures, such as the placement of dental implants, he will need to be able to see the bone structure and the health of the surrounding teeth to plan treatment. By visiting every six months, our dentist can also look for early signs of problems such as tooth decay and periodontal disease, which can be successfully treated easier when found sooner.

Request a visit with Dr. Steven E. Holbrook

Patients in the Albuquerque, NM area who want to start seeing their dentist regularly to improve their oral health are welcome to request an appointment with our team by calling (505) 881-1159. Dr. Steven E. Holbrook has over three decades of experience in providing general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry solutions to patients in and around the community. We invite you and your family to learn more about caring for the smile with a proper dental education in our facility.

Continue Reading

Evaluating tooth pain

When patients experience tooth pain and sensitivity, it is commonly thought that a cavity is the reason for this discomfort in some situations, this may be the case, but there are other times that the cause of tooth pain may surprise a patient. Below are just a few of the common causes of tooth pain that may require evaluation by a trained professional:

  • Tooth decay – in many cases, tooth pain may be a sign of a cavity. Cavities are caused by sugars and acids that eat away at the natural tooth enamel. These areas of decay cause holes that may become large and deep, causing future problems if left untreated. Dr. Steven Holbrook often addresses these areas of decay with dental fillings.
  • Abscess – an abscess may develop around a tooth, causing severe tooth pain. In situations such as this, a dentist may recommend a procedure called root canal therapy, or endodontic therapy. This treatment removes the pulp inside of the tooth and replaces it with gutta percha to seal it off and protect it from further damage.
  • Infection – an infection may occur within a tooth, requiring dentists to either provide endodontic therapy or permanently extract a tooth. Infections can be painful and also result in swelling and discomfort that might require immediate care.
  • Impacted tooth – some discomfort to a tooth may be caused by an impacted tooth. This is common with wisdom teeth. These “third molars” tend to become stuck underneath the gum line if they turn and push towards the surrounding teeth. This situation will require surgical removal of the wisdom tooth to resolve.
  • Sinus-related pain – sometimes, tooth pain may be caused by swollen sinuses that can become congested or inflamed with colds, the flu, or allergies. This pain is often concurrent with congestion and stuffiness, which can impact the upper teeth due to the position of the sinus cavities. This discomfort is treated by treating the cause of congestion, which cannot be resolved with a dentist.

Request an appointment with Dr. Steven Holbrook and his team

Albuquerque, NM area patients interested in learning more about the cause of their tooth pain are encouraged to book a visit by calling (505) 881-1159. Our practice assists patients in general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry and invites new patients and families seeking comprehensive dental care.

Continue Reading

Addressing bad breath

Even when patients practice good oral health habits, they may have an issue with problems such as bad breath. Also known as halitosis, bad breath can occur for a variety of reasons. Not only can it be a sign of poor oral health habits, it can be caused by:

  • Poor care of dentures and braces
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Tooth decay and gum disease
  • Throat and lung infections
  • Dry mouth/reduced flow of saliva
  • Certain medications that can cause dry mouth
  • Foods such as garlic and onions

How can I address bad breath?

Dr. Steven Holbrook of Albuquerque, NM is pleased to offer some solutions for patients who are struggling with managing their bad breath. Below are a few tips and recommendations to consider when trying to improve and freshen breath:

  • Take good care of the smile. Good dental hygiene habits can play a significant role in the treatment of bad breath. Patients should make sure to brush and floss their teeth as directed. If they are wearing appliances such as orthodontics or full dentures, ensure that these are cleaned regularly to avoid trapping food particles in the appliances that can contribute to halitosis.
  • Eat healthy foods. A healthy, proper diet high in fruits and vegetables is not only good for your body, but for your dental health! Make sure you avoid excess consumption of sugary drinks and foods such as candies and sodas, and consider avoiding foods that contribute to bad breath.
  • Stay hydrated. Dry mouth is a common reason for bad breath. Patients who are on medications that cause dry mouth, or those who are experiencing this condition, can combat bad breath by ensuring they are hydrated. Patients can also suck on sugar free candies or chew sugar free gum to keep saliva flowing and avoid dry mouth.
  • Visit the dentist. Many problems that cause bad breath can be addressed with the help of a dentist. Patients who experience bad breath can ask their dentist for an evaluation to determine if certain conditions are the cause.

Are you dealing with halitosis?

Consider visiting the dentist for an evaluation and to discuss ways of addressing bad breath. Dr. Steven Holbrook and his team can be reached at (505) 881-1159 and is located at 8228 Louisiana Blvd. NE Ste. C in Albuquerque, NM. New patients are invited to learn more about Dr. Steven Holbrook and his practice.

Continue Reading

3 Things You May Be Doing That Cause Enamel Erosion

Having a strong body is good and all, but here at our office, we encourage all of our patients to get stronger teeth. One way to get a stronger, healthier smile is to ensure that your tooth’s enamel is in good shape. Let’s go over a few things that you may be doing every day that may be weakening your enamel without you even knowing about it.

Drinking Coffee

Coffee may be the only thing that can get you out of bed in the morning and for a good reason, but drinking too much coffee is bad for your teeth. Coffee is high in acidity, which makes it the perfect tool to erode the enamel on your teeth. Try either cutting back on your coffee or brushing your teeth right after you have your morning cup of jo; the less time that coffee sits on your teeth for, the better.

Eating Starches

Starches are one of those types of foods that give you comfort; especially after a long day at work. Whether you prefer starchy foods in the form of mashed potatoes or pasta, they aren’t doing your teeth any favors. Why? Because starch turns into sugar, which in turn can weaken your teeth’s enamel and cause extreme tooth decay.

Not Drinking Enough Water

If you get fatigued easily, get a lot of headaches, or tend to feel light-headed, it may be because you aren’t drinking enough water. On average, you should be drinking at least eight 8-ounce cups of water every day. Not only will drinking more water help you to feel better overall, but it will also help to speed up your salivary glands, which naturally keep your teeth clean. Try getting into a better habit of drinking more water and your entire body will thank you.

Do you want to learn a little bit more about how you can get a healthier smile? Contact our Albuquerque office and call (505) 881-1159.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

3 Thanksgiving Foods That Are Good For Your Oral Health

Dental Exams Albuquerque NMYour oral health and your Thanksgiving dinner may sound like two things that don’t exactly go hand in hand, but there at Dr. Steven Holbrook’s office, anything is possible. Okay, maybe not anything, but when it comes to your oral health, we like to think that we can do anything. Before you sit down and enjoy your Thanksgiving feast with friends and family, Dr. Holbrook has created a list of a few foods that are good for your oral health.

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese doesn’t just make a delicious side dish, but it’s also really high in calcium. Calcium is one of the number one things we encourage our patients (of all ages) to indulge in for their oral health because it promotes strong teeth. So even though that macaroni and cheese may be high in calories, at least you know you’re getting the calcium that you need.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are loaded with Vitamin A. Why is Vitamin A so important for your oral health? Because it promotes strong teeth, gums, and enamel; leaving you less prone to chips, cracks, and cavities in the process. When eating sweet potatoes, though, try to avoid sweet potato casserole because it’s usually full of sugar. Instead, try to eat grilled sweet potatoes instead.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin pie is loaded with a lot of sugar which isn’t good for your health but baked pumpkin is really good for your teeth. Similar to sweet potatoes, pumpkin contains a high amount of Vitamin A. Try serving up some baked pumpkin at your Thanksgiving feast this year; who knows, it may just be the next big hit.

We like to think that you can incorporate healthy oral health into every part of your life; including your diet. If you want to learn more about how you can take better care of your teeth and gums, contact our Albuquerque office today and call us at (505) 881-1159.

Continue Reading

How to Avoid Halloween Cavities

Dental Disease Prevention Albuquerque NM The best thing about Halloween— other than getting dressed up, of course— is to eat as much Halloween candy as you want. And even though you’re an adult and you can do what you want, you should be careful with how much candy that you really are eating so that you don’t end up with a mouth full of Halloween cavities. So, what can you do? Let’s take a closer look at some tips.

Try Eating Healthy Snacks

Yes, sure, having a piece or two of candy isn’t going to be the end of the world for you and your oral health but if you feel like you’re eating more candy than is humanly possible, then you may want to set it aside and choose a healthy snack instead. Healthy snacks like apple slices or carrot sticks aren’t just good for your body, but they are also good for your teeth as well.

Put Down the Soda

Nothing goes quite as good with a handful of candy quite like more sugar, right? Rather than drinking a soda or two every day, try drinking more water. Water is not only great for your overall health, but it’s also great for your teeth. By drinking a lot of water throughout the day you can help to gently wash off any sugar on your teeth and encourage your mouth’s natural production of saliva— which also helps to fight cavities.

Brush Those Teeth

Dr. Steven Holbrook can say it once and he will continue to remind you to brush your teeth multiple times a day— especially if your Halloween diet consists of a lot of candy. When brushing your teeth, make sure that you are using a new toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.

There’s no shame in eating a lot of candy as an adult or even stealing it from your little kids, but it’s definitely not fun to get some Halloween cavities. To learn more about how you can take better care of your teeth, schedule a dentist appointment at our Albuquerque office today and call us at (505) 881-1159.

Continue Reading