Archive | Cleanings & Prevention

Why general dental checkups are necessary

Dental checkups are one way for patients to take a proactive approach to maintaining their oral hygiene and wellness. Many patients don’t realize how important these general visits every six months are to the health of their teeth and gums. The American Dental Association recommends that everyone visit the dentist every six months to undergo an evaluation, x-rays, and a dental cleaning. But why is this so important? 

Why are dental check-ups necessary? 

The primary goal of dental check-ups is to provide preventative care. Preventative treatments can help eliminate the risk of certain conditions that can negatively affect the smile, including periodontal disease and tooth decay. Many of these problems, if they develop, can be caught early and treated before they become a more serious concern for individuals. Routine dental evaluations also allow the dentist to monitor the smile for specific issues that may develop with time, and intervene at a point where treatment can be successful. If patients experience problems such as gum disease, early diagnosis and treatment is critical to protecting the smile from irreversible damage. In some cases, periodontal disease can become extremely serious and damaging and cause the loss of bone, gum tissue, and even teeth. This can be incredibly expensive to repair and restore, making routine visits to the dentist the much more affordable alternative. 

What to expect during dental check-ups 

  • Evaluation. An evaluation is done with both a physical examination and may also include x-rays to see within the teeth and below the gums to look for any concerns.
  • Cleaning. The dental hygienist will clean the teeth and gums thoroughly, while also looking for signs of decay or disease that may need to be brought to the dentist’s attention.
  • Education. Patients are educated with the proper ways of brushing and flossing. They may also be prescribed prescription toothpastes or mouthwashes, and may be advised of possible treatments they may need in the future.

Connect with a dentist today 

Speaking to a dentist about your oral health needs is the first step in learning about the importance of routine dental care. Dr. Steven E. Holbrook and his team in Albuquerque, NM are dedicated to providing the best care for new and established patients at the office, located at 8228 Louisiana Boulevard NE, Suite C. Call (505) 881-1159 to work with a dental provider with over three decades of experience, available at Comprehensive Dental Care.

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Tips for conquering bad breath

From time to time, most people experience temporary bad breath. It may be from a food they ate or due to being dehydrated and dealing with dry mouth. However, chronic bad breath, or halitosis, may be a sign of poor oral hygiene. Dr. Steven E. Holbrook of Albuquerque, NM is a general dentist who can educate patients on ways to reduce their risk of bad breath and avoid embarrassing situations. Additionally, he encourages patients who struggle with halitosis to be open and honest about their concerns so he can help them find the cause and seek a solution that works. This is especially true in situations where patients experience daily bad breath and are unsure of the cause. 

Tips for conquering bad breath 

Nobody likes bad breath, so read on to find out how to address it! 

  • Brush often. Brushing the teeth removes food particles and sugars that can contribute to bad breath. Be sure to also brush the tongue, which is known to harbor bacteria as well that can cause halitosis.
  • Floss. At least once a day, floss your teeth to ensure there is no food buildup that potentially may cause bad breath.
  • Utilize a mouthwash. Using a mouthwash after brushing and flossing is an extra step towards better smelling breath!
  • Stay hydrated. Not only is staying hydrated important for your overall health and wellness, drinking water throughout the day can help wash away leftover food from the surfaces of the teeth and keep bad breath at bay.
  • Chewing sugar-free gum. A fast way to freshen breath is with sugar-free gum, which can also stimulate saliva flow that can cause dry mouth—another reason some patient may experience chronic bad breath.
  • Talk to your dentist. Chronic bad breath may be caused by another problem that requires medical attention, so be honest with your dentist about your struggles to find the cause and a reliable and effective solution.

Call Dr. Steven E. Holbrook today 

At Comprehensive Dental Care in Albuquerque, NM, Dr. Steven E. Holbrook and his team provide a wide range of services, including preventive dentistry. If you struggle with halitosis and want to start taking control of your bad breath, schedule an evaluation with our team to find out more. We are located at 8228 Louisiana Boulevard NE, Suite C and can be reached to schedule an appointment at (505) 881-1159.

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Prevent the development and growth of oral cancer

While oral cancer is not as recognizable or discussed nearly as often as other types of cancer, that doesn’t mean that it’s any less concerning. Oral cancer is a condition that can be just as deadly as other types of cancer. However, it can also be one of the easiest to spot and treat in the earliest stages as long as patients are prudent about visiting the dentist on a regular basis for screenings.

Understanding oral cancer

Oral cancer is a condition that is often caused by lifestyle choices. This means that by making better daily decisions and avoiding certain bad habits, you can significantly reduce the risk of developing oral cancer in the first place. What you put in your body matters, and some of the more common lifestyle factors that can increase the chances of developing cancer includes the use of tobacco products, alcohol, and an improper diet. Patients who are currently smoking, drinking, or eating a diet low in fruits and vegetables (which often contain many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can reduce cancer risks) may be more vulnerable.

HPV connection

Another leading cause of oral cancer development is the presence of HPV, or the human papilloma virus. The risk of contracting HPV is lower when patients have a vaccine, but it only works if the patient currently does not have HPV. The primary age for administering this vaccine is in preteen and adolescent boys and girls.

What are the symptoms of oral cancer?

Some signs to monitor for include: 

  • Sores inside of the mouth
  • Patches of red or white on the soft tissues
  • Pain or numbness in the mouth or throat
  • Rough spots on the soft tissues
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing

Early detection of oral cancer is key

To prevent oral cancer, or catch it early enough for successful intervention, you need to see your dentist on a regular basis. Dr. Steven E. Holbrook recommends a screening for oral cancer at each dental appointment, including a physical examination and dental cleaning. Contact his Albuquerque, NM area practice today by calling (505) 881-1159 and requesting a consultation visit at 8228 Louisiana Boulevard, NE Suite C.

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Five mistakes you might be making while brushing your teeth

Brush, floss, and see the dentist. These are the top three priorities when it comes to your oral health and wellness. However, there are many things that patients do wrong that might be impacting their oral health and well. It is vital that patients keep their teeth and gums clean to avoid bad breath, periodontal disease, and cavities. But there are other mistakes that patients make that should be corrected to keep the smile both beautiful and healthy.

Here are some common mistakes patients make when it comes to caring for their oral health:

  • Using an old toothbrush. It is recommended in the dental community that patients replace their toothbrush at least every six months or after they have had an illness (to avoid reinfecting themselves). It is also important to replace a toothbrush if it is frayed. Frayed toothbrush bristles do not clean as well and can work against your efforts.
  • Forgetting to brush the tongue. The tongue can be the landing ground for all types of bacteria that thrive in the mouth, and can be the reason for chronic bad breath. Be sure to brush the tongue, or even utilize a tongue scraper in your oral healthcare routine.
  • Brushing aggressively. Brushing harder doesn’t mean you’re brushing faster or better. Instead, it just causes redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums. At the same time, it can cause the bristles of your toothbrush to fray, making it less effective. Use a gentle pressure when brushing the teeth and gums to avoid discomfort.
  • Sharing a toothbrush. The mouth has both good bacteria and bad, and this bacteria can remain on a toothbrush long after its been used. Do not share a toothbrush with another individual, as it can transfer bacteria from one person to another.
  • Not brushing long enough. Patients should take the time to brush properly. The American Dental Association recommends brushing teeth approximately two minutes or more. When you don’t brush long enough, you are likely to miss areas of the mouth that can become problematic later on.

Interested in learning more about how to properly care for your smile?

Connect with Dr. Steven E. Holbrook and his team in Albuquerque, NM to discuss your needs. His facility is located at 8228 Louisiana Boulevard, NE Suite C and accepts new patients who call (505) 881-1159 to make an appointment.

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How preventative dentistry can lower your healthcare costs

A 2017 United Concordia study revealed that regular visits to the dentist can not only help patients achieve healthy smiles and bodies, but can also reduce the overall cost of health care. The study looked at the value of routine dental check-ups with cleanings and evaluations, and found there was a direct correlation between preventative dentistry compliance and overall medical claims costs. But why is this?

How preventative dental care can help in lowering your overall healthcare costs

Taking care of the smile at home includes brushing and flossing the teeth after each meal. Dental habits at home have a dramatic impact on the health of the smile. Because conditions such as periodontal disease can cause inflammation throughout the body, it can be an indicator—or cause—of other health issues, including heart disease and increased risks of strokes. Periodontal disease is an infection caused by bacteria that impacts the gums, bone, and teeth. This bacteria can be carried through the bloodstream and increase a patient’s risk of inflammation and infection elsewhere. Periodontal disease is a condition that can be avoided with proper oral health habits, including routine dental visits, to catch signs of this condition early on and seek effective treatment before it becomes worse.

Patients who visit the dentist regularly are often more likely to maintain routine visits to their doctors for physicals and bloodwork. This may also play a role in the reduction of overall health costs associated with routine and preventive care.

Why is preventative care important?

The primary reason patients should be prudent about routine dental visits is to improve preventative care, which in turn reduces one’s risk of developing problems such as periodontal disease and tooth decay. These routine visits can help a dentist provide a definitive diagnosis and effective treatment early on, avoiding costly dental work and the increased risk of changes to one’s overall health and wellness.

Are you overdue for a routine dental visit?

If you live in the Albuquerque, NM community and are in need of a dental evaluation, it is time for you to book a consultation visit with Dr. Steven E. Holbrook and his team to achieve a healthier smile—and healthier body! Call (505) 881-1159 to request an appointment at the practice, conveniently located in the community in Suite C at 8228 Louisiana Boulevard, NE.

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When should I brush my teeth?

Both children and adults are well aware that brushing and flossing the teeth at home can be done between dental visits to keep the smile healthy. But some patients are unsure as to when they should brush their teeth.

How often should I brush my teeth?

For the best results, we recommend that patients brush their teeth after every meal and snack. This is the recommendations made by the American Dental Association, or ADA, that provides realistic ways for patients to keep their smile healthy. Every time you eat, food particles can become stuck on the surfaces of the teeth or between them. This is why patients should both brush and floss, allowing them to remove food particles effectively. Sticky substances such as sugars and acids can remain on teeth and help contribute to the formation of cavities. It can also contribute to an infection called periodontitis which can cause permanent, irreversible damage to the teeth over time.

How should I brush my teeth?

Patients should take great care in brushing their teeth effectively and safely to avoid further problems. For example, patients who brush too aggressively or with a harder-bristled toothbrush will often cause issues with the gum tissues, sometimes experiencing bleeding and swelling. Patients should brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste after eating or drinking to keep the smile healthy. When it comes to flossing, patients can floss once a day, preferably at night, to remove stuck food particles between teeth.

Ways to ensure better oral health

In addition to taking great care of the smile at home, patients should also visit their dentist every six months for an evaluation and cleaning, and call the dentist when problems arise between appointments.

Learn more about oral health habits to protect your smile

If you live in the area of Albuquerque, NM and want to educate yourself further on the steps you can take to protect and strengthen your smile, call Dr. Steven E. Holbrook and his team to discuss. The facility is located at 8228 Louisiana Boulevard, NE, Suite C and patients can call (505) 881-1159 to request a consultation appointment. We accept new patients and families seeking the best in dental care within our community.

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Why it’s important to treat a cavity as soon as it is diagnosed instead of waiting

Cavities are one of the most common dental problems that can occur for patients. When cavities develop, they cause large holds in the tooth’s enamel—and beyond. These holes leave a tooth susceptible to problems such as larger areas of tooth decay or infection caused by bacteria that enters into the tooth. Many cavities can be spotted early enough for successful intervention by our team of professionals, and once diagnosed, should be addressed as soon as possible. Treating cavities as soon as they are diagnosed is incredibly important.

What is cavity?

A cavity, also known as tooth decay, is a problem that is caused by poor oral health habits. When food particles and plaque are not brushed and flossed from the teeth, it can cause acids to develop on natural tooth enamel which penetrate its thick shell. Cavities can cause a depression in the tooth structure or a large hole that leaves the tooth vulnerable to infection and further trauma. Treatment should occur as soon as it is caught for various reasons.

  • Cavities can become larger and more damaging to the tooth’s natural structure, affecting the integrity of the tooth and making it weaker
  • Cavities can penetrate deep within the tooth and reach the dental pulp inside, where an infection can cause the need for root canal therapy
  • Cavities can become extremely large to the point where a filling cannot effectively seal the tooth. In situations such as these, the placement of a dental crown is often recommended.
  • Cavities that cause infection but cannot be treated effectively with root canal therapy will need to be permanently extracted from the smile.
  • Cavities can occur in patients of any age and any gender, making routine dental examinations and cleanings critical to maintaining oral health and wellness.

Treat your cavity as soon as possible to avoid more expensive or invasive treatment

If you have been diagnosed with a cavity in your smile, then let Dr. Steven Holbrook treat it to avoid extensive services later on. Call the office at (505) 881-1159 to make an appointment at 8228 Louisiana Boulevard, NE Suite C to discuss your options.

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Understanding treatment of periodontal disease

At the practice of Dr. Steven E. Holbrook, patients of Albuquerque, NM have access to a selection of treatments, including preventative, general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry. When patients fail to care for their smile, they may be putting themselves at risk for a range of problems which may include not only cavities but periodontal disease. Also referred to as “gum disease,” periodontal disease is an infection that starts in the soft tissues and can cause a host of problems within the smile and throughout the body.

What is periodontal disease?

An infection in the mouth is often referred to as periodontal disease. Dr. Steven E. Holbrook and his team encourage patients to be proactive about ensuring this condition does not develop. Once periodontal disease has been diagnosed, it cannot be cured—only controlled. This condition is completely preventable with proper oral health habits and routine visits to the dentist. However, if it does develop, patients need to obtain a definitive diagnosis and discuss treatment options with their provider.

Treatment of periodontal disease

In most cases where periodontal disease is in the earliest stage, known as gingivitis, a simple cleaning at the dental office can help. This may be combined with the application of antibiotics on the soft tissues of the mouth to combat the infection. However, if patients do not get a proper diagnosis until the later stages, they may be at risk of developing periodontitis, the later stages of the condition. Patients at this point might experience problems such as the loss of gum tissue, jawbone, and natural teeth. A more aggressive and invasive cleaning called scaling and root planning is often done at this point to remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar deep below the gumline from the roots of the teeth. When combined with antibiotics, this is the most effective way to address late-stage gum disease.

Interested in learning more about periodontal disease treatment?

Connect with our team in Albuquerque, NM by calling (505) 881-1159 and scheduling an appointment with Dr. Steven E. Holbrook at 8228 Louisiana Boulevard NE, Suite C. His practice accepts new and current patients of the community to enjoy services from a dentist with over three decades of experience!

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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.

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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.

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