Archive | Cleanings & Prevention

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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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.

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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.

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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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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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