What is Dental Plaque?

Plaque is a biofilm that forms on the surface of your teeth. It is usually a pale yellow color and can be easily removed with brushing and flossing. Even though plaque is initially simple to remove, the plaque that isn’t removed can adhere to the surface of your teeth for a long time. In about 48 hours, plaque hardens on your teeth, and in about 10 days, it calcifies into dental calculus (tartar).

Plaque, Good and Bad

There is one benefit of dental plaque, believe it or not. Plaque helps build your immune system. But plaque is more well known for its ability to cause bad breath, gum disease, and systemic health problems. The problem is, plaque grows and grows and grows, and you have to remove it or it will get out of control. Daily brushing and flossing remove a lot of plaque, but not all of it. Calculus is insoluble, which means it won’t dissolve in water. At your six-month cleanings, our hygienist will remove calculus from your teeth; it generally builds up at the gum line and between teeth, where brushing may be ineffective. (more…)

The History of Dental Implants

Did you know that dental implants date back to 600 A.D.? In 1931, archaeologists uprooted a piece of mandible (human jaw) that had three shards of shell in line with the jaw’s natural teeth. It is considered to be evidence of the first successful dental implant operation in the world. Because the jaw was found in Honduras, archaeologists suspect it may be Mayan. 

Dental Implant Procedure

Today, prosthetic dentistry has refined the dental implants so that they’re stable, long lasting, and natural looking. Dental implants are prosthetic teeth secured to the jaw with a small, biocompatible post. The post replaces the roots of missing teeth. Because biocompatible material is used, bone tissue fuses with the post to create a solid anchor for a replacement tooth or denture.
Here’s what you can expect for your dental implant procedure:

  1. Your jawbone density and oral health will be evaluated to determine whether underlying concerns must be addressed before placement of dental implants.
  2. Once your mouth is in good shape for implants, you’ll be scheduled for placement.
  3. At the placement appointment, Dr. Donald Coon will insert a small titanium anchor into your jawbone for each implant crown, or he’ll position a few implants to secure your denture, partial, or bridge. Over the course of a few months, the jawbone tissue fuses to the implant posts so that they become secure, like natural teeth roots.
  4. You may wear a temporary crown or denture during the healing time.
  5. You’ll visit us for follow-up appointments. Once your jaw has healed, Dr. Coon will remove the temporary prosthetics and secure your permanent crowns or denture.

Caring for Your Dental Implants

Remember, dental implants do not make you impervious to gum disease or tooth decay. You must brush and floss regularly, as if you had natural teeth. Be sure to also visit Dr. Coon as scheduled for follow-ups, cleanings, and checkups. With proper maintenance, most patients enjoy their dental implants for life.
If you live in the Sheridan, WY area and are in search of an experienced cosmetic and implant dentist, call the Grinnell Street Dental at 307-672-7567 for an appointment. You can also visit our website to learn more about our services.

Fun Uses For Your Old Toothbrush

The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months. Just because the brush is no longer effective in cleaning your teeth, doesn’t mean you have to throw it away. Try these thrifty tips to make your old toothbrushes useful.

  • Scrub grime from the kitchen and bathroom sinks. Toothbrushes can get into crevices that your sponge or rag cannot reach, much like dental floss can get in between the crevices in your teeth that your toothbrush cannot reach.
  • Clean between the bristles of your hairbrush or between the tongs of your forks.
  • Use the long handle to help clean the inside of bottles or cups.
  • Wash mud off your shoes.
  • Scrub rough spots off of potatoes, pumpkins, and other vegetables.
  • Put an abrasive agent on the bristles to help polish your jewelry.
  • Spot-clean laundry and carpet by rubbing the area with a toothbrush and cleaning agent.
  • Use the brush to make interesting paint splatters on a piece of art.
  • Clean your pet’s teeth. Harmful human bacteria are different than dog germs, so reusing your brush won’t harm your pet.
  • Use the bristles to clean your blades, chainsaws, and other sharp tools that could injure your fingers.
  • Use a dry brush to remove dust around keys on your computer keyboard or remote control.
  • Boil the brush handle so you can bend it into a fun shape. One example is a round shape that fits around your wrist like a bracelet.

Before reusing your old brush for other purposes, make sure you disinfect it to prevent contaminating other areas. You should also label your brush so you won’t mix it up with your good toothbrush.
The best use for your toothbrush, however, is to clean your teeth. Good oral hygiene is necessary to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you don’t brush properly, you could damage your mouth. Visit Dr. Coon to restore any troubled areas in your smile. Contact Grinnell Street Dental in Sheridan, WY at (307) 672-7567 to schedule your appointment.

The Risks of Excessive Tooth Bleaching

Most people want whiter teeth. Instead of waiting around for their at-home whitening products to work, they overuse the product to have a whiter smile faster. This may sound like a good idea in theory, but what are the risks of excessive bleaching?
People who are obsessed with whitening their teeth, sometimes called “bleachorexics,” are never satisfied with the color. They constantly use the bleach, becoming addicted to it and using it more than necessary. This behavior can harm your teeth.
Excessive use of whitener can damage the structure of your tooth enamel. The bleaching products contain a strong peroxide agent that can hurt the nerve endings inside your tooth. The chemicals can get into your nerves through weak enamel or cracks. When the nerves become exposed to the chemical, it can cause tooth sensitivity or pain.
Too much peroxide can make your teeth have an uneven color tone and different shades. Instead of getting whiter, after excessive use your enamel will begin to turn a light bluish color.

Halloween Candy Craze

It’s October, and that means empty parking lots become pumpkin patches and crazy costumes become fashionable. This spooky holiday can be fun for everyone, but your smile may feel differently.
Why are your teeth afraid of Halloween? Because stores stock up on candy.

  • The average person eats about 24 pounds of candy each year.
  • Americans spend about $2 billion on Halloween candy each year.
  • The average household spends about $20 on candy each Halloween.
  • Americans eat about 20 million pounds of candy corn each year.
  • Candy corn is the preferred candy of the season, followed by Snickers, Reese’s, Kit Kat, and M&M’s.

The sugar from candy can stick to your teeth. Bacteria in your mouth live off the sugar to create acids that can harm your teeth. Without proper oral care, the acids contribute to tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental problems.
So how can you protect your mouth from the candy craze? Try giving out small bags of nut mixes, pretzels, animal crackers, or non-candy treats like stickers. In addition, there are other spooky snacks you can make that are healthy for your smile and your waistline.

  • Add an almond or piece of a fruit or vegetable to the end of a carrot or string cheese. This will create a fingernail to make healthy, freaky fingers.
  • Use nuts or raisins to build a face on a banana or hard-boiled egg, creating a ghost look-a-like.
  • Cut sandwiches into festive shapes using Halloween cookie cutters.
  • After carving your pumpkins, bake or roast the pumpkin seeds for a delicious snack.

Protect your teeth from decay all year long by limiting your candy consumption. Dr. Coon wants to encourage healthy eating habits this Halloween season. Contact Grinnell Street Dental at 307-672-7567 to schedule your dental appointment in Sheridan, WY.

Be Careful With Your Wiggly Tooth

Baby teeth fall out to make room for permanent teeth. Don’t think that just because it comes out, it doesn’t matter. When a tooth becomes loose, don’t rush to pull it out. Yanking out your wiggly tooth too early can cause infections and dental complications.
Primary teeth begin falling out between the ages of six and 14. Many children get excited when their first tooth becomes loose because they want money from the tooth fairy. While baby teeth are acceptable to pull out of your mouth, you need to wait until they are actually ready to come out. If a tooth comes out too early, the other teeth may shift into the empty space, causing crowding or spacing problems for permanent teeth.
Dentists don’t recommend playing with your loose tooth. The constant movement can damage the roots, causing complications and alignment issues for the new teeth that try to come in. Also, if you try to yank the tooth out too early, you may break off the top part of the tooth, leaving the rest impacted in your child’s mouth. The dentist will have to cut out the remaining part of the tooth.
If a tooth is ready to come out, there should be little bleeding. If gums do bleed, hold a piece of cotton or gauze on them to control bleeding. It’s also important that only children pull out their own teeth. They can figure out how the tooth is attached. If it hurts too much, your child will know and that means it’s not ready to come out.
If you have a loose tooth that shouldn’t be loose, contact Dr. Donald, Cody, or Justin Coon immediately. Permanent teeth can fall out due to gum disease and other serious dental problems.
The safest way to lose a tooth is just to let it fall out on its own. It’s important to clean the area after the tooth comes out to prevent infection and bacteria from entering the gums. Dr. Coon can tell you if your tooth is ready to be pulled out. He can pull it out for you, or tell your child the best way to do it. Contact Grinnell Street Dental in Sheridan, WY at 307-672-7567 to schedule an appointment.

Family Health and Fitness Day 2011

Family Health and Fitness Day is a national health event, always held on the last Saturday in September. The 15th annual family day will be held this year on September 24, 2011.
The health event is organized by the Health Information Resource Center. The goal is to gather families together to promote the importance of healthy lives. Your local YMCA, health clubs, and other community centers may have activities to promote good health awareness and family involvement. Some activities include health screenings, exercises, games, demonstrations, and health information workshops.
Taking care of your health is important to fight off illnesses and diseases. Also, you need to get your children involved in health awareness. Family Health and Fitness Day will teach them the importance of good health and how to maintain it.
Your oral condition is one important part of your overall health. Poor oral health can lead to excess bacteria in your mouth, causing tooth decay and gum disease. However, these harmful bacteria can also enter your bloodstream, potentially causing heart attack, stroke, complications with diabetes and pregnancy, and respiratory problems. Maintaining a healthy mouth will contribute to a healthy body.
Check your local organizations to see how you can get involved in promoting good health with Family Health and Fitness Day. You should also visit Dr. Coon every six months to make sure your family oral health is in good shape. Contact Grinnell Street Dental in Sheridan, WY at 307-672-7567 to schedule an appointment.

Fun Facts About Floss

Daily flossing is required for healthy teeth. Thorough flossing removes the plaque and food debris that your toothbrush may not. It also increases blood circulation in your gums to help prevent gum disease.
Flossing is a crucial component for a healthy smile, but it has a fair share of interesting facts, as well. Here are some fun facts about dental floss:

  • The idea for floss is credited to Levi Spear Parmly, a dentist from New Orleans, in 1815. He told his patients to use a thin silk thread to clean between their teeth.
  • Floss was commercially manufactured for the first time in 1882. Codman and Shurtleft Company began marketing unwaxed silk dental floss. Johnson & Johnson released their first silk floss product in 1896 and patented dental floss in 1898.
  • During the 1940s, the physician Dr. Charles Bass found that nylon material is better for flossing than silk. The silk often shredded when going between teeth. Nylon has a consistent texture and better resistance. Nylon led to the development of waxed floss and dental tape.
  • Proper flossing requires the average person to use 122 yards of floss per year. Sales data shows that only an average of 18 yards is sold per person each year.
  • Only 28 percent of people say they floss every day. About 73 percent would rather go grocery shopping than floss.

It comes in many forms – waxed, unwaxed, flavored, unflavored, wide, and regular. All floss works the same, but only if you use it properly. Ask Dr. Coon or one of our hygienists to demonstrating proper flossing techniques. Contact Grinnell Street Dental in Sheridan, WY at 307-672-7567 to schedule an appointment for your professional dental checkup.

How Many Smiles Do You Have?

As a baby, you learn to smile by mimicking the expressions of others. When you smile, your body sends a message to your brain that makes you and others feel good. A smile is generally defined as an upturning of the lips, but you form different versions of your smile depending on your mood and emotions. This makes it hard for others who don’t know you well to tell what you really mean when you smile.
The key to diagnosing a smile meaning is to look at the eyes. You use two different sets of muscles when you smile. The zygomatic major muscles control the mouth to enlarge the cheeks and expose your teeth. The orbicularis oculi muscles pull back the eyes to make them narrow and create tiny wrinkles.
The Genuine Smile: A true smile is formed when you express happiness and joy. It’s honest and comes straight from the heart. A genuine smile can be recognized because your eyes will look smaller, your eyebrows will dip down, and you’ll have small wrinkles in the corners of your eyes.
Smirk: A smirk shows that you are secretive. Your lips will be pressed together in a straight line and your eyes may look squinty. This type of smile makes people think you are hiding something or being sarcastic.
Friendly Smile: A friendly smile is welcoming and inviting. It’s often used for introductions when you meet or greet people and can be genuine or fake, depending if you’re actually interested in the person.
Polite Smile: A polite smile is often faked. You can use your muscles to form a smile with your mouth, but your eyes won’t have the true wrinkles of a genuine smile. You use this type of smile when you’re pretending to be interested in someone to spare their feelings.
Embarrassed Smile: Some people smile when they’ve been embarrassed or caught doing something wrong. Your head will be tilted downwards and your lips will be together. It looks innocent, makes you feel better, and covers up your embarrassment.
Playful Smile: When you’re laughing or playing, you’ll widely open your mouth and show all your teeth. This type of smile is genuine when you’re excited or having fun.
It takes more facial muscles to frown than it does to smile. If you’re embarrassed to smile and show your teeth because of your dental problems, Dr. Coon can help you restore and whiten your smile. Contact Grinnell Street Dental at 307-672-7567 to schedule an appointment.

How to Floss Properly

Your entire life, you’ve been told that it’s important to brush and floss your teeth, but why? Why are both dental hygiene measures necessary to maintain a healthy and bacteria free mouth?
The truth is, brushing your teeth only does half of the job. Yes, brushing your teeth thoroughly can remove plaque and bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth, but what about the particles of food and sugar that become lodged in the dark, tight crevices between your teeth? Your toothbrush can’t reach those areas.
That’s where flossing comes in. Dental floss is designed to be pushed between your teeth to clean those tight spaces. By flossing properly at least once a day, you are removing the plaque and bacteria that hide between your teeth and escape the bristles of your toothbrush.
This is just one of the reasons why flossing is so important to your oral health.
Correct flossing is a pretty easy thing to learn, and there are two techniques to help you out.
The Spool Method
To use the spool method, take about 18 inches of floss, and wind most of it lightly around your middle finger. Then, wind the remaining floss around the middle finger on your other hand. Now, push the floss between your teeth using your index fingers and thumbs. Gently bring the floss up and down several times around both sides of each tooth, making sure to reach below the gum line, forming a “C” shape around each tooth with the floss.
The Loop Method
To use the loop method, pull off an 18-inch strand of floss, and make it into the shape of a circle. Tie the circle with three secure knots, and place all of your fingers (not your thumbs) into the loop. Next, use your index fingers to direct the floss through your lower teeth and your thumbs to direct it through your upper teeth. Again, be sure to clean below the gum line, and make the floss form a “C” shape around the sides of each tooth.
For more tips about oral hygiene and health, call Dr. Coon’s dental office Sheridan, Wyoming at (307) 672-7567.