How Dental Health Affects Your Overall Health

You have probably been taught all of your life that good oral hygiene is vital for your teeth. That to keep your smile beautiful you must take care of it. Did you know though, that your dental health affects more than just your mouth? Here we will cover some of the other ways how dental health affects your overall health.

Dental Health & Your Heart

When you think of your mouth and its effects on your body, your heart is probably the furthest thing from your mind. The fact is you should be considering your heart and much more. Studies are showing an increasing link between dental health and heart disease. How can your teeth affect your heart is your next question? Well, when you do not take care of your teeth properly, bacteria can build up and cause infections in your gums. Left untreated this infection can turn into a gum disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis can cause infection to enter your bloodstream and cause inflammation in your blood vessels. This inflammation causes a strain on your heart in many different ways. For this reason, it is imperative that you have regular check-ups and practice a good dental care routine at home.

Dental Health & Your Immune System

Another part of your body that is adversely affected due to dental issues is your immune system. As with your heart, immune problems are connected to your mouth through infections. When you have bacteria in your mouth that leads to an infection your immune system automatically amps up and attacks the infection. When the disease is left unattended, your body will fight more to rid itself of this problem. In doing so, your immune levels will be lowered allowing the infection to spread easier through your blood to other parts of your body. As the bacteria spread so does your immune systems attack, causing further depletion of your bodies natural defense. Many of these issues can be avoided though, through regular preventative care at your local general dentistry clinic.

Schedule Your Dental Check Up!

Regular dentist visits are as important for your dental health as brushing and flossing daily. Schedule your appointment today with the experienced staff at Brentwood Family Dentistry, and let them help keep your mouth and whole body healthy. This healthy mouth and body will give you a new reason to show the world your beautiful smile.

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At What Age Should Children See an Orthodontist?

Do you know when your child should see an Orthodontist? Most parents are told to send their kids to the dentist twice a year at the very least. Therefore, some might forgo scheduling an appointment with an orthodontist. Read on to learn more about the right age and reasons children should see an orthodontist.

Causes of Crooked Teeth

The habits of your child as he or she grows up as well as genetics can play a factor in whether their teeth become crooked or straight when they’re fully developed. It could be caused by the following:

  • Your child’s nasal breathing:
  • The way they position their tongue
  • Skeletal posture
  • Poor lip posture: not closing their mouth the right way when at rest
  • Oral behaviors: sucking their thumbs or using pacifiers

All of these sound strange and odd, but they can impact whether your child develops straight or crooked teeth. This is where cosmetic dentistry such as accelerated orthodontics comes in to help straighten those crooked teeth once more.

Benefits of Straighter Teeth

Did you know having straighter teeth can benefit your oral health? Getting your child’s teeth straightened by a professional Orthodontist can make their gums healthier. When your teeth are spaced too far apart or too close together, your gums become irritated and red. Straightening crooked teeth allow your gums to fit around your teeth more properly than before.

Getting your teeth straightened out by an orthodontist can also create the following possibilities for your child’s oral health:

  • Make cleaning easier: flossing is easier to clean between straightened teeth
  • Avoids further damage to teeth due to rubbing against each other
  • Prevents tooth injury since some crooked teeth can be damaged in an accident

Straightening your teeth can provide anyone with more confidence and build up your self-esteem when you’ve been too self-conscious to show them to the people around you.

First Steps of Orthodontic Care

Did you know your child should be seen by an Orthodontist as early as seven years old? That seems soon, doesn’t it? This is when a child starts getting those adult teeth; therefore, an Orthodontist can determine if they will need orthodontics to realign those crooked teeth that are already forming. If your child does seem to need braces or Invisalign trays, then they will come back when they are old enough for the process such as 11-14 years of age.

After your child hits a certain age where they are old enough to handle orthodontic care, Dr. Rhea can create Invisalign trays specifically for your child’s mouth. There’s no need to put those uncomfortable, heavy braces on them anymore if you don’t want them to since Invisalign trays are much more comfortable and convenient. They are just as safe to use as braces, so don’t think they are only for adults. Invisalign trays are also clear plastic trays that fit over their teeth and help gradually move their teeth to a more straighter smile!

If you live in or around Brentwood, MO, consider Dr. Rhea as your child’s Orthodontist. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or ask any questions concerning your child’s dental care. We can help your child get those crooked teeth straight once again!

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Why You Need to Floss Regularly

Do you floss every day? Flossing is one of the most significant aspects of oral care that everyone should instill in their daily routine. Brushing your teeth can remove most of the plaque in your mouth, but it doesn’t always remove all the plaque and food particles that are stuck between your teeth. Cleaning your teeth by a dentist can also provide the best cleaning and oral care possible because they know how to clean your teeth.

Why is flossing important?

By flossing, you can collect all the plaque that’s stuck between your teeth. These areas won’t be swept away from the process of flossing alone. Your toothbrush doesn’t always get all those hard to reach areas since they can only do so much. Therefore, flossing can be very beneficial to your overall oral health.

What can happen if you don’t floss

Leaving the plaque and food particles where they lay will eventually eat at each tooth’s health; therefore, your oral health is at risk whenever you decide not to floss your teeth. Flossing material is thin enough to reach those areas that aren’t accessible by brushing your teeth or using mouthwash. Forgoing any type of flossing on a daily basis can result in tooth decay and gum disease. This is why flossing is so essential to ensuring your oral health is progressing the way it should. Otherwise, you might have a future of gum disease or tooth decay.

Knowing if You Need to Floss more

So, how can you make sure you are flossing enough? You should use a long piece of floss to make sure you floss all the teeth in your mouth. Use every little bit on every in between section of teeth, because every tooth in your mouth is essential to make sure they stay healthy. You don’t want to have your dentist get them pulled.

Also, by flossing twice a day, you can clean areas that have build-up plaque whenever you forgo flossing. This oral care routine will also save you time on brushing your teeth since brushing doesn’t always sweep the plaque away.

Do you live in or around Brentwood, MO area? Contact Family Brentwood Dentistry today to set up an appointment or ask any questions you might have about flossing or preventative dentistry. We can provide the best oral care for your teeth than any other dentist in the area because we care about the oral health of every patient who comes to our office.

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5 Ways to Avoid Stained Teeth

As you age, you may notice your teeth starting to darken. This is because tooth enamel begins to wear away or crack, exposing the dentin underneath. Dentin is not as dense as enamel and absorbs colors from food more easily. But you’re not doomed to pay for whitening treatments every day.


How to Avoid Stained Teeth

Though there are more ways you can avoid stained teeth, here are five of the most important:

Staining Drinks to Avoid

There are certain drinks that can stain your teeth. They include:

  • Coffee
  • Black tea – opt for green, white, or herbal teas instead
  • Soda
  • Acidic juices, such as lemonade or grapefruit juice
  • Other fruit juices, such as cranberry juice
  • Red wine

These drinks should be consumed very moderately. It might help to drink them through a straw, so you can minimize contact with the teeth.


What to Eat

There are also certain foods that can stain your teeth, such as:

  • Lemons and other citrus fruits
  • Popsicles
  • Soy sauce
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Tomato sauce
  • Blueberries
  • Beets
  • Curry

But there are also foods that will help whiten your teeth naturally. These foods include:

  • Crunchy fruits like apples and strawberries, which both rub out stains and dissolve them
  • Crunchy vegetables, such as celery and carrots
  • Yogurt, milk, and cheese

Lifestyle Habits to Avoid or Change

One habit that is especially harmful for teeth is smoking. Smoke from cigarettes is one of the main culprits when teeth begin to stain, due to the everyday exposure to cigarettes. You can greatly increase your chances of retaining white teeth if you can quit smoking.


Oral Care Habits

Proper oral care habits will reduce both plaque and stains. Habits that you should start, increase, or continue include:

  • Brushing in the morning, before bed, and after each meal
  • Using an electric toothbrush
  • Using a whitening toothpaste with peroxide
  • Brushing gently so you don’t wear away enamel
  • Flossing every day
  • Rinsing after brushing and after each meal
  • Using an antibacterial mouthwash


Visit Your Dentist Regularly

Regular visits to your dentist will help you stay on top of stains. They can examine your teeth and tell you if you need to work on whitening your teeth. They will give you advice specific to your situation. They may even offer whitening treatments.


Cosmetic Dentist in Brentwood, Missouri

Brentwood Family Dentistry in Brentwood, Missouri, can help you with your cosmetic dentistry needs. We offer both in-office and take-home whitening treatments. We also offer bonding, fillings, veneers, crowns, and orthodontics. Contact Brentwood Family Dentistry today to discuss how we can improve the appearance and health of your teeth.

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What to Expect When Recovering from a Root Canal

How to Prepare for a Root Canal

Your dentist should have thoroughly examined, done X-Rays, and gone over your mouth for good measure before they will follow the root canal route. They will make sure there isn’t any other preventive care they can do before following through on the root canal procedure.

When a root canal procedure can’t be avoided, it is Brentwood Family Dentistry’s goal to make sure every patient feels relaxed and comfortable during the process. We take our time explaining every part of the procedure you will go through so that you will know what to expect. Each of our patients deserves the individual attention to make sure they feel as comfortable as possible.

Root Canal Recovery

Your dentist will need to perform a root canal when your tooth dies. This means the nerve and blood vessel tissue is dead, so they have to remove. They also have to remove any part of the decayed portions of the tooths. Then, they will seal your roots with some sealing material. You can have them cover your missing tooth area with a crown if you or your dentist decide on that course of action.

You will probably be sore for a while, so you shouldn’t eat any solid foods for a day or two. Each person is different, so if you don’t think you can eat solid foods for a while, take your time. However, if pain becomes too much, you should check it out with your dentist. You could get an infection even if you are still taking antibiotics.

Root Canal Aftercare

After a root canal procedure, it’s always important to follow the directions your dentist gives you. Follow every step because root canal aftercare is very important for healing and preventing any type of infection from occurring in your mouth after the procedure. You will more than likely be given antibiotics to prevent any infection from developing, while your mouth heals appropriately. Make sure to take as much as your dentist prescribes because you don’t want to have to come in again to deal with infection or other problems.

At Brentwood Family Dentistry, we pride ourselves in doing everything we can prevent the need for a root canal in the first place. This is why it’s so crucial to continue regular checkups with your regular dentist. There are always ways to help prevent this from happening.

If you live in or around Brentwood, MO, then see if Brentwood Family Dentistry is for you. Contact us today to set an appointment or ask any questions!

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Why Preventative Dentist Visits Are So Important

What is a Preventative Dentist Visit?

Regular visits to your dentist are important. Known as preventative dentistry, these checkups help to maintain the health of your smile, catch any issues before they become more serious, and promotes healthy oral care.

At Brentwood Family Dentistry, we understand how important preventative dentistry is to your health. Below, we talk about the risks you take when you skip your semi-annual visit to the dentist as well as what you can expect when you visit us.


Skipping Visits Puts You at Risk

The American Dental Association recommends you visit your dentist every 6 months. These semi-annual visits are essential to maintaining your oral health.

Plaque and tartar build-up can lead to cavities. Whether you brush your teeth regularly or not, build up is possible based on genetics, diet, or other factors. Visiting your dentist is the best way to help decrease the likelihood of developing cavities, gingivitis, enamel loss, periodontitis and other illnesses associated with tartar and bacteria that may inhabit the mouth.

You also may not realize that your oral health can affect your overall health. In fact, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, respiratory disease, and cancer have all been linked to poor oral health. Taking care of your mouth helps you take care of your overall health too.


What to Expect at a Preventative Dentistry Visit

During your visit with a general dentist, you can expect two things. The checkup is first; it is performed by your dentist and helps them to evaluate the overall health of your mouth. (If any cavities or other issues arise, you may also be asked to allow your dentist to take an oral x-ray to help them evaluate the level of damage or decay.) Your oral checkup includes an examination of your teeth, gums, tongue, and throat. Your face, neck, and head will also be checked for any swelling that may indicate a hidden oral infection.

The checkup is followed by a dental cleaning. While brushing and flossing at home help to keep plaque from building up on your teeth, you alone cannot remove tartar. A general dentist will use special tools to help remove any tartar build up. Your dentist will also polish and floss your teeth during this portion of your visit.

Visit Your Local General Dentist Today

At Brentwood Family Dentistry, we understand how scary a visit to your local general dentist can be. Rest assured, with Dr. James W. Rhea D.D.S. and Michael J. Doherty D.D.S, we take your fears and expectations seriously. Whether you need a filling, root canal, nightguards or other dental care, we walk you through every step of the way to ensure you are as comfortable as possible and prepared.

If you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us today!

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Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces

Invisalign is Convenient and Easy to Use

Braces can be cumbersome and unattractive. Younger family members especially will want to avoid embarrassing braces. Invisalign is an attractive alternative. It offers convenience, ease of use, aesthetic benefits, comfort, and easy maintenance – all advantages that braces cannot claim. Let’s look at the benefits of choosing Invisalign over traditional braces.

Braces consist of many parts, including wires, brackets, spacers, and rubber bands. They are not usually removed until their usefulness has ended since removal requires going back to the orthodontist. Users must be careful about the foods they consume, which can become trapped in the braces. Brushing and flossing can also be difficult. And, of course, they’re not very attractive.

Invisalign consists of trays called aligners. These aligners can be easily removed by the user at any time, including to eat, brush, and floss.


Interested in Invisalign?

Aesthetically Pleasing

Braces are clunky and obvious, attracting immediate attention to the user’s teeth. Invisalign aligners are customized to fit a specific user, so they line up perfectly with the teeth. This makes them mostly invisible, so only the user will know they are there.


Braces can irritate and cut into gums and cheeks, making them incredibly uncomfortable. Invisalign aligners have smooth edges, making them much more comfortable. Even the user may forget the aligners are there!

Easy Maintenance

Braces must be tightened at regular appointments and wires periodically replaced. If food and other substances get trapped in the braces, it may cause difficulties, which will also require setting up an appointment. Invisalign aligners are simply changed every two weeks. Because they can be removed to eat and brush, there is no risk of anything getting trapped.


Make the Best Choice to Improve Your Smile

Invisalign clearly has a lot of advantages over traditional braces. If you’re looking for a way to straighten your teeth without resorting to braces, Invisalign is the answer. Dr. Rhea is an experienced orthodontist in Brentwood, MO, who can help you learn more about Invisalign. The friendly staff will answer all your questions and get you started on the path to a nicer smile and healthier teeth. Contact Dr. Rhea today to schedule an appointment!


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Dental Bridges in Brentwood: A Complete Guide

What Are Dental Bridges?

Having a missing tooth, or multiple missing teeth, can not only affect your smile and confidence, but there’s also always a chance of infection and/or neighboring teeth becoming misaligned. In the past few decades, teeth replacements have advanced by leaps and bounds and dental bridges are responsible for restoring the smiles of scores of people across the country.

Brentwood Family Dentistry is the premier dental practice in Brentwood, MO and we provide professional, friendly and comfortable care in all aspects of advanced and general dental care. With the advancements in teeth replacement options, we want to ensure that you are fully informed about dental bridges.

Learn More

A dental bridge is a popular dental device that is permanently fixed to existing teeth or implants to cover up gaps caused by one or more missing teeth. In general, a “bridge” is created using a pontic, or artificial tooth, and abutments, which are anchored to the teeth or implants on either side of the space created by the missing tooth or teeth.

If the teeth bordering the missing tooth have large fillings and need crowns or caps in the future, a dental bridge is likely your best choice. The same goes for cases where the tooth or teeth has been missing for an extended time as the bone and gum will have receded and dental implants can require additional procedures before placement.


Dental Bridges vs Dental Implants

Dental bridges generally cost considerably less than implants and these days you can expect the average lifespan of your dental bridges to be around 10 years. You will also have less of a wait time for your dental bridge than you would experience with an implant, meaning you can regain that part of your life much quicker.

With implants, a bone graft is sometimes needed, which typically has to heal for several months before placement of your implant, and that means it can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months before your implant procedure is complete. When it comes to an affordable and timely solution, dental bridges can be the answer you need.


Contact us for Dental Bridges in Brentwood

No matter if you’ve fully made up your mind or you’re still on the fence regarding dental implants, Brentwood Family Dentistry can ensure that you are fully informed about your options and the pros and cons before undergoing any procedure.

Contact us today for more information or to set a dental appointment. Brentwood Family Dentistry has been serving area families for more than 20 years and we’re here to help maintain and enhance your smiles and overall dental health.

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6 Invisalign Benefits You Should Know

Invisalign is a form of orthodontics that uses a transparent, plastic aligner to adjust teeth. Clear aligners have evolved quite a bit over the past few years, improving with technology and the feedback of patients and doctors, but few have as many satisfied patients as Invisalign. And there are good reasons for this. Continue reading to find out 6 huge advantages that Invisalign has over traditional braces.

Benefits of Invisalign

Transparency of Invisaligners – One of the biggest reasons patients dread braces is the thought of their smile being unsightly with all of that metal showing. However, with Invisalign’s clear design that is customized specifically for your teeth, that phobia is no longer a concern. Many patients are surprised to find that it can take friends and family awhile to recognize the change if they even notice at all!

No Food Restrictions – Unlike traditional braces, with Invisalign you don’t have to restrict the types of food that you may consume. You can still enjoy your apple a day, caramel, nuts and even gum while treating with Invisalign. All you have to do is remove the aligners before eating.

Easy Oral Health Care – With traditional braces you are required to brush carefully, maneuvering around brackets. Thankfully, that is not an issue with Invisalign, and since they are removable, your brushing routine doesn’t have to change at all.

More Comfortable – Metal braces have to be tightened and have wires and edges that can poke you unexpectedly. Since Invisalign is customized for your mouth, the edges of the tray are smooth so they won’t irritate your gums or cheeks. They are definitely much more comfortable than braces.

Shorter Treatment Time – Instead of multiple years constantly wearing those old metal braces, treatment with Invisalign consists of a series of clear plastic trays, or aligners, that you switch out about every two weeks.

Improved Self-Esteem – Having aligners that no one can see, being able to eat what you want, and not having to change your oral health routine, are all huge factors when it comes to Invisalign over traditional braces. They are also huge factors in improving your self-esteem.

Accelerated Orthodontics in Brentwood, MO

If you’re ready for a smile that transforms your appearance, Invisalign is your answer, especially when compared to metal or ceramic braces. Dr. Rhea has a level of experience and training you can trust. The team at Brentwood Family Dentistry is ready to correct your crooked or crowded teeth, close any gaps you may have between teeth or fix an overbite, permanently. Invisalign is the best way to transform your smile without interfering with your day-to-day life. Dr. Rhea is the best provider in Brentwood, and your dental health and comfort are his primary concerns.

On your first visit to the office, our primary objectives are to talk with you about your concerns, answer all of your questions, and set your dental goals. We have been taking care of dental patients in the Brentwood area since 1993, and you can contact us today to learn more about us, Invisalign, or to set an appointment.

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How Serious is Gum Disease?

Some people are more genetically prone to gum disease than others. Periodontal or gum disease is a progressive condition which usually begins with a bacterial infection causing the body to destroy both gum and bone tissue in an inflammatory response. If left untreated, erosion of the bone results in a less stable base for the teeth, leading to loose teeth or complete tooth loss.

About Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease and causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage and is reversible with professional treatment and good oral care.

Factors that may contribute to gingivitis include stress, smoking, inadequate nutrition, diabetes, HIV, aging, substance abuse, pregnancy or hormonal fluctuations, systemic diseases and conditions, genetic predisposition, puberty and the use of certain medications.

Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis, and with time, plaque can grow and spread below the gum line. This causes gums to separate from the teeth and form pockets that become infected, and, as the disease develops, those pockets deepen, and even more bone and gum tissue are destroyed. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.

Types of Gum Disease

There are many forms of periodontitis, and you should consult us for periodontal therapy if you feel you are suffering from any of the following:

  • Systemic Diseases – Systemic conditions such as heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes are associated with a specific form of gum disease.
  • Aggressive Periodontitis – Includes rapid attachment loss and bone destruction.
  • Chronic Periodontitis – Results in inflammation within the supporting tissues of the teeth and includes progressive bone loss.
  • Necrotizing Periodontal Disease – An infection characterized by necrosis of gingival tissues, periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone.

Through recent research studies, periodontitis and gum disease have been linked to respiratory illness.  Research has concluded that periodontal disease can worsen conditions such as COPD and may play a role in the contraction of emphysema, bronchitis, and pneumonia.

There is also evidence that indicates dental disorders such as gum disease are linked to do with heart disease as well. To maintain good overall health, the best insurance you have is to keep good oral health habits.

Contact a Dentist in Brentwood

You should contact us if you notice any of these symptoms of gum disease:

  1. Red, swollen gums
  2. Loose teeth
  3. Pain when you bite or chew
  4. Bleeding after brushing/flossing
  5. Receding gums
  6. Pus on or around your gums

Don’t take chances with your oral health. The results could cost you a lot more than you think.

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