Which Toothbrush is Right for You?

Scientists think that toothbrushing tools date back to 3,000 BC when they were made of twigs. Thanks to modern technology, we no longer have to brush our teeth with trees. In fact, we have several different styles and types of toothbrushes to choose from. When deciding on a toothbrush, here are some important things to consider:

Most people choose a soft-bristled toothbrush because the bristles are more flexible and can bend easily and reach areas where food and plaque hide. Soft bristles also brush the area without cutting or bruising the gums.

The head of your toothbrush should be small to allow effective cleaning. A small head makes it easier to clean hard-to-reach areas, including the back teeth. (more…)

Oral Cancer Examinations

Since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, this is a great time to schedule an oral cancer screening. Research shows that approximately 7,900 people die from oral cancer each year. Ninety percent of people diagnosed with oral cancer have used some form of tobacco. Other risk factors for oral cancer include: heavy alcohol use, sun exposure, human papilloma virus (HPV), and untreated severe periodontal disease. Found and treated early, survival rate increases dramatically.

A great time to be screened is during your regular dental visits. The process only takes a few moments. Here is what you should expect during your oral cancer screening:

  1. Prior to your examination, remove any dentures or partials.
  2. Your neck, face, lips, and mouth will be inspected for visible signs of cancer.
  3. Your throat, jaw, and neck will be felt for any lumps.
  4. The inside of your lips and cheeks will be examined for red or white patches that may indicate cancer.
  5. You will be asked to stick out your tongue so that the healthcare provider can thoroughly check the top, sides, and underside for abnormal texture, color, or swelling.
  6. Additionally, the roof, floor, and back of the mouth will be examined.
  7. The examination will conclude with your healthcare provider gently placing one finger on the floor of your mouth and using the other hand to apply pressure under the chin to check for sensitivity or lumps.

If you notice any abnormalities prior to your regular visit, contact me, Dr. Jeffrey Allen, a Pella, IA family dentist. I provide cosmetic, preventive, and restorative services to patients in Pella, Oskaloosa, Lynnville, and surrounding areas. Call my Pella dentist office today at (641)628-1121 to schedule an appointment. Remember, early detection and treatment lead the battle in fighting oral cancer.

Dental Floss Preferences

During your trip to the store, you may have noticed the large variety of both toothpaste and dental floss. When choosing dental floss, which style to choose is simply a matter of preference.

A study conducted by periodontists at University of Buffalo found that nylon waxed dental floss and Teflon floss (wide, plytetrafluoroethylene floss) yield the same results on oral health: they both remove food particles and plaque.

However, of the 60 participants in the study, 75% preferred dental tape, which is thicker than thread floss, it will not fray or break, and slides smoothly between teeth. Usually, people with more room between their teeth like dental tape. (more…)

Teeth Loss and Dementia

Recently, researchers conducted a study that found elderly people who lose their teeth may have an increased risk of developing dementia. The study included more than 4,000 participants, ages 65 and older.

Participants in the study underwent a psychiatric assessment and dental examination. Those who had few or no natural teeth experienced some memory loss or had early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Many of the patients stated that they rarely visited the dentist.

The best way to protect against developing long-term, serious oral health problems is to keep regular six-month dental checkups and cleanings.  You should maintain healthy hygiene habits at home, as well. The American Dental Association recommends brushing teeth twice daily, flossing once a day, and rinsing with water after meals. (more…)

Smile Make Over Quiz

Have you looked in the mirror and really studied your teeth? Have you decided that you need cosmetic work? I’m Dr. Jeffrey Allen, a Pella, IA, family dentist, and I would like to assist you in reaching your cosmetic goals. Prior to your consultation with me, I want you to identify what you like and dislike about your smile. The following quiz will guide you in determining what changes you would like to make and what results you seek.

1. What color best describes your teeth?

a. Bright white

b. Yellowish

c. Gray-blue

d. Brownish

2. Which term best describes the position of your front teeth?

a. Perfectly straight

b. Gapped

c. Crowded

d. Uneven

3. Which adjective describes the shape of your front teeth?

a. Nice and attractive

b. Pointy

c. Uneven

d. Rough-edged


Caring For Your Dentures

You strive to keep your teeth healthy throughout life. However, sometimes dentures become necessary. In the same sense that you want to maintain your teeth for a lifetime, you should also maintain the longevity of your dentures.

Dentures, like your teeth, need proper care to ensure that they last. Caring for your dentures also protects oral health.  I’m Dr. Jeffrey Allen, a Pella, IA, family dentist, and I would like to give you some tips on caring for your dentures.

When you remove your dentures, you should do so over a folded towel or a sink full of water to avoid damaging them if you accidently drop them. (more…)

Advantages of Tooth-Colored Fillings

Whiter smiles are brighter smiles. Today most dentists offer tooth-colored composite resins as an alternative to dark amalgam to restore cavities. I’m Dr. Jeffrey Allen, a Pella cosmetic dentist, and I offer my patients tooth-colored fillings so they can retain a white, healthy, natural-looking smile.

A tooth-colored filling is a synthetic material that will not dehydrate or dissolve. These fillings are custom colored to match your tooth enamel, so when a filling is placed, it is practically undetectable. This is beneficial, particularly on front teeth that show when you smile.

While composite resin fillings are my primary choice, in some cases, an amalgam filling is the best material to use. At your visit, we can discuss which type of filling material would work best for your unique situation.