601 State Road 35 | P.O. Box 459 |
          Centuria, Wisconsin 54824

Category Archives: Uncategorized

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Dental Implant Care: Tips for Proper Maintenance

Care for Your Dental Crown Have you recently replaced missing teeth with dental implants? If so, it’s important to protect your investment so you can enjoy a healthy, functional smile for many years to come. Fortunately, dental implants can be cared for similarly to natural teeth. Today, our team at River Birch Dental discusses dental implant care and offers tips and tricks for proper maintenance.

If you would like to learn more about dental implants, schedule a visit with one of our doctors. Contact River Birch Dental online or call us at (715) 646-2161.

Call Our Office at 715-646-2161 Today!

The Importance of Dental Implant Care

Dental implants are fabricated from titanium, and the attached restorations are generally crafted from ceramic, zirconia, or a similar dental material. Because there is no natural tooth structure, implants are impervious to decay. However, it is important to understand that implants are still vulnerable to gum disease. In the same way that natural teeth can be affected by gingivitis, implants develop a similar condition known as mucositis. If left untreated, this condition progresses into peri-implantitis. At this stage, irreversible bone loss occurs, potentially leading to complete implant failure. Therefore, it is essential to care for your implants properly so you can enjoy them for many years to come.

Brushing and Flossing: Dental Implant Care

Your implants should be brushed and flossed daily, just like your natural teeth. When brushing, angle your toothbrush into the gum line at a 45-degree angle. Then move the brush back and forth for approximately 20 seconds before moving on to the next section. This technique helps remove plaque and sweep harmful bacteria away. We recommend using a non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste. Avoid harsh whitening pastes, as these can cause micro-abrasions on the surfaces of your restorations.

The flossing method recommended for you will depend on the type of restoration you have. Single implants can be flossed easily with normal dental floss, while fixed implant bridges may require interproximal brushes, dental picks, or floss threaders. Your dentist or hygienist can help you select the tools that will be most effective for you, as well as demonstrate proper flossing techniques.

It is also a good idea to invest in an antibacterial mouthwash. Rinsing twice a day will help remove harmful microbes and reduce plaque buildup. To avoid dry mouth, try an alcohol-free product.

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What About Water Flossers?

With the popularity of water flossers, more and more patients ask about their effectiveness. In short, water flossers are an excellent addition to your oral hygiene regimen. However, they should never be used in place of physical floss. Why? Because physical contact is necessary when removing plaque deposits and tartar from the teeth. Water flossers do a fantastic job of removing food particles and debris, but they leave harmful biofilm behind. To ensure your teeth are as clean as possible, be sure you are incorporating dental floss or interproximal brushes into your at-home routine.

Regular Dental Cleanings and Examinations

Routine dental visits are important for everyone, and there’s no exception for patients with dental implants. During a cleaning with your hygienist, he or she will thoroughly debride your implants, removing debris from the threads of the posts as well as your restorations and natural teeth. This will be completed using hand scalers and ultrasonic instruments. Next, your dentist will assess the condition of your implant and ensure the surrounding tissues are strong and healthy.

How Often Should My Implants Be Cleaned?

Dental implants should be cleaned just as often as your natural teeth. It takes a few months for oral bacteria to repopulate. In general, most patients require cleanings every six months. However, if you are prone to certain dental conditions, such as decay or periodontal disease, we may recommend more frequent visits.

Learn More about Dental Implant Care

If you are considering dental implants or have recently undergone treatment, understanding proper implant maintenance is crucial for your long-term oral health. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, contact River Birch Dental by calling (715) 646-2161.

Call Our Office at 715-646-2161 Today!

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Protect Your Investment: How to Properly Care for Your Dental Crown

Care for Your Dental Crown If you’ve just received a dental crown, you are probably curious to know how you can best protect your investment. After all, dental work can be time-consuming and costly. Proper care can ensure that your new restoration lasts for many years to come. Today, Dr. Georgie Vargas gives a brief overview of dental crowns and explains how patients can achieve and maintain healthy smiles.

At River Birch Dental in Centuria, WI, we believe that how you care for your smile between visits is just as important as professional cleanings and examinations. To speak to a team member, contact us online or call us at 715-646-2161.

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What are dental crowns?

Custom-made to fit your dental anatomy, dental crowns are designed to fit over the entire tooth structure. These restorations can be fabricated from a wide range of materials, including gold, metal alloys, ceramic, zirconia, or porcelain-fused-to-metal. During a visit at our practice, Dr. Vargas can help determine which type of crown is most appropriate for your needs.

Do I need a dental crown?

Crowns can address a variety of issues and are used in restorative and cosmetic procedures alike. You may be eligible for a dental crown if:

  • You have a large cavity
  • Your tooth is cracked or fractured
  • You have a small or misshapen tooth
  • You have dental staining that does not respond to teeth whitening
  • You have a weak tooth that requires reinforcement
  • Your bite feels “off” or uneven
  • You recently had root canal therapy and need to protect the tooth from further damage
  • You are replacing a missing tooth with a single dental implant

Five Oral Hygiene Tips for Dental Crowns

Fortunately, crowns don’t require specialized attention and can be cleaned just like natural teeth. The tips and tricks discussed in the sections below can keep your crown in tip-top shape.

Brush Twice Daily

To keep bacteria levels at bay, you must remove plaque from your crown (and your natural teeth) every day. We recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. Steer clear of whitening toothpastes; these can be too abrasive for porcelain crowns and do nothing to lighten the color of custom restorations.

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Floss Every Day

You must clean between the teeth for optimal oral health. When flossing around a crown, avoid snapping the floss out of the space. Rather, pull the floss out gently when you are finished. This will reduce the risk of dislodgement.

You can also ask your dentist if he or she has any recommendations regarding hygiene tools. Some patients find that interproximal brushes or dental picks can reach certain areas better than floss. No matter what you choose, be sure you clean between the teeth at least once every day.

Use an Antibacterial Mouthwash

Antibacterial mouthwash can help sweep away debris in tiny, hard-to-reach spaces. To reduce the risk of xerostomia – or chronic dry mouth – we recommend purchasing an alcohol-free mouthwash. Swish twice a day for best results.

Don’t Use Your Teeth as Tools

Patients should never chew on crunchy foods, such as ice or hard candy. This is true for all individuals, whether they have custom restorations or not. Additionally, your teeth should never be used as tools. For example, avoid opening packages, grooming your fingernails, or tearing off clothing tags with your teeth. This can lead to serious damage and may require extensive restorative procedures to address the issue.

Attend Regular Dental Visits

To keep your restorations and natural teeth in excellent condition, it is important to see your dentist on a regular basis. Routine examinations and cleanings help your dental team detect any potential problems before they worsen.

Contact River Birch Dental Today

Do you have dental crowns? Are you considering them as part of your personalized treatment plan? If so, knowing how to properly care for them is essential for their long-term success. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, contact us online or call our office at 715-646-2161.

Call Our Office at 715-646-2161 Today!

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The Hidden Dental Dangers of Baby Bottles and Pacifiers

Dangers of Baby Bottles and Pacifiers The long-term use of a pacifier or baby bottle can lead to tooth decay and expensive orthodontic problems. Baby teeth, even though temporary, guide the proper eruption of permanent teeth, assist in the development of speech, and help maintain correct chewing habits. Alternative self-soothing options and dental checkups for your child are to avoid unnecessary pain and discomfort caused by a baby bottle or pacifier. While both items have benefits in child-rearing, it is important to know of the dental dangers they can possess.

Call Our Office at 715-646-2161 Today!

The doctors at River Birch Dental in Centuria, WI, believe that weaning your child from his or her bottle and pacifier at an early age can have a positive and lasting impact on their oral health and general wellbeing. Call us today to discuss your dental concerns at 715-646-2161 or contact us online anytime.

The Hidden Dental Dangers of Baby Bottles

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

This hidden dental danger is responsible for tooth decay in many children. Cavities in baby teeth are caused by exposure to any drink other than water for an extended period. The risk for tooth decay increases when you put your child to bed with a bottle full of milk, formula, juice, or soda. The sugar and carbohydrates in the liquid are in constant contact with the teeth, creating an environment that decay-causing bacteria will thrive.

Tooth decay leads to painful infections, tooth extractions, and extensive dental treatments. White spots on the teeth and near the gum line is an indicator of early tooth decay. Later stage tooth decay symptoms include black or brown spots on the teeth, bleeding or swollen gums, fever, and bad breath.

Prevention is the best approach to avoiding baby bottle tooth decay. Here are some helpful ways to prevent this from happening to your child:

  • Wean your child from using a baby bottle for all liquids by one year of age, or at the latest, eighteen months.
  • Once weaned from the bottle, train your child that milk is for mealtimes only. Offer water to drink throughout the day.
  • Limit all acidic foods and juices. If you give your child juice or a sugary drink, avoid putting it in a bottle. Only use bottles for milk, breast milk, and formula.
  • Good oral hygiene habits develop at a young age. Brush twice a day and always before bedtime.
  • Bottles should not take the place of a pacifier for comfort and soothing.
  • Begin pediatric dental visits at an early age.

The transition from the bottle to a cup or a sippy cup can have its challenges. Here are some helpful tips to wean your child off the bottle:

  • Introduce the sippy cup around six months of age.
  • Replace one bottle feeding a day with the cup. Continue this for a few days before replacing another feeding.
  • Avoid bottle weaning when the family is not under the stress of moving, having a new baby, going on vacation, or starting daycare.
  • Praise, positive reinforcement, and encouragement can make all the difference in successful weaning.
  • When your child is upset, comfort them in other ways – like singing, playing a special game, rocking, or using a security blanket.
  • You know your child best – and going cold turkey may be the best scenario. Some parents have a brief send-off ceremony to say goodbye to the bottle while celebrating the child for being a big girl or big boy.

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The Hidden Dental Dangers of Pacifiers

Pacifier Teeth

The short-term use of a pacifier does have some benefits to it, like lowering the risk for SIDS in infants. Long-term use, however, can lead to several hidden dental dangers. Using a pacifier past age two, can encourage the teeth to grow in crooked or not align as they should, jaw misalignment, and can narrow the width of the roof of the mouth. This will lead to costly orthodontic problems that will need correcting as your child becomes a teenager.

It is crucial to wean your child by two years of age and schedule professional dental cleanings to prevent the risk of pacifier teeth. However, breaking your child’s pacifier habit can be daunting. Here are a few helpful tips to break the habit for good.

  • When your child asks for a pacifier, distract them with a fun activity or game.
  • Pacifiers offer comfort and security to your little one so finding another object your child can use can be helpful. Objects could be a special blanket, a doll, or another important toy.
  • Some parents use a sticker chart for positive reinforcement to acknowledge every day the child goes without using their pacifier.
  • Like bottle-weaning, save this transition for a time when the family isn’t moving, having a new baby, or going on vacation.
  • Again, cold turkey may be the best option for your child with a brief farewell ceremony.

Contact Us

Healthy teeth for our youngest patients begin at home. Help your child develop habits and routines that encourage healthy eating and proper dental care. It can make a huge difference in your child’s health for many years. Schedule your child’s first dental cleaning at River Birch Dental around two years of age. Call us at 715-646-2161 or contact us online anytime.

Call Our Office at 715-646-2161 Today!

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What to Do When You Have a Toothache

Are you experiencing the unique and unpleasant feeling of dental pain? If so, we sympathize wholeheartedly. A toothache can rob you of your ability to eat or sleep, and force you to put your entire life on hold. You wanted to enjoy your hot coffee this morning? Sorry, toothache says no. You wanted to enjoy a lunch at your favorite restaurant? Sorry, toothache won’t let you! Even sleeping at night can become impossible if a toothache is severe enough.

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Sometimes painkillers can deliver brief periods of relief, but the bottom line is this: toothaches never go away on their own. Even an intermittent toothache is guaranteed to come back at some point (and hit hard) if you don’t see a dentist.

Call Us and Tell Us About Your Problem Tooth

When you call River Birch Dental, we’ll want to hear about your symptoms in order to schedule you properly. If your toothache comes and goes and your life is mostly livable, we’ll schedule for an urgent appointment, so you can be seen within a couple of days. If your toothache has become so painful that it’s interfering with your ability to do your job and live your life, we’ll try to get you a same-day emergency appointment. We don’t want anyone to suffer even a minute longer than necessary, so let us know how severe your problem is.

Self-Care While You Wait for Your Appointment

The first thing you should do when you experience a toothache is brush and floss the tooth carefully.  with If you have a cavity, a piece of food may be irritating it and making the pain worse. Cleaning the tooth may reduce your pain somewhat.

There are several things you can do to alleviate your pain while you wait for treatment.

  1. Take over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Do not exceed the recommended dosage.
  2. Rinse the mouth with warm salt water. A salt-water rinse can help alleviate oral pain and may remove food debris from a cavity.
  3. Hold an ice pack against your cheek. Fill an ice pack (or use a bag of frozen peas) and wrap it in a towel. Apply it directly over the source of the pain. Do not put ice inside your mouth, however. This can harm your teeth or gum tissues.
  4. Avoid any foods that require biting or chewing. Eat only soft, room-temperature foods that won’t get stuck in the teeth. This will help you avoid agitating the tooth until your appointment.
  5. Apply a small amount of eugenol to the tooth. Eugenol is a natural anesthetic made from clove oil, and many patients claim it can numb a painful tooth. It can be found at most drug stores, sometimes in a “toothache kit.” Use only a very small amount, applied to the tooth with a cotton bud.

If you are experiencing facial swelling and fever along with your toothache, call us immediately or visit an urgent medical care facility as soon as possible. A swollen cheek means the infection has spread to the gum tissue and created an abscess. A fever means that the infection has spread from the tooth and may be putting your whole body at risk of a systemic infection. This can become a life-threatening condition if not treated promptly.

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Why You Shouldn’t Ignore a Toothache

Whether it’s a throbbing sensation, shooting pain, or dull ache—a toothache is never a good sign. In order to understand why, you need to understand the anatomy of your tooth. The white part of the tooth that’s visible above the gums is called the enamel, and it feels no sensations whatsoever. Below that is the dentin, and inside the dentin is the pulp chamber. The nerve endings in your teeth are located in the pulp chamber, but reach out and up into the dentin. This means that any pain you feel is happening either inside the tooth or in the root of the tooth.

The toothache may be caused by a cavity that has reached deep enough to hit the dentin or pulp. It could also be a deep crack in the tooth. If the pain is in a tooth that already has had a filling or other restoration, you may need to have it replaced to fix the problem. Sometimes gum recession reveals root surfaces, which are more sensitive than enamel. Even if your pain is being caused by a particle of food stuck between the tooth and the gum—if it’s deep enough to cause pain, you may need help getting it out. No matter what’s causing your pain, you need a dentist to help you fix the problem.

In many cases, a cavity is responsible for the pain you feel. Teeth do not self-heal once they’ve sustained a cavity, and the only way to restore it is with a filling and/or root canal therapy. Neglect a toothache long enough, however, and you may have too much damage for us to be able to save it. In those cases, a tooth extraction is the only solution. The sooner you make an appointment, the better our chances of saving the tooth!

If you are experiencing a toothache, call River Birch Dental at 715-646-2161. We’ll fix your tooth and end your pain. Call today to arrange a next-available appointment or emergency appointment in our Centuria, WI dental office.

Call Us at 715-646-2161 Today!

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Root canals are nothing to fear!

Pulpitis. Root Canal Therapy. Infected Pulp Is Removed From The Tooth It started as a toothache, but the pain has become unbearable. Maybe the tooth already has a crown or filling. When the nerve inside the core of a tooth becomes pressurized against growing bacterial infection, the resulting toothache can become intense. Whether you’ve been informed that you need RCT or you’ve postponed seeing the dentist because concerned about what your diagnosis might be, you need to know right now that root canals relieve pain, and today, root canal treatment is more comfortable than it’s ever been.  

Call Our Office at 715-646-2161 Today!

Have you received a diagnosis for root canal therapy or do you need to find out what’s causing your tooth pain? Our dentists are here with the tools and skills to serve you. Call River Birch Dental in Centuria, WI today to schedule your consultation, at 715-646-2161.

How We Make Root Canals Comfortable

If you had RCT decades ago, you might recall attending multiple appointments. Today, we can often perform simple root canal therapy in a single visit. With microtools and modern treatment methods, root canal therapy is more precise and concise than ever before. (Complex cases sometimes require two appointments.)

Anticipation and dwelling on the negatives often make an event seem worse than it will be. If you’re stressed or anxious about root canal therapy, let us know! Our dentists often administer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to help patients relax before root canals. Of course, local anesthetic is used during the procedure, but laughing gas can help you feel more comfortable even before treatment begins.

Not knowing what a dental procedure will involve can create stress, as well. We believe that patient education is an important tool not only because it empowers our patients to make informed treatment decisions, but also because understanding the what, why, and how behind a procedure can erase misconceptions. If you have any questions about root canals, don’t hesitate to ask. We encourage questions and are always happy to provide straight answers. (Note that we understand, some patients do not want to know the details of a procedure. If this is your preference, just tell the doctor or assistant. We’re here to serve you and your unique needs!)

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Tooth Pain Relief

Teeth are extremely hard; in fact, tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. The small chamber within a tooth’s core is inflexible. When bacteria enter through a crack or cavity, then begin to reproduce, the nerve inside the tooth’s core becomes compressed. Much like a compressed nerve between two vertebrae, a dental nerve under pressure will cause significant pain.

To relieve the pain of an acute toothache caused by growing infection, the bacteria must be removed. Unfortunately, once a tooth nerve has been introduced to bacteria, it will die. The nerve, too, must be removed. Together, a tooth’s nerve and surrounding connective tissues are known as dental pulp. During root canal treatment, the dentist removes dental pulp and replaces it with a rubber-like substance that helps the remaining tooth stay strong.

By eliminating the infection and infected nerve, root canal therapy relieves pain. In addition, because bacterial infection is eradicated, the tooth can remain in place. You won’t need a bridge or dental implant, as you would if the entire tooth had been extracted.

Second Opinion Seekers Welcome

In some cases, a patient who’s been informed that RCT is mandatory may be misinformed. We’re always happy to provide second opinions. So, whether you need root canal therapy or simply need a dental crown, we welcome you to call River Birch Dental in Centuria, WI today to schedule a consultation with one of our general dentists.

Call Our Office at 715-646-2161 Today!

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