Root Planing and Scaling

Have you been to the dentist and they suggest getting root planing and scaling done and you have no idea what that means? Let us break it down for you:

Plaque is the primary cause of gum (periodontal) disease. However, other factors can contribute to periodontal disease which can include: hormonal changes (pregnancy, menopause, puberty, etc), medications, poor oral hygiene, illnesses (diabetes, cancer, etc), bad habits (smoking, chewing tobacco, etc), and family history.

Periodontal disease progresses over time if not treated. The symptoms include: Continue Reading…

To Kiss or Not to Kiss Your Pooch

If you are like me and love your puppies to pieces, you probably have shared kisses with them.  Is it safe to be swapping spit with your dog or should you not kiss your pooch?


There is a myth floating around that dogs mouths are cleaner than humans mouths. That is obviously not true. Think about what your dog plants his/her face into outside or eats when you aren’t looking, or the lovely butt sniffing greeting given to the neighbor’s dog.  Man and man’s best friend both have lots of germs and bacteria in their mouths.  There are so many that it’s equal to the earth’s population.  Continue Reading…

How Often Should you Bleach your Teeth?

“Oh I love your coffee-stained teeth!” – said NO ONE EVER! Am-I-Bleaching-My-Teeth-Too-Often

Most people appreciate the appearance of nice bright white teeth, but knowing just how often you should you bleach your teeth is just as important. There are several options available to bleach your teeth that you can buy over the counter and most likely your dental office offers choices.  But, how often does one need to bleach their teeth?

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Oil Pulling — What’s the Big Deal?

The latest craze that you may have been seeing everywhere is oil pulling. This is not something new, mind you. It’s been around for thousands of years. It is supposed to be fabulous for your health, hair, skin and mouth.  Naturalists are all over it, but the problem is, there really isn’t any scientifically researched evidence to back up the health claims.

Since we are in the dental field, let’s focus on what it does for the mouth.
Apparently any sort of oil works as long as it’s natural and of high quality like sesame or coconut. Coconut is preferred for its flavor; however it comes in a solid lard-like form that needs to melt in your mouth. Some feel sesame is best because while it pulls toxins it also deposits healthy minerals and vitamins into your tissue. It basically depends on what grosses you out the least to swish in your mouth for 20 minutes.  Yes, 20 minutes. While you swish, the oil mixes with your saliva and activates enzymes that allegedly pull toxins from your body through mucous membranes in your mouth.  It is thought to reduce plaque and bacteria on your teeth and in your mouth, giving you better breath, pinker gums and a lot of the information out there says whiter teeth.

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Dental Premedication: What is it and Why do I Need it?

What is Dental Premedication?

Dental premedication is antibiotics that are taken prior to a procedure to prevent infection. Bacteria can travel through your blood stream and cause an infection in your heart if there is any weakened tissue or infect an artificial implant.  There seems to be a lot of confusion about if you should take premedication for a dental appointment.  It can be confusing because the American Heart Association and the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons tend to revamp what they suggest every few years depending on new findings within research, so it’s important for you and for us as dental providers to stay in tune with what is currently being recommended.


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Being Pregnant at the Dentist: What you Should Know

We get asked a lot what you should know while being pregnant at the dentist and what you should know. If you have found that your teeth and gums have changed at all since you have been pregnant, there are reasons behind it.

Pregnancy-and-Your-Oral-HealthObviously there is a hormonal change that occurs with pregnancy which can cause your gums to become sensitive, puffy and bleed when you brush. This is called gingivitis. Gingivitis is the starting phase of periodontal disease.  This has been known to produce low birth weight babies.  To alleviate this, brush and floss regularly.

Morning sickness is horrible in itself, but it can really do a number on your teeth.  Continue Reading…

Is your Brush Where you Flush? What you NEED to know!

So, you may not think anything of it, but, try to picture your toilet as an aerosol spray every time you flush it and anything within reasonable distance is getting sprayed with germs from your toilet bowl including your toothbrush. Y-U-C-K! It may help to keep the lid closed, however germs still escape somewhat. You may want to think about storing your toothbrush elsewhere.


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Childrens Dentistry: 6 Recommendations You Should Know

Parents sometimes feel that because their children have “baby” teeth that will eventually fall out, there is no need to fix a problem that may arise with those teeth.  The truth is that baby teeth or deciduous/primary teeth are very important.  Along with obvious reasons like chewing and talking, primary teeth also help to keep space in your child’s mouth so adult teeth that are forming under the gum tissue can erupt (teeth coming into the mouth).


If a baby tooth is missing earlier than it should be due to decay and subsequent removal, there could be an issue for the permanent tooth to erupt because drifting or tilting of the surrounding teeth can occur.  This can affect proper alignment of permanent teeth and can be costly to fix down the road with orthodontia (braces).

If a baby tooth has a cavity, it is important to have the cavity removed and a filling placed even though the baby tooth will eventually fall out.  If a primary tooth has a cavity, it can cause the permanent tooth growing underneath to become misshapen and discolored. 1

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8 Tips if You Gag in the Dentist Chair

Tips-Gag-Dentist-ChairDo you hate going to the dentist because you have a gag reflex while x-rays are being taken or impressions are being done?  It can make for a very frustrating dental visit for both you and your dental provider.  Your throat has the tendency to be “on guard” if it feels like there is a potential choking hazard or that your airway can be blocked and you are unable to breathe.  Some people have a worse gag reflex than others and some don’t have it at all.  Gagging can stem from a bad dental experience you had in the past or just a general anxiety.  Don’t feel alone if you suffer from this condition because you are in the company of many others.

We have had our fair share of gaggers in our dental chairs at Szmanda Dental Center and we have found a few tricks that may help you get through your dental visit.

  1. Breathe through your nose. Obviously this will curtail the reflex of gagging if you are concentrating on breathing through your nose and not your mouth.

  2. Be aware of when you feel your gag reflex is at its worst.  Is it in the morning or in the afternoon?  If you take note of this, try to schedule your dental appointment before or after that touchy time.

  3. Numbing Spray.  We do have a spray available that is similar to Chloraseptic in which it numbs the back of the throat for a brief time.  We can also place a little bit of our topical anesthetic on the roof of your mouth which will have a numbing effect and may help to relax your gagging.  Both are a fabulous cherry flavor!  (Sorry for you cherry haters.)

  4. Salt.  Just take a pinch and place it on your tongue.  This trick seems to work well for most of our patients.  It’s not the tastiest thing in the world, but because of this, your mind tends to concentrate on the salt over gagging.  We keep salt at all of our offices so no need to worry about bringing your own.

  5. Lifting your left.  Your brain can also be bamboozled by a simple lift of the leg.  While you are sitting in the chair, bringing a leg up off the chair a few inches and holding it in that position makes you focus on something else.  It also tightens your stomach muscles, which helps with that gagging reflex.

  6. Hum your favorite tune.  One thing that RDH (Registered Dental Hygienist) Magazine suggested that we have not tried yet is to hum.  By simply humming, you are producing airflow, which keeps you breathing.  A telltale sign of a gagging episode that is about to begin is when the patient stops breathing.  So, even if your hygienist or dentist doesn’t suggest it, let them know you are going to be humming a little ditty while they need to do their treatment.  Try something simple like “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”Request an Appointment

  7. Get serious with wrist bands that apply pressure.  There is also a suggestion from RDH to try a product called Sea Bands or Accustraps.  If you know you are a serious gagger and are willing to try anything, you may want to get your hands on these.  Typically they are used for motion sickness or morning sickness.  It is a band you wear around your wrist, which fits snug and applies pressure.  The nerves that carry signals to the brain understand pressure faster than pain or nausea, thusly preventing gagging.  We hope to have these at our offices in the near future.

  8. Practice at home.  If you want to try to break your gagging habit, you can practice by taking something like your toothbrush and touching it to the roof of your mouth (  Hold it there for longer increments each time and when you have that spot mastered, start moving it back further and further.  Yes, it sounds terrible and like it’s a pain in the butt, but if it helps, it will make life a little easier.  Just remember that you have to practice and build upon it for it to work, so don’t give up!  You can do it!

Please don’t let your gag reflex deter you from coming to your dental appointment.  We want to keep your dental needs in check before a problem arises.  Szmanda Dental Center would like to provide you with the best possible care and we would like to help you in any way we can.  Please feel free to ask us any dental questions.  That’s what we’re here for.

Information compiled from RDH Magazine, and Staff at Szmanda Dental Center © Szmanda Dental Center, S.C. 2013