Becoming a Dentist is a highly sought-after Career

One of our most frequently asked questions from patients who visit us is, “How does someone become a Dentist?” In this article, we are going to take you step-by-step on the process of becoming a Dentist. Let’s get started!

 

How Long Does it Take to Become a Dentist?

The process of becoming a Dentist is much more competitive than in years past and requires a specific set of qualifications during high school and college to be eligible for entry into Dental school. Overall, after completion of high school, students need a 4-year college bachelor’s degree plus a 4-year graduate Dental School degree, totaling 8 years. 

However, this does not include any additional schooling for specialty dentists such as Endodontists, Orthodontists, Periodontists, Pediatrics, Prosthodontists, or Oral Surgeons. These students require either another degree, a residency, or both which can range from 2 – 6 years depending on the specialization they have chosen.

Many dental school graduates also choose to continue their education through AEGD (Advanced Education in General Dentistry) or GPR (General Practice Residency) programs. These typically last one year and are designed for postdoctoral clinical training as an advanced supplement to the predoctoral dental curriculum. Both program types award a postgraduate certificate upon graduation. 

For specifics on each specialty or additional education, please visit the American Dental Association’s Education center here.

Overall, becoming a Dentist will take anywhere from 8 to 14 years depending on the type of dentist a student wishes to become. 

What Do I Need to Major in to Become a Dentist?

Students can major in a variety of fields and be accepted into dental school. However, most dental school admissions require taking prerequisite courses related to the field of biology, physiology, and chemistry. This ensures the student has an accurate baseline of information to prepare them for dental school courses. You can find specific course requirements for each dental school on their website to ensure you are on the right track. 

For example, at ECU School of Dental Medicine in Greenville, NC they require a minimum of one year (8 semester hours) of biology, organic chemistry, general chemistry, & physics with 6 semester hours of English and mathematics courses from a 4-year accredited US college or university. 

In most cases, pre-dental students major in biology or chemistry. However, there have also been successful dental students who have majored in Business (helpful for starting your own practice after dental school), Medical Textiles (great if you plan on developing dental products), or Engineering (physics and mathematics play an important role in dentistry).

 

What Other Requirements Do I Need to Become a Dentist? 

Score High on Your Dental Admissions Test

Other than your course prerequisites and a high GPA, you will need to take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). This is similar to the MCAT for Medical School entry. The test has four sections: Perceptual Ability, Quantitative Reasoning, Survey of the Natural Sciences, and Reading Comprehension. 

DAT scores range from 1-30, with 17 being the average. To be considered a competitive applicant for dental school, an Academic Average (AA) of 19-20 is desirable. This number can fluctuate from school to school but statistics on average acceptance scores can be found on each dental school’s website.

Obtain Letters of Evaluation 

Another requirement for dental school entry will be letters of recommendation or evaluation. At most 4-year colleges, a pre-health or pre-dental committee can help you with a committee letter. Otherwise, you will need to submit 4 letters: 2 from science professors, 1 from an academic advisor, and 1 from a dentist. Read more about letters of evaluation on the ADA website here

Acquire Dental Volunteer or Shadowing Hours

Most dental schools require applicants to have some form of dental shadowing. This shows that the applicant understands the career they will potentially be joining. It is also extremely helpful to shadow the profession early on to truly grasp if this is the right career for you. Most dental schools require at least 100 hours of dental shadowing. 

Typically you can contact a dental office directly to request to shadow a dentist. You can also join your pre-dental or pre-health club and volunteer at local dental clinics. For instance, in North Carolina, there is a Volunteer Dental Clinic called NC Missions of Mercy (MOM) that holds events throughout the state. 

If you would like to shadow one of our dentists at Lane & Associates, please email us at info@lanedds.com and our clinical team will be in touch!

A great resource for applying to dental school is the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools. Click the image below to learn more!

ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools 2021 2022

 

How Long is Dental School?

Dental school is a 4-year doctorate program. There are also options to continue your education if you choose to specialize in a field. These specialties can be Orthodontics, Oral Surgery, Endodontics, Pedodontics, or Periodontics. Please read the section, ‘How Long Does it Take to Become a Dentist?’ above to learn more!

 

How Much Do Dentists Make?

The salary for general dentists varies significantly. This can be based on the experience of the dentist, the type of dentist, and the needs of their patients. The typical salary of a General Dentist can range anywhere from $128,000 – $221,000 per year with an average of $170,000 in 2021. 

For specialists such as Orthodontists, their salary can range from $259,000 to $372,000 with an average of $292,000 per year. This salary can also be much higher depending on the number of cases and types of malocclusions they are treating. 

What is the Highest-Paid Type of Dentist?

Typically the highest-paid type of dentist is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (OMFS). This is the dentist whose job is the most invasive of all dentists. Typically Oral surgeons use sedation options to remove wisdom teeth, place dental implants, perform bone grafts, and much more. They go through rigorous training and education well past many of their colleagues due to these advanced medical procedures. Therefore, the typical salary for an Oral Surgeon can range anywhere from $250,000 to $400,000 per year (or more). Usually, the average salary for an Oral Surgeon is around $310,000 per year. 

 

Learn More About Our Dentists

Ready to learn more? Visit our dentists’ page and scroll through their biographies to learn what it takes to become a dentist! Looking to schedule with one of our dentists? Request an appointment online with our dentists today!

How much do you remember from learning about the pH scale in science class? Don’t worry; if you forgot all of it, we’ll give you a little refresher, because acids and bases are pretty important when it comes to the health of our teeth and gums.

A Crash Course in the pH Scale

The pH scale is how we measure how acidic or basic a substance is. The scale goes from 1 to 14. Neutral substances (like water) have a pH of 7, while highly acidic things are lower on the scale and highly basic things are higher on the scale.

To give you an idea of where some common substances land, orange juice ranges from 3.3 to 4.2, and stomach acid is all the way down between 1.5 and 2.5. Soap is mildly basic at between 9 and 10, and bleach is a powerful base at 12.5. What pH is best for our mouths?

Ideal Oral pH

The human body isn’t all the same pH. Our skin is happiest when mildly acidic (with a pH of about 5.5), but blood should be slightly basic (7.4). For our teeth and gums to stay as healthy as possible, we want our oral pH to remain neutral the majority of the time. An unhealthy mouth is more acidic, which can seriously damage tooth enamel over time. Tooth enamel is extremely hard so that it can withstand a lifetime of chewing, but it begins eroding at a mildly acidic pH of 5.5.

What Makes Mouths Acidic?

So how does acid end up in our mouths? The most direct way is by eating or drinking something tart or sour. The bubbles in soda pop, regular and diet alike, come from carbonic acid even though not all soda tastes sour. Our mouths can also become acidic indirectly. When we consume sugary or starchy things, harmful oral bacteria eat the leftovers and excrete acid onto our teeth and gums as a waste product. Acid reflux or vomiting also introduces more acid to the mouth.

Saliva Is the First Line of Defense Against Acid

Fortunately, our mouths have a built-in defense mechanism against acid: our spit! Saliva washes away leftover particles of food and neutralizes our oral pH over time. This is what makes dry mouth so dangerous to our teeth and gums beyond the way it can make chewing and swallowing difficult. Our teeth are left vulnerable to acid erosion without enough saliva.

What can we do to help our saliva do this critical job? We can avoid sipping on or snacking on sugary drinks and treats. Every time we consume something acidic or containing sugar or starch, we reset the clock on our saliva neutralizing our oral pH. That’s why we recommend keeping the treats to mealtimes instead of continuous sipping and snacking.

Consume Less Sugar and Acid

We can also reduce the overall amount of sugary or acidic things we eat, which means minimizing the soda and sugary treats along with bread and dairy products and adding in more fruits and veggies.

Let’s Unite in the Fight Against Enamel Erosion!

Eating less sugary or acidic food and keeping the ones you do to mealtimes will really help your oral pH stay neutral, but it’s not a replacement for twice-daily brushing and daily flossing — nor is it a replacement for regular dental appointments! These habits are still essential to lifelong oral health.

We love our patients’ healthy smiles! Contact Lane & Associates today to schedule your dental cleaning or talk to one of our staff about your oral health. Want to learn more about oral health and dental cavities? Visit our dental education center page for answers to all of your questions! 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Next Time You Burn Your Mouth On Pizza…

SOMETIMES YOU JUST CAN’T RESIST! It’s SO cheesy and saucy—right out of the oven! You dive in and take your first bite…

Uh oh! Too soon! You’ve got “pizza burn!”

Pizza Isn’t The Only Culprit

You’ve probably burned your mouth before on coffee, soup, and other scorching hot foods. Soon after, you may have noticed that the roof of your mouth, and perhaps your tongue, is very tender. In some cases, you may even have blisters! Unfortunately, your mouth will probably hurt for a few days. However, there are a few things you can do to relieve the pain and irritation.

How To Soothe Your Mouth And Help It Heal

  1. Applying or sucking on ice can relieve the stinging. Gargling cold water or eating ice cream are other options.
  2. Drinking milk can coat the scorched area.
  3. An over-the-counter pain reliever can help, if the pain is really distracting.
  4. Avoid acidic, crunchy, and other hot foods, or even very salty and spicy dressings. This will stop the burn from getting irritated further.
  5. Squeezing Vitamin E from a capsule over the wound can speed up healing. It will regenerate new tissue and heal the wound.
  6. Maintain good oral hygiene while your mouth is burnt, keeping it as clean as possible to promote healing and prevent further infection. Warm saline rinses can also be helpful.
  7. Resist touching the burned area. This may be difficult, but by touching the affected area, the lesion may become irritated further.

If It’s Not Feeling Better In A Few Days, Call Us

Pizza-type burns tend to heal within three to seven days. If soreness and blistering continue beyond a week, please contact us! In the meantime, have fun enjoying that delicious, cheesy pizza—that is, once it’s cool!

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!

Happy Heart Month! February is known not only as the month of Love (namely, Valentine’s Day) but also as American Heart Month. Since our bodies are ecosystems, where a change in one area affects other areas. This connection is becoming clearer as scientists continue examining the links between oral health and cardiovascular health. Recent studies suggest that taking care of your gums through great oral hygiene could cut your risk of a heart attack or stroke!

Important Links Between Gum Health And Heart Health

Inflammation caused by gum disease could contribute to an increased risk for heart problems. The mouth is the gateway to the body, and gums that are infected or bleeding provide easy access for bacteria to get into the bloodstream. Once inside, certain types of bacteria cause low-level inflammation of blood vessels without causing a full-blown blood infection. Because of this, treatment is very difficult once the bacteria have become established. The constant low-level inflammation can induce atherosclerosis–the hardening of arterial walls–and lead to blockages.

Mom Was Right—An Ounce of Prevention…

Beyond diet and exercise, it’s hard to know what to do to prevent heart disease. However, gum disease and tooth decay are completely preventable!

  • Brush twice daily for two minutes, gently massaging the gums.
  • Floss once daily.
  • Brush or rinse with water after eating or drinking.
  • Don’t miss your regular cleanings and check-ups with us.

As such studies continue, it’s likely more evidence will be found linking gum disease and heart disease. In the meantime, there are already enough reasons to take charge of your oral health! Establishing good dental hygiene habits now and sticking to them will help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and a host of other problems.

Stay Healthy For The People You Love

One way that the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is suggesting is thinking of your heart health as a version of self-care. Here are their 7 days of self-care for your heart health:

We’re proud to assist you in your pursuit of comprehensive, lasting health. We look forward to seeing you during your next dental visit. Contact us or schedule an appointment today!

Since starting down the healthy habits road in 2021, we’ve all been hearing how beneficial water is to our bodies and our overall well-being. But let’s talk about specifics! How does water specifically help our teeth? We’re gonna dive in on that question today, read on. 

 

What are my teeth made of?

First, let’s talk about what our teeth are made of. Our teeth are composed of four main tissues: dentin, cementum, pulp, and enamel. Enamel is the outermost layer that is stronger than anything in our bodies (even our bones!) and contains minerals such as calcium phosphate. The next layer is dentin, this is the softer portion of our teeth that is susceptible to cavities. When enamel breaks down, this is where our teeth start to form cavities. Next, the inner core of your tooth is called the pulp – this is where your connective tissue and nerves lie. 

tooth structure

Are Teeth the Same as Bones?

No. The biggest difference between our bones and our teeth is that our bones can heal over time if they break or shatter – teeth cannot. This is why it’s so important to regularly visit your dentist, brush, and floss daily. 

 

So how exactly does drinking water help my teeth? 

Water acts as a neutral party. When coming into contact with acidic drinks like sodas or coffee it helps to neutralize these acidic situations and creates an environment that our teeth enjoy. 

Water also contributes to saliva production and washing away bacteria that like to form on the surfaces of our teeth. If your water contains fluoride, this is also beneficial to your enamel because it hardens the surface – making you less susceptible to cavities.

 

Help Fight Cavities the Easy way

Teeth are slightly porous and do absorb materials – not like a sponge but more like a stone that can be withered away over time. So it’s important for us to maintain a consistent habit of drinking water and essentially ‘flushing’ out the bad particles or acidic materials that can build up over time to create cavities, cause discoloration or yellowing, or lead to periodontal disease. The easiest way to do this? Drink your water, brush & floss daily, and visit your dentist.

 

Have more questions about the benefits of drinking water for your teeth? Learn more on the ADA’s website here.

It’s National Get Organized Month, and one way we love to organize is by planning out our health goals for the year. Are you creating vision boards and looking for healthy habits to start in 2021? We’ve got a list of 7 Healthy Habits to Start in 2021, read more below!

1. Brushing 2x per day for 2 minutes.

Of course, as dental professionals you know we had to start with the obvious. Our first healthy habit to start in 2021 is Brushing twice daily for 2 minutes and flossing at least once per day (if not more!). This sounds repetitive but we’re serious, brushing for two minutes is longer than you think! Our suggestion, find your favorite 2-minute long song and play it while you brush. This will help you to keep on track and to realize just how long 2 minutes of brushing really is! 

2. Getting Active for at least 30 minutes Daily.

We don’t mean doing sprints and hurdles for 30 minutes (unless you’re into that sort of thing) but simply taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood or even during your lunch break. It’s amazing what a small habit change like this can do to your overall health.

girl drinking water

3. Choosing Water First.

And we mean it too! Before you go for that cup of morning joe, grab some water first. This will help start your engines and create a less acidic environment for your gut. Water has so many benefits for your body: teeth, skin, hair, nails… this list could go on and on. So during 2021, think to yourself, “Choose water first” before diving into the same soda or sweet tea throughout the week. It will definitely be a habit to continue!

4. Getting the Sunshine Vitamin.

Sunlight, fresh air, and Vitamin D are a combination as old as time. They are so beneficial for your mental and physical health. According to Healthline, Vitamin D has three key benefits: improving resistance to certain diseases, fighting depression, and improving overall bone and teeth health. Whether you get your Vitamin D from walks outdoors or through supplements, this is a healthy habit to continue into 2021.

5. Putting down the Devices 30 Minutes Before Bed.

This is a healthy habit that many of us should be adopting ASAP. Studies show that your brain has a hard time winding down before bed if you have an electronic device in front of you (due to less production of melatonin). So turning off your devices 30 minutes before your ideal sleep time is a must. Our suggestion? Read a book that’s not too captivating or turn on some sleep sounds. Zzzzz

tracking steps outdoors

6. Giving Yourself Step Goals.

One of the best investments in your health in 2021 is tracking your steps via a fitness watch. Don’t have a fitness watch? You can also track your steps using your phone’s Health app. It may not track every step but it will at least track the steps you take with your phone. Giving yourself a step goal is one easy way to increase your movement throughout 2021. Start with a lower step goal and change out your daily goal once every month. If you use fitness watches, you can also join challenges within the app itself which are really fun if you have any sort of competitive spirit. 

7. Planning Out Your Meals Each Week.

This one is relatively self-explanatory but really goes a long way to stay consistent with any dietary or budgeting goals you’ve set for yourself or your family. Investing in a planner (whether that be digital or physical) and listing out meal options for the week + a grocery shopping list will create a balanced week. Plus, you won’t have to do the “What do you want to eat? No, what do YOU want to eat?” battle. Win-win! 

 

We hope these 7 Healthy Habits to Start in 2021 give you plenty of ideas for your own health journey & can lead you towards a healthier future. If you’re searching for more ways to improve your dental health, read our blog about Calcium & all of its amazing benefits or schedule an appointment with us today! At Lane & Associates Family Dentistry, we love to make you smile!

September is Dental Infection Control Awareness Month (DICAM) and Lane & Associates is excited to share our commitment to ensuring safety at our offices!

The Organization for Safety, Asepsis, and Prevention (OSAP) is encouraging all dental organizations and dental staff to participate in this campaign with the goal of raising awareness, sharing infection control best practices, and joining the conversation on social media.

Our offices will be participating throughout the week in the daily OSAP Challenge on social media which has a specific theme for each day of this week!

INFECTION CONTROL DAILY THEMES:
  • Tuesday: Hand Hygiene Infection Control
  • Wednesday: Dental Unit Waterline Infection Control
  • Thursday: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Infection Control
  • Friday: Dental Instrument Sterilization Infection Control

What is Dental Infection Control?

Infection Control within the Dental Office is extremely important to ensure a clean environment for patients and staff. Due to the close interactions between patients, dental equipment, and dental employees in a dental office, having infection control systems in place and best practices is vital.

Gloves, masks, eyewear, and protective apparel help protect you and the dental team from exposure to potentially harmful microorganisms including COVID-19. It’s up to us to make sure we Break the Chain of infection so that every dental visit is a safe dental visit. Let’s review some best practices we implement in our dental offices.

1. Hand Hygiene

  • Hand hygiene (e.g., handwashing or hand antisepsis) substantially reduces potential pathogens on the hands and is considered the single most critical measure for reducing the risk of transmitting organisms to patients and healthcare staff.
  • Washing our hands first before donning gloves means we’ve removed germs before putting our gloves on. That means that if the gloves get damaged, those germs will not transfer.
  • For routine dental examinations and nonsurgical procedures, handwashing and hand antisepsis is achieved by using either a plain or antimicrobial soap and water.

2. Dental Unit Waterline Treatment

  • Dental unit waterlines are the long, narrow tubes that run to the dental chair (unit). These waterlines carry water from the public water supply to the dental equipment we use to treat and clean your teeth.
  • We treat our dental unit waterlines on an ongoing basis with products specially designed to eliminate any germs. We also test the water regularly as recommended by the CDC, to make sure that everything is working properly.
  • As an added bonus, our offices are proud to utilize Sterisil Straws which have an automatic shock treatment that is released to kill pre-existing bacteria and the straw releases an EPA residual disinfectant ensuring our waterlines prevent bacteria for 365 days.

3. Personal Protective Equipment

  • All staff are trained on what type of PPE should be used and how to properly don and doff (i.e. put on and take off) their PPE. They are also trained on the limitations of PPE, proper care & maintenance of PPE, and proper disposal of PPE.
  • Patients are also given PPE during dental procedures such as sterile dental napkins & should be wearing their own masks when moving throughout the dental office during this time.

4. Dental Instrument Sterilization

  • All instruments are sterilized by cleaning them first, that’s because if there were any debris stuck to the instruments it would not be possible to properly sterilize them. After that, we place them in special closed pouches or wrap them. Then we place these in a UV sterilizer that kills every germ present on the instruments. The end result is clean and sterile instruments for each of our patients.
  • We test these sterilizers by following the CDC recommendations on using a special test kit containing spores—these are hardier than normal bacteria and germs. Using this test, we can check that the sterilizer is doing what it is supposed to do. If the hardy spores in the test kit are killed in the sterilizer then we know it is working to kill all of the germs, including COVID.

We hope this information is helpful to our patients and other dentists throughout the state. If you would like to learn more please visit the OSAP website here.

PATIENT CONTEST

We want to challenge our patients to follow our lead during DICAM month and want to give away some fun prizes to those that participate! Starting on Monday, September 28th we want to see your #LAADICAM20 posts! These can range from photos of your kids properly wearing their own PPE (their masks) to creating your own dental office at your house to videos of a fun dance while washing your hands!

Our Patient contest will run from Monday, September 28th at 8AM to Wednesday, September 30th at 12AM. We will pick Three Winners to receive Automatic Toothbrush Prize Sets (including Quip, Oral B, or Burst)!

Rules: Must be an LAA patient to participate. Must post your photo or video to your social media page and use #LAADICAM20 to be eligible for entry. We will contact the winner via social media. Good luck to all participants!

We’ve all been there before, sitting in the middle of a job interview or a first date and realizing that our breath is far from minty fresh. Even when everything else is going perfectly, bad breath can be enough to ruin your confidence and turn a good experience sour. Why do we get bad breath, and what can we do to stop it?

Oral Bacteria And The Food We Eat

In order to effectively fight bad breath, it’s important to figure out what’s causing it. The simplest and most common cause is leftover food particles stuck between our teeth after a meal. The bacteria in our mouths break down these particles, and the end result doesn’t smell good. We can combat this with a good daily hygiene routine, including daily flossing, twice-daily brushing, scraping our tongues clean, and chewing sugar-free gum.

Causes Of Chronic Bad Breath

Chronic cases of bad breath (also called halitosis) might not be solved by good oral hygiene practices alone. Halitosis may be caused by:

  1. Chronic conditions. Sometimes, bad breath is linked to conditions that you wouldn’t think are connected to oral hygiene, such as diabetes, liver or kidney disease, and acid reflux.
  2. Medications. A common side-effect of medications is dry mouth. Without saliva to wash away food particles and neutralize acid, the mouth is vulnerable to problems like bad breath.
  3. Mouth-breathing. Whether it happens by habit or because breathing through the nose is difficult, mouth-breathing tends to dry out the mouth, leading to the same problems as described above.
  4. Mouth, nose, and throat infections. Bad breath can be the result of increased mucous when we have a cold or sinus infection.
  5. Pregnancy. Symptoms such as morning sickness and nausea can cause bad breath, because of the extra acid in the mouth. This is also a problem for people struggling with bulimia.
  6. Tobacco products. Tobacco in any form leaves smelly chemicals in the mouth and can also dry it out. In addition, it increases the risk of oral cancer and gum disease, which negatively impact breath as well.
  7. Tooth decay and gum disease. Poor dental health often goes hand-in-hand with chronic bad breath because cavities and periodontitis are caused by the same bacteria that produce those nasty-smelling chemicals.

person brushing their tongue
Brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper is a good option.

Keeping Your Breath Fresh

Even if strict oral hygiene isn’t enough to keep the bad breath completely at bay, it will help to manage it, and treating the underlying cause may be able to eliminate it. If you are a habitual mouth-breather, try breathing through your nose more. Quitting smoking will eliminate a major cause of bad breath. If dry mouth is the problem, chew sugar-free gum and mints to stimulate saliva production, sip water, and use a humidifier to help keep up the moisture.

Your Dentist Can Help

Discovering the underlying cause of bad breath is a crucial step in fighting back, and the dentist is your best ally here. Schedule an appointment at Lane & Associates so that you can get the answers you need to fight bad breath the best way. We want all of our patients to feel confident about their breath!

So, you want to whiten your teeth. You’re not alone! In fact, when the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry asked what people would most like to improve about their smile, the most common response was whiter teeth.

There Are Several Teeth Whitening Options

With so many teeth whitening products on the market, you may be left scratching your head as to which one you should choose. As with any type of treatment, it’s important to know all the facts so you can make the best choice for you and your unique smile! Some of the most common teeth whitening options are:

  1. Whitening toothpaste
  2. Whitening strips and gels
  3. Tray-based teeth whiteners
  4. In-office professional teeth whitening

Professional Teeth Whitening Trays that look like Retainers

Whitening Is Safest And Most Effective When Supervised By A Dentist

You should always consult with your dentist before deciding to whiten, as this cosmetic procedure isn’t for everyone. There are also many benefits to whitening treatment with your dentist!

For example, if you’re considering a tray-based tooth whitener, seeing your dentist is definitely your best option. Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth so that your mouthpiece tray is customized exactly to fit your teeth. This will ensure maximum contact between your teeth and the whitening solution as well as protect your gums.

If you choose in-office whitening, such as Zoom Whitening treatment, your dentist will provide additional protection for your gums and the soft tissue of your mouth so that no irritation from the whitening solution occurs. To do this, your dentist will apply a gel to the gum tissue or use a rubber shield.

With over-the-counter products, you’re on your own. Your dentist, however, will check your mouth, the type and extent of stains on your teeth, the number of dental restorations you have, and consider your medical history to decide which whitening option is best for your specific smile. They will oversee the process and results of the treatment to ensure the treatment’s safety and efficacy.

A Note To Parents

Teeth whitening is a big trend among teenagers. Parents should always supervise their teenagers’ use of whitening products as overuse or failure to follow directions can damage tooth enamel or irritate gums. Be sure to consult with your dentist before allowing your teenager to whiten to make sure they are at an appropriate age and stage of dental development for whitening.

Still curious about how whitening works? Check out the video below to learn more!

Keep Your Smile Beautiful

What truly keeps teeth bright, white, and healthy is daily brushing and flossing. But if you feel like your smile is lacking some sparkle or has yellowed over the years, give us a call or come in to see us! We’d be happy to help you brighten up that beautiful smile of yours.

 

In fact, did you know we offer a Free Teeth Whitening Program to our patients? Find out if you are eligible for this free offer by contacting us today! At Lane & Associates Family Dentistry, we love to make you smile!

 

We’ve all been there. You sit down for your dental appointment, ready and prepared for a filling or crown, and then…the blood pressure cuff comes out. And we think, “What’s this for?” Read along as we get answers on why your dentists and dental hygienists check your blood pressure at your dental appointment.

Why did they take my blood pressure at the dentist?

There are many reasons why the dentist or assistant may need to check your blood pressure at your appointment. This can range from establishing your baseline to alerts in hypertension to measuring your anxiety levels. Namely, your blood pressure is key to understanding your overall health at the time of your appointment. 

This is especially important since many Americans see their dentist more often than their physician at every 6-month cleaning. It’s a crucial health check and an opportunity to understand the changes in your overall health.

Can dental problems cause high blood pressure?

As humans, our bodies react differently when we are in pain or experiencing high anxiety. If you have high blood pressure, your dentist may need to adjust your treatment plan. Once determined, your dentist can make a better customized treatment plan for your specific needs. 

For example, some dentists may be able to offer light sedation options for those patients who have high anxiety which is causing their blood pressure to rise. Additionally, patients who are in pain from a tooth that needs to be extracted will see a drop in their blood pressure after that painful tooth has been removed. 

In extremely hypertensive situations, however, you may be asked to visit your primary care physician to discuss ways to reduce your blood pressure before beginning any dental care treatment.

closeup on dental tray during treatment

What blood pressure is too high for dental treatment?

Obviously this range is going to depend on many factors. The type of procedure, whether or not you are currently taking blood pressure medications, and many other health history factors. Typically, however, high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90 or above. Also, if your top number (systolic) is greater than 140 or your bottom number (diastolic) is greater than 90, you may have high blood pressure no matter what the other number reads. 

If you are suffering from hypertension, your physician can determine the best course of action. This may include blood pressure medication or lifestyle changes. Many dentists and oral surgeons will also require medical approval from your cardiologist or physician before they will operate. 

Can I refuse to have my blood pressure taken at the dentist?

Ultimately, your blood pressure allows dentists and hygienists to know that you are healthy enough to endure the treatment. It also gives them an indication as to which form of anesthetic to use (for example, anesthetics without epinephrine). By refusing, you are consequently putting your own health at risk and your dentist will most likely refuse to proceed. Taking your oral health seriously is important to your overall health and well-being. 

Taking the time to check these key health measures is an incredibly important step in your dental treatment.

Start your treatment today!

At Lane & Associates Family Dentistry, we not only check your blood pressure, but also offer oral cancer screenings, oxygen level checks, and pulse checks. The combination of these factors & our many other services, let’s us know how best to treat our patients and make their experience with us truly one that makes them smile. If you are looking for a dentist that takes your overall health seriously, contact us today