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Additional hours

Exciting news! New summer hours!

We are pleased to announce that beginning this summer your West Des Moines dentist will be adding additional hours to better serve you! Beginning July 2014, we will be seeing patients on Thursdays from 7:30 am-1:30 pm. These hours are in addition to Monday/Wednesday 8 am-5 pm and Friday 7:30 am-4:30 pm.

Pardon our Construction

Pardon our construction

We have exciting news! Your West Des Moines dentist is installing an additional treatment room this week! This room will primarily be used by our hygienist for your dental cleanings and check ups. We are very excited for the arrival of the new equipment and to be able to serve our fantastic patients more efficiently.

Is Your Toothbrush All That It Can Be?

young woman holding a toothbrushPerhaps the most well-known fact about dental care is that you should brush and floss your teeth often to keep them clean and healthy. Like all tools, though, proper care and maintenance (as well as proper use) of your toothbrush is vital to how effective it is at performing its job. To successfully maintain your good dental hygiene, you should replace your toothbrush at least once every three months, or as soon as the bristles look frayed. In the meantime, you can keep it effective by learning how to properly use, store, and clean your toothbrush every day.

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Your Family Dentist’s Tips for Teething Time

cute teething babyYour infant will usually let you know when his or her first teeth begin to emerge. The process can be extremely uncomfortable for some babies, yet others may not express any discomfort at all. Most, however, are somewhere in the middle, with bouts of irritability that can be as difficult for the parent as it is for the child. With experience in helping young children cope with their dental issues, family dentist, Dr. Jessica Johnson, offers a few tips to help ease your infant’s teething time, for your benefit as well as your child’s.

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Why Chocolate’s Not the Culprit We Thought it Was

excited woman eating chocolateDo you worry about gaining weight, developing acne, or rotting your teeth every time you bite into a delicious bar of chocolate? Myths abound about the long-loved treat, most of which paint the picture that chocolate is too good to be anything but bad for your oral and overall health. The truth, however, is that plenty of research has shown chocolate might prove more beneficial to your teeth, and your health, than at first believed—good news to those who have trouble putting chocolate down.

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Avoid Back-to-School Tooth Pain in Children

Group of KidsIt’s back to school for most children in America, but tooth pain can be a real distraction from important studies. Certain dental aches and pains are inevitable, harmless, and pass quickly for kids. Babies and toddlers naturally experience some discomfort as their teeth form in their gums and break through the surface. As children get older and lose primary pearly whites, their permanent teeth emerge and may cause a slight ache here and there. All of this is a normal part of growth and development. However, if your child complains of sharp pain or prolonged aches in their mouth, you’ll definitely want to give West Des Moines dentist, Dr. Jessica Johnson, a call.

Toothache Causes for Children

Wearing Braces: If your child wears braces or any orthodontic appliances, they may experience discomfort, especially following a visit to the have their braces altered during treatment. Tightening of the wires or a placement of new rubber bands are usually the main causes of aches. If the pain subsides in a few days, then you know it’s normal. However, if the pain continues or becomes worse, contact your dentist or orthodontist to check for other underlying concerns.

Bad Habits: Your child may have a physical habit causing their tooth pain. Does your daughter crunch ice or chew on a hard toy regularly? Help her to break the habit with reminders and a reward system. Does your son grind his teeth at night or clench her jaw? Experts report that two out of every three kids grind or clench their teeth at night. Dental professionals call this condition bruxism. Observe your children while they are sleeping. If you hear grinding and your child is complaining of tooth pain while chewing, make an appointment with Dr. Johnson so she can check for wear on your child’s teeth. Treatment can be as simple as a nightguard to halt the grinding.

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Learn about Tooth Damage from Tobacco

Cigarette PunchMost people don’t respond well to lectures, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know smoking is bad for their health, and definitely bad for their teeth. Knowledge is power, however, and sometimes the best way to open up your mind is to simply educate yourself.  West Des Moines dentist, Dr. Jessica Johnson, explains how smoking is detrimental to your teeth in far more ways than staining and yellowing.

How Does Smoking Contribute to Gum Disease?

Periodontal disease (gum disease) stems from bacterial growth in your mouth. The bacteria found in plaque start to build up, and cause gum inflammation. At this stage, you have gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, which can be easily treated. If ignored, however, full blown periodontal disease will develop. The inner area between the gums and bone will form pockets that can collect debris, causing severe infection. Smoking makes people more susceptible to periodontal disease by interfering with gum tissue cells. Additionally, blood flow impairment can be a side effect that will make healing from all types of infections more difficult.

Are Smokeless Tobacco Products Better for Teeth?

You may think that it is solely smoke exposure that causes damage to the teeth and gums in smokers. In fact, chewing tobacco can cause gum recession. When the gums recede, tooth roots become exposed, providing a gateway for tooth decay and tooth loss. Sand and grit are ingredients in most smokeless tobaccos that can wear down

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Are you in on the Coconut Oil Trend?

oil of coconutOil pulling is a big health trend which is believed to have dental health advantages in addition to overall health benefits. When it comes to fighting tooth decay, any natural remedies you add to your regimen certainly can’t hurt, as long as you continue to brush your teeth twice a day with a toothpaste infused with fluoride, floss daily, and visit your dentist every six month. West Des Moines dentistDr. Jessica Johnson, will explain more on how scientists are researching coconut oil for potential to offer you a leg-up in your oral health efforts.

Why do we Get Cavities?

Before you can fight tooth decay, it’s important to understand how they form. Every time you consume foods or beverages, certain bacteria in your mouth ( Streptococcus mutans) consume the sugar and carbs in your meal and convert them into lactic acid. Although tooth enamel (which coats and protects your teeth from bacteria and infection) is the strongest substance your body produces, enamel is also highly mineralized and subject to acid erosion. The more frequently you eat and drink foods with sucrose, the more often your teeth are exposed to bacteria-produced acid. This saps your teeth of essential minerals as it softens and damages your enamel. If left unchecked, your enamel will fail and your teeth may develop cavities soon after.

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A Connection Between Breast Cancer and Dental Health

PinkToothbrushBreast cancer awareness has been on the rise over the years. Many women have heeded the warnings of doctors and peers. The fact is, early intervention and treatment is key to an excellent prognosis and a positive outcome, in spite of what is initially a jarring diagnosis. Dentists even weigh in on this matter by keeping patients awareness heightened that there is a relationship between oral health and breast cancer.

Oral-Systemic Health

Nearly 80% of Americans have some form of gum disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) led a study from 1985 to 2001 linking gum disease to a possible increased risk for breast cancer. There tends to be an ongoing debate about whether gum disease is directly related to various cancers and other health issues, but there is no question that the same bacteria which cause gum disease have been found in other parts of the body, leading experts to hypothesize that these bacteria might be responsible for higher consequences than just oral health.

Meticulous Oral Hygiene Recommended for Patients with Cancer

Patients undergoing chemotherapy may experience oral health issues. Some of the symptoms reported as a result of cancer treatments include toothaches with no visible tooth damage, dry mouth, sore throats, inflammation and infection in the mouth, strange tastes in the mouth, difficulty swallowing, and thrush (a yeast infection in the mouth). Maintaining your regular six month checkups is important to make sure that your compromised health will be in any further danger from the gateway of your mouth. Whether or not definitive proof exists of an oral-systemic connection, most patients with breast cancer, or any form of cancer, are not going to want to take any chances in a weakened state.

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High Fillings Explained

HighFillingIf you have had a recent filling, you may have been perplexed if your dentist told you to bite down on a colored piece of paper, and then asked: “does your filling feel too high?” Most patients experience a degree of anxiety about having a dental procedure performed on them, naturally, so when you’ve come to the end, you’re likely ready to go home. Add this to the challenge that your mouth is probably still numb from general anesthetic, and you may find the high filling question a little difficult to answer. However, if you end up with a filling set too high, you’re likely to end up feeling considerable discomfort.

Why Does a High Filling Cause Discomfort?

High fillings put stress on your periodontal ligament. The inflammation causes tenderness, discomfort, and sometimes out-and-out pain. Every time you bite down with a high filling, you can even end up with acute apical periodontitis (also known as symptomatic apical periodontitis). Feeling pain at the site of your new filling might really concern you. Could this be an infection? Am I going to have to get the filling done all over again? Luckily, if your problem is a high filling, your dentist will likely have a swift solution. Going in to see Dr. Johnson to get the high filling ground down to the right level to even out your bite will usually only require a few minutes back in the dental chair.

How to Identify a High Filling

After you’ve left your dentist’s office, and the local anesthetic has worn off, a little discomfort might be usual with a new filling. However, if you feel actual pain, or the discomfort lasts for days, you likely have a high filling. You may also feel a misalignment when you bite down. If your new filling just doesn’t feel right, call your dentist immediately. Once the filling is corrected, your periodontal ligament may still need a little time to heal, but you are likely to feel as good as new within two weeks.

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MapValley Ridge Family Dental
6150 Village View Drive, #109,
West Des Moines, IA, 50266
Phone: 515.223.9764
After-hours emergency: 515.423.0445
Fax: 515.327.6230

Office Hours

Monday: 8 am-5 pm
Tuesday: closed
Wednesday: 8 am-5 pm
Thursday: 7:30 am- 1:30 pm
Friday: 7:30 am-4:30 pm