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Tips for Managing Oral Pain

October 20th, 2017

Experiencing tooth or oral pain is not fun. If you cannot get to Watkins Family Dental Care right away, the pain may even seem to increase. The old saying that a tooth will stop hurting once you get to a dentist is not that far from true. However, there are many tips you can try to relieve your oral pain until you can see Drs. Thomas and Andrew Watkins.

Common Pain Relief Options

First, try to determine the source of the pain. This is sometimes not possible, but it may help. If you are experiencing pain between your teeth or along the gum line, try swishing some warm salt water in your mouth. One teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm (not hot) water is all you need.

The pain you are experiencing could be a particle of food stuck under your gum. You can also try flossing as long as bleeding is not present. Salt water soothes other mouth irritations to reduce pain.

You can try over-the-counter pain relievers, including oral medications or topical gels. Avoid taking aspirin; it thins your blood, which could end up being a problem for dental work. Wash your hands before applying any topical pain treatments to avoid spreading germs.

Clove Oil

Clove oil works quickly to relieve most oral pain. Place a few drops of clove oil on a damp cotton ball and place the cotton in your mouth near the painful area. Do not use this method overnight, because you don’t want to swallow the cotton.

Whole cloves can also be used, but try to remove any sharp edges first. Place a few pieces in your mouth and allow your saliva to soften the clove. Some sources say that chewing the clove helps, but you shouldn’t do this if you have a fractured tooth.

Other Household Remedies

If you have cough drops that include benzocaine or menthol, you can try sucking on a cough drop for relief. Placing a warm, wet tea bag against a painful oral area can sometimes reduce the pain as well.

Toothpastes designed to relieve pain from sensitive teeth may work. While these pastes do take time to reach full effectiveness, they can be helpful if you have to wait several days.

Remember that these tips are only designed to provide temporary pain relief. You need to schedule an appointment at Watkins Family Dental Care quickly. Call and schedule an emergency appointment with Drs. Thomas and Andrew Watkins as soon as possible.

Does chronic stress impact periodontal health?

October 13th, 2017

Many studies over the past several years have focused on this question. Since we will all face stressful situations during our life, it is a good question to ask. This question also delves into the mind-body connection—the psychological having an effect on the physical and vice versa.

Studies were performed as far back as the 1940s and continue today. Many of them have shown that stress "downregulates" or hinders cellular immune response. The most common periodontal diseases related to this stress-induced downregulation are gingivitis and periodontitis.

It is believed that stress and depression contribute to a state of chronic inflammation within the body. Stress also raises levels of cortisol in your body, which has been linked in studies to higher levels of tooth loss and deeper pockets between the gums and teeth.

Perhaps the biological side of this equation makes sense, but an important factor is that people who are stressed and/or depressed tend to neglect oral hygiene and other health-promoting activities. The studies seem to support both the behavioral and biological effects as risk factors for periodontal disease.

Here are some things you can do to help prevent stress-related periodontal problems:

  • Daily relaxation –You may consider meditation or yoga. Both have been proven effective at easing stress.
  • Practice good oral hygiene – Don't let your oral hygiene fall by the wayside. Doing so will obviously have a detrimental effect on your oral health. You should also aim to quit smoking if you do smoke.
  • Get regular dental checkups – Getting regular checkups will help you to spot anything that's amiss before it gets out of hand. You can speak with your dentist if you have any pain or concerns and have them take a look.

Stress is something that affects all of us but it can be managed. Each one of us may manage it in a different way. Find what works for you and always make sure to keep up with your oral hygiene routine. For more information about stress-related periodontal issues, schedule an appointment with Drs. Thomas and Andrew Watkins at our Bloomington, IN office.

Detergent Foods: Clean your teeth while you eat!

October 6th, 2017

Did you know that there are certain foods you can eat which help to clean your teeth? We call them "detergent foods." In dentistry we look at the impact of food in three ways: the kind of food, how often it is eaten, and when it is eaten. Detergent foods should be the last piece of food you consume during a meal for best results. Think of them as the closest you can get to brushing your teeth.

A healthy diet is important for oral health as well as overall health, but here are some particular foods that can help clean your teeth and mouth:

  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Celery sticks
  • Popcorn
  • Cucumbers
  • Pears
  • Lettuce
  • Cheese

As you can see, detergent foods are usually foods that are firm and crisp. They act like scrubbers on and around your teeth and gums and bring your mouth's pH back to 7.0, which is optimal.

Which foods are the worst for your teeth?

Cookies, cakes, breads, chips, crackers, soft drinks, dried fruit, and candies (what many people’s diets are full of) provide carbohydrates (sugar) to the bacteria in your mouth causing an acidic environment and increasing the chance of cavities and decay. These foods are sticky and don't rinse easily from your mouth. Avoid letting these foods sit on your teeth after eating them.

It also depends on how often you consume these foods throughout the day. For example, if you drink soft drinks, it's best to have it all in one sitting instead of sipping it all throughout the day. Doing so causes the perfect environment in your mouth for bacteria to flourish and your saliva never gets the chance to neutralize its pH.

This is where detergent foods can come into play. When you're about to finish your meal, have an apple, celery stick, or carrot. It will act like a "natural toothbrush." Also, try to make these detergent foods the basis for snacks you have throughout the day.

Always remember, these foods are not a replacement for brushing and flossing. You still need good dental hygiene regardless of what you're eating! For more tips and tricks for ideal oral health, ask Drs. Thomas and Andrew Watkins the next time you visit our Bloomington, IN office!

Post-Procedure Care

September 29th, 2017

As with any surgery, post-procedure care is of utmost importance after getting periodontal surgery. Bleeding, pain, swelling, and other sensations are common and should be expected to a degree. This can manifest as small amounts of blood in your saliva, pain after anesthesia wears off, and swelling around the lips and cheeks. However, these symptoms should start improving after a several days.

Below you'll find recommendations from Drs. Thomas and Andrew Watkins on what you should do to make your post-procedure experience as quick and painless as possible:

Don't smoke - After your surgery you should definitely not smoke. Smoking will inhibit your body's ability to heal the surgical site.

Don't drink alcohol - If you are taking prescription or over-the-counter pain relievers, don't drink alcohol. And it is a good idea in general to avoid alcohol after surgery, since excess alcohol consumption suppresses immune system function and slows the healing process.

Take pain medication as prescribed or an alternative - Pain is to be expected for at least the first week after your procedure. If you choose to take the prescription medication that is prescribed to you, do so as directed. However some patients have found over-the-counter pain medication works for them. You may also consider natural herbs instead of pharmacological solutions. Try turmeric, arnica, or white willow bark (which is what aspirin is derived from, so the same warnings for aspirin apply to white willow bark.)

Eating with your surgical site in mind - It is best to chew on the other side of your mouth for the first several days so as not to irritate the surgical site. Avoid overly cold or hot foods as well. Softer foods like mashed potatoes, oatmeal, and fruit will be more comfortable to chew.

Avoid brushing the surgical site - You can start brushing and flossing your teeth the day after the procedure but avoid the surgical site.

Don't rinse for the first 24 hours - After the first day has passed you can rinse with a mild mouthwash to keep your mouth, dressing, and surgical site clean.

We're here to answer any questions you have after your procedure and will help you as best we can. Pay special attention to any excessive bleeding or discomfort. Contact our Bloomington, IN office immediately if you have tried addressing the issue on your own but are still having trouble.

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I cannot say enough about how comfortable I am made to feel during every appointment. Dr. Watkins is a kind and gentle dentist and I recommend him to everyone, but most of all, I recommend him to those who have ever had a bad experience at a dentist.

~ Terre S. Read More
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I have been going to Dr. Watkins for many years. After I moved from Bloomington (to over 50 miles away), Dr. Watkins is the only doctor that I keep coming back to Bloomington to see. I trust him completely. He and his staff are so caring, that I no longer dread going to the dentist as I did when I was a child.

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When I first moved to Bloomington, one of my first tasks was finding a new family dentist. One of the reasons I picked Dr. Watkins' office was because his advertisement on the back of my church bulletin said 'Relax, we cater to cowards!' Since I had some painful memories of dental procedures as a child, this slogan gave me hope.

~ Vallia Read More
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I have been going to this office for probably 25 years or more and I have NEVER been mistreated or disappointed in any way. Even as a child I can remember how careful and caring they all were and continue to be to this day. I have recommended many people to them throughout the years and like me, I have yet to have anyone who was/is disappointed with their service.

~ Rex V. Read More
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The technology is strictly state-of-the-art. The receptionists are extremely friendly, accommodating, flexible, The doctors are understanding. extremely kind, reassuring, gentle, encouraging, and technically superior.

~ Robert R. Read More
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Drs. Watkins and their staff provide excellent customer service and exceptional dental care, The entire office is very well organized every step of the way… from scheduling your appointment through each step of your visit and with follow up, my family has been patients of Dr. Watkins for 15+ years!

~ Ann Read More
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The staff at Dr. Watkins' office always treats me with prompt, friendly, and courteous service! It's as if I were lifelong friends, or yet: family! I have come to expect superior professional service, and with each visit, from cleaning to crowns, the complete staff continues to help me at feel at ease.

~ Louella S. Read More
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I have been coming to Dr. Watkins since I was little and I'm now in my 30s. There is no one else that I would trust to take care of my smile. My daughter also loves to come here! Drs. Watkins and the office staff are awesome!

~ Cami Read More
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I work in a medical office as well, and understand the daily grind of repeatedly doing the same thing and seeing the same appointment types... I know that my daughter's appointment was not the only one that day, but the staff made us both feel comfortable, heard, special, and not rushed. I appreciate that!

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They are extremely knowledgeable and more than willing to take the time to explain the what and why of their treatment. This is simply an amazing group of people who are the best at what they do.

~ Rex V. Read More
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My family have been patients of Dr. Watkins for 15+ years. We have always had very positive and caring experiences with Dr. Watkins and his staff.

~ Ann Read More
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Dr. Watkins and the office staff are awesome! They treat me like I'm just part of their family. Make your appointment with him today! You won't be sorry!

~ Cami Read More
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From the minute I walked into his office the very first time, I felt that I would be well cared for, and I have been, every time. Whether it was another crown, a simple filling, or a routine cleaning, my comfort and care has always been their top priority

~ Vallia Read More
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Dr. Watkins is an excellent dentist with an excellent staff. You never have to wait long, you are always met with competent, very friendly receptionists, and the hygienists and Dr. Watkins themselves are very up to date and explain things very well. The office is also exceptionally clean. Wish I could give more than 5 stars!

~ Amy Read More
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The medical assistants are top of the line, gentle, reassuring, and knowledgeable. Dr. Watkins is at the top of his game—extremely kind, reassuring, gentle, encouraging, and technically superior.

~ Robert R. Read More
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I am thrilled to be a patient in this practice and would recommend them to everyone... enthusiastically, and without hesitation!

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