Dental Care During Pregnancy

Congratulations you are having a baby!  You’re seeing your obstetrician on a regular basis to ensure both you and your baby are in perfect physical health but has anyone discussed your dental health during these exciting months? These days between vitamins and proper diet, calcium generally is not a concern during a woman’s pregnancy. It is important to include plenty of dairy products and green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli to ensure you get the necessary amount of calcium while you’re pregnant.

Remember that major hormonal changes are occurring and this increase in both estrogen and progesterone can elevate your chances of developing gingivitis. “Pregnancy gingivitis” can appear as early as within the first trimester. Continue to brush and floss on a regular basis and you may want to consider adding an antimicrobial mouth rinse to help control any inflammation. Also, your dentist may suggest having your teeth cleaned more frequently to lessen the chances of gingivitis developing into more serious periodontal disease.

A small percentage of women will develop pregnancy granulomas which are red swollen nodules located near the upper gum line. While often painful they aren’t dangerous and generally disappear after the baby is born. No one has determined exactly what causes these granulomas though poor oral hygiene is typically involved.

While most dental experts agree that elective dental procedures should be postponed until after the birth of the baby, dental emergencies still need to be addressed. If anesthesia or prescribed medication will be involved your obstetrician should be consulted.

If you are planning on becoming pregnant why not go ahead now and schedule an appointment with Dr. Ellis? Any necessary x-rays can be taken at this time and she can also discuss a suitable dental plan for you to follow while you are expecting.

Photo Credit

Five Signs You Need to Visit the Dentist

Most of the time seeing your dentist twice a year for a thorough cleaning and check-up is sufficient for heading off any problems. Though on occasion something comes up and you just aren’t sure if it warrants a dentist appointment. Or perhaps you’re one of those folks who haven’t seen a dentist in years but now are having problems. Not sure if it’s time to pick up the phone and call 314.965.1334 and schedule an appointment to come see Dr. Ellis? Keep reading.

  • If you are experiencing chronic tooth pain, it is definitely time to see a dentist. The pain could be caused by something as simple as a cavity or more serious periodontal disease.
  • If your gums hurt, bleed or look red and swollen, then please make an appointment. Often, especially if you haven’t had a professional cleaning in a while, hardened plaque can become trapped under the gum line. Gingivitis or periodontal disease has the potential to cause tooth loss if not treated.
  • One day after brushing you notice white spots on your teeth; those aren’t supposed to be there. White spots are one of the first indications of dental decay inside the tooth. When the enamel begins to dissolve due to a buildup of bacteria, the interior of the tooth becomes infected.
  • Most of us get the occasional canker sore or mouth ulcer and that in itself isn’t cause to worry. That is unless you get a sore that doesn’t heal or they start occurring on a regular basis.
  • If you have begun experiencing early morning headaches, it might be a good idea to schedule a dental appointment. Often grinding your teeth at night can cause pain in your head, jaw and face.

As always, if you are experiencing any other problems or concerns, Dr. Ellis and her caring staff is only a phone call away.

How to Choose a Mouthwash

You try to do everything you can to keep your teeth and gums healthy but what about using a mouthwash? There are so many choices on the market today it can often be confusing. Basically there are three categories most mouthwash falls under.

Fluoride Mouthwash

Generally if you use fluoridated toothpaste, an additional fluoride mouth rinse isn’t necessary. The exception is when you have dry mouth syndrome due to illness or certain medications, have multiple restorations in your mouth, or have a high risk of decay. Severe dry mouth can lead to tooth decay. A proper balance of salvia is required to wash away the harmful acids that bond with dental plaque, eventually causing cavities and gum disease.

Anti-Gingivitis or Plaque Reducing Mouth Rinses

Many dental experts agree this type of mouth rinse needs to become a part of your daily oral health routine. Both anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis dental rinses work to reduce and kill damaging mouth bacteria even the most thorough brusher can miss. Any brand which carries the American Dental Association seal of approval means the claims made by the manufacturer have been verified by an independent scientific testing facility.

Breath Freshening or Whitening Mouth Rinses

We all want sweet smelling breath and movie star white teeth along with good oral health. Just don’t assume these cosmetic mouthwashes will aid in killing the bacteria which contributes to tooth decay and gum disease. Many do kill bacteria but only for a short period of time; definitely not long enough to provide any lasting health benefits. Here at Ellis Dental, we carry Smart Mouth - Advanced Clinical Formula. Using Smart Mouth rinse twice daily will eliminate any bad breath you may have. We stock the 30oz bottles that aren't available in stores and offer them at a discounted price. For more information on Smart Mouth, visit their webiste:

Bottom line; add a fluoride mouth rinse to your daily oral health routine if you don’t use fluoride toothpaste. Rinse daily with an anti-plaque or anti-gingivitis mouthwash and then if you want clean breath and white teeth perhaps use that type of mouthwash in the morning and a plaque fighting mouthwash in the evening.

Searching for a caring dentist in the Crestwood area? Please contact Ellis Dental today to schedule an appointment.

Know the Facts about Fluoride

Most people aren’t aware that their tooth enamel is constantly changing. On a daily basis important minerals that make up a tooth’s enamel layer are lost through demineralization. Mouth bacteria interacts with certain proteins and sugars causing acid to form and erode the enamel. Then at the same time other minerals such as calcium, phosphate and fluoride are being deposited back on the tooth surface through what we eat and drink. Obviously when there is more demineralization than remineralization, the tooth enamel becomes weak and cavities and tooth decay can occur.  Past studies have determined that while fluoride can protect teeth from demineralization, it can also remineralize some of the damaged areas. Sufficient amounts of fluoride are critical for children beginning at the age of six months. This is when both primary and permanent teeth are developing and fluoride is absorbed into the tooth hidden under the gum. Then after the tooth erupts fluoride acts as a barrier against damaging acids. However, care must be taken against high concentrations of fluoride as this can cause negative effects on tooth enamel. Your dentist can easily gauge the correct amount of fluoride depending on your child’s age and weight.

Adults can also benefit from additional fluoride especially if dry mouth is a concern. Often certain medications, diseases or side effects from medical treatments can cause a lack of saliva allowing harmful bacteria to form. Also, if you suffer from gingivitis where more of the tooth is exposed or have crowns, bridges or braces, sufficient fluoride is important. Adding a fluoride rinse to your daily brushing even when using fluoride toothpaste is one of the easiest ways to make sure your teeth are protected.

As always, we here at Ellis Dental welcome your questions and concerns. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like more information on fluoride and your dental health.

Five Signs of Gum Disease

You think you’re doing a good job taking care of your oral health by brushing twice a day and flossing regularly. So it’s quite a shock to hear at your bi-yearly dental checkup that you have gingivitis or gum disease. If gingivitis isn’t treated it can turn into inflammation around the tooth, or periodontitis. This is when the gum pulls away from the tooth forming pockets where bacteria can gather and become infected. Risk factors for gum disease include:

  • Smoking.
  • Diabetes.
  • Certain medications.
  • Hormonal changes.
  • Genetics.

Symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Loose teeth.
  • Teeth that look “longer.”
  • Changes in gums including bleeding, swelling or redness.
  • Gums which have receded or pockets that have formed around the tooth.
  • Chronic bad breath that isn’t controlled with mouthwash or breath spray.

During your dental exam if your dentist or hygienist suspects gum disease, you will be asked about personal habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption. Your gums will be closely inspected and if pockets have formed, a miniature ruler called a probe will be used to measure the depth of each area. X-Rays may be taken to see if any bone loss has occurred.

Treatment of gum disease includes:

  • Top priority is to control any active infection.
  • Deep cleaning called scaling and root planing may be necessary. Scaling removes tarter from the tooth and below and around the gum line while planing removing irregular areas when germs and bacteria can gather.
  • Either OTC or prescription medications maybe prescribed to control bacteria growth.
  • Dental surgery is a possibility depending on the severity or if the above measures don’t stop the inflammation.

Concerned you may have gingivitis? Please schedule an appointment with Ellis Dental today.