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July 17th, 2014

What’s the Connection Between Protein and Our Oral Health (If Any)?

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

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Nutrition is extremely important when it comes to tooth formation, and our tooth (and jaw) structure itself. We want to have strong and healthy teeth so they can be resistant to decay.

But how else does nutrition impact our teeth once we are older?

Let’s reflect on our teeth makeup: enamel is on the outside. It is the mineralized “shell” to our teeth. Then we have dentin, also a mineralized layer, beneath our enamel. When our diet has a high nutrient density, we are able to “remineralize” our enamel and dentin. That’s just one reason why we want a “good diet” to be able to do so.

So far, we know a nutrient-dense diet is a good place to start. Some of the foods that deliver high nutrients, while limiting the acid we expose our teeth to, include these foods:

  • Animal foods such as broths, meat, fish, eggs, etc.
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Limited fruit

What you do not see is processed foods, refined sweets or grains like oatmeal, sugary cereals, or crackers. Again, those are much more likely to lead to tooth decay then what you see above.

Most of those foods are high-protein. So does that mean protein is better for our teeth?

It is true that those foods shown above, with high nutrient densities, in some cases, do have a lot of protein in their macronutrient profile. Foods that don’t have much protein as part of its macronutrient profile can sometimes also be the foods that are worse off for teeth in general due to what else is making up that food, macronutrient-wise.

Let’s examine why that might be.

Take for example a candy bar that’s high in carbohydrates (sugar). It isn’t providing us with much protein, and at the same time, it’s also bad for teeth because of that high sugar content.

But, you can also think of examples that are quite contrary to this: take for example, a high-protein “energy bar.” These might have a high protein makeup, but then the chocolate they are coated in could also sit on your teeth if you were to not brush or floss after eating one. Said another way, it could have high protein, and also have high sugar! You can probably think of other examples.

When sugar is in what we deem a high-carbohydrate food, this is in fact worse on your teeth. On the other end, foods that are high in protein are often times, but not always, going to be better for your teeth as they (sometimes) lack the sugar in their makeup.

To sum it up, you might say that protein is good for your teeth—but another way to look at it is the absence of an excessive amount of (refined) sugar is what’s really good for our teeth!

…and, as stated, avoiding sugar also leaves us with many food choices that, in many cases, do have a protein-punch! Look to maximize mineral absorption and your daily intake of nutrients, both of which can be done through a diet that makes sure to get enough protein.

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July 8th, 2014

Are We Jump-Starting the Day…With Sugary Cereals?

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health


Sugary Cereals Impact On Health Hagen Dental Cincinnati

Did you know that cereals marketed towards kids have as much as 85 percent more sugar than those aimed at adults? They also have 65 percent less fiber than those cereals that are “for adults.”

With nearly one third of us eating cold cereals for breakfast, it’s time we examine exactly what we’re “running” on in the morning.

One cereal we can look to as an example is Cocoa Krispies. If we take a look at its first ingredients, we see Rice, Sugar, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Semisweet chocolate (which means more sugar!), and the partially hydrogenated vegetable oil…we will stop there, but the list of ingredients surely does not!

The list of ingredients goes on, but it’s good to take note of what we’re really feeding our kids for fuel in the morning. And, while we don’t mean to focus only on Cocoa Krispies, it does provide a good example of the problem: “sugar” itself appears three times throughout the ingredients list, and it’s part of the fourth most common ingredient as well.

A serving of this kind of cereal is about ¾ of a cup. But let’s take a closer look at that single serving, assuming that’s all that our children eat in the morning…

A single serving has 120 calories, and 12 grams of sugar in that serving.

12 grams of sugar is the same as 3 teaspoons of sugar. 

Looked at another way, that is actually 39 percent of the cereal by weight.

Some of our most popular cereals that also have alarmingly high amounts of sugar include Reese’s Puffs, Corn Pops, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cap’n Crunch…to name a few. When we eat processed foods like this with extremely high sugar content, it’s almost like we’re eating candy to start off the day.

When you add several servings, instead of just keeping to 1 ounce, you actually could be doubling or tripling that amount of sugar intake as well.

We know some of the benefits of eating breakfast, in general, include a better memory, more energy, and an increased chance at better concentration.

These are all reasons to eat a nutritious, high fiber breakfast, but when you look at some of the cereals marketed towards children, they are simply highly processed grains that have been sweetened. In some cereals, they even have synthetic vitamins—talk about taking the idea of convenience too far!

Avoid Sugary and Non-Nutricious Cereals, and Better Avoid Harmful Acids on Our Teeth

Treat these often-salty and sugar-filled cereals just like they were candy or a treat: eat them in limited quantities. Also remember that many of the brands described truly lack any nutritional value.

As you know, when sugar and starches like these are left on our teeth, bacteria thrive. The acid that results will destroy our tooth enamel, and we are left with tooth decay.

A Better Breakfast Choice: Full of Vitamins and Minerals, but Also the Macronutrients Needed for Disease Prevention, Overall Health & Growth

Be sure to read your nutritional label, as there are many alternatives that are healthier options that provide vitamins, minerals, and even fiber (without any synthetic or artificial ingredients we may want to avoid) for our children. You could also choose whole foods instead of processed ones, which is sure to increase your nutrition content and be a better choice for your teeth and gums.

Have questions for us about a certain cereal and its effects on your teeth, or about a convenient, but also healthy, breakfast? Let us know and we will answer your questions.

Sources from this article include:



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July 5th, 2014

Floss–When’s the Best Time: Before or After Brushing?

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

Although many say that dental floss was invented thanks to a dentist in New Orleans back in 1815, others say that the idea of floss really existed much earlier. They point towards anthropological evidence that people used sticks for interdental cleaning hundreds and hundreds of years ago…

Either way, our knowledge about the importance of flossing, and the actual floss we use, has come a long way since then…and it sounds like it has become much gentler on our teeth.

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Even though we know floss is a great way to get rid of food and bacteria between our teeth, there is a much-debated question: when is the best time to floss—before or after we brush our teeth?

Let’s take a closer look at flossing to answer that question.

First, it’s vital to note that your toothbrush’s bristles simply cannot reach in between your teeth. Of course, that’s why you want to make sure you floss each day.

The grooming habit that’s been called by some as “the most difficult” is really not all that hard at all.

Here’s a breakdown of steps that take only minutes to complete:

  • Start with about 18 inches of your preferred kind of floss
  • Wrap the floss around your middle finger and then the rest of the floss around the opposite hand’s middle finger
  • Taking the floss between your forefinger and thumb,  gently glide the floss in between your teeth
  • As the floss nears your gum, follow your shape of your tooth with the floss. This is done firmly, but still gently
  • Take the floss and use it this way between your teeth, moving it up and down slightly, throughout your entire mouth, including “behind” your molars
  • Over time, be sure to move the floss in your hands so that you can use the portion that has not yet been used between any teeth

Just by taking a few minutes out of your day, you are helping reduce the risk of bacteria entering the bloodstream and triggering inflammation in the arteries; there is evidence that this can occur, and it’s been suggested as a major risk for heart disease.

If you were to follow these steps to floss before you brush, then you would remove the plaque in between teeth. Then, when you brush your teeth, you would be actively removing the plaque on your teeth by brushing.

Flossing first means, in theory, we can utilize the fluoride in your toothpaste in between our teeth as well. (The idea is that since we just flossed, we have a greater chance of being able to “reach” in between the teeth with the toothpaste.)

Many people point towards the idea that brushing would help “wash away” the plaque in between our teeth, again, if you brush your teeth after flossing. In theory, that’s a possibility, but the reality is that flossing before or after you brush is suitable. 

Let’s think about another scenario—where people brush their teeth first. In this case, people brush their teeth and then feel that the entire mouth is clean, so they don’t floss anymore! If that sounds like you, you should be sure to floss first.

Our conclusion: it’s more important that you are flossing at all, and that you are flossing the correct way–rather than before or after brushing.

And, if you are really a star, then yes, go ahead and floss gently more than once a day!

Want to know more about flossing? See our post on types of floss here.

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June 26th, 2014

What to Know About Diabetes and Its Impact on Your Mouth & Teeth

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

A little over 8 percent of the US population has diabetes today, although as many as 7 million people do not know they have diabetes. Being able to control your glucose levels is the best way to maintain good oral health if you have diabetes.

Read on to see what you should know about the connection between oral health and diabetes.

What do brushing and flossing have to do with diabetes?

With diabetes (and we mean pre-diabetes, type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes), high blood sugar is an issue that affects your entire body! Your teeth and gums are no exception.

dental care diabetes cincinnati ohio hagen dental practice ddsLet’s take a closer look at exactly what happens when you have high blood sugar, and how it can lead to complications if you don’t have good oral health habits.

It’s true that dry mouth can become a problem because of the medications you are on when you have diabetes. Also, that problem can be made greater when your blood sugar levels are high!

With less saliva to naturally “wash away” the starches and sugar in your mouth, acids are more likely to sit on the teeth. Acids in plaque do damage to your enamel. In turn, we don’t have to tell you how this puts you at higher risk for developing cavities!

Diabetes also reduces the ability to fight bacteria in general.

…That means if you aren’t staying on top of your daily habits, tartar will quickly build up. Imagine this combination of plaque and tartar!  

We can see how our gingiva gets very irritated under those conditions. So how would you know this might be happening your own mouth? If you have gums that are swollen, or if they bled easily, come see us.

When we don’t treat gingivitis, it leads to periodontitis…This actually means we are putting our entire mouths at risk. Periodontitis will eventually cause gums to retract from your teeth. You don’t want to lose your teeth because of periodontitis, but just know that periodontitis is actually often more severe in people with diabetes because of the lowered ability to fight infection.

The process continues: an infection you get in your mouth can also make your blood sugar levels rise, and as you know, this makes diabetes harder to control. Not only this, for people who are diabetic, healing happens slower, meaning infections must be taken serious to avoid additional complications.

What we want you to know is important to realize is the role you play with your health! You CAN control your daily oral habits. If you continue to monitor your blood sugar levels, maintain good oral hygiene habits, and then visit your dentist regularly, you can do your best to avoid developing gingivitis, cavities, or other complications.

Do you have diabetes? Be sure to let us know when you visit. Visit us here to schedule your next visit with us

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June 11th, 2014

Most Commonly Asked Questions: Dentures

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

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Q: What’s all this I’m hearing about Overdentures?

A: Millions of people are missing enough teeth to require dentures. Overdentures are what we like to call “the answer for slipping dentures.” Many people have grown accustomed to, or put up with slipping or wandering dentures—but there’s a better way!

Overdentures are an effective way to ensure that your dentures stay secure and in place. Your dentures or bridge are anchored with an implant to make sure there is no issue of loose-fitting dentures. What we find is that people have renewed confidence, better chewing, improved speech, and increased comfort with Overdentures.

Q: What are the other benefits of denture stabilization in my mouth beyond just aesthetics?

A: Overdentures are a great solution because they have long-term durability. Besides renewing your confidence, keep in mind that often times we see benefits to health and diet once you are able to restore proper chewing habits. The cost and upkeep associated with denture adhesives is a thing of the past!

In many cases, Overdentures will allow you to retain many of your natural teeth, which can be a positive in terms of keeping your jaw bone healthy/avoiding bone loss in the jaw if those teeth had to also be removed. Other benefits of Overdentures include:

• Better stimulation of your jaw bone—which can slow and stop the shrinkage process that is seen when teeth are missing in the mouth
• Better stability and comfort, resulting in less embarrassment and less sores that result from chewing and talking
• Better ability for your lower facial structure to hold its natural shape, enabling you to avoid premature aging due to your teeth/bone loss

Q: My dentures fit me just fine. Do I still need to visit the dentist regularly?

A: The answer is…yes! Just because you have dentures does not mean you should no longer visit the dentist regularly. Remember we are also checking for any signs of gum disease by looking over your jaw, gum, as well as tongue. Since your mouth can be a great indicator of your overall health, we can also ensure you do not have oral cancer.

Unfortunately, more than 60 percent of oral cancer cases are discovered later than they need to be. If you still come in to your dentist regularly, we are able to make sure your dentures are still fitting well, and we can help solve any denture-related problems you may be having.

Q: It’s exciting to hear that this kind of dental treatment can serve as a stable foundation for my teeth. What else should I know?

A: Dentures are often not talked about as much as our other treatments—but be sure to ask us any questions you have when you come in to visit us. For people with missing teeth, Overdentures provide you with a premier, top-of-the-line solution so you can keep smiling and living a healthy life. Get in touch with us today.

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June 3rd, 2014

Cosmetic Dentistry: Much More than Teeth Whitening!

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

Did you know the first thing people notice about you is your smile?

Good thing there is cosmetic dentistry, which improves the appearance of our smiles, and even our face.

“Cosmetic dentistry—so that means tooth whitening, right?”

Teeth whitening is popular because it boosts our confidence, it helps us immediately look younger, and it helps make a positive first impression. In general, it also reverses stains to keep your mouth and face looking fresh and vibrant. You might think of teeth whitening when someone says cosmetic dentistry, but there’s actually much more available falling under the umbrella of cosmetic dentistry procedures!

Cosmetic dentistry at Hagen includes CEREC for optimal fitting, naturally looking crowns and Invisalign for fixing gapped teeth, overbite, crossbite, or underbite. But there is even more…

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Cosmetic Dentistry at Hagen Dental is faster and easier than ever, thanks to our state-of-the-art technology.

One solution we have to offer is modern composite resin fillings that contain no metals. These bond tightly to teeth to actually strengthen them, and are not noticeable—this compares with silver-mercury amalgam that used to be the standard in filling material. In those cases, the metal does not bond well to teeth!

Our modern fillings are made to match the shade of your teeth and are aesthetically pleasing. With a beautiful, restored smile, you will be able to increase your confidence and live life just as you did before experiencing your tooth decay!

And what about mishaps with your teeth, discoloration, or unsightly gaps?

It’s possible that veneers could be the answer to your problem! Veneers can quickly—and painlessly—change crooked teeth to straight ones.

Our veneers are made of hard, durable dental ceramic. The thin coverings are bonded to your teeth Say goodbye to any chipped, cracked, or worn teeth since these can match the color of your teeth as well!

We also have other technologies including Snap-On Smile, an appliance that is able to go over your teeth to give you an entirely new smile. This means no tooth removal, bonding, drilling, or shots are needed. You will love the look and feel—you can even eat with the Snap on Smile!

If you have put up with slipping, tilting, or wandering dentures long enough, it’s time to consider Overdentures. Your dentures or bridge are anchored with an implant to eliminate the problems of loose-fitting dentures—leaving you with a beautiful smile, and more confidence in the process.

Cosmetic Dentistry Has Come A Long Way

hagen dental in cincinnati ohio

Cosmetic dentistry has certainly evolved—and we’ve been there every step of the way! Dr. Hagen has undergone extensive postgraduate education over the years, including training in whole mouth rehabilitation, CEREC, and crown and bridge restorations. Hagen Dental is the place to come for state-of-the-art options for cosmetic procedures. Dr. Hagen’s commitment to ongoing education means he is constantly evaluating emerging dental methods and technologies so we can continue to offer you treatments to make your smile a great lasting impression!

Want to know more about what to expect with some of these cosmetic procedures such as veneers, whitening, bonding, and/or crowns? We take pride in clarifying expectations for you, and having the latest technology at Hagen! Come on in to see what’s right for you.

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May 21st, 2014

The Search Ends Here: Hagen’s Guide to Everything You Wanted to Know About Invisalign

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

hagen cincinnati ohio invisalignWant to know more about Invisalign? We thought so, and we have the answers right here.

As the name suggests, Invisalign is the barely-visible trays that are utilized to move people’s teeth—it’s an alternative to braces for people who are candidates. People who have gapped teeth, overbite, crossbite, or underbite and overcrowding can benefit from Invisalign at Hagen Dental.

The trays themselves, which look similar to a teeth-whitening tray, will actually move your teeth about .2 to .25 mm. How much we need to move your is determined based on your unique mouth!

This “invisible” material is actually thermoplastic, and just like a mouth guard, the Invisalign treatment involves a custom-fit application that will fit to your unique mouth. Many people love Invisalign for that reason alone—it’s difficult to tell you even have them on, unlike braces.

What are the first steps to get Invisalign?

As long as you are a candidate (just like you have to be a candidate for braces), then Dr. Hagen’s first step is to set out to create the “shells” that will be used move your teeth.

We take advantage of 3D computer imaging technology to get the custom-made aligners based on a digital model of your entire mouth. As we will explain to you at this point through your specific treatment plan, then the aligners are constructed and you are ready to begin straightening your teeth!

Recall that the aligners will serve to move your teeth, bit by bit, until your teeth have moved enough for a new set of aligners to come into play. This takes, on average, about two to three weeks between each incremental set.

Is there pain with Invisalign?

For the typical person using Invisalign, there is a feeling of pressure associated with the aligners. This is only temporary, and is most common right when you get your new aligner. Keep in mind that the slight discomfort you experience is because your teeth are moving!

What are the other benefits of Invisalign?

Besides being clear, Invisalign is also something you can remove when you have to—although they should be worn most of the day. (If you don’t wear your aligners, then your teeth won’t straighten)! What this flexibility enables is for people to still wear their aligners for about 22 hours a day, yet still take them off when sitting down for a meal. We are also able to brush and floss as you normally would when you remove the aligners temporarily, which helps you continue your regular oral hygiene.

How long do people use Invisalign?

Your number of sets/trays and length of your overall treatment can be better determined when we meet with you. As a general estimate, it generally takes 9-15 months until you can have a brand new smile thanks to Invisalign!

Is Invisalign right for me?

If you are looking for the benefits of a comfortable, invisible, removable solution that straightens your teeth, and one that still allows you to eat and drink foods you enjoy, then Invisalign might be a match for you!

Ask us about it today and we can set up a visit to see if you are a candidate. Read more about Invisalign at Hagen Dental Practice here.

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May 16th, 2014

Gum Recession: What You Need to Know

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

Ever heard of gingival recession?

This is a term for receding gums.

Your first worry if you hear your dentist talk about gum recession in your mouth could be the aesthetics! You might ask yourself, “I didn’t notice my gums were receding!”

The reality is that it can be progressive over time, so many people are unaware of the slow changes of gum recession that impact our mouth. You might have noticed, however, that your teeth were more sensitive to heat and cold—that happens as your teeth become more exposed over time!

Without any recession, our soft tissues are what anchor our teeth to the bone. Healthy gums are coral in color and our gum line is “snug” along each tooth. What many of us don’t realize is that gum recession does not have to happen as we age—meaning it is not inevitable! With intentional care, we can make sure our gum tissue does not “shrink” away from our teeth slowly over the years. A potentially more difficult, but still possible aspect, is to maintain bone density as we age.

Then how can gum recession happen, and why is it more likely to happen as we age?

The most common cause is gum disease. We can think of that as bacterial overgrowth. Even though we do have health bacteria, the bacteria in our mouth can be harmless (gram positive aerobic bacteria) or the harmful kind (gram negative anaerobic bacteria). When our mouths are exposed to a bacterial balance that is more gram negative in nature, over time that inflammation takes its toll on teeth and gum. Take away that harmful bacteria, and take away the source of the problem.

Imagine a mouth that does have this chronic inflammation of the gums—so while there would be no pain for you, over time, gradual recession begins to occur. Another difference we might not notice in our mouth is increased tooth mobility due to periodontal disease. Those are just two signs of gum recession.

And what else can lead to our gums receding? Here is a list of the major reasons why gum recession can take place:

  • Gum disease
  • Grinding of the teeth
  • Overly aggressive brushing
  • Excessive acid reflux
  • Bruxism which can loosen the teeth’s position

You may wonder: can we ever blame mom and dad for our teeth and gum or gum recession? First, it is true that some patients are born with thin gum tissue, making them more at risk of recession.

But that just means they are at greater risk—it doesn’t mean they will inevitably have issues related to receding gums.

Said another way, genetics does play a part in how thick or thin our gum tissue may be, but we ultimately can have a larger impact on the health of our gum in the majority of cases.

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When Shakespeare said “Long in the tooth” or “Long of tooth” he was talking about people who were generally older who had receding gums, and thus “longer” teeth.

If you do experience teeth mobility and a situation where your gingival health is a major problem, a soft-tissue graft surgery may be used. In this scenario, tissue is taken from one spot in your mouth and applied to the thinner places to cover the exposed roots. What kind of procedure you may have will take place after a conversation with us!

You’ll notice with our list of reasons for gum recession, we can do something about most of them. Having a consistent oral hygiene, restorations that rightfully fit our mouths, making sure we do something about bruxism or grinding if we suffer from it—these are a few of the steps we can take to make sure we don’t get “long teeth!”

If you feel like your roots are exposed, your teeth are looking longer than normal, you have teeth sensitivity, unexplained bad breath, swollen/bleeding gums, or if you’ve ever been diagnosed with periodontal disease, let us know!

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May 1st, 2014

Floss vs. Interdental Picks—Hagen Explains the Difference!

Category: cincinnati dentist

hagen dental cincinnati ohioWhat happens in your mouth…affects your body, and vice versa. Today we look at floss and interdental picks, one of the most important parts of taking care of your oral health

As many of you now, plaque that is not removed from your teeth hardens into tartar. In part, this is why you come in to us so we can remove it. When this tartar builds up, you may start to notice gum tissue swelling or bleeding when this occurs. Flossing and interdental cleaning aids let us remove this plaque between our teeth.

I floss, but I’m curious: what’s floss made of?

Typically the floss someone gets from the store is usually made from nylon or plastic. If you by the mint variety, it simply has been treated with flavoring agents. Floss comes in dispensers with anywhere from 10 to 100 meters of floss on each “roll.” Typically, we want to break off a piece of floss that’s between 18 and 20 inches.

What should I know about the kinds of floss?

Flossing is arguably the most important defense you have against plaque. No matter the type of floss you use, it helps clean and remove plaque. Here are a few of the kinds available from a dentist’s perspective:

  • Wide floss: this, like interdental picks (more on this below!), is commonly used by people with “larger” spaces between their teeth.
  • Waxed floss: some people prefer this kind since it “glides” between the teeth. It can also be ideal for those with closely spaced teeth.
  • Unwaxed floss: again, it may just come down to your preference, but unwaxed gives you a “squeaky” feeling when you use it against each tooth. For this reason, people like it because they say it feels less thick compared to waxed floss!
  • Bonded, unwaxed floss: now we are really getting specific! This kind of floss will not break/fray as easily as your “normal” kind of unwaxed floss. It will fray more easily than waxed floss, however.

These varieties show how you can select a type of floss that “feels” best for your mouth. What’s more is that there is no clinical difference in how the floss works at preventing disease, stimulating your gum, and/or removing plaque. We just want you to use whatever you prefer so that you are more likely to floss!

Then what are interdental picks?

Interdental picks are sticks (usually plastic or wood) that clean between your teeth. They are often described as an alternative to dental floss, but they are best used for people with large spaces between their teeth.

Another case where you might have heard of using interdental cleaning aids is for those who have braces, or even a missing tooth, or if you had gum surgery. (Ask us if you think you might be a a fit for using interdental picks over floss.)

We’ve talked to you before about how flossing actually gets up to a third of the surface area of your teeth. Interdental picks are aimed at doing the same by removing hard-to-get-to food, cleaning away plaque and stimulating gum.

Whether flossing or using an interdental cleaning aid, be sure not to be too abrasive on your gum line. Although there’s a wide selection of cleaners/floss available, you are sure to have a quality selection if you see the ADA Seal.

Want to learn about some of our featured services at Hagen Dental? Head to our new website to learn more

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April 15th, 2014

A Dentist’s Perspective: 6 Frequently Asked Questions

Category: cincinnati dentist

questions for hagen1. Why are we supposed to go to the dentist every six months?

By visiting the dentist twice a year, we’re ideally able to catch issues before anything potentially serious changes with our oral health.

Over time, most of us have grown accustomed to hearing how twice a year, or every six months, we need to visit the dentist! The reality is, no two patients are alike, and we all have a different health background, so this isn’t always what’s recommended…

In certain cases, we will actually recommend people to come in and see us more often, but the typical duration between visits is 6 months. (For those who need to visit more than twice a year, keep this in mind: your health and wellness should not be determined solely by what your dental plan covers!)

We do this so we are able to combat the tartar buildup during that timeframe, and use our diagnostic tools to make sure nothing is abnormal.

2. Hagen Dental offers the latest technology, including Zoom! Teeth Whitening. What’s the difference between this form of whitening and the store-purchased, at-home kit?

As you may or may not know, store-purchased, at-home kits have varying levels of success for people in terms of how much they whiten. Your whitening toothpastes help keep your teeth white on the surface, for the most part! Store-bought bleaching kits do have a stronger amount of bleach in them than whitening toothpastes.

However, when we use the Zoom! Whitening, we apply hydrogen-peroxide formula to teeth, covering up the surrounding gum to avoid any sensitivity you may have. (That’s a key difference right there!) Next, we shine ultraviolet light onto the teeth. It’s an ideal choice for those of you who are busy, but still want the latest and greatest to fight discoloration.

We are happy to offer this procedure, since in just over an hour, you can have a safe and effective tooth whitening procedure that gets rid of the DEEP stains on your teeth, unlike certain, store-bought, at-home kits. Ask us if you still have questions about the safety or efficacy of an at-home whitening kit bought from a store.

3. Hagen also offers CEREC. What is CEREC and what can it do for me?

CEREC is the term that stands for the ceramic reconstruction of your teeth. CEREC is the only method that offers single-visit chair-side restoration—meaning you can just come in once and be done with your procedure. That’s pretty big news for a lot of us!

Because only one procedure is needed, it’s ideal because it is fast, safe, and provides a natural-looking restoration that will stand the test of time. How so? Well, as you may have guessed, it is made of ceramic materials. If you have a decayed or broken tooth, this offers a metal-free solution, and no need to wait 2-4 weeks to get it!

Last, many people are excited about CEREC since it will match the color of your teeth. So your teeth will look great and they will last longer with this technology!

4. What should I know about my child’s oral health? 

One of the great things about starting dental care early is that your children will be accustomed to the process sooner! Typically it is recommended to have your first dental visit around age 3. At Hagen, we make sure your child is as comfortable as possible—we know they might be anxious when they first come in.

We like to say that if your child has not been to the dentist yet, but is old enough to know how to tie their shoe, you should know your child also has the ability, and should know how to brush their teeth as well.

5. Why do we need X-rays at the dentist?

Recall that X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation. For dentists, we see them as another diagnostic tool to watch the ongoing status of your oral health. (For those worried about radiation specifically, as a comparison, you can get more radiation from your every day background radiation that you would get from an average X-ray today in our office. That’s because we use digital X-rays which have less radiation than traditional X-rays.)

X-rays are an extremely effective way to show decay and infections beneath the surface. We’re better able to see any issues with bone loss, your jaw, and anything unusual happening with the soft tissues with X-rays. If you have a cavity or tooth decay, for example, we are able to see this when we read your X-ray. Again, how often you need them will vary by patient, especially if you have any issues going on with your oral health/jaw, or if you tell us you are having any specific problems.

6. I’m an athlete. Why do you recommend I wear a mouth guard?

It’s not just a coincidence that NBA players and other professional athletes wear mouth guards—they do this because a mouth guard can save your teeth!

While losing a tooth might be the worst outcome you can imagine, actually other dental injuries from sports include broken teeth, nerve damage, concussions, and you can even break your jaw. Wearing a mouth guard today is becoming more and more of the norm because of these potential consequences.

Now, on to the part that is a little less scary…mouth guards—which we can make right here in the office—greatly absorb the shock that your teeth or jaw can encounter in sports. Having the right kind of mouth guard, and making sure it fits are really the crucial things you need to know.

Part of what sets Hagen apart is our comfortable, but positive, environment where people feel safe to ask any questions they have. When you come here you can feel it!

And what about questions you should ask YOURSELF before visiting the dentist? Just make sure you ask yourself if you are willing to do your part to make sure your mouth stays—or gets back to—being healthy! So what do we mean by this statement? This translates to being proactive and telling us when something is wrong, justly preparing for any procedures, or just being honest about your health when we ask. We have a feeling this isn’t a problem for our readers. For more on our services, visit our Services tab here.

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