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Northstar Family Dental

Why is My Tooth Sensitive?

Tooth sensitivity, tooth pain, biting pain, gum pain — they are all uncomfortable, annoying, and scary occurrences…  A sensation in your tooth can be cause by a multitude of things, ranging from gum recession and root exposure, to sinus pressure, to tooth decay and infection.

tooth sens

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity:

1. “Idiopathic Hypersensitivity”

A tooth may be sensitive for a short time with no cause, no treatment, and it will go away!  Good news!

2. Sinus Pressure

May cause teeth to feel uncomfortable and achy/painful.  The sensation may become more apparent when walking up stairs, running, or with exercise.  If this is the suspected cause, we may refer you to you Primary Care Physician for a confirmed diagnosis and treatment.

3. Gum Recession

Caused (usually) by brushing too hard or using a medium/hard bristled toothbrush, gum recession can also be intensified by tooth grinding and/or clenching.  Many treatments are available, depending on the severity of this condition.

4. Tooth Grinding (Bruxism), Tooth Clenching Habit

In addition to causing damage to the structure of your teeth, tooth grinding and clenching make teeth hypersensitive due to the forces and pressures exerted.  This habit can also cause loss of
enamel near the gumline of teeth.  Treatment usually includes an occlusal (night) guard, and possibly treatment to cover areas of enamel loss.

sens teeth cartoon5. Missing/Loose Fillings

The inner surface of your tooth is exposed and we must cover it!

6. Cavities

7. Cracked Teeth

Cracked teeth can lead to temperature sensitivity, or sensitivity when chewing.  However, recent research shows that 70% of cracked teeth cause no symptoms!  Cracked teeth need treated ASAP before the crack progresses.

8. Abscess/Infected Tooth

Usually causes spontaneous pain, sometimes swelling, and/or pain that comes and goes over time.  Come see us immediately!

9. Gum Disease

This can cause root exposure, but also active infection of your gums can make both your gums and teeth painful.

Whatever the cause of your sensitive teeth, we can help.  We are expertly trained in the diagnosis and management of tooth sensitivity (in addition to a lot of other things!), and we would love to alleviate your annoying tooth discomfort! 🙂

Dr. B

Thinking About Having a Baby, or Recently Pregnant?

When you’re planning a family, visiting the dentist may not be at the top of your priority list.  However, if you’re thinking about having a baby or are recently pregnant, a dental cleaning and check-up is best done sooner rather than later.

Good oral health is a component of good overall health, both for you and for your baby…

And the good news is, dental care is safe and essential during pregnancy.

Below are answers to common questions about dental treatment and pregnancy, as well as oral care tips for pregnant women.

Don’t forget to come see us during this crazy, chaotic time!

Regular Visits to Monitor Pregnancy Gingivitis

     Increase in hormones during pregnancy increases blood flow to the gums, which can cause swelling and tenderness.  It can also cause “pregnancy gingivitis,” Read the rest of this entry »

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Our Philosophy

Our philosophy at Northstar Family Dental is simple:  We strive to provide high quality, comfortable, comprehensive care with a strong focus on prevention and education.  Overall, we treat each patient as an individual, keeping their own goals, concerns and personal philosophies in mind.  I want to break down each part of our philosophy, in order to describe in greater depth what we are all about.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Sleep Apnea Affecting Your Quality of Life?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) affects millions of adults in the U.S. — an estimated 1 in 5 Americans — yet studies show that up to 80% of these cases are undetected.

OSA is caused by obstruction of the airway that occurs when the jaw falls back during sleep, collapsing the airway.  As a reaction, the brain is triggered, causing one to come out of deep sleep to regain control of the jaw muscles to re-open the airway to allow for breathing to resume.  This can occur 5-70 times per hour — dramatically effecting quality of sleep. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cleft Lip & Palate Facts

What’s a Cleft Lip or Cleft Palate?
Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth defects — they happen when a baby is developing.
Cleft lip is a split in the upper lip — either one or two sides of the lip — creating a wider opening into the nose. Cleft Palate is a split in the roof of the mouth, leaving a hole between the nose and mouth.

free to smileHow common are they?
Cleft lip and/or palate are very common and occur in about 1 or 2 of every 1,000 babies born in the United States each year.

When do they occur?
These defects occur between 6 and 12 weeks in utero. Because the lips and palate develop separately, it’s possible to have cleft lip alone, cleft palate alone, or both together.

What is the cause?
The cause is not always known. Sometimes it is hereditary or part of a syndrome (meaning there are birth defects in other body parts too), It may be related to what happened during a mother’s pregnancy (medications, lack of certain vitamins, exposure to cigarette smoke).

What other problems do these babies have?
Feeding problems… Because there is a hole between the nose and mouth milk can come out of the nose, can happen every time they drink. Ear/hearing problems… Can have hearing loss (may be caused by fluid building up inside the ear). Dental problems… Small teeth, missing teeth, extra teeth, crooked teeth, etc. Speech problems… Kids with cleft palate find their soft palate sometimes does not move well and lets too much air leak out the nose while speaking; makes them sound nasally. Read the rest of this entry »

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3 Warning Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom-Teeth-XrayWisdom teeth, the last teeth in the mouth to break through the gums and located furthest back in the mouth, usually begin to form in pre-teen years. By late teen years, the these teeth will begin to erupt into the oral cavity… if there is room.

More often than not, our mouths lack the adequate space for these teeth, leading to either full impaction (where the tooth never fully erupts into the mouth), or partial impaction (where the tooth only has room to partially break through the gums). This usually means that the teeth are painfully lodged in the jawbone. Read the rest of this entry »

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Banish Bad Breath!

What Causes Bad Breath

And bacteria’s food is your food. Therefore, to avoid bad breath, the most important habit to maintain is to keep your mouth clean — brush, floss, rinse, and even use a tongue scraper. If you clean away their food, the bacteria can’t proliferate and bad breath is tamed. Cavities and periodontal disease will cause bad breath!

breathSome foods and drinks. Garlic and onions contain smelly sulfur compounds that linger in your mouth, and then are exhaled after they enter the bloodstream. Coffee and alcohol create an environment that favors bacterial growth. They also dry out your mouth, which perpetuates bad breath.

Dry mouth is a major factor. Saliva is a natural antibacterial, and it washes away food. Remember to stay hydrated. This can help keep nighttime dry mouth at bay and will help to keep away morning breath, as well as daytime bad breath. Read the rest of this entry »

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Invisalign Experience

Ever wondered what Invisalign is like from a patient’s perspective? Watch the video below to hear our patient’s first-hand account. Ashley details what she liked about the treatment, the difficulties she faced, and her overall experience with our team. Enjoy!


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Top 10 Dental Tips

1. Visit the dentist regularly.
Have your teeth cleaned at least 2 times per year. In their early stages, almost all oral diseases lack symptoms and are less expensive and easier to treat.

2. Brush correctly!
Use a soft bristled (or automatic) toothbrush for at least 2 minutes, at least twice per day. Don’t scrub! And don’t forget to brush your gums. Read the rest of this entry »

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No dental insurance? No problem!

Dental treatment doesn’t have to cost a fortune, even if you don’t have dental insurance coverage. We don’t want you to avoid or delay treatment due to cost, which is why we offer a great in-house dental savings plan.

For a membership fee of $249 (single membership. Dual and family memberships also available for an additional fee), you receive 2 free “healthy mouth” cleanings per year, as well as 2 exams, and bitewing x-rays. Additional procedures are also discounted, from 20-50% off!

Check out this link for more on pricing and member discounts: Northstar Family Dental Dental Savings Plan

Bottom line is, we want you to get the dental care you deserve. If you have a budget, let us know! We will work with you and explore all options, whether it is our DSP, Care Credit, or in-office financing.