What Should I Expect at the Dentist?

If you’re not experiencing a problem with your oral health, you might be tempted to skip your dental check-ups. Most dentists recommend a check-up every six months, and there are several reasons why you shouldn’t miss these appointments. Keeping regular appointments with Dr. Jason Petkevis will keep your smile healthy for a lifetime.

What To Expect At A Regular Dental Visit

A regular dental visit has two parts: a professional cleaning by a hygienist and a full-mouth examination by a dentist. Usually the cleaning is performed first, but if are due for your annual X-rays, those will be taken before the dentist comes to examine your mouth.

The visit gives the dentist the opportunity to check for cavities, ensure teeth are rooted properly, and to identify and prevent small issues from becoming major problems. Even a good at-home oral hygiene regimen that includes brushing and flossing every day needs to be supplemented by a professional cleaning and exam.

Why Are Professional Teeth Cleanings Necessary?

Brushing and flossing at home are the most important parts of your oral health, so why is it important to get professional cleanings?

Over time, even with excellent oral hygiene, plaque and tartar build up on teeth and require special tools to be removed. Plaque is a sticky layer of bacteria that builds up as oral bacteria break down sugars from leftover food particles in our mouths. Even though brushing and flossing remove a lot of plaque, it’s still difficult to get it all, and over time it builds up to form a hard layer on the teeth called tartar. Tartar cannot be removed with floss or a toothbrush, and is the first stage of tooth decay.

During a cleaning, your hygienist uses special tools to remove tartar and can offer you insight on areas where you might need to take extra care such as behind the teeth or in between the molars. They will also use a professional-grade toothpaste to brush your teeth and floss to make sure there is no plaque buildup.

Prevent Tooth Decay With Regular Dental Checkups

Tooth decay affects everyone and if left untreated, can lead to serious health problems such as tooth loss, abscesses, and other systemic health problems. Many people with tooth decay don’t know they have it until it’s a big problem. Your dentist will spot any problems before they become major, saving you money and discomfort by treating them early. Small cavities are much easier to treat than abscesses!

Schedule an Appointment with Dental Distinction

Scheduling and keeping checkups with your dentist is essential to maintaining good oral health and will help you avoid potentially uncomfortable and expensive procedures. If you need a checkup, call 610.400.1459 or schedule your appointment online.

Posted in: Chester Springs Family Dentist, Dentist Office Chester Springs

How Can Crooked Teeth Be Fixed?

How Can Crooked Teeth Be Fixed?If you are self-conscious about showing your teeth in photos or when you smile, you might have considered cosmetic dentistry, but thought that metal braces were the only way to correct the problem. Thanks to modern dental technology, there are several cosmetic dentistry treatments available to straighten crooked teeth and close gaps between them. Cosmetic dentists like Dr. Jason Petkevis offer a variety of treatments like dental veneers, invisible braces, and dental bonding.

Veneers

Porcelain dental veneers are thin, porcelain coverings that are affixed directly onto existing teeth. Veneers can be shaped to give the appearance of straighter, whiter teeth, and can even be positioned to close gaps between teeth. If teeth only have minor misalignments, veneers might be a better treatment than invisible braces, but your dentist will consult with you to determine which treatment is best. Veneers are resistant to stains and can last more than 20 years with proper care.

Invisible Braces

Invisible braces are a common method of straightening teeth in teens and adults. Yes, even adults can benefit from invisible braces! Clear aligners are custom-fitted to your teeth and are a comfortable and discreet way to align teeth over a period of six months to 2 years.

The aligners are designed to be worn around 22 hours out of the day and can be easily removed for cleaning, brushing teeth, and eating. No one will be able to tell you are wearing them. Your cosmetic dentist will give you a specific treatment plan and let you know when it is time to change aligners. Invisible braces can also help fix your bite alignment, but your dentist will determine the best choice for your needs, goals, and budget.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is a painless means of correcting uneven or crooked teeth.  Your dentist applies a composite resin to the front surface of the problem tooth or teeth.  Bonding, also referred to as cosmetic bonding, is the ideal for closing those annoying gaps between teeth, reshaping teeth and even lightening dark or yellowed teeth.

Although it may be surprising, cosmetic bonding is a minimally invasive procedure.  There is no need for needles or anesthesia. Cosmetic bonding can be applied in a single office visit.  Cosmetic bonding produces natural-looking results, letting you feel free to once again smile as much and as wide as you want to smile.

Cosmetic Dentistry in Chester Springs, PA

You don’t need to be unhappy with your smile when a cosmetic dentist can bring out the best it. A cosmetic dentist can correct alignment issues, crooked teeth and more. If you want to enhance your smile, then give Dr. Petkevis in Chester Springs, PA a call at 610.400.1459 or contact us online. And be on your way to a healthier and brighter smile today!

Posted in: Chester Springs Dentist, cosmetic dentist philadelphia

Top 6 Reasons to Floss Every Day

why is flossing importantWe get it — no one likes flossing their teeth. It’s an often-overlooked step in an oral health routine, and it’s sometimes difficult to do correctly or comfortably. Yet flossing every day is critical to preventing serious tooth decay and health conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and heart problems.

There are many reasons why dentists urge their patients to floss every day. Dr. Jason Petkevis of Dental Distinction in Chester Springs, PA wants you to know the top 6 reasons why you should floss every day.

1. Brushing alone only gets 60% of the plaque off of your teeth

Around 40% of the plaque that needs to be removed from teeth is hidden between teeth in places a toothbrush can’t reach. While brushing is important to your oral health as well, nearly half of the plaque can’t be reached by brushing alone! Flossing, or some form of interdental cleaning such as an oral irrigator, is the only way to reach in between the teeth.

2. It prevents bad breath

When bacteria builds up between and around teeth, the acids they produce cause bad breath. Removing this bacteria and the food particles they feed on will limit this process and prevent bad breath, not to mention preserve gum health.

3. Flossing removes cavity-causing bacteria from hard-to-reach places

Over 500 different bacteria species live in the mouth, and when they feed on leftover food particles between the teeth, they can cause cavities. Since brushing cannot reach between the teeth, flossing is the only way to prevent cavities in this area.

4. It reduces your risk of gum disease

In addition to cavities, bacteria can cause gum disease. What starts out as a little bleeding when you brush your teeth can quickly turn into severe decay without you noticing other symptoms. Regularly removing the plaque that causes gum disease will keep it from progressing into a serious condition.

5. Gum disease is directly linked to serious health problems

New studies are finding links between Alzheimer’s disease and gum disease, and it’s already well established that gum disease is linked to cardiovascular problems. When it comes to gum disease, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and brushing and flossing are the best way to prevent gum disease.

6. Flossing saves you money in the long run

Flossing helps save you money by preventing gum disease, cavities, and bad breath, which might otherwise require complex dental procedures to treat. The easiest, cheapest way to prevent oral health problems is with some dental floss, a toothbrush, and toothpaste.

Expert Dental Care in Chester Springs, PA

Dr. Petkevis is an experienced dentist in Chester Springs who offers patients affordable, compassionate dental care in a professional and welcoming environment. To schedule an appointment with our office, call 610.400.1459 or request your appointment online today!

Posted in: Chester Springs Dentist, oral hygiene

We Can Help You Stop Snoring

If your partner has ever told you that you snore when you sleep, you might have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This is a serious medical condition that can negatively affect your health. The most common treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP therapy, but Dr. Jason Petkevis of Dental Distinction in Chester Springs, PA offers an alternative treatment to help you have more restful sleep without a CPAP machine.

Q: What causes sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is associated with obesity or being overweight. As the muscles relax during sleep, extra tissues can obstruct the airway, restricting oxygen flow to the rest of the body. It’s not uncommon for the sleeper to wake up several hundred times per night gasping for air or to feel tired during the day and have problems with memory and concentration. If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause cardiovascular problems and other diseases.

Q: I thought the only option for sleep apnea was CPAP therapy. What treatment can my dentist offer?

Dr. Petkevis offers an oral appliance for you to wear while you sleep, and it keeps the airway open as the muscles relax. The oral appliance is custom-fitted to the patient’s mouth to keep the airway open by repositioning the lower jaw, moving it forward to keep soft tissue from collapsing over the airway. Instead of constant airflow like the CPAP, the oral appliance is a less invasive method of keeping the airway open. It’s also sturdy enough to withstand teeth grinding, so if you grind your teeth at night, you can still use it.

Q: How comfortable is a sleep apnea oral appliance?

Dr. Petkevis will meet with you for an individual consultation to examine the mouth and design the mouthpiece for you. It does reposition the jaw while you sleep, but since it’s custom-fitted to your mouth, it will fit comfortably with minimal disruption to sleep. Most patients report a reduction in snoring while using the appliance.

Q: Do I have to see a dentist to get it?

What makes an oral device comfortable and effective is how well it’s fitted to the individual patient’s mouth. Dr. Petkevis will meet with you to discuss your needs, gather precise measurements and your mouth’s specific details, and will work with you to make sure the device is as comfortable as possible. The last thing we want is for you to stop snoring but wake up with a sore jaw!

Our caring staff at Dental Distinction in Chester Springs, PA wants to help you get better sleep. Call 610.400.1459 or schedule an appointment online today.

Posted in: OSA treatment, sleep apnea therapy philadelphia

How to Handle Common Dental Emergencies

Accidents can happen, and knowing what to do when a dental injury occurs can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth. Dental injuries are a part of today’s active, fast-paced world. Auto accidents, falls, and a variety of contact sports, such as football, hockey, soccer, volleyball, basketball, and baseball all have the potential to injure us in many ways — including damaging our teeth. Teeth can easily be chipped, broken or knocked loose when we’re physically active. Even just eating a hard or sticky food can chip, crack or break a tooth.  Most hospitals hire on-staff oral surgeons who can deal with such issues as fractures of the upper or lower jaw, emergency dental extractions (removing damaged teeth) and reconstruction of the dental arches.

TMJ Therapy, Chester Springs, PA

What Is Considered a Dental Emergency?

Wear and tear from chewing or biting down on hard objects, such as pencils, pens, ice cubes, nuts, and hard candies, can fracture teeth — especially when the tooth already has damage from tooth decay. Dental injuries without associated head and neck trauma can usually be evaluated and treated b a dentist such as Dr. Jason Petkevis at Dental Distinction. Dental injuries commonly treated at our Chester Springs PA office include broken or fractured teeth, and teeth that have been knocked out or knocked loose. Sometimes these injuries include swelling of the adjacent gum and oral tissue. Cold packs or a bag of ice cubes placed inside the mouth or outside on the cheeks or lips near the damaged area can reduce pain and swelling while the patient is en route to the dentist for treatment.

What to Do in a Dental Emergency

Here are some tips to help you deal with common dental emergencies:

  • When a permanent or adult tooth has been knocked out, keep the displaced tooth moist at all times. Gently place the tooth back in the socket without touching the root — a surefire way to an infection. If that is not possible, place the tooth between your cheek and gums in milk to protect it from germs and from drying out. Then, see Dr. Petkevis or your local dentist right away.
  • For a cracked tooth, rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area immediately. Press cold compresses to the face to keep any swelling down. See your dentist as soon as possible.
  • If you bite your tongue or lip, clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress.
  • In cases of toothache, rinse the mouth with warm water or even warm salt water to clean it out. Use dental floss to gently free any food caught between the teeth. Do not rub aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues.

When you have a dental emergency, it’s important to visit Dr. Petkevis, your local dentist or an emergency room as soon as possible.

Here are some simple steps you can take to avoid accidents and injuries to your teeth:   

  • Wear a mouthguard when participating in active sports or recreational activities.
  • Avoid biting down on hard foods that can crack teeth such as ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy.
  • Use scissors and NEVER use your teeth to cut or tear open things.

Most dentists set aside time in their daily schedules for emergencies. Make sure to provide as much information as possible about your condition and its’ cause.

Emergency Dentist in Chester Springs, PA

For more information on dental first aid or to schedule an examination in the Chester Springs PA area call 610.400.1459 to see Dr. Petkevis.

Posted in: Chester Springs Dentist, Damaged Teeth

Do I Have TMJ?

Do I have a TMJ Disorder?Do you wake up with a sore jaw, grind your teeth, experience persistent headaches, or feel tension in your jaw? You might be suffering from a TMJ disorder. Dentists like Dr. Jason Petkevis of Chester Springs, PA can diagnose and treat problems with the jaw to give you relief from your jaw pain and its related discomfort.

What is TMJ?

TMJ, or temporomandibular joints, refers to more than jaw pain. TMJ is actually the name of the joints in the jaw that make it possible to open and close your mouth. These joints are located on either side of your skull and work together with muscles and ligaments attached to the jaw bone to enable you to chew, swallow, and speak. They also control the mandible, which is the lower part of the jaw that moves forward, backward, and side-to-side.

There is a disc between the ball and socket of each TMJ. This disc helps the jaw open wide, rotate, and glide smoothly. A problem with this intricate system of muscles and joints is referred to a TMJ disorder, with several possible causes and symptoms. Dr. Petkevis can help alleviate the discomfort and dental issues caused by TMJ disorders.

What Causes TMJ Problems?

Possible causes of TMJ disorders include:

  • Alignment of jaw and teeth
  • Teeth grinding due to stress
  • Injury
  • Arthritis
  • Dislocation

Diagnosis and Treatment of TMJ Disorders

Your dentist will need to examine your jaw and oral health before determining the best treatment. A typical exam includes checking muscles and joints of the jaw for clicking, popping, tenderness, or difficulty of motion.

There are several ways to treat TMJ disorders, some of which you can do at home before extensive treatment is needed. These at-home remedies may help alleviate discomfort, but you should always see your dentist to keep the problem under control.

  • Eat softer foods
  • Avoid chewing gum and nail biting
  • Practicing relaxation techniques to alleviate tension in the jaw
  • Applying heat to the painful area

Dr. Petkevis may also recommend additional treatments for more severe TMJ disorders, such as:

  • Muscle relaxants, analgesics, or anti-inflammatory medications
  • Exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles
  • Mouth guard or bite plate to reduce teeth grinding

TMJ Treatment in Chester Springs, PA

There are other treatments available for more serious TMJ problems, but Dr. Petkevis will perform an individual consultation with you to determine the best course of action for your specific situation. To schedule with Dr. Petkevis, call 610.400.1459 or request an appointment online.

Posted in: Chester Springs TMJ Therapy

How to Clean Your Toothbrush

At Dental Distinction, we know all about comprehensive dentistry. That’s why we want to make sure everything about your oral health is taken care of, including the tools you use, such as your toothbrush. Your toothbrush spends four minutes a day in your mouth, so it’s important to care and store it properly, and know when to retire it. These do’s and don’ts of toothbrush care will keep your smile healthy.

DO:

Rinse your toothbrush with water after using it to make sure there’s no leftover toothpaste on it. Keeping it clean will reduce the amount of bacteria still on it so you don’t reintroduce it the next time you brush your teeth.

Store it upright and open to air. Don’t store it in a closed container as this is where bacteria thrive. Allowing it to air dry keeps mildew and excess bacteria from forming. Some bacteria die when exposed to air.

Replace the toothbrush every 3-4 months, or at the absolute latest, every six months when you see us for a regular cleaning. Replace sooner if you notice fraying, bending, or missing bristles.

DON’T:

Don’t share your toothbrush with anyone else. Even after rinsing, some bacteria still remain on the toothbrush, and sharing it with someone else may introduce bacteria that makes them sick.

Don’t sanitize your toothbrush in any sanitizing agents like mouthwash or hand sanitizer. This is unnecessary and may even pose a health risk to you. Rinsing after use and allowing it to air dry is sufficient to keep your toothbrush clean.

Don’t store it in a closed container, like a travel case or medicine cabinet. Bacteria love dark, enclosed spaces, and will replicate quickly in these environments. Keeping it upright and exposed to plenty of air will keep bacteria at bay.

That being said, don’t store your toothbrush next to or on the toilet. Germs can go airborne after flushing and stick to nearby surfaces, and you don’t want it to be your toothbrush. Try to store it a few feet away from the toilet in a place where it can still air dry.

Toothbrushes are easy to keep clean and don’t require any special care. Rinsing and air drying after each use are enough to keep your toothbrush in good condition. Just remember when to retire it — at the very least, switch them out after every professional cleaning!

Posted in: Chester Springs Family Dentist, oral hygiene

Is Charcoal Toothpaste Safe?

Activated charcoal is now a featured ingredient in many commercially-available beauty and hygiene products. These include face wash, makeup, and even toothpaste with a claim that it increases the whitening effect. But does it actually work? Is charcoal actually an effective teeth whitening ingredient or is it merely a gimmick that can actually risk the health of your teeth? Chester Springs PA dentist Dr. Jason Petkevis of Dental Distinction and the American Dental Association have some advice for those who are curious about the potential problems of charcoal toothpaste.

Why Charcoal?

First let’s get some background on charcoal. Charcoal is a porous black solid form of carbon that is created from burning wood or other organic material. It’s better known for its’ uses in your barbeque rather than in health products. Charcoal is considered “activated” when it is burned again higher temperature, making it sticky.

This sticky quality that activated charcoal has is a reason it is frequently used in modern medicine to absorb toxins in the stomach. But does activated charcoal actually work to draw out toxins or impurities such as stains in teeth?

Should I Use Charcoal Toothpaste?

The American Dental Association has found zero evidence that charcoal toothpaste is an effective whitener and it might, in fact, actually harm your gums and teeth.

Activated charcoal is abrasive in addition to sticky. This abrasiveness can remove the enamel (outer layer) of your tooth. So while the enamel is the part you want to whiten when you use a whitening toothpaste, using charcoal toothpaste can actually remove more than the stains it is meant to target. This erosion of your enamel can eventually expose a sensitive yellow layer of the tooth called dentin.

Modern toothpaste and toothbrushes are specially formulated to gently clean the surface of the teeth. Since teeth are more easily stained when the enamel is thinner, you don’t want something abrasive like charcoal scraping the precious enamel off your teeth.

Alternatives to Natural Whitening

The best way to naturally whiten your teeth is to stick to a healthy oral hygiene regimen that includes brushing your teeth twice a day with an American Dental Association-approved whitening toothpaste. Limiting your intake of colorful foods like coffee and red wine, and regularly visiting Dr. Petkevis’ office for cleanings and examinations are also important.

In-office teeth whitening procedures are available at Dental Distinction. These procedures can safely whiten your enamel without damaging it like charcoal toothpaste potentially can. Safe over-the-counter bleaching products are also available in your local drugstore or big box store with the ADA seal of approval- that means they have been deemed safe for teeth.

The most important part of your smile is that it’s a healthy one. If you’re not sure about which teeth whitening procedure is best for you, call 610.400.1459 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with Dr. Petkevis at Dental Distinction in Chester Springs today.

Posted in: oral hygiene

All About Teeth

June is oral health month, Chester Springs, PAOur teeth are an essential part of our bodies but how well do you know your set of pearly whites? They help you chew. They play an important role in forming the shape of your mouth and consequently your entire face. They are the building blocks of your smile which is what your use to make first impressions on others. Yet many of us don’t know which tooth is an incisor and which is a molar.

All About Teeth

We human beings have two separate sets of teeth in our lifetime: the primary teeth and the secondary teeth. The primary teeth are also known as your  “baby teeth”. This is because they begin growing in when we are only about six months old and are usually all in place by the time we reach three years of age. Our secondary teeth are also known as the “adult teeth”. These begin growing in as the primary teeth begin to fall out. This process usually happens between the ages of six and twelve years old.

The average person usually has 32 secondary teeth but all teeth are not alike. Your teeth have different jobs based on their shapes and locations. You could think of them like the players on your favorite football team: each plays their own position but they work as a team to score points.

The Types of Teeth

  1. Incisors: These are the eight teeth in the very front of your mouth. We have four incisors on the bottom and four on top. Incisors are primarily used for biting off pieces of food.
  2. Canines: These sharp, pointed teeth are named after the fangs of a canine (dog) because of their appearance. People have four canine teeth, two on top and two on the bottom, one on either side of our incisors. Canines are used to rip and tear food much the way your dog uses his teeth.
  3. Bicuspids: These teeth, sometimes called premolars, are used for chewing and grinding foods. Our four bicuspids are located two on the top and two on the bottom, one on either side of the canine teeth.
  4. Molars: Our flat-topped molars are also used for chewing and grinding and grow at rear of your mouth, four on top and four on the bottom, two on each side. Your molars are located in an area that commonly experiences tooth decay due the fact that it can be difficult to clean teeth as thoroughly in the back of your mouth. Most people also grow third molars, more commonly referred to as “wisdom teeth” due to their relatively late arrival (late teens to early twenties). Four third molars can erupt, one each side, top and bottom. Wisdom teeth that fail to emerge are said to be impacted and require a surgical procedure to remove. These are also prone to tooth decay due to their location at the very rear of the mouth.

Now that you know your pearly whites a little better, you will be better able to communicate with Dr. Petkevis when you may be having a problem with them. For example, if you have pain in the upper rear left of your mouth when you chew, you can tell Dr. Petkevis that you may have an issue with one of your top left molars.

The team is only as strong as its weakest player, so be sure to schedule regular cleanings and exams with Dr. Petkevis in Chester Springs PA to keep your team strong. To schedule call 610.400.1459 or request an appointment online.

Posted in: family dentist philadelphia area, General Dentistry, Oral Health, oral hygiene

Chew Your Way to a Healthier Smile

Tooth Decay and Sugar Free Gum, Chester Springs, PABelieve it or not, the right type of chewing gum can actually help your teeth stay healthy! The American Dental Association (ADA) has approved chewing gum as a tool to fight tooth decay. Of course, this should be sugar-free gum, but there are a few choices out there that are not only harmless but actually good for you. Talk to Dr. Jason Petkevis during your next visit to our Chester Springs PA office to find out exactly how chewing gum can keep your teeth healthy.

Why?

Chewing gum increases the flow of saliva in your mouth, which is particularly beneficial after eating. When we eat, cavity-creating particles can potentially be left behind on the teeth. Over time this could lead to plaque build-up in those places that are hard to reach with your toothbrush such as in the back of the mouth and between teeth. More saliva in the mouth helps wash away the food particles, and it also contributes more phosphate and calcium to the mouth to strengthen tooth enamel. Reducing the buildup of plaque on your teeth and building stronger enamel means fewer cavities!

What?

Of course, a lot of chewing gum available on the market is loaded with sugar, which Dr. Petkevis does not recommend. Too much sugar feeds oral bacteria living on the plaque in your mouth, which increases the risk of cavities. If these bacteria are well-fed, they multiply faster, and the bacteria will eat away at tooth enamel and eventually create cavities. Avoiding sugar helps your teeth and your overall health, as well.

Instead, you should choose a sugar-free gum that is ADA-approved. You can check the packaging for the ADA seal for this designation. Gums with this seal contain artificial sweeteners that do not contribute to cavities.  Doing this assures you that your chewing gum is sugar-free and actually beneficial to your oral health.

When?

Chewing ADA-approved sugarless gum after eating has been clinically shown to help prevent tooth decay due to the increase of saliva flow to the mouth. However, chewing gum is only meant to be one tool of many to prevent tooth decay. Always brush your teeth at least twice daily, floss once at least once a day, and make regular appointments with your dentist. Chewing gum does not have to be harmful but it can’t replace these other very important steps in your oral hygiene routine!

If you have any questions about your oral health, don’t hesitate to call 610.400.1459 or schedule an appointment online with Dr. Petkevis. It’s suggested that you always consult with your dentist before starting any new dental regiment. Regular examinations and cleanings at your dental office are the best way to maintain your oral health and catch serious oral health issues early to avoid painful and complicated procedures.

Posted in: Chester Springs Family Dentist, family dentist philadelphia area, General Dentistry, Healthy Gums, Healthy Gums and Teeth, Oral Health