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Are Your Teeth Suffering From Stress?

Are Your Teeth Suffering From Stress?  If you’re feeling stressed these days, you’re not the only one. From pandemic anxiety and global events to family or work situations, there are all sorts of things that can cause us to worry. When you find yourself in a stressful season, don’t forget to take care of yourself, including (you guessed it) your teeth.    You probably knew that stress isn’t exactly good for your health. But, did you know that stress can affect your teeth, too? Some dental conditions, like clenching and grinding, tend to surface as a result of stress.    Research shows that these stress-related dental conditions are on the rise. In a recent survey by the American Dental Association, more than 70 percent of dentists reported an increase in conditions like clenching and grinding among their patients.    Clenching and grinding your teeth, also known as bruxism, can lead to more serious health conditions, so it’s important to address these conditions early, before they cause significant damage. Not sure if you clench or grind your teeth? Look out for these common symptoms:    New clicking or popping in the jaw  Generalized soreness around the ears  Jaw pain  Headaches  Chipping of the teeth around the gum line (also known as abfraction)  Tooth wear   If you notice one or more of these symptoms, you might have a clenching or grinding problem, especially if you’re also facing an increase in stress. We recommend scheduling an appointment with your dentist to discuss any concerns you have about clenching or grinding.  While stress-related dental conditions can be destructive, there are luckily several options to treat or prevent future issues. In most cases, your dentist will recommend a nightguard to wear at night to protect your teeth from wear. Exercise or meditation may also be helpful to reduce the stress causing your dental issues.    Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment. We always recommend discussing any concerns you have about your teeth with your dentist. Together, you can find create a plan to ensure your stress doesn’t steal your smile.    Want to schedule a time to talk to your dentist?  Call our office or fill out our contact form to find a time that’s convenient for you. Norge Dental Center is here for all your dental needs.  

Do I Really Need To Floss?

Do I Really Need To Floss? We’ve seen them all—flossing devotees, flossing doubters, flossing drop-outs, and even flossing haters. Where do you fall? Maybe you already have a great brushing routine (hint: twice a day for at least two minutes with fluoride toothpaste), but your flossing game is weak. Or perhaps, you just don’t love the feeling of waxy string between your teeth. We get it. While flossing your teeth might not be your favorite activity, we’re here to tell you that yes, it is important. The jury’s still out on just how essential flossing is to your overall oral and physical health, but there’s no denying that flossing is a beneficial part of a healthy oral hygiene routine. Why Floss If you think about it, brushing your teeth only polishes the wide, flat sections of your teeth that you can see. Without flossing, the inside edges of your teeth never really get a good scrubbing. Think of floss as a way to brush away plaque and food particles from the areas where your toothbrush can’t reach. Besides that minty-fresh feeling of a freshly flossed smile, there are also many health benefits of regular flossing. For one, flossing helps to prevent cavities. If not removed, plaque and food between the teeth can release an acid that slowly breaks down your enamel. Flossing also prevents gingivitis, which is characterized by swollen, irritated gums that bleed easily. If you’ve ever wondered why your dental hygienist knows you don’t floss, your bleeding gums might just be giving you away. If gingivitis is not addressed, it can ultimately turn into gum disease—a serious condition that also affects the heart and cardiovascular system. Better to floss now than deal with gum disease later. Should I Floss or Brush First? There are a number of different theories about the best time to floss. Ultimately, it’s more important that you develop a flossing habit than when you do it. Try to find a time that works best for you. Maybe you’re not a morning person, so it’s harder for you to remember to floss in the morning. That’s okay! Embrace a nighttime flossing routine. Alternatively, maybe flossing after you brush your teeth in the morning provides just the sense of accomplishment you need to start your day. Whether you’re a morning flosser or an evening flosser; a before-brushing flosser or an after-brushing flosser, the essential thing is that you are a flosser! Flossing Alternatives Most dentists agree that traditional dental floss does the best job cleaning between teeth and preventing cavities and disease. Not a fan of plain old dental floss? Luckily, there are many safe alternatives to the white, minty dental floss you’ll find at our office. For example, many of our patients love using easy-to-hold, disposable flossers. These can make it less difficult to maneuver the floss in and out of the tight spaces between your teeth. You can also find an array of different flavors beyond the standard mint that might make your flossing...
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Bacteria 101: What Causes Bad Breath?

Bacteria 101: What Causes Bad Breath?    We’ve all been there. Searching for a piece of gum in our pockets or a little tin of breath mints at the bottom of our purses. No one likes bad breath, but it’s part of life. The good news, bad breath is usually fixable. If you’ve ever wondered what causes that nasty feeling—morning breath, mask mouth, bad breath—whatever you want to call it, we’ve got a few answers for you and our best tips for keeping it at bay.   Most of the time, bad breath (also called halitosis when it’s chronic) is caused by bacteria living inside your mouth. Bacteria love to hang out on the uneven surface of your tongue. All the ridges and crevices of the tongue provide the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. Bad bacteria love the residue left behind from the drinks and food you eat.  Decomposing food particles in your mouth can also contribute to the stink.    Not all bad breath is equal. Other conditions can affect the freshness of your breath. If you’re sick, you may have higher numbers of bacteria present in your mouth, which can create a worse-than-usual bad breath situation. If your tooth becomes infected, the bacteria driving the infection can create a similar acidic taste and smell.  Some throat and sinus conditions can also affect your breath. For instance, tonsil stones are notorious for creating an unpleasant odor.    Often, a dry mouth is a culprit for bad breath. Saliva is essential to keeping your mouth feeling healthy and fresh. It washes away the bacteria and keeps teeth cleaner. When your saliva production is down, your chances of bad breath are usually higher. Everyone experiences dry mouth at night when saliva production is down. That’s why morning breath is usually worse than other times of the day. Wearing a mask or breathing through your mouth can create a similar dry mouth effect. Some medications and medical conditions can also contribute to dry mouth.    So how can you fix it?     Dental hygiene, including routine dental visits, is key to preventing bad breath. Regular brushing and flossing will help to reduce bad bacteria and prevent food build-up from collecting in between your teeth and at your gum line. As part of your brushing routine, be sure to brush your tongue, too. Better yet, use a tongue scraper from time to time to loosen any bad bacteria and keep your tongue fresh and clean.   You can also reduce the likelihood of bad breath by swishing your mouth with water after your meals or snacks. Like saliva, water helps to rinse away leftover food. Remember that sugary drinks or other non-water liquids won’t have the same effect as plain old water.    While gum and mints may provide a temporary fix, brushing and flossing should be your first line of defense. If you do opt for a breath mint or piece of gum, be sure it’s sugar-free. No matter how minty,...
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Creating Good Dental Routines with Kids

Creating Good Dental Routines with Kids   Great dental health starts early. Whether your kids already love the dentist or have yet to come in for their first visit, you can promote lifelong oral hygiene by helping them create a strong home dental routine.    Brushing  As soon as your child’s teeth become visible, it’s time to start brushing. For most children, that’s around six months old. At this age, parents can use a damp washcloth and wipe the teeth clean every morning and night or after feeding. Parents should continue brushing their children’s teeth until they can use a toothbrush.    As soon as your kids are old enough to brush on their own, begin teaching them how to use a toothbrush. As you transition your child into a tooth brushing routine, it may also be helpful to find a fun storybook or video to explain the importance of brushing your teeth. Once your children understand the “why” behind the routine,  they may be more motivated to stick with it. Of course, parent supervision is always a good idea as your child learns.   Kids’ toothbrushes come in all shapes and sizes. Look for one that has soft bristles and is specially fitted to kid-sized mouths. It may also be a good idea to find one with a special color or character your child likes to make brushing a little more fun. You might even try using a toothbrush that plays a two-minute song so that your kids know how long to brush.    While too much fluoride can be dangerous if swallowed, most dentists recommend children do ingest fluoride through fluoridated water. Ingested fluoride is integrated into the developing teeth which will help reduce the risk of cavities in the future. City water typically contains fluoride, but if your home is on well water, you might want to consider buying fluoridated water for your kids to drink at home.    With parent supervision, fluoridated toothpaste is also appropriate for young children. For children under three,  just spread a small amount of fluoride toothpaste, the size of a grain of rice, on your child’s toothbrush. Swallowing a small amount of toothpaste is okay, but remind your child to spit in the sink instead. As your children become comfortable with brushing their teeth, they may use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste instead.    Flossing  Most dentists recommend that children begin flossing as soon as their teeth begin touching. Typically baby teeth are spread far apart when they first surface. Gradually, as a child grows, the teeth grow bigger and closer together. As they do, plaque and bacteria can begin to build up in the crevices.   As with brushing, it’s important for your child to understand why flossing is so important. While brushing removes plaque from the outside of the teeth, floss acts like a little toothbrush to scrub the sides of the teeth that touch. By removing plaque between the teeth, you’ll lower the risk of cavities and prevent...
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How to Spot a Dental Emergency

How to Spot a Dental Emergency  When it comes to your teeth, knowing what’s serious and what’s not can be tricky. Most dental issues will be just fine waiting a day or two without any consequence. True dental emergencies, however, require immediate attention. If you experience one of these tell-tale signs, it may be time to call Norge Dental Center or use our dental emergency hotline.  Severe Pain  Dull pain or discomfort can sometimes wait, but severe pain may be the sign of a serious issue. If you’re experiencing sharp pain or extreme sensitivity to hot and cold, call your dentist immediately for input.  Swelling or Abscesses  Visible swelling in your mouth or face or a noticeable abscess in a tooth could indicate an infection. Always take possible infections very seriously. They can progress quickly and pose significant danger if left unaddressed.  Chipped or broken teeth  Believe it or not, a chipped tooth is not necessarily an emergency, but in the case of an accident or injury, your dentist may want to see you as soon as possible. If you have questions about whether your tooth requires immediate attention, go ahead and give us a call.  Unusual Bleeding  Some bleeding after an invasive dental procedure is normal. Unusual or significant bleeding in the mouth should be cause for pause. Always familiarize yourself with your post-op instructions and keep an eye out for bleeding that won’t stop or seems excessive. Loose or falling out teeth  While a loose baby tooth is likely just fine for a child, a mobile tooth is not normal for an adult. Call our office if you notice your tooth is loose or falling out so that we can help you determine the best course of action.  Persistent headache or jaw pain  Pain in your head and jaw could be related to a serious injury to your teeth or bones. If you experience persistent localized pain or a constant diffused headache, seek out help from our emergency hotline.  Still not sure whether your situation qualifies as a dental emergency? We recommend erring on the side of caution. Give our Williamsburg office a call and we can help you decide how best to proceed. Note that if you have difficulty breathing or swallowing, call 911 right away. If you believe you are experiencing a life-threatening medical issue, please go directly to the emergency room.  Luckily, many dental emergencies can be avoided through proper care. You can reduce your risk of a dental emergency by keeping up your personal dental hygiene and scheduling routine exams with your dentist. Prevention is always easier than emergency intervention. If you’re overdue for your next visit, call our office or request an appointment.    

Do You Struggle with Dental Anxiety?

Struggle with Dental Anxiety? Follow these tips for a stress-free dental visit. At Norge Dental Center, we understand not everyone looks forward to their dental visits as much as we do. For some people, dental procedures and even routine cleanings can cause great anxiety. So, we strive to make your visit to our practice as comfortable and pleasant as possible.  From deep breaths to stress balls, we’ve gathered together our best advice for managing your dental anxiety. Next time you visit our Williamsburg office, try out these quick tips for an even more stressless appointment.  Make a Plan  As soon as your appointment is on the calendar, you can begin to set yourself up for success. Start by making a game plan for the day. Try easing your worry by coupling your visit with something you love—maybe a trip to your favorite coffee shop or a long walk. If you haven’t already spoken with your dentist about your procedure, be sure you are clear on the goal of the treatment before you arrive.  Sometimes, understanding the “why” makes the “how” a little less stressful.  Bring a Friend If you can, bring a friend or spouse to your appointment. Having someone there with you when you walk into the office can do wonders for your mood throughout your visit. Some procedures are more invasive than others, so your doctor may recommend you find a ride home with a loved one anyway.  Be sure you understand any pre-op recommendations from your dentist ahead of time.  Talk to Your Dental Care Team  If you’re still feeling anxious when you arrive at our office, be candid with your dentist about how you’re feeling. If your care team understands the source of your worry, there may be ways to help mitigate the situation. For example,  if you’re scared of needles, they may be able to give you a heads up to close your eyes before administering a shot. Or, if you’d feel more comfortable knowing what’s happening throughout the procedure, your dentist may be able to narrate the process.  Create a Distraction  One of the best ways to manage your anxiety during a dental procedure is to create a distraction for yourself. Try bringing a pair of headphones to your appointment so that you can listen to calming music or a podcast and take your mind off your mouth. When the sounds of the dental equipment are dulled, it’s often much easier to relax. Moving your muscles is another great way to release your body’s built-up stress. Since you can’t move very much during a dental procedure, you might try bringing a stress ball or two that you can grip throughout the process.  Use Relaxation Techniques  Before, during, and after your appointment, it’s always a good idea to take a moment to relax. Your mind and body are connected, so slowing down your thoughts can help to calm the feelings of anxiety happening in your body. Try the box breath technique—four counts to inhale, four...
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Why a Dental Abcess Should be Treated Quickly

Why a dental abscess should be treated quickly If you have any kind of swelling in your gum, it almost certainly indicates a serious infection that should be treated urgently. Dental abscesses result from a bacterial infection in the teeth or gums. For example, it may come from an untreated cavity. Cavities result when some of the bacteria in our mouths mix with sugars and starches in our diet to produce acid. This acid attacks the hard enamel coating of our teeth and, as the cavity gets deeper, it eventually infects the nerve and blood supply of the tooth. In some cases, a dental abscess is caused by an infection of the gum. Bone loss from gum disease can create a pocket between the tooth, gum and bone. When bacteria and other debris get into this pocket, an abscess can form. <br> The treatment for an abscess depends on how severe the infection is. If the abscess has been caused by decay, root canal treatment may be needed or the tooth may even have to be removed. If the abscess has been caused by the gum, the gum will need deep cleaning or surgical treatment. Again the tooth may need to be removed. Sometimes, a small incision may be made into the gum to drain the abscess. If this happens, antibiotics and pain medication may be used to relieve discomfort. If you wait until the gum is severely swollen before seeking treatment, the situation can become very serious. The abscess at this stage can prevent you breathing properly and can be life-threatenting. So if you have any signs of swelling in your gum, contact your dentist immediately.  

Keeping Your Teeth Healthy During the Holidays

It’s not easy to stay healthy during the holidays. Sweets seem to appear everywhere you go, and with all of the present-wrapping and card-writing, there’s not much time to devote to you and your family’s health and well-being. Luckily, Hermey the Elf, best known for his adventures with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, joined forces with the American Dental Association (ADA) to come up with tips for keeping your mouth and teeth healthy during the holidays. In the classic holiday movie, Hermey dreamed of becoming a dentist and helping people keep their teeth healthy. In 2014, the ADA awarded Hermey with a Dental Do Gooder (DDG) for his passion for dentistry. That year, Hermey and the ADA came up with a set of tips to help families keep their smiles in tip-top shape. ✓ Have a routine. Hermey always brushes his teeth two times a day, for two minutes, and you should too! It’s what keeps your mouth healthy in December and all year long. Make sure to use a fluoride toothpaste that has earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance.   ✓ Choose the carrots. Cookies and sweets are nice holiday treats, but instead of reaching for another candy cane, take a cue from Rudolph and eat the carrots.   ✓ Don’t forget the dentist! The holidays can be a busy time, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about your teeth. If you are due for a teeth cleaning or need work done, don’t forget to visit your dentist in the New Year.   ✓ Drink water. You need a lot of energy for holiday activities, but avoid drinking sodas, sports drinks and juices with lots of sugar. Instead, drink water with fluoride in it to keep your teeth strong and healthy.   ✓ Protect your teeth. Wear a mouthguard whenever you play sports throughout the year.     

Thank you Veterans!

Happy Veterans Day from Norge Dental Center. We couldn’t be more proud of our US Army Dental Corps Veteran, Dr. C Ray Henley! He served proudly from 1989-1994. Today we celebrate him along with so many others and thank you for your service, dedication and sacrifice. “Yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever we will be thankful for all of your hardships, bravery, and sacrifices so that we may live free.” 

Why You Should Expect Top-Notch, 5-Star Service From Your Dentist

What comes to mind when you think of 5-Star Service? Hotels? VIP Access? Upscale spas? How about a dentist’s office?  Due to the nature of our fast-paced automated world, the dentist office is one of the few places left that you can go and still have a real human-to-human experience. Unfortunately, not everyone sees the dentist’s office in a positive light. We’re here to change that. Here at Norge, we believe that you should experience 5-star service from the moment you walk through the door. Providing a relaxing environment is one of the first steps to a memorable dental experience. Our office doesn’t feel like the typical “cold” dentist’s office. With an inviting staff welcoming you in by name, and a relaxing lounge complete with a waterfall, our patients say it feels more like a spa.  Easing dental anxiety is also a large part of providing a relaxing environment. We don’t let you say “ahhh” without hearing your story first, and answering any questions you have about treatment. When Dr. Timothy K. Johnston opened his practice fresh out of dental school in 1989, he immediately knew that he wanted to separate his practice and the experience he would soon provide from the rest. He opened with one dental chair and one employee. Today, he’s turned Norge Dental Center into a 5-star dental experience for patients in the Williamsburg area.  With a total of 16 dental chairs, 5 dentists under one roof, and a total of 37 employees. Dr. Johnston also teaches other business owners how to apply this same level of high quality customer service in their business. You can check out his book on 5-star service, “Ring Bell for Service?: Never Force Your Customers to Get Your Attention, When You Should Already Have Theirs!” “If you never leave your customers ‘ringing the bell for service,’ you will have extraordinary success!” – Dr. Johnston In addition to providing a relaxing environment for the adults, we created an entire wing dedicated to the kids of Norge and the experience we provide to ease their fears of the dentist office. We combine a fun environment with education to get them excited about coming to their next checkups and cleanings! Plus, they get to meet Douglas, the Tooth Fairy’s Favorite Pet Monster. To experience the Norge 5-star difference for yourself, call our office to book your first appointment. We can’t wait to meet you, and help you achieve the smile of your dreams! (757) 231-7080 

Coronavirus Update: Williamsburg Virginia

As the Coronavirus COVID-19 Outbreak unfolds, we want to assure you that we are closely following all recommendations from the VDA (Virginia Dental Association) and ADA (American Dental Association).  Your safety and health is the most important concern to us. For the time being, our office hours will remain the same. We will, however, ONLY be seeing patients for dental emergency appointments. We will also be working with a very limited amount of employees to limit interaction. Our main goal is to serve you safely! ALL routine cleaning and preventive appointments will be rescheduled for at least the next 2 weeks. We are working diligently to contact all patients individually via phone to get you rescheduled. Social distancing is encouraged by: Asking patients to wait in their cars until their appointment. We will call you from inside the office when your doctor is ready to see you. Asking patients to not bring children or others along (unless patient requires a driver) Possibility of contamination is reduced by: All common areas (including door knobs) will be disinfected frequently. Hand sanitizer and soap is available. At the beginning of each dental appointment: Patients & staff will be required to wash hands Temperature of each patient will be taken Patients will be asked to rinse with antimicrobial rinse Patients will be encouraged to wash hands before leaving our office Please, call to reschedule your appointment if:  You feel ill (running a fever, have a cough or trouble breathing) You have traveled internationally in the past 2 weeks You have been in contact with individuals who are confirmed to have COVID-19. You have an underlying health condition that puts you at higher risk for getting COVID-19. There are still a number of variables and unknowns, but this proactive measure is aimed to limit the spread and keep patients and practitioners safe. Right now, our priority is to do our part to decrease the rate of transmission. Many of you have heard on the news in recent days of the importance of “flattening the curve” to prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed. If we can decrease the number of patients who require ICU care over the next several weeks, we will have done our part. We want to thank you for letting us serve you and also for trusting us with your dental needs. Dr. Timothy Johnston & Staff 

Dentistry From The Heart Cancelation Notice

“Dentistry from the Heart,” which was scheduled for Saturday, March 21, has been cancelled due to concerns about coronavirus.  For the past 8 years, the event has provided thousands of local James City County patients with free cleanings, extractions or fillings – and we are cancelling the event only after careful consideration. While we are disappointed to have to make this decision, we are also confident that putting safety first is the right thing to do.  In the past, “Dentistry from the Heart” has brought together dozens of hygienists, dental assistants, dental professionals and volunteers donating their time and resources in order to provide thousands of dollars in free dental care and much needed relief to people in need in the community. But as you might imagine, this creates a high-density environment where patients and staff are all in close quarters. At a time when coronavirus is spreading quickly, we believe it’s prudent to cancel rather than risk the health of our patients. We hope to resume this event in 2021 because it is an important service to our community that we have been committed to for the past 8 years.  The CDC has provided information about what you can do to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Please take a look at these resources – and take care.  Steps to Prevent Illness Frequently Asked Questions and Answers Frequently Asked Questions and Answers   
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