All posts by Jeff Blakeney

Cosmetic Teeth Changes

When’s the last time you saw someone with some sort of modification to their appearance that made you stop and actually look at them? It could’ve been some extremely apparent tattoos on the face. It could’ve been some sort of wild piercing. Perhaps they even altered their skin in some fashion.

Body modifications are not a common practice, but they are in other cultures or in counter culture in our society. To alter your appearance drastically is a statement, but it usually comes at a cost: irreversible changes and oftentimes costly expenditures.

When it comes to teeth, there are actually two pretty extreme modifications that you have likely seen somewhere on the internet or on TV. While one is part of the “extreme modifications” that seem counter culture or part of a different culture, the other is quite common and something that may be hard to spot on someone.

Sharpened teeth.

Here’s the first that you’ve probably seen advertised on some sort of “lizard man” out there that has not only changed their teeth but also their skin color and nails.

Teeth sharpening is quite common in some cultures around the world, whether they’re for ritualistic purposes or otherwise. But sharpening one’s teeth in our modern society is a statement: like the lizard man, it’s to completely change your look or even personality. Most often, the incisors are sharpened to the point of looking like your canines, and sometimes even sharper. This does end up affecting how you eat and how your mouth feels in a resting state, though.


Another common teeth altering practice, veneers are often for improving the looks of your teeth when they’re crooked beyond repair or you simply have the money to throw at brand new “perfect” teeth.

Veneers work like this: a dentist files down the teeth that will be modified. (Sounds like the above process, doesn’t it?) The reason your teeth need whittled down is so that the veneers (or dental “caps”) can fit over the nubs remaining. From here, they’re glued, in a way, to your filed down teeth so that they stick on and cannot come off.

Ultimately, teeth modification is a pretty extreme form of alteration in that teeth are considered permanent structures that are hard to replace without significant surgery or money. So, if you’re thinking about altering your teeth, give it some serious thought beforehand. You don’t want to regret it!

Preparing the Perfect Dental Travel Kit

Christmas vacations are a mere few weeks away, and there is a good chance that you have already started to pack and prepare for the big trip. One of the most commonly overlooked things that people forget when leaving for vacation is to pack their toothbrush! This leads to having to go out to the local Walmart or CVS to pick one up when you get to your destination, which is never enjoyable. All dental routines that you have worked so hard on building up these past few months also go out the door, as it is likely that you are not tossing in all of the items you normally use to keep your mouth nice and clean.

However, with a little preparation and forethought, this common occurrence does not have to happen to you. Preparing a dental kit will not only save you precious vacation time, but you will also be looking great for all of those pictures that will be taken! When you have your end of the year dentist visit and checkup, make sure to take the free tooth brush and small tube of toothpaste they give you and set those aside as the dedicated toothbrush and toothpaste for the vacation. Sometimes your dentist will hand you a little box of floss as well. Add that to the pile and make sure you know exactly where you place these items, do not just chuck them under your sink and lose track of them.

Right there, there are three free items that are ready to go for the trip. However, some people are particular about what toothbrush they use and need to bring the exact one they have been using. This is especially true for people with electric toothbrushes, as they are used to the speed and efficiency an electric toothbrush can provide and could not possibly imagine going back to using just a stick. The good news is that a lot of these electric toothbrushes have specialized carrying cases for them. We recommend making sure that the case gets added to that pile of items you set aside for the dental travel kit. Since the battery life is about 2-3 weeks, if you charge your toothbrush before you leave, that is one less cord to bring along.

Other items to include are a small bottle of mouthwash and a bag of floss picks. The bottles of mouthwash can be found at any local pharmacy, or if you have been using a larger bottle, you can just pour some into a small container. Remember that if you are planning on bringing your dental kit on your carry-on, all liquid must be in 5 oz. containers or smaller. This includes even mouthwash, so you probably will need a few different containers if you are wanting to use mouthwash every day. Floss picks are essential, as they are light and easy to include a handful for any trip.

Having a great dental travel kit is essential for any vacation that you are taking. Taking advantage of the free items and setting aside the rest of the items ahead of time will make this process easy and painless for you this holiday season.

Helping the Kids Understand the Dentist

Young kids go through a lot with their teeth. Most children experience losing teeth around the age of five or six, and from there it can take several years for all of their baby teeth to come out and their adult teeth to grow back in. While the tooth fairy is awesome, helping kids understand the importance of great dental care and going to the dentist can be difficult.

No one enjoys laying under a bright light and having your mouth poked and prodded, especially four year old child. Then you have to explain things like getting wisdom teeth extracted, and getting braces put on. Dental care can be a confusing thing to a child, so here are some great ways to explain to them what taking care of your mouth is all about.

Brushing –

Getting kids to brush regularly and consistently can be difficult. The average attention span of a child is about fifteen seconds, and you need them to remain on task for about two minutes. There are all types of creative ways for children to brush, but the most effective way is through getting an electric toothbrush that connects to your smartphone. These toothbrushes have excellent, built-in apps, that are specifically designed to engage with children. The app has fun and interactive games that show the child what tooth is being brushed, and what spots have been missed. Usually there is a reward or benefit for both how long the child brushes and how many days in a row they have brushed.

Wisdom Teeth –

As the kids get older, they will most likely start to experience wisdom teeth coming in and they will begin to experience the pain as well. Since wisdom teeth come in at different times for everyone, getting regular check-ups at the dentist with x-rays can be valuable to help stay on top of this. When it is time to get the wisdom teeth removed, a strategy for helping kids cope with the pain is to make this a special event. Get them a special treat or present for when they come out of the surgery. Having something to look forward to will make this process much easier for the child to handle.

Braces –

Children (and parents) tend to look forward to this the least out of all the dental activities. For children, not only is getting braces on painful, from a social perspective it is a critical blow as well. For parents, braces can be expensive and also extremely time consuming, as you are having to take your child to the office every couple weeks. Making sure you are aware of any social anxiety the child is experiencing will be important during this time. Also making sure your fridge is stocked with lots of soft and cold food will be a great help to the kids!

Getting your children in the right mindset for the dentist can be easy if you take the time to talk with them and include them in the conversation.

Why Flying This Holiday Season Could Cause a Toothache:

If you are like most Americans this November and December, you most likely will be flying somewhere for the holidays. What you may be surprised to find is that flying can actually impact your teeth and cause pain. The change in pressure and elevation can actually impact any teeth that have problems, like fillings or cavities, or teeth that are extra sensitive.

If you are worried about potentially having tooth pain while flying, please visit your dentist before you fly. Explain where you will be going and make sure the dentist gives you the necessary tips for combating the pain. Along with that, here are a few tips below that should give you piece of mind as you take off this holiday season.

Tip 1: Before the flight, visit the dentist

This seems like a logical tip to do, but a lot of people think they are too busy to visit the dentist before the holiday season. There actually has never been a better time, as you usually need a teeth cleaning and check up anyway. So get out the calendar, call the dentist, and get an appointment scheduled. During this time the dentist can educate you on how to properly take care of your teeth while traveling. If there are any cavities or other tooth work that needs to be completed, make sure you get that scheduled before flying.

Airplane flying

Tip 2: Be aware of problem teeth

If you have no particular teeth are experiencing pain or discomfort, you will unlikely not experience any different in pain on the flight. People have found it is usually the problem teeth, the ones with the cavities or fillings, that often cause the most pain on the flight. If you have recently had a mouth procedure done, visit the dentist to receive the necessary recommended painkillers to help when you fly.

Tip 3: Be mindful of what you eat and drink on the flight

Again, this seems like a logical tip, but it is important to remember to watch what you eat and drink while flying. Even healthy teeth can be sensitive in the air, and cold drinks and cold food can make them feel worse. Also try to avoid sugary and acidic drinks that can also cause a lot of discomfort. Water is always best!

Enjoy your time traveling, and most importantly, enjoy your time traveling pain free. These tips and a stop at your dentist should make sure you are all set to enjoy this Christmas season!