Our Blog

Tips for Using Invisalign®

September 19th, 2018

More than one patient has come into our office and asked, “What can I do to help my teeth when wearing Invisalign?”

While everyone’s teeth and dental needs are different, there are certain things everyone can do to make wearing their Invisalign aligners a more rewarding experience. Always follow the list of instructions and tips from Dr. Roger and Scott Amundson, and add the following advice to your daily routine.

Always ask us about teeth whitening. Our team at Amundson Dental Associates knows how important it is for you to keep your teeth white and stain-free from the foods and drinks you consume daily. If you have attachments to your teeth, they will not whiten properly. Ask our office about teeth whitening when wearing your aligners; it might be best to wait until your treatment is complete.

Continue flossing every day. You should be flossing in any case. But it can be easy to assume that Invisalign will protect your teeth from bacteria. This is not true. Bacteria can get behind the aligners and affect the health of your teeth and gums, so keep up with your flossing schedule.

Follow the 48-hour rule when wearing your aligners. When you insert every new set of aligners, you should leave them in as much as possible during the first 48 hours. Your teeth will move more during this timeframe, and the aligners do the most good during this time.

You may experience slight discomfort while wearing your Invisalign aligners. You can take a pain reliever to help with the discomfort, but if you experience too much pain, please give us a call at our convenient Grand Forks office to schedule an appointment!

Welcoming Fall with a Delicious Pumpkin Bar Recipe

September 19th, 2018

The changing of the seasons always gives us a sense of renewal. As the leaves fall, the crisp, cool air gives the trees a rest from the summer heat. Eventually, winter covers them in a soft blanket of snow as the flowers prepare to blossom in the spring.

We look forward to a lot of things in the fall: the beginning of hockey season, University of North Dakota football, and the Potato Bowl Parade. Dr. Amundson and his wife Kim love to drive to the lake to take in all the beautiful colors of the season. And of course, who doesn’t love to enjoy some delicious seasonal treats?

That’s why we want to share our special pumpkin bar recipe with you. Every fall, we love making them and we’re sure that you will too.

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Amundson Dental Pumpkin Bars

Ingredients

For the pumpkin bar:
4 eggs
2 cups white granulated sugar
15 oz canned pumpkin (Libby’s)
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp nutmeg

For the frosting:
9 oz cream cheese softened
½ cup butter softened
1 tsp vanilla
5-7 cups of powdered sugar
3 tbsp cream


Directions:

To make the pumpkin bar, you first mix the pumpkin, eggs, sugar, and oil until it is well-mixed. Then, you mix in the flour and spices until everything is well-blended. Pour the mixture into a greased 15 x 10 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 25-30 minutes.

While the pumpkin bars are baking, start making the cream cheese frosting. First pour the cream cheese and butter into a large bowl, stirring until thoroughly mixed. Add the cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar, and beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Once the pumpkin bars are done, take them out of the oven. Let them cool off a bit before frosting them with your cream cheese frosting. Now, you have delicious pumpkin bar treats to enjoy with your friends and family!

How Smoking Increases the Risk of Oral Cancer

September 12th, 2018

Cigarette smoke contains more than 6,000 chemicals, and at least 200 of those chemicals are known to be harmful to your health. When smoke is inhaled, moist oral tissues are saturated with excessive amounts of carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and a host of other known carcinogens. Most oral cancers originate in abnormal squamous cell activity, which are cells found on the lips, inside the mouth, and in the throat.

How Oral Cancer Begins

Cells exposed to consistently high levels of cigarette smoke may eventually suffer abnormal mutations within their DNA. Since deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is responsible for providing cells with instructions about growth, reproduction, and death, these instructions become distorted, which causes the cells to reproduce uncontrollably.

Essentially, that is what cancer is: rapid, unchecked growth of genetically mutated cells that encourages the development of malignant tumors. Unfortunately, the chemicals in cigarette smoke are strongly associated with oral cancer.

Signs of Oral Cancer

Early-stage oral cancer is often asymptomatic, which means symptoms appear only after the cancer intensifies and spreads. Possible signs of oral cancer include:

  • Ulcers inside the mouth or on the lips that do not heal
  • White or dark red patches inside the mouth
  • Lumps inside or around the mouth (a lump could appear on your neck)
  • Bleeding, numbness, and soreness in the mouth
  • Chronic halitosis
  • Loose teeth in the absence of tooth decay

Diagnosis and Treatment of Oral Cancer

Squamous cell oral cancer is the most common type diagnosed in smokers. Dr. Roger and Scott Amundson and our staff often discover squamous cell carcinoma lesions during dental examinations or cancer screenings. Depending on the stage of the oral cancer, treatment may begin with a biopsy or an exfoliative cytology procedure that involves collecting cells from the oral cavity using a scraper.

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, oral cancer patients may need surgery, radiation therapy, a combination of surgery and radiation therapy, or chemotherapy to eradicate oral cancer.

Smoking, Cancer, and Tooth Decay

Not only is smoking the number-one cause of cancer but it is also detrimental to the overall health of your teeth and gums. Yellow teeth, bad breath, dry mouth, and expedited tooth decay are all caused by smoking, not to mention the damage smoke does to the heart, lungs, and kidneys.

In other words, don’t smoke!

FAQs for National Gum Care Month!

September 6th, 2018

Gum disease is a bigger problem than you might think. More than half of all adults over age 30 have it, and that figure jumps to 70% of adults over 65. If left untreated, gum (periodontal) disease can eventually loosen teeth and cause them to fall out. It can also cause health issues outside of the mouth, including an increased risk of heart disease and other systemic health conditions.

But the good news is that gum disease can be treated—and even better, prevented! Since September is National Gum Care Month, it’s a good time to answer some frequently asked questions about gum disease:

What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by certain types of harmful oral bacteria that live in a sticky film called dental plaque that collects on teeth both above and below the gum line. If this film is not cleaned effectively each day, it can eventually harden into a substance called tartar that can only be removed by a dental professional.  As your body tries to fight the bacteria and the toxins they produce, your gums can become inflamed and may start to pull away from the teeth. Eventually, bone beneath the gums can start to break down and with continued bone loss, the teeth could be lost.

How do I know if I have it?
Gum disease doesn’t always produce symptoms—especially in smokers. Smoking hides the symptoms of gum disease because nicotine reduces blood flow to the area. However, there are things you should look out for. Gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, can produce red and/or puffy gums that bleed when you brush or floss. Signs of periodontitis, a more serious form of the disease, include gum recession, bad mouth odors or tastes, and tooth looseness. But the only way to truly know if you have gum disease is to come in for an exam.

What can I do about it?
If you have gingivitis, a professional teeth cleaning and a renewed commitment to oral hygiene at home—including daily flossing and rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash—may be all you need to turn the situation around. Periodontitis may require a variety of treatments, ranging from special cleaning procedures of the tooth root surfaces to gum surgery. The first step toward controlling gum disease is visiting the dental office for an exam.

How can I prevent it?
Regular professional teeth cleanings and meticulous oral hygiene at home are your best defenses against gum disease. Avoid sugary drinks and snacks—which feed the disease-causing bacteria in your mouth—and tobacco in all forms. If you have diabetes, do your best to manage it well because uncontrolled diabetes can worsen periodontal disease.

If you’d like more information on fighting gum disease, contact us to schedule an appointment at our Grand Forks office with Dr. Roger Amundson or Dr. Scott Amundson.  We are here for your dental health!

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