Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time of expressing gratitude to the ones that you love, enjoying family and friends, and of course, eating a meal that will keep you full for the rest of the week. Here at Clark Family Dental, we want to wish all of our patients and your families a happy Thanksgiving. Thank you for allowing us to serve your dental needs and for being part of our practice family!

Thanksgiving Dental Care Tips

Although the holidays are great for bonding with relatives and testing out new recipes, they can be hard on your teeth. Here are a few tips for taking care of your teeth this Thanksgiving.

  • Watch Out for Starchy Foods

    The oral bacteria that live in your mouth feed off of simple starches like glucose and sucrose, which are found abundantly in rolls, pies, potatoes, and stuffing. When starchy foods get wet, they are also exceptionally sticky, which contributes to plaque and tartar buildup. To prevent plaque and dental decay, watch out for starchy foods or avoid them altogether.

  • Brush and Floss After Your Meal

    You might feel silly heading to the bathroom to brush and floss while your relatives whip out the card games, but you’ll be glad for your nice breath and clean teeth when you head home after dinner. To make the job easier, pack a travel toothbrush and a few dental picks in a plastic bag and toss them in your pocket or purse. That way, you can take care of your teeth with minimal inconvenience.

  • Don’t Sip Throughout the Day

    Instead of sipping on soda or juice all throughout the day, try to limit your teeth’s exposure to potentially harmful foods to a single dining session—and remember to drink enough water. This will help dilute sugars and acids in your mouth, keeping them off your teeth.

  • Remember: Pigmented Foods Stain

    Heavily pigmented foods like coffee, wine, cranberry sauce, and dark chocolate can dye your teeth, since the pigments can leach through enamel and stain the underlying dentin. To avoid stains that stick, skip foods that are heavily pigmented, or make sure to wash them down with water.

Once again, Happy Thanksgiving from our New Albany family dentistry practice. If you have any questions about your teeth and how to keep them shining, contact us!

Teeth Whitening: Professional or Over-the-Counter?

DIY has become all the rage, from DIY gifts to DIY home repair.  But there are some things that you should never try to do without a professional, like surgery and electrical work.  Is teeth whitening on that list?  Maybe not, but it certainly straddles the line. Over-the-counter whitening systems are typically inexpensive and easy to use, but they may not last as long or work as effectively as professional teeth whitening, and there are risks to over-the-counter treatments that can be removed under the supervision of a dentist.

Over-the-counter Options for Teeth Whitening

  • Whitening Strips: Whitening strips are clear strips that you place on your teeth and leave on for about 30 minutes, or as directed in the instructions.
  • Whitening Gum: If you’re looking for a gentle and easy way to whiten your teeth, whitening gum is a good option. It removes the outer layer of protein buildup that plaque and bacteria cling to,  and help balance the pH levels in your mouth. However, whitening gum only works on the outside layer of stains, and will not work in all cases.
  • Whitening Toothpaste: Whitening toothpastes contain active ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide and mild abrasives that remove surface stains on teeth.
  • Brush-On Whitening: With brush on whitening, you paint or draw whitening gel on your teeth for a quick and easy tooth whitening treatment.

In most of these cases, the focus is on the outer layers of your teeth, meaning these treatments do nothing for deep stains. Also, the concentration of bleaching agents is low for safety reasons, so you may need many whitening sessions to get the results you want. And because you aren’t under the supervision of a dentist, it is possible to get undesirable results like patchy whitening or graying from overuse.

Professional Whitening

Professional whitening systems use high concentration gels that would be unsafe for over-the-counter use. Under the supervision of a dentist, these gels are safe and effective, generating faster results than over-the-counter systems.

  • In-Office Whitening Systems: In-office whitening systems are quick and thorough. You’ll come into our office for a one-hour treatment, and leave with your teeth significantly improved, whitened three to eight shades in a single visit.
  • Take-Home Whitening: If you prefer to take your tooth whitening into your own hands, we can fit you with a take-home whitening system more effective than over-the-counter kits. We will create a custom mouth tray and give you professional-strength whitening gel to help you whiten your teeth within a few days.

Professional Whitening is Superior

In terms of high speed and low risk, professional whitening is superior to over-the-counter whitening systems.  It is a safer, more effective, and quicker way to whiten your teeth than over-the-counter methods.  Trusting a professional to whiten your teeth will reduce the risk of complications such as sensitivity and splotching.  If you’re looking in New Albany for cosmetic dentistry, don’t hesitate to contact us to set up your appointment.

Watching for Gum Disease in Your Family

Every parent knows the importance of semi-annual trips to the dentist. Cleanings are necessary to prevent cavities, and preventing cavities is just one of the many things parents can do to ensure their children are happy and healthy.

There is, however, one oral-related health problem some parents don’t monitor closely enough: gum disease. Luckily, our family dentistry office is on top of this disease and provide a vast amount of easily understood, and accessibly, information concerning the effects of gum disease.

Gum disease has a host of risks, including:

  • The possibility of contracting chronic gingivitis. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, this is a fairly common issue in children. However, it can easily be prevented and treated.
  • Aggressive periodontitis. This is more common in teenagers and young adults, and affects mainly molars and incisors.
  • Generalized aggressive periodontitis. This occurs when periodontitis attacks the entire mouth, not just molars and incisors.

Obviously, none of the above risks are any you want your children to face. So in between visits to Clark Family Dental, you need to watch your children for the following symptoms:

  • Bleeding gums that occur during regular tooth brushing/flossing, or at any other time
  • Swollen, bright red gums
  • Gum recession. This is identified by gums that recede away from teeth, at times receding so far the roots become exposed.
  • Constant bad breath that doesn’t clear up, no matter the amount of brushing, flossing, and mouthwash your child uses.

While the above isn’t a complete list of gum disease symptoms, they are the most easily noticeable ones for parents to look for. If oral hygiene is neglected, it can quickly turn into one of the three aforementioned gum disease risks.

As a parent, the best thing you can do aside from checking the mouths of your children is to set a good example by openly practicing oral health habits. And at appointments for family dentistry in New Albany, ask our office about any signs of gum disease that you may have missed. Call us today to schedule your child’s next appointment, and protect them from periodontal disease.

The Advantages of Dental Sealants

At Clark Family Dental, we are very aware of the importance of preventative treatments. The sooner we can address the causes of tooth decay, the less damage will be done, and the less expense and pain our patients will experience. For this reason, we recommend dental sealants to both adults and children, depending on exact circumstances. Sealants are an effective safeguard against decay in one of the most vulnerable parts of your mouth, the molars.

Dental sealants work by coating the chewing surfaces of your molars, which are naturally very uneven and can be a perfect home for bacteria. But the liquid plastic of the dental sealants fills in those natural seams, leaving a smoother surface that is harder for plaque to cling to. Sealants last for many years, protecting your teeth the entire time. They are all but invisible, especially since they are at the back of your mouth, and will ensure your teeth stay healthy and safe from cavities.

We recommend sealants most frequently to children and adolescents with new adult molars. While the molars are difficult to clean properly in any case, this is especially true for children, who may not yet have the skills or dexterity to do a thorough job. However, sealants can also be of benefit to adults—especially those with particularly deep crevices in their teeth—and to young children, whose primary teeth are important even if they aren’t permanent. A large proportion of decay begins in the molars, especially in children. By sealing off the molars, most of that decay is prevented entirely.

If you are interested in dental sealants or concerned about your dental health, you can make an appointment for yourself or your child either online or by phone. Don’t wait; the longer tooth decay exists, the worse it gets.

When We Examine Your Child’s Mouth

shutterstock_77048605When your child comes for a dental exam, Dr. Beth and Dr. Chris will always check for plaque buildup, cavities, and the overall health of your child’s mouth. But it may surprise you to know what else we can learn. Many of your child’s habits affect their dental health in visible ways, and a large part of pediatric dentistry is watching for these signs. We can tell if your child…

… flosses properly.

Flossing is essential to the health of your child’s gums. If the gums are pink and hug the teeth tightly, we know they’re healthy. If they’re puffy, red, or inflamed, we can tell your child hasn’t been flossing.

… has a sinus infection.

The sinuses run just above the upper jaw, and when infected, they can cause that area to become sore and sensitive. If your child is showing unusual sensitivity in their upper teeth, they probably have a sinus infection.

… bites their nails.

Nail biting causes extra wear on the front teeth and results in a flat, leveled-off look. This is easily apparent when your child comes in for a dental exam. If the front teeth are ground flat, we know your child is a nail biter.

… gets enough vitamins.

Depending on what vitamins they’re missing, children–and adults!–can experience several different symptoms in their mouths. Sores on the inside of the mouth or the tongue can be caused by vitamin deficiency, as can deep fissures in the tongue or the loss of tiny papillae on the tongue’s surface. Easy bleeding and delayed healing are also  warning signs. If any of those problems are apparent during your child’s exam, we’ll recommend more vitamins.

… sucks their thumb.

A thumb-sucking habit is one of the biggest problems affecting the alignment of children’s teeth. Teeth are designed to rest between meals, and this constant pressure takes its toll. Thumb sucking shifts the front teeth up and forward over time, and can change your child’s bite so much that there is a large open gap between the upper and lower teeth even when they bite down.

Whether it’s quitting a habit like thumb sucking, or starting one like flossing, change is a big effort that takes time and consistency. At Clark Family Dental, we’ll do whatever we can to help your entire family maintain good dental health, from spotting the signs to giving you the best advice on the changes you need. If your child is due for an exam, schedule with us today by calling our office or using our online contact form.

Managing Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity shouldn't be ignored.
At Clark Family Dentistry we understand that some tooth sensitivity can be easy to ignore, as long as you avoid cold or hot food and beverages. However, ignoring it can cause more damage which will be more expensive to fix. There are several causes of tooth sensitivity, such as cavities, worn-down fillings, gum disease, diminished tooth enamel, and possibly exposed tooth roots. No matter the cause it is important to call us and get it checked out as soon as possible. In the meantime there are steps you can take to manage your sensitivity.

The first step to managing tooth sensitivity is calling us to schedule an appointment. Ignoring the sensitivity will lead to more pain and discomfort and potentially worsening decay or expensive treatments, such as a root canal or crown replacement.

Until your appointment with Dr. Beth or Dr. Chris there are several things that you can do to help ease the sensitivity.

  • Try desensitizing toothpaste. The compounds in the toothpaste will block the signals from the tooth surface to the root relieving some of the sensitivity. Make sure to brush properly with a soft bristle toothbrush. It may take several applications to find some relief; however, good oral hygiene will help your entire mouth.
  • To protect your tooth from outside stimuli for awhile use a bonding agent to seal the surface of the tooth.
  • Another way to ease the sensitivity before seeing us at Clark Family Dental is to eliminate or minimize the consumption of acidic foods and drinks. Orange juice, berries, sugar and vinegar are all examples of food and beverages that are high in acidity.
  • Ibuprofen or other generic painkillers, taken as directed on the bottle, can help take the edge off the pain.

During your appointment there are several things that may be done to determine the cause of your sensitivity:

  • To see what could be causing your sensitivity, and to check for cavities, x-rays may be taken of your teeth.
  • At this time a good cleaning may be done to remove bacteria and plaque buildup.
  • Fluoride is also used to reverse early decay and to help strengthen teeth by making the tooth stronger and more able to resist acid attacks from sugars and bacteria that are in your mouth. Fluoride applied in our office is stronger than the fluoride in toothpaste and mouthwash.
  • Either Dr. Beth or Dr. Chris will examine you to see if you need repairs done to your teeth or gums.

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity or have questions about preventative dentistry please contact Clark Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment today!

Is a Tooth Extraction Necessary?

Tooth Extraction might or might not be necessary

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you might have a tooth that just can’t be saved—even by one of our dentists. Here are just a few of the many reasons you may need a tooth extraction, and why you shouldn’t worry:


Some people are born with more teeth than others, and if your mouth seems crowded, you might need to have some teeth removed. Teeth can be extracted to make room for teeth to spread out during orthodontic treatment, or to make room for permanent teeth in children to come in.


If left untreated, small cavities can snowball into infections that can spread into the bone. In addition to being incredibly painful, these infections can also be dangerous to your overall health, which is why infected teeth are often removed. If Dr. Clark finds that the tooth wouldn’t benefit from a root canal or another endodontic treatment, they might recommend an extraction to stop the spread of infection.


Anytime you sustain a facial or oral injury, your teeth are susceptible to damage. If you are left with severely chipped or fractured teeth, it might need to be removed and replaced with an implant or a denture.


Teeth might also be extracted if they didn’t form properly, or if they don’t meld well with the rest of your smile. For example, if you have a tooth that has been ravaged by years of decay, Dr. Clark might recommend removing it and replacing it with an implant to perfect your smile.

Cost Benefits of Tooth Extraction

Some people opt for tooth extractions as a way to save money. For example, if you have a damaged tooth that would need extensive repairs, you might choose to have it extracted instead and replaced down the road. The price of tooth removal varies depending on your individual situation, but they typically start at around $75.

What To Expect During Your Extraction

Before your teeth are extracted, the dentist will numb the area with a local anesthetic. Dr. Clark will then use special tools to gently remove the tooth. Most patients report feeling pressure, but not pain. Afterwards, the hole will be stitched up to reduce bleeding. To reduce the instance of dry sockets, patients are encouraged not to wash their mouths out or swish water for 24 hours. Simple pain relievers, such as Ibuprofen are typically enough to ward off any pain that patients might feel after the procedure.


What can Dentures do for you?

Learn about what modern dentures can do for you.Whether you lost your teeth in a bad accident or as the result of years of decay, you might be left with a gap-toothed, embarrassing smile. Missing teeth can also make it difficult to enjoy your favorite foods, or carry on a conversation with the people that you love.

Fortunately, you don’t have to let missing teeth ruin your conversations, meals, appearance, and put you at risk for bone loss. Modern dentures are incredibly realistic, and can provide a decent level of stimulation to keep your jaw healthy.

Modern Advancements In Denture Technology

Because of extensive improvements in dental technology, newer dentures are better than ever before. Here are just a few ways that dentures have improved over the years, and why they might be right for you.

Precise Imaging

In the past, dentists relied completely on X-rays and oral molds to create dentures for their patients. Unfortunately, these techniques are far from perfect, and dentists were often left trying to retrofit a set of dentures to make them fit. However, these days, dentists have access to incredibly accurate imaging technology. Newer inter-oral cameras can scan patient’s mouths and create a 3-D virtual image, so that technicians can make dentures that fit patients perfectly.

A More Comfortable Fit

Dentists even have access to special machines that simulate the muscle movement of your mouth, so that your dentures will fit comfortably in any situation. A perfect fit can do more than help you to keep those new dentures in your mouth. When dentures fit properly, patients don’t have to rely on products like dental adhesives, which can have negative side effects such as skin irritation and an unpleasant taste. An improved fit also means that patients have fewer sore spots, so that they can wear their dentures for longer during the day.

Realistic Appearance

Newer dental compounds are also designed to match gum and teeth colors more closely, so that you won’t have to worry about your dentures blending in. You can have partial bridges or large sections of your teeth reconstructed with dentures, and even your closest friends and family members won’t be able to tell the difference.

Better Breath

Dentures that fit better also reduce instances of bad breath in patients. When dentures are loose, food particles can gather in the mouth, and sore spots can become infected—leading to bad breath. However, dentures that fit snugly will keep food where it belongs, and help you to avoid that characteristic “denture smell.”

If you are interested in getting dentures, contact our office today to set up a consultation. We would be happy to show you different examples of dentures, and talk with you about the advantages and drawbacks of different tooth replacement options.

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body

shutterstock_97340330.compCaring for your teeth is caring for your body, and many of the habits that are healthy for one are also healthy for the other. Good dental care lowers your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Preventing infections in your mouth protects the rest of your body from the possibility that an infection might spread. And a healthy diet for your body includes foods that are also good for your teeth. While good dental hygiene and regular dental visits are essential for dental health, they are more effective when paired with a healthy diet.

Most dietitians recommend avoiding excess consumption of sugars. Among the benefits of this advice is that it is healthy for your teeth: the bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugar, consuming it and excreting acids which weaken your dental enamel. Limiting your intake of sugar also limits the progress of tooth decay, keeping your mouth healthy.

Some foods and drinks are acidic in and of themselves, and you should take care in consuming them. One especially unfortunate example is soda. The combination of soda’s natural acidity, and the sugar which speeds the multiplication of bacteria and the buildup of plaque, contributes strongly to tooth decay. If possible, limit or eliminate soda in your diet. Also, if you do consume soda or other acidic foods, do so at mealtimes so that the effects are diluted, and wait for half an hour before brushing your teeth to avoid wearing away at the enamel.

Finally, make sure that your diet includes mineral-rich foods and sources of fluoride. Your teeth need these minerals to stay strong, as do your bones. These and other nutritious foods will help provide for your dental health—and your health overall.

Happy New Year from Clark Family Dental

new year



Make Dental Health A New Year’s Resolution!

Dr. Beth and Dr. Chris would like you and your family to make dental health a priority in 2016. In fact, why not make oral health a New Year’s Resolution? Join with us by taking the time to make an appointment, find out what is troubling those teeth, and committing yourself to better dental hygiene. You never know, better oral health now might protect your teeth from things like discoloration, fractures, cavities, and even periodontal disease. A focus on preventative care can also drive down your overall dental care costs, since you might not need as many procedures.  

If you aren’t sure where to start, we can help. We love to talk with our patients about their current dental hygiene regimen and make suggestions to improve their practices.

We Can Help

Here at Clark Family Dental, one of our main focuses is preventative dentistry. We want to teach you and your family how to avoid dental decay in the first place. We love to answer questions about oral health and teach you how to use tools already at your disposal. If you want to come in for a checkup, feel free to bring in your current toothbrush and your favorite floss. We can watch your brushing technique to spot problems. For example, if you brush too hard and it is causing root exposure, we can show you how to lay off the gas.

We can also help you with existing dental issues. We have worked hard to make our practice viable to every member of your family, from toddler-age children to grandparents. We can take care of things like braces for teenagers, dentures for seniors, or even teeth whitening for you. Think of us as a one-stop-dental-shop for your busy family on the go. We pride ourselves in having the best staff in the business, so don’t worry about your kids being nervous to have their teeth cleaned.

To make an appointment, contact us at 614-503-7801.