The Truth About Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride Treatments for Tooth Protection

What are the Benefits of Tooth Fluoride?

First, it’s important to know that fluoride is a natural mineral that’s absorbed by your teeth and makes them more resistant to acid. Your mouth contains bacteria that feeds on sugar (creating acid as a byproduct). Fluoride varnish is applied to teeth to protect them from acid, bacteria, and aid in the prevention of cavities.

How is Fluoride Applied?

Fluoride varnish treatment is a quick and painless procedure. Dental fluoride varnish is painted on all parts of the teeth and quickly hardens after saliva touches it. You may eat and drink right away but try to avoid crunchy foods or hot beverages as they may remove the varnish. After the varnish is applied, the teeth will feel a bit sticky or rough, but this feeling will go away after you brush your teeth. Avoid brushing for at least 4-6 hour as you want the fluoride varnish treatment to stay on your teeth as long as possible.

Who Should Have Fluoride Treatments?

Typically, fluoride varnish treatments are recommended for children, but adults may receive this cavity preventing treatment as well.

How Often Should I have Fluoride Applications?

For children, a dentist or pediatrician may recommend fluoride varnish treatment as soon as the first teeth erupt. Fluoride varnish will be applied 2-4 times per year based on the child’s risk of developing tooth decay. Fluoride varnish for adults may be recommended if the risk of cavities is determined to be high, if the patient already has “starter cavities,” or if acid levels are higher in the mouth for other reasons such as acid reflux.

Is Fluoride Varnish Treatment Safe?

Fluoride varnish treatment has been used for decades in dental offices. It is a safe and effective cavity preventing treatment for both kids and adults.

Our team of excellent dental professionals is here to bring out your best smile. If you have any more questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please reach out to us.

What Are Cold Sores and How Can You Get Rid of Them?

Woman holding her lip with a cold sore outbreak

What are Cold Sores?

Cold sores are painful blisters that erupt on the lips, inside the mouth, tongue, cheeks, or the chin. These usually persist for about two weeks but may even last longer.


Before a cold sore appears, you will experience an unusual tingling, burning, or itching sensation around the affected area. This may be around the corner of the mouth, lip, or even the nose and occurs 12-24 hours before the appearance of a blister.

The appearance of a cold sore may also be accompanied by flu-like symptoms such as fever, headaches, and nausea.

Laser Therapy Treatment for Cold Sores

One of the most recent advances for cold sore treatment is laser therapy. If you are experiencing frequent outbreaks and can recognize the tingling sensation that precedes an outbreak, laser therapy may just be the solution for you.

How does Laser Treatment for Cold Sores Work?

Laser treatment works by shining a laser over the cold sore to kill the virus that causes the outbreak. The laser does not touch the lesion, so no anesthetic is needed.

Benefits of Laser Treatment for Cold Sores

The lesion may not erupt if treated early, but if the sore has already broken, laser treatment can relieve pain and accelerate healing.

  • Fast Healing
  • Alleviates Pain
  • Reduces Outbreaks
  • Takes Only 15 Minutes

How quickly can I get in for treatment?

Because treatment time is so quick, we can usually work you into our schedule on short notice.

Ready to schedule your laser cold sore treatment appointment?

Contact Periodontal & Implant Specialists of Madison at our West Clinic 608-203-7023 or East Clinic 608-443-1778 as soon as you feel tingling or sense you are developing a cold or canker sore.

Spring Cleaning for a Healthy Smile

Dental Spring Cleaning Man Smiling

March has arrived, which means that spring is just around the corner! For most of us, this time of the year is when we celebrate the end of winter by opening our windows, cleaning our houses, and getting out and enjoying some fresh air. But as we focus on fresh air and spring cleaning, how many of us think about our cleaning our teeth and ways we can ensure a healthy happy smile?

Even if you are dedicated to brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day, you still should add dental cleaning to your spring routine. Visiting your dentist regularly can improve not only your oral health and your smile, but it can also significantly improve your long-term health.

What is the importance of dental cleaning appointments?

Routine Cleanings Make a Difference! We recommend dental cleanings every six months to remove plaque and tarter from your teeth, which can’t be removed with regular brushing and flossing.  Your dental hygienist or dentist will use special tools to safely remove the buildup that accumulates overtime by scaling and polishing your teeth. Without these routine cleanings, the plaque and tartar can buildup on your teeth and can cause cavities, decay, inflammation in the gums, and gum disease.

Dental cleanings are very important to your overall health and can prevent dental decay or disease. They are also an opportunity for your dentist to examine your teeth and gums and identify any other issues that may have gone undetected.

Benefits of Routine Cleanings

  • Regular dental cleanings allow you to get rid of disease-causing bacteria.
  • They can reverse early symptoms of gum diseases and prevent complications such as tooth loss.
  • It gives your dental hygienist and dentist a chance to examine your mouth at regular intervals. This facilitates early detection of dental decay or gum disease.
  • Prevents dental decay or gum disease progression, which can save you money as it decreases the chances that you will need future procedures or treatments.
  • Regular teeth cleaning keeps your teeth looking bright and gums healthy.
  • It prevents bad breath.
  • Boosts your overall health.

As you get your spring-cleaning checklist ready, make sure to think about yourself and ways you can keep your smile bright. So, please make the most of this season by scheduling a routine dental cleaning to ensure that you can maintain good oral and overall health. Our team of excellent dental professionals is here to assist you in your journey to a beautiful and healthy smile. If you have any more questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please reach out to us.

The Truth About Flossing

benefits of flossing

At one point in all our lives, we have been told to floss during a dental appointment by a dentist or a dental hygienist. Ever wondered why is there so much fuss about this oral hygiene practice? If yes, then read ahead as we discuss the truth about flossing.

If I Brush My Teeth Do I Have To Floss?

Toothbrushing alone cannot effectively clean between the tight contact spaces of teeth. This is where flossing comes to the rescue and can help you clean these hard-to-reach surfaces.

Benefits Of Flossing

Flossing helps to remove plaque and food debris that collects between your teeth.

If not removed, the bacteria in dental plaque can buildup on your teeth causing cavities and must be removed by a dental professional. If plaque is not removed, tartar (called calculus) will buildup and can lead to swollen and bleeding gums also known as a condition called gingivitis.

The Correct Way To Floss

Two methods can be employed for proper flossing.

  • Spool method (finger wrap method)

You start by cutting off a piece of floss about 18-20 inches long. Hold this piece of dental floss by the ends and wrap most of it around the middle finger of both hands. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and index fingers, gently sliding it up and down between your teeth. Using your index finger as a guide, insert this floss between two teeth and go in an up and down motion. Curve the floss in a “C-shape” around the base of each tooth to gently clean beneath the gumline. Use clean sections of floss as you move to other teeth in the mouth. You may feel a slight resistance while inserting the floss but never snap or force floss, as you could damage your gums. To remove floss, gently use the same sliding motion to bring it back up and away from the teeth. Please start with the back teeth of either side and make your way to the front and finish it on the opposite side’s last teeth. Make sure you cover all your teeth in the upper and lower jaw

  • Loop method (Circle method)

Cut off around 18 inches of floss and tie the two loose ends firmly to form a circle. Follow this by placing all your fingers inside the loop except the thumb, making it tight. Use your index finger to guide the floss when working on lower teeth and the thumb on the upper teeth. Insert the floss between your teeth, push it down, reaching below the gum line, and come up while making a c-shape on either side of the tooth. Make sure you cover all the tooth surfaces on the upper and lower teeth.

Alternatives To Flossing

Flossing is a crucial and irreplaceable part of a dental routine. However, if traditional flossing methods are not your thing, there are a variety of techniques and products to ensure the health of your smile.

  • Water flosser removes the plaque and debris with the help of a high-pressure water stream.
  • Interdental brushes or floss picks can be inserted between the two teeth to ensure proper plaque removal.
  • Dental tape has a wide and flat surface and can prove to be an excellent option for people with gaps between teeth.

Please reach out to us if you have any more questions or want to schedule an appointment. Our team of excellent dental professionals is here to assist you in your journey to excellent oral health from all 7 locations in the Madison area.


What Type of Braces Are Right For My Family?

types of braces

We are on a mission to create a healthy smile for your child and today we have more options than ever for making that happen. Traditional metal braces are a great fit for many patients, but new alternatives like ceramic braces and Invisalign® are giving traditional metal braces some serious competition. For many patients, the choice for straight teeth comes down to cost, appearance, and the level of maintenance needed to achieve a beautiful, healthy smile.

How Do Braces Work?

Orthodontic treatment, whether it is done with braces or Invisalign® (or other clear aligners), is accomplished by gently putting pressure on the teeth to move them into a new position. In the case of traditional braces, brackets are bonded to the tooth surface and a wire is then placed that puts pressure on the teeth. That wire is kept in place by small, often colorful ties. Patients need to see their orthodontist every six to eight weeks to have the wire adjusted and new ties placed.

When Should I Start Considering Braces?

Most people associate braces with the “tween” years of 12-16. But it’s important to evaluate potential needs as early as 7 years old when your child still has plenty of baby teeth. They may look perfectly straight to you, but there could be developmental or growth problems lurking behind that adorable smile. Taking an early peek at the jaw structure and mouth allows your orthodontist to identify problems right away and come up with an early treatment plan. With early evaluation and continued monitoring, your orthodontist can let you know what to expect as your child grows and his/her adult teeth begin to erupt.

If an early evaluation does reveal some potential problems, then those issues can be addressed as your child grows. Handling some orthodontic concerns while your child is still experiencing rapid growth can prevent more severe problems later in life. In some cases, early treatment will help to avoid surgery and prevent periodontal issues in the future.

An early visit to your orthodontist can improve and safeguard your child’s oral health in a variety of ways, including:

  • Eliminate or reduce the need for corrective surgery as a teen or adult
  • Shorten the length of any treatment needed as a teen or adult
  • Correct oral habits that may be impacting teeth and/or jaw
  • Optimize facial appearance later in life
  • Assist permanent, adult teeth into a better position
  • Improve speech

Metal Braces

The good news is that even traditional braces are a far cry from the old-school appliances many parents grew up with. Metal braces are far less intrusive and noticeable than they used to be. The size of individual braces, also known as brackets, has significantly decreased over time. The materials used for the wire has also changed; this results in lighter forces on the teeth making the orthodontic process more comfortable for patients. The ties that hold the wire to the brackets come in a variety of colors and for many patients choosing these colors at each visit is one of the most exciting parts of having metal braces.

The pros: Metal braces can withstand the most pressure of any orthodontic appliance. They are less likely to break than ceramic brackets; this is a definite advantage for patients who have a hard time staying away from the hard and sticky foods that should be avoided during orthodontic treatment. Metal braces may be the best option for patients who need more complex orthodontic treatment. They are also great for patients that want fun colors to match holidays, sports teams, or a special outfit!

The cons: Metal braces are the most visible treatment option which may not be desirable for patients who are self-conscious about their appearance. Metal brackets can also cause irritation of the cheeks and gums when the braces are first placed.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are similar to metal braces and use the same wire and bracket system, however ceramic braces are less noticeable because the brackets are made of clear or tooth-colored ceramic material. Like metal braces, ceramic braces also use ties to hold the wire in place, but these ties are generally clear or white to blend in with the teeth.

The pros: Ceramic braces are less visible than metal but are still strong and durable. Some patients think they are more comfortable than metal braces. For patients who might not be good candidates for clear aligners and who don’t want metal brackets, ceramic braces are a great alternative.

The cons: Ceramic braces can stain if certain foods or drinks are frequently consumed or if the braces and teeth are not properly cleaned. They are slightly less durable than metal braces so it is very important that patients are careful with what they eat.

Clear Aligners: An Alternative To Braces

Removable clear aligners like Invisalign® are more popular than ever and offer patients a more flexible and less noticeable orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist creates a customized plan for gradually straightening your teeth using a set of clear aligner trays to shift the teeth into the desired position. Aligners need to be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day to be effective, and many patients appreciate the chance to remove their appliances while eating and cleaning their teeth. Every one to two weeks, patients switch to a new aligner tray throughout the process.

A note of caution – there has been an influx of “At Home” options for clear aligners. These are typically not under supervision of an orthodontist and are not ideal for a complete orthodontic plan. We recommend working directly with an orthodontist for a safe and effective solution.

The pros: Invisalign® is becoming an increasingly popular choice for both teens and adults. Aligners are clear and much less visible than braces so they can be a great choice for patients who might be self-conscious about metal braces. One of the main benefits of aligners is that they are removable. This makes things like flossing, brushing, and eating much easier. Additionally, the food restrictions that many patients face with traditional braces (i.e. overly hard or chewy food), do not apply when using aligners. Many patients also report that the plastic used for removable aligners is less irritating to the cheeks than braces. Another advantage of clear aligners is that orthodontic office visits are less frequent with Invisalign® which saves patients time.

The cons: Aligners only work when they are worn and thus may not be the best option for patients who are not ready to take responsibility for their treatment. Aligners must be taken out to eat and immediately placed back in the mouth after eating. Patients who frequently lose things or are forgetful may want to consider an alternative form of orthodontic treatment.

Choosing The Right Braces: Your Orthodontist Can Help

There are a variety of great orthodontic treatment options. Your orthodontist is an important partner in helping you make the best decisions based on all of the considerations. With years of expertise and a caring approach, Dental Health Associates will help you choose the best type of orthodontic treatment for you or your child.

Request a Free Orthodontics Consultation


Oral Health is Overall Health

Dental Health and Overall Health

The health of your mouth, teeth and gums plays a significant role in the state of your overall well-being.

Recently, oral health has been significantly elevated in importance, as researchers are able to find a direct correlation between declining oral health and underlying health conditions. Also, we are learning that a healthy mouth can help you maintain a healthy body and a healthy mind.

Are you wondering how oral heath can affect other systems in your body? Bacteria can spread from your oral cavity to your bloodstream, causing infections and other issues such as:

1. Heart disease

Several studies link chronic inflammation from periodontitis with the development of cardiovascular problems. Some evidence suggests that oral bacteria may be linked to heart disease, arterial blockages and stroke.

2. Diabetic complications

Periodontal disease can make your blood sugar difficult to control and cause worsening of your diabetes symptoms.

3. Pregnancy complications

Several studies have shown an association between periodontal disease and adverse outcomes in pregnancy such as premature deliveries, fetal growth restriction, and other complications.

4. Rheumatoid arthritis

Because arthritis is an autoimmune disease, improving your dental care could play a role in reducing the effects of RA.

5. Dementia

A recent analysis led by the National Institute of Aging scientists suggests that bacteria that cause gum disease are also associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, specifically vascular dementia.*

Your oral health influences more than just your teeth. Poor oral and dental health can contribute to issues with your self-esteem, speech, or nutrition.

Keeping you smile healthy is an important part of your overall health.  Make sure to schedule regular cleanings and focus on preventative care in order to reduce your risk of severe gum disease and tooth loss.

* Source: Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.


About Dental Health Associates

At Dental Health Associates of Madison we are here to support you and your overall health and we create a personalized treatment plan for each and every patient. All of our dentists and staff will always be open and honest with you about your dental health, with a focus on preventative treatments and patient education. We’d love to schedule an appointment for you today!

Reasons To Keep Your Dental Check-Up During COVID

Dental Visit during COVID

One of the most common questions we hear is, “Is it safe to visit the dentist during COVID?” While we each need to assess our own risk level when leaving our homes, we are doing our best to make sure all precautions are taken. We have implemented infection control and social distancing protocols at every level, which you can read more about here.

If you have delayed your cleaning or addressing a dental issue, here are some important reasons to consider keeping your cleaning and checkup on schedule.

Routine Teeth Cleanings

During a routine hygiene appointment, your teeth and gums are examined for disease, decay or cavities, followed by a cleaning to remove plaque from all surfaces. This is the perfect time to evaluate overall dental health and discuss any changes in your health.

Benefits of keeping a regular scheduled hygiene appointment include:

  • Prevent Gum Disease – Regular visits with cleanings in combination with at home care can prevent gum disease.
  • Talk About Your Oral Health – Routine exams with your dentist make for the perfect time to ask any dental questions, express concerns, or learn something new. This is your one-on-one time with an expert.
  • Receive Brushing and Flossing Tips – Your hygienist will speak to you about brushing and flossing to make sure you are maximizing at home care and doing what is best for your oral health.
  • Benefit of Early Detection – The best way to prevent extensive and long-lasting oral damage is to catch any issue early! With regular cleanings and exams, it is more likely that the dentist or hygienist will catch the problem while in an early stage.
  • Preserve Your Natural Teeth – While there are dental procedures that can replace or fix your teeth and gums it is always preferable to keep your natural teeth. The chance of this is much higher with a combination of routine hygiene exams, early detection, and at home care.

Health Benefits of Dental Visits During COVID-19

For many people in an elevated risk category, visiting the dentist may seem like an unnecessary exposure in an uncertain time. However, several reports have shown extremely low rates of COVID transfer linked to dental offices, primarily due to strict existing protection practices and adherence to CDC guidelines.1

As elective physician visits have transitioned to virtual appointments, dental appointments typically require an in-person visit. In addition to the benefits listed above, by visiting our office, we’ve been able to address other oral health concerns peripherally related to COVID.2 Some of these include:

  • Stress-related issues like clenching and grinding3
  • Gum inflammation and tenderness
  • Headaches or sore jaw
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Reduced at-home daily care (brushing & flossing)
  • Cavities

While we don’t have the ability to snap our fingers and end the pandemic, our team can help keep you on a path to oral health and immediately address any serious concerns. A routine hygiene appointment is not only about having your teeth cleaned, it is also about prevention. It is important to not neglect your visits, regularly or during the pandemic, in order to enjoy all the benefits of oral health.

About Dental Health Associates

At Dental Health Associates of Madison we are here to support you and your overall health and we create a personalized treatment plan for each and every patient. All of our dentists and staff will always be open and honest with you about your dental health, with a focus on preventative treatments and patient education. We’d love to schedule an appointment for you today!