High Tide Dental

3 Signs You Should See Your Dentist Right Away

find a dentist

If you’re like most people, making a dentist appointment may not be at the top of your list of priorities. But while you might think that practicing good dental care at home can keep problems at bay, the reality is that the treatment you receive at your dental office plays a crucial role in maintaining your overall health.

Putting off your annual or bi-annual dentist visit can come with a number of serious consequences. If any of the following signs sound familiar, you’ll want to find a dentist in your area and make an appointment as soon as possible.

  1. You’re in Pain: Tooth, gum, and jaw pain should be taken seriously. While you’ll ideally want to prevent pain before it ever occurs, experiencing any kind of dental discomfort should prompt you to call your local dentist right away. Toothaches, teeth sensitivity, and swollen gums rarely get better without treatment. You’ll also want to seek out expert care if you have a mouth sore that won’t go away or if you suspect you might have a cavity. Be sure to contact your dental office so they can assess the problem and provide the care you need.
  2. You’ve Lost or Cracked a Tooth: Sudden adult tooth loss is not normal. In many cases, it can indicate the presence of gum disease (which may also be accompanied by swollen or bleeding gums). In fact, adults over the age of 35 lose more teeth to gum disease than they do to cavities. This can be a severe issue that could impact both your smile and your overall health. A cracked or chipped tooth should also prompt you to find a dentist, as any kind of injury should be addressed right away to prevent tooth loss.
  3. Your Mouth is Chronically Dry: Dry mouth might not seem like a dental emergency, but it should be addressed by a professional if it’s a constant issue. It’s true that this could be an unwelcome side effect of certain medications. However, chronic dry mouth can also be attributed to other issues (and can exacerbate certain dental problems). Your dentist may be able to recommend mouthwashes and other treatments that can provide you with some relief and prevent other issues from occurring.

Of course, there are countless other reasons to find a dentist near you. Whether you want whiter teeth, you need ongoing dental treatment for your kids, or you’ve put off making an appointment for too long, we’re here to help. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today at (207) 767-3211.

The Dangers of DIY Teeth Whitening Products

teeth whiteningAlthough it’s recommended that most people make a trip to their dental office twice a year, much of our dental care routine is performed at home. After all, brushing and flossing is something we do on a twice-daily basis — and if used in conjunction with fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, these efforts can reduce tooth decay by as much as 40%.

However, that doesn’t always mean your smile will light up the room. Despite your best efforts, you may notice that your teeth aren’t as pearly white as you’d like. Since you perform other dental care tasks at home, you might be wondering why you can’t whiten your teeth yourself, as well. Let’s take a closer look at why you might need teeth whitening services — and why you should always trust your family dentist over a homemade or store-bought DIY method.

Why Do Teeth Need Whitening At All?

If you generally take good care of your teeth, you might be wondering why your smile is looking lackluster. There are multiple causes of tooth discoloration, such as eating or drinking acidic and starchy items or smoking tobacco. Certain diseases and medications can also lead to enamel discoloration. Genetics, age, and environment can also play a role. While poor dental hygiene can lead to tooth discoloration and staining, it’s certainly not the only cause — and just because you’re looking into teeth whitening doesn’t mean you’ve neglected your dental care. People from all walks of life pursue teeth whitening, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

What Are the Dangers DIY Whitening?

That said, you should think twice before you whiten your teeth on your own. Although whitening products are commonly found on store shelves and homemade remedies are all over the internet, some of these options can actually be harmful to your tooth enamel or your overall health. At best, these products may be ineffective because they generally don’t contain the active ingredients that have a lasting effect on the color of your enamel. At worst, they can cause tooth sensitivity, mouth infections, enamel damage, and more. Ultimately, they’ll be either a waste of your money or will make matters much worse than before.

How Can Your Dentist Help?

If you’ve been looking for the most effective products for teeth whitening Portland Maine residents can rely on, it’s actually better to see your dentist than to search for a solution in a store. Your dentist can discuss the options they have available for whitening treatments and whether you’re a good candidate for these services. Then, they can actually send you home with customized mouthguards with dental bleaching treatments you can use at home. While these are technically part of a DIY whitening system, you’ll obtain all of the products you need directly from your dentist. This can ensure that the process is both safe and effective. You won’t have to sit in a dentist’s chair for this treatment, in many cases, but you can feel confident that you’ll see results without harming your health in the process.

Store-bought and homemade DIY tooth whitening treatments often sound too good to be true — and they usually are. By consulting with your dentist regarding a service for tooth whitening, you’ll be well on your way to a brighter, more beautiful smile without taking unnecessary risk. To learn more, please contact our office today.

3 Signs You Need a Better Dental Care Routine

dental care

Many of us tend to take our teeth for granted. But if your dental care is lacking, you may soon find an urgent need to visit a dentist near Portland ME to address an oral emergency. It’s far better to recognize the signs of poor dental care before you make an urgent trip to your dental office. Here are just three signs that you need a better dental care routine — and that you should see your family dentist before any of these issues get worse.

Your Teeth Are Patchy or Stained

Stained teeth may be relatively common, but that doesn’t mean this is a normal occurrence. Your teeth can become more stained or yellowed over time due to diet, as acidic foods and beverages can change the color of your tooth enamel. While you can ask your dentist about whitening treatments, you may also need to consider that there could be other underlying issues that lead to tooth discoloration. White patches that show up on teeth can often be the first sign of decay; ignoring these patches could certainly result in the formation of cavities. And if you notice that one of your teeth is becoming dark in color, that could indicate nerve damage that should be addressed. No matter what, staining and discoloration aren’t inherent signs of a healthy smile — so you’ll want to talk to your dentist if you notice any of these issues.

Your Gums Bleed When You Floss or Brush

Brushing too hard could potentially result in pain or even bleeding gums. But if this happens every time you floss or even when you brush gently, you may have gingivitis or another type of gum disease. This is actually pretty serious business, as adults over the age of 35 lose more teeth to periodontal (gum) disease than they do from cavities. Inflamed gums often have bacterial buildup (typically due to a lack of oral care), which is often what leads to bleeding. In turn, bleeding gums can make you more vulnerable to other health issues. Gum disease can also lead to receding or pocketed gums, which can make tooth loss more likely. If you notice you bleed regularly during your dental care routine, it’s time to talk to your dentist to figure out the best steps to take.

You’re Experiencing Oral Pain or Discomfort

Overall, you shouldn’t experience oral pain or discomfort. Healthy teeth and gums don’t cause physical irritation, so these sensations are usually your body’s warning system that something is wrong. Toothaches, jaw pain, mouth sores, and other issues could very well indicate that you need to upgrade your dental care regimen or that there’s another medical issue that should be addressed. Even if you suspect that you have a simple cavity or sensitive teeth, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist to take a look. These problems are easier and less expensive to fix when they’re caught early, so don’t delay and risk being in agony.

You may not love making a trip to the dentist, but we know that good oral health sets a strong foundation for general wellness. If any of these signs sound familiar — or it’s been more than a year since your last dental appointment — contact us today at (207)767-3211 for an appointment.

Teeth Truths: Debunking Common Dental Care Myths

dental care

Most of us would like to have a bright and beautiful smile, but we don’t always do everything we can to achieve that goal. In fact, a 2018 survey by the American Dental Association found that 42% of Americans don’t see a dentist as frequently as they would like. And in many cases, the avoidance of your family dentist may come down to pervasive misconceptions relating to oral health. In today’s post, we’re debunking some of the most common dental care myths to reveal the “tooth” behind them.

MYTH: Chewing gum and rinsing with mouthwash are good substitutes for brushing and flossing.

After meals, you might be inclined to chew a piece of gum or quickly rinse with mouthwash — and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, as long as you’re using dentist-recommended products. But while your mouth may feel minty fresh, that’s not an indication that you’re improving your oral health. Gum and oral rinses are really no match for brushing and flossing, no matter how sweet your breath smells. Although they can neutralize acids that would normally eat away at enamel, they can’t compete with a toothbrush and dental floss.

MYTH: Since baby teeth fall out anyway, it’s not necessary to focus on dental care for children.

Some parents think that because primary teeth aren’t permanent, they don’t need to worry about their child’s oral health right away. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Experts typically agree that a child’s first dental visit should take place just after their first birthday (or when their first tooth emerges, whichever comes sooner). But even before that happens, parents should wipe their baby’s mouth with a soft cloth to remove bacteria. Getting your child used to the idea of caring for their teeth from the start can set them up for better oral health habits throughout their life. We know that children who aren’t taught about dental care early on will be less likely to follow healthy routines later.

MYTH: Brushing harder will remove more plaque.

Improper brushing technique will often do more harm than good. If you think you need to scrub your teeth until it hurts in order to remove plaque, you could actually end up damaging your teeth and gums in the process — and that could leave you vulnerable to infections, decay, and receding gums. Brushing too aggressively won’t allow you to brush for a shorter amount of time. Instead, you should brush for two minutes twice a day. Whether you’re using a standard or electric toothbrush, you should use gentle, circular strokes and position the brush at a 45-degree angle. Your family dentist would be more than happy to demonstrate if you need an example.

MYTH: Unless you’re in pain, it’s not necessary to visit the dental office regularly.

This misconception is one that you may know is illogical, but that doesn’t always mean you adhere to best practices. Certainly, pain or discomfort should signal an urgent need for a dental appointment. But this isn’t the only time you should visit your dentist! It’s best to schedule a dental appointment every six months. This will actually allow you to avoid many of those emergency issues through preventative measures (which can also save you money in the long run). Another problem with this misconception is that it assumes cavities and other dental issues are obvious. The reality is that you might not always know when you’ve developed a cavity or have an underlying issue. Regular visits are the best way to spot problems that might otherwise go undetected.

MYTH: Dental care doesn’t have much of an effect on your overall health.

Whether due to dental phobias, perceived costs, or scheduling conflicts, you might even be inclined to believe that dental care isn’t all that important. But we now know that poor oral hygiene has links to a number of serious medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. By prioritizing your dental health, you may reduce your risk of other medical complications in the process.

Now that you know the “tooth” behind these myths, you might be convinced it’s time to make your next dentist appointment. To learn more, please contact our team today. To set up your next appointment, call our team at 207-767-3211.

Why Adults Skip the Dentist (And Why You Shouldn’t Follow Suit)

dental care

Most of us know that high-quality dental care is key to overall health. But too often, adults make the decision to skip their annual trip to the dental office. In fact, the CDC estimated that only 64.9% of adults visited their dentist during 2019, while around 31.6% of adults have untreated cavities.

Ultimately, that means that there’s a large portion of adults who need professional dental care and aren’t getting it. But why exactly do adults choose to forgo their dental visits? And why should you make sure to schedule (and keep) your appointments on a regular basis? We’re answering both of those questions in today’s post.

Why Adults Don’t Visit the Dentist

  • Cost: The cost of dental care can be daunting, particularly if you’ll be paying for services out-of-pocket. It may seem like an expenditure you simply can’t afford, which makes it tempting to push off appointments from year to year. There are a number of offices that accept dental insurance plans, but that’s not true of every dentist — so it’s important that you do your research beforehand. Regardless of whether your dentist accepts your insurance, you may need to budget for your visit or ask about a potential payment plan to make these services more accessible to you. Keep in mind, however, that prioritizing preventative dental care now can keep costs lower for you in the long term. Since we know that poor dental care has been linked to a number of serious medical conditions, you owe it to yourself to make room in your budget for these visits.
  • Scheduling: There never seem to be enough hours in the day. While children may not have as many routine commitments to contend with, most adults work or have other responsibilities that take precedent over dental visits. Unless there’s a true dental emergency, you might be inclined to dismiss annual or bi-annual visits as something you don’t have time for. But there are ways to make these visits work in your schedule. You could talk to your dentist about options like evening, early morning, or weekend appointments to fit these visits into your schedule. You might even be able to take a long lunch or take a half-day for the sake of an annual cleaning. More than likely, your dentist (or your boss!) will be accommodating if it allows you to take care of your health.
  • Misconceptions and Phobias: Another reason adults might avoid the dentist could involve certain misguided beliefs. Some patients might feel that they can handle caring for their teeth completely on their own. After all, when fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses are used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, these products can reduce tooth decay by as much as 40%. However, there’s really no replacement for professional tooth care. Cleanings and other assessments performed by your dentist can help catch problems early and prevent issues attributed to plaque and tartar. In addition, dental phobias can discourage adults from visiting the dentist. While these fears are relatively common, they often worsen when they’re avoided. You may want to consider an office that provides sedation dentistry or finding a dentist that can help you alleviate your fears in order to put your health first.

Why You Should Prioritize Dental Visits

We’ve discussed the most common reasons for avoiding the dentist. But the most important reason to see your dentist is to protect your health. By seeing your dentist regularly, you can increase your self-esteem, eliminate discomfort or pain, and ensure you stay in great shape for years to come. For more information, please contact our office today.

4 Tips on Making Flossing Easier for Your Kids

family dentist

Whenever you visit your family dentist, chances are high that you will be asked whether or not you and your family floss. The question is whether or not you’ll tell the truth! Too many people don’t floss as often as they should, and some don’t floss at all. But flossing is an important part of dental care and should be practiced regularly. There is a reason why your dentist emphasizes its importance, after all.

Flossing is used to remove the food and buildup that gets stuck between our teeth and is difficult to remove through brushing alone. Not only can this cause tooth decay; it can also inflame and eventually infect your gums, causing serious gum disease that results in bleeding and sometimes pain. It’s much easier to get into the routine of flossing when you’re a child, which is why many family dentists encourage parents to get their children used to flossing at a young age. But this can be quite challenging, which is why we’re giving you some of our top tips on getting children used to flossing.

1. Buy the Right Floss

For one thing, you need to think about the type of floss that you’re buying. If you’re not sure, you can always ask your family dentist for recommendations about high quality dental floss. You don’t want to buy floss that is overly harsh on your children’s gums, as this can make flossing painful and therefore difficult to convince them to repeat. Think about buying floss that is flavored. Cinnamon-flavored and bubblegum-flavored floss can be especially appealing to children and can make floss really fun.

Of course, you should also make sure that your children are using the correct length of floss, as the process can be a lot trickier if it’s too long or too short. Ideally, you should have them use waxed floss that is about 18 inches long.

2. Utilize Tools

If you’re introducing especially young children to flossing, they probably won’t be able to floss by themselves for a good while. You should ask your family dentist about the ideal tools that can help them transition to flossing independently.

Some of the tools that we would recommend would include a dental flosser, which is a kind of pick through which the floss can be threaded, and an interdental flosser. Interdental flossers are tools that are affixed with a kind of spoolie brush. This can be placed between the teeth, allowing for easy flossing. Most people don’t use these flossers permanently, but it can be a good tool to use until your child is old enough to floss by themselves.

3. Lead by Example

One of the best ways that you can convince your child of the importance of flossing is simply leading by example. It’s often difficult for children to understand how much they need to floss until they see their parents flossing regularly. Think about how often you brush your teeth alongside your young children.

You should floss after every meal, not just during the morning and the evening. The point of flossing is not to clean your teeth themselves, but to clean between your teeth. Furthermore, you may want to have your dentist introduce dental floss during your child’s very first dental visit. This will familiarize them with the concept and make flossing as normal a part of dental care as brushing your teeth.

4. Consider Reward Systems

Think about how often your children are rewarded after they visit the pediatric dentist for a visit. Family dentists often offer children the opportunity to choose a “treat” like fun toothbrushes or little toys when they leave the office. You may want to take a similar approach.

If it’s difficult to internally motivate your child to floss, you may want to externally motivate them. Think about making a chart and checking off daily flossing. Once your child reaches a certain goal, like a whole week or month of consistent flossing, you can offer a small reward. These rewards could include stickers, a small toy, or even an additional half hour of television time.

Flossing isn’t just about keeping your children’s teeth healthy but instilling healthy habits. Your dentist will thank you, and so will your kids!

4 Ways To Ensure Your Child’s Dental Health

dental office

Teaching your children how to take care of their teeth can be easier said than done. Habitual oral care doesn’t necessarily come as natural to some kids as it does others. It requires a lot of discipline and a set routine so that your child doesn’t forget to care for their teeth. Furthermore, there are sometimes roadblocks that make dental care for children even trickier. We often hear about kids having a fear of the dentist, which makes even taking them for a visit difficult. But this type of fear isn’t always innate and is sometimes borne of traumatic experiences with a dentist when a child is very young, even if they don’t remember exactly what those experiences were.

While it may seem easier to give a bit slack with regards to dental care, the consequences of letting your child’s teeth go without proper care are serious. Kids can develop cavities, gingivitis, and even abscesses which can lead to serious health issues without you even realizing it. It’s important to begin taking them to the dental office and developing healthy habits. So, what can you do to instill those habits and avoid bad ones?

1. Start Dental Office Visits Early

You should take your child to the dentist every six months, of course. This will ensure that their teeth are being checked up on regularly and getting the best possible care. But furthermore, going to the dental office with your child on a regular basis will instill in them the right habits and teach them that there is nothing to fear about the dentist. It’s recommended that parents take their children to their visit regular dental office visit soon after their first birthday. Though your child will probably only have a few baby teeth at that point, it’s important that your child is familiarized with the dentist, cutting down the risk of fear, and furthermore that their baby teeth are properly cared for. Baby teeth need care too, after all.

2. Teach Your Child to Floss

There’s a reason why our dentists ask about whether or not we floss every time we have a regular visit. Flossing is good for your teeth and incredibly important for their overall maintenance and your oral health in general. It’s much easier to begin ingraining a habit when you’re a young child, rather than waiting until you’re older. Therefore, you should begin teaching your child from a young age to floss regularly, ideally after every meal. Flossing ensures that there won’t be food stuck between your teeth, which will help prevent decay as well as gum infections and diseases like gingivitis.

3. Choose A Dentist With A Good Rapport

Of course, it’s not enough to take your child to the dentist on a regular basis. They need to be seeing a dentist that they actually like and trust. The rapport that your child has with the dentist is incredibly important in terms of ensuring that they have a positive experience. A good pediatric dentist will take the time to get to know your child and to develop a good relationship with your family. Furthermore, this rapport will make it easier for your dentist to relate to your child and gain accurate information about their symptoms and what they’re really doing to ensure the wellbeing of their teeth. Children are only honest if they trust someone, after all.

4. Encourage A Healthy Diet

Children need to be guided regarding their dental health. Reduce their sugar intake, especially sugary drinks, so that their teeth are healthier and so that they’re healthier in general. The more you encourage this diet in your child from a young age, the easier it will be for them to follow it.

There are so many ways that you can ensure your child’s dental health. But you need to take these steps early and be consistent.

How Dental Care Differs Between Children and Adults


Across different age groups, jaws and teeth will develop at varying rates. This is part of the reason why family dentists often make recommendations based on the patient’s physiological stage of development. Therefore, parents need to understand that there are unique dental requirements for their children that may differ from their own needs.

Dental Care for Children

The main difference between adults and children is the focus of the dental care process. Children’s bodies are still growing. It is the task of your dentist to ensure that their teeth and gums do not develop complications.

The dental care professional lays the foundation for healthy teeth and gums right from the first visit. Cavities on baby teeth can shift to the tooth that is about to sprout. Dentists are also responsible for imparting information on oral hygiene for both the parents and their children.

At High Tide Dental, we pride ourselves on our pediatric preventative program. Our goal is to see your child for their first visit as soon as their first tooth erupts, even if it is just for a “ride” in the dental chair. Our main focus at your child’s first few visits is to build a positive relationship with visiting the dentist that will last years to come.

Adult Dental Care

Adults are also susceptible to oral health complications. Contrary to most assumptions, the issue is not just with dental cavities. Statistics suggest that adults over the age of 35 lose more of their teeth to gum disease than cavities.

Children have an advantage in that their bones are soft and can adjust. On the other end, older adults have a weaker immune system, which increases the time it takes to heal.

Oral Health Routine

Another critical task for the dentist is to encourage patients of all ages to proper oral health routines including brushing their teeth regularly. These routines should also include flossing at least once a day to remove debris stuck between the teeth.

Adults may have a higher likelihood of succumbing to oral health problems, like periodontal disease, because of their lifestyle habits. Alcohol, tobacco, sodas, and sugary foods can increase the risk of dental complications.

Treatment Procedures

The treatment procedures at your local dental office will also vary depending on the age of the patient. For example, kids have thinner enamel than adults. Because their sensitive teeth are prone to cavities, your dentist may recommend fluoride treatments for your child.

The fluoride solution has a higher concentration than your regular toothpaste. Fluoride varnishes may be used for both adults and kids. It is particularly useful for preventing cavities in children with thin enamels and sensitive teeth as well as adults who are prone to cavities.

Dental Sealants

Dentists understand that it can be challenging for children to keep up their oral hygiene routine. Sugary foods and sweets can increase the risk of cavities. Your family dentist may determine that the child needs a sealant.

The sealant is a barrier that protects the molars and premolars to limit cavities and gum disease. The patient will still have to keep up their daily oral hygiene routine. But sealants coupled with brushing and flossing can reduce the risk of cavities by 56% within the first year.

The American Dental Association approves of the use of sealants. It is a painless and fast dental office procedure that will protect your child’s tooth for many years to come.

Dental health can affect your social, physical, and psychological well being. Make a point of visiting your dentist regularly for routine check-ups. An evaluation can catch symptoms at the earliest stages and prevent extensive procedures. We are happy to review all of your preventative and restorative options at your first visit.

Our New Blog!

Our blog has recently been set up. Please check back soon!