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An Important Reminder About Your Next Dental Appointment

At times, life can seem to move quickly. Between work, school, sports, and social events, it can seem there is little time left for you and your health. It’s imperative for a healthy mouth and body to always have your next dental appointment scheduled and to prioritize this care. Our team will work with you to find the most convenient day and time for you. If you need to reschedule, we will do our best to accommodate you. Advanced notice of a change is greatly appreciated, whenever possible. Missed appointments without notice are harmful to our practice, as we’ve reserved your appointment time exclusively for you.

Missed dental appointments can lead to worsened oral and overall health. Whether receiving preventive or restorative care, if left without professional treatment, plaque and decay will progress and the state of your oral health will likely decline. Some of our patients are predisposed to more frequent oral health issues. Many times, these guests prefer more frequent office visits. Please know this is an option for you as well. Investing in one extra cleaning each year can often prevent more costly concerns.

We know it can be tempting to skip your dental appointment. Perhaps you’d rather be relaxing at home or you’ve had a last-minute obligation arise. Please make every effort to prioritize your healthy smile, as it significantly contributes to your overall health.

Please know we’re here for you. If you have any questions about our care or practice philosophy, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Digital X-Rays

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Portrait of a young woman with a beautiful smile

X-rays, or radiographs, have long been used in dentistry. Traditional film x-rays are a safe and effective part of your dental care, but they do require a small amount of radiation. In our office, we utilize digital x-ray technology that provides the benefits of film imaging but uses up to 80% less radiation. With our advanced digital radiographs, we can view your teeth and surrounding structures with remarkable accuracy.

Unlike traditional x-rays, digital x-rays require no wait time for film to develop. Instead, the images are available on the computer screen within seconds. These images can then be enhanced and enlarged for more accurate diagnosis. Digital x-rays can be stored, printed, or even transmitted electronically to a specialist or laboratory, if needed.

Intraoral x-rays create an image of the teeth, bone, and tissues inside the mouth. This image can be used for prevention, diagnosis, and/or treatment planning, depending on the need. X-ray images can be used to identify or diagnose potential oral health issues that may not be fully visible to the naked eye. Some of these may include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Cracks or fractures
  • Impacted teeth
  • Tooth root infection
  • Bone loss
  • Cysts, tumors, or other abnormal growths

How often you need dental x-rays will change over your lifetime. Healthy adults may only need radiographs taken every 2-3 years. Children and teens often need more frequent imaging to monitor the growth and alignment of their teeth. However, there are several additional factors that can influence how often digital x-rays are recommended. Some of these include:

  • Multiple dental restorations
  • Periodontal disease
  • Dry mouth
  • Tobacco use
  • Orthodontics
  • Root canal therapy

Your safety is our primary concern. Before having a digital x-ray taken in our office, let us know if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have had a dental x-ray in another office within the past year
  • You are or may be pregnant
  • You have any questions or concerns about x-rays

For more information on how our digital x-rays benefit you, contact our office.

You Need to Know About Oral Thrush: Here’s Why

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Parents giving piggyback ride to kids at beach. Close up of smiling family having fun at summer vacation. Portrait of happy family looking at camera at beach.

Even a healthy mouth is lined with bacteria. Normally, your daily oral hygiene routine helps prevent oral health complications. However, it is possible to develop an excess of bacteria and fungi, which can lead to additional problems. Here’s what you should know about oral thrush and what you can do to prevent it.

What is it?

Oral thrush is caused by a collection of the fungus Candida in your mouth. Bacteria and fungi occur naturally in your mouth, but it is important that they are not permitted to build up. Thrush can appear as white, thick scrapes on your tongue or inner cheek. It may also look like patchy, white sores.

Who does it affect?

Young children, infants, and the elderly are at a higher risk of developing oral thrush. If you have a weakened immune system or diabetes, it is even more important that you stay active to keep your mouth healthy and prevent issues like oral thrush. Smokers also tend to develop oral thrush more than other patients.

What can it do?

Oral thrush can lead to trouble swallowing and tasting. As it develops, it can become painful. Oral thrush can make affected areas feel like they are burning, and slight bleeding can occur if you are scraping your tongue or cheeks. Some describe the feeling as having cotton in their mouth.

Thrush can spread. If you have a weakened immune system, it is possible that thrush moves into your lungs, digestive tract, and even your heart.

How can I prevent It?

Our best recommendation for preventing oral thrush is a vigilant daily oral hygiene routine that includes a thorough brushing and flossing of your teeth, and includes your tongue. We sometimes recommend a patient use a tongue scraper to clean your tongue. Just like brushing your teeth, your tongue depends on daily cleaning to stay healthy and free of germs and bacteria.

The American Dental Association recommends that for some patients it might be helpful to consider an antimicrobial toothpaste or mouthwash. Check with our doctor to see which solutions might be best for you.

We cannot overstate the importance of regularly scheduled dental exams. If you are a diabetic, it is even more important that you schedule regular visits to our office. By having your mouth checked by our staff, we can work with you to prevent oral health issues like thrush.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office.

Dentist in Clearwater, FL | 4 Tips for Healthy, White Teeth

Dentist Clearwater

Your smile is one of the first things that people notice about you. One way to make a lasting impression is to have a healthy-looking smile. Over the years, teeth whitening has become immensely popular. People turn to in-office whitening, over-the-counter whitening, and home-made whitening techniques. Did you know that there are ways to keep your smile white with just small changes to your daily routine? Read the tips below to keep your smile looking pearly white.

  1. Brush and Floss

To keep your mouth clean, healthy, and stain-free, brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. Brush your teeth after drinking coffee, tea, soda, or red wine to help fight discoloration.

  1. Diet

Some of the food and drinks you are consuming may cause your teeth to look dull or stained. Wine, coffee, tea, soft drinks, and berries all contain substances that stain teeth. Chromogens are molecules found in all of these items that stick to the enamel of your teeth causing a dull look.

  1. Quit Smoking

Smoking is not only bad for your heart and lungs, it is also bad for your mouth and teeth. Smoking causes tooth discoloration, increased plaque buildup, gum disease and more.

  1. Visit Your Dentist

Dental cleanings and exams are an important part in keeping your teeth healthy and bright. You may need frequently follow up visits based on your oral health care. Don’t forget to schedule an appointment twice a year.

Even if you do use in-office whitening or over-the-counter products, your teeth need extra care to keep up with the initial results. By flossing, lifestyle changes, and regular dental visits your teeth will be looking bright.

Call our office to schedule your dental cleaning today.

Dentist in Clearwater | Oral Health and Cancer

Dentist in Clearwater, FL

There are over 12 million new cases of cancer diagnosed each year. There are a large variety of different kinds of cancer, some of which are more preventable than others. It might seem obvious that practicing good oral health and avoiding tobacco and other harmful substances can help protect you from the risk of oral cancer. However, there are other types of cancer that can be prevented through good oral care as well.

Dental Care and Oral Cancer

While it’s long been known that tobacco and heavy alcohol use are the main causes of oral, head, and neck cancer, poor oral health has recently been added to the list. A 2007 study published in American Journal of Epidemiology found that poor mouth health and missing teeth were strongly linked to the development of oral cancer. Likewise, patients with good oral health were found to be far less likely to develop oral cancer. If you have been diagnosed with oral cancer, know that common oral health problems such as gum disease and tooth decay could be making the condition worse. Visiting our dental office regularly for professional cleanings, examinations, and oral cancer screenings to help catch signs of oral cancer early and make treatment easier and more effective.

Oral Health and Other Cancers

Poor oral health has been shown to be tied to other types of cancers outside of the mouth. For example, a recent study conducted by NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center found that certain types of bacteria found in patients with gum disease was tied to a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer. While esophageal cancer only accounts for 1% of new cancer cases diagnosed annually, over 90% of patients will die of the disease. Untreated gum disease opens up the tissues around the teeth to bacterial infection, allowing these harmful bacteria to enter the bloodstream and infect other parts of the patient’s body. Maintaining optimal oral health can help protect you from this threat.

Your oral health effects much more than just your mouth. If you’re not taking care of your teeth, tongue, and gums, you could significantly increase your risk of developing cancer without even realizing it. If you’d like to learn more about the connection between oral health and cancer, contact our dental team to schedule an examination and cleaning today!

Dentist in Clearwater, FL | Biting Off More than You Can Chew?

Dentist 33760

It is not uncommon for many of us to grab a bite to eat in a hurry. Americans have grown accustomed to bigger food portions at restaurants, but our mouths have not. Trying to fit that oversized sandwich or apple in your mouth might be worse for you than you have ever imagined. Below are some reasons why this could be detrimental for your oral health and what you can do about it.

Why This Is a Problem

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), taking bites that are too big for you to chew can not only cause jaw and teeth issues, it can also cause digestive problems. Discomfort, swelling and difficulty eating may result from opening your jaw too wide. Taking large bites may also result in food not being chewed thoroughly, which can lead to weight gain and digestive issues.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

Constantly opening your jaw too wide becomes an even larger problem for people with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull bones enabling movement during chewing. People with TMD, usually have a restriction with how wide they can open their jaws. Taking large bites of food, especially hard foods like apples, can aggravate this condition making pain and jaw clicking worse.

What You Can Do

If you have food that is too large to chew or starts to cause jaw discomfort, try cutting your food into smaller portions. This makes food easier to eat with less hassle. Also consider eating softer foods that won’t harm your teeth or irritate your jaw.

Tip: Avoid chewing on ice, popcorn kernels, hard candies, and opening nuts with your teeth. This can lead to a chipped tooth!

Contact our team today to schedule an exam and cleaning.

13501 Icot Blvd. Suite 101
Clearwater, FL 33760
(727) 531-4462

Dentist Clearwater | Change Your Life With a Smile

Dentist Clearwater, FL

The results are in. Multiple studies have confirmed what “Put on A Happy Face” told us to be true; the very act of smiling can have a real impact on your health and happiness. Not only does it make you feel better, but a smiling face can also make you appear more likeable to others, helping you in life, love, and career.

Smiling has been shown to reduce your stress level, increase your pain tolerance, boost your immune system, and more. Your smile has a tangible effect on the release of hormones in your brain and can often be enough to turn a bad day around or give you the confidence to get through a difficult task.

Maintaining a happy disposition is something that requires work, and smiling can help. There are multiple studies that have confirmed that smiling can help make you happier and more confident, two traits that are greatly desirable in potential friends, partners, and employees. If you feel like your wheels are spinning in life, smiling more could be the trick you need to improve your chances of success.

However, if you’re unhappy with the way your smile looks, it can be hard to feel comfortable showing it off. Whether your teeth are yellowed, crooked, or missing altogether, there are plenty of factors that can contribute to a person feeling embarrassed to smile. Our cosmetic dental team is dedicated to helping you gain the smile you’ve always wanted. We’re proud to offer a wide array of cosmetic dental solutions designed around meeting the unique needs of each patient’s smile.

When you come for your visit, our dentist will perform a consultation to better understand what about your smile you’d like to change. We’ll then recommend an optimal treatment plan based on your needs, goals, and budget. This will allow you to understand your options and pick the solution that’s right for you! Don’t let embarrassment about your smile continue to hold you back. Contact our dental team today to learn more about how we can help you reclaim happiness and confidence in your life through a smile you’re proud to show off.

Dentist in Clearwater, FL | 5 Tips for Denture Wearers

Dentist Clearwater

Taking care of your dentures can seem like an added chore. Don’t worry, with a little effort your dentures can stay clean. Here are 5 tips for keeping your dentures clean and your smile healthy.

  1. Rinse Thoroughly

Prior to brushing, it helps to rinse your dentures off.  Run them through water to help wash away food and other small particles. Be extra careful when handling your fragile dentures. Avoid using hot or boiling water, as that could damage your dentures.

  1. Clean Your Dentures

Just as you would brush your teeth, your dentures need to be brushed as well. Never use cleaning solutions while your dentures are in. Rather, remove your dentures and carefully brush using a soft toothbrush. Avoid using whitening toothpastes or harsh cleaning materials like bleach products. Talk to our dentist about the right type of cleaner for your dentures. Using too strong a solution can cause damage to your dentures.

  1. Don’t Forget to Brush Your Teeth

You still need to take care of your natural teeth. Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush. Be gentle when brushing and cleaning your gums. Cleaning your gums will help you reduce your risk of developing an oral infection. If your toothbrush is too rough on your gums, an alternative is to use gauze. Be sure to come see us if you are experiencing gum pain and we can make recommendations.

  1. Keep Them Covered

When you remove your dentures for bed, be sure to keep them in a covered container overnight. Use a denture-soaking solution to keep them clean overnight. Water works as a substitute, as your dentures need moisture to retain their shape. If you have any questions about storing your dentures, talk to us and we’ll help you.

  1. Care with Adhesives

It can sometimes be difficult to remove your dentures with an adhesive. If you are having trouble, try swishing warm water or a mouthwash around your mouth. Never use any cleaning solution, tool, or foreign object to remove your dentures. Take special care to ensure the grooves of your dentures that attach to your gums are clean and free of adhesive

When taken care of properly, your dentures will provide you with a lasting smile. Be vigilant in keeping up with cleaning your dentures. If you have any questions about caring for your dentures, get in touch with our office. We would be happy to work with you to figure out a solution for your denture concerns.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next appointment, contact us today.

Dentist in Clearwater | 3 Health Issues Linked to Your Oral Health

Dentist in Clearwater, FL

Your mouth is a gateway to the rest of your body. Bacteria of all kinds are present in your mouth. While some are benign, others may pose a threat to your health. Maintaining a daily oral hygiene routine and visiting our dental office for regular appointments can help keep your mouth free of harmful bacteria. Below are 3 common ailments that have been shown to be negatively impacted by poor oral health. Read the information below if you suffer from any of these conditions and are worried that your oral health might be a contributing factor.

Diabetes

Millions of Americans suffer from diabetes, and the disease can have many complications associated with it. A connection has been shown between diabetes and gum disease in many patients. Oral health problems often increase in frequency for patients with diabetes. Gingivitis and periodontitis are more common because these patents are at a higher risk of bacterial infection and are less able to combat harmful bacteria. Blood glucose levels can also be affected by gum disease, potentially putting a patient with diabetes at a higher risk for additional health problems.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

RA is an autoimmune disease that affects 1.5 million people in the US alone. This chronic inflammatory disorder affects joints and is caused by the body’s immune system attacking its own tissues. Patients with RA are more likely to suffer from gum disease and periodontitis. Likewise, patients with periodontal issues have been shown to have nearly twice the risk of developing RA according to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Lung Conditions

Once bacteria enters your blood stream through your mouth, it can travel through your body and affect other areas. Conditions like bronchitis and pneumonia can be caused by malignant bacteria settling into a patient’s lungs. Other existing issues such as emphysema and pulmonary disease can be exacerbated by invading bacteria.

If you suffer from any of these conditions or are concerned that poor oral health might be putting you at risk, please contact our office today. Our dedicated team will be happy to provide you with a treatment plan and prevention tips based on your current health.

Dentist Clearwater | 7 Ways to Get Your Calcium Dairy-Free

Dentist Clearwater, FL

craig baker dmd
Beautiful young mother with her little son at home enjoying each others company

Calcium is an important mineral for building strong, healthy teeth, but not everyone can tolerate the lactose found in dairy. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. About 65% of people have reduced ability to process lactose past infancy.

If you have difficulty with lactose but want to ensure you are getting the calcium you need, consider one of these non-dairy sources of natural calcium.

  1. Canned seafood, such as sardines and salmon, can be a good source of calcium. These inexpensive options actually contain more calcium than their fresh counterparts. Canned seafood contains small, soft, edible bones that are generally unnoticeable but can be a great way to add calcium to a salad or other dish.
  2. Calcium-fortified juices are available in both orange and cranberry varieties. These juices taste the same as non-fortified options, but contain a substantial amount of calcium. Check the label to ensure it is a calcium-fortified juice.
  3. Soy, rice, and almond milks offer added calcium and can be used as a milk substitute for many dishes. Experiment with different varieties to determine which flavor you like the most for each use. Try one of these milk alternatives on cereal or use in a cooked dish in place of regular milk. Soy, rice, and almond milks are available in a variety of flavors, including plain, sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, and other options.
  4. Beans are a calcium-rich food. Black-eyed peas and baked beans are particularly high in calcium.
  5. Green vegetables are a good source of natural calcium. Collard, mustard, turnip, and dandelion greens, Chinese cabbage, spinach, kale, okra, and broccoli are all great choices for adding calcium to your diet.
  6. Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, or Brazil nuts are strong sources of calcium. Flaxseeds and sunflower seeds are a great snack or salad additive with calcium. Almond butter, cashew butter, and pumpkin seed butter are a fun and calcium-rich alternative to peanut butter.
  7. Breakfast cereals are highly fortified with several vitamins and minerals, including calcium. Old-fashioned rolled oatmeal adds calcium to your breakfast as well.

Calcium is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. If you have trouble with dairy, don’t let that stop you from consuming your recommended amount of daily calcium.

For more information that can improve your oral health, contact our office.

We’re here for you.

Craig J. Baker, DMD, PL

13501 Icot Boulevard, Suite 101
Clearwater, FL 33760
(727) 531-4462

Providing Dental Care For the Communities of:

Clearwater
St. Petersburg
Largo
Pinellas Park
Safety Harbor

Hours:

Monday, Tuesday & Thursday: 8 AM - 5 PM
Wednesday: 7 AM - 3 PM

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  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • Florida Academy of General Dentistry

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"Dr. Baker and Staff were very professional and thorough in having myself as a first time patient. Office was warm and staff friendly. Had the best cleaning I have had in many years! Highly recommend Baker Dentistry for all your dental needs!"

Mick Williams Clearwater, FL Dental Patient October 19, 2017

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