Questions to Ask your Des Moines Cosmetic Dentist

Committing to a dental treatment can be confusing and stressful. However, at Gateway Dental Group, we want you to feel completely comfortable and confident with the decisions you’re making about your oral health. Dr. Stephen Burds and our team are happy to discuss your questions and concerns so you can make the best choice for your smile.

  • “What treatments do you recommend to improve my smile?” Dr. Burds will evaluate your mouth and create a customized treatment plan to enhance your smile. He may suggest veneers, whitening, or bonding to improve your aesthetic image.
  • “What are the pros and cons to each procedure?” Your Des Moines cosmetic dentist will fully explain your treatment alternatives so you can find the option that works best for you.
  • “What happens if I don’t treat the problem?” In some cases, cosmetic problems only hinder your appearance. However, other issues can affect your overall oral health. For example, chipped or pitted teeth may be difficult to clean, while missing teeth can create alignment problems. Treating your problem will help keep your smile healthy and functioning.
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Dealing with Bleeding Gums

Smiling FamilyIf any part of your body started bleeding, you would probably feel quite alarmed and make every effort to stop it. When gums bleed, however, it’s easier to ignore. That said, it is important that you don’t overlook something which could lead to a major problem with your dental health. Keeping your gums in prime shape will help protect your smile. If your gums are red, swollen, and/or bleeding, visit Des Moines dentistDr. Burds, immediately to address the cause.

Why are My Gums Bleeding?

  • Brushing too Aggressively: If you brush your teeth too hard, you may damage your gingival tissues. Rough toothbrush bristles and abrasive toothpaste may poke at and weaken your gums. Furious scrubbing can also wear away your tooth enamel and cause gum recession. Additionally, poorly fitting dentures, retainers, and mouthguards may rub or cut your gums and other soft tissues in your mouth, creating discomfort and bleeding. When your gum tissues become wounded, bacteria may enter your bloodstream and infect other areas of your body.
  • Avoiding Flossing: If you haven’t flossed in a while, you may notice your gums hurt and bleed a little when you get back to it. Flossing helps regulate blood circulation to your gums. Flossing daily will help strengthen the tissues, and the bleeding may stop on it’s own.
  • Gum Disease: In many cases, bleeding gums are a sign of gum disease (periodontal disease). Plaque buildup along your gumline can harden into tartar within 48 hours. This irritates and infects your gingival tissues. Untreated periodontal infections can lead to tooth loss, as well as an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pregnancy complications, and other health problems. Gum disease is a progressive condition, but Dr. Burds offers treatment for the problem to allow your gums to heal. Non-surgical treatments include scaling and root planing to remove bacteria from the gum line, as well as antibiotics to reduce inflammation and bacterial growth.

Visit your Des Moines Dentist

Proper daily dental care will help keep your gums strong and healthy. If your gums bleed, contact Dr. Burds to determine the cause of your dental discomfort. Call Gateway Dental Group at (515) 244-9565 to schedule periodontal therapy. Our dentist office in Des Moines, Iowa welcomes patients from Des Moines, River Bend, Kirkwood Glen, East Village, and neighboring communities.

Dental Cleaning in Des Moines Reduces Stroke Risk

Cleaning your teeth will help improve your oral health, as well as protect your heart. In fact, a recent study in Taiwan concluded that people who visit the dentist regularly for a professional cleaning are 24 percent less likely to have a heart attack, and 13 percent less likely to have a stroke. In honor of National Stroke Awareness Month, and Dr. Stephen Burds would like to discuss how keeping your teeth clean can prevent your risk of stroke.

Stroke Risk

In patients with a history of heart attacks or strokes, the same bacteria that cause gum disease are also found clumped in artery plaques. When bacteria inflame and infect your gum tissue, your gums become weak and create an opening for harmful bacteria to enter your bloodstream. Oral bacteria can damage your blood vessels and arteries. As these bacteria travel through your body, they can infect other areas of your body. Swelling is your body’s natural response to infection, so as your blood cells swell, your passageways narrow—causing blood clots. Additionally, bacteria can stick to fatty plaques in your bloodstream and directly contribute to blockages. Some studies also link chronic inflammation to hardening of the arteries, which leads to strokes.


Tooth Extractions During Summer in Des Moines

If you’re high school or college senior, you’re probably preparing for graduation, applying for jobs—and struggling with wisdom tooth pain. Your wisdom teeth are your third molars in the very back of your mouth that develop during the late teenage years. Studies show that about 75 percent of people will eventually need to have their wisdom teeth extracted.  As you plan your summer parties, Dr. Stephen Burds wants to remind you to schedule your summer extraction, as well.

Why do I Need to Remove my Wisdom Teeth?

In many cases, patients do not have enough space in their mouth for third molars to grow in properly. If your wisdom teeth don’t have enough room to grow, they will stay impacted, which means they sit below the gums. If your teeth break through your gums but only partially erupt, your gums may become infected and swollen. Furthermore, wisdom teeth may develop in a misaligned position. As your third molars try to force their way into your mouth, they will put pressure on other teeth and cause pain, crowding, and inflammation.


Whiter Teeth in Des Moines

Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits take a lot of time and patience to achieve your desired results. Many people overuse their whitening systems in the hopes of speeding up the bleaching process, but over-whitening your teeth can lead to sensitivity, irritation, erosion, and discoloration. Instead, if you have stubborn stains that just won’t disappear, it’s time to contact your Des Moines cosmetic dentist. Dr. Stephen Burds offers whitening, veneers, and bonding to hide deep discolorations and brighten your smile.

Professional Teeth Whitening in Des Moines

In-office teeth whitening will immediately remove tooth stains. Our whitening solution contains 38 percent hydrogen peroxide to break through deep stains. Our in-office treatment can lighten your teeth up to ten shades. If you prefer a more gradual treatment, at-home whitening trays also use professional-strength whitening gel to brighten your smile more effectively than over-the-counter treatments. You can also reuse your trays for touch-ups when needed.

Beyond Teeth Whitening: Veneers and Bonding

It’s important to remember that all tooth stains react differently to whitening treatments. Yellow stains are often easier to lighten than darker grays and browns. Additionally, intrinsic stains occur within the teeth as a result of injury, medications, or fluoride overexposure, and often don’t respond well to bleaching. When whitening doesn’t erase your discolorations, Dr. Burds suggests covering your blemishes with veneers or bonding.

Bulimia’s Damaging Effects on Your Smile

Your peers and parents may not know if you have an eating disorder, but Dr. Stephen Burds can tell. Bulimia is an eating disorder in which a person has frequent episodes of binge eating, followed by self-induced vomiting. A study by the Academy of General Dentistry revealed that purging episodes can occur as often as 40 times per day. These behaviors not only weaken your body, but also destroy your smile. At your dentist appointment with Dr. Burds, he may be able to diagnose an eating disorder based on the condition of your mouth.

Harmful Stomach Acids

Your teeth begin to erode at a pH of 5.5, and stomach acid has a pH of about 2 (lower numbers indicate higher acidity). Vomiting brings up stomach acids through your mouth and these corrosive acids make contact with your teeth. As a result, the high acidity can wear away your tooth enamel, increasing your risk of decay or sensitivity. The erosion is mostly seen on the inside surfaces of your upper front teeth. In addition, the harmful acids may irritate your gum tissue. Furthermore, the color from your stomach acids combined with the erosion of your enamel may leave your smile discolored. Dr. Burds may detect yellow or gray streaks on the surface of your teeth. Fortunately, Dr. Burds can hide discolorations with bonding or veneers.


Sleep Apnea Treatment in Des Moines

About 12 to 20 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a disorder that interrupts healthy sleeping patterns. During obstructive sleep apnea, the soft tissues in your mouth block your airways. As you briefly stop breathing, you will likely wake up choking or gasping for air. These disruptions can lead to daytime sleepiness, high blood pressure, depression, irritability, heart attack, and other health conditions. Fortunately, Dr. Burds can treat sleep apnea so you can receive the quality sleep you need.

Sleep Apnea Evaluation

During your appointment with Dr. Burds, your Des Moines dentist may perform a sleep study. General sleep studies assess your sleeping behaviors, including your breathing rate, brain activity, and body functioning during sleep. After your evaluation, Dr. Burds will be able to provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment to correct your sleep disorder.


Gateway Dental Group’s New Website!

Dr. Stephen Burds and your Gateway Dental team would like to announce the launch of our new website! Our site,, has been redesigned to better suit your needs. We have created an easy navigation and comfortable layout so you can receive all the information you need to know about our staff, services, appointments, and office. Our new site provides the resources you need to help keep your smile healthy and beautiful.

About Your Gateway Dental Team

Our new website features a biography section about our team. Here, you can learn about the backgrounds and personalities of your Des Moines dental staff. Where did Dr. Burds receive his dental degree? What do our dental hygienists do in their free time? What does our front office staff do? Read our “About Us” page to meet our team!


Tooth Trouble from Berries and Cherries

Did you know that your favorite healthy fruits can damage your smile? In honor of National Berries and Cherries Month, let’s discuss how blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cherries all have an impact on your smile. Keep in mind that Dr. Burds offers whitening, veneers, bonding, and other cosmetic treatments to restore your tooth imperfections caused by berries or any other food.

Tooth Stains

Blueberries, cherries, raspberries, and blackberries all have distinct colors. The dark red, purple, and blue pigments can rub off on your teeth and leave your enamel discolored. Don’t be fooled by a strawberry’s bright red color, though. This fruit actually contains a tooth-whitening property called malic acid. Fortunately, Dr. Burds can brighten your smile and hide your tooth stains with whitening, bonding, or veneers.


Dental Implants Information for Des Moines Residents

Losing teeth as an adult is a stark contrast to losing teeth in childhood. When you’re a child, losing a tooth is almost like a rite of passage. Gateway Dental Group understands that tooth loss in adulthood is a traumatic event. Missing a tooth damages your self-esteem and makes you feel embarrassed of your smile. Another problem with tooth loss is that it harms the surrounding structures of your mouth. A tooth next to an empty tooth socket may shift into the empty space. This is why replacing missing teeth is very important. Thankfully, patients now have many options for tooth replacement. One of the most popular options today are dental implants. Below, our staff answers some commonly asked questions about dental implants.

What are dental implants made of?

Dental implants consist of two parts. The first part is a titanium rod that is implanted directly into the jawbone. Over time, the rod will naturally fuse to your bone, firmly securing the implant in place. The other portion of the implant is a manmade crown. This crown resembles a natural tooth.

Are dental implants better than dentures?

Many patients feel that dental implants are more comfortable than dentures. Sometimes ill-fitting dentures slip and slide in the mouth. This can make chewing and speaking more difficult. Since dental implants are firmly locked in place, patients do not experience problems with talking or eating. (more…)

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