Des Moines Dentist Gives Tips to Reduce Tooth Sensitivity

A sensitive tooth can ruin an entire day, and cost you money. In fact, approximately 25% of working adults have had to take time off of work to visit a dentist concerning their tooth sensitivity. In most cases, sensitivity is a warning that your tooth’s protective layer of enamel has worn away and exposed your dentin, which contains tiny tubules that allow sensory information to reach the nerves at the center of your tooth. It can also indicate that your gums have receded and exposed the tooth’s root. Whatever the cause of your sensitive tooth, the discomfort can be unbearable. Des Moines dentist Dr. Stephen Burds gives these tips to toughen your tooth against discomfort.

Tips to Reduce Sensitive Teeth

  • Several toothpaste brands are specially designed to help reduce tooth sensitivity.  Some pastes contain potassium nitrate, which assists in sealing the tiny tubules in your tooth’s dentin to block sensory input to the nerves. Although this does not prove effective for everyone, experts agree it is usually the best place to start.
  • The way you brush your teeth can also be a cause of tooth discomfort. If you brush too vigorously, you can wear the enamel down around your tooth, lessening its protection. Harsh brushing also irritates the gums, causing them to recede from your teeth and expose the roots of your teeth. (more…)

Des Moines Dentist Talks Bones and Teeth

Your bones and your teeth share remarkable similarities. Some people even believe the two tissues to be basically the same, with the exception of your teeth being exposed and your bones concealed. While it is true that bone and tooth enamel start with the same calcium-phosphate crystal building material, there are more differences between the two than placement. Dr. Stephen Burds explains.

Bones and Teeth: Strength

The 206 bones in your body can withstand quite a bit of pressure. The average human body weighs between 100 and 200 pounds, and the bones support this weight constantly. The 32 teeth in our mouth can also withstand a lot of pressure. In fact, the only natural substance on earth stronger than your tooth’s enamel is diamond. So how is enamel so much stronger than bone if they are both made from the same ingredients? The secret lies in design. The proteins in enamel mold the mineral crystals differently than in bones; crystal strands in tooth enamel are stronger and longer than bone strands (enamel strands are 100,000 X 50 X 25 nanometers, compared to bone strands at 35 X 25 X 4 nanometers). (more…)

The History of Dentistry with Des Moines Dentist

The science of dentistry has traveled a long road to reach its current level of advancement. Evidence suggests that the practice of operating on teeth is several thousands of years old, and today dentistry is a leading industry for technological advancement. To celebrate his passion for his craft, Dr. Stephen Burds takes you on a journey through the history of dentistry.

A Dental Journey Through Time

  • 7000 BC—Evidence of ancient dentistry was discovered in a Neolithic graveyard in Pakistan. Teeth from people in the Indus Valley Civilization displayed nearly perfect holes drilled into their structure. The teeth dated from about 7000 to 5500 BC.
  • 2600 BC—Hesy-Re, an Egyptian scribe, passes away. Often referred to as “the first dentist,” Hesy-Re’s tomb holds the inscription “the greatest of those who deal with teeth, and of physicians.” This is the earliest known reference to someone as a dental practitioner.
  • 166-201 AD—The Etruscans use gold crowns and fixed bridgework as dental prosthetics.
  • 700—A Chinese medical text mentions the use of “silver paste,” a kind of amalgam.
  • 1683—Antony van Leeuwenhoek identified oral bacteria under a microscope.
  • 1760—John Baker immigrates to America from England. He is the earliest medically-trained dentist to practice in America.
  • 1776—Paul Revere verifies the death of Dr. Joseph Warren, who was killed in the Battle of Breed’s Hill, by identifying the dental bridge that he constructed for Warren. This is the first known case of post-mortem dental forensics.
  • 1780—William Addis makes the first modern toothbrush while in an English jail for starting a riot. (more…)

Des Moines Dentist Answers: Should You Replace Missing Teeth?


If you have missing teeth due to facial injury, periodontal disease, or any other condition, Dr. Stephen Burds can restore your smile with bridges, implants, or dentures. Replacing your missing teeth is important to keep your smile full, healthy, and functional. Answer the following questions to determine why you want to replace your missing teeth.

      1.       What daily activities are more difficult with missing teeth?

a.       Eating

b.      Speaking

c.       Cleaning (teeth)

d.      All of the above

      2.       How do you feel about your missing teeth?

a.       Sad

b.      Uncomfortable

c.       Anxious

d.      Pretty comfortable

      3.       How do other people react when you smile?

a.       They try not to stare at the spaces in your smile.

b.      They blatantly stare at the spaces in your smile.

c.       You don’t smile.

      4.       What’s important to you in tooth replacement?

a.       Natural look

b.      Stability and function

c.       Comfort (more…)

Des Moines Dentist Brightens Dad’s Smile for Father’s Day

Good times are always marked by an abundance of smiles. Yet some people lack the confidence to smile their brightest because of blemishes or imperfections on their teeth. Studies have shown that smiling can improve the quality of your social life as well as your career. This Father’s Day, Dr. Stephen Burds explains some of the cosmetic dental treatments he offers to erase those blemishes and give you the smile you’ve always wanted.

Cosmetic Dental Options in Des Moines

Dr. Burds has extensive training and experience in cosmetic dentistry, and takes extra care to craft your smile into a masterpiece. If you are unhappy with the dull appearance of your smile, Dr. Burds will recommend a teeth-whitening treatment that best suits your needs. Our in-office whitening system can brighten your smile up to 10 shades in just one visit. If you prefer to whiten your teeth gradually and on your own time, Dr. Burds can supply you with professional-strength whitening gel that you apply to your teeth using custom-fitted trays.

Porcelain veneers are another popular cosmetic option. If you have one or many teeth that need perfecting, porcelain veneers can correct them with just one procedure. Veneers are custom made from thin layers of dental porcelain and are permanently bonded to the front of your teeth, instantly improving the appearance of teeth that are cracked, chipped, discolored, or slightly misshapen. (more…)

Exploring Sleep Apnea with Des Moines, IA Dentist

Does your partner complain about your snoring? Have you visited the pharmacy for sleep aids, or tried a slew of homemade sleep remedies? Are you still having trouble sleeping peacefully? You may suffer from a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. It may frighten some people to learn that during their sleep, their breathing stops for a few seconds, sometimes minutes. Sleep apnea is usually marked by extremely loud snores, followed by a pause in breathing, and then a louder snort or choking sound as breathing starts again. Dr. Stephen Burds explains the causes and conditions surrounding sleep apnea, and what you can do to treat it.

What Causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

When you sleep, every muscle in your body relaxes. Unfortunately for some, that includes the oral and throat muscles. During sleep, these muscles can shift and block (or obstruct), regular airflow. The abnormally loud snoring is caused by air trying to squeeze through the blocked or collapsed airway. At times, the blockage is too great, and the air ceases to travel through. This causes a pause in breathing, and the sudden awakening when you finally take a breath. These pauses can occur up to 30 times in one hour, eliminating the chances of restful sleep. Untreated sleep apnea can contribute to daytime drowsiness, decreased work productivity, high blood pressure, irritability, and memory loss. (more…)

Des Moines, IA Dentist Answers Wisdom Tooth Questions

Studies show that three out of four people have had, or will have, their wisdom teeth removed in their lifetime. Wisdom teeth occur naturally, and not everyone needs to have theirs removed. However, some people choose to have wisdom teeth extracted even before they begin to cause trouble, often due to hearing others talk about their own discomfort. Dr. Stephen J. Burds of the Des Moines, IA based Gateway Dental Group answers some common questions about wisdom teeth and when they should be removed.

Why do Wisdom Teeth Cause so much Trouble?

Wisdom teeth—the third molars located at the very back of your mouth—are the last permanent teeth to emerge from the gums. Because all of the other teeth have already grown in, the main problem with wisdom teeth is space. Often, the wisdom tooth lacks the space to grow properly and can erupt at odd angles. Sometimes the tooth will not completely emerge from the gums, or not emerge at all, which can cause the tooth to become trapped within your jaw. (more…)

Smile Makeovers in Des Moines Improve Beauty

It’s National Women’s Health Week! In general, women tend to take better care of their oral health than men. In fact, studies show that women have a more positive attitude towards dental visits, are 26 percent more likely than men to floss daily, and get more embarrassed by cosmetic imperfections and missing teeth. Dr. Burds can help restore a woman’s confidence and improve her beauty with a smile makeover.

A Natural Enhancement

Women often buy makeup and hair products to hide their ages and improve their appearances. However, about 70 percent of men agree that a woman looks more beautiful when she is smiling than when she is wearing makeup. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry revealed that a smile will increase your attractiveness, popularity, and success. Additionally, the American Academy of Periodontology found that people are seven times more likely to have smile enhancements than face lifts. Smiling, however, acts as a natural face lift. When you smile, your facial muscles lift up and your eyes narrow, making you look younger and more energetic.


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.
  • (more…)

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.

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