× Attention Patients: Dental Appointments & New Procedures

Will my Dentist Know That I Smoke?

Smoking can wreak havoc on your oral health. Smoking impacts your teeth and gums in several ways. These impacts can be quickly identified by your dentist. So, yes, your dentist will know if you smoke. Among the telltale signs include yellow teeth, plaque, receding gums, and more. Keep reading to learn how smoking affects your oral ecosystem.

Yellow Teeth (Nicotine Stains)

Similar to your skin, your teeth have pores. These pores absorb the things you eat, drink, or in this case, smoke. Nicotine and tar in tobacco have qualities that allow it to stain materials very easily. Mixed with your saliva, smoking or tobacco use will cause yellow or brown stains to develop quickly. The stains caused by smoking seep deeper into the enamel, making them more difficult to remove. These stains are often too visceral to be removed through drugstore whitening products, and regular professional whitening is needed.

Plaque and Tartar Buildup 

The chemicals in tobacco products affect the way saliva flows through your mouth. One of saliva’s main functions is to protect tooth enamel and prevent decay. When the natural flow is disrupted, the beneficial proteins and minerals in the saliva are unable to do their job, leading to plaque buildup. In excess, this plaque becomes tartar, a calcified form of plaque. 

Other Impacts

Smoking can be harmful in other ways. For one, it can cause cancer of the mouth, throat, or lips. About 90% of people who were diagnosed with one of these forms of cancer used tobacco products. The chemicals in cigarettes will also give you bad breath. Smokers also tend to have gum lines that recede more than normal.

Bottom Line

Smoking and tobacco use has a plethora of negative effects on your health, but your dentist isn’t here to judge your lifestyle habits. Instead, they’ll be happy to offer solutions and helpful advice to assist you in quitting and restoring better oral health! Your dentist knowing you smoke is no reason to skip your cleaning or appointment! More than anything, they’re going to be thankful to see you and happy to help!

The Benefits of Chewing Gum

Chewing gum has been around forever. In ancient times, people used to make it from tree sap. Today, there’s essentially an infinite selection of gums that cover all the fruity, cinnamon, or minty options you could imagine. 

Although it’s typically found in the candy aisle at the grocery store, chewing gum can actually have surprising health benefits you’ll wish you knew earlier. 

Reduce Stress

In a recent study, participants who chewed gum twice a day for two weeks rated their anxiety levels significantly less than their non-chewing counterparts. The reasoning behind this is that the physical act of chewing a piece of gum is calming for most people. As a result, levels of the stress hormone cortisol are reduced, and overall feelings of stress and anxiety decline as well.

Increase Alertness and Memory 

Brain activity happens in a part of your brain called the hippocampus. When you’re chewing gum, the activity is sparked in the hippocampus and delivery of oxygen to the brain can increase 25-40%. The result is more alertness, less fatigue, and an increase in memory. 

Lose Weight

Right off the bat it’s important to note that whether or not chewing a piece of gum is going to lead to long term weight loss. However, certain studies have shown that chewing gum can help you lose a few pounds. You will burn additional calories through the act of chewing gum. The biggest effect in regards to weight loss is the decreased snacking! Snacking for entertainment or taste is something that we all do, but sitting at your desk with a bag of chips everyday can be harmful to your waistline. Swapping the salty snack with a stick of your favorite gum is going to eliminate weight gain from excess snacking. 

Protect Your Teeth

Chewing gum can protect your teeth in a myriad of ways. First, you’ll want to opt for sugar-free options, preferably with xylitol. While sugary gum can actually aid tooth decay, xylitol is the most effective way to protect your teeth with gum. Xylitol prevents the growth of bacteria that causes tooth decay. Chewing gum after a meal has even more benefits. It increases saliva flow which will help wash away harmful sugars and food debris. After a meal, it’ll help neutralize and wash away the acid. The combined effects of chewing sugarfree gum will protect your teeth from plaque buildup and decay.


Opt for a pack of sugar-free gum with the ADA Seal (preferably with xylitol) and you’ll start reaping the benefits of chewing gum beyond fresher breath. While chewing gum won’t drastically change your life, it will help reduce stress and snacking while increasing alertness and tooth protection.

Thumb Sucking & Children’s Dental Health

Thumb sucking is a prominent habit that many children have that usually diminishes as they grow older. Some may have concerns over the potential issues that could arise from their overly ambitious thumb-sucker. We’re here to give you information on when you might need to worry along with some tips to help get your child to stop if they reach that point. 

Why do Children Suck Their Thumbs?

So, why do we suck our thumbs when we’re young? The main reason is it provides a sense of comfort and security. It is a totally normal instinct that humans have before they are even born that makes us feel happy. So, there is no reason to panic over the habit. Most children stop sucking their thumb by the time they are 4 years old. 

Dangers Thumb Sucking Can Have on Teeth

Once at the point of developing adult teeth thumb sucking can become a problem. Various problems that can occur mainly stem from alignment issues. Once permanent teeth start coming in if your child continues to suck their thumb problems with alignment of the teeth could start to appear, especially if the sucking is aggressive. This is caused by the pressure applied on the gums by the child’s finger or pacifier. 

Bite Issues- One alignment issue that can occur is development of an open bite. This is when a child bites together and their teeth don’t overlap. The teeth begin to slant outward so they don’t touch when their mouth is shut. This as well as other bite problems can arise from thumb sucking. 

Speech Issues- Issues related to the child’s speaking pattern can grow serious if not addressed once adult teeth start coming in. Speech impediments and lips could possibly develop. 

Jaw misalignment – Thumb sucking and the use of pacifiers for prolonged time periods can cause an unnatural development of the jaw which can affect the alignment and present other problems.

Mouth roof narrowing – Because the roof of a child’s mouth is softer and more pliable during younger childhood, prolonged thumb sucking can actually cause the roof to narrow (almost as if it were forming around the thumb) and later problems with developing and crowding teeth.

Slanting Teeth – Teeth that are developing while a child is excessively turning to thumb sucking or the use of a pacifier can cause them to protrude or grow slanted leading to a lessened esthetic appearance, discomfort or other issues affecting their bite.

Ways to Help Your Child To Stop Sucking Their Thumb

Getting your child to regular dental visits early on can help any problems that may take place be recognized in a swift manner. Even if adult teeth don’t usually come in until a little later in adolescence the precedent can be set by forming issues within the mouth that don’t resolve themselves by that time. Here are some tips to try which can help stop the problem. 

  • Ask your child’s dentist for help- If the information on this page hasn’t given you what you were looking for, consult your dentist. Our team at Noll Family Dentistry would be happy to help you if you don’t have one. 


In most cases thumb sucking will not be an issue and is actually a natural and healthy habit for children to have. The information provided is to help show you what signs to look out for that might possibly be harmful and to show you the steps to greatly reduce the chances of any problem occuring. 

If the above information doesn’t seem to quell your child’s thumb sucking, you can always ask their pediatric dentist for more information and guidance on what you can do to help break the habit. The most important thing to remember is that breaking a habit takes time and patience on the parent’s part and encouraging your child in a positive and helpful manner will make this process much easier on them and you!

Fun Ways to Get Your Kids to Brush their Teeth!

Getting your child to brush their teeth can be a seemingly never-ending struggle filled with crying and tantrums. Implementing dental care into their life is usually not as simple as just telling them their teeth will turn yellow if they don’t brush. Here are some simple things you can do to help make the experience more fun and less unnerving for all involved!

Make it Their Own Experience 

  • Make the brushing something your child is able to have a sense of special independence with. Let them brush themselves early on so they aren’t dependent on you to do it for them.
  • Instead of a plain boring toothbrush, let them pick out a colorful brush or one that shows off their favorite tv show or video game characters. You could even get them a plain brush and let them trick it out with stickers.

Add Some Flavor to Their Toothpaste

  • Not all children are in love with the mint flavor that is common with adults’ toothpaste. Luckily, companies know this and as a result children’s toothpaste can come in a great variety of flavors. They also can sport their favorite characters on the tube which can help persuade your child to use it more.

Make Brushing like a Concert

  • Let your child pick their favorite song to jam to while they brush their teeth. Watch them hit some moves and help make brushing a fun experience by dancing along with them.

Game Time!

  • Turn brushing into a game to play with your child. Have them try to brush their teeth clean in a race to get as much as they can done during a certain time. Or race against them yourself to see who can get more clean in time.
  • You can hype them up and cheer for them as they brush like it’s a sporting event. Showing them positive encouragement will help motivate them to want to do it again.
  • There are also plenty of apps you can look into that can help motivate them as well.

Get Creative with a Story

  • Make up a story for your child to participate in. Have them pretend they are a superhero fighting off “bad guy germs” by brushing as rigorous as they can.

Giving a Reward

  • If all else fails you can resort to giving your child a reward so they are able to trudge through the task of brushing with the promise of light at the end of the tunnel.
  • You can use a sticker reward system with little prizes guaranteed with a certain amount of brushes.

Implementing this advice as early as possible is the best way to help develop your child’s brushing into something they can look forward to. Lead them to a lifestyle of healthy dental care habits and save them from future hardship.

Remember to regularly schedule dental check-ups for your children to see how their teeth are progressing. Our team at Noll Family Dentistry would be happy to help you and your children set up an appointment.

Pregnancy and Dental Care: What to Expect When You’re Expecting (and Need to Visit the Dentist)

There’s a lot to consider when you’re an expecting mother and a lot of questions that are going to come up too. When it comes to pregnancy and dental care, there are probably some concerns you have, but there’s no need to worry! Our team is here to guide you through your questions and provide you with the best dental care possible through your pregnancy.

First things first, routine dental care during pregnancy is safe! The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Dental Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all encourage women to keep receiving routine dental care from their dentist while pregnant. Here are our top tips if when it comes to your oral health during pregnancy

Tell your dentist you’re pregnant!

This is the most important part. Your dentist can evaluate your situation on a case by case basis and make sure your next steps and treatment options are the healthiest option for you and your baby.

Postpone any elective procedures until you deliver

Urgent and emergency dental procedures are okay, but any voluntary procedures should be delayed until you’re no longer pregnant. The risks associated with ignoring an infection during pregnancy can be worse than any side effects that come with medications used during dental treatment. 

Tell your dentist about medications or vitamins you’re taking.

Though it’s uncommon for this to affect your dental treatment plans, the dentist may need to adjust your treatment plan accordingly depending on any medications or vitamins you may be taking during pregnancy.

The second trimester is the best time for dental care!

Most of your baby’s vital organs are developed and risks are typically lower, but you shouldn’t experience as much discomfort in the dental chair or during procedures that you may during the third trimester.

Pay special attention to your regular oral care routine

In some cases, pregnancy hormones may increase the risk of gum disease and severe morning sickness or acid reflux that some experience during pregnancy can lead to acid erosion, loss of enamel, and cavities. As always, healthy brushing and flossing habits are important to stay on top of your oral health!

In a nutshell, there’s not much cause for concern when it comes to balancing your oral health care during your pregnancy. Routine dental care does not pose a risk, and when in doubt, your dentist can walk you through any specific circumstances! 

During your next visit to our Carlisle dental office, make sure to notify your doctor if you’re pregnant and they can help you with any dental or oral health treatment concerns you may have during your pregnancy.

To schedule your next appointment call us today at 717.243.9020 or request an appointment online!

Want more infomation?

Check out this week-by-week resource with some specific answers that might help you out! https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-answers/dental-work-during-pregnancy/faq-20119318

Why Should I Go to the Dentist Every Six Months?

When life gets crazy, the thought of scheduling dental appointments every six months can easily get pushed to the backburner. And let’s be honest- when is life not crazy?

Let’s say you’re questioning the purpose behind semi annual checkups. You know they’re essential to healthy teeth and gums- but why?

In short, regular checkups and professional cleanings are going to keep your gums and teeth healthy, prevent problems, and stop any new issues before they get worse.

The Importance of a Professional Cleaning

Even when you brush your teeth and floss according to your dentist’s recommendations, plaque and tartar can build up that require a deeper cleaning. This maintenance will help prevent serious buildup that can lead to problems down the road. During your dental appointment, you’ll get a thorough and professional brushing, flossing, and cleaning process to reset your mouth to optimal cleanliness.

Prevent & Mitigate Oral Health Problems

On the other hand, semi-annual appointments can stop problems at their root. This can save you pain, stress, and money from not visiting the dentist down the line when problems could worsen. Our dentists are trained to quickly find any signs of gum problems or tooth decay and provide you with reasonable treatment options that are in your best interest.

When left untreated, these issues could cause severe pain, decay, swelling, and possibly even tooth loss. If dental problems are left to worsen, they may require more extensive, costly treatments that are going to be more difficult to treat in the long run. 

In conclusion, when your daily oral hygiene is in good shape, you’re decreasing the probability of serious issues. Scheduling and following-through with routine dental appointments twice a year ensures that you’re maximizing your oral health and that if an issue pops up, it can be resolved right away and with typically less invasive treatment options.

To schedule your routine dental checkup at a local dentist, call us at 717-243-9020 or request an appointment online and our team will help get you and your family into a routine dental schedule depending on your specific needs.

My Toothbrush Seems Worn Down. When Should I Be Replacing It?

Is your toothbrush worn out?

Have you been sick recently and are grossed out to use your toothbrush now that you’re healthy?

If you’re questioning the cleanliness of your toothbrush at all, the best idea is probably just to replace your brush or brush head (if you’re using an electric toothbrush).

The American Dental Association recommends that you replace your toothbrush or brush head every 2-3 months on average when you’ve been healthy through that timeframe. Over 75% of Americans don’t replace their brush heads or toothbrushes which can lead to oral health problems.

Why should I regularly change out my toothbrush?

Worn down bristles can cause gum damage.

Toothbrushes are made of nylon and rounded off when created to leave a soft edge so that it’s less abrasive on your enamel and gum tissue. As a brush gradually wears down, the bristles return to their original sharp, jagged edges which can cause gum recession and wear away at your enamel.

If you start to notice your bristle texture change before the 2-3 month recommended replacement time, it may be a sign that you’re brushing too hard. 

If your brush bristles keep ending up splayed before the 2-3 months replacement time is up, consider lightening up your grip and pressure while brushing. You may just be overdoing it!

If you’re noticing that your toothbrush is constantly wearing out fast or that your gums are always sore after brushing, you can talk to your dentist about the proper techniques for proper brushing.

The recommended way to brush your teeth is:

  • -pea-sized amount of toothpaste
  • -45 degree angle
  • -gentle circular motions (if using a manual brush)
  • -repeat on inside of teeth surface
  • -light-back and forth motions on chewing surfaces (if using a manual brush)
  • -light pressure, no brushing motion when using an electric brush similar to a ProSys Variosonic (let the brush work for you)
  • -two minutes twice a day

Overused toothbrushes just don’t clean as well.

A worn-out brush head just doesn’t give you as deep of a teeth cleaning as a newer intact brush.

If your toothbrush isn’t cleaning your teeth properly, this can lead to cavities and other damaging oral health concerns. The bristles start to bend and curve in multiple directions, leaving open spaces.

When using your brush those open spaces aren’t getting in between your teeth and aren’t cleaning out bacteria along the gum line.

Germs run rampant on an old toothbrush.

Replacing your toothbrush on a regular basis also allows for less bacteria to build up on the bristles.

It’s probably not a surprise to you, but a bathroom is a hot zone for bacteria. Not rinsing your brush off with tap water after use or not storing it in a vertical position so the bristles can dry out can lead to a bacteria influx.

The longer you use that toothbrush the worse it can get, which can end up affecting your oral and overall health. You may not be able to visibly see the germs, but trust us…they’re there!


Germs on toothbrushes also are on overload after you use your toothbrush while you’re sick.

Continuing to use your brush after a sick spell spreads those same germs back into your body, kicking your immune system back into battle mode every time you brush your teeth. Just throw away the brush or brush head, especially if you’re diagnosed with something that you’re taking an antibiotic for. Throw it away after starting a new prescription!

Changing brushes like the seasons.

In the end it’s best to think of changing your brush or brush head as the seasons change! Just by doing this one thing you’re improving your oral and overall health.

There are also subscription services online that will send you new brushes or brush heads on 3 month intervals in case you forget.

If you have any questions about toothbrushes or brushing techniques feel free to your local dentist, they’ll be more than happy to help your family with proper tooth brushing techniques.

When should I take my child to the dentist for their first visit?

Unfortunately, most children don’t see the dentist for the first time until well after they’re two years old. Many kids dentists experience doesn’t happen until far later.

The American Dental Association recommends that your children should first visit the dentist office when their first tooth forms and begins to poke through the gums. 

The impacts of starting your children on a path to proper oral health are staggering and can lead to a lifetime of good habits that impact more than just their teeth.

The Importance of Children’s Dentistry

Many people underestimate the importance of baby teeth since they think they’re just temporary and will be replaced by their children’s permanent teeth. While it’s true that baby teeth are eventually going to fall out naturally and be replaced by permanent adult teeth, the importance and care of them isn’t a temporary thing.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) stresses on the importance in proper care of our children’s primary (baby teeth) until they fall out naturally because they serve an extremely important role in the health of our permanent teeth including:

  • Helping our children chew, digest and properly maintain good nutrition. 
  • Aiding in proper speech development
  • Creates a good foundation for children’s permanent teeth
  • Builds confidence in your child when they feel good about their smile

How can you ease your child’s anxiety about the dentist

When you begin taking your child to the dentist when they’re young and their first tooth is erupting, they’ll quickly get used to seeing the dentist and will probably be too young to become anxious. As you wait longer and longer to take your child to the dentist for their first dentist, they may become anxious or nervous about their first visit. 

There are a few things you can do to ease your child’s nervousness and apprehension about visiting the dentist and preparing them for their first interaction with a dentist and hygienist. Some of the things you can do include:

  • Take your child with you for your next dental checkup. First, ask your doctor if your child can accompany you during your next appointment so they can see what happens during a routine dental exam.
  • Allow your child to learn about the dentist. There are thousands upon thousands of resources available to allow your child to learn about how friendly the dentist is and what happens when they visit the dentist. From YouTube videos for children about dentists to kids books about dentists for kids, there is a bounty of educational tools to inform your children.
  • Play dentist with them. You and your child can pretend and “play” dentist at home. You can go through exercises and count your teeth, and pretend to examine your teeth. By doing this you can reduce the stress involved with seeing a dentist for your child.
  • Participate in dental care with your child. By brushing teeth and taking care of their oral health with them they can establish a solid foundation of fun and interactive oral care which they can carry with them into adulthood.

Are you ready to schedule your child’s first dentist appointment?

Our team and Dr. Noll loves to help children with their dental health and they’re always excited to see new younger patients at the office. When you schedule your child’s first dentist appointment make sure to use some of the tips above, so they feel comfortable and confident in their first exams. To schedule their first dental exam, call us at 717.243.9020 or contact us

At-Home Emergency Dental Kit – Preparedness

As we’re beginning to enter our second week of the COVID-19 Quarantine and practicing our social distancing, we wanted to send out a quick reminder that this quarantine is no excuse to skip on oral hygiene. There are links between our oral health, heart health, and systemic health which have been proven to affect our overall general well-being. While we do our best to stay home and “bend the curve” of this virus, we need to control the things we can control, oral health being one of them.

Below are a few items that you can do from home to maintain good oral health:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • Use a mouth rinse after brushing twice a day
  • Floss your teeth once a day

Another way to promote good oral health, as well as good diet habits, is to monitor sugar intake, especially sugary drinks. We know it can be hard to keep our kids and family from loading up on sugar and snacks when we’re all home for extended periods of time, but reducing your intake of sodas, fruit juices, and other sugary drinks and snacks can not only have a positive impact on your oral health but is also a healthy choice overall.  

You can also put together an emergency kit to limit exposure of going out before calling the dentist. This emergency dental kit should include:

  • Temp dental cement from any pharmacy
  • Tylenol 
  • Ibuprofen 
  • Ambasol 
  • Orajel
  • Floss
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouth rinse
  • ortho wax to place on a tooth that lost a filling or fractured to reduce air exposure or rough edges

There are some dental issues that may be uncomfortable but aren’t considered a dental emergency. Procedures that are considered Non-Emergency include:

  • Initial or periodic oral examinations and recall visits, including routine radiographs 
  • Routine dental cleaning and preventive therapies 
  • Orthodontic procedures other than those to address acute issues (e.g. pain, infection, trauma) 
  • Extraction of asymptomatic teeth 
  • Restorative dentistry including treatment of asymptomatic carious lesions 
  • Aesthetic dental procedures

If you have temporary crowns:

Temporary crowns coming off, while worrisome, pose no harm if there is no pain. The tooth is strong, and if there is no pain it is ok to wait until the office can see you. Or you could try to recement with the temp cement. If permanent crowns coming off, you can do the same thing.

As long as there is no pain, there is no immediate worry. But also could try to recement with temp cement as well.

Chipped or broken teeth:

Chipped teeth are a worry as well, but the emergency aspect is dictated by pain. A fractured tooth needs to be addressed but if no pain we could wait to have the doctor see it when the office is open, not an after-hours emergency. 

Dental Problems and Procedures that are considered True Dental Emergencies

A true dental emergency is one that is potentially life-threatening and requires immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding, or to alleviate severe pain or infections including:

  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Cellulitis or a diffuse soft-tissue bacterial infection with intra-oral or extra-oral swelling that potentially compromises the patient’s airway
  • Trauma involving facial bones, potentially compromising the patient’s airway

Urgent dental care focuses on the management of conditions that require immediate attention to relieve severe pain and/or risk of infection and to alleviate the burden on hospital emergency departments. These should be treated as minimally invasively as possible. 

  • Severe dental pain from pulpal inflammation 
  • Pericoronitis or third-molar pain 
  • Surgical post-operative osteitis, dry socket dressing changes 
  • Abscess, or localized bacterial infection resulting in localized pain and swelling. 
  • Tooth fracture resulting in pain or causing soft tissue trauma 
  • Dental trauma with avulsion/luxation 
  • Dental treatment required prior to critical medical procedures 
  • Final crown/bridge cementation if the temporary restoration is lost, broken or causing gingival irritation 

Other urgent dental care: 

  • Extensive dental caries or defective restorations causing pain 
  • Manage with interim restorative techniques when possible (silver diamine fluoride, glass ionomers)
  • Suture removal 
  • Denture adjustment on radiation/oncology patients 
  • Denture adjustments or repairs when function impeded
  • Replacing temporary filling on endo access openings in patients experiencing pain
  • Snipping or adjustment of an orthodontic wire or appliances piercing or ulcerating the oral mucosa

If you’re experiencing any dental emergencies that we covered in the information above, you can call us at 717.243.9020 to talk to our treatment coordinators or after-hours doctors. It is important to follow the instructions of health officials at this time to ensure we’re all doing our part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

We’re here to help our patients in the Carlisle Area with their dental issues during this trying time. Please call us at 717.243.9020 to discuss any oral health issues or questions you may have. 

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  • Phone: + 1 (717) 243 9020
  • Email: info@nollfamilydentistry.com

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