What is Emergency Dentistry?

Dental emergencies can unexpectedly strike at any time. Some emergencies require immediate care, others can wait for a promptly scheduled appointment, but in all situations, it's always best to contact your dental team as soon as you can! 

Lost Tooth

Whether due to sports play, a fall, or car accident, getting a tooth knocked out needs urgent dental intervention. 

Chances to save the natural tooth decreases extremely quickly - between 30 to 60 minutes after the injury occurs. If you can find your tooth, you should:

If the tooth can’t be saved, a dental implant, which is as durable and long lasting as your own tooth, is the best replacement. 

Your Tooth is Chipped, Cracked, or Broken

A chipped tooth can usually be fixed with a simple filling; a broken tooth restored with a dental crown. While you need to reach out for an appointment, these issues aren’t considered urgent, but reach out when they happen to schedule a timely visit. A lost filling or crown should also be treated this way: call your dentist immediately, but there’s no need for an urgent visit when this injury first occurs. 

Tooth Pain

While you may see no visible sign of trauma, a severe toothache or tooth pain can be an urgent dental emergency. Experiencing pain in your tooth, gums or gum tissue can be extremely debilitating. You may experience lesser pain or sensitivity to hot or cold prior to the occurrence of these severe symptoms. Call your dental team; the severity of the pain will affect the urgency of a dental visit. 

Pain from an impacted wisdom tooth, or an infected tooth, particularly if the gum area is swollen, or you experience any swelling of gums, cheek, jaw, or neck  should be treated as an urgent emergency situation. 

Tooth Abscess

A tooth or gum abscess can indeed be extremely painful. An abscess is basically a pocket of pus developing at the root of your tooth, causing pain and a bad taste. You may also have some swelling of the gums, or a fever. A throbbing toothache is another sign of an abscess. Whether caused by tooth decay which has reached to the inner pulp area of your tooth or for another reason, this is also an emergency - abscess should be dealt with very rapidly as an infection could spread to other areas of your mouth and body.

What is a Dental Emergency?

While in some situations, you only need to contact your dentist and set an appointment time, when an emergency strikes, reach out immediately! 

We’ll assess the situation over the phone and get you into our office ASAP. Call right away if you’re experiencing:

Do You Need Emergency Help?

If you need emergency help, whether urgent or to schedule a timely appointment, reach out to us today. We’re ready to help with all your emergency dental needs!

Rock Your Family’s Smiles in 2020

Nothing’s better than your loved ones’ smiles. That sly smile your spouse or partner shoots you across a crowded room that only you can decode. The gaping grin your six-year old proudly presents after losing another baby tooth. Smiles lighten our moods and relieve stress, and best of all, they’re contagious. In fact, you can improve your family’s health by simply smiling and laughing more. In 2020, take these four practical and doable steps to protect the smiles you love most.

1. Take Care of Your Brain

When you smile, your brain mixes up a feel-good concoction of neurotransmitters—dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. Upon their release, your body relaxes, lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. Even your immunity gets a boost. Plus, the more you smile, the more your brain rewires itself to positive thoughts. And it does this while connecting you to others; smiles of a loved one stimulates your brain to release the social hormone, Oxytocin. This “love hormone” is key to social ties, trust, and bonding. And studies show even your dog’s oxytocin levels rise when they see you smile.

Let’s face it. We don’t always feel like smiling, nor should anyone be compelled to smile. And smiling doesn’t magically cure clinical depression. Yet even on our toughest days, smiling will make you and those around you feel better. Even a forced a smile tricks your brain into activating a flood of feel-good chemicals. Study after study tells us that smiling improves our moods, relieves pain and stress, and breaks down relationship barriers.

In 2020, take care of your brain by making plenty of opportunities for smiles. Be a more intentional consumer of media. Balance the negative news of the day with healthy doses of comedies and funny films or theater. Laugh at pet videos. Play with your family pet. Even uplifting music will bring out your cheery side.

2. Take Care of Your Oral Health

When you take care of your family’s oral health, you’re doing more than protecting smiles; you’re protecting your family’s overall health. According to the Mayo Clinic, poor oral health can contribute to various diseases like cardiovascular disease and even pneumonia.

Oral health is rooted in good oral hygiene practices and habits. And it’s never too late to improve those habits. Focus on the basics:

  1. Beat bacteria with daily brushing and flossing. Brush with a soft-bristle brush after meals or at a minimum, twice a day. Floss nightly. Not only are you fighting bacteria that cause tooth decay, gum disease and infections, but you’re also lowering the chances of that bacteria spreading to other parts of your body.
  2. Use fluoride toothpaste. Study after study concludes that brushing your teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste prevents dental caries. If you are concerned about how much fluoride should be in your family’s toothpaste, talk to us at your next dentist appointment.
  3. Talk to us about dental sealants to prevent cavities. Dental sealants are an effective protective barrier between your tooth enamel and decay-causing bacteria. Unlike tooth fillings that are applied to a cavity to seal off an area where decay has been removed, dental sealants are applied as a preventative treatment to teeth that have no decay or previous cavity fillings. Dental sealants can help your children avoid tooth decay and fillings. In fact, sealants are so effective that most dental insurance covers them for children and young adults.
  4. Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings. Ensuring your family members have their teeth cleaned at least twice yearly will maintain your family’s healthy smiles. Beyond removing plaque and tartar, your dental professionals protect your family’s health by identifying other oral health issues early, including gum disease, oral cancers, and TMJ Disorder.
  5. Pay attention to warning signs. Bleeding or swollen gums are a sign of infected tissue. Take any sign of infection in your mouth seriously and have it checked out. Other warning signs include tooth or filling movement, chronic bad breath, and persistent sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages. The sooner your attend to these symptoms, the better the outcome.

3. Take Care of Your Diet

Reducing the amount of sugar in your family’s diet is one of the best ways to protect your family’s oral and overall health. Removing sodas, sweetened fruit drinks, and sugary snacks from lunches and snacks is a great start. But reducing your family’s sugar intake requires even more vigilance since sugar has wheedled its way into all kinds of processed foods. Making a habit of reading labels and leave the more sugar-filled options on the store shelf.

The good news is that a diet that will rock your family’s smiles and foster good oral health is also a diet for optimum overall health. According to the American Dental Association, the following are simple and doable components of smile-healthy diet:

  1. Water. Drink plenty of it and offer it instead of sugary drinks.
  2. Variety is the spice of life. Provide your family foods from each of the five major foods groups: whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean sources of protein (like lean beef, skinless poultry and fish) as well as beans, peas, and other legumes, and low-fat and fat-free dairy foods.
  3. Snacks. Limit snacks, and when you do offer snacks, choose fruit, nuts, vegetables, or a piece of cheese.

4. Take Care of Yourself

Your health and well-being are essential to your family’s smiles. As you care for a your busy family, make sure you are establishing everyday habits that integrate your own self-care.

  1. Get adequate sleep. Give yourself enough time to sleep every night. Don’t squeeze sleep out of your busy schedule. Just as you ensure routines for when your kids go to bed and wake up, keep a sleep schedule routine for yourself. Staying up late and sleeping in late on weekends can disrupt your body clock’s sleep–wake rhythm.
  2. Get outside. This is especially important in the winter months. When you get yourself outside, you’re naturally going to engage in more physical activity. Even if it’s just a short walk with your dog, get out there.
  3. If you smoke, get some help to QUIT. Smoking stains your teeth and can cause tooth and gum problems. Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and causes many diseases. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Check out gov for help.
  4. Limit alcoholic drinks. A drink now and then isn’t a problem, but even moderate drinking stains your teeth, dries out your mouth, and exposes your tooth enamel to more acids. Moreover, heavy drinkers have more gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth sores. Plus alcohol abuse is the second most common risk factor for oral cancer.
  5. Don’t demand perfection from yourself. Practice self-compassion. Cut yourself some slack and remember that sustainable growth starts with baby steps.

At Davis Gribble Hollowwa, we love smiles and love partnering with families to keep those smiles healthy. We welcome any new patients. Make an appointment today!

Have You Been Screened For Oral Cancer?

As you’re packing up the family to head to this year’s Corrales Harvest Festival for hayrides and a foot-stompin’ hootenanny under the stars, I’m going to be a buzz kill for a second. I want you to think about oral cancer, which kills one person every hour of the day. In fact, approximately 53,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral oropharyngeal cancer this year alone, and far too many will receive their diagnoses at a late stage of the disease, lowering their chances for survival. The good news is that oral cancer can be found early in its development, through a simple, painless, and quick screening. That’s why you’ll see Davis Gribble Hollowwa at a free Oral Cancer Foundation screening stand in the Corrales Harvest Festival Village Marketplace on September 28, 9 am to 5 pm.

Who Should Stop By for a Screening?

Every adult. We encourage you to stop by and bring a loved one. Your stop is especially important if you haven’t been to a dentist in a while or if you’re experiencing any of the signs or symptoms we list below.

Also, two population segments are especially at risk: long-term tobacco and alcohol users, and young healthy, non-smokers who have been exposed to the HPV16 virus (human papilloma version 16). HPV16 is also responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. The same HPV strain is responsible for oropharyngeal cancers (cancers in the back of the mouth, throat, and tonsils), and affect men 4 to 1 over women.

If You Have Any of These Symptoms, Stop For a Screening!

  • Any sore that does not heal within 14 days.
  • Hoarseness that lasts for a prolonged period of time.
  • A sensation that something is stuck in your throat.
  • Numbness in the oral region.
  • Red and/or white discolorations of the soft tissues of the mouth.
  • Difficulty in moving the jaw or tongue.
  • Difficulty in swallowing.
  • Ear pain that occurs on one side only.
  • A sore under a denture, which even after adjustment of the denture, still does not heal.
  • A lump or thickening that develops in the mouth or on the neck.

What Happens During a Screening?

Screenings are quick, painless, and non-invasive. They are visual and tactile. We thoroughly examine your mouth, face, and neck to check for any spots or sores that may be early warnings. A blue light helps us detect tissue changes that may not visible with regular light. We will also ask you some questions about tobacco and alcohol or symptoms. The entire exam takes just a few minutes, so you’ll be off to festival fun before you can say “looks good!”

Oral Cancer Screenings Save Lives

Our dentists at Davis Gribble Hollowwa want you to incorporate yearly oral cancer screenings into your routine preventive health care just as you do other screenings. To learn more about oral/oropharyngeal cancers, log onto The Oral Cancer Foundation’s official website at www.oralcancer.org. And plan to come to the Corrales Harvest Festival on September 28 for your free oral cancer screening. It may save your life!

Let’s Talk About Mouthguards and Sports

The kids are back in school. Just when you think life might slow down a bit, your afternoon taxi service to and from sports practices hits full throttle. Luckily, you have a bit of wait time before sweaty and thirsty kiddos pile in the back of your car. Enough time to catch up on some blogs and learn about the importance of mouthguards. For starters, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), one third of all dental injuries are sports related, and mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries annually. Moreover, the risk of an orofacial sports injury runs 1.6-1.9 times higher when a mouthguard isn’t worn. Glad you’re reading this, because mouthguards can save your kids’ teeth.

Mouthguards Are For More Than Contact Sports

We’re not merely talking to moms and dads sitting in minivans at the football field. Contact sports have been on board with mouthguards for a long while. However, according to the ADA, if you’re waiting to pick up your child in a limited- and non-contact activity like gymnastics and skating, your child is participating in a sport where dental injuries are prevalent. In fact, in addition to all contact sports, the ADA promotes a properly fitted mouthguard for the following limited-contact sports and activities:




Equestrian events

Field events


In-line skating











Extreme Sports

Types of Mouthguards

Generally, there are three types of mouthguards:

  1. The ready-made or stock mouth guard. You can pick these up at any sporting goods store. These are inexpensive, so you don’t have to worry about your kids losing them. But they are also a pain because they’re bulky and have to be held in place by biting down on them. They interfere with breathing and talking. Kids hate them, so they often fail to wear them. These mouthguards are the least protective of the three types. We don’t recommend them.
  2. The mouth-formed boil-and-bite mouthguard. These popular mouthguards conform to the shape of your teeth by first being immersed in hot water. Once softened, the thermoplastic is placed in the mouth to take the shape of the teeth. These are also available at most sporting goods stores and pharmacies. They are more expensive but superior to stock mouthguards, which is why so many athletes use them. Even so, they are not as good as custom-made mouthguards.
  3. The custom-made mouthguard. By far the most protective mouthguard is one that is dentist- customized from an individual dental impression. These mouthguards fit perfectly, are more comfortable, less obtrusive, and more likely to be worn. The downside is they are more expensive. If you have a younger child whose teeth are changing or is prone to losing things, you’ll want to discuss the pros and cons of this option with your dentist before making this choice. Online companies also provide impression kits, but taking a good impression takes practice. Ask any dental assistant. We don’t advise mail-in mouthguard kits for that reason.

Mouthguards and Braces

Kids (or adults) who wear braces risk damage to their braces, so it’s particularly important that those who wear braces discuss the best sports mouthguard solution with their dentist and/or orthodontist. Also, remember that kids with retainers or other removable orthodontic appliances should not wear them during sports activities. Invisalign trays are an exception, which can sometimes be worn with a mouthguard. Again, talk to your orthodontist about when and when not to wear them.

Keeping Mouthguards Clean

Teach your kids to treat their mouthguards as an extension of their oral hygiene.

  • Rinse off with cold water (not a sports drink) immediately after use. Then place it in a perforated container to transport it. This keeps it from being crushed by cleats, water bottles, or other items that may be in your child’s sports bag or backpack.
  • When it’s time to brush and floss, brush the mouthguard with a small bit toothpaste or clean with soap and water. Then rinse it well and place it back in its case.
  • Protect the mouthguard from extreme temperatures (dashboards of cars, boiling water, etc.).
  • Protect the mouthguard from cats and dogs. Cats are great at knocking mouthguards off counters; to dogs, mouthguards are chew toys.
  • If the mouthguard is a custom-made mouthguard, take it to your child’s regularly scheduled dental checkup and cleaning to ensure it still fits correctly.

Mouthguards Don’t Last Forever

You know how hard it is keeping your kids in clothes that fit. Well, the mouth changes as well. Depending upon how often your child participates in sports, you may wish to get a new mouthguard at the beginning of each new school year. More often for younger kids whose teeth are growing in.

Make an Appointment Today

Have one of our family dentists at Davis Gribble Hollowwa Dental take a look at your child’s mouthguard, talk to your child about the importance of wearing one for all sports, or even fit your child for one if you determine that is the best option. We have convenient hours that work around our most dedicated sports enthusiasts’ schedules, and our online appointment form is easy. Or call us at 505-898-1976.

What is Truly a Dental Emergency?

It seems there’s one in every family. The minimizer. You know who I’m talking about. These stoic souls who say things like “it’s just a scratch” when you’re applying direct pressure to a serious wound. Or “it’s just a little toothache” when you can see pain etched deeply in the person’s eyes and grimace. Maybe that person is you. Whomever your family minimizer is, this handy guide can help you identify what is truly a dental emergency. And if it is, you need to call us and get in for some help!

A Loose or Missing Tooth

A loose or knocked-out tooth is usually the result from an injury in adults. Likewise, in children. Both are emergencies. If your tooth is knocked out, clean the tooth carefully with milk or water by holding the tooth by the crown (never by the root). Carefully place the tooth back and hold it in place with a rolled-up piece of gauze. A cold compress will help with swelling. If you can’t place the tooth back in its socket, place it between your cheek and gum until you get to the dentist. Contact us immediately.

A Severe Toothache

A severe toothache is one symptom that tells you something is wrong with your tooth. If the severity of the pain affects your ability to function normally, call us.

Tooth pain may be caused by a cavity. Cavities generally get more painful when heat or cold hit them. Chewing also causes pain.

Abscesses are another cause of severe tooth pain. An abscess is when a pocket of infection has developed around the tooth or at its root structure. Emedicinehealth.com notes other symptoms that may accompany an abscess are:

Severe tooth pain combined with these signs of infection need to be addressed by one of our expert dentists ASAP.

A Lost Filling or Crown

Losing a filling or crown can be extremely painful, because the underlying tooth will be sensitive to temperature. Pain is your emergency marker. If you lose a filling or crown, you can dab the sensitive area with oil of cloves. You may also wish to take an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol. Contact us right away to get either a filling or crown replaced. You don’t want to be in pain.

An Impacted Tooth

An impacted tooth is a tooth that tries to break through the gum but can’t quite make it. Wisdom teeth and canines are the most common culprits for this problem. A child might get an impacted tooth if a baby tooth fails to fall out when it should or if a permanent tooth erupts in the wrong place. This crowds other teeth and can harm the roots of healthy teeth.

If biting and chewing become difficult, or swollen gums and pain accompany chewing, it’s time to see a dentist. Usually impacted teeth don’t arrive all at once, so regular dental care with X-rays will likely detect any potential teeth that could become impacted. But when it happens, it’s painful, and you need help. Call us.

A Cracked, Chipped or Broken Tooth

Whether it happened while binge-watching GOT with a bowl of popcorn or catching an elbow in a pick-up game of basketball, a cracked, chipped or broken tooth needs treatment ASAP. If your tooth damage is the result of a head injury, you should visit the emergency room first.

Cracked Tooth: your tooth may be sensitive and it is weakened. Although you may not need to come in immediately if you’re not in serious pain, call us to make an appointment to get it assessed and fixed. Be careful about chewing on this side or hot or cold liquids.

Chipped or Broken Tooth: It helps to rinse your mouth out with warm salt water. If there is bleeding, apply a rolled-up piece of gauze to tooth and gently bite down until bleeding stops. You may wish to take an over-the-counter pain reliever. A small chip is probably not going to cause you much pain, but it needs to be fixed to keep the tooth strong and prevent decay. A broken tooth may be jagged and sharp. Either can be painful. Call us ASAP.

Don’t Wait Until You’re in Serious Pain

It’s not just minimizers who too often ignore tooth sensitivity, hoping it will go away. We get it, you have busy lives. But tooth sensitivity can result from a variety of factors including worn tooth enamel and exposed tooth roots. Other causes include undetected cavities, cracks, chips, a worn filling, or gum disease.

If you have sensitivity, although it may not constitute an emergency, it is a red flag. Tooth sensitivity is your body’s way of asking you to make a dental appointment. And at Albuquerque’s Davis, Gribble, and Hollowwaa, we’re here to prevent dental emergencies when we can and treat dental emergencies when they disrupt your life.

Whether you are currently one of our patients or not, we’re here to help you in an emergency. Call us at 505-898-1976.

How to Cope with Kids’ Dental Emergencies

You know how it goes. A perfect day. The kids are running around having a great time. You’ve just stretched out under a shade tree with all children in your sights. You crack open your summer thriller, and within two pages—the SCREAM! Your son flies to you. Blood runs from his mouth. Excited children stream toward you. All have a story and need calming. Your son is now gulping tears in his panic. And you see it. A bloody hole where his front tooth used to be.

You’re a parent. An emergency expert. But even pros who pack the 3-Bs in their purses (Band-aids®, Benadryl®, and Bactine®) can use the following pro tips to cope with kids’ dental emergencies.

When a Tooth is Knocked Out

The above scenario is a common one. In fact, nearly 50% of kids have some type of injury to a tooth during childhood.

Primary Teeth: If your child’s primary tooth (usually a front tooth) is knocked out, soothing the tears is the first and biggest job.

  1. Don’t try to put the tooth back in. Doing so could harm the permanent tooth underneath. If you can’t find the tooth, your child may have swallowed it or even inhaled it. Inhaling a tooth is rare, but if choking or wheezing accompanied the injury, make sure you get your child to an emergency room for an X-ray.
  2. Control the bleeding. Have your child gently bite down on a rolled-up piece of gauze or clean cloth.
  3. Reduce swelling. You may also wish to apply a cold compress to the area.
  4. Bring your child into the office for an exam. We’ll ensure the other teeth and underlying permanent teeth are okay.

Permanent Teeth: If your child loses a permanent tooth, you need to act quickly.

  1. Recover and gently clean the tooth. Be careful to hold the tooth by the crown and not the root. Gently rinse off any dirt or debris without scrubbing or scraping the tooth.
  2. If your child is old enough (and calm enough), carefully insert the tooth into its socket and have your child hold it there with gentle pressure. (Although this sounds like adding trauma to an already traumatic situation, putting a tooth back in within 5 minutes is your child’s best chance of saving that tooth. In fact, one report in the United Kingdom found that 85% of teeth reinserted within 5 minutes survived.) If the socket is too tender, placing the tooth in your child’s cheek pouch on the way to the dentist is fine, too. If your child is younger, place the tooth in a container of saliva or a bit of milk. Moisture is critically important for reimplantation.

Some things not to do:

  1. Don’t wrap the tooth in a napkin or paper.
  2. Don’t let the tooth dry out.
  3. Don’t clean the tooth with soap or any sterile agent.
  4. Roll up a piece of gauze and have your child gently bite down on it to help keep the tooth in place and control the bleeding.
  5. Reduce swelling. Apply a cold compress to the area.
  6. Call our office and get here ASAP!

Broken, Chipped, or Cracked Tooth

For any tooth fracture, it’s important to call our office. We can help you decide the seriousness of your child’s situation.

Primary Teeth: Broken primary teeth need to be assessed to determine if the tooth’s nerves and/or blood vessels are also damaged.

  1. Collect any tooth fragments you can. Don’t try to put the fragment back in your child’s mouth.
  2. Rinse your child’s mouth with lukewarm water.
  3. Control the bleeding. Have your child gently bite down on a rolled-up piece of gauze or clean cloth.
  4. Reduce swelling. You may also wish to apply a cold compress to the area. If the area isn’t too sensitive, you may give your child ice chips or a cold ice pop for swelling.
  5. Call our office!

Permanent Teeth: Follow the steps for the primary teeth. Retrieving the broken piece is even more important for permanent teeth.

  1. Retrieve the broken piece of the tooth. Make sure to briefly rinse the bit of tooth bit and place it in milk to transport it to the dentist.
  2. Rinse your child’s mouth with lukewarm water.
  3. Control the bleeding. Have your child gently bite down on a rolled-up piece of gauze or clean cloth.
  4. Reduce swelling. You may also wish to apply a cold compress to the area. If cold doesn’t irritate the area, you may give your child ice chips or a cold ice pop to quell swelling.
  5. Call our office!

Loose Permanent Tooth

A permanent tooth loosened by trauma needs prompt treatment.

Yay! Your child didn’t lose his tooth, but that loose permanent tooth may require stitches or splints.

  1. Rinse your child’s mouth with lukewarm water.
  2. Control the bleeding. Have your child gently bite down on a rolled-up piece of gauze or clean cloth.
  3. Reduce swelling. Apply a cold compress to the area. If the area isn’t too sensitive, ice cubes or a cold ice pop can also help reduce swelling.
  4. Call our office ASAP!

Cuts and Wounds of the Mouth and Lips

There will be blood.

The mouth is endowed with a rich blood supply. When trauma occurs to the lips, gums, and mouth, small wounds can really bleed and heighten anxieties about the severity of the wound.

  1. Calm your child. Remember, your verbal and non-verbal communication will either help your child relax or elevate the panic. It’s time to act like blood is no big deal, even when your inner mother or father is having a full-tilt freak out.
  2. Apply pressure with a clean cloth—any clean cloth. Do this for several minutes. Don’t rub.
  3. Wash your hands as soon as you can
  4. If the wound is on the outside of the mouth, clean it gently with soap and water once the bleeding has stopped.
  5. Apply antiseptic lotion or cream.
  6. Reduce swelling with a cold compress. Good time for an ice pop or ice chips to suck on.

Tongue Bites or Inside Lip Bites

If the wound is inside the mouth:

  1. Rinse your child’s mouth with water. Examine the extent of the injury. Injuries that may require stitches include a cut that extends through the lip or across the edge of the tongue. For these kinds of wounds, you should seek emergent care.
  2. Stop the bleeding. Apply pressure with a rolled-up piece of gauze or clean cloth.
  3. Reduce swelling. Wrap a piece of ice in gauze or a clean cloth and hold it next to the wound. If the wound is small, an ice pop is a bonus.

A Word about Head Injuries

Most dental emergencies aren’t tied to serious head injuries. However, if your child’s dental emergency is the result of a head injury, that head injury takes precedence over dental concerns.

The Mayo Clinic provides a good list of symptoms to watch for. If your child experiences any of these symptoms after a head injury, call 911 immediately and keep your child still until help arrives.

An Ounce of Prevention

Kids are going to be kids. We can’t protect them from all harm. Having said that, some dental accidents can be prevented.

  1. Insist on mouthguards for sports. A broad analysis of mouthguard effectiveness showed that players who did not wear mouthguards had a 1.6-1.9 times greater risk of dental injury.
  2. Teach your children not to walk or run with objects in their mouths.
  3. Teach your child not to suck or chew on hard or pointed objects.
  4. Model for your children that your teeth are not scissors.
  5. Keep your children’s teeth strong and healthy with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups. Also, don’t let a small pain go unattended. That could be a cavity that ends up weakening your child’s tooth.

We’re Here When You Need Us

At Davis Gribble Hollowwa Dental, our emergency dentists are on call.

Our administrative team is thoroughly trained to assist you by phone in an emergency. If you’re not sure your child’s situation warrants an immediate office visit, our staff will talk to you to determine if your child needs to be seen immediately. If your little one does need to be seen, we will contact one of our caring and experienced dentists to help treat the emergency and alleviate your pain as soon as possible.

And don’t worry if you’re not one of our existing patients. Nobody should be in pain.

Experiencing a dental emergency? Call us immediately at 505-898-1976.

Learn more about our emergency services

3 Tips to Keeping Kids’ Teeth Healthy this Summer

Summer is here, and you’re at preparation level Eagle Scout. Play dates and camps are scheduled. Each backpack has its own stash of healthy snacks, sunscreen, and bug spray. You’ve restocked the first aid kit and have a chore calendar on the frig. But solstice has barely arrived and you’re already having to put extra parent power into the kids’ brushing and flossing. Summer is longer than its June sunlight, even if your kids are on APS’s Alternative Schedule. Here are 3 tips on how to keep your kids’ teeth healthy this Albuquerque summer without losing your cool.

1. Keep a Brush-Book-Bed Routine

During summer months, keep the regular bedtime routine of brush, book, and bed recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Not only does this routine maintain the reading skills kids gained throughout the school year, but it also helps children settle more quickly to sleep. Fifty years of research show these routines help children sleep better and wake up less frequently. Remember, this before-bed routine is also about comfort and bonding. It’s up to you to prevent late nights or vacations from altering these routines:

Remember, everyone in the family pays when your child doesn’t sleep well. And your child’s dental health will suffer long term if you inadvertently convey the message that healthy dental routines are only for the school year.

2. Limit Acidic and Sugary Drinks

“Here, stay hydrated with a nice cool glass of battery acid.” That’s almost what you’re offering up your kids’ teeth with summer favorites like lemonade, sodas, and fruit juices. Sounds like hyperbole, but let me explain.

Pure water has a pH of 7. Water is good for your teeth. It helps wash away food particles that stick to your teeth and create plaque, which creates its own acid that gnaw at your enamel. Yuck.

A pH less than 7 is considered acidic. Each whole pH value below 7 is 10 times more acidic than the number above it, so a pH of 6 is 10 times more acidic than water. A pH of 5 is 100 times more acidic than water. By the time you get to a 4, you’re 1000 times more acidic than water. Hit the three range where many fruit juices and fruit drinks’ pH values sit, and you’re looking at acidic values 10,000 times more acidic than pure water. While that’s all very interesting, the pH value you really need to remember is 5.50, for tooth enamel dissolves at that acidic level and below. Plaque has a pH of 4; pH just got real!

Let’s take a look at some popular summer drinks and their pH levels:


Coca Cola: pH 2.52

Pepsi: pH 2.39

7Up: pH 3.20

Sprite: pH 3.24

Fanta Orange: pH 2.82

Hansen’s Cane Soda Kiwi Strawberry: pH 2.59

Sunkist Orange: pH 2.98

Canada Dry Ginger Ale: pH 2.82

Mug Root Beer: pH 3.88

A & W Root Beer: pH 4.27

Fruit Juices and Fruit Drinks

Ocean Spray Cranberry: pH 2.56

Dole Pineapple Juice: pH 3.40

Juicy Juice Apple: pH 3.64

Simply Apple: pH 3.67

Tropicana Orange Juice with Calcium: pH 4.09

Welches 100% Grape Juice: pH 3.38

Minute Maid Lemonade: pH 2.57

Simply Lemonade: pH 2.61

Sunny D Smooth: pH 2.92

Your children’s teeth get a double whammy of acid and sugar with sweet summer drinks. If you need information on why sugar is a health problem beyond harming children’s teeth, check out our previous blog post, “Is it time to break up with sugar?”  For starters, the American Heart Association recommends children consume no more than 8 fluid ounces of sugary beverages per week. But a 12 ounce can of soda exceeds that weekly limit and daily sugar intake limit. Plus, kids usually drink these drinks when you’re out and about, far away from the ability to brush.

In the end, you model the behaviors you want your kids to adopt. If you drive through Starbucks and order a grande S’mores Frappuccino, which contains 67 grams of sugar (17 teaspoons of sugar), it’s going to be pretty hard to enforce a no soda or sugar rule with your kids. Not to mention, your dental health will suffer.

3. Always Carry Cold Water

Arm your family with insulated water bottles so your kids can get a cold drink of water instead of and after consuming sweet drinks. Look, sweet drinks are going to happen, especially when your children are in a group. You can’t run into the baseball dugout and snatch the sports drink out of your child’s hand. Not without being “that parent.” But water can help.

  • Don’t add to plastic pollution. Purchase good, insulated stainless steel water bottles and write each child’s name on them. These come in a variety of styles and colors. Have your kids choose their favorite.
  • Carry an insulated water jug in the car for family outings so family members can refill their water bottles.
  • Make water the main “away drink” for your family. Don’t leave home without it.

Establishing good habits is a long-term endeavor. Don’t let the healthy habits you’ve worked hard to instill slip through the summer.

Remember, too, that parenting isn’t about perfection. It’s sticky pockets and tantrums in Target and thinking on your feet. If the only way you can get your little one to brush for a week is by becoming a human Narwhal, be a Narwhal. It’s all worth it and oh, so fleeting.

At Davis Gribble Hollowwa, we’ve got your back. Summer is a great time to have you children’s dental cleanings, checkups, and/or fluoride treatments. Or make an appointment for you to come in for some needed self-care.

Schedule Your Child’s Summer Dental Appointment Today

Your eyes may be the window to the soul, but your mouth is the window to your overall health. Believe it or not, your general health is directly affected by the health of your mouth, teeth, and gums. Good dental health is essential for a high, pain-free quality of life.

Maintaining a healthy and beautiful smile starts early. Since children are more at risk than any other age group for tooth decay, it’s important that your child has regular dental check-ups. Although a trip to the dentist may not be on your agenda for the summer, here are a few reasons why you should schedule your child’s summer appointment sooner rather than later.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Regular dental checkups can help prevent painful and costly restorative work down the road. Taking your child to the dentist every 6 months may seem unnecessary, especially if they practice good dental hygiene, but frequent visits are essential to the health of developing teeth. Most importantly, these appointments check for more than just cavities. During each checkup, dental hygienists and dentists examine your child for a variety of oral health issues including:

Besides daily brushing and flossing, regular dental checkups are one of the best ways to prevent expensive problems from developing.

Starting Young Creates Excellent Dental Habits

Dentophobia, or fear of dentists, is a real phobia among people of all ages. While getting over this fear is difficult, preventing it is easy. By taking your children to the dentist frequently, and starting at a young age, your children will build a relationship with the dental staff and learn that the dentist’s office is not a scary place.

Cavities often appear in hard-to-brush places and are usually caused by improper tooth brushing. During regular checkups, dentists help educate your children on oral hygiene habits such as the importance of flossing, how to brush teeth properly, and brushing techniques. These lessons promote lifelong habits that children will carry with them into adulthood.

Wisdom Teeth Removal is No Walk in the Park

Getting wisdom teeth removed is almost like a rite of passage for teenagers. Although no one ever looks forward to wisdom teeth extraction, not removing them can be even more unpleasant. Wisdom teeth can cause other teeth to become misaligned or overcrowded. You don’t want to spend money on braces for your teen just to have their wisdom teeth ruin the results!

Wisdom teeth extraction is a very common procedure, but every case is different. Most teens recover in three to four days, yet other teens can take up to a week. Recovery from wisdom tooth removal can involve facial swelling, bruising, and post-operative pain. These side effects are much easier to handle at home during the summer when your teen doesn’t need to worry about missing school or facing their peers with chipmunk cheeks.

It’s Not Too Late – Schedule Today

Summer is a great time for fun activities, vacations, and dental checkups. At Davis Gribble Hollowwa Dental, our family dentists will create a comfortable and relaxing dental experience for your child. Contact us to schedule your child’s summer appointment today!

Here’s Looking at Your TMJ!

The pain started during her favorite movie–Casablanca. She needed to relax, so with a bowl of popcorn, she settled in with the characters at Rick’s Café Américain. While immersed in the 1941 lives of expats, refugees, Vichy French, Nazi scoundrels, and resistance heroes, she noticed her jaw ached. Soon a sharper pain began radiating up to her ear on one side. By the time Rick put his beloved Ilsa on that plane to Lisbon, the jaw joint seemed to click hard, almost locking. She found it difficult to open her mouth very far. How could a little popcorn and a favorite movie cause all that? She had heard about TMJ. Was it that?

Although there isn’t a standard definition for TMJD, which stands for temporomandibular joint disorder, at first glance our Casablanca-loving popcorn muncher appears to be one of over 10 million Americans who suffer from TMJ Disorder. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves with an Internet diagnosis. Let’s discuss what the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is, what can cause problems with the TMJ, symptoms of TMJ Disorders, and how we can alleviate these symptoms.

Of All The Temporomandibular Joints In All The World…

Temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are true engineering marvels. You’ve got two, one on each side of your head. Not only do these joints connect your lower jaw to the bones at the side of the skull, they also act as flexible sliding hinges. Place your fingers on both sides of your head about an inch in front of the bobble of your ears. Move your lower jaw up and down and side to side. Those simple actions require muscle, ligaments, the rounded ends of the lower jaw called condyles, and way-cool elastic cartilage shock absorbers called articular discs to work together.

TMJ Disorder Causes–As Time Goes By

It should be no surprise that the older this engineering marvel gets, the more likely some parts will go awry. After all, it’s the most used joint in the body. Although TMJ disorders can occur at any age, the risk increases dramatically between the ages of 20 and 40. According to Tooth Wisdom, age-related factors that affect how well the temporomandibular joints work include:

Other Causes Of TMJD–Round Up The Usual Suspects

Trauma Can Lead To TMJ Disorder

The Fundamental Things Apply—Symptoms And Women

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, TMJ disorders affect 5 to 12 percent of the population at any given time. Extensive research suggests that the disorder is 1.5 to 2 times more prevalent among women, who comprise 80% of the patients who seek treatment. For women, TMJ pain often occurs after puberty and peaks in the reproductive years, with the highest prevalence occurring in women aged 20-40. And 85% of patients with TMJ disorders also experience other painful conditions. To name a few, these include chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, endometriosis, and fibromyalgia. Because women are exclusively or over-represented in these as well as TMJD, researchers are looking for common threads like hormones that underpin these conditions.

The Mayo Clinic lists the following as the most common symptoms of TMJ disorders:

The good news is that if you experience any or some of these symptoms, know that the pain is usually temporary.

How We Treat TMJ Disorders

We believe in taking a conservative approach to treating the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorder. However, pain isn’t fun. Make an appointment to see one of our dentists. In the meantime, we recommend soft foods, ice packs, and an over-the-counter pain medicine such as Tylenol or Advil. Avoid gum and crocodile yawns.

  1. Initial Evaluation. We will look at your jaw to see if your pain is coming from the bones, the joint, the muscles, the teeth, or any combination of the four.
  2. Jaw splint. If we determined you are suffering symptoms of TMJ disorder, we may use a splint for your jaw. This is really a type of mouth guard that stabilizes your jaw and reduces your discomfort.
  3. Aqualizer. If you have a more acute case, we may recommend wearing a device called an Aqualizer for one to two weeks. This is a fluid filled pouch–similar to a tiny waterbed that fits inside your mouth. The Aqualizer helps stabilize your jaw like the splint. This can help decrease the pain.
  4. Medication. We may prescribe an anti-inflammatory drug or muscle relaxant to help decrease inflammation or relax the muscles around the jaw.
  5. Heat therapy. Sometimes we use a laser to focus heat directly onto the region of the jaw muscle or joint. This increases blood flow to ease pain and tension.

I Think This Is The Beginning Of A Beautiful Friendship

If you are suffering from jaw pain, contact us to set up an appointment. We will create a treatment plan for TMJ disorder that can help reduce the pain, so you can get back to living your life. We’ll get you back to your favorite activities and films quicker than you can say “here’s looking at you, kid.”

Is it Time to Break up with Sugar?

I’ve been thinking I may need to break up with sugar.

“But, you and sugar have been together for decades,” friends say. “You love sugar! Wasn’t sugar there for you at every holiday? Isn’t it sugar you turn to when you’re tired or stressed out? I can’t believe you’re thinking of abandoning the very partner that sweetened every calamity and triumph in your life!”

Yeah, but I’m feeling like sugar fatally attracts me. Even when I’m not seeking it out, there it is, lurking in my ‘healthy choices’ like low-fat yogurt, granola, and protein bars. The other day, I found sugar hiding in my vitamin water–after I’d just worked out! And yet, the more I try to break away from sugar, the more I crave its sweet charms.

It’s Time to Reassess our Relationship with Sugar

Any healthy relationship has balance. Some sugar in the diet is not a problem. But Americans now consume on average 57 pounds of added sugar per person annually. That translates to 17 teaspoons every day. That’s nearly triple the American Heart Association (AHA) recommendation of 6 teaspoons for women and nearly double the 9 teaspoons for men. And when your teen power slams a 12-ounce can of Coke, which contains about 9 1/3 teaspoons of sugar (39 g), your child has not only exceeded the AHA recommended daily limit (less than 6 teaspoons per day), but also the no more than 8 fluid ounces of sugary beverages per week recommendation. The sad truth is that toddlers now consumer more sugar than the recommended amount for adults.

Added sugars. Processed foods and beverages have sugars and syrups added to them. These added sugars do not include sugars that occur naturally, like those in milk (lactose) and fruits (fructose).

Sugar is Sneaky

We eat sugar when we don’t know we’re eating it.

Sugar in cookies and ice cream comes at us in honest garb. Unwrap a Reese’s 2-pack of Peanut Butter Cups, and you’re fully prepared for that 5 ½ teaspoons (22 g) of sugar. But a lot of our daily sugar comes disguised as highly processed foods. Worse yet, sugar goes by different names like glucose, sucrose, or the hip HFCS for high-fructose corn syrup. Busy people drop their guard when grabbing quick a jar of Ragu Chunky Tomato, Garlic, & Onion pasta sauce, which packs a whopping 3 teaspoons (12 g) of sugar per ½ cup serving. Sugar even sneaks into your canned soups. If you lovingly complement your kids’ grilled cheese sandwiches with Campbell’s Slow Kettle Style Tomato & Sweet Basil Bisque, you’ve just offered up 10 ¾ teaspoons (43 g) of sugar in just the soup alone! And sugar hides in healthy organic soups, too. A one-cup serving of Amy’s Organic Black Bean Vegetable Soup contains 1 ¾ teaspoon of sugar (7 g).

Condiments are a sweet cover.

Although you’d never sprinkle sugar onto your hotdog, when you squeeze Heinz Ketchup onto that dog, you’re adding 1 teaspoon of sugar (4 g) for every tablespoon serving. Prefer barbeque sauce? Kraft’s Bulls-Eye Barbeque Sauce will add 3 teaspoons of sugar for every 2-tablespoon serving.

Sugar hides in even the healthiest sounding salad dressings.

Who would suspect you’d find 3 teaspoons (12 g) of sugar (high fructose corn syrup) per serving in the benign-sounding Ken’s Fat-Free Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette? Or Ken’s Steak House Fat-Free Raspberry Pecan that courts you with its fat-free promise, but delivers you 2 ½ teaspoons (10 g) of sugar per serving?

After surveying these covert ways sugar hides in our foods, it should be no surprise that the United States is top among nations in daily sugar consumption. And it’s damaging our health.

Sugar and Your Teeth

With all the foods we eat throughout the day that contain sugar, it’s no wonder that 92% of adults in the U.S. have experienced tooth decay. Here’s how it works. You eat sugar. The bacteria in your mouth like sugar, too, and they gobble up sugars or carbohydrates. Within about 20 seconds, the bacteria have digested those sugars, discarding acid onto your teeth. That acid not only attacks your tooth enamel, it lowers the pH level in your mouth. The lower the pH, the better the acid can work to weaken the enamel.

It takes about 20 minutes for our saliva to recalibrate and neutralize this sugar-caused pH drop. So, with every sip of soda, every snack, every bite of sugary processed food or even salad dressing, your hard-working saliva has to start all over. Meanwhile, while the pH is low, the acids are wearing away at your enamel. Your teeth are under attack the entire time you’re grazing on high-carb sweets or drinking sweet drinks.

Sugar and Your Health

Sugar may be breaking your heart.

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found a “significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk for CVD [cardio-vascular disease] mortality.” Even among children, a diet full of added sugar increases a child’s risk of “developing obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity-related cancers, and dental caries.”

Sugar may be sabotaging your attempts at maintaining a healthy weight.

Why? Because sugar spikes your blood sugar and then tells your body to store all that excess energy as fat. In fact, in a recent review of 68 studies published in the British Medical Journal, researchers found the more sugar a person consumed, the more they weighed. Plus, these studies evidenced a “consistent association” between a high intake of sugar-sweetened drinks and the development of obesity.

As bad as it is, sugar doesn’t cause diabetes.

If you’re consuming a lot of calories (including those from sugar), you’re likely to gain weight, and weight gain increases your risk for type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is caused by a number of factors including genetics and lifestyle factors. Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and factors that are still being researched.

How to Limit Sugar’s Power Over You

Whether you guzzle Coke when barbequing or a binge queen who straightens pie edges until they’re gone, you’ve probably developed some specific behaviors with sugar that you may wish to reconsider. Here are recommendations by the American Heart Association that will help you reduce your sugar intake:

  1. Drink water instead of soda. Keep an insulated water bottle handy wherever you go, so you’ll always have the option of a cold drink when a soda tempts you.
  2. Eat fresh or frozen fruits instead of fruit juices. Fruit juices are acidic and often have added sugar, which lower the pH of your mouth, making your teeth vulnerable to damage.
  3. Read food labels! Look for healthy fats and lower amounts of added sugars.
  4. Add fresh fruit instead of sugar to your oatmeal.
  5. Try spices like fresh ginger to enhance food flavor.
  6. Use unsweetened applesauce instead of sugar in recipes.
  7. Toss the table sugar. Cut back on the amount of sugar you add to coffee, tea, or cereal. Start by using half as much as you usually do, and then wean down from there.
  8. Beware of relying on artificial sweeteners. These create a host of other problems.

Your oral health is integral to your overall physical and mental health.

If sugar is negatively affecting one part of your health, it’s time to rethink your options. Small changes can lead to big improvements.

At Davis Gribble Hollowwa, we can help you jump-start your new take-charge lifestyle with a dental cleaning and/or fluoride treatment. We are here to support you as you strive toward optimal health! Call today for an appointment.