Category Archives: Dental Health

Caring for Your Teeth as You Age

A lot of people are under the mistaken assumption that aging necessarily means they’ll lose teeth, which is completely untrue! Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime and any tooth loss has a cause that isn’t aging. Aside from suffering a traumatic accident that causes your teeth to be broken or knocked out keeping your teeth is completely under your control!

At Gentle Family Dentistry we work hard to keep your smile healthy. Regular visits to our Duncansville dentist office are essential to keeping your teeth healthy but that isn’t all you need to do! Lifestyle choices are the biggest deciding factor in the future of your teeth so don’t let bad habits leave you in dentures!

By following these tips you’ll be all set for a lifelong healthy smile!

Quit Smoking

It’s the truth whether you like it or not: smoking is bad for you! There are a lot of things it can do to ruin your overall health and it also causes serious damage to your teeth as well!

There is always bacteria in your mouth. It makes up the plaque that forms on your teeth over the course of the day. Some of it is harmless but other strains are what cause tooth decay! When plaque bacteria metabolize the sugar in foods you eat they turn it into acid that destroys your enamel and starts cavities.

Studies of smokers have found that the bad bacteria levels in their mouths was much higher – the harmless bacteria is actually dying off! That greatly increases the risk of infection and tooth decay which in turn can lead to eventual tooth loss! Even just one lost tooth can start a domino effect!

Eat Right

That harmful plaque bacteria won’t do a lot of damage if you don’t feed it a lot of sugar! While it’s possible to still end up with cavities on a healthy diet it’s not nearly as likely and when they do happen they’re generally minor and easy to treat.

Make sure you’re avoiding excess carbs too! Foods like bread, pretzels, chips, crackers, and other things high in processed white flour are high in a different kind of sugar, called glucose, that plaque bacteria still love!

If you do treat yourself to sweets or starches don’t panic – just make sure you’re drinking water to keep your mouth clean and brush as soon as you have an opportunity.

Practice Good Oral Care Habits

Plaque bacteria is the thing that will destroy your teeth. The best way to manage bacteria day to day is through your brushing and flossing habits. Just because you brush doesn’t mean it’s effective, though! Make sure you follow these tips to ensure good brushing.

● Brush for at least two minutes
● Use a soft-bristled brush. Hard bristles can damage your teeth and gums!
● Sweep down from your gumline toward the edge of your teeth or gently brush in circles.
● Use small, tooth-width strokes and focus on each tooth.
● Make sure to get all the surfaces of your teeth – front, back, and chewing surfaces!
● Use toothpaste containing fluoride for an extra boost of protection.
● And don’t forget to always floss in the evening! It’s the only way to get the tricky bits of plaque and food that hide between your teeth!

Get Regular Professional Care

Aging doesn’t mean you have to lose teeth but without caring for your mouth your chances definitely increase! To guarantee you’re keeping a healthy mouth you should make sure you’re seeing us at our Duncansville dentist office every six months! By seeing us regularly we can monitor your oral health and catch any potential problems before they become serious!

If you have any questions about keeping your teeth healthy or are ready to schedule an appointment you should give Gentle Family Dentistry a call today! You can reach us by phone at 814-693-6777 or you can request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Dr. Locker and his friendly, knowledgeable staff invite you to call Gentle Family Dentistry in Duncansville, PA for the greatest, most advanced, painless dental experience you have ever had.

You can call us at: 814-693-6777 or just click the link to
go to our webpage for more information.
Click here now:

And remember, You only have to floss daily the ones you want to keep.

All About Tooth Extraction

What Is It?

Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone.

Reasons for Pulling Teeth

Removing a tooth is necessary when decay or an abscessed tooth is so severe that no other treatment will cure the infection. Removing the tooth can help keep infection from spreading to other areas of your mouth.

Although permanent teeth were meant to last a lifetime, there are a number of reasons why tooth extraction may be needed. A very common reason involves a tooth that is too badly damaged, from trauma or decay, to be repaired.

Other reasons include:

A Small Mouth or Crowded Teeth: Sometimes dentists pull teeth to prepare the mouth for braces. The goal of braces or Invisalign is to properly align the teeth, which may not be possible if your teeth are too big for your mouth. Likewise, if a tooth cannot break through the gum (erupt) because there is not room in the mouth for it, your dentist may recommend pulling it.

Infection: If tooth decay or damage extends to the pulp — the center of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels — bacteria in the mouth can enter the pulp, leading to infection. Often this can be corrected with root canal therapy (RCT), but if the infection is so severe that antibiotics or RCT do not cure it, extraction may be needed to prevent the spread of infection.

Risk of Infection: If your immune system is compromised (for example, if you are receiving chemotherapy or are having an organ transplant), even the risk of infection in a particular tooth may be reason enough to pull the tooth.

Periodontal (Gum) Disease: If periodontal disease — an infection of the tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth — have caused loosening of the teeth, it may be necessary to the pull the tooth or teeth.

● Some people have extra teeth that block other teeth from coming in.

● Sometimes baby teeth don’t fall out in time to allow the permanent teeth to come in.

● People receiving radiation to the head and neck may need to have teeth in the field of radiation extracted.

● People receiving cancer drugs may develop infected teeth because these drugs weaken the immune system. Infected teeth may need to be extracted.

● Some teeth may need to be extracted if they could become a source of infection after an organ transplant. People with organ transplants have a high risk of infection because they must take drugs that decrease or suppress the immune system.

Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, are often extracted either before or after they come in. They commonly come in during the late teens or early 20s. They need to be removed if they are decayed, cause pain or have a cyst or infection. These teeth often get stuck in the jaw (impacted) and do not come in. This can irritate the gum, causing pain and swelling. In this case, the tooth must be removed. If you need all four wisdom teeth removed, they are usually taken out at the same time.

●  Least Expensive Option: Some people may opt to lose a tooth rather than save it for financial or cultural reasons.

What to Tell Your Dentist Before You Have a Tooth Pulled

Although having a tooth pulled is usually very safe, the procedure can allow harmful bacteria into the bloodstream. Gum tissue is also at risk of infection. If you have a condition that puts you at high risk for developing a severe infection, you may need to take antibiotics before and after the extraction. Before having a tooth pulled, let your dentist know your complete medical history, the medications and supplements you take, and if you have one of the following:

● Damaged or man-made heart valves
● Congenital heart defect
● Impaired immune system
● Liver disease (cirrhosis)
● Artificial joint, such as a hip replacement
● History of bacterial endocarditis

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis and are taking drugs for that condition, or if you expect to have treatment with intravenous drugs called bisphosphonates for a medical condition, be sure to see your dentist first. If any teeth need to be extracted, this should be done before your drug treatment begins. Having a tooth extraction after bisphosphonate treatment increases the risk of bone death in the jaw.


Your dentist or oral surgeon will take an X-ray of the area to help plan the best way to remove the tooth. Be sure to provide your full medical and dental history and a list of all medicines you take. This should include both prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements.

If you are having multiple teeth removed or teeth in certain places, you may have a panoramic X-ray. This X-ray takes a picture of all of your teeth at once. It can show several things that help to guide an extraction:

● The relationship of your wisdom teeth to your other teeth
● The upper teeth’s relationship to your sinuses
● The lower teeth’s relationship to a nerve in the jawbone that gives feeling to your lower jaw, lower teeth, lower lip and chin. This nerve is called the inferior alveolar nerve.
● Any infections, tumors or bone disease that may be present

Some doctors prescribe antibiotics to be taken before and after surgery. This practice varies by the dentist or oral surgeon. Antibiotics are more likely to be given if:

● You have infection at the time of surgery
● You have a weakened immune system
● You will have a long surgery
● You have specific medical conditions

How It’s Done

There are two types of extractions:

A simple extraction is performed on a tooth that can be seen in the mouth. Some General dentists commonly do simple extractions. In a simple extraction, the dentist loosens the tooth with an instrument called an elevator. Then the dentist uses an instrument called a forceps to remove the tooth.

A surgical extraction is a more complex procedure. It is used if a tooth may have broken off at the gum line or has not come into the mouth yet or has very curved roots or if the root has fused to the bone. Surgical extractions commonly are done by oral surgeons. However, they are also done by some general dentists. The doctor makes a small incision (cut) into your gum. Sometimes it’s necessary to remove some of the bone around the tooth or to cut the tooth in half in order to extract it.

Most extractions can be done using just a local anesthetic (Novocaine). You may or may not receive drugs to help you relax. Some people may need general anesthesia. They include patients with specific medical or behavioral conditions and young children.

During a tooth extraction, you can expect to feel pressure, but no pain. If you feel any pain or pinching, tell your doctor.


Your doctor will give you detailed instructions on what to do and what to expect after your surgery. If you have any questions, make sure to ask them before you leave the office.

Having a tooth taken out is surgery. You can expect some discomfort after even simple extractions. Usually it is mild. Research has shown that taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can greatly decrease pain after a tooth extraction. These drugs include ibuprofen, such as Advil, Motrin and others. All of those drugs, however, can be toxic if overused. Take the dose your doctor recommends, 3 to 4 times a day. Take the first pills before the local anesthesia wears off. Continue taking them for as long as needed. Dr. Locker will give you complete instructions.

Surgical extractions generally cause more pain after the procedure than simple extractions. The level of discomfort and how long it lasts will depend on how difficult it was to remove the tooth. Your dentist may prescribe pain medicine for a few days and then suggest an NSAID. Most pain disappears after a couple of days.

A cut in the mouth tends to bleed more than a cut on the skin because it cannot dry out and form a scab. After an extraction, you’ll be asked to bite on a piece of gauze for 1 hour. This pressure will allow the blood to clot. You will still have a small amount of bleeding for the next 24 hours or so. It should taper off after that. Don’t disturb the clot that forms on the wound.

You can put ice packs on your face to reduce swelling. Typically, they are left on for 20 minutes at a time and removed for 20 minutes. If your jaw is sore and stiff after the swelling goes away, try warm compresses.

Eat soft, cold foods for a few days. Then try other food as you feel comfortable. But make sure you avoid crumbly foods for a few days. Those would include cookies, chips, pretzels, popcorn, nuts etc. Because any of those things could irritate the new wound and cause unnecessary pain.

A gentle rinse with warm salt water, started 24 hours after the surgery, can help to keep the area clean. Use one-half teaspoon of salt in a cup of water. Most swelling and bleeding ends within a day or two after the surgery. Initial healing takes at least two weeks.

If you need stitches, your doctor may use the kind that dissolve on their own. This usually takes one to two weeks. Rinsing with warm salt water will help the stitches to dissolve. Some stitches need to be removed by the dentist or surgeon.

You should not smoke, eat crunchy or crumbly foods or eat on the side of the extraction for a week to avoid damage to the area. If you have persistent pain for more than a day or 2 after your extraction, or if pain begins a few days after your extraction and is relatively constant then you may have a dry socket. A dry socket is caused by the dissolution or destruction of the blood clot leaving an empty hole down to live bone. The exposed bone can be very sensitive. But there is a simple procedure that we can do here at Gentle Family Dentistry to relieve your pain and stimulate healing. The dry socket is packed with a medicated gauze which acts as a false scab. If you believe you have developed a dry socket make sure you contact Gentle Family Dentistry immediately to obtain relief.

Dr. Locker and his friendly, knowledgeable staff invite you to call Gentle Family Dentistry in Duncansville, PA for the greatest, most advanced, painless dental experience you have ever had.

You can call us at: 814-693-6777 or just click the link to
go to our webpage for more information.
Click here now:

And remember, You only have to floss daily the ones you want to keep.

Need-to-Know Facts about Root Canals

Oh, boy: root canals. We know that everyone loves these horrible dental treatments. Most every patient we see has a negative opinion of root canals, despite how necessary they can be to saving your teeth.

We perform plenty of root canals at Gentle Family Dentistry, and have had to clear the air about them on multiple occasions. It’s incredibly common for our patients to be scared of root canals, and we want to fix that! Root canals aren’t the terrifying, painful, tooth-destroying monster you’ve heard about. And in almost all cases are completely painless.

Root Canals Save Teeth

When a cavity reaches deep inside the tooth it infects the soft dental pulp (nerve) that carries blood vessels and nerves to the tooth to keep it healthy. This quickly results in an infection that can not only cause the loss of the tooth, but spread beyond it as well. And it will also cause the death of that nerve leading to a dead tooth. As we will see later, dead teeth get very brittle with age and to be saved must be protected. 

The leading causes of a dead or infected nerve and thereby the need for root canal are 1. A cavity that is left untreated for too long, and 2. Trauma to the tooth. I have seen many cases of a dead or infected discolored tooth that needs root canal but has never had a cavity or filling in the tooth. But by far the most common cause of a dead or infected tooth is a cavity that has been neglected for too long. It has been shown that if you wait till you have pain in almost all cases you have waited too long. That is exactly why it is recommended that you see your regular dental hygienist every 6 months for cleaning and checkup. At that time we can find small cavities that are easy and inexpensive to repair with fillings long before you would need root canal.

Root canals remove the infected nerve and seal the tooth with a soft rubber compound. This gets rid of pain, prevents loss of the tooth, and protects it from problems later on. We never seal a tooth until it’s completely cleared of infected tissue.

By preventing tooth loss root canals also indirectly save your other teeth as well. When a single tooth is lost the bone that supported it starts to recede, being reabsorbed into the body. This causes the neighboring teeth to loosen and start to shift as well. As they lose stability their chances of falling out increases greatly, starting a potential domino effect of lost teeth!

A root canal leaves the natural tooth intact and safe, preventing any of the neighboring teeth from being harmed. Your smile can last a lifetime with just one simple procedure!

Root Canals Eliminate Pain, Not Cause It

Many of the patients that come to our Duncansville dentist office for a root canal are in pain. That infected dental pulp can be very uncomfortable! By removing the infected tissue we are able to eliminate pain almost instantly. Many of our patients find that they feel better as soon as the anesthesia has worn off. Also, Dr. Locker uses the ‘Wand’ for painless novocaine every time. Your root canal procedure will be painless.

Compare this to the classic image of root canals as a painful experience and there’s really no truth to the matter. The facts speak for themselves: root canals don’t cause pain. Many patients think this is the case because of the pain they’re in prior to the root canal procedure – it’s just a simple bit of confusion that comes along with the memory of pain. However, a tooth that needs root canal that is surrounded by a lot of swelling may need to be treated with an antibiotic 1st in order to get rid of the swelling. Too much swelling can interfere with the effect of the Novocaine and thereby potentially lead to a painful root canal procedure. But there are techniques that Dr. locker can use to eliminate that pain if necessary.

Less Infection Leads To A Healthier Body

The infection that starts in the root of your tooth doesn’t necessarily stay there. It’s uncommon, but it’s possible that an infected tooth leads to a dental abscess, a serious condition that can result in bone and soft tissue loss.

Abscesses are pockets of infection that often spread out from the root of the tooth. Abscesses can become swollen, inflamed, and incredibly painful. In some rare cases they actually destroy parts of the face due to the spread of infected tissue.

By eliminating the bacteria while it’s still in the tooth you eliminate the chances of an abscess or any other spread of infection. Bacteria from a tooth that gets into your bloodstream can be incredibly dangerous! These kinds of secondary infections are rare, but they underscore the importance of seeking treatment for an infected tooth right away.

Root Canals Are Perfectly Safe

We hear a lot from our patients that they’re worried about the safety of root canals. You may have heard some of the various myths about them: infections always come back, they cause cancer … the list goes on, and just keeps getting wackier.

We want to be completely clear so that you understand the safety of root canals: the risks that people talk about are completely fictional. Root canals, especially in this modern age of dentistry, are safe, painless, and fast. They eliminate pain, preserve teeth, and protect your health by getting rid of infectious bacteria. You’ll probably be surprised at how easy and effective they are!

How Do You Know You May Need a Root Canal?

When trauma or bacteria damages the inner chamber of the tooth that contains the dental pulp, you may feel severe root canal pain. The dental pulp contains blood vessels and nerves that trigger pain when irritated. Infection must be treated immediately to prevent damage to surrounding bone and tissues.

Call us right away if you experience any of the following root canal symptoms of an infected dental pulp:

● Severe, intermittent toothache
● Pain when using the tooth for chewing
● Persistent tooth sensitivity
● Chronic bad breath
● Tooth discoloration
● Dental abscess near the affected area
● Loose tooth

Post Operative Instructions Following Root Canal Treatment

When your Root Canal procedure is completed, usually in one visit, Dr. Locker will place a soft temporary filling in the tooth to protect it until you get back into the office in about a week for a post-core and crown procedure. You will need the post-core and crown to protect the tooth going forward. Root canaled teeth get very brittle with age and the post-core and crown prevent the tooth from breaking and being a loss. Most times when someone claims that they had a Root Canal done and then a year or so later had to lose the tooth it is because they did not get the post-core and crown done.

Dr. Locker will also give you two prescriptions before you leave the office. The first is for an antibiotic. That is to kill any residual infection and help prevent recurrent infection. The second is for pain management. It is possible to have some discomfort for a few days after Root Canal Treatment. The pain medication will help with that, should it occur.

Protect Your Health

If you’re concerned you may have an infected root then you shouldn’t wait another day. You can get safe, easy, and effective results by calling us right away at Gentle Family Dentistry today! We’re sure we can provide you with a root canal experience that will have you wanting to tell everyone how easy they really are.

To schedule an appointment call us today at 814-693-6777 or request one by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Dr. Locker and his friendly, knowledgeable staff invite you to call Gentle Family Dentistry in Duncansville, PA for the greatest, most advanced, painless dental experience you have ever had.

You can call us at: 814-693-6777 or just click the link to
go to our webpage for more information.
Click here now:

And remember, You only have to floss daily the ones you want to keep.

Athletic Mouthguards: Your Insurance Policy

The benefits of being involved in athletics are innumerable. Teamwork, confidence, leadership, patience, and better health are just a few of the things that you or your child will gain from this experience. It can sometimes be difficult to sit on the sidelines and watch your child participate, especially when it is a contact sport.

You will do your best to protect your child while they are playing, and that means choosing a mouthguard. Even sports that don’t seem to be contact sports can result in dental injury! While skin and bones heal, teeth often require replacement after a serious injury.

An athletic mouthguard can serve as a type of insurance policy for you so that even if an injury happens, you will be prepared ahead of time. As they say, be prepared for the storm and hope for the sun.

Who Needs an Athletic Mouthguard?

You may be wondering if an athletic mouthguard is appropriate for your child and their athletic involvement. We believe that a mouthguard should be required for all contact sports, but we also know that injuries happen in all activities. Even something as non-contact as running can result in injury when an elbow is thrown at the start, a runner trips and hits their jaw on a rock, or a runner clenches their teeth while running, creating damage to the jaw joint.

You will ultimately have to decide with your child, but we would always recommend a mouthguard for just about any athletic event.

Types of Mouthguards

Not all mouthguards are created to the same standard. Take a look below to see what we mean.

One-Size-Fits-Most – The cheapest option is a stock mouthguard that is made to fit most mouths. You might find a S-M-L-XL sizing, but not usually. These are just big hulks of plastic made to cover your teeth, but they do very little to actually protect the smile because they don’t fit the teeth. Because of the size, players struggle to breathe and communicate with teammates, which makes kids less likely to wear this type of mouthguard.

Boil and Bite – One step up from the cheapest option is the boil and bite mouthguard. This is a more flexible piece of plastic that you can heat and then create an impression within the guard. This will offer at least some protection, but the mouthguard is still so big and bulky that it is not comfortable. Most athletes struggle to wear these types of mouthguards while competing.

Custom – A custom mouthguard is the most expensive, but it is also the only mouthguard that can pair function with comfort. Custom mouthguards are made from an impression taken at the dentist’s office. We use a strong plastic to create a guard that will match your child’s smile perfectly. It is highly effective, but it is also very comfortable to wear. The guard isn’t big and bulky, which means your athlete can breathe and talk to their teammates!

Your Insurance Policy

Dental work is expensive. Even with dental insurance, you want to be able to care for your teeth so that you don’t have to spend money on restorations and complex procedures. When playing a sport, that means protecting teeth from injury.

Choosing a mouthguard is like purchasing an insurance policy for your child’s smile. With that small investment, you can rest easy knowing that your child’s smile is safe. Even if they do suffer an injury, it will not be as severe.

Making a Mouthguard Your Kid Will Actually Wear

One of the biggest problems with mouthguards is getting compliance from the athlete. You don’t want to purchase a mouthguard that your athlete won’t wear! What you need to realize is that while a custom mouthguard is more expensive, it is also much more likely that your child will wear it.

The thinner design can come in a variety of colors, which means your student will feel some ownership over the mouthguard. There is also an element of expectation. Your child needs to know that you expect them to wear this protection while they play. Once you’ve laid down the law, compliance will be more successful.

Learn More Today

If you’re ready to learn more about athletic mouthguards or how to care for your child’s smile, just let us know! Contact our office to set up an appointment or consultation. We would love to see your entire family, so call today!

Dr. Locker and his friendly, knowledgeable staff invite you to call Gentle Family Dentistry in Duncansville, PA for the greatest, most advanced, painless dental experience you have ever had.

You can call us at: 814-693-6777 or just click the link to
go to our webpage for more information.
Click here now:

And remember, You only have to floss daily the ones you want to keep.

Are Your Dentures Making You Sick?

Your dentures have been an ally in eating, drinking, smiling, and socializing for as long as you’ve had them. They might not always be your favorite thing in the world but they’ve probably done great things for your happiness in the long run!

If you’ve been wearing your dentures for a long time you’ve probably become pretty used to them. For many people this is just a transition into getting used to caring for them. For others it becomes a loosening of cleaning, care, and maintenance standards!

At Gentle Family Dentistry we care for a lot of patients with dentures and we want you to know how to take care of them! Even worse, your dentures could be making you seriously ill without the proper care!

How Can Dentures Cause Illness?

Dentures, just like your teeth, end up covered in plaque throughout the course of the day. By the time you get ready for bed in the evening they’re just crawling with bacteria. Some of that bacteria is bad for you – your dentures might not be at risk for decay but that bacteria can still cause problems for you!

One of the most common problems that denture wearers report is irritation to the gums. This is actually due to bacteria that attacks and irritates them when your dentures press against your gums! Clean dentures are more comfortable and less likely to result in irritation.

The biggest concern for the health of denture wearers comes in the form of slightly more dangerous bacteria. Your dentures have a lot of different strains of bacteria on them and some can actually cause conditions like MRSA and pneumonia, a hard to treat lung condition!

Denture wearers end up with problems due to inhaling these bacterias right off their dentures! It’s a common problem for denture wearers and if you sleep with your dentures in your are putting yourself even more at risk, and also causing your gums to flatten twice as fast.

The illnesses caused by dentures are even worse for older people who have weakened immune systems. You should make sure you take good care of your dentures so they can take good care of you!

Preventing Denture-Related Illnesses

The key to preventing pneumonia, MRSA, and other denture-related illnesses is simple: you have to keep them clean! Cleanliness can be complicated when it comes to dentures but it’s an essential part of living healthy in your later years.

● Rinse off your dentures every time you eat. It’s important to get food particles out of them to prevent plaque buildup. When you rinse off your dentures be sure to rinse your mouth out too. If you have access to mouthwash that’s the preferred method. If not water will still work just fine.

● Your dentures need to be thoroughly brushed at least once a day. Make sure you brush them using a special denture brush. Those are specially designed to clean dentures with harder bristles and differently shaped heads. You should also use specially-formulated denture toothpaste. It’s tougher and stronger to really get those bacteria out!

● When you clean your dentures you should also brush your mouth! Just because you don’t have any natural teeth left doesn’t mean your oral health can be ignored! Use a soft toothbrush to scrub your gums and rinse thoroughly when you’re done.

Never sleep in your dentures! They should always be removed at the end of the night. Place them in a glass to soak.

●  You can use denture soaking solution to ensure they get even cleaner. Denture solution can give you an extra boost of bacteria-fighting power so you know you’re putting a clean set in the next day!

● Always rinse your dentures before you put them back in your mouth. Soaking solutions shouldn’t be ingested!

● It’s also important to see us at Gentle Family Dentistry for regular exams. Even though you might not have your natural teeth anymore we still want to be able to keep an eye on your oral health! The shape of your gums also changes over time and can make your dentures not fit as well. We’ll be more than happy to adjust your dentures when you come to our Duncansville dentist office!

Make An Appointment Today!

Don’t skip out on dental care – your dentures could be causing you problems that you don’t know about! Let us take a look at your mouth and dentures to be sure you’re living healthy!

Call us today to schedule an appointment! You can reach Gentle Family Dentistry by calling 814-693-6777 or you can simply fill out our online form to request an appointment. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Dr. Locker and his friendly, knowledgeable staff invite you to call Gentle Family Dentistry in Duncansville, PA for the greatest, most advanced, painless dental experience you have ever had.

You can call us at: 814-693-6777 or just click the link to
go to our webpage for more information.
Click here now:

And remember, You only have to floss daily the ones you want to keep.

Are You Right for a Smile Makeover?

Your smile tells your story. In fact, it’s written right on your teeth! Are your teeth perfectly straight, white, and shiny?

Or are your teeth: Crooked, Cracked, Missing, Discolored or Dull

There’s nothing to be ashamed of if your teeth aren’t perfect. It’s never too late to do something about it! We understand that to become the person you are, certain things had to come second. For you (and many other people not just here in Duncansville, PA but all over Central Pennsylvania and the rest of the US) that secondary priority was your smile and your teeth.

Am I Right For A Smile Makeover?

Today, you’re a person:

Who is willing to pay for a smile makeover
Who is able to pay for a smile makeover
Who is capable of making the commitment to the smile makeover process

But your teeth don’t tell that story. If anything, your teeth tell the story of where you’ve been, not where you are today, and certainly not where you’re going. It’s time to change that!

Isn’t a Smile Makeover a Luxury Item?

Many people consider smile makeovers something of a luxury item, a purely cosmetic improvement. This is true! Not everyone can afford a smile makeover, and they certainly aren’t for everyone. We’d like to add one more to that list of descriptors: an investment. A smile makeover isn’t just about getting a “better look”.

Study after study has proved that your smile has a major impact on how people see you, judge you, and interact with you. That directly impacts your success in social situations, from weddings to business meetings.

A smile makeover isn’t entirely cosmetic, either. Teeth that are in bad shape are unhealthy. While the goal of a smile makeover sounds superficial, depending on your oral health needs your actual makeover will include several procedures that specifically address the health of your teeth.

What Happens During a Smile Makeover?

A smile makeover isn’t a single procedure, and it can’t be done in a single appointment. That’s why we mentioned commitment earlier. You have to be willing to take the time, in our office and at home, to improving your smile!

What actually happens is up to you and your dentist. However, all smile makeovers begin with an evaluation by your dentist to determine if your teeth are healthy enough to undergo the required procedures. You and your dentist will work together to identify what your needs are: what are the goals for your smile? You’ll have a conversation about what needs to be improved and what you are willing to do. As we said before, a smile makeover isn’t a single procedure.

Think of it as a plan, with different parts playing different roles, with a common goal: a better, brighter, more vibrant smile, and a better you!

What Do I Need to Think about and What Decisions Will I Need to Make?

A smile makeover is different from a lot of dental procedures you may have had in the past, where the primary goal is to get your teeth healthy. Prior to any cosmetic work, your dentist will treat your teeth for any infections or any other dental problems so that your teeth are healthy first.

For a smile makeover, your dentist will take into account things you wouldn’t expect. In addition to your teeth and gums, your facial appearance, including your skin tone, the color of your hair, and your lips will play a role in the recommendations your dentist makes.

It’s your job to think about what you want from your smile makeover; it’s not enough just to say a better smile! What specific parts of your smile do you find most displeasing? Your dentist will want to review these items with you to help you make the best plan for you.

The color of your teeth:

Your dentist will take into account your skin tone, your hair color, and a number of other variables that make up a person’s look. While it might be tempting to request “blinding” white teeth from your dentist, remember that if your teeth are too white, either for your age or your look, your teeth won’t look natural, and this will diminish the overall effect of your enhanced smile. The services we offer for improving the color of teeth includes composite fillings (tooth colored, as opposed to old fashioned “silver” fillings), and deep bleaching (to remove difficult stains and improve your teeth’s ability to resist staining).


If your teeth are crooked, or if there is a significant gap that has always been a source of embarrassment, you and your dentist will talk about orthodontics options, such as Invisalign. Invisalign allows you to straighten your smile without unsightly and uncomfortable wires and brackets!

Missing Teeth:

Missing teeth not only look bad, they can have a negative impact on your bite, which can influence the overall shape and look of your face. Bridges, full dentures (and partials) and more will be your options.

Make an appointment now!

There is a lot to think about, and while it’s never too late to take the necessary steps to improve your smile, why wait?

Call our office at 814-693-6777 and request a consultation for a smile makeover. Your best smile (and your best you) are within reach at Gentle Family Dentistry!

Dr. Locker and his friendly, knowledgeable staff invite you to call Gentle Family Dentistry in Duncansville, PA for the greatest, most advanced, painless dental experience you have ever had.

You can call us at: 814-693-6777 or just click the link to
go to our webpage for more information.
Click here now:

And remember, You only have to floss daily the ones you want to keep.

Are These Killers Ruining Your Teeth?

There are some tooth destroyers that are obvious: candy, pop, hard foods, and things like that are universally known to cause damage to your smile. You might not realize that there are a lot of other foods out there that are just as damaging, and you probably eat them all the time!

Today we want to talk about some of the problem foods out there and what makes them so bad for your teeth. That doesn’t mean you have to stop eating them entirely – just moderate your intake and be sure to practice good oral health habits and you should be able to have a healthy smile for years! Of course, regular cleanings and exams are part of a healthy mouth, so don’t forget those either. There are places in your mouth that are just hard to clean at home!

First, however, we should explain the causes of tooth decay and periodontal disease – the very things we’re here to prevent! You know that feeling you get in your mouth by the end of the day. That’s plaque. Plaque is the sticky, slick coating that gets on our teeth throughout the day. It contains countless bacteria which love to feed on sugars in our mouths, and when it eats it produces acids.

The acids produced by plaque bacteria ruin tooth enamel and lead to decay, cavities, and other oral health complications. The most tragic part is that it could have easily been prevented, which is why this list is so importat!

#1: Acidic Foods

What do you think of when you hear “acidic foods?” Citrus and tomatoes are obvious choices, but what about things you don’t realize are acidic? Pickles, salad dressings, most condiments, wine, and other foods like these are all ruining your teeth!

Just like the acids produced by plaque bacteria these acids ruin your enamel and skip the middleman to do so! Acids temporarily soften your enamel as well, so if you feel the need to brush after an acidic snack you should wait about half an hour.

#2: Starchy Snacks

Bread, crackers, chips, pretzels – we all love salty treats! The problem with these delicious foods is that they contain a lot of refined carbohydrates. Starchy foods made with white flour all contain lots of refined carbs, which are guilty of breaking down into sugar once they hit your mouth.

The sugar they break into? You guessed it – the perfect food for plaque bacteria! If you’re going to indulge in some of these foods be sure you are drinking plenty of water! Keeping your mouth wet is a sure-fire way to help get food particles out of your mouth!

#3: Dried Fruits

Fruit is good for you, right? Yes it is, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t do bad things to your teeth! Doubly so when it’s dry fruit! Dried fruit is especially bad for your teeth because of the high concentration of sugar, lack of moisture, and high amounts of cellulose fiber. The cellulose helps the sugars in the fruit stick to your teeth, leading to quick acid production!

#4: Sports Drinks

Need to replenish after the game? Don’t reach for a sports drink – they’re packed with sugar and quite a bit of acid too! While there may be benefits to sports drinks they don’t outweigh the problems caused by the sweetness in them.

If you want to rehydrate the best way to do it is by going straight to the source: water.

#5: BONUS: Swimming pools

Even staying physically fit is ruining my teeth?! That’s what you might be thinking, but the culprit isn’t the activity, it’s the water! Pool water is so acidic that it can quickly eat away at your teeth if you’re in the pool regularly.

Our advice: keep swimming, but be sure to brush your teeth when you get out of the pool! All the chlorine, chemicals, and the acidic level of the water should be flushed out as quickly as possible!

Hopefully we didn’t scare you with all the possibilities for damaging your teeth. In our next post we’ll try to lighten the mood with some foods and habits that you may not realize are actually protecting your teeth!

If you have questions about your oral health or are concerned that you might be suffering from tooth decay or periodontal disease, don’t wait another day! Call our Duncansville dentist office at 814-693-6777 or request an appointment using our online form. We look forward to helping you!

Dr. Locker and his friendly, knowledgeable staff invite you to call Gentle Family Dentistry in Duncansville, PA for the greatest, most advanced, painless dental experience you have ever had.

You can call us at: 814-693-6777 or just click the link to
go to our webpage for more information.
Click here now:

And remember, You only have to floss daily the ones you want to keep.

A Makeover Isn’t Complete Without a Great Smile

Sometimes a new look is just what you need to change your life. It can instill a new sense of confidence, make you feel better about getting that job you’ve always wanted, finding romance, and even just make you happier. All the style changes in the world won’t do a bit of good if you aren’t happy with the physical aspects of your appearance, though, and the biggest part of that is your smile!

Your teeth are one of the first things people notice about you, and even a complete makeover won’t be enough to help you find the confidence that was always ruined by a smile you don’t love. Getting that great look can be yours with a smile makeover from Gentle Family Dentistry!

What Is A Smile Makeover?

Think of a regular makeover: you’ll go to a stylist for new hair, a makeup consultant for a new look, and probably get fashion advice on what to wear to make yourself look the best you can. A smile makeover is a lot like any of those processes but with our Duncansville dental team at the helm. You tell us what look you want and we’ll get it for you using a combination of the cosmetic dentistry services we offer!

By using a series of cosmetic treatments specially tailored to your unique smile and desired treatment outcomes we can have you with the perfect look. With our expert training and experience we’re in the perfect position to complete your total makeover by perfecting your smile!

Services We Offer With A Smile Makeover

Any and all of the services we offer can be part of your smile makeover but there are some that are far more common than others. As part of a smile makeover you might get any of these treatments to help you achieve the look of your dreams.

Invisalign can straighten crooked teeth without the need for a single piece of metal. Using clear plastic aligners we can correct your smile in less time than it takes to go through a traditional orthodontic sequence. The best part about Invisalign is how unnoticeable it is. When you’re wearing your aligners no one will even realize you’re working toward getting a straight smile! It’s the perfect solution for adult patients who don’t have time to deal with braces – and the results are just as great!

Deep Bleaching can get your smile Hollywood white without the need for special gimmicks or other unpredictable teeth whitening products. We use the Zoom Whitening system combined with custom-built whitening trays that lock the whitening gel in so it can work to its maximum capacity. Our whitening gels are professional strength and designed to go deep to really break up stains and discoloration that other products can’t touch. Deep bleaching also lasts longer than a lot of other whitening products, so you won’t have to re-whiten every year.

Dental Bonding involves using a tooth-colored composite resin to reshape your teeth. We can use bonding to close gaps, restore worn teeth, fix deep discoloration that won’t bleach out, cover chips, and even reposition teeth so they look perfectly in line. Bonding takes a single appointment, is pain-free, and will leave you with a great new look right away. You won’t need to spend time undergoing orthodontic treatment when we can simply reconstruct your teeth in a day!

Tooth-Colored Fillings are made of the same material as our dental bonding. We can replace old metal amalgam fillings with these amazing fillings that blend perfectly into your teeth. No one will be able to see them, they’re safe and mercury-free, and they have a much lower chance of causing damage to the tooth they’re in. You’ll love the look, safety, and long-lasting nature of these amazing fillings!

Porcelain Jacket Crowns and Bridges are made of the latest and hardest cosmetic porcelain. Unlike veneers which just cement on the front of your teeth and usually add a bulky look to your teeth and don’t really protect your teeth, Porcelain Jacket Crowns cover the entire tooth. They offer greater protection, variation in size and shape to fit your face and are less expensive than veneers.

Start Your Journey Today

A smile makeover can take time but in the end you’ll be thrilled with the results. We’re ready to help you get the smile you’ve always dreamed of so you can finally show it off to the world without embarrassment!

Get your smile makeover started by calling Gentle Family Dentistry today at 814-663-6777! You can also request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Dr. Locker and his friendly, knowledgeable staff invite you to call Gentle Family Dentistry in Duncansville, PA for the greatest, most advanced, painless dental experience you have ever had.

You can call us at: 814-693-6777 or just click the link to
go to our webpage for more information.
Click here now:

And remember, You only have to floss daily the ones you want to keep.

A Healthy Mouth the Natural Way

In today’s world of chemicals, compounds, and drugs naturalistic healthcare tends to fall to the wayside. At Gentle Family Dentistry we don’t think it needs to be that way. While “better living through chemistry” is definitely possible it isn’t always the best route for your long-term health and happiness!

We strive to create dental care that isn’t just exceptional but also natural. Why use a chemical solution when there are simple, natural products that can do the same thing? The result is a cleaner, purer body that makes you feel good about the choices you’ve made.

Naturalistic Dental Care: What Is It?

Treating dental problems hasn’t changed. We still need to place fillings, perform root canals, and do regular dental checkups but there are new ways to stop cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems before they even occur. That’s where naturalistic dental care comes in: it’s all about prevention!

You don’t need complex compounds and hard-to-pronounce chemicals to maintain a healthy mouth. There are countless ways to change your diet and daily habits to protect your teeth!

Xylitol is an amazing natural product that is sweeter than sugar while also protecting your teeth. You can find xylitol in a lot of gums, breath fresheners, and lozenges that used to be sweetened with sugar, but not anymore! Xylitol offers great taste and none of the risks of sugar, making it a great substitute.

Made from a naturally occurring alcohol, xylitol actually helps inhibit cavity production by killing bacteria and helping prevent the loss of tooth enamel. You may not even realize that some of your favorite gums and breath mints are sweetened with xylitol – it’s a truly amazing product!

We offer EvoraPro to help give your mouth a healthy balance of bacteria that promotes a cavity-free life. EvoraPro is a probiotic tablet that helps kill off harmful oral bacteria and replaces it with a kind that leaves your mouth healthy. Oral bacteria is the reason for gum disease and tooth decay, and by taking EvoraPro regularly you can do a lot to prevent the damaging effects that the harmful strains of bacteria cause!

Green Tea is a proven cavity fighter as well! All types of tea contain compounds called catechins, which kill bacteria and prevent the remaining bits from adhering to your teeth. The levels in green tea are far higher, making it the best choice for fighting cavities with a simple warm cup in the morning. Be sure not to add sugar, though – that eliminates the benefits!

Menthol and Tea Tree Oil are both great at fighting off oral bacteria. Toothpastes with these products in them have been shown to reduce cavity rates and cut back gum disease as well! Gum disease occurs when harmful oral bacteria get below the surface of your gums, making it hard to reach. Brushing and flossing regularly can help fight it off and restore your gums to health. For an added boost use a toothpaste with menthol or tea tree oil in it – added protection is always a great idea!

Vitamin D3 boosts your body’s ability to fight bacteria and viruses of all kinds. Eating a diet with plenty of vitamin D in it can keep your mouth and body healthy, so don’t skimp on the dairy, eggs, fish, or orange juice! By adding plenty of vitamin D to your diet you can be giving your teeth a great boost at fighting off dangerous bacteria!

Drinking Water is always an essential part of a healthy mouth and body. You need to stay hydrated in order to produce enough saliva, which plays a big part in repelling oral bacteria. Saliva helps wash away food particles, bacteria, and acids that attack your teeth, making it an essential part of keeping your smile in tip-top shape. Don’t reach for a soda – just drink water!

Naturalistic Oral Health: It’s Simple!

Maintaining your smile without the need for chemicals and drugs isn’t hard – just add the foods and drinks we listed to your diet to give your teeth and gums a boost! We believe natural oral healthcare is the best way to keep yourself healthy and we’re willing to help you achieve that balance in any way possible!

If you want to find out more about naturalistic oral healthcare you can reach our Duncansville dentist office by calling 814-693-6777, or you can request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Dr. Locker and his friendly, knowledgeable staff invite you to call Gentle Family Dentistry in Duncansville, PA for the greatest, most advanced, painless dental experience you have ever had.

You can call us at: 814-693-6777 or just click the link to
go to our webpage for more information.
Click here now:

And remember, You only have to floss daily the ones you want to keep.

A Dental Visit You Don’t Have to Fear

A fear of the dental office is a completely common, normal, and popular feeling. Research estimates that about 10-20% of the population avoids the dentist altogether out of fear. The problem, of course, is that avoiding the dentist means setting yourself up for poor oral health, which can in turn affect your overall health.

Dentists have been looking for ways to make patients feel more comfortable. We have big, cushioned chairs, televisions in patient rooms, and nice soft music. We understand the importance of hiring kind, gentle hygienists, and we have found ways to make your appointment time more comfortable.

Still, there are some patients who are just so terrified that they cannot even pick up the phone. For those patients who walk into our Duncansville, PA, dentist office, we have another option: dental sedation.

Fear Comes From Many Things

Your fear of the dentist has been driven by something in your past. No one is born afraid of the dentist. In fact, most of us are taught that a dentist is simply a doctor who is there to help you have a healthier mouth. However, the following situations are things that will alter your perception of the dentist and cause fear.

Past Experiences – It is true that some people are recovering from legitimately terrifying experiences at the dental office. All we can say is that we are sorry your past dentist was not as gentle as they could have been.

Family Stories – When we don’t know something, we rely on other people’s experiences to know how we should react. If you’ve heard lots of family stories about a terrifying dentist or a horrible dental experience, you are more likely to take that fear as your own.

Hollywood – Hollywood has done the dental world no favors by including horrible dental scenes in many movies and television shows. Even if they are jokes about a dentist, they usually imply that going to the dentist should be terrifying.

Don’t Allow Fear to Ruin Your Oral Health

Here’s the bottom line: we understand your fear, but we know that your smile’s health is worth too much to let you sit at home afraid to come in! That’s why we are working so hard to help you get to the office. Gum disease is linked with serious health implications like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Don’t let a little fear put you at risk for these very serious conditions!

Find a Sedation Option that Works!

We offer dental sedation here at Gentle Family Dentistry. Sedation is a medicine that allows you to relax completely while you are in our chair. The medicine makes you feel like you don’t really care what’s going on around you. In other words, it takes away the anxiety and fear and allows you to just experience the dental appointment that is truly pain-free.

Nitrous Oxide Gas – The most commonly used sedation in offices around the world is nitrous oxide gas. Nitrous oxide is breathed through a mask over your nose. It will help you relax within minutes, and the effects wear off within minutes after you stop breathing it in. It is great for patients who have a mild fear of the dentist or those who are undergoing limited dental work and need to return to their job soon after the appointment.

Conscious Sedation – Nitrous oxide isn’t strong enough for everyone. For those patients, we recommend conscious sedation. This is a prescription pill that you can take two hours before your appointment. Your body will be relaxed before you even come into the office (you will need to ask someone to bring you to and from the office). We will complete your work and send you home to sleep off the medication. The sedative we use is also an amnesiac, which means you will not have a memory of your work being done!

Overcome Your Fear with Time and Trust

Within a few appointments, you will begin to realize that you are experiencing pain-free dentistry. You have no reason to feel afraid, and you will not need the sedation any longer. We love seeing patients build that trust with us until eventually, they don’t even mention a sedation option!

Learn More When You Call Today!

Are you ready to overcome your fear of the dentist? Call our office today to set up an appointment or consultation. We would love to help you feel less afraid and more confident before your appointment. Contact us soon so that we can help you have a happier, healthier smile!

Dr. Locker and his friendly, knowledgeable staff invite you to call Gentle Family Dentistry in Duncansville, PA for the greatest, most advanced, painless dental experience you have ever had.

You can call us at: 814-693-6777 or just click the link to
go to our webpage for more information.
Click here now:

And remember, You only have to floss daily the ones you want to keep.