Root Canal Awareness Week

With Root Canal Awareness Week coming upon us this March 22nd-28th, your Portsmouth NH dentist wanted to do their part, and is here today to discuss the benefits and process of this tooth-saving procedure with you, the patient.

Did you know an overwhelming majority of the population, some 70%, fear not only the loss of a tooth, but the procedure of a root canal? Tall tales of the pain endured during root canal therapy are widespread, but on average- not very likely or accurate. The ultimate irony is derived from the fact that the only way to NOT lose a tooth in many circumstances is to give it a root canal, making it one of the most frequently utilized endodontic treatments.

A root canal could be helpful in cases where a patient is in severe pain because of a tooth that has suffered at the hands of substantial decay, repeated procedures on the same tooth, or fault dental work causing cracks. Quite literally at the center of the procedure, and the pain, is a pulp tissue that contains blood vessels and nerves that have become inflamed or infected.

To resolve this pain, the pulp must be removed and the tooth filled. Due to the surrounding tissues being quite nourishing all by themselves, the tooth can continue having a “healthy life” without the pulp present.

For this procedure, the pulp is removed via an opening made in the crown of the tooth. Once all of the infected pulp is eliminated, a thorough cleaning of the cavity of the tooth is performed, then filled and sealed. A permanent crown and filling will be created to give the tooth a natural color and bite, being applied, more than likely, at a follow up visit.

And that is all! Just these few steps and you can keep the natural appearance, sensation and biting force of your natural tooth, compared to replacement of it altogether.

The need for a root canal can only be diagnosed by your Portsmouth NH dentist. Call our office at (603) 436-7787 to make an appointment to address any tooth pain you may be experiencing, today!

8 Causes for Tooth Decay

There are various reasons that a person can get tooth decay. Some of the causes of tooth decay can be poor dental hygiene or genetics. Listed below are the top 8 reasons Dr. James Spivey at their Portsmouth, NH dental practice has found to cause tooth decay in their Portsmouth, New Hampshire dental patients:

Acidic Foods: Some foods that contain a lot of acid may harm any exposed nerves at the base of your gums and teeth. To reduce the chances of this pain occurring, try eating foods that are less acidic and you won’t feel as much pain on your teeth and gums.

Tooth Grinding: Grinding your teeth at night can cause unnecessary wear and tear on your teeth. This strain on your teeth can lead to tooth decay. Ask Dr. Spivey about mouth guard options to help you stop from grinding your teeth.

Tooth-Whitening Toothpaste: Tooth whitening toothpaste can help whiten your teeth, but the chemicals in the toothpaste can also wear down your teeth’s enamel and make your teeth more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. Ask Dr. Spivey which toothpaste is the right option for you.

Mouthwash: On that same note, the chemicals in certain mouthwashes can also have an effect on your teeth’s enamel. If you should decide to use a mouthwash, you should choose one that has more neutral ingredients in it so as to not wear down your teeth’s enamel.

Gum Disease: Gum disease can have an effect on your teeth as well. As your gums recede, they expose nerve and root endings on your teeth that can be sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, as well as vulnerable to bacteria. Be sure to consult with Dr. Spivey if you think you have the symptoms of gum disease.

Excessive Plaque: Plaque is the sticky clear film that grows on your teeth after you eat or drink. Overtime this buildup can cause cavities to your teeth if it is not removed. Daily brushing and flossing of your teeth will help remove the plaque and keep it away.

Cracked Tooth: If you crack your tooth, contact Dr. James Spivey at their Portsmouth, New Hampshire dental practice immediately. Having a cracked tooth can impair you from eating and chewing properly, it can also cause damage to other healthy teeth as well.  Do not wait if you crack a tooth!

Regular Dental Checkups: Maintaining a regular dental schedule with Dr. Spivey at their Portsmouth, NH dental practice will ensure that your teeth stay clean and healthy. Dr. Spivey will also be able to notice any issues before they can progress and treat you accordingly. Make an appointment with Portsmouth, New Hampshire dentist Dr. Spivey by clicking here.

Effectiveness of Taste Buds Hampered by Smoking

Researchers have found that the chemicals in cigarettes may have an effect on our taste buds and how we taste. To learn more about this research, click here:


Dentist Blog: A recent study that appeared in the journal of Chemosensory Perception links the toxic chemicals in tobacco to the prevention of taste bud regeneration. While the research team concluded that smoking didn’t have any impact on the way a person tasted things that were sour, sweet, or salty, they couldn’t say the same for bitter things.

Even though coffee and smoking often get paired together, a smoker may be unable to fully taste the bitterness of coffee. The chemicals in tobacco have been proven to create structural changes to the fungiform papillae of the tongue, making smokers lose their sense of taste over time.

Taste buds are largely responsible for conveying sour, salty, sweet, and bitter sensations in the tongue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives the following responsibilities for taste buds:

  • Triggering digestive systems that change secretions of saliva and stomach acids.
  • Enhancing feelings of pleasure and satiety when eating.

Determining quality of foods and determining “good” tasting foods from “bad” ones, which could have potential toxins.

The study, conducted by Nelly Jacob of the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital APHP in France, tested 451 people split into groups of smokers, nonsmokers, and formal smokers. They were tested on whether they tasted sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, and sourness.

Low levels of bitterness in things are generally not difficult to taste. However, the study discovered that 20% of the smokers in the study could not pinpoint a bitter taste in the samples.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers determined that tobacco prevents taste buds from regenerating. This results in smokers only being able to detect some tastes but not all.

While the long-term effects of smoking on taste buds are not fully known, Dr. James Spivey and his periodontal team in Portsmouth, NH highly recommends trying to stop before it causes additional damage to your taste buds, your teeth, and your body.

If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment with a Portsmouth periodontist, please call James D. Spivey, DDS, MS, Perio today at (603) 436-7787or feel free to check us out online at

We look forward to hearing from you!

6 Bad Oral Health Habits You Should Stop Today

Dentist Dr. James Spivey at James D. Spivey, DDS, MS, Perio in Portsmouth, NH offers 6 bad oral habits that you should drop immediately to protect your smile.


1. Not flossing

Most people realize that brushing your teeth is important make a real effort to do so twice a day. Unfortunately, they believe that brushing means they don’t need to floss. They are wrong. Flossing at least once a day is just as critical to achieving and maintaining a healthy smile. Toothbrushes cannot remove the cavity-causing bacteria left behind from food particles that get stuck in between your teeth. When you start to floss regularly, your gums may bleed and get irritated but it’s important to keep at it.


2. Brushing too soon after eating

Foods and beverages like citrus fruits, wine, sports drinks, and energy drinks can erode the outer layer of your tooth, known as tooth enamel. While you know you must get this acid off of your teeth, it’s crucial to understand that brushing your teeth too soon after eating or drinking can cause more damage to your teeth. When you brush too soon, you are essentially brushing the acid into your teeth, not getting rid of it. While waiting the 30 minutes to brush your teeth after consuming these acidy foods, rinse your mouth with some water.


3. Not replacing your toothbrush often enough

Portsmouth, NH dentist Dr. James Spivey recommends replacing your toothbrush every two to three months. Old toothbrushes are ineffective because they harbor harmful bacteria that can cause infections and tooth decay. Remember to replace your toothbrush after you’ve had a cold!


4. Excessively bleaching your teeth

Be careful about the frequency and severity in which you bleach your teeth. Bleaching too much can cause your teeth to look unnaturally white and increase tooth sensitivity. Before using an at-home bleaching product, talk to dentist Dr. Spivey at James D. Spivey, DDS, MS, Perio. Dr. Spivey can recommend the best procedure that meets your unique dental needs.


5. Using a hard-bristled toothbrush and brushing incorrectly

A great way to cause irreversible damage to your gums is by using a hard-bristled toothbrush and brushing incorrectly. The correct way to brush your teeth is by using a soft toothbrush and gently brushing your teeth and gums at a 45-degree angle, in a circular motion. By using a hard-bristled toothbrush and rigorously brushing back-and-forth, you can expose your gums to recede, exposing the root of the tooth, making them extremely sensitive.


6. Skipping dental appointments

Dr. James Spivey and the American Dental Association recommend visiting a dentist for a checkup and cleaning every 6 months. Skipping these appointments puts your oral health in jeopardy. Dental cleanings get rid of the buildup of tartar and plaque that accumulate over time that your toothbrush and flossing efforts just can’t clean.


To make an appointment with a dentist in in the Portsmouth, NH area, visit Dr. Spivey’s website at:  and book one with Dr. James Spivey today!

15 Ways to Destroy Your Teeth

Did you know that tooth enamel is the hardest and most mineralized part of the human body? Unfortunately, even the hardest part of the human body can deteriorate after years of misuse, neglect, and abuse. Check out the 15 quickest ways to destroy your teeth and learn how to prevent them in this month’s blog post.

1. Brushing Immediately After Every Meal

Most likely, you’ve been constantly reminded from an early age that you should be brushing your teeth right after each meal. While you should definitely brush after each meal, you should wait about 30mins before doing so. If you brush too soon after eating, you risk scrubbing away your enamel that has been softened by the acid your mouth produces when you eat. If you wait half an hour, the acid neutralizes and your teeth re-mineralize.

2. Forgetting to Floss

If you forget to routinely floss, you’re putting your gums in jeopardy of gingivitis. Flossing cleans between your teeth and under your gum line. The longer food stays lodged in contact with the gums, the more problems it can create. If you notice your gums bleed while brushing or flossing, it means you need to take better care of your gums or you could get gingivitis.

3. Skipping Checkups

Dr. Spivey and his team at Dr. James D. Spivey, DDS, MS, Perio in Portsmouth, NH recommends visiting us every six months. If you don’t go often enough, you allow plaque to form into tartar which is more difficult to get off. Tartar attracts additional plaque and carries it into your gums, causing structure damage to your teeth.

4. Using Your Teeth as Tools

Yes, your teeth are hard. Yes, they can break that hard candy, open bags of chips, and crack open a can of soda if you wanted to… but don’t! Opt to use disposable tools in your house like scissors and bottle openers. Unlike these cheap appliances, you only have one set of teeth to last you a lifetime.

5. Not Wearing a Mouth Guard

In any sport where there’s a chance of contact with something or someone, you should be wearing a mouth guard. We recommend a mouth guard for most athletes, especially those that play football, baseball, wrestling, basketball, martial arts, and lacrosse. It just takes one awkward collision with a ball or person to knock some teeth out and cause major problems.

6. Grinding Your Teeth

Grinding your teeth wears down your teeth, leading to decay. Also, the added pressure can fracture your enamel. Most people that grind their teeth don’t know it. It occurs when they are sleeping, stressed, or just bored.

7. Drinking Sugary and Acidic Beverages

Soda, fruit juices, and sports drink contain a lot of sugar and/or acid that eats away at the enamel of your teeth. Think that diet soda containing zero grams of sugar is an exception? Think again. The acid in those sodas are just as bad. Try a healthy drink like water instead. Besides being better for your teeth, water has been proven to have a ton of positive side effects to your overall health.

8. Drinking Coffee, Tea or Red Wine

More beverages that you should avoid are coffee, tea, and red wine. These types of drinks stain your teeth. Once your teeth are stained, the bacteria can lead to decay. Dr. Spivey understands that removing all of these drinks completely from your diet is easier said than done. If you must drink them however, make sure to use a straw and rinse afterwards with water.

9. Whitening Teeth Too Often

While it’s okay to whiten your teeth, whitening too much can have negative side effects. When you whiten your teeth, they become sensitive. When they’re sensitive, your teeth are more prone to irritation, disease, and worn enamel. Before using teeth whitening, check in with your dentist for proper instructions and care.

10. Drinking Bottled Water

Tap water contains fluoride, a compound that can prevent cavities. When you exclusively drink bottled water, you’re missing out on the fluoride your teeth need to fight decay.

11. Getting Your Tongue Pierced

A tongue piercing constantly hits your teeth while speaking. Metal jewelry can crack or fracture your teeth with prolonged use.

12. Being Bulimic.

Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating and purging. This causes serious damage to teeth. Besides the unhealthy food going down, the stomach acid that comes up with the food eats away at the enamel. There are, of course, additional side effects of being bulimic.

13. Abusing Drugs

We all know drugs are bad, but did you know they are also terrible on your teeth? Drugs like crystal meth cause the users to crave sugary foods, have dry mouths, and clench their teeth. They often end up with horrible teeth that fall out.

14. Using Legal Medications Continuously.

Besides illegal drugs being bad for your oral health, legal medications are bad as well. Using too many cough drops (high in sugar), birth control pills (can lead to gum disease), or antihistamines (dry mouth) are no good.

15. Smoking Cigarettes

Like drinking tea and coffee, smoking stains your teeth, making them more susceptible to bacteria. Smoking is also a major cause of gum and bone disease. Add a healthy mouth to the laundry list of benefits to quitting smoking.


Remember these 15 no-no’s to a healthy mouth and try your best to avoid them. If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call at (603) 436-7787. Dr. Spivey and our friendly team at James D. Spivey, DDS, MS, Perio in Portsmouth, NH  will be glad to help out in any way possible. Want to make an appointment? Visit our website at

5 Explanations for Bleeding Gums

If your gums start to bleed while you brush your teeth, you may think the worst. The reasons why your gums can bleed are varied, but not all of them are bad and almost all are fixable. Many of the reasons can relate to our daily lifestyles and personal hygiene.

One of the main reasons why gums bleed while being brushed is simply because of having poor dental hygiene. Not brushing and flossing regularly can lead to plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth and gums. A simple way to rectify this is start! Dr. Spivey recommends brushing and flossing at least twice a day. On your next visit, our Portsmouth, MD dental team will demonstrate the proper techniques to brushing and flossing effectively.

Another reason your gums may bleed could be because of gingivitis. One of the main reasons people get gingivitis is from having inflamed gums. This inflammation in the gums is caused by a buildup of tartar, plaque, food particles, and bacteria on the gum line over an extended period of time. A way to help stop this buildup and inflammation is to maintain a normal dental visit schedule with Dr. Spivey at his Portsmouth, MD office. At your appointment, they use specialized cleaning tools to help remove the buildup on your gums that can’t be removed by a normal toothbrush.

Should gingivitis be left untreated it can lead to periodontal disease, a more serious dental ailment.  Periodontal disease is when gums become seriously inflamed and start to pull away from the teeth. You may notice pus forming between the teeth as well. If it remains untreated, tooth loss may occur.

For more information and explanations on why your gums could bleed, visit:

The easiest way to avoid any dental ailments or diseases is to maintain good oral hygiene and a healthy, balanced diet. Routine checkups and cleanings with Dr. Spivey to remove hard to reach bacteria is a sure way to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. To make an appointment with Dr. Spivey and his dental team in Portsmouth, MD, visit their website:


What Your Teeth and Gums Reveal About Your Health

When you have bad breath or a canker sore you may, think that these are strictly oral health issues, but there is now proof that these ailments can have a direct link to your overall health.

Bad breath can be more than just embarrassing; it can be a direct indicator of underlying health issues. If your breath has a sweet odor it could be an indicator of diabetic ketoacidosis. Another underlying health issue may be post-nasal drip or a sinus infection as these may cause breath odor.

Bleeding gums mean more than just that you are brushing too hard! They can also be a sign of gingivitis. Gingivitis occurs when there is a build-up of plaque and tarter on the teeth and gums. It can also be a symptom of Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) or even a vitamin K deficiency.

Dr. Spivey will be happy to demonstrate the proper way to brush and floss your teeth at his Portsmouth, NH periodontal practice, or to work with your current dental provider to treat any periodontal diseases. To make an appointment to see Dr. Spivey or to learn more about dental hygiene visit his website:

The Real Reason Your Teeth Are Hurting

At the first sign of tooth pain people often think the worst, “Oh no, I have a cavity!” Surprisingly this may not be the case at all. Many people mistake toothache for cavities when it could really be tooth sensitivity. Many of the things we eat and drink are more harmful for our teeth then we really think.

If you have tooth pain, but it’s not cavity, there are a few things you can do to find some relief. The first step is to analyze what you’re drinking. If you’re drinking high acidic fluids like coffee or soda it could have an effect on your teeth. The acids in these drinks can start to wear down the enamel on your teeth. This can heighten your sensitivity since the nerve endings are becoming exposed. Simply reducing your intake could help your teeth in the long run.

Surprisingly, the kind of tooth paste that you use could be affecting the sensitivity of your teeth. If you use a brand that promises teeth whitening, tartar control, or has baking soda as an ingredient it could be eroding your enamel as well. These chemicals tend to be more aggressive on teeth causing the enamel to wear down and expose the nerve endings.

These along with some other surprising factors could be the reason why your teeth are hurting. Fixing these problems now could save you more toothache later on. To read more about how you can fix your tooth issues click here:

The Importance of a Healthy Smile

Did you know that your smile can link to your confidence level? Having a beautiful white smile means that you have healthy teeth and gums; it also can give your self-esteem a boost. When you have a smile that you love it means that you smile more often. This not only improves your mood but makes you appear more confident in what you are doing and also more approachable and friendly. When you smile, people are more likely to view you as being more sociable and trustworthy.

When you are unhappy with your smile, it can give you the look of not being sincere or genuine. Some people may lose their confidence because they are unhappy with their smile. There are many reasons that people are unhappy with their smile, one of the most common reasons is the color of their teeth. Many people feel that their teeth are not white enough, or that they do not look like they used to. Fortunately, there are many fixes to make your smile the best it can be.  To learn more about why having a healthy smile is a great confidence builder visit here

The first step to a healthy smile is talking to your dentist. Dr. Spivey and his Portsmouth practice can offer the best in site into what would be the best steps to begin the process towards a more confident smile. Call our office at (603) 436-7787 or visit  to set up an appointment with us. We look forward to helping you start the journey to a beautiful and healthy smile!

Baby Boomers May Boost Dental Economy

The dental economy has had issues for a long time now, long before the recession issues in 2008. The reason for this is because adults tend to not go, and a low percentage of adults need any serious dental work or appliances. This will be changing soon thanks to the generations of baby boomers who will need to visit the dentist to fix their dental needs. This in turn will boost the number of adults who will visit the dentist as an average.

While the number of adults who visit the dentist annually has gone down, the number of children going has risen. It seems that mostly low-income children are visiting the dentist, but this does not make a big dent in the dental economy since children’s dental care is generally less expensive than adult dental care.

To learn more about this interesting trend in the dental economy click here to learn more: