Missing Tooth

If I Lose a Tooth, do I Need to Replace it?

When we’re kids, our baby teeth grow in and then fall out – replaced by our “adult teeth” during adolescence. Those adult teeth are there to stay. If you lose one, it’s gone and your body won’t grow another one. So what are your dental options when you lose a tooth? In this article, we are going to talk about the importance of replacing missing teeth.

Losing a Tooth

There are many things that can result in a lost or missing tooth. Acute injuries (such as a car crash) can knock teeth out of your mouth. Tooth decay, left untreated, can result in a necessary tooth extraction. The list goes on. When you lose a tooth, you have two basic options – do something about it, or leave it as is. Not doing anything about your missing tooth is a bad idea for several reasons. First, there’s the cosmetic issue to consider. A full set up teeth generally looks better than a smile missing a tooth or two. Second, there are physical consequences. A missing tooth will cause your adjacent teeth to shift and try to fill the gap. When teeth shift to accommodate for the space they put excessive pressure on the remaining teeth that will likely cause damage to the other teeth.

Options for Replacing Teeth

When it comes to replacing lost teeth, you have several options at your disposal – from implants, to bridges, to dentures. What works best will depend on your situation.

Back to the question at hand – do you need to replace a lost tooth? You don’t need to, but it’s a very good idea to prevent any dental health issues in the future.

Twin Cities Dental Clinics

Smiles for Life offers dental care at two Minnesota clinic. We have been helping patients with their oral health needs at these locations for many years. Dr. Tim Brooks is a skilled and experienced family and cosmetic dentist. He and the rest of the team at Smiles for Life are well equipped to help you with your dental issues. Contact us today to set up your appointment with Dr. Brooks at one of our Twin Cities dental clinics.

Dentist vs. Oral Surgeon

Dentist vs. Oral Surgeon – What’s the Difference?

Many people don’t think that dentists and oral surgeons are one in the same. And while both are trained dental health professionals, the services provided by each are quite different. In this article, we are going to explain the differences between dentists and oral surgeons, take a look at the care that each can provide, and talk about when to see which one.


A dentist earns a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree from a qualified medical school and performs most of the care and procedures people imagine when they think of going to the dentist. In general, dentists can provide the following services:

  • Routine dental health exams and cleanings
  • Cavity fillings
  • Cosmetic procedures like bonding
  • Crowns & bridges
  • Gum care
  • Sealants
  • Root canals
  • Implant restoration

Oral Surgeons

An oral surgeon spends about 4-8 more years in dental school than a dentist. As a result, they are more specialized and typically focus on more complex procedures. If you need to see an oral surgeon, your dentist will likely refer you to one. Here are a few services commonly provided by oral surgeons:

  • Wisdom teeth removal
  • Impacted or complex tooth removal
  • Tumor extraction
  • Implant post placement
  • Removal of soft tissue

Dental Healthcare in Bloomington, MN

Dr. Tim Brooks and the team at Smiles for Life dental clinics make it a point to provide compassionate, unparalleled patient care to each and every person who walks through our doors. With years of experience, Dr. Brooks has the skills needed to handle all of your family or cosmetic dental health needs. Whether you need a crown, or you just want to make an appointment for a cleaning, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Give us a call today to set up your appointment with Dr. Brooks at our Bloomington dental clinic.

Dental Fillings

How Long Do Dental Fillings Last?

When your dentist finds a cavity, the most common treatment option is to get a filling, which will prevent the cavity from growing and reduce any associated pain. But fillings aren’t indestructible and won’t last forever. So how long can you expect your fillings to last? That’s our topic for today’s dental education article.

Types of Fillings

There are two basic types of fillings – white (composite) fillings and silver (amalgam) fillings. How long a filling lasts depends heavily on the patient in question. For some, a filling may last for many years, while others may have a filling fall out within 2 years. It all depends on the patient, the dentist, and various other factors.

Daily activities like eating, drinking, and teeth grinding can cause wear-and-tear on your fillings that builds over time. Eventually, fillings may crack or fall out.

At Smiles for Life, we don’t use amalgam fillings because we don’t like the potential for cracking of teeth with those types of fillings. We only do composite fillings and only if less than 40-50% of the tooth is involved.  We may recommend a crown on ceramic onlay to give the tooth more strength long term for larger areas of damage.

Replacing Old Fillings

If you notice anything out of the ordinary with your fillings (cracks, pain in the tooth, or a filling that falls out), it’s time to make an appointment with your dentist to get the cavity re-filled. During your regular dental cleanings, your dentist will check all of your existing fillings for wear-and-tear. If there are any present issues, they may recommend fixing the fillings before they degrade further. Just another reason why it’s important to visit your dentist every six months!

Contact a Minnesota Dentist

Dr. Tim Brooks has many years of experience providing dental care to patients throughout the Twin Cities area. At Smiles for Life, we provide family and cosmetic dentistry services, working one-on-one with each of our patients to ensure compassionate, quality care. Whether you need to schedule a routine dental cleaning, or you’d like to investigate your options for invisible braces, we’ve got you covered! Contact Smiles for Life today to set up your appointment with Dr. Brooks at our Bloomington or Farmington clinics.

Dental Anxiety

Tips for Beating Dental Anxiety

Most people have experienced some form of dental anxiety at some point in their lives. For whatever reason, many people are afraid of the dentist’s chair and dread coming in for appointments. But we’re here to help you conquer your fears and anxieties! In this article, we are going to offer up a few tips for beating dental anxiety and feeling comfortable during your dental appointments.

Causes of Dental Anxiety

First off, let’s talk a little bit about what causes dental anxiety. Dental-related fears and anxieties can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Bad previous dental experiences
  • Fear of drilling, needles, or pain
  • Extremely sensitive teeth
  • Embarrassment

How to Overcome Dental Anxiety

Here are a few tips for overcoming your dental anxiety:

  • Communicate with your Dentist & Clinic. Open communication with your dentist and clinic is important to making sure your appointment goes as smoothly as possible. If you are experiencing any fears before your appointment, tell your dentist or clinic. They will listen to your concerns and try to alleviate your fears.
  • Know What to Expect. If you’re visiting a new dentist for the first time, do some research online and get to know a little bit more about them and the clinic. Knowing what to expect can go a long way towards alleviating fears.
  • Medications to Reduce Anxiety. Mild to moderate anxiety during dental procedures can be helped with administering nitrous oxide – a mild sedative gas that is given through a nasal mask. It creates a calming effect and wears off after the appointment so that the patient can drive themselves home. Another option is to take a prescription medication like valium before the appointment. With this medication however you will need to bring someone along to drive you home.

Minnesota Family Dentist

If you are dealing with dental anxiety, the worst thing you can do is avoid going to the dentist. Missing your regular checkups and cleanings can lead to much more serious issues in the future. At Smiles for Life, our Minnesota dental health experts make sure you feel as comfortable as possible during your visit with us. Dr. Tim Brooks has many years of experience treating patients throughout the state of Minnesota. He provides each and every patient he sees with the care they deserve. Contact us to set up your appointment today at Smiles for Life Dental Clinic. We have clinic locations in Farmington and Bloomington but provide care to patients throughout the state of Minnesota.

Sensitive Teeth

3 Tips for Dealing with Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth can be annoying, frustrating, and downright painful. Thankfully, there are options for reducing teeth sensitivity and dealing with related symptoms. In this article, we are going to offer a few strategies for dealing with sensitive teeth.

Use Sensitive Toothpaste

One easy way to help manage your sensitive teeth is to swap out your regular toothpaste for a type specifically made for sensitive teeth. Most of the largest toothpaste brands (Crest, Sensodyne, Colgate, etc.) offer a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. If you’re at all confused, look for a toothpaste that has potassium nitrate – an ingredient that can help treat sensitivity and related tooth pain. Anyone with sensitive teeth should avoid tarter control or whitening toothpastes. The ingredients used in those toothpastes can cause sensitivity.

Try to Avoid Acidic Drinks and Foods

Food and drinks with a high acidity can often trigger sensitive teeth. It can be difficult to avoid some of these altogether (coffee has a high acidity level, and many people need their cup of morning coffee to start the day). Drinking through a straw can help limit your exposure to these types of acidic drinks while still allowing you to enjoy them.

Visit Your Dentist

Tooth sensitivity can also indicate other dental issues like cavities, so it’s important to visit your dentist on a regular basis (at least every 6 months) to address any present issues.

Dental Clinic in Farmington, MN

If you are dealing with sensitive teeth, make an appointment with a dentist today to discuss your treatment options. Dr. Tim Brooks has been providing family and cosmetic dental care to patients throughout the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota for years. He, and the rest of the staff at Smiles for Life, make it a point to provide compassionate, individualized care to each patient that walks into our clinics. Give us a call today to set up your appointment at one of our Smiles for Life Dental Clinics (located in Bloomington and Farmington).

Teeth Whitening Tips

4 Tips for Keeping Your Teeth White After a Teeth Whitening

Achieving and maintaining white teeth is something many people continually strive for. But it can be difficult to keep your teeth white, even after a professional whitening. In this article, we are going to offer a few tips for keeping your teeth bright and shiny after a professional teeth whitening procedure.

Brush Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth thoroughly and regularly is one of the best methods you have at your disposal to keep your teeth white. Using a whitening toothpaste is even better! Whitening toothpaste will not help whiten the enamel but can help with surface stains. Make sure you are brushing at least twice a day. If you really want to be an all-star, you can brush after meals as well.

Floss, Floss, Floss

Many people don’t equate flossing with white teeth, but it’s an important activity to keep your smile bright and your mouth healthy. Flossing regularly helps prevent plaque buildup, thus preventing your teeth from staining.

Watch What You Consume

Some food and drinks can seriously stain your teeth. Coffee, tea, wine, and the like are all known to yellow teeth over time. You don’t have to completely cut these out, but limit your intake, drink them using a straw if possible, and brush your teeth afterwards to keep your teeth white.

Avoid Tobacco Use

Smoking and/or chewing tobacco is guaranteed to yellow your teeth. If you’re a regular smoker, try to cut back. At the very least, make sure you are brushing your teeth regularly.

Teeth Whitening Dentist in Bloomington, MN

Dr. Tim Brooks is a skilled family and cosmetic dentist serving patients in Bloomington, Farmington, and the surrounding Minnesota areas. With years of experience under his belt, Dr. Brooks has the experience needed to address your dental health issue. Whether you need a simple cleaning, or you’d like to have your teeth professionally whitened, we’ve got you covered! Contact us today to set up your appointment at a Smiles for Life Dental Clinic!

Find a Dentist

Tips for Finding the Right Dentist / Dental Clinic

It’s important to find a skilled dentist that you can trust. But with so many options, finding the right dentist can be difficult. In this article, we are going to talk about a few things to look for when you’re searching for a quality dentist or dental clinic.

Credentials & Specialties

First and foremost, do some brief research on the dentist in question. Check out their website and see how long they’ve been practicing, where they went to school, and what type of dentistry they practice.


Location is another important factor to consider when searching for a dental clinic. Find out where your dentist practices and if he has one or multiple clinic locations.


It’s also important to find a dentist with a good reputation. The simplest way to investigate this is to do a simple Google search for your dentist or clinic. Check out their website and see what services they offer and what their patients have to say. You can also find patient reviews on the clinic’s Google business listing, and other third-party sites. Asking friends and family for their recommendations can be another great way of finding a reputable clinic.

MN Dental Health Clinic

Smiles for Life treats patients with dental issues in Bloomington and Farmington. With years of experience, Dr. Tim Brooks has the skills necessary to provide you top-notch dental care. When you walk through our clinic doors, we provide you with quality, compassionate dental care, every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your appointment with the Smiles for Life team at our Bloomington or Farmington dental clinics.

Preparing For Your Visit

What to Expect from Your First Visit at Smiles for Life

Let’s be honest – visiting the dentist isn’t most people’s favorite activity, especially if you’re visiting a dental clinic for the first time. At Smiles for Life, we like to make things as painless as possible for our patients, from the moment you walk through our doors, to the moment you leave. In this article, we are going to discuss what you can expect when you visit Smiles for Life for the first time.

Fill Our Your Patient Forms

The first time you visit any dental clinic, you’re going to have to fill out some forms to provide the clinic the information they need to meet your needs. To speed things up and make your first visit easier, we encourage patients to print off the below patient forms, fill them out, and bring them to their first visit:

After completing the forms our hygienist or one of our assistants will greet you and bring you back to a treatment room to discuss any concerns you may have. Typically we will take a complete set of x-rays as well as a complete set up intraoral photos to gather much of the diagnostic information that Dr. Brooks will need when he completes his comprehensive exam.  We will be doing a periodontal evaluation to check for gum disease as well as a very important oral cancer exam.

If you are scheduled to have your teeth cleaned at this appointment we will typically do that prior to Dr. Brooks doing his exam unless there is significant infection which makes a routine teeth cleaning not an option.  After the exam is complete Dr. Brooks will review with you your dental needs and make his recommendations and our financial team will discuss cost insurance and scheduling

We look forward to any questions or concerns you might have so please don’t hesitate to ask.  We are here to help you achieve your dental goals.

Twin Cities Dentist

At Smiles for Life, we provide dental care to patients in Bloomington, Farmington, and throughout the Twin Cities metro area. Dr. Tim Brooks has many years of experience providing family and cosmetic dental care to his patients. He and his team of skilled hygienists have the experience needed to tackle your dental healthcare needs – whether you need an implant or a routine dental cleaning. Contact us today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Brooks at one of our Smiles for Life dental clinics.

Cosmetic Bonding Dentist

3 Reasons You Might Need Cosmetic Bonding

Cosmetic bonding is a quick and easy dental procedure in which your dentist uses a bonding agent to rebuild damaged or destroyed teeth. There are many situations in which cosmetic bonding can be useful. In this article, we’re going to talk about three situations in which you might need to visit your dentist for cosmetic bonding.

You Chipped a Tooth While Eating

Biting down on hard foods (like a popcorn kernel) unexpectedly can result in small chips in your teeth. Most often, these chips are not serious and can be fixed with a simple cosmetic bonding procedure that will make your teeth look good as new!

You Were Involved in a Car Accident

Car accidents often involve injuries to the mouth and teeth. Depending on the severity of the accident and injuries, you may need implants or bridges. Less serious damage can often be fixed with cosmetic bonding. That said, your dentist will be able to provide a full diagnosis and walk you through your treatment options.

You Fell Off Your Bike

Bike accidents can happen to adults and children alike. Even if you wear a helmet when you ride (which you should) your teeth are left virtually unprotected. Falling off your bike and landing on the pavement can cause serious damage to your teeth. Cosmetic bonding can often help.

Minnesota Cosmetic Bonding Dentist

Dr. Tim Brooks is a cosmetic and family dentist serving patients in the Bloomington and Farmington areas. At Smiles for Life, we work with each and every one of our patients to provide them the dental healthcare that they deserve. Whether you come in for a routine cleaning or you need a cosmetic bonding procedure, you will be treated with the utmost respect at our clinic. Reach out to us today to set up your appointment with Dr. Brooks and the team at Smiles for Life dental clinics!

Bad Breath Causes

Bad Breath – Causes, Prevention & Treatment

Bad breath (aka “halitosis” in the medical world) is an annoyance at best and a potential sign of a serious condition at worst. There are many things that can cause bad breath, and several conditions that it may indicate. In this article, we are going to discuss bad breath and how it relates to your oral health. We will talk about some of the causes of bad breath, as well as some tips for prevention and treatment.

What Causes Bad Breath?

There are several potential factors that can lead to bad breath. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Smoking
  • Eating Foods with strong odors (onions, garlic, etc.)
  • Dry mouth
  • Gum disease

Bad Breath Prevention & Treatment

Perhaps the best way to prevent bad breath is to practice good oral hygiene. That means brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and visiting your dentist for routine cleanings twice a year.

Beyond that, preventing and treating bad breath really depends on the underlying cause. If your bad breath is the result of your diet (consuming a particular food), or a lifestyle habit (smoking, for example), cutting down on those factors will likely help reduce the halitosis. If gum disease is the culprit, additional treatment may be required, and your dentist can help with that.

Smiles for Life Dental Clinic

At Smiles for Life Dental Clinic, we provide family and cosmetic dental care to patients throughout the Twin Cities. Dr. Brooks and his team of hygienists make it a point to treat each and every patient that walks through our doors with the respect that they deserve. Whether you need to schedule a routine cleaning, or you’re interested in learning more about invisible braces, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to set up your appointment at our Bloomington or Farmington dental offices.