Tooth Idioms: Our Favorite Sayings About Teeth

The English language is full of fun sayings and idioms that most of us understand even though they don’t actually make a lot of literal sense.

Here are some of our favorites that refer to our favorite subject; teeth!

Long In The Tooth

There’s an old saying that someone who is old is “long in the tooth”. This is based on the idea that teeth grow throughout our lifespans and are therefore longer the older we get. This isn’t actually true – after adult teeth come in during adolescence, they stop growing. The gums tend to recede and show more of the tooth, however, which gives the appearance that the teeth are getting longer over time.

Cut Your Teeth

The enamel on your teeth is actually the hardest substance in your body so it’s almost impossible to literally cut your teeth. This saying actually references new teeth “cutting” through the gums when they first come in. When you “cut your teeth” on something, you’re trying something out for the first time.

Scarce As Hen’s Teeth

The fact that hens have no teeth makes this one pretty obvious – if something is as scarce as something that doesn’t exist at all, well that’s pretty scarce!

Give Your Eyeteeth

The term “eyeteeth” neither refers to teeth in your eyes nor eyes in your teeth. Rather, your eyeteeth are your canines! The saying assumes that eyeteeth are very important and valuable. Therefore, to say you’d “give your eyeteeth” for something, means you very, very much want it!

Sink Your Teeth

This saying doesn’t actually have anything to do with whether or not teeth float or sink in water. To “sink your teeth” into something really means to bite down on it. If it’s food, then the meaning is clear. If it’s something else, like a job or a task, it simply means to start working on it in a determined way.

How Do Dentists Use Lasers?

Though it might seem like something out of a science fiction movie, healthcare professionals and dentists specifically often use lasers when treating patients.

There are several reasons to use lasers. They can be highly controlled, very precise, and in many cases, can be more efficient and less painful than other methods.

Here are the four most common ways that dentists use lasers:

To Whiten Teeth – Dentists use lasers to accelerate in-office teeth whitening procedures. The heat from the lasers safely activates the chemicals in the teeth whitening solution, whitening teeth even more than they would otherwise.

To Harden Fillings – The heat from lasers can be applied to new fillings to harden them once they are set. For most patients, lasers cause less discomfort than some other forms of treatment and can replace other tools that are more likely to cause patient stress.

To Remove Tissue – Lasers are commonly used by dentists to remove tissue from the mouth. Specifically, this could be any tissue that has become infected or died. Removing tissue allows dentists to clean and disinfect an area before performing treatment like a root canal.

To Treat Canker Sores – Canker sores are painful, particularly when a patient develops many of them at once. When treated with lasers in a dentist’s office, canker sores often stop growing. This makes them less painful and can even make them heal faster!

Laser dentistry is a safe practice that is becoming very common in the dental industry. If you’re interested in learning more about laser dentistry or you’d like to speak with someone about the advantages, feel free to contact us at Rankin & Mingle Dentistry!

Summer Events in Aurora

If you’re feeling like you haven’t gotten outside as much as you’d like this summer, you’re not alone.

Before long, the weather will start getting cooler and we’ll all regret not finding more opportunities to enjoy the summer while we had the chance!

Here are some of the upcoming outdoor events in Aurora that we’re most excited about:

Movies on the Square

Family-friendly movies are shown on Wednesday nights at Southlands Town Square. There’s usually pre-show entertainment, too.

Best of all, the entire event is totally free!

Arrive as early as 7:30 to enjoy the entire experience or get there just before dusk to catch the beginning of the movie.

Upcoming films include Big Hero 6, Finding Nemo, and Penguins of Madagascar.

Farmers’ Market

Every Saturday morning from 9AM to 1PM, over 40 vendors fill up the plaza at Southlands Town Square, selling everything from fresh produce to handmade goods.

In addition to the shopping, you can bring the kids in their swimsuits to enjoy the fountain!

Summer Concerts – Raising Cain

Though most of the season’s summer concert series has passed, the city of Aurora has saved the best for last: with over 100 songs in their repertoire, Raising Cain is one of Colorado’s top rock/dance acts!

All of the musicians play several instruments each and switch between songs, showcasing their incredible talents.

Raising Cain is performing July 30th outside the Aurora Municipal Center from 6:30PM to 8:00PM.

Is BOTOX® Cosmetic Dangerous?

Botox injections are very popular for patients wanting younger looking skin, and they can also be used to treat more than twenty diseases and health conditions.

Botox works by paralyzing specific muscles, which are then unable to contract for several months. The skin around these muscles is given time to relax and soften, which erases wrinkles and gives the skin a more youthful appearance.

The active ingredient in Botox is actually a neurotoxin, called botulinum toxin. Like other neurotoxins, botulinum affects the nervous system, causing the muscle paralysis that makes Botox effective.

Infections of botulinum toxin cause the condition known as botulism, which is a widespread paralysis of the muscles.

Some patients express concern about the possibility that they may contract botulism from a Botox injection. The truth is, there is no reason for concern, but it is understandable.

Getting botulism from a Botox injection is rare because the toxin would need to spread to other parts of the body to be dangerous and this is very unlikely to happen. When injected by a trained professional, Botox has a very high success rate and the number of patients that experience adverse side effects is practically zero.

That being said, there are some minor side effects to Botox injections. For example, patients that have undergone Botox injections sometimes experience slight paralysis in the treated area that can lead to temporary conditions like drooping eyelids, a crooked smile, or cockeyed eyebrows, depending on the placement. These side effects usually only last a few days.

If you experience other side effects after a Botox injection, like vision problems or trouble breathing, contact your doctor.

Every Botox treatment should begin with a consultation with the experienced specialist that will be doing the injection. Here at Rankin & Mingle Dentistry, we will speak with you about the process and answer any questions you have about the risks. Contact our office today to learn more about BOTOX® Cosmetic!

Parts of the Mouth

Teeth get a lot of attention, but your mouth is made up of many parts that play unique roles in oral functions like speaking and swallowing.

Here’s a brief list of these various parts of the mouth and how they contribute!


Arguably even more important than the teeth, are your gums, which are the tissues around your teeth that hold them in place. When your gums become diseased or decay, your teeth can become loose and can even fall out.

Fortunately, caring for your gums can be easy with frequent brushing and flossing!


Your tongue enables you to pronounce many sounds, making it critical for clear speech.

It’s also responsible for moving food around in your mouth, including moving it to the back of the throat to be swallowed when it’s ready. Plus, it’s where all your taste buds are located. Without your tongue, you couldn’t taste any of the delicious foods and drinks you enjoy every day!

Just under the tongue, you’ll find your frenulum linguae. This connects your tongue to the floor of your mouth. In some cases, the frenulum linguae is too short, which can affect your tongue’s ability to do what it’s designed to do.


This little nub of tissue at the back of your throat is rarely understood, as it doesn’t seem to perform any important actions in terms of speech or digestion. It may play some small role in keeping the throat from getting too dry, however.

Salivary Glands

Saliva continually washes your mouth, constantly improving your oral health by flushing away little bits of food and bacteria. It also helps to break down foods before they pass in to the stomach.

Saliva is created by the salivary glands. There are several of these, and they’re found in both your mouth and inside your neck.

There are actually several other parts of the mouth that we haven’t discussed. How many can you name? Let us know in the comments!

How Does Nitrous Oxide Work?

Sedation dentistry with nitrous oxide is one of the most popular methods of relieving dental anxiety. There are several reasons that nitrous oxide works so well.

  • Nitrous oxide works very quickly and also leaves the body quickly. This reduces the amount of time that must be spent waiting for the drug to take effect and the amount of time it takes to recover from an operation before being comfortable to drive home.
  • The risk of overdosing is very low. Because nitrous oxide can be controlled easily, there is little chance of an accidental overdose.
  • There are virtually no negative or unhealthy side effects.
  • Drugs that are inhaled rather than injected are less likely to cause anxiety in patients, who are sometimes frightened by needles.

Dentists actually use a gas that is a combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen. In fact, the gas typically has even more oxygen than nitrous oxide! This further reduces the risk of unintended negative effects from the administration of the gas.

Even though sedation dentistry has been around for many years, there is actually a lack of clear understanding regarding how exactly nitrous oxide produces its effects, which include sensations of tingling, warmth, and euphoria. What is known is that it simultaneously relaxes the patients while literally inhibiting the feeling of pain.

There is really no reason to be concerned about the use of nitrous oxide, as the only risky side effects occur in the extremely unlikely event of an overuse. Anesthetists administering laughing gas increase the dosage slowly until the desired effect has been achieved, a process called titration, then make slight changes to maintain the patient’s condition.

If you have any concerns about the use of nitrous oxide, ask Dr. Rankin, Dr. Mingle or one of our staff for more information.

How to Save a Knocked Out Tooth

Every year, millions of teeth are knocked out, but many people don’t know that these teeth can be saved. That’s right; teeth that have been knocked out can be re-implanted and can go on to last for a lifetime!

If you have a tooth knocked out due to an accident where the tooth is still whole and can be retrieved, follow these steps to preserve and re-implant it.

Wash the Tooth

Before putting it back in your mouth, rinse the tooth with water. In addition to cleaning the tooth, it’s critically important to prevent the tooth from drying. Do not use soap, as that may contribute to the tooth drying out faster than usual. You only want to rinse away dirt and anything else that might be on the tooth that you wouldn’t want inside your mouth.

Reinsert the Tooth Into Your Gums

Though having a tooth knocked out can be painful, it’s necessary to reinsert it as soon as possible despite the pain. Gently press the tooth into your gum or, if that’s difficult to do, you can set it with your fingers and softly bite down to push it into place.

Don’t Let It Dry

If the tooth can’t be reinserted, keep it moist on your way to see your emergency dentist. You can keep it in your mouth, in your cheek, or even place it in a cup with milk to keep it from drying out.

Get to the Dentist

This is the most important tip! If you’ve had a tooth get knocked out, you must see a dentist or endodontist as soon as possible, even if you’ve managed to reinsert the tooth yourself. There may be other factors involved that only a professional can determine. Many dentists offer emergency dentistry and can be available in these cases.

What is Cracked Tooth Syndrome?

Do you sometimes experience pain in your tooth when you bite into certain foods or when you chew in a certain way? You might have Cracked Tooth Syndrome.

While Cracked Tooth Syndrome is exactly what it sounds like, (a crack in one or more teeth), it specifically refers to cracks that are so small that an X-ray may not be able to detect them. These tiny cracks can cause pain or discomfort but in many cases, they do not cause pain in every bite, making it a difficult syndrome to diagnose. There are a few risk factors that increase your odds of getting Cracked Tooth Syndrome.

Prior Treatment – Teeth that have been treated in some way, such as those with fillings or root canals, are structurally weaker than other teeth and are therefore at a higher risk to crack. If the pain you’re feeling is in a tooth that you’ve previously had work done on, it may be a good idea to check with your dentist to see if you may be suffering from Cracked Tooth Syndrome.

Grinding/Clenching – Both grinding and clenching your teeth put a lot of unnecessary pressure on them. If done regularly, they can increase your odds of cracking a tooth.

Treatment for Cracked Tooth Syndrome depends on the nature of the crack. Sometimes it can be solved with a crown but other times a root canal or even a total extraction. Though diagnosing Cracked Tooth Syndrome can be difficult, it’s important to see a dentist if you sometimes feel pain when you bite down. Without proper treatment, the cracks can become larger, causing more pain and/or causing the tooth to become loose.

If you’re in the Aurora area and want to speak with a dentist about Cracked Tooth Syndrome, give our office a call at 303-690-4000 or send us an email at

How Do Animals Clean Their Teeth?

Though humans are encouraged to brush their teeth twice a day, (not to mention flossing and using mouthwash!), and it is often best practice to take our dogs in to get their teeth cleaned annually, many members of the animal kingdom do not seem to have the same concerns regarding plaque and tartar that we do.

What’s their secret? It depends on the animal.

For many animals, there are two main things to take into consideration. The first is their lifespan – many wild animals don’t tend to outlive their teeth, making oral hygiene less important. The second is their diet – many animals eat foods that actually clean their teeth while being chewed up. This can be true for humans, too. There are many foods that help to clean our mouths, such as apples and strawberries. Unfortunately, our diets are rarely limited to these kinds of foods. Humans eat far more sugars and carbohydrates than other animals, which are the primary culprits of tooth decay and gum disease.

Some animals have evolved to have unique solutions to the problem of tooth decay. Here’s a couple:

Replacement – Creatures with very powerful bites, like alligators and sharks, tend to lose their teeth more often than other animals. To cope, they are constantly growing new teeth. Alligators, for example, can go through as many as 40 sets of teeth in a lifetime! Because they’re always building new teeth, they don’t have to worry about cleaning the old ones.

Abrasion – Rabbits don’t regrow old teeth that they have lost but their two front teeth never stop growing. It’s actually a necessary part of their survival that they eat foods that wear their teeth down, otherwise they can grow so large that they actually make it difficult for the rabbits to eat at all!

Even though some animals naturally clean their teeth or replace them when they get old, humans don’t have that luxury. To keep your mouth healthy, it’s important to brush daily and get regular checkups. If you’re looking for an Aurora dental practice, contact us at Rankin & Mingle Dentistry for an appointment!

Celebrate a Smile Healthy Halloween!

It’s that time of year again! The weather gets cooler, the seasonal costume shops return to your local mall and the grocery stores devote an entire aisle to sugary treats. Fun is in the air – Halloween is a blast for the kids.

We dentists love it too but are often concerned by the large quantities of candy our younger patients consume. If not carefully removed through brushing and flossing, sugar will cause plaque to buildup on your teeth, leading to the formation of cavities. While enjoying candy in moderation is fine, it’s important to encourage your kids to be extra thorough with their oral hygiene when consuming their Halloween treats!

Here are some tips to help your family have a fun and healthy holiday:

1. Be that awesome house that gives out toys! Bouncy balls, temporary tattoos, glow sticks, key chains and other inexpensive gadgets can be a big hit on the big night. Unlike candy, these can last for a while after Halloween, and they’re generally inexpensive if purchased at your local party store.

2. Go sugar free! Sugar-free gum and hard candies are a great choice for keeping the kids’ teeth healthy and they almost always taste just as good!

3. Kick-start some healthy habits! Did your child bring home a year’s supply of sweets? Now is a great time to set up an agreement with them allowing them to have a set number of candies each night if they agree to brush and floss their teeth afterward. Use their candy as an incentive encouraging them to adopt healthy dental habits.

4. Give your candy to a cause! Operation Gratitude is an organization that takes donated Halloween candy and sends it in care packages to troops overseas. Your kid probably doesn’t need enough candy to last until Easter, but there are certainly soldiers who would appreciate a treat! You can find more information here.

5. Put it in the pantry! Your child’s first instinct will likely be to stash their candy away in their room to eat at their leisure. We recommend keeping it in the kitchen pantry where can be enjoyed neatly and under your supervision. This way you can limit the number of pieces they can eat and treat it like a dessert for after meals.