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Monday, June 26, 2017

How braces help both children and adults

Crowded or crooked teeth known as malocclusion not only spoil your smile, they also increase your risk of dental health problems.
Corrective procedures and appliances such as braces straighten teeth and correct jaw alignment.
Malocclusions are often noticed around ages 6 12, when the adult teeth begin to erupt.
The process of straightening out teeth, known as orthodontic treatment, often begins between ages 8 and 14. The best results are obtained when a child begins treatment while they are still growing.
This means its a good idea for a child to have an orthodontic evaluation by age 7. At this stage, they have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth.
Its possible for braces to work later and even in adults but there are many advantages in starting as soon as possible.
Your dentist will be able to spot problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth early on, while the primary teeth are present.
That's why regular dental examinations are important.
For adults, its not too late to correct problems such as crooked or crowded teeth, overbites, underbites, incorrect jaw position or jaw-joint disorders. The biological process involved in moving teeth is the same at any age.
The difference is that adult treatment takes a little longer than a child’s treatment. As an adult’s facial bones are no longer growing, certain corrections may not be accomplished with braces alone.
But, whatever your age, it’s never too late to improve your dental health and improve your smile.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How sealants can give your teeth extra protection

Sealants are made from plastic material applied to the back teeth to protect the enamel from plaque and acids.
The plastic bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of the back teeth – premolars and molars.
Although thorough brushing and flossing can help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth, the toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque.
The benefit of sealants is that they protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.
Your dentist can apply sealants quite easily and it takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth.
The teeth being sealed will first be cleaned. Then the chewing surfaces are roughened with an acid solution which makes it easier for the sealant to stick to the tooth.
The sealant is then ‘painted’ onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens.
Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden.
As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay.
They usually last several years before a reapplication is needed. Your dentist will check the condition of the sealants during your regular visits and reapply them when necessary.
Sealants are ideal for children because the risk of developing pit and fissure decay starts early in life. However, many adults can benefit from sealants as well.
Your dentist can tell you whether sealants would help your oral hygiene program.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

How a baby’s first teeth develop

A newly born baby usually has no teeth visible but most have begun to develop primary or baby teeth.
These generally begin to appear about six months after birth.
Over their first few years, they will develop all 20 primary teeth and will usually have them all in place by age three.
The teething process is uncomfortable for many babies and they can become sleepless and irritable. They also might lose their appetite or drool more than usual.
If your infant has a fever or diarrhea while teething or continues to be cranky and uncomfortable, call your physician.
Sometimes when a tooth erupts, an eruption cyst may develop. The tooth will eventually rupture this as it pushes through the gums and these cysts are usually harmless and should be left alone.
If a baby has sore or tender gums when they are teething, it can help to gently rub the gum with a clean finger, a small, cool spoon or a wet gauze pad.
When this happens, your dentist or pediatrician may suggest a pacifier, teething ring or a special numbing salve for the gums.
When the teeth begin to erupt, you should brush them with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a little water to prevent tooth decay.
Toothpaste is not recommended until a child reaches age two. When a child begins using toothpaste, you need to supervise the brushing to make sure they don’t swallow it.
Regular dental checks should begin after your child’s first tooth appears or by their first birthday.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Things to look out for during pregnancy

Every woman wants to maintain their own health during pregnancy and to take whatever steps are necessary to give the baby the best possible start.
There are a few factors in your oral health to look out for during this time.
One consideration is that its common for pregnant women to have the urge to eat between meals. The risk is that frequent snacking on carbohydrate-containing foods can encourage tooth decay.
Bacteria in your mouth called plaque can convert the sugar and starch in your mouth into an acid that attacks tooth enamel. After repeated attacks, tooth decay can result.
So, when you need a snack, try to choose foods that are nutritious for you and your baby such as raw fruits and vegetables and dairy products.
During pregnancy, your bodys hormone levels rise considerably. Gum problems, such as gingivitis, are especially common during the second to eighth months of pregnancy. They may cause red, puffy or tender gums that bleed when you brush.
This is an exaggerated response to plaque caused by higher levels of progesterone in your system. Your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings at some stages to help you avoid problems.
Occasionally overgrowths of gum tissue, called pregnancy tumors, appear on the gums during the second trimester. These localized growths or swellings are usually found between the teeth and are thought to be related to excess plaque.
They bleed easily and are often surgically removed after the baby is born.
Studies indicate that pregnant women who have severe periodontal (gum) disease may be at increased risk for pre-term delivery, which in turn increases the risk of having a low-birth-weight baby.
So its particularly important to maintain good oral health during pregnancy. Make sure you clean your teeth carefully and visit your dentist regularly.

Friday, June 2, 2017

How dentistry has developed over the last 300 years

When you visit a modern dental surgery, its hard to imagine the challenges of dental treatment without all the latest technology.
Yet specialists have been taking care of peoples teeth for thousands of years.
Here are some of the key developments over the last 300 years.
1723: French surgeon Pierre Fauchard – credited as being the father of modern dentistry – publishes the first book to describe a comprehensive system for the practice of dentistry.
1760: John Baker, the earliest medically-trained dentist to practice in America, immigrates from England and sets up practice.
1790: John Greenwood adapts his mothers foot treadle spinning wheel to rotate a drill.
1790: Josiah Flagg, a prominent American dentist, constructs the first chair made specifically for dental patients.
1832: James Snell invents the first reclining dental chair.
1841: Alabama enacts the first dental practice act, regulating dentistry in the United States.
1844: Horace Wells, a Connecticut dentist, discovers that nitrous oxide can be used as an anesthesia and successfully uses it to conduct several extractions in his private practice.
1880s: The collapsible metal tube revolutionizes toothpaste manufacturing and marketing.
1890: Willoughby Miller notes the microbial basis of dental decay in a book which started a world-wide movement to promote regular toothbrushing and flossing.
1896: New Orleans dentist C. Edmond Kells takes the first dental x-ray of a living person in the U.S.
1938: The nylon toothbrush, the first made with synthetic bristles, appears on the market.
1945: The water fluoridation era begins when the cities of Newburgh, New York, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, add sodium fluoride to their public water systems.
1950s: The first fluoride toothpastes are marketed.
1960: The first commercial electric toothbrush, developed in Switzerland after World War II, is introduced in the United States. A cordless, rechargeable model follows in 1961.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

How medication and anesthesia can help make your visit to the dentist easier

Your dentist will do everything possible to make your visit as relaxed and comfortable as possible.
Depending on the treatment you are receiving, there are several medications available to help.
Some drugs control pain, some help you relax and others put you into a deep sleep during dental treatment.
The best approach will depend on the type of procedure being undertaken, your overall health – including any history of allergies – and the degree of anxiety you feel.
Some of the options your dentist might discuss include:
Analgesics: These are the most commonly used drugs for relief of toothache or pain following dental treatment. They includes aspirin, acetaminophen and anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen. There is a separate category of narcotic analgesics – such as those containing codeine – which are used for more severe pain.
Local anesthesia: Topical anesthetics are applied to mouth tissues with a swab to prevent pain on the surface level. They may also be used to soothe mouth sores. Injectable local anesthetics prevent pain in a specific area of your mouth during treatment by blocking the nerves that sense or transmit pain and numbing mouth tissues.
In other cases, your dentist many recommend sedation or general anesthesia.
Your dentist will discuss the best approach to suit your needs.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Why a dental abscess should be treated quickly

If you have any kind of swelling in your gum, it almost certainly indicates a serious infection that should be treated urgently.
Dental abscesses result from a bacterial infection in the teeth or gums.
For example, it may come from an untreated cavity. Cavities result when some of the bacteria in our mouths mix with sugars and starches in our diet to produce acid.
This acid attacks the hard enamel coating of our teeth and, as the cavity gets deeper, it eventually infects the nerve and blood supply of the tooth.
In some cases, a dental abscess is caused by an infection of the gum. Bone loss from gum disease can create a pocket between the tooth, gum and bone.
When bacteria and other debris get into this pocket, an abscess can form.
The treatment for an abscess depends on how severe the infection is.
If the abscess has been caused by decay, root canal treatment may be needed or the tooth may even have to be removed.
If the abscess has been caused by the gum, the gum will need deep cleaning or surgical treatment. Again the tooth may need to be removed.
Sometimes, a small incision may be made into the gum to drain the abscess. If this happens, antibiotics and pain medication may be used to relieve discomfort.
If you wait until the gum is severely swollen before seeking treatment, the situation can become very serious.
The abscess at this stage can prevent you breathing properly and can be life-threatenting.
So if you have any signs of swelling in your gum, contact your dentist immediately.