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Smile Texas's Cosmetic Dentistry Journal

Archive for 2016

Is It Time for A New Toothbrush?

You brush twice a day and floss regularly. Good for you! But if you’re using an old toothbrush, all that brushing could be a waste of time. The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months, depending on how vigorously you brush.

Why Does Replacing Your Toothbrush Matter?

Research suggests that your brush can harbor more than 10 million germs and bacteria. And that’s not the only reason replacing your toothbrush periodically is a must. Another tell-tale sign that you need a new toothbrush is splayed bristles. If your toothbrush bristles are pointing in different directions, toss it. It isn’t doing much in the way of cleaning your teeth when the bristles aren’t accurately connecting with the surface of your teeth.

Replacement and Beyond

Once you’ve gotten a new brush, it’s important for you to take care of it. Here’s how:

•Don’t brush with too much gusto. Don’t press too hard or scrub vigorously when you brush. Instead brush gently, taking care to do so around your gums and on your tongue, as well. The idea of brushing should be to clean your teeth, not damage them.

•A clean toothbrush equals a clean mouth. To keep your toothbrush extra clean, soak it rubbing alcohol to kill germs and rinse it thoroughly. Or, if you prefer, you can use an antiseptic mouthwash to soak your brush.

•Store it the right way. It’s best to store your toothbrush in an upright position, making sure it isn’t touching other brushes.

•Keep it sanitized. Consider dipping your toothbrush in boiling water for up to 10 seconds to kill germs. Just don’t put it in the microwave or dishwasher, which can damage it.

A crucial part of a healthy mouth is also visiting your dentist twice a year. He or she can recommend the toothbrush that’s right for you, as well as give you brushing techniques to ensure you’re doing everything you can to protect your pearly whites.

Schedule a consultation at Smile Texas

Do you want to learn more about which toothbrush is right for you? Call and speak to our New Patient Coordinator at 281.265.7645 for more information, or click here to contact us.

Overcoming Anxiety with Sedation Dentistry

While we’re pretty laid back here in Sugar Land, no matter how laid back you are, for some people a trip to the dentist initiates a feeling of high anxiety. This response doesn’t have to be related to an involved procedure, either; it can be just a routine cleaning.

While it’s true dentists the world over could have used a better publicist (remember Steve Martin’s “Medieval Dentist” SNL portrayal or the movie Marathon Man?), modern dentistry is really pretty much free of serious pain. Still, anxiety exists for many people, making them skip appointments and that can affect their dental health. That’s why we offer sedation dentistry at Smile Texas, so you can sit back and relaaaaaaaaaaaax.

What is sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry involves the use of medications to keep patients relaxed during dental procedures. This is not to be confused with full general anesthesia. In sedation dentistry the patient is usually awake and is able to respond to requests from the dentist. The sedation simply allows the patient to relax and overcome his or her anxiety.

What are the levels of sedation?

There are four levels of sedation. At Smile Texas we use the minimal amount of sedation that you need.

•Minimal sedation — Under minimal sedation, you are awake but relaxed.
•Moderate sedation — This used to be called “conscious sedation.” You may slur your words when talking and not remember most of what occurred during the procedure.
•Deep sedation — In deep sedation, you are on the edge of consciousness but can still be awakened.
•General anesthesia — You’re completely unconscious.

We also provide various “comfort” items such as blankets, pillows, and an iPod with your favorite music, all to help you stay relaxed while visiting Smile Texas.

What types of sedation are used?

•Oral sedation can be minimal to moderate. Obviously, it’s the easiest to administer. The patient takes a pill (usually Halcion, in the same drug family as Valium) usually about 30 minutes before the procedure. The pill makes the patient drowsy. Oral sedation is the most common form of sedation used in dentistry.

•Everyone knows about laughing gas, formally known as nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is combined with oxygen and the patient breathes it through a mask placed over the nose. One cool thing about nitrous oxide at Smile Texas is that the gas wears off quickly and the patient usually can drive home following the procedure.

•Intravenous sedation works more quickly as the sedative drug is delivered into the bloodstream. The method allows our dentists to adjust sedation levels continually. At Smile Texas we usually opt for intravenous sedation for implant surgeries, extractions, and for high-fear patients.

•Deep sedation and general anesthesia are delivered intravenously, as well. A patient under general anesthesia cannot be awakened easily until the anesthesia wears off or is reversed using a different medication.

At Smile Texas, your comfort is our priority. If you find yourself getting nervous either when in our offices or prior to coming, clue us in. The only we know if you’re suffering from anxiety is to tell us. Then we can work out a sedation plan that relieves your anxiety.

Schedule an appointment

Call the team at Smile Texas, (281) 265-7645, and ask about how we can keep you comfortable with sedation dentistry.

Teeth Grinding: What You Should Know

It’s a common condition that many people don’t even know they have: teeth grinding. Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding typically occurs while you sleep at night, so identifying the problem can be difficult. But if you suffer from bruxism, it’s important to learn ways to curb this habit. That’s because teeth grinding can cause erosion of tooth enamel, tooth fractures, receding gums, loosening of teeth and even tooth loss. So how do you know if you grind your teeth?

How You Know You Grind Your Teeth

When you first wake up, check to see if you have a sore jaw, headache, inflamed gums (gingivitis), or extreme sensitivity to hot and cold food and beverages, or while brushing your teeth. If you share a bed with someone, ask him or her if you grind your teeth in your sleep. And if it’s waking the other person up at night, be sure they tell you so you can seek treatment.

While there isn’t a cure for bruxism, some of the best ways to treat this condition include:

-Eliminating caffeine. Soda, coffee and energy drinks contribute greatly to teeth grinding because they act as a stimulant which makes it harder to relax.

-Avoiding alcohol. While alcohol makes it easier to fall asleep initially, it prohibits you from really getting restful sleep, which can increase your teeth grinding.

-Keeping regular sleep hours. When you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (even on weekends), you’re training your body clock to help you unwind at night and feel refreshed in the morning.

-Reducing stress. Exercise, meditation and counseling are all effective ways to help you cope with and eliminate any stress factors in your life which, in turn, can help eliminate the need to clench your teeth.

-Relaxing your jaw. When you notice that you’re tensing your jaw or grinding your teeth, place your tongue in between your teeth and hold it there.

-Only chewing on food. This means no pencil or pen gnawing.

-Wearing a mouth guard. Talk to your dentist about your bruxism and ask for recommendations on a mouth guard that’s right for you to help curb your teeth grinding.

Schedule an appointment

Do you want to learn more about beating bruxism? Speak with our New Patient Coordinator by calling 281.265.7645 for more information, or click here to contact us. 

Beating Bad Breath

There’s quite possibly nothing more embarrassing than bad breath. And there are a number of reasons you get it. Certain foods like those containing garlic and onions, as well as beverages like coffee and alcohol, can be major perpetrators. Another bad breath trigger is poor oral hygiene, such as gum disease, cavities or a bacteria-coated tongue. Whatever the cause, there are solutions. Check out the following tips to help you beat bad breath.

1) – Brush and floss. This one should be obvious. Brushing daily and flossing regularly keeps your mouth healthy and your bad breath at bay.

2) – Rinse your mouth out. By drinking plenty of water, you’re not only staying hydrated, you’re freshening up your mouth. Swish the cool water around in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing.

3) – Replace your toothbrush. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles begin to fray.

4) – Scrape your tongue. Your tongue is a breeding ground for smelly bacteria. When you brush your teeth, also be sure to brush your tongue. Or you can try a tongue scraper, which not only removes bacteria, but food debris and dead cells that brushing may leave behind.

5) – Cleanse with certain foods. Chewing on a fresh sprig of parsley or mint, or a piece of washed lemon or orange rind, can give your mouth a refreshing burst of flavor. Or chew on fennel seeds or cloves, which contain antiseptic properties that help fight bacteria.

6) – Visit your dentist. Regular check-ups cleanings are essential for a healthy mouth. Your dentist can also assess your teeth and gums to see if your bad breath may be related to a medical condition.

Schedule a consultation

Do you want to learn more about tackling your bad breath? Call and speak to our New Patient Coordinator at 281.265.7645 for more information, or click here to contact us.

What to Eat for a Healthier Mouth

You are what you eat, and this also goes for your teeth and gums. What you put into your body directly affects the surfaces of your teeth, so when you partake in sugary sweets, for example, you’re adding a layer of bacteria-causing plaque which can lead to tooth decay and trigger inflammation in your mouth. To keep your teeth strong and healthy, start by being mindful of the foods you consume. Making the right choices can make all the difference for not only your oral health, but your overall health.
Here are some of the best foods for a healthy mouth:

  • Dairy products. Milk, yogurt and cheese promote saliva production, which is an excellent defense against gum disease and tooth decay. Saliva contains calcium and phosphate, which restores minerals to your teeth when you eat sugar foods that contain bacterial acids.
  • Tea. Both green and black teas are rich in polyphenols that either kill or deter the onset of bacteria, which can produce acid that damages your teeth.
  • Raisins. This sugar-free snack is an excellent source of phytochemicals which help kill cavity-causing bacteria.
  • Sugar-free gum. Chewing gum that is sugarless is another great way to produce saliva to wash away food particles from your mouth.
  • Fluoridated water. Any product that contains fluoride is a good guy for your teeth. Use fluoridated drinking water to prepare powdered drinks (as long as the sugar content is low) or dehydrated soups.
  • Crunchy foods. Carrots, apples and celery require a great deal of crunching and chewing, which can serve as a sort of natural toothbrush. Crunching away on these food disrupts the plaque that resides on your teeth and helps eliminate bacteria.

Do you want to learn more about the best foods for better oral health? Call and speak to our New Patient Coordinator at 281.265.7645 for more information, or click here to contact us.

The Value of Cosmetic Dentistry

Are you unhappy with your smile? Perhaps the appearance of your teeth makes you self-conscious, affecting your overall confidence level. Take heart. Thanks to several cosmetic treatments available today, you can improve your smile and get the pearly whites you’ve been longing for. And the results can not only improve your appearance, but your overall quality of life. Here’s how:

Improved Appearance

This is the number one reason patients choose cosmetic dentistry. There are several treatments available that can correct stains, reshape teeth, fill in chips or cracks, and re-contour worn edges. The result: cosmetic dentistry can help you look years younger.

Healthier Lifestyle

Cosmetic dentistry is an excellent way to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Your procedure will involve teeth straightening, reshaping and whitening, which will give you extra motivation to maintain excellent oral hygiene. Your doctor will likely recommend you be wary of certain foods and beverages that may discolor your new teeth and, as a result, it makes sense that your health will also improve.

Fewer Headaches

When you have crooked teeth, the misalignment of your teeth can cause your bite to radiate pain in your head and cause chronic headaches.

Prevention of Further Damage

While cosmetic dentistry is meant to improve the appearance of your smile, it can also help protect against future tooth damage by covering up any worn edges or hairline fractures on your teeth that may otherwise expose your teeth to greater complications.

Greater Self-Confidence

Through cosmetic dentistry, you’ll find yourself being more confident in your smile and feeling great about your appearance. This improvement to your pearly whites will likely give you the self-confidence to be more social and extroverted than you were before. What’s more, studies have shown that people with healthy looking smiles have better outcomes in interviews and have an advantage in social situations. When you radiate positivity, people are more likely to be drawn to you.

Do you want to learn more about how cosmetic dentistry can benefit you? Call and speak to our New Patient Coordinator at 281.265.7645 for more information or click here to contact us.

Jill M – Missouri City

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Wayne B – Huffman

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David L – Spring

New Smile Gallery entry!
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Carol B – Houston

New Smile Gallery entry!
Visit the Smile Gallery section for an interactive presentation.