Dental Health on Road Trips

Dental Health on Road Trips

Whatever is on the summer agenda, from camping to swimming at the beach, traveling with friends and exploring new places, it’s important to keep your dental health in mind. Here’s what you should know about taking care of your dental health on road trips so you are prepared when you hit the road.

Toothbrushes for Everyone!

Brushing your teeth is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth so it’s important to make sure that everyone packs their toothbrush when they travel. It can be easy to forget since it’s often the last thing to pack because you’ll need to use it first thing in the morning before you leave. It’s always a great idea to bring a few extra new toothbrushes on trips just in case anybody forgets theirs. Caring for your dental health on road trips is easy but only if you have the tools to do it!

Chapstick with Sunscreen

It may not seem to fit with caring for your teeth, but using chapstick with sunscreen can also be an important step to caring for your dental health on road trips. That’s because a sunburn can make it uncomfortable to care for your teeth after a long day of swimming or lounging in the sun. Apply chapstick with at least SPF 15 every 2 hours while you’re outside in the sun, more often if you’re swimming or very active and sweating a lot.

Temporary Hacks for the Road

Sometimes it’s hard to stop the fun and remember to run inside to brush your teeth as frequently as you do at home, and it can be easy to let things slide because it’s vacation, so it may be helpful to have some simple hacks up your sleeve for those times when a temporary solution is better than none at all.

If you may not have time to brush or floss your teeth on your normal schedule, such as after a meal, you can carry a small travel-sized bottle of mouthwash in your shoulder bag or backpack for a quick antiseptic rinse to help wash away food debris and fight bacteria. If you didn’t pack mouthwash, it’s always better than nothing to do a quick swish with a glass of water. Dental picks are also helpful to carry in your bag for those times when a piece of food becomes stuck between your teeth and it’s difficult to use a whole strand of floss.

Snacking on the Road

When you’re choosing snacks, foods like apples, pears, celery, carrots and strawberries are all great choices because not only are they healthy for you, but they have earned the nickname “nature’s toothbrushes” for their ability to help clean your teeth when you eat them whole. If you have braces or other dental appliances, make sure to check with your orthodontist before eating whole crunchy fruits or veggies, though.

In Case of Emergency

When you’re traveling, things often happen spontaneously — including mishaps and illness, unfortunately. If you or someone you’re traveling with experiences a sudden or severe toothache or a dental trauma like a broken or chipped tooth, it’s important to have your dentist’s number on hand to call and ask for advice on what to do in order to get treatment as soon as possible. This will ensure the best possible outcome. Don’t delay caring for your dental health on road trips until you get home. The road trip is fleeting, but your smile will last for your lifetime, so take good care of it!

Call our Southlake Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.

What Happens if You Don’t Fill a Cavity?

What Happens if You Don’t Fill a Cavity?

You may have wondered if your teeth can repair themselves like your bones do. After all, aren’t teeth and bones the same thing? Actually, while teeth and bones do have similarities, they are also very different, too. Let’s talk about the difference between teeth and bones and what happens if you don’t fill a cavity.

What’s the Difference Between Teeth and Bones?

Teeth and bones are both incredibly strong, in fact, teeth are the strongest part of the human body. Both teeth and bones are hard, white and made up of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals. But unlike bones, your teeth are not able to produce new cells to promote new growth and heal themselves if they are broken.

Why Can’t a Cavity or Broken Tooth Heal Like a Broken Leg?

When a bone breaks, new cells scramble to the site of the trauma to begin to heal the break. While the enamel or outer layer of teeth is stronger than the outer layer of bones, it is unable to repair itself if the tooth is broken, chipped or suffers decay, and the inner layers become prone to infection if not repaired by a dental professional.

When you don’t fill a cavity, bacteria can enter through the enamel and potentially reach the pulp or root, or the innermost layer of the tooth. This can lead to infection or death of the tooth, requiring a root canal or the tooth needing to be pulled.

How Do You Know if You Have a Cavity?

Now that you know more about what happens if you don’t fill a cavity, it’s important to know how you can know if you have a cavity. Symptoms of a cavity can include increased tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures or sweets, pain when biting down or chewing crunchy foods, a visible hole or dark stain on the tooth or a toothache.

These symptoms may also be a sign of something more minor, or more serious, so if you’re suffering from these symptoms it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible for an exam to rule out more serious problems and address the source of the problem to relieve your symptoms so you don’t have to suffer longer.

Does Filling a Cavity Hurt?

Many people’s first question before getting a cavity filled is, “Will it hurt?” Getting a cavity filled usually doesn’t cause any discomfort to the patient because a numbing agent is applied before any procedure is done. When you don’t fill a cavity, the consequences can be very painful. To avoid further discomfort, it is best to fill your cavity as soon as you can.

If you’re still feeling concerned, talk to your dentist about your fears and any questions you have. Your dentist has worked with many patients who struggle with dental anxiety and will want to do everything they can to help you feel as comfortable and confident as possible going into your appointment.

Call our Southlake Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Tooth sensitivity can happen suddenly or it may set in slowly. Either way, it can be a very uncomfortable sensation. What causes sensitive teeth? Many things can lead to increased sensitivity. The good news is, there are some simple things you can do that may help provide relief. Let’s talk about what may be causing your teeth to be extra sensitive so you can find a solution.

Exposure to Hot or Cold Temperatures or Sweets

Extreme temperature changes and very sweet foods or drinks can trigger sudden sensitivity or discomfort in your teeth. If you notice that your teeth are feeling more sensitive than normal, it’s a good idea to call your dentist for an appointment to find out if the increased sensitivity is due to an underlying problem such as a cavity or gum recession, which can further expose the inner layers of your teeth to things that trigger the sensation of sensitivity.

Clenching Jaw or Grinding Teeth

The answer to what causes sensitive teeth may have to do with stress. Did you know that clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth can put the nerves in your teeth on high alert, resulting in increased sensitivity? If you’re experiencing sensitivity in your teeth, try pausing frequently throughout the day to take some deep breaths, stretch, walk around or practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques.

Sinus Pressure or Infection

Whether from an illness, allergies or a change in the weather, sinus pressure can cause extra sensitivity in your teeth. If your whole mouth is feeling extra sensitive, a hot or cold compress applied to your sinuses or a decongestant may help provide some temporary relief.

Teeth Whitening

Many whitening products contain bleaching ingredients that can damage the enamel or outer layer of teeth. If you’ve been using whitening products, talk to your dentist about which ones are the safest options and whether it may be helpful to switch to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth instead.

When to Call a Dentist

Signs of a serious problem developing include sharp or aching pain that lingers, a toothache that lasts more than 48 hours, fever and severe or sudden headache with pain in your teeth or jaw. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see your dentist immediately.

If you’re experiencing any increased sensitivity, whether there’s been a sudden onset of symptoms or something more gradual, it’s important to call your dentist as soon as possible to find out why before it progresses. Often, the question of what causes sensitive teeth is a simple one to answer for your dentist, and once you identify the source, your dentist can help you to determine what is the best and quickest method of relief.

Call our Southlake Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.

5 Questions You Should Ask a New Dentist

5 Questions You Should Ask a New Dentist

Seeing a new dentist for the first time can make anyone feel nervous. It’s important to consider beforehand what questions you might want to ask in order to help you learn as much information as possible so that you can decide whether they are the best fit for you or your family. Here are 5 questions you should ask a new dentist.

1. Are You Accepting New Patients?

First and foremost in the list of questions you should ask a new dentist includes whether they are accepting new patients. If you really like a dentist and they aren’t accepting new patients currently, they may have a wait list you can get on, but it’s best not to put off dental care so it’s important to find one who is accepting new patients now.

2. How Long Have You Been in Practice?

Experience is key so don’t be afraid to ask how long your dentist has been in practice. It may also be helpful to ask them how long they have been practicing any specialty they provide to get a better idea of how much experience they have in any dental care or treatment you’re specifically needing such as cosmetic dentistry.

3. Do You Treat Patients with Special Conditions?

It’s also important when interviewing a new dentist to ask about any potential challenges you are concerned about such as unique general health issues, mental, cognitive or behavioral conditions. These may include HIV/AIDS, cancer, autoimmune disorders, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, disabilities or age-related impairments. Of the questions you should ask a new dentist, this may be one that makes a difference from the start in how you work with your new dentist to address the many lifestyle factors that may impact your oral health.

4. Do You Have Experience with my Insurance Plan?

If you have insurance, it may be best to check with them to find out which dentists in your area are within their coverage, but it can also be helpful to ask any new dentist if they have experience with your dental plan so that they can help you optimize use of your coverage and get the most of it.

5. What is Causing my Problem and How Much Will it Cost?

If you’re visiting a dentist because of a concern or condition, your dentist should help you to feel as comfortable as possible and that includes giving you as much information as they have available. Don’t be shy. Questions you should ask a new dentist should absolutely include any questions you can think of! So go ahead and make a list of all your questions beforehand, the right dentist will appreciate your thoughtful investment in your oral health.

Call for a Consultation

Finding the dentist who is the best fit for you or your family can be challenging, especially if you don’t know where to start. If you’ve moved to a new town, asking new neighbors and coworkers for recommendations can be a great place to begin to find one who has earned a good word of mouth reputation. An online search engine can also be a great place to start so you can read helpful reviews from other patients. When you find one that sounds good, call to make an appointment for a consultation so you can visit the office and meet the staff in person. Trust your gut, when you find the right fit, you’ll know it!

Call our Southlake Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.

Why Preventative Care Matters

Why Preventative Care Matters

Many people don’t think about the health of their teeth until they experience discomfort, often from a cavity, but being proactive about the health of your teeth before problems arise has great benefits. Let’s dig into the topic of why preventative care matters and how you can be proactive about keeping your smile looking and feeling its best.

What Causes Cavities?

Tooth decay is what happens when the hard outer surface layer of your teeth, your enamel, becomes damaged or erodes, and if it progresses too far, a small hole forms called a cavity.

Many things can lead to cavities, such as poor nutrition and high sugar intake, as well as poor dental hygiene habits. Your saliva naturally works hard to protect your teeth from harm, but if your teeth don’t have the nutrients they need, much like your bones, they can become weakened, and sugar can further throw off the sensitive balance of your mouth causing it to become acidic so that a colorless sticky substance called plaque forms on your teeth. If plaque stays on your teeth for a prolonged period of time, it can cause erosion and damage, and eventually holes or cavities.

That’s why preventative care matters. Brushing your teeth regularly and flossing is important to help keep your teeth clean and free of plaque and the environment of your mouth balanced and healthy. Getting regular dental cleanings can also help to clean plaque build up, called tartar, and spot cavities early.

Why Do My Gums Bleed?

So you’ve started doing what your dentist recommends: Brushing 3 times a day or after every meal, flossing every night, using mouthwash. But now you notice blood in the sink or on your teeth when you floss and sometimes when you just brush. Can all this really be good for your teeth and mouth if it’s producing blood?

It’s normal for your gums to bleed a small amount when you first start brushing and flossing regularly if it’s been a while since you paid so much attention to your teeth and this is often simply a sign that your gums have been unhealthy. With regular brushing and flossing, though, this should improve soon.

If it doesn’t improve within a short time, or the bleeding seems excessive, it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist to ensure you’re using a soft enough toothbrush and the right kind of floss for sensitive gums new to regular flossing. Rinsing with a solution of 1 cup of water and ½ teaspoon of salt may also help in the meantime.

Professional Care Matters

It’s also important to see your dentist regularly, usually every 6 months, so that they can do an exam and professional cleaning to help keep your gums and teeth healthy and spot any potential problems early on to help minimize the need and cost of treatment. Home dental care is important, but one reason why preventative care matters is to catch problems before they start, and sometimes only the trained eye of a professional will know what to look for when it comes to the earliest signs of tooth decay and gum disease.

Call our Southlake Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.

What to Expect at the Dentist

Many people may feel nervous about visiting the dentist, but a dental exam or cleaning doesn’t have to be something to avoid. Dentists and dental hygienists work hard to ensure that your experience will be as comfortable and pleasant as possible, even if it’s an emergency visit. Here are some good things you can expect at the dentist.

Your First Visit

If it is your first visit to the dentist, or you haven’t been for a long time, your dentist may go over your history with you. If you have records from another office, it can be helpful to let the front desk at your new dentist’s office know before your appointment so that they can have them sent over in time for your new dentist to review them.

What to Expect at the Dentist for a Routine Exam

For a routine exam one thing you can expect at the dentist is that it will include an exam, and may include x-rays, especially at your first visit. The exam may consist of the Dentist taking a look at your teeth using special tools to help them see every angle of your teeth. Your dentist may also take measurements of your gums to see if they are swollen which may be a sign of gum disease. After looking at your x-rays and noting the measurements of your gums, your dentist may talk to you about things you can do to improve your oral health at home or any procedures that need to be done usually on another visit to the dental office.

What to Expect at the Dentist for a Dental Cleaning

A dental assistant or the dental hygienist may cover your chest with a waterproof shield and may offer you eye protection or you may ask to opt to wear your own glasses or sunglasses. The dental hygienist will use special tools to scrape off plaque and tartar from your teeth. To be more gentle, they may also use a high pressure water tool to remove any buildup from under the gumline. Afterwards, they may polish your teeth with flavored polish and then floss your teeth and any dental appliances.

Your jaw may get tired from holding your mouth open throughout the procedure. Your gums may also feel slightly sensitive, especially if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while. If you experience any discomfort, let your dentist know so that they can note any sensitivity and be extra gentle or you can take a break to rest if needed. One thing you can expect at the dentist, is for the staff to be responsive listeners who will help you find ways to make the most of your visit.

Call your dentist for more information

If you still have questions about what to expect at the dentist, such as a specific concern or procedure, or if you’re experiencing any sign of a dental emergency like pain, swelling, extra sensitivity or an injury to a tooth, call your dentist as soon as possible to ask for more information. It’s important to not put off any dental care, whether it’s an emergency or routine visit.

Call our Southlake Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.

How to Make the Most of Your Dental Plan

Many people who already have a dental insurance plan have not been well informed of how it can work for you. This can lead to paying more out of pocket than is needed for treatment or choosing to delay needed routine visits or treatment, unaware that it may actually be covered. If you want to learn how to make the most of your dental plan, here are some ways you can.

Read Up on Your Plan and Ask Questions

Understanding how your insurance works and what is covered can sometimes feel overwhelming or confusing. Reading through the documents on your plan is the first step to begin, but if you don’t understand something then don’t hesitate to ask! Call your insurance company and ask any questions you might have about your coverage for routine visits and specific treatments. They will be able to answer questions about your plan that your dentist may not know.

Stay in Network

Insurance plans often limit their coverage to determined areas or providers. There is more coverage for treatment at in network providers and some insurance companies don’t cover treatment at out of network providers at all. One way to make the most of your plan is to check with your insurance company to see if your dentist is in your insurance plan’s network. It’s also a good idea to check annually at the beginning of each coverage term as insurance plans can change with each new enrollment period.

Talk to Your Dental Office

Another good place to start to make the most of your dental plan is to talk to your dentist or the front desk at your dental office. Let them know which plan you have and they may have prior experience with other patients who also have the same plan and may be able to give you tips on what questions to ask your insurance company. Ask them what options are available for routine care and treatment then check back with your insurance company to find out the coverages and limitations of your specific plan.

Stay on Schedule

When things get busy with travel plans in the summer, back to school in the fall, the holidays, or the beginning of a new year, it can be tempting to wait an extra few months to take care of a problem or see your dentist for your regular exam and cleaning. Seeking prompt care for a concern and sticking with a schedule of regular visits when your dentist recommends that you come in is wise, though, and another great way if you’re looking for how to make the most of your dental plan.

Call our Southlake Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.

5 Ways to Improve Oral Hygiene

5 Ways to Improve Oral Hygiene

Taking time to improve oral hygiene can be well worth the investment in your oral health, and will pay off over time. So what are some strategic changes you can make to your oral hygiene routine to improve your oral hygiene?

1. Brush Better

Making the most of your toothbrushing routine can go a long way to improving oral hygiene. It isn’t enough to just hit all the main areas in the mouth with the toothbrush, thorough and careful brushing can eliminate more plaque and bacteria than a quick brush around would. Time yourself, ensuring you brush for at least a full 2 minutes. One fun way to accomplish this is jamming out to your favorite tune, as most songs are roughly 2-3 minutes long. Using brushing apps, electronic toothbrushes, all can give the old toothbrush a bit of a glow up.

2. Floss Consistently

Flossing is even more important, knowing that brushing alone doesn’t reach the most important places at risk for the most cavities. To improve oral hygiene, being thorough is the foundational goal. A good brushing does a lot, but floss reaches in those tight, hard to reach spaces your brush just can’t hit. Flossing thoroughly after a good brush can give your mouth a refreshing clean that brightens your day and your smile.

3. Use The Right Tools

Depending on your needs and situation, you may need different tools for a cleaner mouth. Denture users still need to clean their mouth, but a good gentle brush will go a long way. Folks with braces may need special tools to reach between brackets and wires. Depending on your needs, ask your dentist what tools will make the difference in taking the time to improve your oral hygiene routine.

4. Eat Well

As much as hearing this from mothers, doctors, and other loving friends and family, that you need to eat well seems to really put a damper on grabbing that last cupcake, eating well really does have its benefits. This doesn’t mean the occasional treat should be skipped at all times, but that prioritizing fresh produce, and avoiding too much sugar and acid can help keep your teeth clean, and your mouth healthy! Enjoy those treats, but in moderation, and always followed by great oral hygiene!

5. Drink Well

Soda, energy drinks, sugary teas, all can have a detrimental impact on your teeth, as they contain the perfect cocktail of enamel softening acids and sugars. Water and milk are both wholesome alternatives that support excellent oral health. Water especially can improve oral hygiene, as it washes away food debris and plaque producing bacteria with every cold sip.

Call our Southlake Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.

What Are Dental Implants?

What Are Dental Implants?

Losing a tooth to injury, decay, or other factors has been an issue throughout all of man’s history. Dentures have been the traditional answer to tooth loss, but dental implants have become the new standard for tooth replacement. So, what are dental implants? Are you a candidate for this tooth loss solution?

Like Natural Teeth

Dental Implants are fixed in place by a titanium screw that acts as the new tooth’s root. Over time this screw may fuse with the bone in the jaw, creating a permanent fixture to replace lost teeth. This solution can give a patient natural feeling and functioning teeth that don’t slip or move within the mouth. This long term solution seems ideal for patients who have lost teeth.

How Does the Procedure Work?

Each patient may expect a full dental exam prior to the procedure. This helps to inform later discussions about your needs and situation. Patients may be expected to review medical history as well, so that the oral surgeon can be aware of any specific concerns or situations. Lastly, the oral surgeon may present a treatment plan, with details for your specific case.

Are You a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

Many patients may be a good candidate for dental implants. Some of the criteria can include whether or not the patient has healthy gums, and their jaws have stopped growing.
Each patient will need healthy bone to anchor each implant. If the situation calls for it, the oral surgeon may suggest bone grafts to ensure the implant has a strong sturdy structure for placement.

Implants Take Time

There may be several visits to your oral surgeon both to prepare for, plan, and carry out your treatment plan. Ask your oral surgeon any questions you may have during your appointments, so that you can be well prepared for each step as you continue your journey to a healthy smile.

Call our Southlake Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.

7 Flossing Facts

7 Flossing Facts

When a dentist mentions brushing every day, not far behind they mention flossing too. Why is flossing so important? Does it really make a difference? Here are 7 flossing facts sure to give you the inside scoop on what makes flossing so great!

1. Not All Floss Is The Same

One of the most important flossing facts is that not all floss is the same.
Floss can come in all different shapes and sizes, including dental tape, a wider floss that is helpful for those with wider gaps in between their teeth. Also it comes in waxed or unwaxed, waxed being more suitable to slide through the close spaces between teeth. There are also flossing piks that can help reach a little more easily than traditional floss string.
Knowing your mouth, and what you need, can help you choose floss that will help you do your best when flossing.

2. Flossing Cleans Your Mouth More

With toothbrushing alone, you may clean up to 70% of your mouth. With flossing, you can increase the areas you clean just by getting into those gaps and spaces, getting a much larger percentage of your mouth area fresh and clean!

3. Keep it Up

Don’t be put off by tenderness or a little bleeding in the gums with irregular flossing. The more you floss, the less that may happen. Do let your dentist know if you are concerned at any time by these symptoms, and they may be able to help you determine the cause.

4. Don’t Skimp

Another important tidbit in the lineup of flossing facts: When flossing, string should be between 18 and 20 inches of floss. Don’t be afraid to use a string long enough to be securely wound about your fingers, and able to reach into every little space.

5. Flavors Abound!

Floss includes many different flavors, not just mint. There’s a little something for everyone, from bacon to bubblegum.

6. Flossing Is for Everyone

People with braces can floss too! Your orthodontist may be able to recommend the best tools to help you do the job as well as you can! Don’t let orthodontia get in the way of these flossing facts, and ask your orthodontist to show you the best way to keep your beautiful smile clean!

7. Freshen Up

If you remember any flossing facts, remember this as well, flossing has more benefits than preventing tooth decay. It can also combat bad breath, by clearing away food particles that can leave an unpleasant smell. Want fresher breath? Floss well two times a day.

Call our Southlake Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.