Tips for Better Dental Hygiene

Good hygiene is the cornerstone of good dental health. For many people, hygiene consists of little more than brushing and flossing their teeth twice a day. However, good hygiene involves more than what you do at the kitchen sink. Your toothbrush and floss can clean your teeth, but only when used properly. With a little attention to detail and regular professional maintenance with your Southlake dentist, you can improve your dental hygiene and reduce your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, chronic bad breath, and more. (more…)

General Dentistry for Damaged Teeth

Dental damage, such as cracked and fractured teeth, can pose a significant threat to your entire oral health if not addressed as soon as possible. Because of the intricate nature of your teeth and their inability to heal themselves, repairing them when they’re damaged requires a broad range of dental expertise. As a dedicated Southlake general dentist, Dr. Gregory Wright employs his impressive experience to help patients repair, restore, and preserve their smiles after suffering from one or more damaged teeth. Depending on the patient’s need, this may include removing bacterial infection, covering the tooth with a dental crown, or completely replacing the tooth if it’s damaged beyond repair.

Cleaning the Tooth

The main structure of a tooth, called dentin, is surrounded by a protective layer of resilient enamel designed to protect it from bacteria that lead to tooth decay and cavities. At the center of dentin is a hollow chamber containing the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels called the pulp, which is the most sensitive part of a tooth. When your tooth is cracked or fractured, its inner tissues can be exposed to bacteria, and an internal infection can develop. Before repairing your damaged tooth, Dr. Wright will ensure that the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and free of germs, which may require a root canal treatment if the infection reaches the pulp.

Thinking Ahead

Once the tooth is clean and filled with a dental filling, Dr. Wright can place a custom-made dental crown over the tooth to protect it from pressure in the future. The crown will hold the tooth together while absorbing the impact of your bite, allowing you to retain your natural, but weakened, tooth structure without sustaining further injury. Most crowns are crafted from lifelike dental porcelain, which is tinted and layered to mimic your tooth’s color and the enamel surrounding it.

In Case of Severe Damage

Sometimes, cleaning and repairing a damaged tooth isn’t enough to save it. For instance, if a crack reaches the tooth’s root, then it must be extracted to prevent harm to surrounding jawbone and tissues. In cases of necessary tooth extraction, Dr. Wright may recommend replacing the tooth with a dental implant-supported crown. A dental implant is a surgically-inserted device that replaces a lost tooth root in a patient’s jawbone. After the jawbone heals, Dr. Wright can place a custom porcelain dental crown on top of it to replace your extracted tooth.

About Gregory Wright, DDS:

As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He is happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment with your cosmetic dentist, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.

Southlake Dentist Explains Why We Lose “Permanent” Teeth

Typically, humans grow two sets of teeth in their lifetime. Your baby teeth, or primary teeth, are like training wheels that teach us to care for our smiles while maintaining proper space for your adult teeth to grow. Primary teeth are destined to fall out and make room for their adult counterparts. Known as permanent teeth, your adult teeth should last for a lifetime, yet many patients lose one, several, or all of their teeth by the time they reach late adulthood. Your Southlake dentist explains why teeth that are meant to be permanent sometimes aren’t, and how to preserve your smile if you lose one or more teeth to damage or disease.

Neglecting Your Dental Problems

Accidental trauma can often damage the connective tissues that hold your teeth in place, and lead to a partially or fully dislodged tooth. In most cases, however, permanent tooth loss is the result of a severe dental disease, like tooth decay or gum disease. Tooth decay can erode your tooth’s structure, causing holes (cavities) to form and consume your tooth if not treated in time. Gum disease describes infected gum tissue, and can destroy the gums and jawbone that support your teeth. Both diseases can develop from the excessive buildup of dental plaque, and can be prevented with excellent dental hygiene and regular professional maintenance. Tooth loss can also be avoided by treating tooth decay and gum disease as soon as possible when they develop, before your teeth and gums are irreversibly damaged.

Restoring Your Smile

If you’ve lost one or more teeth, Dr. Wright may recommend replacing them with an appropriate number of dental implants. The prosthetic devices are made from biocompatible titanium, and are surgically inserted into the jawbone to replace lost teeth roots. The jawbone fuses to the implant(s) as it heals, which usually last between 4-6 months, and Dr. Wright can attach a dental crown, partial denture, or complete denture to the implants to complete your smile’s restoration. By replacing lost teeth roots, implants can provide the most lifelike support for your replacement teeth, improving their ability to look and function like real teeth.

About Gregory Wright, DDS:

As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He is happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment with your cosmetic dentist, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.

How Your Southlake Dentist Cleans Teeth

Do you sometimes feel as though you clean your teeth well enough at home that skipping a dental appointment now and then can do no harm? The truth is that adhering to a strict routine of dental checkups and cleanings (at least one appointment every six months) is as important to good dental health as your toothbrush and floss. Southlake dentist, Dr. Wright, takes pride in the care he provides our patients, from routine dental cleanings to complete smile makeovers. During your visit, we’ll ensure that you leave our office with the fresh feeling of a clean and healthy smile, as well as instructions on how to improve your dental hygiene at home, if necessary.

The Cleaning

When you brush your teeth, you should take care to gently brush the dental plaque and debris from every surface of every tooth. The sticky substance on your teeth, called plaque, consists of hundreds of kinds of oral bacteria that can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and chronic bad breath if allowed to run rampant. At your regular dental cleaning, one of our skilled hygienists will thoroughly clear away plaque from your teeth, as well as plaque’s calcified form, tartar, using an ultra-sonic device that breaks up bacterial buildup. We’ll also polish the surfaces of your teeth to discourage plaque buildup between your regularly scheduled cleanings.

The Examination

Cleaning your teeth and gums is only half of your professional dental maintenance. Dr. Wright will also perform a comprehensive examination to inspect the state of your teeth and gums, including signs of potential danger. He will closely scrutinize your teeth for damage or indications of tooth decay, as well as assess your periodontal (gum) tissue for the likelihood of gum disease. When needed, a dental X-ray will help Dr. Wright gain a clearer picture of your teeth and mouth for a more accurate diagnosis. After consulting with you to discuss your goals and your viable treatment options, Dr. Wright will recommend and develop a treatment plan according to your specific needs.

About Gregory Wright, DDS:

If it’s been a while since your last dental checkup and cleaning, then visit us as soon as possible to ensure your continued good oral health. As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He is happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment with your cosmetic dentist, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.

A Professional Makeover for Your Smile

Your smile may not be perfect, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be. Many imperfections, such as stained, yellowed, chipped, cracked, or oddly spaced teeth, can occur even if you diligently practice good dental hygiene. Cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving a smile’s appearance when your teeth and gums are healthy and free of disease. A smile makeover describes a combination of cosmetic procedures that specifically address the aesthetic issues affecting your smile. By custom-designing a smile makeover plan, your Southlake cosmetic dentist, Dr. Wright, can help pinpoint the issues that diminish your smile’s appeal and correct them to help you enjoy smiling again.

Planing a Smile Makeover

The first and most important step in the smile makeover process is the initial consultation, during which Dr. Wright will consult with you to discuss your concerns and what you want for your smile. During your examination, he’ll carefully inspect the state of your oral health and the symmetry of your face, jaws, teeth, and smile. Depending on your specific needs and goals, Dr. Wright will prescribe an appropriate course of treatment to improve the color, size, shape, and overall look of your teeth and smile.

Common Smile Makeover Procedures

Just as every person is unique, so is every smile and the issues that affect it. For instance, teeth that are stained by food and beverages, or that have yellowed with age, can often be brightened with professional teeth whitening. Severely blemished teeth may require a porcelain dental crown, which is placed over the tooth to completely conceal it. Other procedures may include;

  • Cosmetic dental bonding—the process of bonding tooth-colored composite resin over a stain, chip, crack, or other dental flow, then sculpting and polishing the resin to blend in with the tooth’s structure.
  • Tooth contouring—shaping, or sculpting, a tooth’s jagged or uneven edges or surface to improve its symmetry and appearance.
  • Gum contouring—trimming excessive gum tissue or uneven gums (gummy smile) with an advanced, soft-tissue dental laser to balance the gum line and improve how it frames your smile.
  • Porcelain veneers—wafer-thin shells of dental porcelain that are hand-crafted and bonded to the front surfaces of one or more teeth.

About Gregory Wright, DDS:

As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He is happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment with your cosmetic dentist, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.

Southlake Dentist Describes Your Teeth

Your teeth are remarkable. They’re responsible for filling out your smile, processing food to fuel your body, and allowing you to enunciate your words clearly, and they’re protected by the most resilient substance that the body produces. Teeth are also peculiar in the fact that, when damaged or threatened, they don’t possess the ability to heal themselves. This hindrance makes good hygiene and oral health care even more important; preventing dental health issues is the most effective way of preserving your healthy tooth structure. Southlake dentist, Dr. Gregory Wright, takes a close look at what your teeth are made of, and how damage or an infection can threaten their existence.

How a Tooth is Built

A typical adult (or permanent) tooth is composed of layers. The strong outer layer of enamel is the tooth’s first and foremost defense against excessive pressure and infectious bacteria. As the body’s most mineralized substance, enamel is mostly comprised of calcium and phosphate, along with other trace minerals. Underneath the translucent enamel lies the tooth’s dentin, which constitutes the main body of the tooth. Pulp, located at the center of the tooth, is comprised of vulnerable nerves and blood vessels. Together, enamel and dentin surround and protect the tooth’s pulp, and when these structures are compromised, the tooth’s living tissues can become infected and die.

How a Tooth is Destroyed

Even if you can’t remember its name, you’re likely familiar with dental plaque, the sticky substance that sometimes coats your teeth and accumulates along your gum line. What you may not know, however, is that the presence of excessive dental plaque is the main factor behind tooth decay, gum disease, and chronic bad breath development, among other dental health issues. The bacteria found in plaque, particularly Streptococcus mutans, consume sugar and other carbohydrates, then metabolize them into acid that attacks healthy tooth enamel. As the acid coats your teeth, it depletes them of essential minerals, weakening tooth enamel and depriving it of the ability to regain its strength. Poor hygiene can allow bacterial plaque and the acid it produces to destroy the protective layer around your teeth, exposing them to bacteria, tooth decay, and resulting cavities.

About Gregory Wright, DDS:

As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He is happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment with your cosmetic dentist, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.

Why You Should Ask Your Dentist About TMJ Disorder

Your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, are located in front of each ear, and they connect the lower jaw to the temporal bones in your skull. Usually, these joints don’t garner much attention throughout daily life, although they’re the most-used joints in the human body. When they’re disturbed, however, the discomfort can radiate throughout your head, mouth, face, and neck, and you may be able to think of little else. If you’re in the grips of TMJ disorder, your Southlake dentist can help you find relief from chronic aches and pains by addressing the source of the jaw dysfunction. (more…)

The Many Uses of Dental Crowns

Healthy teeth do more than fill out a smile nicely; they’re also the most used parts of the body, responsible for tearing and chewing food, enunciating words properly, and uplifting the facial features surrounding your smile. When a tooth is damaged or infected with disease, it can inhibit your mouth’s proper function. A dental crown is a replica of the top portion of your tooth, and fits over a compromised tooth to protect it from the pressures of biting and chewing. Because they’re designed to closely mimic a natural tooth, dental crowns from your Southlake dentist can also replace a lost or extracted tooth when attached to a dental implant.

Restoring Damaged Teeth

Teeth and bone are often confused as the same substance. While both are comprised largely of calcium and other minerals, teeth and bone are different in a number of important ways. For instance, teeth lack the regenerative cells that help bones heal; if a tooth is broken, it can’t repair itself like bone does. If the compromised tooth is subjected to pressure, it can break further and expose the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels (pulp) to bacteria and infection. Once Dr. Wright ensures that the damaged tooth is free of disease, which may involve a root canal procedure, then he can place a dental crown over the weak tooth to restore and protect it. Cases of extreme tooth decay, where neglect has allowed the internal tooth infection to reach the sensitive pulp, may also require a root canal procedure followed by a dental crown.

Replacing Lost or Extracted Teeth

Dental crowns are designed to mimic the part of your tooth that rests above the gum line. A healthy tooth, however, also consists of a root that continues underneath the gums and extends into the jawbone. Roots provide teeth with a sturdy foundation that contributes to their strength, and the stimulation from biting and chewing invites nutrients to the jawbone to support your teeth. A dental implant, which is a small root device that is surgically inserted into the jawbone, can act as an anchor for a custom dental crown to replace a tooth that’s been lost or requires extraction. By emulating a natural tooth’s complete root-and-crown structure, a dental implant and crown can offer the most lifelike and long-lasting tooth replacement option available.

About Gregory Wright, DDS:

As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He is happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment with your cosmetic dentist, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.

The Benefits of Dental Implants

When it comes to lost teeth, dental implants offer the most comprehensive replacement options available. As prosthetic tooth roots, implants are surgically inserted into a patient’s jawbone, which fuses to the implant’s biocompatible titanium surface. Once the jawbone heals, your Southlake dentist can attach your replacement teeth to the dental implants, effectively replacing the root and crowns (top portions) of your missing teeth. Dental implants can replace any number of lost teeth, and they offer a wealth of advantages over traditional teeth replacements, including improved stability and jawbone preservation.

The Purpose of Dental Implants

The traditional idea of replacing teeth, as evidenced by dental bridges, partial dentures, and complete dentures, involves replacing the crowns of teeth, which extend above the gum line. Bridges and dentures allow patients who’ve lost teeth once again smile with confidence, as well as bite and chew properly. The purpose of dental implants is to provide modern replacement teeth with a foundation similar to the roots that naturally support healthy teeth. The improved stability allows prosthetic teeth to function better, and when implants are stimulated by biting and chewing, they help facilitate a healthy flow of nutrients to the jawbone. Losing teeth roots, which originally aid the jawbone through stimulation, can cause the jaw to shrink from nutrient deficiency. Left unchecked, jawbone deterioration can lead to further tooth loss and the sunken-jaw appearance known as facial collapse.

Who Can Receive Dental Implants

If you’ve lost one or more teeth and are looking for the most beneficial replacement options, or if you currently rely on a dental bridge or denture and would like to improve its performance, you may be a candidate for dental implants. Dr. Wright will ensure that your mouth is free of disease, and comprehensive examination will determine if your jawbone is dense enough to support the implants. Dental diseases, such as gum disease and tooth decay, must be resolved with a case-appropriate treatment before implants can be placed. If your jawbone has lost a significant amount of density due to tooth loss or gum disease, then you may need a jawbone graft to fortify it.

About Gregory Wright, DDS:

As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He is happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment with your cosmetic dentist, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.

What is a Tooth Cavity?

Most people are familiar with cavities. In fact, over 90% of adults in the United States have had at least one in their permanent teeth, and dental caries (the condition that makes cavities possible) affects over half of school-aged children. A cavity describes a hole in a tooth caused by an internal infection, known as tooth decay, and can generate different levels of discomfort depending on its severity. Whether cavities are merely annoying or painful enough to disrupt your day, your Southlake dentist explains that the pain can warn you of impending danger. Left untreated, a cavity can consume the majority of your tooth, rendering it useless and requiring an extraction to prevent the spread of infection. Luckily, tooth decay and its resulting cavities are highly preventable with the right care and attention, and equally as treatable if spotted and addressed early.

How Teeth Develop Holes

Tooth decay, gum disease, chronic bad breath, and other potentially serious dental health issues typically arise from an excessive buildup of dental plaque. The sticky biofilm is a byproduct of oral bacteria, meant to protect the anaerobic (oxygen-less) germs from saliva and other natural oral defenses. When the bacteria in plaque accumulate, some of them consume and metabolize sugar and carbohydrates, turning them into acid that attacks the enamel surrounding and protecting teeth. The acid dissipates after 20-30 minutes, allowing teeth to replenish minerals and strengthen their enamel. However, poor oral hygiene and excessive snacking can allow acid erosion to outpace tooth enamel’s ability to recover. Over time, enamel can become too weak and compromised to repel cavity-causing bacteria, and small holes will begin to develop as decay settles into the tooth’s structure.

Preventing Cavities and Other Dental Issues

Tooth enamel is the first and strongest line of defense for healthy teeth, and effective dental hygiene focuses on preserving enamel by controlling bacterial dental plaque. Brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day removes plaque, bacteria, and food debris that can feed them. Use toothpaste that contains fluoride—a mineral that strengthens enamel by bonding to its surface—to help fortify your teeth’s defenses. Also, visit our office at least once every six months for a routine dental checkup and cleaning. A professional cleaning allows your dentist or dental hygienist to remove plaque that you may have missed, and is the only way to remove tartar, a calcified (hardened) form of plaque. If Dr. Wright spots signs of weak enamel or developing tooth decay, he can prescribe an appropriate treatment to preserve your tooth before a cavity forms and causes significant damage.

About Gregory Wright, DDS:

As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He is happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment with your cosmetic dentist, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.