gum disease

Routine Dental Exam to Check for Tooth Decay Risk

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A routine dental exam is the best way to identify tooth decay. This exam gives your dentist and/or his staff the opportunity to examine your mouth for signs of tooth decay and other issues or abnormalities. The purpose of identifying tooth decay during routine dental exams is to catch it as early as possible and provide subsequent treatment.

The Frequency of Routine Dental Exams

Routine dental exams should occur at least once every six months. Some dentists and patients prefer to have these check-ups once every three or four months just to be on the safe side. When in doubt, reach out to your dentist to determine the frequency of dental exams that is most appropriate for your unique oral health.

If you smoke, have cavities or have a genetic predisposition for gum disease and/or tooth/root decay, a routine dental exam every three months might be ideal.

What Happens During the Dental Exam?

The dentist and his or her staff will perform a comprehensive examination of your teeth and gums. The exam will provide a comprehensive summary of your unique oral health. You will be asked questions about your dental history, medical history and oral hygiene. The dentist will look closely at each tooth for signs of tooth decay.

The dentist will examine your diagnostic X-rays, known as radiographs. This is essential to detect tooth decay as well as tumors, bone loss and cysts. All tooth surfaces are examined with specialized dental instruments for signs of decay.

What Happens if Tooth Decay is Identified?

If there are signs of tooth decay, the dentist will likely ask detailed questions about your brushing and flossing habits. The frequency of brushing and flossing matters a great deal in the context of tooth decay. Even the products one uses for oral hygiene and the cleaning techniques play important roles in preventing tooth decay.

Furthermore, the dentist will likely ask questions about whether the patient uses toothpaste with fluoride and if one consumes water containing fluoride. This information is necessary for the dentist to provide suggestions as to how the patient can improve oral hygiene habits to prevent additional tooth decay.

Why Routine Dental Exams are an Absolute-Must

Take a moment to consider the pain and annoyance involved in your last cavity. Wouldn't it be nice to minimize those feelings or completely prevent them?  Visit the dentist for routine dental exams and your tooth decay will be identified as soon as possible.

Early diagnosis reduces the need for deep drilling and other possible invasive procedures that might prove somewhat painful and undoubtedly cost additional money. So do not delay check-ups at the dentist. The early identification of tooth decay will dramatically increase the potential for successful treatment.

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Reasons Why You Need a Dental Checkup Every 6 Months

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How often do you see your dentist? The majority of people fully understand how important it is to see their dentist on a regular basis. Taking good care of your teeth is one of the best things you can do when it comes to your good health, making it a good idea for you to schedule a dental checkup every six months. Although there are some dentists who suggest a dental checkup once a year is perfectly fine, going every six months is one of the best ways to ensure you are taking proper care of your oral health.

Regular dental checkups ensure good health

Scheduling a dentist appointment every six months for a checkup is essential to one's overall good health. While it is true that most people do not enjoy going to the dentist, those who do not keep up with their regular dental checkups just may regret this decision in the future. Those who do not visit their dentist on a regular basis are taking huge risks with their oral health, which can lead to other health complications.

Did you know that gum disease is 100 percent preventable?

Four Top Reasons Why You Need a Six Month Checkup

The following four reasons are why everyone should get a dental checkup every six months instead of once a year:

1. Plaque and tartar

Even when we brush and floss our teeth diligently 3 times a day, there are areas in the mouth that simply cannot be reached. Plaque and tartar tend to grow in these areas and needs to be removed as soon as possible for good oral health. Plaque and tartar lead to gum disease and tooth decay, which can negatively affect one's health.

2. X-rays

A dental X-ray allows any dentist to see potential problems that may be going on with the teeth and/or the gums that one cannot see with the naked eye. It is much easier, less painful, and less expensive to address any potential up-and-coming dental problems as soon as possible.

3. Oral cancer check

Although anyone can get oral cancer, those who smoke and/or drink alcohol are at a greater risk. The sooner oral cancer is found, the better the chances of survival. Finding oral cancer in its early stages offers the best chance for a full recovery. We can check for symptoms of oral cancer and direct patients to the proper treatment facilities, if necessary.

4. Prevent bad habits

Patients who smoke, clench their jaw, grind teeth, chew on ice, eat lots of sweets, drink coffee, drink red wine or brush their teeth too hard need to visit our office. We can help educate patients on how unhealthy these habits are and recommend options for dealing with these habits.

Prevention is key

Being proactive is highly recommended when it comes to oral health. Seeing us for regular checkups is not only the best way for you to take care of your dental hygiene,  but it is also a necessary step for preventing oral diseases. If you are someone who follows all the rules and has a long history of good dental health, you can still benefit from dental checkups. There are areas of the mouth that brushing and flossing cannot reach. Fortunately, we can.

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Ways We Can Help You in our General Dentist Office

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=Visiting our general dentist blog is a great place to start if you have any questions about what a general dentist does or are just looking for information on oral health and hygiene. We tend to focus a lot of our attention on the healing side of dentistry, providing ways to understand what we do every day and how they can avoid some of the challenges our patients face.

We cover a variety of oral health concerns

Since much of our focus is on preventative medicine, we educate patients on topics such as oral health and hygiene, gum diseases, great brushing habits, tooth decay, cleaning, and more. There are a lot of places on the internet where patients can get false information that can mislead patients. Thus, we offer basic information in this blog and are happy to answer any other questions over the phone.

As a general dentist, we know that there are all kinds of oral health problems that people face. Some are rare while we see others virtually every day. Since the vast majority of what we deal with are similar challenges, we decided to talk about two of the most common reasons why people seek out the aid of a dentist. Cavities and bad breath.

Dangers of cavities

A cavity is a small hole that forms in the enamel of the tooth due to decay. Bacteria, which resides perpetually in the mouth, colonize the teeth. Often one will see a thin film-like substance on the teeth (plaque). When the plaque builds up, the bacteria secrete an acid which starts to erode the enamel of the teeth.

Eventually, the acid will eat a small hole or a cavity into the tooth itself. Left unchecked, cavities can cause discomfort, spread, and can lead to conditions such as gum disease. The good news it is not difficult to avoid cavities. Simply brush twice a day, learn to rinse the mouth after eating a meal or a snack, floss regularly and have general dentist visits at least twice per year.

Dealing with bad breath

Bad breath is another problem that plagues many people. With someone who has bad breath, there is typically an underlying health cause that requires dental treatment. While it is natural for people to have bad breath after certain foods, think eating garlic, chronic bad breath can be much worse. This type of bad breath can include bacteria on the tongue, cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer. If brushing frequently, using anti-microbial mouthwash, and having good eating habits does not get rid of the bad breath, then patients definitely need to call our general dentist office.

We can examine your teeth and gums to determine if you have a health condition that needs to be addressed or if you simply need a deep cleaning. Our dentist office in Plano can assist with both issues to restore you to good health and fresh breath.

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The Importance of Regular Dental Visits

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Regular dental visits are incredibly important for maintaining good oral health. Unfortunately, many people only visit the dentist when they have a dental emergency or something like a toothache. It is far better to make these appointments on a regular basis to ensure that problems are prevented. This is more economical and allows for better health.

The need for ongoing dental care

Without ongoing dental care, it is more likely that a person will suffer from cavities, gum disease and oral infections. Regular brushing and flossing at home are not sufficient for removing all of the plaque from on top of or between the teeth. While it is critically important and helpful in preventing things like dental decay, it is not enough without also visiting the dentist for a professional cleaning.

While here, we can thoroughly clean and polish the teeth, while also removing plaque and tartar. We can also floss the teeth to remove any plaque that builds up between the gums and the tooth.

Benefits of regular dental visits

During dental visits, we also thoroughly examine the teeth to allow us to notice signs of dental decay. Typically, decay manifests as soft spots in the actual tooth structure. When we see a patient twice a year, we are able to identify the key while it is still relatively small. In fact, it is possible for us to identify it prior to a patient ever experiencing a toothache. Also, by removing the decayed portion of the tooth early on, it reduces the likelihood of a dental infection and a more significant procedure being necessary, like a root canal.

At these appointments, we will also work to prevent gum disease by removing plaque and tartar. If we notice that gums are inflamed or swollen, we may also recommend that a patient has a deep cleaning. A deep cleaning is necessary for removing plaque and tartar from the area of the tooth that is not visible. Since this plaque is what leads to gum disease, it is critical to perform a deep cleaning as soon as possible. Essentially, these regular visits can:

  • Prevent oral health problems through preventative care (dental cleanings)
  • Identify issues early on
  • Prevent discomfort and save a patient money

Risks of not receiving regular dental care

The risk of not having regular dental visits is high. Those who do not may suffer from oral health problems that can lead to incredible amounts of discomfort and even tooth loss. It is possible for dental pain to make it difficult to bite down and eat, speak clearly or even go about normal activities without discomfort.

When this then leads to tooth loss, these problems are further exasperated and can become permanent. To treat the significant conditions, patients often spend thousands of dollars, so it is certainly far more beneficial to schedule regular preventive appointments. To do so, call our office today.

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In Our Dentist Office We Take the Time to Answer Your Questions

Dentist OfficeWhen you visit our dentist office in Plano, you can expect to discuss various aspects of oral health, including how to brush and floss your teeth properly. We will also discuss the food that you can eat to improve your oral health and more. We take the time to go over at-home care with you so that your teeth have the best chance of remaining in excellent health. During these appointments, patients are welcome to ask questions about oral health care and the appointment process. To that end, here are some common questions and our answers.

Why do people keep talking about visiting the dentist while pregnant?

Our pregnant patients may hear a lot about visiting the dentist while reading magazines or visiting their OBGYN. This is a complicated time in life that often leads to more questions about health care than any other time. We like to stress the importance of visiting the dentist while pregnant. Gum disease can directly place an unborn child at risk. This is not a risk that anyone should take. By visiting our dentist office during a patient's pregnancy, we can remove the plaque and tartar from the teeth and from around the gums. This process will help the patient remain in excellent health and not have to worry about potential complications. Fortunately, staying healthy is as easy as brushing, flossing and scheduling professional teeth cleaning.

Do you fix loose fillings in your dentist office?

Yes, if one's filling is coming loose, then he or she needs to schedule an appointment right away. Most of the time, a filling will come loose because of something hard that the individual ate or because the tooth is experiencing additional decay. When this is the case, the filling will no longer be large enough to cover the area in question. It will naturally become loose and need replacement with a larger filling, something we can assist with in our dentist office.

Is there an easier way to clean my tongue?

While everyone knows how important it is to brush their teeth at least twice a day, people may not be aware of how important it is to brush the tongue. Since the tongue can hold onto bacteria, we suggest that patients purchase a tongue scraper from the drugstore. A tongue scraper is a simple plastic tool that will keep the tongue clean by using it once a day. Cleaning the tongue will also help to improve the breath a well. However, if the tongue continues to smell bad or if it is a funny color, then the patient needs to call a dental office immediately.

Can your dentist office treat me if I crack a tooth?

Yes, if you crack your tooth, you need a dental restoration, and you need one quickly. A crack, however small, gives bacteria the opportunity necessary for entering your tooth and, as a result, you may need a root canal in the future. We recommend avoiding this possibility by letting us restore your tooth. We can do so using a dental veneer, crown or bonding. The choice is yours.

Your Local Dentist is a Painless Dentist

Painless DentistYou do not have to feel pain or discomfort when having dental treatments performed. By working with a skilled and experienced dentist you can feel comfortable during your entire visit, which is why we offer sedation dentistry.

Sedation dentistry makes every dental appointment more enjoyable because it can help patients relax and remove any risk of pain. Millions of adults suffer from some form of dental anxiety. This is a common fear due to bad experienced as a child, exposure to antiquated dental procedures, or suffering repercussions from a bad procedure. Fortunately, these fears can be erased as modern dental technology has improved to where dental procedures are now comfortable. Still, those with anxiety will benefit from sedation dentistry and its ability to make people relax.

There are several types of sedation dentistry and as a painless dentist, we offer different solutions based on the patient's needs, concerns, and the type of procedure being performed. Sedation can start by breathing in what is known as laughing gas. This causes a person to relax instantly and feel comfortable. This alone can relieve the anxiety associated with cleaning teeth or fixing a cavity.

When it comes to pain relief there are several options that range from mild to moderate and complete sedation. With mild sedation, laughing gas can be used and followed up with a shot of pain medication in the area that is being treated. This will numb the specific area but allow a person to still be fully aware and respond to commands.  In moderate sedation, laughing gas can also be used along with pain medication, but the pain medication or anesthesia is more intense and people may be unable to do things on their own and need help to respond to commands. Complete sedation involves a level of anesthesia that makes a person fall asleep, so they do not feel anything and are completely unaware of what is happening. This is mostly used for people that are having oral surgery like dental implants, or a wisdom tooth removed.

The goal is to keep a patient completely comfortable and pain-free during the procedure. Most dental procedures do not cause very much pain or discomfort but when a person is anxious or worried, even the slightest bump may feel painful. This is why mild sedation is so effective. It removes the anxiety and fear without needing strong anesthesia. As a painless dentist, we provide a variety of options and tailor our treatment plan based on the level of anxiety and the type of treatment a patient is receiving.

We are confident in our ability to clean teeth and treat oral infections and gum disease while keeping our patients comfortable. We are a painless dentist that uses the latest in dental technology to ensure that our patients receive treatment that is targeted, accurate, and precise. This, in turn, minimizes recovery times and helps our patients to walk out of the office feeling great.

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Tooth Loss and the Need for Dentures

DenturesAs a dentures dentist, we know that few people ever consider life after losing teeth. Even fewer considered life with dentures. In fact in a recent survey more than 60% of the responders stated that they had never even considered or given serious thought to dentures. Most people are confident about the quality and health of their teeth. With over 97% of people now brushing their teeth at least once per day, it is understandable why so many people feel like they will never lose a tooth.  While avoiding tooth loss is a great goal to work towards, most adults will experience some tooth loss in their lifetime. For example, you might be surprised to learn that around 20 million women, over the age of 40, wear dentures in the United States today. According to the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, the number of people that will be wearing complete dentures will be around 37.9 million by 2020. While we strongly encourage all of our patients to take good care of their teeth, be careful what they bite down on and have a healthier diet, we also know that sometimes DNA or age just catches up with you.

Preventing tooth loss -

Nobody suddenly needs dentures one morning. You will, almost, never wake up one morning with a gaping hole in your teeth and needing to come see the dentist for dentures. Instead, the way it usually works is that there are underlying symptoms, which people tend to ignore. Your body will tell you if you have an infection or gum disease, and give you the opportunity to come see us and have us fix the problem before it leads to tooth loss. Naturally the best way to avoid ever getting to that place is to be part of the 53% of Americans that make it a habit to visit the dentist at least twice each year. When you do this, we have an opportunity to catch any underlying problems before they fester too long and become severe. In between appointments, or if you are part of the 48% that doesn't visit us regularly, there are a few signs to look for that may indicate an infection or diseases that require medical attention.

One of the most common, and often ignored, signs of gum disease is a loosening of teeth. Your teeth were never meant to be loose and when they start to shift inside your mouth of their own accord, this is an indicator of a deeper problem. Another indicator of gum disease is a toothache. While people do get toothaches from eating too much sweet, if you cannot control the toothache with over the counter medication, if it lasts longer than a day or two, or if it comes back frequently this could be an indicator of a deeper infection or gum disease. Since gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss, these symptoms require immediate dental care.

While we will try to prevent tooth loss, if you do lose a tooth - we can help.  We can create a comfortable set of dentures that will look natural and function perfectly, allowing you to smile with confidence.

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Why You Should See an Invisalign Dentist

Invisalign DentistAn experienced Invisalign dentist can transform your smile into something straight and beautiful, without anyone knowing you are having a dental procedure completed. The best thing about this process is that your teeth can be straightened using a clear device that is unnoticeable and inconspicuous. This is ideal for busy professionals, teens, or those concerned over how metal braces could impact their appearance.

In order to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure, schedule a dental exam and consultation. Our team of professionals will evaluate your teeth, gums, and jaw to determine if Invisalign will accomplish the goals that you have for your smile and your dental health. Patients that have a misaligned jaw may still need traditional metal braces in order to correct it.

The Process

An Invisalign dentist will create a treatment plan that takes you from where your teeth are today to completely straight and gorgeous, using clear aligners.  An aligner looks like a clear retainer. It completely surrounds your teeth, and patients are typically provided one for both the upper and lower teeth. To start, a mold will be taken of your mouth.  In the lab, aligners will be produced for your entire treatment plan. Each aligner takes your teeth one step closer to being straight.

At home, you will switch out the aligner every couple of weeks. This will keep your teeth moving in the right direction, without requiring constant visits to the orthodontist. Since this is done on your own time, scheduling follow up appointments becomes much easier.

The aligner is supposed to be worn for around 22 hours a day.  This leaves time to enjoy a special dinner out, brush your teeth, and eat your favorite caramel apple. One of the benefits of Invisalign is that you have the freedom to take the aligner out, instead of being stuck with braces regardless of the occasion. In addition, your teeth will look straighter throughout the process, helping your appearance to improve immediately.

While you are straightening your teeth, it is important to practice good oral health care at home.  Brush your teeth twice a day, use floss, and an antiseptic mouthwash to kill bacteria. You can also brush your aligner with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste. Visit your Invisalign dentist for regular teeth cleanings to remove any additional bacteria that may form in your mouth. This will help to prevent cavities and gum disease while keeping your teeth healthy for the procedure.  Since the aligner is replaced every couple of weeks there is less risk of it carrying infection causing bacteria, as well.

An Invisalign dentist can do wonders for your smile and help you to look positively radiant.  As your teeth continue to straighten, you will notice changes and improvements to your appearance.  We also recommend that patients have their teeth whitened as part of their big reveal. We offer professional teeth whitening services that can whiten your smile by up to eight shades. Once the process is complete, you will be delighted with your bright, straight smile.

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Your Dental Veneers Can Last Longer By Following These Care Steps

Dental VeneersIf you are restoring a damaged tooth, dental veneers are an excellent option. A veneer is a thin shell that is placed onto the surface of your tooth and is made out of porcelain in order to look completely natural.  It can save a cracked or chipped tooth and help your smile to look beautiful at the same time.  They are supposed to last for five to ten years but by taking care of them you can help your veneers to last longer. Here are some simple steps you can try to keep them in good condition:

  • Wear a mouth guard.  Sports injuries are the leading cause of adult tooth damage according to the American Dental Association.  If you wear a mouth guard while practicing or playing, you can prevent a lot of tooth injuries.  This is important because veneers are not immune from becoming damaged.
  • Daily care.  It is important to brush and floss your teeth throughout the day.  We recommend using a soft toothbrush so that you don’t irritate your teeth, veneers or gums.  Make sure to floss as well so that you can remove food from in between your teeth.  Follow this up by rinsing with antiseptic mouthwash in order to eliminate bacteria that can lead to an infection.  Dental veneers are placed on top of your existing teeth, making it important to take care of them.
  • Dental exams. You should have your teeth cleaned at least twice a year so that we can remove plaque, bacteria and anything else that can lead to an infection.  This also allows us to treat any cavities or signs of gum disease.
  • Watch what goes in your mouth.  Needless to say, you should only eat food.  Don’t chew ice, bite on pencils or bite your nails.  If you do, you could cause your veneers to move or break. They can even fall off so stick to eating your favorite foods instead.
  • Don’t grind your teeth.  People that grind their teeth at night will often wake up with severe headaches in addition to having damaged teeth.  Grinding can cause your teeth to break or chip.  If you have dental veneers, grinding can cause them to break as well.  We have an easy solution.  You can wear a customized night guard that prevents your upper and lower teeth from touching each other.  This eliminates the risk of your teeth grinding or clenching.  Your veneers will be protected, and you will have less pain and fewer headaches.

As a cosmetic dentist, we know that by taking care of your veneers and your teeth you will feel better and stay in better health overall.  Some of these steps are easy to take on your own while others require the assistance of a licensed dentist.  Regardless of how large or small your questions are, we would be happy to assist you so give us a call to schedule your appointment right away.

The Importance of Brushing with Fluoride from Your Plano Dentist

Plano DentistsHere at your Plano Dentist office we understand the importance of fluoride and encourage our patients to brush with a toothpaste that contains this vital substance. Substantial research has shown that fluoride has a very positive impact on teeth, and when used in the right amounts, like brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste, it can help teeth repair and significantly reduce the chance of a patient getting a gum disease or cavities. Brushing, naturally, is one of the key ways that fluoride can get to the teeth and so we recommend a fluoride toothpaste and a healthy routine of tooth brushing every day. Believe it or not there are still people who question the importance of brushing one's teeth at least twice per day. We know that when food is left on teeth it reacts with the naturally occurring bacteria. This naturally occurring bacteria then secretes an acid, which when collected on the teeth starts the process of decaying. The longer the acid stays on the teeth, the more the chance of decay. Additionally, almost instantly after eating the mouth produces a natural coat called plaque. This plaque covers up the bacteria and speeds up the process of erosion. The only way to remove these two is to brush one's teeth after a meal. At minimum brushing in the morning and again before, bed are critical to ensure a healthy mouth and good oral hygiene.

When you visit our Plano Dentist office, we will always recommend that you brush your teeth a minimum of twice per day and also have a routine of flossing to remove food and plaque from between your teeth. A healthy routine of brushing, rinsing, using mouth wash, and flossing is a great way to keep your mouth in the best health possible. Additionally the use of fluoride toothpastes has the added benefit of introducing the right doses of fluoride to the teeth, which in turn also help prevent decay and disease.

Apart from fluoride, toothpaste provides a number of other benefits and, so it is recommended that you brush your teeth, at least twice daily, with a fluoride toothpaste. Toothpaste, when used in conjunction with the correct brushing motion and a well maintained toothbrush helps to remove dangerous plaque and keep the teeth safe and without cavities. The fluoride in the toothpaste also helps to promote re-mineralization which minimizes and helps repair early decay before it even becomes obvious. Additionally toothpaste gives the user fresh and clean breath, which leaves the mouth feeling refreshed and feeling extremely clean. Many toothpastes also contain a whitening agent which help to whiten the teeth every time a user brushes their teeth. As the user brushes their teeth the whitening agent works to promote white teeth and a brighter smile.

As important as brushing your teeth, with the right toothpaste, is it is also important to take other steps to maintain good oral health. This includes a healthy diet, flossing regularly, and visiting the Plano Dentist office for regular checkups.