Don’t Let Halloween Treats Give You a Jackolantern Smile!
|October 10, 2018
The temperatures are dropping, and Halloween is just around the corner. Fall is everyone’s favorite season, filled with football, cute scarves, and lots and lots of candy. Don’t let your daily Pumpkin Spice Latte and all that Halloween candy give you cavities!
This blog will give you some tips to avoid the bad report from your dentist after Halloween is over.
Indulge Only in Moderation
We don’t want to ruin all of your fun. You certainly can enjoy a PSL every once in a while with no ill effects to your teeth. However, make sure you are not over-indulging. A tall (12 ounce) Pumpkin Spice Latte has exactly the same amount of sugar as a 12 ounce Coca-Cola!
Remember that the bacteria in our mouths create cavities after they eat sugar and give off an acid. That acid weakens and destroys tooth enamel. The more sugar you eat, the more sugar you are feeding to the bacteria in your mouth, and the more acid they produce.
In the mouth, sugar = acid = cavities.
When you do indulge in a sweet fall treat, you can reduce the risk of developing cavities by making a little clean-up effort. After drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte or other sweet beverage, drink some water. If possible, swish some room temperature water around your mouth for about a minute. Quickly neutralizing the pH in your mouth with water can reduce the effect of acid on your teeth.
Obviously, brushing and flossing to remove all plaque and food debris will greatly lower your cavity risk. We understand that many people do not have time to do this if they are indulging while out running errands or in the car line at school. Keeping a bottle of water and even some little floss picks in the car will help you keep your pearly whites pearly white.
Then when you are home, floss and brush thoroughly to get all of the sugar off of your teeth.
At Prosper Family Dentistry, we strive to be as preventive as possible. We want to give you every tool to prevent cavities. We usually aim these tools at patients who are noticeably high risk for developing new cavities year-round.
However, if you know you are going to be upping your sugar intake, you might want to consider upping your cavity prevention game.
Here are the best preventive measures you can take:
More Questions about How to Enjoy Fall Fun without Getting Cavities?
Call 972-347-1145 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara. They can answer all of your questions about your cavity risk and which treats you should avoid.
Pediatric Sleep Problems: Some New Information
|October 3, 2018
Most of our patients know that Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara have extensive education in sleep disorders, over and above that of most dental practitioners. The reason for this is their belief that a dentist’s job is to help all of our patients achieve their optimal overall health. Sleep problems often show signs inside the mouth. Addressing sleep problems in children reduces their risk for other diseases throughout their lives!
Who is Involved in Diagnosing and Treating Pediatric Sleep Problems?
We as dentists are in a unique position to catch red flags or warning signs of sleep problems in children. We see most patients every 6 months, and we check the airway of each patient at every visit.
When a child shows signs of a possible sleep problem, we discuss these signs with the parent and help guide you to finding the right treatment.
Getting the proper diagnosis and treatment for your child’s specific sleep problems can involve a whole team of medical professionals.
This team can involve the child’s pediatrician, an ear, nose and throat specialist, a sleep physician, a pediatric neurologist and even a psychologist.
A child’s pediatrician is your primary medical provider who can catch warning signs such as breathing problems or behavioral issues. Your communication with the pediatrician about your concerns is vital to finding the proper diagnosis.
If a child is experiencing sleep disordered breathing due to an airway obstruction by enlarged adenoids and/or tonsils, an ENT performs the surgical procedures necessary to open the airway. An ENT will also help you address breathing problems caused by nasal obstruction, chronic sinus infections and seasonal allergies.
A sleep physician is the expert in sleep patterns and the quality of sleep. By performing a comprehensive evaluation of your child’s sleep, a sleep physician will provide vital information about the exact diagnosis.
Understanding your child’s brain function and its effects on sleep is an important aspect of diagnosing a sleep problem. Your pediatrician or sleep physician will refer you to a neurologist if there appears to be problem with the signals from the brain, which is the case in Central Sleep Apnea.
A cognitive behavioral therapist is instrumental in helping your child overcome any of the psychological implications of sleep problems. Sometimes children have a mental hang-up about sleep patterns. This training can help a child understand what his body is doing, control its natural reactions, and learn to put himself back to sleep when a disturbance occurs.
What Makes a Child More Likely to Have Sleep Problems?
There are many factors involved in getting a good night’s sleep. We have traditionally focused on the airway as the primary factor in a child’s sleep. While it is essential for a child to breathe well to sleep well, it is not the only problem that can arise during sleep.
In addition to the anatomy of the airway and the jaws, there can be issues with nerve signals from the brain, as well as psychological factors.
These other factors are the reason a whole team of specialists may be necessary to arrive at the correct diagnosis and treatment.
Why Are Pediatric Sleep Problems a Big Deal?
Sleep is an important time for the immune system to work, so children who do not sleep well are more prone to illness and infections. Children who do not get good quality sleep also have a higher risk for learning disabilities and ADHD. Many children exhibit behavioral problems, such as extreme moodiness and combativeness.
By addressing sleep problems early in childhood, your child is healthier, better able to learn, and more even-tempered. Rest is vital to a happy, healthy childhood. Rest is also essential for normal growth and development.
Do You Have Concerns about Your Child’s Potential for Sleep Problems?
Call 972-347-1145 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara. They will discuss the latest information about pediatric sleep disorders and help point you in the right direction to getting a diagnosis and treatment.
Why Does My Dentist Ask So Many Questions about the Medicine I Take?
|September 26, 2018
That’s a great question! Both medicine and dentistry have changed drastically over the past few decades.
An old anecdote said that dentists built their offices on the second floor of buildings for a reason. If the patient was healthy enough to climb the stairs to get to the dentist, he was healthy enough to have a tooth pulled.
Things are not quite so simple today. First of all, we have elevators. Secondly, and more importantly, we have more medications than ever, and these medications do have an impact on dentistry. This blog will explain some of the reasons your complete medical history is so important to your dentist.
Your medications affect your mouth.
All medications have side effects, even over-the-counter ones. It is important for your dentist to know what medications you take on a regular basis to help you care for your mouth.
Many meds cause dry mouth as a side effect. A dry mouth is more than just an annoyance. It can lead to serious dental problems, like cavities and gum disease. A dry mouth also makes you more likely to have mouth sores and ulcers.
Other medications can affect things like bone density and wound healing, which can be very detrimental to a patient having oral surgery. Some medications make the gums overgrow like crazy. There are even some that affect your sense of taste.
If we do not know your medications, we may not be give you an accurate reason as to why you are experiencing certain mouth problems. When we know what you are taking, we can take better care of your mouth.
Your medications affect our medications.
Most people do not think of anesthetic (“novocaine”) as a medication, but because of drug interactions, we must!
We inject medication every single day. The ingredients in our local anesthetic injections can interact and interfere with medications you are taking. In order to eliminate any complications that could arise, we have to know exactly what you are taking.
We also prescribe medications for dental infections, pain management, and TMJ problems. The prescriptions we write could change the way your meds work. For instance, certain antibiotics change the way birth control pills work. And other medications affect the way antibiotics work.
Because of the countless types of prescription medications available today, it is impossible for us to guess what you are taking based on a list of medical concerns. We need to know the name of the drug, the dosage, and the schedule you take it, so that we can ensure there will be no bad interactions with the medications we give you.
Your mouth may show whether your medications are working.
Did you know that certain health problems leave clues in your mouth?
Often, the dentist sees something in a dental evaluation that leads to questions about your overall health. Dental hygienists can see signs of problems with hormones or blood sugar in your gums.
Many diseases have signs or symptoms that show up in the mouth. If you are already taking medications for these diseases, and the oral symptoms are still present, that tells us that the medications may not be working as well as they should.
In addition to signs we see inside your mouth, we also may notice problems when taking your pulse and blood pressure. If you are currently taking medication for high blood pressure, it is important to know whether or not that medicine is doing its job.
Your medications help us understand your overall health.
Contrary to what the division between medicine and dentistry implies, the mouth is not separate from the rest of the body!
The mouth is an important part of the body, and oral problems play an important role in your overall health.
When we perform treatment on various areas of your mouth, it can affect the rest of your body. It is essential for us to know the exact state of your health so that we can plan for certain types of treatment. We cannot discern the state of your health without knowing what meds you take.
This is of utmost importance when we are planning dental surgery, like a tooth extraction or dental implant. The healing process is the most important factor in the long-term success of the dental treatment. Both medical problems and the medications you take affect that healing process.
More Questions on What Your Medications Have to Do with Dental Treatment?
Call 972-347-1145 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara. They will closely study and discuss with you the details of your medical history to make sure that we provide you with the right dental care in the safest, most predictable way.
Are You Brushing the Right Way?
|September 19, 2018
You may remember that old toothbrush commercial that ended with the dramatic phrase: “Brush . . . like a dentist!”
The ad implies that if you use this specific brand of toothbrush, then you will automatically brush like a dentist. The reality is that you can brush like a dentist with any kind of toothbrush.
Here are the things you need to know in order to brush like a dentist.
When you do brush, it is important that you spend enough time on it to ensure that you are reaching every surface of every tooth. On average, it takes about two minutes of brushing for you to properly clean a mouth full of teeth.
In general, there are three exposed surfaces of each tooth. When you brush correctly, you take the time to clean the lip or cheek side, the tongue side, and the biting surface. It is a good idea to have a consistent routine, starting in the same place each time so that you know you haven’t missed a spot.
Twice a Day
People build up plaque at different rates. For some people with issues such as a dry mouth, plaque will form on the teeth very quickly, even right after brushing. These patients may need to brush more frequently than twice a day.
The average, healthy person should brush no less than twice each day. The best schedule is to brush after coffee and breakfast to start your day with a clean slate. Then brush before bedtime so that you do not leave dangerous plaque buildup on the teeth while you sleep.
We find that many people brush only in the morning because they worry about bad breath as they come into contact with people throughout their day. That can be great motivation to brush every day.
It is even more important to brush at night before bed. When we sleep, our body naturally produces less saliva. Saliva is an important cavity-fighting tool, and when it is not actively flowing, we are at higher risk for dental disease. Because we know we have less saliva flow at night, we need to go into bed with as little plaque on the teeth as possible! This is why brushing before bed is so important.
Do not ever use a hard or medium toothbrush!
They do not improve plaque removal, and they do increase your risk for enamel damage!
Always always always use a soft toothbrush only.
Technique is the most important aspect of brushing. You can brush for the right amount of time several times a day, but if you are doing it with the wrong technique, it won’t do you much good.
Maybe the problem originates in the term we use to describe our oral hygiene routine. Many people brush their teeth, but miss the most important area of plaque buildup: the place where the teeth and gums meet. A better term would be brushing the teeth and gums. Unfortunately, a lot of people spend two minutes twice a day brushing the areas of the teeth which are least likely to have plaque buildup. That makes the brushing least effective.
In order for brushing to matter, it must have the proper technique and lead to the best end result. The desired end result is the removal of all plaque, bacteria and food debris from the teeth and gums. The way to reach that result is by using the right technique, or to “brush like a dentist”.
We already discussed the need for reaching every surface of every tooth. Now let’s explain how to reach the most common sites of plaque buildup.
Plaque has two favorite areas: 1) the tiny crevice where the gums meet the teeth, and 2) the space between the teeth where the toothbrush bristles do not reach. We address #1 by brushing properly. We address #2 by flossing (you didn’t think we forgot about flossing, did you?!?).
Brushing properly requires holding the toothbrush so that the bristles are at a 45-degree angle, pointing at the edge of the gums. Using gentle, circular motions, the soft toothbrush bristles should lightly touch the gums on each tooth as you make your way around the mouth. This technique takes some coordination and can be difficult for people with physical disabilities or restrictions (including young children).
If you have trouble achieving this technique with a manual toothbrush, you should consider using an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes have very soft bristles and are extremely effective at plaque removal. Because they perform the movements for you, your job is simply to make sure the bristles reach every area of the tooth.
Need Help Developing the Right Brushing Technique?
Call 972-347-1145 today to schedule a consultation with Staci, Kenneth, or Carli, our three dental hygienists. They are experts at brushing technique and at giving you specific tips on reaching the areas you are prone to miss.
Is Dental Care Dangerous When I am Pregnant?
|September 12, 2018
Great question! The short answer is no. The long answer is that pregnancy actually makes dental care more important. Read on.
During pregnancy, your body goes through so many changes. Some of these change affect your mouth. There are also things in your mouth that can affect your growing baby.
Here are the things you need to know about pregnancy and your mouth!
Many of our pregnant patients suffer from a condition called pregnancy-induced gingivitis. We also call it hormone-induced gingivitis, because it can affect kids during puberty and women during menopause.
The surges in hormone levels wreak havoc on your gums, causing severe inflammation. Gums look bright red and puffy. They also bleed at the slightest irritation.
It is important to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible because even minor plaque buildup will set off the gingivitis that is so aggravated by your hormones.
Many of our pregnant patients tell us that taking care of their teeth is so much harder due to an extremely sensitive gag reflex. Brushing the molars can make some people throw up. Reaching the fingers toward the back of the mouth for flossing may give a choking sensation.
One tip that can help with this is to use flossers with a long handle. This keeps your fingers out of your mouth and reduces your risk of gagging.
The constant vomiting and acid reflux of morning sickness brings up powerful stomach acid into the mouth. This extremely low pH is very dangerous to tooth enamel.
If you suffer from this problem, it’s important to rinse your mouth with neutral pH water after any vomiting. Bringing the pH back to normal is essential in protecting your enamel.
Consistent vomiting can lead to dehydration, which also poses a threat to your teeth. You may need to speak to your Ob/Gyn about anti-nausea medication.
Because of numbers 1-3 above, dental care is essential during a pregnancy. Your gums are at risk for severe inflammation, and your teeth are at risk for cavities and erosion. It is more important than ever to be preventive!
Fight pregnancy-induced gingivitis by staying on a frequent schedule with professional teeth cleanings. Many of our patients need cleanings every 3 months during pregnancy to help maintain healthy gums.
More frequent dental cleanings also helps reduce your risk for cavities because we are helping you remove the dangerous bacteria that plaque contains. This is particularly important if you are having difficulty brushing and flossing your teeth.
There are some conditions, like severe gum disease, large cavities, or dental infections, that require urgent treatment. The risk of the dental work causing a problem is much lower than the risk of the infection harming your baby.
At Prosper Family Dentistry, our doctors work with your other healthcare professionals to make sure you are receiving the safest and best care possible. We follow this protocol for health concerns of all types, like high blood pressure, diabetes, or autoimmune conditions.
We take pregnancy and your safety very seriously. Research has shown that the safest time to have dental work is during your second trimester. Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara will obtain clearance from your Ob/Gyn to perform any necessary dental work. They will get specific permission for dental x-rays and local anesthetic.
Are You Pregnant or Have a Loved One Who Is?
Call 972-347-1145 today to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara. They will discuss your specific risk areas with you and help you develop a plan to keep your mouth healthy throughout your pregnancy!
Why We Go to Dental Conferences
|September 5, 2018
Prosper Family Dentistry is closed this week on Thursday and Friday as our team travels to downtown Dallas to attend the annual Southwest Dental Conference! This is a yearly tradition for us, and it is one we really enjoy.
It is difficult for us to take time away from our patients and close the office. Nothing is more important to us than caring for our patients! The reason we choose to spend two days in September away from the practice is that we know that we can better care for our patients through the things we accomplish at the yearly dental conference.
There are three important benefits to our attending a dental conference together.
The most important reason we take time away from our patients for this dental conference is for the education opportunities it provides!
All of our team members choose the courses that will benefit them in their specific roles in our dental office. We disperse to our various classes covering several different topics and reconvene over lunch and dinner to share what we have learned.
We believe that consistent learning is the key to continual excellence in our skills and our ability to care for our patients. Providing the highest quality dental care is what motivates us to keep learning. Dentistry is constantly evolving. New materials create better long-term results. New techniques help us improve patient comfort. We are committed to staying ahead of the curve!
In addition to new materials and techniques, there are new technologies introduced to dentistry on a regular basis. Developers of exciting new technologies are able to exhibit them in the vendor hall. We love seeing these advances! Some give us a new way of doing a traditional dental procedure, and others open up a completely new realm of dentistry.
Advances in dental technology have so many benefits to our patients, including improved safety, greater efficiency, and better patient comfort. We are always interested in technology that makes your visits with us safer, faster, and more comfortable!
We believe that a unified team is essential to producing the best patient care in our office. When we care about each other, we make an extra effort to support each other and work together as a cohesive team! One of the best compliments we receive from our patients is that we seem to genuinely enjoy our work. That can only happen when we work with an awesome team committed to taking care of each other.
Dr. Jill regularly stresses the need for us to bond as a team and just have fun together. (Sometimes she is the silliest of us all!) Getting away from our everyday schedules gives us the opportunity to do just that! If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram, you will notice that this is the time when we take lots of photos together and post them.
Our doctors are still available via the numbers on our voicemail, so you will be able to talk to both Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara if you have a concern. If you have a true dental emergency, they will refer you to a dentist who is able to see you on the days we are unavailable.
What are These Gum Measurements? What is a Pocket?
|August 29, 2018
The people who come to Prosper Family Dentistry regularly for professional teeth cleanings know that once each year, they will have gum measurements taken by the dental hygienist. We use terms like “FMP”, “pockets”, and “probing depth”, as well as a long list of numbers.
What are Gum Measurements?
Gum measurements are a way to evaluate the state of the gums and jawbone around each tooth. These measurements tell your dental hygienist and dentist whether your gums are healthy or unhealthy.
You cannot have a healthy mouth without healthy bone and gums! Even people with no cavities can lose their teeth due to gum disease.
To best understand gum measurements, you must first understand gum disease.
What is Gum Disease?
The jawbone and gums form the foundation of your teeth. They stabilize the teeth, allowing them to function properly in chewing. The bone and gums should completely cover every tooth root to adequately hold the tooth in place.
Gum disease destroys that foundation. The primary cause of gum disease is always buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth. This acts as an irritant to the bone and gums, causing them to pull away from the tooth. This pulling away creates a “pocket”, or a gap between the gums and the tooth. This gap is what we are measuring when we call out all of those numbers.
Back to Those Measurements
Healthy gums attach to the bone over the tooth. There is a slight overlap of gums on the tooth that is healthy. This is why your hygienist may tell you that any number under 3 is okay. A measurement of three millimeters is a normal amount of overlap.
Once the number gets higher than three, we have a problem. You see, if the gums are not attached to the tooth once you pass three millimeters, it also means the bone is not attached to the tooth there. The higher the gum measurement number, the lower the amount of bone attached to the tooth. As the bone level shrinks, the tooth loses support.
What is a Pocket?
Any place around a tooth where the number measures higher than 3 millimeters is a pocket. These pockets present a two-fold challenge. 1) Your toothbrush bristles and floss cannot reach deeper than 3 millimeters under the gums to clean this area. 2) Pockets create a perfect hiding spot for plaque and bacterial buildup. The plaque builds up more, irritating the tissue more, causing more pulling away, leading to a deeper pocket . . . it’s a vicious cycle!
Help! I Have Pockets! Now What?
Basically, just follow the instructions your dentist and dental hygienist give you.
Not every pocket is alike, and therefore, they are not all treated the same way. Some patients have early pocketing and can turn things around with simple changes to their oral hygiene routine. Other patients need gum treatments to clean long-standing bacterial buildup in those deep hiding spots.
One thing is certain: if you have gum measurements over three millimeters, it is a red flag for gum disease. Anyone who is high risk for gum disease should take the following steps:
More Questions about Gum Disease?
Call 972-347-1145 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara. They can answer all of your questions, assess your risk for gum disease, and get you back on track to a completely healthy mouth.
What Happens if I Don’t Wear My Nightguard?
|August 22, 2018
If Dr. Jill, Dr. Cara and our hygienists have recommended a nightguard for clenching or grinding, that means they have seen signs of damage to your teeth, gums, muscles or jaws. As part of our commitment to preventive dentistry, we believe it is essential to catch these signs of damage as early as possible and give you the tools to prevent more!
What Kind of Damage Results from Nighttime Clenching and/or Grinding?
There are many different ways clenching and/or grinding damages the teeth. It is not likely for a single person to show all of these signs of damage. Your dentist and hygienist will put together the pieces of the puzzle if you show signs that point to a bad nighttime habit.
It is important to note that because this happens when you are asleep, you do not have control over it! This is why nightguards are so instrumental in protecting you against this subconscious habit.
Enamel is strong. It is the hardest substance in the human body, even harder than your bones. Although it is the hardest material in our bodies, it is not meant to absorb forces heavier than normal chewing. We have seen countless teeth cracked by heavy clenching or grinding. Teeth weakened by cavities or large fillings are more likely to crack because their enamel has already been disrupted. Heavy clenching forces during sleep can even crack teeth that are otherwise perfectly healthy.
Cracked teeth range from minor surface cracks to through-and-through tooth fractures. Treatment of these cracks depends on the extent of the crack. Cracks in enamel allow bacteria to penetrate the tooth, making cavities more common in cracked teeth.
Attrition (Wearing Away of Enamel)
Attrition is a condition that occurs when clenching or grinding causes a slow gradual wearing away of the enamel, resulting in a flattened and shortened tooth or teeth. This condition is very common in people who have clenched their teeth for a long period of time. Heavy attrition usually means that the enamel is completely missing, and the core of the tooth (dentin) is exposed. Not only is attrition unhealthy for teeth, it also makes for an unattractive smile. Unfortunately, flatter, shorter teeth make you look old.
Severe attrition can require extensive dental work to rebuild the teeth to their original contour. Catching it early and taking preventive action (like wearing a nightguard) can prevent the need for lots of expensive dental treatment in the future.
Forces that are too heavy cause microscopic movements and flexing in the teeth. Sometimes these forces affect the attachment of the gums to the teeth. The gums tend to back away or recede from these inappropriate forces. Gum recession exposes the roots of the teeth, increases your risk for cavities, and causes sensitive teeth!
When severe, gum recession requires grafting surgery to repair it. Just like attrition, catching gum recession early and taking preventive action can save you time and money in the dental chair.
Headaches and Facial Pain
Many patients experience symptoms in their head and facial muscles from heavy clenching and/or grinding while they sleep. The muscles that close the teeth together are skeletal muscles, just like your biceps. If they receive lots of exercise, they get larger and may cause soreness.
How Does a Nightguard Help?
A nightguard is a physical barrier between your teeth. It prevents attrition by separating the teeth so that they cannot grind away enamel. A nightguard prevents things like cracks, gum recession, and headaches by reducing the amount of force your jaw muscles can produce.
What if I Clench or Grind My Teeth During the Day?
Daytime clenching is a little more complicated because most people cannot wear a thick acrylic mouth appliance throughout their day. It interferes with speaking, so unless you work alone at home without having to speak to anyone, it is a little impractical.
If you catch yourself clenching or grinding your teeth as you work, drive, exercise, or do chores, please talk to Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara. They have great information on habit-breaking techniques that can help you gain control of this daytime habit.
Do You Need a Nightguard?
If you know you are clenching or grinding your teeth at night, you probably need a nightguard. If you’re not sure, ask Dr. Jill, Dr. Cara, or one of our highly-trained dental hygienists. They can tell you if you exhibit signs of this habit and get you pointed in the right direction: PREVENTION!
What Does Sleep Apnea Have to Do with My Teeth?
|August 15, 2018
Quite a bit, actually!
Many of our newer patients are surprised to hear us asking about their quality of sleep. To some, it may seem like sleep problems and dentistry are completely unrelated.
There is a two-way link between dentistry and sleep-disordered breathing issues like sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition when a person stops breathing for any amount of time while he is sleeping. The word “apnea” simply means not breathing. The diagnosis of mild, moderate or severe sleep apnea depends on the number of times a person stops breathing per hour.
When sleep apnea results from a faulty signal in the brain, it is a central sleep apnea. When a physical closure of the airway causes a person to stop breathing, it is an obstructive sleep apnea.
This blog deals primarily with obstructive sleep apnea.
The Effects of Sleep Apnea on the Teeth
Increased Risk for Nighttime Grinding and/or Clenching
When a person stops breathing, the brain perceives a lack of oxygen very rapidly. The brain then sends signals to various parts of the body to open the airway and breathe.
One of the ways your body subconsciously opens the airway is by closing the jaws and either tightly clenching the upper and lower teeth together or pressing the lower jaw forward. This is how sleep apnea causes people to clench or grind their teeth.
All of the following are signs that you may be clenching or grinding your teeth.
Many dentists are aware that the cause of these dental problems is teeth clenching and/or grinding. At Prosper Family Dentistry, our dentists look deeper to find the cause of the grinding!
Increased Risk for Acid Erosion
Sleep apnea causes many people to suffer from acid reflux or GERD. When an obstruction blocks the airway, the lungs create a suction effect when attempting to breathe. This suction pulls acid up out of the stomach into the esophagus and mouth.
Stomach acid is extremely acidic and corrosive to teeth. Just as acid can etch and soften glass, it can soften and weaken tooth enamel. Patients with sleep apnea often show tell-tale signs of acid erosion on their enamel. This acid does not effect dental work, so fillings appear to be protruding out of a tooth. They are not actually protruding; they just appear so because the surrounding enamel has eroded away.
The Effects of the Jaws on Sleep Apnea
Many people know that obesity is a risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea. The extra weight in the face, neck and tongue press on the airway causing a physical obstruction when laying down to sleep.
A lesser-known risk factor is the growth and development of the lower jaw. Patients with a small lower jaw or severe overbite are at a high risk of sleep apnea because they are very likely to have a small airway.
Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara have extensively training in evaluation of the growth and development of the jaws. They can spot this risk factor very early in life. When caught early, problems in jaw growth and development can be intercepted and corrected as your child grows.
Do You or a Loved One Have Sleep Apnea?
If you or a loved one have sleep apnea and are concerned about its effect on your teeth, please call today to schedule a consultation with our dentists. They will explain your specific risk factors for dental problems related to sleep-disordered breathing. They are also trained to work with your physician in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea.
What Exactly is Preventive Dentistry?
|August 8, 2018
There are many different categories within the realm of dental treatment. In our opinion, the most important category is PREVENTIVE dentistry.
At Prosper Family Dentistry, we are committed to practicing conservative and preventive dentistry. We believe those two go hand in hand. In order to be as conservative as possible, we need to help each and every patient prevent dental problems. Big dental problems require extensive dental treatment. By being preventive, we either intercept developing dental problems early or completely prevent them from happening!
Why is Preventive Dentistry So Important?
It Saves You Money!
Ever heard that saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? When you spend a little money on preventive dentistry, you are saving a lot of money by preventing the need for future dental work.
Just as maintenance for your car is less expensive than repair work, preventive dentistry is always less expensive than restorative (or repair) dentistry.
It Keeps You Out of the Dental Chair!
We know . . . no matter how much you like us, you still do not want to be in the dental chair having a problem repaired. When you have fewer dental problems because you have been preventive, you need less dental work. This means you get to spend less and less time in the dental chair.
Of course, we cannot prevent every possible dental problem. Things like congenital problems and injuries happen and are usually not preventable. Because there are some things we cannot prevent, we should make every effort to prevent the things that we can!
It is the Only Option for a Completely Healthy Mouth!
Yes, it’s great to save money. And of course, no one wants to spend more time in the dental chair. But the greatest advantage of preventive dentistry is the fact that it keeps your mouth healthy!
Good health is priceless. There is nothing better than having a mouth free of cavities, cracks and gum disease. It looks beautiful, it does its job well, and it promotes a long healthy life.
What Dental Procedures Fall into the Category of Preventive Dentistry?
Professional Teeth Cleanings
You can prevent gum disease by sticking to a consistent schedule of professional teeth cleanings with our awesome hygienists, Staci, Kenneth and Carli. Gum disease occurs when plaque (the soft, sticky stuff made of bacteria and food debris) stays on the teeth for too long. Plaque acts like a toxin, and your gums and supporting jaw bone do not like it! Plaque quickly hardens into tartar (also called calculus), which is also a toxin.
When plaque and tartar remain on the teeth for a long period of time, your body produces an inflammatory reaction. This inflammation destroys the jawbone, which undermines the foundation of your teeth! Without any intervention, gum disease gets worse and worse.
By staying on track with consistent professional teeth cleanings, you prevent this process from progressing. The schedule of consistent teeth cleanings can be different for people with different circumstances. Some patients need to have their teeth cleaned every three months. Others do well and fight gum disease by seeing our dental hygienists every six months. What is important is knowing which schedule is best at preventing gum disease for YOU!
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that strengthens enamel and fights cavities. Fluoride is in most toothpastes and many mouth rinses. In our office, we offer a professional fluoride treatment. It is a high strength concentration that sticks to the teeth and packs a punch to boost the strength of your teeth!
Fluoride treatments are wonderful preventive tools for patients with a high risk for getting new cavities, people with sensitive teeth, and patients who have a hard time keeping their teeth clean (small children, the elderly, or those with physical and mental challenges).
Sealants are not just for kids! Many people assume so because dental insurance often pays for sealants in children but not in adults. Everyone can benefit from sealants. Ask around the next time you are in our office. You will find that most of us (all adults!) have sealants on our teeth.
Sealants form a protective coating over the biting surface of the back teeth where deep pits and grooves are high risk sites for cavities. Sealants make the treated surface easier to clean, with less food being stuck in the grooves. A $60 sealant can prevent the future need for a $250 filling!
A nightguard is a hard appliance worn over the teeth while you sleep. The purpose is to separate and protect the teeth from heavy clenching or grinding forces.
We see cracked teeth every single day. So many people are damaging their teeth with nighttime clenching or grinding. This leads to expensive dental work like crowns and even root canals.
By wearing a custom-fit nightguard while you sleep, you can prevent cracks and fractures on the teeth. This is invaluable! Cracked teeth are difficult for your dentist to diagnose, and treatment is often unpredictable. Prevent them!
Are You Interested in Preventing Dental Problems?
Call our office today at 972-347-1145 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara. They will assess your specific risk areas and give you recommendations for preventive dental options. Our goal is to keep your mouth as healthy as possible!
PFD Gives Back!
|August 1, 2018
Last Saturday, members of the Prosper Family Dentistry team participated in an important Back to School event. Cornerstone Assistance Network of North Central Texas began giving backpacks and school supplies to kids who need them five years ago. In the past five years, the ministry has grown from providing school supplies to just over 30 children to giving school supplies and clothing to almost 300! In addition to much-needed back to school items, this year, the kids also were able to have free vision and dental screenings.
The importance of dental screenings cannot be overstated. Most people, children included, are unaware of dental problems until they are severe. Without consistent dental care, many people wait until something hurts or breaks. This leads to the need for extensive and expensive dental treatment.
With a free dental screening, parents are made aware of potential dental problems so they can be addressed before causing pain or needing costly dental work. Catching dental problems early or noting areas of risk saves money and time, as well as prevents severe tooth infections that can affect your child’s overall health.
In addition to fluoride, dental sealants are a powerful cavity-fighting preventive treatment. Many cavities form in deep pits or grooves on a tooth. These pits are small and deep, collecting food debris and plaque that is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to remove with a toothbrush.
A dental sealant covers and seals these deep pits and grooves. This prevents accumulation of food and/or bacteria and creates a surface that is much easier to clean.
Dental sealants seal out cavities!
A dental sealant is a simple, non-invasive treatment that requires no drilling or anesthesia. Sealants can be applied to any tooth with deep grooves or pits. Most commonly, we apply dental sealants to molars and premolars (the back teeth).
Because sealants prevent cavities on the surfaces the cover, they prevent future dental treatment, with all the time and expenses associated with it. Sealants are particularly valuable in small children who are not adept at cleaning their teeth properly. A smooth flat surface is much easier for a child to clean than a biting surface with lots of grooves and deep pits. By sealing out decay and proving an easy-to-clean surface, your child is two steps ahead in the cavity-fighting game.
The Value of Giving Back
At Saturday’s event, members of our Prosper Family Dentistry team provided over $8000 in free dental care to many children. The value of this preventive dental care is far higher than $8000. While you can put a price tag on the fillings or other dental work required by the development of cavities in the future, you cannot put a price tag on a child’s health and well-being. Keeping a kid out of pain and in good oral health is priceless!
And that is why we do these events!
Frequently Googled Questions about Your Child’s Teeth
|July 25, 2018
Prosper is a town for families! We have a wonderful school system and family-friendly atmosphere that attracts many people with young children to our area. We know that kids play an important role in our community.
This week’s blog will highlight the most commonly googled questions about children’s teeth.
When Will My Child’s Teeth Start Falling Out?
The average age for the first lost tooth is six years old. This also varies widely, and some kids are older than seven and a half before they have a loose tooth. Others may lose teeth at age five. The first tooth is lost around the same time as the permanent first molars begin erupting. These are large molars that come in behind the baby molars.
Why Are My Child’s Teeth Yellow?
We hear this question most commonly from parents of 6 year olds. Their children have lost their first baby teeth, and they are seeing the permanent teeth for the first time. Permanent teeth always appear more yellow than those bright, shiny baby teeth. This is completely normal in most cases. The important thing to do is keep them clean as they, and other permanent teeth, come into the mouth. Teeth whitening is not an option for young children and cannot even be considered until 12-13 years of age.
Some teeth do have developmental defects which cause them to be more yellow than average permanent teeth. If this is the case, your dentist will help you decide how to handle a specific discoloration issue.
Why Do My Child’s Teeth Have Gaps?
It is normal and healthy for baby teeth to have small gaps between them. This allows for proper development and room for the incoming permanent teeth.
Baby teeth without gaps are a sign that your child will likely have crooked teeth and need orthodontics when the permanent teeth come into the mouth.
Why Do My Child’s Teeth Have Ridges?
When the permanent front teeth come into the mouth, they usually have bumps or ridges along the biting surface. They are not smooth with flat biting edges. These ridges are normal developmental features called mamelons. Over years of chewing, mamelons are worn away to leave a flat, smooth biting surface.
Why Does My Child Have White Spots on His Teeth?
Some teeth have issues during their development that lead to splotchy, white patches or spots. These are usually caused by an improper amount of certain minerals in that specific site of the tooth. They can form when there is a mineral imbalance, severe fever, or trauma during that tooth’s development.
For instance, too much fluoride can lead to these splotchy white spots. An injury to a developing tooth bud can create a small area of hypocalcification, or lack of calcium, in the small area of the tooth being formed at the time of injury. There are also some inherited enamel defects that create a chalky or splotchy appearance.
Why Does My Child Grind His Teeth at Night?
Teeth grinding in children is not normal. If your child is grinding his teeth at night, it is important to have his airway evaluated. The most common cause of teeth grinding in kids is sleep-disordered breathing. Pediatric sleep apnea affects millions of children worldwide. Often, the cause of an airway constriction in children is oversized or inflamed tonsils and adenoids. In other cases, it is a problem with jaw growth. Whatever the cause, the consequences are dangerous. Pediatric sleep apnea leads to behavioral challenges, poor performance in school, and misdiagnosis of ADHD and learning disabilities. Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara are experts at identifying signs of pediatric sleep apnea. Tell them if your child is grinding his teeth. Their dental evaluation is an important step in the diagnosis process.
Should I Have My Child’s Teeth Sealed?
Yes. Sealants are one of the best preventive treatments available in dentistry today. They are safe and easy to apply. No anesthesia or drilling is required.
Sealing the grooves and pits on the biting surfaces of teeth is effective at preventing cavities, and therefore, at also preventing the need for dental work.
When Will My Baby’s Teeth Start Coming In?
The first baby teeth usually begin erupting (coming into the mouth) around six months of age. The “normal” range is from age zero to twelve months. This means that babies born with teeth are normal, and babies who do not get their teeth until age 1 year are also normal.
How Do I Strengthen My Child’s Teeth?
Do You Have Other Questions about Your Child’s Teeth?
Call 972-347-1145 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara. They can answer any question you have about your child’s teeth and give you specific recommendations to help them stay healthy and fight cavities!
Over-the-Counter Products We Love
|July 18, 2018
At Prosper Family Dentistry, we understand that not all people have the same dental problems. Because of our unique, individualized approach to risk management in dental care, we often give our patients specific recommendations for dental products that improve oral health in a specific area of risk. We strongly believe that each person should use a customized oral hygiene regimen aimed at fighting his or her specific risk factors.
We also listen to our patients and seriously consider their complaints and concerns. We make recommendations for products to alleviate problems or irritations that do not necessarily cause dental disease. Our goal is to improve the quality of life for every patient we see. We believe some of these products can do just that.
Biotene is a brand of oral health products that we love. Biotene is hypoallergenic and mild. It does not contain any harsh chemicals that can irritate sensitive tissues inside the mouth.
The most common condition for which we recommend Biotene is dry mouth. A dry mouth is usually a sensitive mouth. Biotene’s gentle formula will not burn, sting or irritate your gums, lips, cheeks and tongue.
Biotene products include toothpastes, mouthwash, dry mouth gel and dry mouth spray. If your mouth is extremely dry, you should be using the entire line of Biotene products. The gel helps moisturize a dry mouth and is great for nighttime dryness. The spray is perfect for periodically moisturizing the mouth throughout the day.
Who Should Use Biotene?
Do you drink room temperature water? Do you dread taking a bite of ice cream? If your teeth are sensitive, Crest Sensi-Stop Strips might be your new favorite dental product.
Crest Sensi-Stop Strips treat tooth hypersensitivity through the application of an active ingredient that is different from those of other products aimed at sensitive teeth. According to Crest’s research, the ingredient oxalate blocks the tiny pores on a tooth surface, which allows cold sensations to reach the nerve inside the tooth. By blocking these pores, the nerve is insulated from the cold temperature, stopping sensitivity in its tracks.
These strips are also unique in their delivery method. As opposed to the typical forms of a toothpaste or mouthwash for sensitivity, these strips are applied directly to the sensitive tooth surface. Studies show that using Crest Sensi-Stop Strips three days in a row for 10 minutes each day relieves tooth sensitivity for over a month!
Who Should Use Crest Sensi-Stop Strips?
Only patients who have seen a dentist recently and ruled out other important causes of tooth sensitivity, including cavities and cracks!
CocoFloss is a relatively new brand of floss, and it’s just fun! Not only is it a truly great way to clean your teeth, it comes in a variety of yummy tropical flavors. CocoFloss’s packaging is bright and stylish; it makes you feel like you have just splurged on a designer purchase.
CocoFloss is so named because it contains coconut oil to soothe and nourish your gums. It also uses thick fibers to gently scrub the sides of the teeth. It is great for teeth with small gaps that may be difficult to clean with regular floss.
Designed by a dentist and made in Italy, it is currently available online only.
Who Should Use CocoFloss?
Anyone who wants to up their flossing game!
You know we love electric toothbrushes. They just clean teeth better than manual toothbrushes do. We truly believe everyone is better off brushing with an electric toothbrush.
Multiple scientific research studies show better plaque removal with electric toothbrushes. Better plaque removal means lower risk for cavities and gum disease.
A few of our favorite electric toothbrushes include the Oral B Sonic Complete and the Philips Sonicare. These two have the best plaque removal by far. The new quip toothbrush is very small, quiet and affordable.
Who Should Use an Electric Toothbrush?
Everyone! But seriously, here is a list of people who would greatly benefit from an electric toothbrush.
Phos-Flur is a mouthwash made by Colgate that has a high concentration of fluoride. It was originally available with a prescription only, and now is for sale over-the-counter. It was created to fight the white spots, called demineralization, that often occur around braces.
Phos-Flur’s high concentration of fluoride strengthens enamel and fights the cavity-causing bacteria in plaque. Because of this ability to combat decay, this mouthrinse is great for anyone who is prone to cavities, as well as anyone wearing braces.
Who Should Use Phos-Flur?
This is the one product you won’t find in the dental aisle at Walmart. It is at the checkout counter. Ice Cubes gum, by Ice Breakers, is the easiest and most flavorful way to fight cavities.
Research has shown that xylitol, a natural sweetener found in plants, has the ability to kill harmful bacteria in the mouth. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that bacteria ingest but cannot digest. There are multiple dental products containing xylitol, including toothpastes, mouthrinses, mints and gum.
Ice Cubes gum contains 2 grams of xylitol per piece, which is as high as, if not higher than, any other mint or gum on the market today. Studies show a decrease in cavity risk when you chew 5-6 pieces of xylitol containing gum each day.
Who Should Chew Ice Cubes Gum?
What OTC Dental Products do You Love?
Is there something we failed to list? Let us know what your favorite over-the-counter dental products are! Call today to schedule a consultation to discuss what products are right for you.
Why Exactly is Sugar So Bad for Teeth?
|July 12, 2018
It is commonly known and well supported by scientific research that sugar is bad for teeth. When dentists say “sugar”, most people think of soft drinks and candy. There are many other sources of sugar that are damaging to teeth, which often get overlooked. This blog will address why sugar is bad for teeth, which specific sugars are especially dangerous, and how you can fight sugar’s effects on your child’s teeth.
Why is Sugar Bad for Teeth?
Our mouths are full of bacteria. Some bacteria are good, and some are bad. The bad bacteria are those which feed on sugar to produce dangerous acids. (Some people have higher levels of bad bacteria, which gives them a higher risk for cavities!)
Bad Bacteria + Sugar = Acid à Enamel Damage –> Cavities
Which Specific Sugars are Bad for Teeth?
If you have taken part in any low-carb or no-carb diets, you probably know the important differences between simple and complex carbohydrates. Nutrition experts emphasize the way these carbs are digested and how they affect your metabolism.
The distinction between simple and complex carbohydrates is also important for your teeth.
Simple carbohydrates are short-chain sugars that bad bacteria in the mouth quickly and easily break down. Complex carbohydrates are long, complex chains of sugar molecules that are more difficult for bacteria to break down.
Simple carbohydrates make it easy for bacteria to cause cavities. Complex carbs are also a sugar source for bacteria, but they take longer to digest, slowing the cavity process down enough for you to intervene and stop them.
Examples of simple carbs include the sugar in soft drinks, candy, cookies and other baked sweets, cereal, fruit juices and milk. Complex carbohydrates include whole grains, starchy vegetables (like potatoes), green vegetables, and beans/peas.
Complex carbs are better for your teeth than simple carbs, but there is still a risk for cavities. Often, complex carbs are sticky and become stuck in or between the teeth. If they are not quickly cleaned from the teeth, the bacteria have more time to break them down into simple sugars and cause cavities.
How You Can Fight Sugar’s Effects on Teeth
Limit intake of simple carbohydrates – Cutting simple sugars from your or your child’s diet is a sure way to lower cavity risk. Sodas have zero nutritional value, so eliminate them completely. Instead of sticky candies, switch to chocolate. Chocolate’s fat content gives it a lower risk of causing cavities.
Stimulate saliva – Saliva is our body’s best defense against cavities! Saliva has a slightly basic pH, which neutralizes the acid produced by bad bacteria. There are two great ways to stimulate saliva to fight sugar:
Practice great oral hygiene. Do not let any sugars stay on the teeth. You can greatly reduce cavity risk by removing any sugary food debris from your tooth surfaces.
Do You Have More Questions about Sugar and How it Damages Teeth?
Call 972-347-1145 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara. They can answer any question you have about sugar and your risk for cavities.
Teeth Whitening FAQs
|July 5, 2018
We are constantly asked about teeth whitening. It’s hard to find someone who does not want to whiten his or her teeth. This blog will cover the questions most commonly googled about teeth whitening.
Is teeth whitening safe?
Yes. Teeth whitening is safe and causes no permanent damage to the teeth.
In fact, there are scientific studies showing that teeth whitening can actually provide some benefits to your oral health. The chemical used to whiten teeth can also kill bad bacte
ria in your mouth. This reduces your risk for gum disease.
Another study shows that teeth whitening increases the microhardness of enamel.
While it is difficult to argue that teeth whitenin
g is good for you, we can definitively state that it is perfectly safe.
The changes wrought by teeth whitening are
also temporary. The negative side effects
of gum tenderness and tooth sensitivity completely subside when you stop whitening.
Is teeth whitening worth it?
You might have to answer this question for yourself. Teeth whitening involves an investment of both time andmoney. The payoff of those investments is a brighter smile using the quickest, most conservative form of cosmetic dentistry.
Is teeth whitening covered by insurance?
Teeth whitening falls under the category of cosmetic dentistry and usually does not have any insurance coverage.
Is teeth whitening painful?
Teeth whitening can cause temporary side effects. These side effects include tooth sensitivity, tenderness or burning of the gums, and zingers.
Sensitivity to temperatures occurs when whitening gel touches the tooth root, the gel concentration is too high, or the gel is worn for too long. If your teeth become very sensitive when whitening, talk to Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara. They will make adjustments to your whitening protocol to make it more comfortable for you.
Gum tenderness or burning occurs when the higher concentrations of whitening gel extrude from your whitening tray onto the gums. The chemicals in teeth whitening gel are irritating to gum tissue and should not contact the gums at all. One of the benefits of professional custom whitening trays is that they are trimmed away from your gums to prevent this side effect.
Zingers are sharp, shooting pains in one or more teeth during teeth whitening that last for 3-5 seconds. The cause of zingers is unknown, but we have found that they are more likely to happen on teeth with dental work, small enamel fractures, or nerve damage. They can be avoided by using a lower concentration of whitening gel. If you experience zingers frequently, talk to Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara about what changes you should make to your whitening regimen.
Is teeth whitening permanent?
The results of teeth whitening fade over time. Staining of the teeth will reoccur when someone drinks coffee, tea or red wine frequently and/or smokes or uses smokeless tobacco.
Most people require maintenance whitening to keep the teeth at the desired shade. The interval of maintenance whitening varies per person. On average, most people whiten every six months.
Are teeth whitening strips safe?
Over-the-counter whitening strips, like Crest WhiteStrips, are safe to use. They contain the same chemical ingredient as professional teeth whitening gel. They typically have a lower strength, so it may take longer to notice a difference in the color of your teeth.
The strips must be properly placed on the teeth in order to work correctly without causing side effects. They can cause the same teeth sensitivity and gum tenderness as professional whitening gels. These are temporary side effects.
Is teeth whitening at dentist (in-office whitening) safe?
In-office whitening is very safe. It uses a very high strength professional whitening gel with a barrier for the gums and oversight by a dental professional. Because it is customized for each patient, exposed tooth roots are covered, the gum tissue is
protected, and the best results are achieved.
Is teeth whitening at the dentist worth it?
In-office teeth whitening is the most expensive type of teeth whitening available today. The reason for the greater expense is due to the cost of the ingredients and the time you spend in the dental chair. We do all the work for you!
The benefit of in-office whitening is an instant result with a lower risk for side effects. Many of our patients choose this option because they have a special event in less than a week. Others choose in-office whitening because they know they are unlikely to be compliant with the at-home teeth whitening. With in-office whitening, you will get whitening results without all the effort.
Are teeth whitening and bleaching the same thing?
Many people use the term bleaching because of the active ingredient in whitening products: hydrogen peroxide.
Do You Have Other Questions about Teeth Whitening?
Call 972-347-1145 today to schedule a whitening consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara. They can answer any other questions you have about teeth whitening and help you choose the option that is best for you.
Five Trendy Things that are Really Bad for Your Teeth
|June 27, 2018
With the wealth of information available to anyone with internet access comes the risk of incomplete information or misinformation. Health and beauty blogs tout countless trendy ways to lose weight, clear your skin, and whiten your teeth.
There are a few popular trends that can have a detrimental effect on your teeth, and we want you to learn about these dangers before you find out the hard way (i.e. multiple new cavities or broken down dental work).
Apple Cider Vinegar
Fans of apple cider vinegar claim a wide range of health benefits from drinking it straight, diluting it with water or gargling it. These claims include calming an upset stomach, curing hiccups, soothing a sore throat, lowering cholesterol, losing weight, and boosting energy.
The benefits are pretty tempting. Here are the risks: increased chance of cavities and greater likelihood of acid erosion/damage to teeth and dental work.
The pH of apple cider vinegar is 3.3 to 3.5. This is far below the threshold at which enamel, the hardest substance in the body, begins to dissolve. Any prolonged contact of a strong acid with your teeth begins to weaken the enamel, making it easier for bacteria to penetrate, causing a cavity.
Strong acids also cause deterioration and breakdown of existing dental work.
A thorough rinsing with water should follow any use of apple cider vinegar in your mouth in order to bring the pH inside the mouth back to neutral. Do not brush immediately. Wait until your mouth returns to neutral.
Lemon Juice Detox
The most popular lemon juice detox is called the Master Cleanse, and it claims to cleanse the body of toxins and help you lose 20 pounds in 10 days. The recipe for the recommended “lemonade” includes fresh lemon or lime juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water.
There are two huge problems in this recipe: lemon juice and maple syrup. One is an extremely strong acid, and the other is loaded with sugar.
There is another problem with the Master Cleanse, as far as teeth are concerned. The detox calls for avoiding all solid food for 10 days, which means liquids only.
When we chew, we stimulate the production of saliva, which is our body’s natural defense against acid and bacteria. Saliva fights cavities, gum disease, and acid erosion. If chewing stops, and only drinking ensues, the production of saliva decreases. This puts someone at a higher risk for the things saliva fights: cavities, gum disease, and acid erosion.
Many people drink sparkling water simply because they like it. Others drink it in an attempt to stop drinking sodas. Other people enjoy it as an alternative to plain water every once in a while.
Is sparkling water better for your teeth than soda? Of course.
Is it completely risk-free? No.
Sparkling water is acidic. The flavored types of sparkling water typically add citric acid to create lemon, lime or orange flavors. This makes it even more acidic; some fall into the same pH range as sodas and sports drinks.
Sipping on a sparkling water drink throughout the day creates a low pH environment in your mouth, weakening enamel and making it easier for bacteria to cause cavities.
Enjoy sparkling water during a meal so that your saliva can counteract the acid it contains.
Kombucha is trendy, but it is not new. Records of “fermented tea” show that people have been drinking kombucha for over 2000 years. Health benefits attributed to kombucha include detoxification, improved digestion, immune system stimulation, arthritis and cancer prevention, and weight loss among others.
Some people make their own kombucha, and others prefer store-bought brands. There are two concerns with kombucha: acidity and sugar content. One of the most important steps in making your own kombucha is monitoring the pH level. When the pH level reaches about 3, the brewing cycle is complete, and it is ready to drink. This pH is low enough to damage enamel, weakening it and making it vulnerable to cavity-causing bacteria.
Some store-bought brands of kombucha contain as much as 10 grams of sugar per serving, and most bottles contain more than 2 servings. As with candy and sodas, high sugar content feeds those same cavity-causing bacteria, increasing your risk for cavities.
In 2017, the American Dental Association published a literature review of all the current scientific studies regarding activated charcoal. Their findings state that there is not enough evidence to deem activated charcoal products effective at removing bacterial toxins or whitening teeth. There is also not enough evidence to confirm that activated charcoal is safe to use on your teeth.
The risk is damage to the enamel caused by abrasion. Abrasion is the gradual wearing away of enamel by an abrasive or gritty substance. This is like using sandpaper on your teeth. Because many beauty blogs recommend DIY toothpastes using activated charcoal and coconut oil, the level of abrasiveness could be different for each homemade recipe. Being unable to measure its safety means we cannot recommend it.
Are You Curious about Another Trend and Its Effects on Teeth?
Ask Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara at your next checkup about any trends you are considering. They will make sure you will not damage your teeth by trying a new diet or trend. Call our office at 972-347-1145 today to schedule a consultation.
Why Do Some Teeth Have to be Pulled?
|June 20, 2018
Having a tooth pulled is a relatively common experience. Children lose twenty baby teeth, perhaps having them pulled by their parents. Many people have their wisdom teeth extracted in their late teens or early twenties.
But aside from baby teeth and wisdom teeth, why do other teeth have to be pulled?
It’s all about prognosis.
What is Prognosis?
A prognosis is a forecast of the likely outcome of a situation. It is like a prediction. When Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara evaluate a tooth with a problem, they must consider the severity of the problem, the available treatment options, and the likely outcome of those treatment options.
Dentists will typically give a tooth a prognosis that is one of the following: good, fair, poor, or hopeless. A good prognosis means that there is little risk for any complications, and you will keep the tooth for a very long time. A fair prognosis includes the risk of some complications and the chance that the tooth will need more treatment in the future. A poor prognosis means the tooth is not likely to successfully function in your mouth for any extended period of time. And a hopeless prognosis means no treatment will enable you to keep the tooth in your mouth.
What Gives a Tooth a Poor Prognosis?
The more severe the dental problem is, the lower the prognosis. Teeth with very large cavities, deep fractures, and/or severe gum disease often carry a poor long-term prognosis. Treatment performed on these teeth does not guarantee that that they will last forever.
The reason we are cautious about giving the prognosis of teeth and their corresponding dental treatment is that we want your dental work to last. At Prosper Family Dentistry, we are committed to performing excellent dentistry. We stand behind the work that we do, and with the proper care, it should last many years.
We also talk about prognosis because we want our patients to have clear expectations about their dental work. When we do not believe that dental treatment will give a tooth many more years, that tooth has a poor long-term prognosis.
When a tooth has a poor long-term prognosis, we will always discuss the option of extracting the tooth. We want every investment in your mouth to be a good one.
What Gives a Tooth a Hopeless Prognosis?
A hopeless prognosis means that no treatment will save the tooth and keep it in your mouth. For teeth with a hopeless prognosis, extraction is the only treatment option to remove the dental disease. The tooth must be pulled in order to ensure for your health and safety.
How Do I Replace a Tooth That Has Been Pulled?
In most cases, you will be able to replace the pulled tooth with a dental implant. Dental implants are the best way to restore a missing tooth because they are the only treatment option that recreates every part of the tooth. By replacing the tooth’s root, the dental implant functions like a natural tooth.
There are other ways to replace missing teeth, including removable partials and cemented bridges. These options require support from other teeth and, over time, weaken and damage those supporting teeth. Dental implants stand alone. They do not need any other teeth in order to function.
Because an implant is as close as we can get to a natural tooth, you will not miss the pulled tooth. An implant looks and functions the same way a natural tooth does.
What if I Don’t Replace a Tooth That Has Been Pulled?
Several problems can occur when you do not replace a missing tooth.
Replacing a missing tooth is always the best long-term treatment for your mouth.
Do You Have a Tooth with a Poor or Hopeless Prognosis?
Call us today at 972-347-1145 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara. They will discuss the prognosis of your tooth and the details of all of your treatment options.
Are Baby Teeth Really That Important?
|June 13, 2018
We hear this question a lot. Some parents tend to be less concerned about a child’s baby teeth because they know these teeth will eventually fall out. This blog will explore all of the reasons baby teeth DO matter and need to be healthy for the years they are in your child’s mouth.
What are Baby Teeth?
Also called primary teeth, baby teeth are the first set of teeth a child gets in his or her mouth. Other names for baby teeth include deciduous teeth and milk teeth. There are 20 baby teeth in all, and they enter the mouth from age 6 months through 2 years.
Baby teeth are fully developed teeth, with the same physical makeup as permanent teeth. They have nerves and blood vessels on the inside, and they are covered in enamel.
Baby teeth can feel pain, they can get cavities, and they show damage from teeth grinding.
Why Do Humans Have Baby Teeth?
It is all about growth. A baby’s jaws are too small to hold the full set of permanent teeth. This initial set of teeth allows a baby to begin chewing and speaking as the jaw continues to grow.
What are the Purposes of Baby Teeth?
Baby teeth are important for all of the following reasons. Even just one of these functions is reason enough to take great care of your child’s baby teeth.
How are Baby Teeth Different from Permanent Teeth?
Baby teeth are not meant to last forever. Their purposes are temporary, lasting only until the permanent teeth replace them in the arch. Because they are only temporary, they are slightly different from permanent teeth.
Baby teeth have thinner enamel. The layer of enamel covering a baby tooth is about half the thickness of that covering a permanent tooth. Thin enamel makes it easier for bacteria to penetrate through and cause cavities to spread very quickly.
Baby teeth roots dissolve under pressure. The baby teeth fall out at just the right time by this mechanism. The underlying permanent tooth begins to push toward the oral cavity and put pressure on the roots of the baby tooth. As the roots dissolve, there is nothing holding the baby tooth in the jawbone, and it becomes loose.
Other Reasons to Keep Baby Teeth Healthy
Big cavities on baby teeth cause toothaches. Babies and young children may experience or communicate that they are experiencing pain differently than an adult does. You should never assume that a decayed baby tooth is not painful.
Infections on baby teeth can spread to the brain or bloodstream! These can be extremely dangerous situations. If there is visible swelling in or near your child’s mouth, seek emergency care immediately!
Do You Have More Questions about Baby Teeth?
Call our office at 972-347-1145 to set up a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara for an evaluation of your child’s baby teeth. They will discuss with you all you should know about caring for your child and his or her teeth.
What Causes Cold Sores and Fever Blisters?
|June 6, 2018
Cold sores and fever blisters have these names because people once believed they were the result of colds and fevers. They are not caused by colds or fevers, but colds and fevers can put you at risk for them.
What is a Cold Sore/Fever Blister?
A cold sore and a fever blister are the same thing. From here on, we will refer to them as cold sores, just for the sake of simplicity. Cold sores consist of a small cluster of fluid-filled bumps, which burst to form tiny ulcers. These ulcers then scab over while healing. They can occur on the lips, which is most common, or on the inside of the mouth. Inside the mouth, they typically appear on the roof of the mouth.
Most people who get cold sores frequently recognize the tingly feeling you get right before a cold sore appears. This is called the prodromal phase. If you catch it in this early stage, medications can shorten their lifespan and reduce their intensity.
What Causes Cold Sores?
The scientific name of cold sores is oral herpetic lesions because they are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus-1. This is not the same virus that causes genital herpes. Oral herpes and genital herpes are caused by two different strains of the herpes simplex viruses.
In general, oral herpes lesions are HSV-1, and genital herpes lesions are HSV-2. Over 3.7 billion people have HSV-1, and in most of those people, it does not cause any sores. However, in other people, it causes painful and even embarrassing oral sores.
The billions of people who have the HSV-1 virus in their body usually have no symptoms at all. Because the virus is inactive but present all the time, it is likely to become active when your immune system is down.
This is why things like colds and fevers can predispose you to cold sores. When your body is trying to fight off something else, HSV-1 can creep up and cause active lesions. Cold sores also commonly occur after sun exposure and dental visits. Any minor damage to the lips (UV rays from sun exposure or minor stretching during a teeth cleaning) can be enough to spark a cold sore
How Do You Get HSV-1?
The virus that causes HSV-1 is so common that most people are exposed to it by the age of one year. One person transmits the virus to another via oral-to-oral contact, like kissing or sharing drinks and eating utensils. While it is possible to transmit the virus anytime, it is more likely to happen when you have an active sore.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Getting a Cold Sore?
There are a few steps you can take to make cold sores less likely. These are not foolproof, but they may lower your risk.
How to Reduce Your Symptoms Once You Have a Cold Sore?
If a cold sore is already present, here are some tips for managing your symptoms.
Do You Suffer from Cold Sores?
Talk to Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara at your next visit about how you can reduce the risk of developing cold sores and how to treat them when they do occur.
White Teeth to Go with Your Summer Tan
|May 30, 2018
School is out, and summer is officially here! Do you know what goes beautifully with a nice tan? A bright white smile! Here are some ways you can get a brighter smile to complement your summer tan.
Whitening Toothpastes and an Electric Toothbrush
The way whitening toothpastes work is to polish external stains off the enamel surface. This will not change the underlying color of your teeth. It will remove superficial stains from things like coffee, tea, red wine, tobacco, etc . . .
Whitening toothpastes have a slightly gritty texture, caused by the abrasive particles they contain. This roughness is completely safe for enamel, but it should not be used on the tooth’s root. You should avoid using whitening toothpastes in areas of gum recession that exposes the root.
Whitening toothpastes become even more effective when used with an electric toothbrush. The rapid motion of the electric toothbrush enhances the polishing ability of the whitening toothpaste, giving a better result than a manual toothbrush.
Which Whitening Toothpaste is Best?
There are many wonderful brands of whitening toothpaste on the market today. Make sure to choose one with the American Dental Association’s Seal of Approval. These have been tested for safety and will not damage your teeth.
If your teeth become sensitive after using whitening toothpaste, stop using it and call our office for an evaluation. Whitening toothpaste could aggravate a dental problem. We need to rule out any problems and confirm that continuing to use the whitening toothpaste will not do any harm to your teeth.
Over-the-Counter Whitening Products
There are countless whitening products available over-the-counter in your local drugstores and via online retailers. Here are the important things to know about over-the-counter whiteners.
Professional Teeth Whitening Products at Prosper Family Dentistry
Call 972-347-1145 today to schedule a whitening consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara. They will discuss your whitening options and help you choose the one that is best for you.
Our Office Hours
Monday - Friday: 7:30 am to 3 pm
Prosper Family Dentistry
201 N. Preston Road, Suite A
Prosper, TX 75078
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