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Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April 25, 2018

April is Oral Cancer Awareness month!  As dental professionals, we are aware of oral cancer year-round.  In April, we want to bring oral cancer to your awareness. 

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is cancer that starts in the mouth.  This includes cancer on gum tissue, cheeks, the tongue, the floor of the mouth, the palate, and the opening into the throat.

More than 90% of all oral cancers are classified as squamous cell carcinoma, which is also a type of skin cancer.  These begin on the surface layer of the tissue inside the mouth.  If left untreated, they can spread deeper into the original site or into other areas of the body.

There are also other types of oral cancer that are below the surface, arising in the jawbone or the tissue surrounding a tooth.  This blog does not address these types of oral cancer as they have different and usually unknown causes, which makes them non-preventable.

What Causes Oral Cancer?

There are several known risk factors for oral cancer.  For most of the 20th century, oral cancer typically emerged in males, age 60 years or older, with poor dental care and a significant history of alcohol and tobacco use.  The 21st century has revealed a new demographic of oral cancer cases, thanks to the exponential increase in the prevalence of HPV (Human PapillomaVirus).

As the face of oral cancer changes, researchers are working diligently to follow the causes and keep us up to date on what to watch for.

The “old” oral cancer still persists in its demographic of older males with alcohol or tobacco use and poor dental care.  These types of oral cancer usually show up on the floor of the mouth, sides of the tongue, and cheeks.

The “new” oral cancer is affecting younger people with no history of alcohol or tobacco use.  This “new” type also usually appears in different areas of the mouth, namely the back of the tongue or the opening into the throat.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer:

  • Poor dental health – The presence of chronic infections in the mouth, whether from gum disease or cavities, predisposes you to oral cancer.
  • Tobacco use – Both smoking and using smokeless tobacco place people into the high risk category for oral cancer.
  • Heavy alcohol use – Heavy alcohol use leads to nutritional deficiencies and a deficient immune system. When combined with tobacco use, alcohol greatly increases the risk for developing oral cancer.
  • HPV infection – A recent Swedish scientific study on the correlation between HPV and oral cancer concluded that over 60% of oral cancer patients were infected with HPV. There are particular strains of HPV which are more likely to be linked to oral cancer.

What are the Signs or Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

Many cases of oral cancer do not hurt!  This makes consistent screenings by your dental professional mandatory.

The signs and symptoms to watch for are listed here.

  • An abnormal red and/or white patch on the tissues inside your mouth that does not go away and can’t be wiped off
  • An ulcer that does not heal within 2 weeks
  • Any progressive swelling or lump that steadily enlarges
  • Persistent hoarseness or difficulty swallowing
  • Unusual changes in the texture or appearance of the surface tissue
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck that do not return to normal

How is Oral Cancer Treated?

Like most cancers, treatment of oral cancer is customized to the individual case.  Treatment always begins with a proper diagnosis using a biopsy.

Most likely, you will be referred to an oral & maxillofacial surgeon for the biopsy of the suspicious area.  If the specific diagnosis of oral cancer comes through from the biopsy results, your dentist and oral surgeon will work with an oncologist to determine your full treatment plan.

treatment often includes surgical removal of the initial cancer lesion.  Depending on the stage or spread of the cancerous cells, it may be necessary to also add chemotherapy and/or radiation.

Is Oral Cancer Contagious?

No.

It is important to know that the actual lesion (sore) of oral cancer in someone’s mouth is not contagious and is not transmitted between people.

However, it is also important to know that HPV, which is one of the causes of oral cancer, is contagious.  It is a sexually transmitted virus, which is also one of the causes of cervical cancer in women.

Is Oral Cancer Dangerous?

Yes.

Oral cancer kills one person every hour in the United States.  Early detection and treatment are the key to surviving oral cancer.  When caught early, the survival rates are good.

How can People Prevent Oral Cancer?

You can lower your risk for oral cancer by reducing your exposure to the known causes.

  • Stop all tobacco use. If you need help to quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco, tell Dr. Jill, Dr. Cara or your dental hygienist.  They are all trained in tobacco cessation counseling and can give you useful tips on quitting.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation only. Heavy alcohol use increases your risk for oral cancer, especially in the presence of tobacco use.  Cut back on alcoholic drinks to lower your risk.
  • Keep your mouth clean. By preventing and treating any infections in your mouth, like gum disease or cavities, not only are you improving your overall health: you can lower your risk for oral cancer.
  • Practice safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. HPV is everywhere.  Your risk for becoming infected with the particularly dangerous strains of HPV increases as the number of your sexual partners increases.  Women, you can have your Ob/Gyn test for HPV during your yearly well women exam.  Men, you can request an HPV screening by your medical doctor.

Do You Have More Questions or Concern about Oral Cancer for Yourself or a Loved One?

Call us at 972-347-1145 to schedule an oral cancer screening with Dr. Jill or Dr. Cara.  We are so committed to early detection that all oral cancer screenings in our office are included in your oral evaluations at no charge to you!

Sjögren’s Awareness Month

April 18, 2018

We care about your overall health, and we are especially interested on how the condition of your mouth impacts overall health.  There are also systemic conditions that affect the condition of the mouth, and one of those is the focus of today’s blog.

Sjögren’s Syndrome is a disorder that has huge ramifications for the health of your mouth, in addition to its effects of the rest of the body.  April is Sjögren’s Awareness month, so today we want to highlight the dental health concerns related to this disorder.

What is Sjögren’s Syndrome?

Sjögren’s Syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks the glands that produce moisture.  In most cases, the most obvious damage is to the salivary glands and the glands producing tears.  It can also affect other mucous glands, like those in the respiratory and GI tracts.  The damage to these glands causes them to malfunction and not produce the saliva, tears or mucous that the body constantly needs.

Sjögren’s Syndrome affects over 4 million Americans, and 90% of those affected are women.  It can occur by itself, called primary Sjögren’s, or in the presence of other connective tissue disorders like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, called secondary Sjögren’s.

What are the Symptoms of Sjögren’s Syndrome?

No two people are exactly alike, and patients with Sjögren’s can experience one or more of these symptoms.  The disorder usually begins with a mild case of dry mouth, of which many people are unaware.  For this reason, Sjögren’s is often undiagnosed until painful symptoms are noticed by the patient.

  • Inadequate saliva – dry mouth
  • Inadequate tears – dry eyes
  • Inadequate mucous production – dry airway, esophagus
  • Joint and muscle pain

What are the Functions of Saliva?

Saliva is more than just spit.  Saliva is vital to the healthy function of your mouth in all of its capacities.  It aids chewing, tasting, digestion, swallowing, speaking, and the maintenance of a healthy oral environment.

  • Lubrication – One of saliva’s most important roles is keeping the mouth moist. Without proper lubrication, the delicate tissues lining the mouth become dry, inflamed, and sensitive.  The cheeks, lips and tongue often stick to the teeth and suffer painful sores or ulcers.  The lubrication also extends into the throat and esophagus, aiding in swallowing.
  • pH balance – Healthy saliva has a pH slightly higher than neutral; it should be slightly alkaline. This counteracts the acids in foods and drinks we regularly ingest, and it fights the acids produced by disease-causing bacteria in the mouth.
  • Digestive enzymes – Saliva is not just water. It contains many essential ingredients for healthy digestion.  The very first step in the digestive process is the exposure of food to saliva.  The enzyme amylase in healthy saliva begins breaking down food molecules.
  • Taste – Saliva has a solvent effect on food. It carries food particles to the taste buds for a greater sensation of taste.  Patients with dry mouth often experience a decreased sense of taste.

What are the Dental Consequences of Sjögren’s Syndrome?

  • Ulcers and mouth sores – Dry tissue inside the mouth is extra-sensitive to any injury, and therefore more likely to develop ulcers or sores in response to any injury. Cheeks, lips, and the tongue cannot function properly without the lubrication provided by saliva.  They are more likely to get bitten.
  • Cavities – Without saliva neutralizing the oral cavity, the bacteria that cause cavities are able to proliferate and produce more acid. This acid damages and weakens enamel, making cavities much more likely.
  • Gum disease – Saliva contains an antibacterial component, without which the bacteria that cause gum disease thrive. Patients with a dry mouth have gum disease that is more persistent and difficult to treat.
  • Bad breath – Almost all bad breath is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria. We have already discussed how a lack of saliva allows bacteria to multiply.  Most people can relate to the sensation of waking up with a “cotton mouth” feeling and extreme bad breath.  Imagine having a mouth that dry all the time!
  • Thrush infection – Thrush is a fungal infection. The fungus is naturally present in a healthy mouth without causing any concerns.  In a dry mouth, it can take over.
  • Burning sensation – The lack of lubrication makes the lining of the cheeks, lips and tongue hypersensitive to every stimulus. This often creates a burning or tingling sensation to the inside of the mouth
  • Sensitivity to harsh chemicals in toothpastes and mouthrinses – A normal healthy mouth can handle some of the harsh ingredients in many over-the-counter oral care products, like essential oils and alcohol in mouthwash or the foaming Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in toothpastes. In an extremely dry mouth, these chemicals can cause painful burning or numbing sensations.
  • Difficulty speaking – The cheeks, lips and tongue simply cannot function well when the saliva production is impaired. The position of these tissues is essential to making certain sounds, so some patients notice changes in their speech when their mouths are extremely dry.
  • Difficulty swallowing – Saliva is necessary to form food into a bolus that can be swallowed and to lubricate the throat and esophagus during the swallowing process.

What is the Treatment for Sjögren’s Syndrome?

There is no cure for Sjögren’s Syndrome at this time.  All treatments are aimed at managing the symptoms of the disorder.  Specific to dentistry, we recommend the following protocol for any patients with extreme dry mouth or impaired salivary function.

  1. Recognize your increased risk for cavities and gum disease. This means you need more frequent and more consistent visits to your dentist.  Patients with Sjögren’s Syndrome should never miss a professional teeth cleaning or dental evaluation.  Some patients need to have their teeth cleaned on a more frequent basis (for example, every three months instead of every six).
  2. Use oral care products specifically designed for patients with dry mouth. In order to prevent the burning sensation and harsh chemicals of most over-the-counter products, they should be avoided.  A great over-the-counter brand of dry-mouth-friendly products is Biotene®.  Their toothpastes and mouthrinses will not sting or burn, and their dry mouth sprays and gels are great adjuncts to keeping your mouth moist.  Jill and Dr. Cara may also recommend prescription toothpastes or mouthrinses to decrease your risk for cavities and gum disease.
  3. Drink water throughout the day. Avoid drinks that will dehydrate you, like caffeine and alcohol.  Stay away from sodas and other high sugar drinks (they increase cavity risk).  It is essential to drink water while you eat to aid in swallowing your food.

Do You or Someone You Love have Sjögren’s Syndrome?

If you or someone you love have Sjögren’s Syndrome, call us today at 972-347-1145 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara.  They can assess your specific risks and needs while giving you valuable recommendations to keep your mouth healthy as you fight this difficult disorder.  For more information on Sjögren’s, click here.

 

Staff Highlight: Kadi

April 11, 2018

Kadi is the life of the party!  She is constantly surprising us with her silly ideas and zany antics.  We are always laughing when Kadi is around.

Kadi joined the Prosper Family Dentistry team as a dental assistant in August of 2016.  She was recommended by our dental hygienist Carli, who had worked with her in a previous dental office.  One of her first official days with PFD was our Mouthguard Day, during which we take mouth impressions for the entire Prosper High School varsity football team.  Kadi did not bat an eyelash.  She put the pedal to the metal and breezed right through what is typically an insanely busy day.

Kadi’s enthusiasm and compassion for people of all ages make her the perfect fit in our busy practice.  She has an energy level that is difficult to compete with, and she throws herself into any assigned task with diligence and efficiency.

Kadi was trained and received her certificate as a Registered Dental Assistant in 2013 from North Central Texas College.  She gained experience in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics before joining our family practice.  Her big smile and friendly voice have endeared her to all of our littlest patients.  She loves helping to calm down anxious children and make their dental experience a good one.

In the last year, Kadi has been cross-trained to work both in the dental chair as an assistant to Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara and up front doing more administrative tasks.  Her warm smile, friendliness, and peppy voice are a great comfort to our patients who walk in the front door or need information over the phone.  So you never know where you’ll find Kadi in our office.  You can bet she is getting something done because one of her pet peeves is wasting time.

She loves Prosper Family Dentistry for the team’s emphasis on true comprehensive care and compassion for each patient.  From young to old, every patient at PFD gets a little bit of Kadi’s joy.

When she’s not entertaining us at PFD, Kadi is busy taking care of her two daughters Pazley and Tatum.  She loves being outdoors, especially fishing and soaking up the sun on Lake Texoma.  She and her boyfriend Cody enjoy riding side-by-sides in their outdoor time.

 

HPV: What is it, and What Does it Have to Do with Oral Cancer?

April 4, 2018

What is HPV?

HPV stands for Human Papillomavirus.  It is an often-undetected viral infection that infects an estimated 6.2 million new people each year.  It is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States.  HPV does not cause any symptoms at the time of infection, so most people are unaware that they have it.

There are hundreds of different strains of the virus, and nine are known cancer-causers.  The CDC estimates that more than 80% of Americans will have an HPV infection in their lifetime.  Most people have non-cancer-causing strains, and their bodies’ immune systems naturally clear the virus within 2 years of infection.

The vast majority of people infected with HPV do NOT develop cancer.

What Does HPV have to do with Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer has historically been the disease of the 60 year old white male smoker.  The cancer was usually located in the front of the mouth and easily correlated to tobacco and alcohol use.

Times have changed.  As researchers noticed an increase in oral cancers among younger non-smokers toward the back of the mouth and throat, they looked for the reason behind this change.   What they found was an extremely high prevalence of HPV infection in these “new” oral cancers.

The strain HPV16, which is also associated with cervical cancer in women, is the same culprit in newer oral cancers.

How Does This Change Things?

The demographics of oral cancer have changed.  Dentists typically held to a 75/25 rule: 75% of oral cancers are tobacco-related, and 25% are not.  That rule no longer applies.  Oral cancer affects people of all ages with no history of tobacco or alcohol use.  A recent Swedish study showed that 60% of oral cancer patients tested were infected with HPV.

This means there is no specific profile for oral cancer anymore.  All people are at risk, and all must be screened regularly.  At Prosper Family Dentistry, we perform a comprehensive oral cancer screening on every patient (even children) at every professional cleaning visit.  Our doctors and dental hygienists are trained in the detection of suspicious lesions that could be dangerous.

Who has the Highest Risk for HPV-related Oral Cancers?

The statistics show that non-smoking white males aged 35-55 years with an active sexual history are at the highest risk.  The more sexual partners, the higher the risk.  Patients with weakened immune systems are also at a higher risk because their bodies will not naturally clear the infection as most do.

How Can I Find Out if I Have HPV?

You can request a test from your medical doctor.  Most women will have this test performed with their yearly exams with an Ob/Gyn.

What if I Do Have HPV?

  • Don’t freak out. Most people have this virus at some point in their lifetimes.  Having an HPV infection does not mean you will get oral cancer.  It only means you may have a higher risk for developing oral cancer.
  • Check your mouth monthly! Note any unusual lumps, bumps or sores.  If they do not go away on their own within 2 weeks, make an appointment to see your dentist ASAP for an evaluation.
  • Keep your mouth healthy! Oral cancer rates are higher among patients with oral disease (like cavities and gum disease).  Keeping your mouth healthy boosts your immune system and lowers your risk.
  • Practice safe sex and limit the number of sexual partners. Your risk for dangerous strains of HPV, which are closely linked to cancer, increases with more sexual partners.

Want More Information on HPV-Related Oral Cancer?

The Oral Cancer Foundation provides statistics, advice and links to research about HPV and Oral Cancer.  Or call 972-347-1145 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara.  They can answer any oral cancer question you may have and perform a thorough screening while you’re there.

Retainers: What You Need to Know

March 28, 2018

Straight teeth do not stay straight on their own.  They need help to keep their position.  Retainers do just that.  They retain the position of teeth in their correct place.

Why Do I Have to Wear a Retainer?

If your teeth have been straightened, you must wear a retainer regularly to keep them straight.

If your teeth have not been straightened, you might want to consider wearing a retainer regularly.

Here’s why:

It is a natural part of the aging process for teeth to get more crooked over time.  As we chew, the teeth rub against their neighboring teeth, and this friction removes small amounts of enamel over time.  The teeth get skinnier from side to side.

In order to prevent small gaps from opening, the teeth slowly shift forward.  This forward shift is natural, and it results in crowded or crooked teeth.

This happens whether or not your teeth were previously straightened.  The process is usually more obvious to people who had braces when they were young.

How Long Do I Have to Wear My Retainers?

We have a slightly sarcastic, but very true, answer to this question. You only have to wear it as long as you want your teeth to be straight.  Seriously.

Because of the aging process described in the previous section, crowding is inevitable for most people.  If you straightened your teeth, you made a significant investment in your beautiful smile.  Wearing your retainers regularly is the only way to keep it beautiful.

How Often Do I Have to Wear Retainers?

The answer to this question varies.

Some people have teeth that are prone to shifting as soon as the retainer is taken out each morning.  This type of scenario requires wearing retainers every night.

There are others whose teeth move very slowly, and the risk for shifting is less urgent.  A patient like this may be able to get away with wearing retainers twice a week.

No one should ever go more than one week without wearing retainers.

What Types of Retainers are Available?

There are many different types of retainers available today.  At Prosper Family Dentistry, we offer a few select types of retainers, and we help our patients chose which one will best meet their needs.

Removable Retainers:

All of the statements made above regarding how long and how often you should wear retainers are based on the assumption that your retainer is removable.  Removable retainers are the most common type made today.

Pros:

  • Removable retainers are typically less expensive.
  • Retainers you can remove allow you to keep your teeth as clean as possible.

Cons:

  • A removable retainer requires you to cooperate with your dentist’s specific recommendations for how often to wear it. If you don’t wear it, it cannot do its job.
  • Removable retainers can be lost or broken more easily.
  • Retainers that are removable will loosen and wear out over time. When this happens, they do not retain the teeth as well and need to be replaced.

In general, there are two different kinds of removable retainers.

  1. Esthetic Retainer – These clear plastic retainers cover all exposed surfaces of the teeth. They are great for maintaining the straightness of the teeth and holding the bite in its exact prescribed position.
  2. Acrylic and wire retainers – Also called Hawley retainers, these removable retainers have an acrylic base with a wire that wraps around the front of the teeth. A Hawley retainer will hold the teeth in their position front-to-back and left-to-right.  It does not hold them in a specific bite.  This allows the teeth to “settle” into a comfortable bite.  The wire can be adjusted to tighten or loosen the retainer as needed.

Glued-In Retainers:

A retainer that is glued to your teeth is called a fixed retainer.  A fixed retainer is composed of a wire that is bent to perfectly line the inside surface of the teeth. This wire is bonded to the teeth with an adhesive material that has a strong attachment to enamel.

Fixed retainers work well for lower teeth, but they are not always appropriate for upper teeth.  In most cases, attaching a metal wire to the back side of upper front teeth would interfere with the bite.  Only in rare cases will a fixed retainer work for upper teeth.

Pros:

  • Fixed retainers cannot be removed so no patient compliance is required. You don’t have to remember to wear them because they are always in place.
  • Retainers that are glued to the teeth are long-lasting.
  • They are unlikely to get lost or broken.

Cons:

  • Fixed retainers create an oral hygiene challenge. The wire prevents normal flossing and requires some extra effort, special tools, and different flossing techniques.
  • Retainers that are glued in typically only cover the front 6 teeth, so they do not prevent movement of the other teeth in the mouth.
  • They are not a good choice for upper front teeth.
  • They do not protect a correct bite relationship.

Do Retainers Last Forever?

No.

Removable retainers often loosen and wear out over time.  Fixed retainers can also break or come unglued to the teeth.

It is important to keep up with the proper maintenance on your retainers, no matter what type you have.  Bring your removable retainers with you to your professional teeth cleaning visits.  We will clean them and ensure the proper fit.  We will also evaluate them for wear and tear to let you know when a new one is necessary.

How Much Do Retainers Cost?

The cost varies based on the type of retainer.  In general, removable retainers are less expensive than fixed retainers.  Some retainers perform additional functions and cost more.  Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara will go over the cost of each type of retainer with you and help you select the best one for your needs.

What if I Need a Nightguard for Grinding?

Some nightguards are dual purpose and act as a retainer to maintain the position of the teeth.  When picking out a retainer, make sure to tell your dentist if you’d like one that will function as a nightguard to protect the teeth from grinding.

Need a Retainer?

Call us today at 972-347-1145 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara.  They will assess your retainer needs, discuss the available options with you, and help you choose the best retainer!

Spring Cleaning

March 21, 2018

Spring has sprung!  This time of year is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts.  Trees are budding, and flowers are in bloom.  Most people are familiar with the concept of spring-cleaning.  We clean out our closets and our flowerbeds.  We throw out things we do not use anymore.

Obviously, spring-cleaning carries with it the idea of cleaning up the things to keep.  It also implies cleaning out things that are past their usefulness.

When you spring-clean, you strive for a clean slate, bringing things back to a state that is more easily maintained so that they stay cleaner for longer.

As your dentists, of course we want you to apply this concept to your mouth!

Spring Cleaning for Your Mouth

Cleaning Up the Things to Keep

We want you to keep your teeth.  Forever.  We want your teeth to outlast you!  In order to keep your teeth for the rest of your life, they must have healthy gums and supporting bone.  They also need to stay cavity free.

The key to keeping teeth free of decay with healthy gums and bones is keeping them as clean as possible.  There are two essential steps you must take to keep your mouth clean.

  1. Professional Teeth Cleanings – To achieve a perfectly healthy mouth, it is absolutely necessary for you to have professional teeth cleanings on a consistent basis. Our wonderful dental hygienists Staci, Kenneth and Carli are masters at removing every trace of bacteria from your teeth and gums.  No matter how diligent you are, you can never clean every bit of plaque and tartar on your own at home.  Professional teeth cleanings are a must for a clean mouth.
    1. Interval of Teeth Cleanings – All men are not created equally when it comes to plaque and tartar buildup. We are all unique, with specific risks and needs.  For this reason, some people need to have professional teeth cleanings at different intervals than the average of six months.  Ask your dentist and dental hygienist which interval will give you the healthiest outcome!
  2. Great Home Care – As amazing as our hygienists are, they cannot do all of the work for you. Their job stops when you walk out of our doors, and the ball is then in your court.  They leave you with a clean slate and all the information you need to keep it clean.  If you have a particularly difficult area to clean on your own, ask Staci, Kenneth and Carli.  They each have customized ways of teaching you how to clean your teeth to the best of your ability.  Follow this regimen for great home care.
    1. Brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste after breakfast and before bedtime. If possible, use an electric toothbrush, which is proven to remove more plaque buildup than a manual toothbrush.
    2. Floss every night before bed. Brushing alone does not get the job done.  Flossing is the only way to remove plaque and food debris from between the teeth.
    3. Add a mouthwash to your daily routine. There are so many different types of mouthwash available today, and they have different purposes.  Ask your hygienist which type is best for your specific needs.

 

Cleaning Out Useless or Obsolete Things

Okay, this may seem like a strange concept when applying it to your oral health.  We have two ways that you should “clean out” things related to your mouth.

  1. Throw Out Your Toothbrush – Toothbrushes are wonderful tools that have greatly improved dental healthcare. But they do not last forever.  If yours is frayed or splayed or otherwise “worn out”, toss it.  For electric toothbrush users, buy the replacement heads, and throw this one out.  Old toothbrushes can harbor bacteria and even grow mold.  Once the bristles are worn out, they may not even touch the tooth surface as they should.
  2. Take a Tip from Marie Kondo – The bestselling author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” has a unique tactic for cleaning out your closet. Hold up an item and think about how it makes you feel.  If it does not bring you joy, get rid of it.  If we were to apply that tactic to your mouth, what would you get rid of?  Is there an old discolored filling that you hate?  Do you have a tooth that you try to hide when you smile?  If there is something in your smile that does not bring you joy, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara to discuss how we can change that for you.

Maintaining a Clean Mouth

Have you noticed the phenomenon that it is much easier to keep something clean once it is clean?  The fact that the countertops are free of clutter makes you want to keep any clutter from building up.

The same is true for your teeth.  The feeling of a perfectly clean mouth just after your professional teeth cleaning is so good that you are more motivated to follow a great home care regimen.  Don’t let that momentum fizzle out.  Commit to keeping up that great home care routine so that your “spring clean” lasts all year!

Do You Need a “Spring Cleaning”?

It is time for a fresh start!  Call 972-347-1145 today to schedule your professional teeth cleaning with our fabulous hygienists or a consultation with our dentists.

Dental Trauma: What to Do When your Child Suffers an Injury to the Teeth

March 14, 2018

Spring is almost here, and children’s sports are going to be in full swing!  This equates to an increased risk for injuries to your child’s teeth.

As children grow and learn new things, the risk of injury is relatively high.  Toddlers fall down when they are learning to walk.  Children have accidents when learning to ride a bicycle.  Adolescents suffer trauma when learning to play sports.

Accidents and injuries happen.  In children, often these accidents involve injuries to the mouth and teeth.  This blog highlights what you need to know about trauma to the teeth.

Different Types of Trauma to the Teeth

Baby Teeth vs. Permanent Teeth 

All of these types of trauma can happen to both baby teeth and permanent teeth.  The consequences of trauma to baby teeth are usually less severe than those for permanent teeth, simply because baby teeth fall out.

The only serious consequence of trauma to a baby tooth occurs when the trauma affects the underlying permanent tooth as it is developing.  The crown (or visible part) of the permanent tooth forms underneath the roots of the baby tooth.  If an injury occurs which forces the baby tooth or its roots into the developing permanent tooth during this formation stage, the permanent tooth can be deformed.

The majority of injuries to teeth occur on the front of the face and affect front teeth.  It is possible for a back tooth to be injured if a child is hit from the side, for instance with a baseball.  The recommendations below apply to both front teeth and back teeth.

Injuries that Move a Tooth

When force from an injury moves a tooth, it needs to be addressed quickly.

What You Will See:

The tooth looks whole, but it is in a different position.  It could be pushed up into the gums, hanging down out of the gums, or protruding at an unusual angle.  It is very common to have bleeding in the gums around a tooth that has been moved.

Baby Teeth vs. Permanent Teeth

In general, the treatment for this type of injury is the same for baby teeth and permanent teeth.  In severe cases, the baby tooth may be extracted.

What You Should Do:

Call your dentist immediately and start heading toward the office.  Attempt to move the tooth back to its normal position using light finger pressure only.  Whether you are able to reposition it or not, go to the dentist for an x-ray of the tooth to evaluate the health of the root, and the bone around the tooth.

Follow-Up Care:

Your child will need a soft diet for a period of a few days up to two weeks.  The goal is no additional pressure on the injured tooth as it is healing.  You may need to give your child over-the-counter pain reliever such as Children’s Advil or Children’s Motrin as needed for pain.

Follow-up with your dentist in 3 months.  He will x-ray the tooth to confirm healing and the health of the tooth and its surrounding structures.

Possible Long-Term Consequences:

When a tooth moves, it is possible that the nerve supply to the tooth has been broken where it enters at the tip of the root.  In many cases, the nerve supply can reattach, and the tooth heals.  In other cases, the nerve does not reattach, and the tissue inside the tooth dies.  A dead nerve must be removed, and the tooth needs a root canal.

The injury to the surrounding structures may also damage the connection between the tooth and the jaw bone.  A condition called ankylosis often develops, in which the tooth becomes fused to the bone and is unable to move.  This is a major concern in orthodontic treatment, when you desire to move that tooth.

Injuries that Chip or Break a Tooth

If an injury to a tooth causes a portion of the tooth to chip or break off, the consequences are usually a little milder than a tooth that is moved or knocked out.  In minor cases, the small chip can be filled in to return the tooth to its natural shape.  In severe cases, the chip extends into the nerve of the tooth, and a root canal is needed.

What You Will See:

The tooth looks broken or jagged on the edge.  Look specifically for any pink or red spots in the center of the tooth.  This is the nerve inside the tooth, and large breaks may extend this far.

Baby Teeth vs. Permanent Teeth

In general, the treatment for this type of injury is the same for baby teeth and permanent teeth.  Minor cases will be restored with filling material. In severe cases, a permanent tooth will need a root canal, and the baby tooth may be extracted.

What You Should Do:

Call your dentist immediately and start heading toward the office.  Try to locate any fragments of the tooth, and bring them with you.  Whether you are able to find it or not, go to the dentist for an x-ray of the tooth to evaluate the health of the root, and the bone around the tooth.  The dentist will evaluate the depth of the chip and determine whether or not the nerve is affected.

Follow-Up Care:

If you have the tooth fragment, your dentist can reattach it to the tooth.  If not, he can rebuild the tooth back to its normal shape and size.

Your child will need a soft diet for a period of a few days.  You may need to give your child over-the-counter pain reliever such as Children’s Advil or Children’s Motrin as needed for pain.

Follow-up with your dentist in 3 months.  He will x-ray the tooth to confirm healing and the health of the tooth and its surrounding structures.

Possible Long-Term Consequences:

The force to the tooth, which chipped it, could also have disrupted the nerve supply, as noted above.  Your dentist will monitor the tooth closely for any signs of a dead nerve.  If a root canal become necessary, your dentist will guide you in the steps involved in treatment.  It is important to know that the nerve inside a tooth could die at any point in the future, even decades later.

The tooth could also become ankylosed.

The dental treatment, which restores the broken tooth, may need replacement at any point in the future.  Be careful not to use that tooth for anything besides chewing and speaking (i.e. holding hair pins or cutting fishing line).

Injuries that Knock Out a Tooth

A tooth that is completely knocked out needs immediate action!  The longer you wait, the less chance the tooth has of surviving.

What You Will See:

The tooth is completely gone from the mouth.  Evaluation of the tooth should show the crown (visible part) of the tooth, as well as the root.

Baby Teeth vs. Permanent Teeth

There is no treatment for knocked out baby teeth.  The child will have a space in that tooth’s site until the permanent tooth comes in.

For a permanent tooth, we make every attempt to save and reattach the natural tooth.

What You Should Do:

Call your dentist immediately and start heading toward the office.  Hold the tooth by the crown ONLY.  Do not touch the root.  If you can, put the tooth back into the socket after very gently rinsing off any dirt or debris.  If you are unable to put the tooth back into the child’s mouth, place it in a cup with milk or saliva.  That’s right: fill up a cup with enough spit to cover the tooth.  Saliva is the best thing to keep the cells and fibers on the knocked-out tooth alive until it can be reimplanted into the mouth.

Whether you are able to reinsert it or not, go immediately to the dentist.  The dentist will clean and reinsert the tooth, using anesthetic if the child is in pain.  The sooner the tooth is reimplanted, the better the chances of its full healing.

Follow-Up Care:

Follow the recommendations for a soft diet and OTC pain relievers noted above.  The dentist will follow-up with you more frequently to confirm healing and reattachment of the tooth.

Possible Long-Term Consequences:

The consequences noted above, a dead nerve and ankylosis, are both highly likely when a tooth is completely knocked out.  Another possible consequence is failure of the tooth to reattach.  In this case, it is necessary to extract the tooth and replace it with a dental implant.

Adhering to your dentist’s prescribed follow-up schedule will keep you informed of any of these consequences as they occur.

Be Prepared for Injuries to Your Child’s Teeth

As you can see from the instructions listed above, getting in to see your dentist as soon as possible is very important!  Save our number in your phone, and call us at 972-347-1145 as soon as an injury happens.  Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara will treat your child’s emergency and give you all the information you need for the right follow-up care.

 

An Exciting New Way to Straighten Teeth: ClearCorrect™

March 7, 2018

At Prosper Family Dentistry, our goal is always to meet the oral health and cosmetic needs of our patients.  Since 2007, we have been able to meet that goal by straightening our patients’ teeth with Invisalign® clear aligners.

We are excited to announce that we are now offering a new clear aligner therapy to straighten teeth called ClearCorrect™!  ClearCorrect™ has been successfully treating smiles for over 10 years and offers a few advantages over Invisalign®.

Benefits of All Clear Aligner Therapy

All clear aligners function to straighten teeth with small increments of pressure.

Clear aligner therapy, in general, can align teeth that are crooked or crowded, teeth with gaps or spaces, and small bite problems.  All clear aligners can help you meet your smile goals!

All clear aligners are virtually invisible and allow you to improve your smile without unsightly brackets and wires.

All clear aligners are removable, which allows you to keep your teeth clean while you straighten.  Because they are removable, you can also take them out when you have a special occasion or a speaking engagement.

All clear aligners are more comfortable than brackets and wires, which can cause cuts and ulcers inside your mouth.

Benefits of ClearCorrect™ Clear Aligners

The most noticeable benefit to the patient of ClearCorrect™ aligners is the cost.  ClearCorrect™ is less expensive than Invisalign®!  We know that many people want to straighten their teeth with clear aligners, and that cost is often the reason they don’t.  With ClearCorrect™, we are able to offer a less expensive straightening option to our patients.

Many dentists feel that the ClearCorrect™ aligner material is slightly thinner and less visible.  It is possible that these aligners are even less noticeable than Invisalign.

Another huge advantage of ClearCorrect™: made in the USA!  ClearCorrect™ manufactures its aligners right here in Texas.  They have been making clear aligners “deep in the heart of Texas” since 2006.  We love supporting a company that provides local jobs!

How Can You Start Straightening Your Teeth with ClearCorrect™?

The first step is an orthodontic consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara.  They will evaluate your concerns and determine if ClearCorrect™ is the right treatment for you.  The most important aspect of this step is communication!  Make sure you explain to your dentist your long-term smile goals.  Based on the amount of movement required to reach these goals, Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara will give you an estimate on the cost of ClearCorrect™ treatment.

The next step is an intraoral 3D scan.  This scan gathers a three-dimensional digital model of your teeth and the way they bite together.  After transmitting this scan to ClearCorrect™, your dentist works with an orthodontic lab technician to prescribe the exact movements of your teeth.

ClearCorrect™ creates the clear aligners according to the precise instructions of Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara and sends them to our office.  Then you begin straightening your teeth!

Interested in Straightening Your Teeth with ClearCorrect™?

Call our office at 972-347-1145 today to schedule an orthodontic consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara.  They will discuss all of the benefits of clear aligner therapy with you in detail and help you get started on achieving the smile of your dreams!

 

Teaching Your Children to Take Care of Their Teeth

February 28, 2018 

To close out National Children’s Dental Hygiene Month, this blog will highlight how you, as a parent, can teach your child to take proper care of his teeth.

One of the most important aspects of parenting is teaching your children how to take care of themselves. You teach them to make good choices so that they can be healthy.  In the beginning, you do a task for them until they can do it themselves.  Then you supervise their efforts until you trust that they are competent and consistent in accomplishing the task.  At that point, you can give them the independence to take care of themselves without your intervention.

As with all issues in child development, every child grows and matures at his or her own unique pace.  Rather than looking for your child to perform certain tasks at a certain age, use milestones to tell you when it is time to move from demonstration to supervision and from supervision to delegation of independence.

In dentistry, our most common example of using a milestone is this: your child should not brush his teeth alone until he can easily tie his own shoes.

Start Early

In order to set the right expectations for your child and oral hygiene, start early.

How early?  As soon as the first tooth appears in your baby’s mouth!

Begin brushing each tooth with an infant toothbrush or a soft washcloth.  Cleaning your child’s teeth is something he or she should expect as part of your daily routine.  The earlier you start, the easier it is for the child to accept.  The earlier you begin brushing and flossing your child’s teeth, the less likely they are to fight you and resist the process.

Easy Oral Hygiene Techniques:

One of the easiest ways to brush and floss a child’s teeth is to sit cross-legged on the floor and have the child lay down with his head in your lap.  You should be able to look straight down into the child’s open mouth.  Using a very small amount of fluoride-containing toothpaste and NO water, gently brush every exposed surface of his teeth.

An alternative technique is to have your child stand on a small stool so that their head is just above your waist.  With both of you facing the bathroom mirror, stand behind the child and have her look up and rest her head against your stomach.  Again, you should be able to look straight down into the child’s mouth and visualize all of the teeth.

Use either of these positions to floss any of your child’s teeth that touch each other.  Teeth with small gaps do not have to be flossed.

Make It Fun

While you are brushing or flossing, it helps to count or sing a song to entertain and/or distract the child.  The American Dental Association has several fun tooth brushing songs here.

If you have multiple children, you can make the oral hygiene routine your special one-on-one time with each child.

With multiple children, games or competitions can make it fun.  Use plaque disclosing tablets to have a contest of who does the best job brushing.

Set a Good Example

Brush and floss your own teeth in front of your children as often as possible.  Show them that it is a normal part of your bedtime routine.  Kids are much better at following examples than strictly doing as they are told.

It is important to teach your children to have an overall attitude toward oral hygiene that is positive and healthy.  One of the best and easiest ways to train this attitude is to model it in your actions and attitudes toward your own oral hygiene.

Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.  If your children see that you do not value your own oral hygiene, they will not believe that it is important for them either.

Don’t Make It Optional

Make every effort to never miss brushing and flossing your child’s teeth.  It is not optional.  Do not ever give your child the impression that they have a choice on whether or not to brush before bedtime.

The problems that occur from improper oral hygiene in a child can be serious. They can also be prevented with good oral hygiene and good food and drink choices.

Need Help?

Call our office at 972-347-1145 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill, Dr. Cara or one of our fabulous dental hygienists.  They will show you tips and techniques on brushing and flossing your child’s teeth as easily as possible.

 

 

What PFD Has Been Up To:

Continuing Education

February 21, 2018 

It’s All For You!

One of the most important factors contributing to the skill and experience of our doctors is their commitment to continuing education.  Both Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara stay involved in organized dentistry, exciting research, new developments, and consistent learning.

There is only one goal for this involvement: taking excellent care of each patient!

Dr. Jill’s Continuing Education

Dr. Jill is in Chicago this week to attend the annual scientific meetings of the American Equilibration Society and the American Academy of Restorative Dentistry.  She actively serves on the board for AES and has been chosen as the co-chair for the planning of its 2020 annual scientific meeting.  The American Academy of Restorative Dentistry is by invitation only, and Dr. Jill has been invited to attend for the third year in a row.

Earlier this year, Dr. Jill attended the Southwest Academy of Restorative Dentistry’s scientific meeting.  This one-day meeting provides up-to-date education for dentists in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, and Louisiana.  This year, the meeting’s focus was on the wide array of treatment options available to restore patients with extreme wear on their teeth.  We believe that, in order to give our patients the best options, we must know all of the options.

Dr. Cara’s Continuing Education

Dr. Cara is a member of Spear Online education, which gives her access to a constant supply of information anytime.  She is so diligent in her CE goals that you can often find her taking an online course anytime she has an opening in her schedule at the office.  In 2018, she also plans to join a Spear Study Club, which meets monthly to discuss patient cases involving every discipline of dentistry.  This club prioritizes collaboration with other dental professionals in the local area in order to grow each participant’s clinical expertise.

Her educational focus in 2018 is in three different areas of dentistry: pediatrics, occlusion (for patients with difficult bite relationships), and cosmetic dentistry.  Dr. Cara’s education in pediatric dentistry has revolutionized the way we treat cavities in young children!  Click here to read more.

Educating the Whole Team

In September, the entire Prosper Family Dentistry team will attend the Southwest Dental Conference.  This annual conference is held in downtown Dallas at the Dallas Convention Center and provides a diverse selection of dental continuing education courses.  It is a great opportunity for the PFD staff to learn and enjoy two days away from the everyday routines of the practice.

 

 

CariVu: Exciting New Technology that Allows Visualization of Cavities and Cracks Without Radiation!

February 14, 2018 

At Prosper Family Dentistry, we are committed to keeping up with the latest technology.  There are several reasons for this.

  1. We are committed to excellent dentistry. New technology improves the way we do dentistry.
  2. We are committed to efficient dentistry. We know that no one wants to spend all of his time in the dental chair.  New technology helps us do the same things faster with the same, excellent results.
  3. We are committed to patient protection. Advances in dental technology and materials ensure that everything we use is safe for our patients.

What is the CariVu?

The CariVu is a tool that uses transillumination to “see through” a tooth.  Its name comes from the word caries, which is the scientific name for tooth decay or cavities, and view because it allows us to view cavities in a new way.

The CariVu is the same size as our intraoral cameras.  Its shape is that of a small wand with two rubber extensions that “hug” a tooth.  These two extensions emit the high powered light, which passes through the tooth.

How Does the CariVu Work?

Transillumination means shining a light through a structure.  The basis of this technology is the way light passes through normal, healthy tooth structure.  In a dental x-ray, the photons of an x-ray beam pass through the tooth structure to give a certain appearance on a film or digital image.  In a similar way, the CariVu’s light passes through the tooth to produce an image of the internal structure of a tooth.

This image is produced with no radiation!

The CariVu causes no damage to any tissues in the body.  The light is projected through the tooth, and the image is captured as a photograph.

When tooth structure is not normal and healthy, the light does not pass through it.  The light is refracted (or bent) by a crack or a change in the density of the structure caused by tooth decay.  This appears on the image as a dark spot or shadow.

Does the CariVu Replace Dental X-rays?

No.  The CariVu is an amazing tool, which will give Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara more accuracy in their diagnosis.  It does not replace dental x-rays.

The CariVu only captures an image of the crown, or exposed part of the tooth.  It does not provide information on any tooth structure that is below the gums.  It misses the root of the tooth and all of the bone surrounding it.

The CariVu cannot aid in the diagnosis of gum disease, abscesses, or infections around the root.  For this reason, dental x-rays are still required.

Who Will Benefit from the CariVu?

In short, everyone!

Children who cannot tolerate dental x-rays can now be easily screened for signs of cavities.

Adults with fracture lines will now benefit from an inside look at how deep the crack extends into the tooth.

Finding “weak spots” on your teeth helps Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara make recommendations for preventive options.  Viewing a weak spot with the CariVu is like early detection.  The sooner you catch a problem, the less extensive and less expensive it is to correct.

Are You Ready to Get an In-Depth Look at Your Teeth With the CariVu?

Call 972-347-1145 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara.  They will closely evaluate all of your teeth for signs of weak spots, cavities and cracks.

 

Your Child’s First Dental Visit

February 7, 2018 

At Prosper Family Dentistry, our goal is for every dental visit to be a good one.  We understand that setting the right expectations can help us meet that goal.

When it comes to kids, not knowing what to expect can generate fear, anxiety and/or misbehavior.  Here is what to expect from your child’s first dental visit.

When to Make the Appointment

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have a dental evaluation by their first birthday or within 6 months of getting their first tooth, whichever comes first.  The purpose of a dental visit this early in life is not to perform dental treatment.  Education is the main purpose.

If your child is already past this recommended age, do not worry!  Simply make an appointment as soon as possible.  The visit will vary a little based on the child’s age.  The purpose remains the same.

Educating the Child

If your child is an infant or toddler, the education comes in the form of the experience.  The child learns from the senses of sight, sound, taste, smell and touch.  He will see the smiling face of the dentist and his staff and learn what the dental tools look like.  He will hear the normal sounds of a dental office.  He will taste and smell the toothpaste or dental cleaning paste used by the dental hygienist.  And he will feel the gentle touch of the dentist evaluating his mouth.

It is important for parents to know that it is normal and acceptable for a small child to cry.  The dentist or hygienist may use that as an opportunity to look inside the child’s mouth and see as many teeth as possible.

Educating the Parent

Even more important than the child’s education is the parents’.  The cause of most preventable problems that arise with children’s teeth is a simple lack of information and education.

A Child’s Oral Hygiene

At this dental visit, every parent receives instruction on proper oral hygiene of the child’s teeth and tips on various ways to accomplish this.  Keep in mind that not every technique or trick works on every child.  You may have to try several different approaches before you find the one that works best for you and your child.

An example of a unique approach to flossing a toddler’s teeth is this:  Sit on the floor cross-legged.  Have your child lay down with his head in your lap and look straight up at you.  When the child opens his mouth, you will be able to easily see and access the teeth for flossing.

This technique also works well with brushing.  If you use this technique for brushing, use only a pea-sized dot of toothpaste and no water.

Oral hygiene for baby teeth is just as important as it is for permanent teeth.  Do not make it an optional part of the bedtime routine.  This link has some great songs to sing while brushing and flossing your child’s teeth.  We know it can be a chore; do your best to make it a fun one.

A Child’s Nutrition

At the first dental visit, parents are taught how to help prevent cavities with good nutritional choices.  Your dentist will ask questions about current nutritional habits and eating patterns.  The most common error parents make is sending their child to bed with a sippy cup full of juice or milk.  The only thing a child should have access to overnight is water.

A Child’s Habits

Your dentist will assess risk for damage to the teeth and developing jaws by any habits like thumb-sucking or pacifier use.  For more information on these habits, please read our previous blog.

A Child’s Growth and Development

At this visit, the dentist evaluates the teeth and jaws for proper growth and development.  There is a pretty wide range of “normal” when it comes to teeth coming into the mouth.  The dentist’s objective is to detect any abnormalities in a child’s development as early as possible so that you can plan for the future.

For example, your dentist would inform you if there appears to be a deficiency in the growth of the jaws that would require early orthodontic treatment.  We want you to be as prepared as possible for any future dental work.

Dental X-rays

Dental x-rays are only taken on children under the age of 5 if there is evidence of a problem.  An x-ray is necessary if a large cavity is present with the risk of spreading infection into the jawbone.  Any injury to the teeth also requires an x-ray.

Around age 5-6 years, we take dental x-rays to evaluate the proper development of permanent teeth underneath the baby tooth roots.

Fluoride

Professional fluoride treatments are proven to reduce a child’s risk for developing cavities.  We recommend fluoride as a preventive treatment for most children because we strongly believe in prevention.

If you have questions about professional fluoride treatments, please ask Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara or your dental hygienist at your next visit.  We are more than happy to discuss the benefits of fluoride and the reasons we strongly recommend it for children.

Is it Time for Your Child’s First Dental Visit?

Call our office at 972-347-1145 today to set up a happy visit for your child with Dr. Jill, Dr. Cara, and our fabulous dental hygienists.

 

How PFD is Different

January 31, 2018 

We are thrilled to be a multiple-time winner of the living magazine’s “Best Of” series of awards.  We have won Best Cosmetic Dentist and Best Family Dentist for several years in a row.

It is voting time again.

In light of that, we are using this blog to explain how we are different, and why that makes us the best.

Risk Management Approach

At each dental evaluation that you have with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara, your particular risk areas will be assessed and discussed with you.  Did you know that some people naturally have a very low risk for cavities?  Others stay at a consistently high risk, despite good oral hygiene and diet choices.  By knowing your unique risk levels for things like cavities, gum disease, teeth grinding, or airway problems, you are able to take action to prevent future problems.

Our goal is educating each patient on his or her specific risk areas.  Then, we make preventive recommendations based on where your risk lies.  By following this risk management approach, patients are able to reduce their overall time spent in the dental chair.

Conservative and Preventive

At Prosper Family Dentistry, we are proud to perform conservative dentistry.  We believe that nothing is better than your God-given enamel, and we make every effort to maintain it whenever possible.  In many instances, we can preserve natural tooth structure by restoring a broken down tooth with a bonded filling rather than covering it completely with a crown.

We offer conservative cosmetic options like Invisalign, at-home teeth whitening, and contact-lens thin veneers so that you can improve your smile while preserving as much of your natural teeth as possible.

With our unique risk management approach, we are able to provide preventive dentistry options that help you manage and even reduce your risk for dental problems.

Besides placing sealants on high-risk teeth, we also prescribe various oral care products, which will up your oral hygiene game at home.  The oral hygiene education you receive from our fabulous dental hygienists, Staci, Kenneth, and Carli, helps you to be preventive at home.

Advanced Dental Technology

Our dental practice is equipped with the latest dental technology, which enables us to care for you more safely, effectively and efficiently.

We use dental lasers to perform conservative gum treatments and surgeries.

We take the highest quality three-dimensional images of the entire head and neck.  This gives us an up close and personal view of the TMJ (jaw joints), all of the jawbone surround each tooth, and many soft tissue structures, including your airway.  With 3D imaging, we are able to see factors outside of the mouth that contribute to problems with the teeth and jaws.

One of our favorite new technologies is three-dimensional intraoral scanning!  This technology allows us to obtain an identical model of your teeth without gooey, gag-inducing dental impressions.  Now we can create a replica of your teeth with a small wand that takes thousands of tiny pictures and stitches them together into a 3D model.

We will soon be announcing the implementation of a new instrument for cavity and crack detection that does not use radiation!  Stay tuned.

Superior Dental Materials

Dentists have a wide selection when it comes to dental materials.  They have the choice to use cheap materials of inferior quality when performing restorative dentistry for their patients.  The majority of patients would never know.

At Prosper Family Dentistry, we use only materials that are of the highest quality and have been proven in scientific research to perform better than other, cheaper materials.

The dental work that is fabricated in dental labs (like crowns and veneers) falls into this category.  We use only dental labs that are located in the United States with Certified Dental Lab Technicians who are certified by the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology.

Commitment to Lifelong Learning

Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara are lifelong learners.  They understand that all industries grow and evolve with new developments over time.  In order to provide all of the patients at Prosper Family Dentistry with the utmost in dental care, they consistently complete more than 5 times the amount of continuing education required by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners.

They have each completed advanced training in the areas of cosmetic dentistry, Invisalign®, implant dentistry, and TMJ disorders.  The time and money they invest on these advanced courses is well spent because it always improves the level of care they provide to patients.

Relationships

Our relationships with our patients are built on trust, and that takes time.  Our long-term patients can attest to the fact that we genuinely care for each person we treat.  We go above and beyond the personal greeting.

Our hygienists have been known to jump out of their chair to hug a patient walking down the hallway.  We have attended grand openings and funerals.  We have cried with patients, and they have cried with us.  We want every patient to know that they are considered part of the PFD family.

Curious about Prosper Family Dentistry?

If you are not a patient of ours, we would love to meet you and convince you that you should become one!  Call us at 972-347-1145 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill or Dr. Cara.

 

AP24 Toothpaste

January 24, 2018 

What is AP24 Toothpaste?

A new whitening toothpaste is causing a stir on social media with its claims of unbelievable teeth whitening and unparalleled safety.  AP24 is a whitening toothpaste manufactured by a company called NuSkin, which sells its products via multilevel marketing plans. It is also available for purchase on sites like Ebay and Amazon.

AP24 toothpaste has surged in popularity this year, thanks to successful social media marketing.  It has thrived on Facebook and Instagram posts claiming real whitening results in as little as 1-2 days.

What do your dentists think about it?

Short version:

It is safe, and it is probably also mildly effective.  However, there’s no reason to spend $20-30 on a single tube of toothpaste.

Long version:

Whitening toothpastes do not whiten your teeth.  They only function to remove external staining caused by dark foods and drinks (the most common culprits being coffee, tea, and red wine). True bleaching only occurs when a peroxide compound is in contact with tooth enamel for an extended period of time, so unless you’re holding a peroxide-containing toothpaste or mouthwash in your mouth for 30 minutes or so, don’t expect actual bleaching to occur.  AP24 does not contain any peroxides, so it is not bleaching the teeth.

Based on its ingredient list, it does not appear to contain anything that makes its mechanism of action different than any other whitening toothpastes.  Its patented AP24 compound consists of an emollient and two surfactants, neither of which whiten teeth.  The emollient claims to create a slick coating on the teeth so that new stains are less likely to adhere.  The surfactants function to create a foam and adhere to plaque and food debris so that they are spit out instead of sticking to the teeth.

The main abrasives present in AP24 toothpaste (which was the main complaint against it by some opposing dentists) are the same chemicals present in other whitening toothpastes: Hydrated silica, Aluminum Dioxide and Titanium Dioxide.  The measurement of a toothpaste’s abrasiveness to tooth structure is called the radioactive dentin abrasivity or RDA.  In order for a toothpaste to obtain the American Dental Association‘s seal of approval, the RDA must be below 250.  According to NuSkin, the manufacturer of AP24 Toothpaste, its RDA is 103, which would make it perfectly safe.  It is well within the upper limit for safety in toothpastes.

Is it safe?

Yes.  It is as safe as most whitening toothpastes available on the market today.  Patients with root exposure from gum recession and sensitive teeth should avoid all whitening toothpastes due to the likelihood of their abrasiveness damaging the root surface and causing even more tooth sensitivity.

Is it effective? 

Maybe, but likely not more effective than any other whitening toothpaste used in the same manner! Why is that in italics?  Because one of the benefits of all the hype associated with a new product, which claims fabulous results is that it inspires more motivation in the consumer to use it as directed on a consistent basis.  So if you used Colgate or Crest Whitening toothpaste in the same way, you could expect the same results.  The instructions for AP24 toothpaste tell you to brush for 3 minutes.  How many of you use your other whitening toothpastes for 3 minutes?

Is it worth the high price tag? 

Probably not.  Just as it is not extraordinarily dangerous, it is also not extraordinarily different from the other brands of whitening toothpastes available.  Use an over-the-counter whitening toothpaste with an electric toothbrush, and save your money for actual teeth whitening products from your dentist.

What is the best way to whiten your teeth?

Come see us!  Make an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara.  Ask about the professional teeth whitening options offered at Prosper Family Dentistry.

 

Staff Highlight: Danielle

January 17, 2018 

Danielle usually goes by Dani.  She joined the Prosper Family Dentistry team in January of 2016 to cover the maternity leave of another dental assistant.  She quickly proved her worth, and we realized she had to stay!

Danielle became a Registered Dental Assistant in 2006. In dental assisting school, she met and became best friends with Stephanie Falcon (who was a dental assistant at PFD for over 5 years before moving to Florida).  When we were looking for a dental assistant to cover maternity leave, Stephanie told us about her best friend, and the rest is history.

Dani is a hard worker.  Not only does she work full time at Prosper Family Dentistry as a chairside dental assistant; she is also working towards her bachelor’s degree.  She takes evening and online classes through the University of North Texas.  We are not talking about a “light load”.  This woman is taking 12 hours each semester!  Somehow, she is able to show up and work hard all day at PFD.Dani’s primary function is chairside assisting with Dr. Cara.  She excels at making patients feel comfortable.  We know that no one wants to come to the dentist.  People like Dani make it a little bit easier. She has a special way of relating to each patient, comforting them without being condescending.  She just seems to “get” how a patient feels.  You feel like you have an ally with Dani by your side.

Dr. Cara describes Dani as smart, caring and empathetic.  She is great at making us all laugh and can do the best impressions of people.

In her free time (what little there is with full time work and a full load of college classes), she and her boyfriend Terence enjoy gym time and fitness competitions.

 

SDF: A New Way to Treat Cavities

January 10, 2018 

How Prosper Family Dentistry is Treating Cavities Without Drilling

An exciting dental material has been in the news recently.  You may have seen it in a 2016 New York Times article. It was also featured just last week in a PBS Newshour special.

The material is Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF), and the reason it is exciting is because it has the potential to stop cavities.  That’s right:  stop them.

How Cavities Work

Cavities, a.k.a. tooth decay, are caused by the acidic by-product of the bacteria in our mouths.  The bacteria eat sugar (or any simple carbohydrate), digest it, and produce acid.  When you don’t brush and/or floss perfectly, these bacteria hang out on the teeth.  The acid they create etches (softens and weakens) the underlying enamel.  This weak spot allows the bacteria to begin working their way into the tooth.  Once they infiltrate past the enamel, they continue to produce acid, which continues to soften the tooth.  This is the inevitable, and historically unstoppable, growth process of a cavity.

How Traditional Dental Fillings Work

One way to stop this inevitable growth is through a traditional dental filling.  The decay, which includes the softened tooth structure and the bacteria, is removed until only healthy, hard tooth structure remains.  The resulting hole, or cavity, is filled with a dental restoration.  Traditional dental filling materials will only adhere to healthy tooth structure.  This is why drilling is necessary.  Because drilling on a tooth causes pain, this is also why local anesthetic (an injection) is necessary.

How SDF Works

The silver in SDF kills bacteria and prevents future bacterial buildup on the site.  The fluoride in SDF remineralizes, or hardens, the tooth structure.  It does not replace missing tooth structure.

One application of SDF has an 80% success rate at stopping a cavity.  The highest success with SDF is achieved when it is applied to a cavity twice a year.

Because it is not a 100% guarantee, it is important for a patient receiving an SDF treatment to comply with all follow-up appointments.

How PFD  Uses SDF

Dr. Cara Kessler revolutionized the way Prosper Family Dentistry treats cavities when she joined our practice.  She has been using SDF since 2015 and taught the PFD staff about its great benefits.

Although SDF has been used for over 40 years in Japan, it only recently gained popularity and FDA approval in the US.  At Prosper Family Dentistry, we use SDF for two different purposes.  1) Its FDA-approved use for treating hypersensitivity, and 2) its more common off-label use for stopping cavities.

What to Expect During an SDF Treatment

Whether the patient is you, your child, or an elderly person, the treatment is carried out in the same manner.  The area around the tooth to be treated is coated with Vaseline, and the tooth itself is isolated with cotton.  The SDF, which is a colorless, odorless liquid, is painted onto the tooth for one minute.

In order to increase the fluoride release from the SDF treatment (and therefore improve the success rate of the treatment), it is then covered with a fluoride varnish.  Fluoride varnish is the sticky material painted onto most children’s teeth at the end of a dental cleaning.

If the cavity is located between the teeth, the liquid is applied to the tooth using dental floss.

A follow-up appointment is scheduled for 2-4 weeks later.  At this follow-up visit, the tooth is closely evaluated and then any holes are restored with a filling material.  This filling does not require injections or drilling into the tooth.

Any holes in the teeth need to be filled because food impaction increases the risk for more cavities in the future.  Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara will discuss the exact details of the specific procedures you need to stop a cavity.

Who Should Have SDF

  • Children – The most common use for SDF is in small children. An SDF treatment requires no injections and no drilling.  It can be completed very quickly at the initial evaluation.
  • Elderly patients – Many elderly patients have complicated medical problems, which makes the use of local anesthetic and dental procedures less safe. They are also less tolerant of lengthy dental procedures.
  • Special needs patients – Patients with special needs have traditionally been sedated to treat dental problems. SDF treatment allows them to have a fast, easy treatment in the dental chair.
  • Cancer patients – Many patients undergoing cancer treatment experience dry mouth and tooth decay. SDF can be used in order to stop the tooth decay and put off any necessary treatment until after cancer treatment is completed.
  • Patients needing a large amount of dental work – Using SDF to stop decay is a great way to slow down the progression of dental disease. This allows dentists and patients to space out needed dental treatment for the sake of time and money.

Why Isn’t Every Cavity Treated with SDF

Some people and/or teeth are not candidates for SDF (see below).  The biggest con of SDF treatment is a dark brownish-black staining of the decayed area.  A dark spot will be seen if the cavity is in an area visible when a person smiles or speaks.  It just does not qualify as “cosmetic” dentistry.  For this reason, most patients do not want it used on their cavities.

Who Should Not Have SDF

The following are considered contraindications for treatment with SDF.

  • Silver allergy
  • Any current mouth ulcers or sores
  • A tooth which does not show enough tooth structure protecting the nerve (due to extensive decay)
  • A tooth that causes pain

How to Find Out if You Are a Candidate for SDF Treatment

Call our office at 972-347-1145 to set up a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara.  They will assess any areas of decay and discuss your treatment options including SDF.

 

 

New Year, New Smile

January 2, 2018 

It is that time of year when people around the world are resolving to make changes for the better.  A common theme in many New Year’s resolutions is improved health.  One of the great perks of improving your health is that it usually involves improving your appearance, too!  If you are exercising to enhance your health, you may also be losing weight or toning muscles.  If you resolve to get more sleep, you will lose those dark circles under your eyes.

The same applies to taking care of your teeth.  The steps you take to make your mouth healthier will make your smile prettier.  Here are a few ways you can improve the health and appearance of your smile.

Brush Up on Your Oral Hygiene Regimen

Keeping your teeth free from plaque reduces your risk of unsightly cavities and gum disease.  Here is the most effective way to keep your pearly whites pearly and white.

Brush twice a day, preferably after breakfast and before bed.  Make sure you are using a soft-bristled toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to the edge of the gums.  Make sure you touch every surface of every tooth.  This should include the cheek side, tongue side, and biting surface.  The most commonly missed area is the inside (tongue side) of the lower teeth.  Do not go to bed without brushing!

Floss nightly!  Brushing alone is not enough to ensure proper plaque removal.  The toothbrush bristles cannot reach in between the teeth; therefore, they leave harmful plaque, bacteria, and food debris on the teeth.  Flossing is absolutely mandatory to keep your teeth and gums healthy and beautiful.

Use a mouthwash.  Swishing mouthwash is a great way to flush out unhealthy bacteria from the various nooks and crannies of the oral cavity.  If you are cavity prone, use a mouthwash containing fluoride to strengthen your enamel and fight cavities.  If you have a dry mouth, stay away from mouthrinses containing alcohol.  For someone with red, swollen gums, a whitening mouthwash containing hydrogen peroxide is a great tool for reducing gum inflammation.

Treat Yourself to Teeth Whitening

There are many ways to improving your smile.  Whitening your teeth is one of the quickest ways to give your smile a boost.  At Prosper Family Dentistry, we are proud to offer three different types of professional teeth whitening.  With both in-office and at-home whitening products, we can help you find the type of whitening that most easily and quickly meets your needs.

Another way you can achieve a brighter smile is by using an electric toothbrush and whitening toothpaste.  This works to polish off surface stains accumulated by years of drinking coffee or tea and using tobacco products.  Ask our dental hygienists about the other benefits of an electric toothbrush.  Most patients find that once they begin using an electric toothbrush, they cannot return to a manual toothbrush.  Electric toothbrushes truly give a cleaner, smoother, shinier appearance to the teeth.

Straight Teeth are Healthy Teeth

Many people consider crooked teeth to be a cosmetic issue.  In addition to an improved appearance, straightening your teeth actually creates a healthier oral environment.  A research experiment was conducted in which plaque was collected from both patients with straight teeth and those with crowded teeth.  This study concluded that not only do crooked and crowded teeth harbor a greater quantity of plaque; they actually harbor more dangerous bacteria than straight teeth.

Closing gaps between the teeth helps prevent food impaction, which leads to cavities and periodontal disease.  Aligning crooked teeth makes brushing flossing easier to accomplish.  Ask us how Invisalign® can make your mouth healthier!

Full Smile Makeover

Perhaps you have always wanted a full smile makeover, and 2018 is your year.  Missing teeth can be replaced with dental implants.  Broken teeth can be restored crowns.  Cavities can be repaired with cosmetic tooth-colored fillings.

You can achieve a beautiful, straight, white smile with veneers.  A veneer is a covering of at least one full surface of the tooth.  Veneers are made from porcelain or composite (an in-office dental restoration).  They can be contact lens thin for minor corrections and refinements.  Or they can be several millimeters thick to correct misalignments and dark discolorations.

The possibilities are almost endless!  To get started on your full smile makeover, schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara.  They will evaluate your current situation and discuss the treatment options available to meet your cosmetic goals.

Happy New Year!

Whether 2018 is the year for minor improvements or major life changes for you, there are two things that will always be a great idea: 1) Make healthy choices.  2) Smile!

If you’d like help improving that smile, we are here for you.  Call 972-347-1145 today to schedule a visit with Dr. Jill, Dr. Cara or one of our wonderful dental hygienists.

 

 

Is Flossing Really That Important?

December 27, 2017

Let’s talk about flossing.

We know.  No one wants to floss.  Recent statistics show that Americans can be roughly divided into thirds when it comes to flossing habits.  Just under 1/3 of the population floss every day.  Just over 1/3 of the population floss sometimes.  And the rest admit to never flossing.  Never.  That hurts our dentist-hearts.

Many of our patients have shared that they feel guilty when we ask about flossing.  We do not ever want to make anyone feel guilty.  We simply want to know where you stand on the flossing issue so that we can point you in the right direction.  Our goal is to encourage you to have great oral hygiene habits so that your visits to see us consist of maintenance only, not repair.

What does flossing accomplish?

A toothbrush mechanically removes soft buildup on the exposed surfaces of teeth.  The bristles have to touch the tooth to be effective.  Many areas of tooth structure are not accessible with a toothbrush, namely in between the teeth.  A toothbrush can effectively clean the cheek side, the tongue side, and the biting surface of teeth.  It simply cannot reach the side of a tooth that faces an adjacent tooth (called the interproximal surface).

Flossing removes plaque and food debris that your toothbrush leaves behind.  By physically touching the interproximal surfaces of the teeth, floss does the job that a toothbrush cannot.

Benefits:

Increased life expectancy – Some studies claim an increase of 6.4 years for people who floss daily over those who do not.  This is likely an assumed benefit based on the reduced risk of other diseases, which itself is another benefit of flossing.

Reduces risk of heart disease, cavities, gum disease – It is no surprise that flossing reduces the risk of dental disease.  Anything that keeps the teeth and gums free from harmful bacteria will lower the risk of cavities and gum disease.

Over the last 20 years, new research has shown a significant link between oral health and systemic health.  Patients with periodontal disease are more likely to have cardiovascular disease.  People who suffer from severe dental disease are more likely to develop oral cancer.  There is a proven connection between diabetes and gum disease.  All of these associations make it clear that keeping your mouth healthy is beneficial for the whole body.

Improves bad breath – Bad breath is the product of bacteria and food debris that is left in the warm, moist environment of the mouth.  A good, but gross, analogy is that the mouth is like a kitchen trash can.  Flossing is like taking out the trash.  When you neglect it, it starts to stink.

Gives gums healthy pink appearance – A beautiful smile involves more than just the teeth.  Straight, white teeth surrounded by swollen, red, or receding gums cannot be considered beautiful or healthy.  Flossing removes the source of gum inflammation (called gingivitis), which keeps them healthy.  Healthy gum tissue is light pink in color, flat (not swollen, bulbous, or rounded), and does not bleed when brushed or flossed.

Proper technique:

Not just any old flossing will do.  In order for the floss to actually remove buildup from the teeth, it must touch the teeth.  Simply snapping floss in between each tooth contact and hitting the gums can miss a large portion of the tooth.  For effective flossing, envision the following diagram with a triangle between each tooth.

  1. Holding an end of the floss in each hand, first press back with both hands to wrap the floss around the rear tooth. Using an up and down motion, rub the floss against the side of the tooth labeled on the diagram as side #1 of the yellow triangle.
  2. Then pull forward with both hands to wrap it around the forward tooth. Using the same up and down motion, clean side #2 of the yellow triangle.
  3. Before pulling the floss out, use a gentle sweeping motion along the bottom of the triangle (side #3 on the yellow triangle) if there is any open space between the teeth to remove large pieces of debris that may have become lodged there. This step is necessary when the gum tissue does not completely fill in the triangular area.  If you do not have gum recession or areas between the teeth called black triangles (described below), you may omit this step.

Additional tools:

In some cases of overlapped teeth or teeth with large gaps, it is necessary to use additional tools to properly clean between the teeth.

Waterpik – A Waterpik is a tool that uses water or mouthwash at high pressure to flush out the areas between the teeth.  This is a great tool for patients with braces, large areas of “black triangles”, or problems with handling floss (such as arthritis).  Black triangles develop when the gums no longer completely fill the space between two teeth, as shown in the diagram.  This open space allows food and bacteria to collect and presents an additional cleaning challenge.  A Waterpik creates a power wash for these hard-to-clean areas.  It is not a replacement for flossing.

Interproximal brushes – Another great tool for black triangles is a small angled brush called an interproximal brush.  Brand names include Proxabrush, Go-Betweens, and Interdental brushes.  They look like tiny pipe cleaners or bottle brushes and are made to fit between the teeth and gently scrub the side of each tooth.  Please use caution with these tools.  Aggressive use of an interproximal brush could create black triangles and gum recession.  Only a light, gentle touch is necessary to remove plaque and food debris from between the teeth.

Do you have more questions about flossing?

If you have questions this blog did not answer or would like an in-person demonstration of the proper flossing technique, please call 972-347-1145 to set up a consultation with Dr. Jill, Dr. Cara or one of our awesome dental hygienists.  They will create a customized hygiene plan for you to keep your teeth as clean as possible.

 

A Naughty and Nice List from Your Dentist

December 20, 2017

Christmas time is here!  And with it comes a plethora of baked goods, candies, cakes and pies.

The cold weather inspires hot cocoa, apple cider, coffee and tea.  Your holiday parties may overflow with wine, eggnog, and ornamentinis.

If you are lucky enough to enjoy some vacation time during the holidays, you may find it easy to shirk your daily routines.

We have made a list of things that are naughty and nice for your teeth to help you have a Christmas you won’t regret at your next dental visit.

Naughty:

Foods:

The important things to consider are sugar content and the length of time the food will contact your teeth.  Obviously, a high sugar content is bad and increases your risk for cavities.  Sticky foods like gummy bears and caramels keep that sugar in contact with enamel for a long period of time, making them more likely to cause cavities.

  • Hard candies
  • Candy canes
  • Sticky candies with caramel
  • Gummy candies
  • Christmas cookies
  • Dried fruit and fruitcake

Drinks:

The important things to consider with a drink are sugar content, pH, and the length of time you spend drinking it.  An acidic drink will lower the pH in your mouth, making it easier for the bacteria to cause cavities.  The longer you spend drinking a beverage that is acidic or has a high sugar content, the more likely it is to cause tooth decay.

Hot drinks can also cause microscopic enamel cracks if they are drunk soon after eating or drinking something cold.  The drastic temperature change is very bad for teeth.

  • Anything bubbly (sodas, sparkling water, champagne) – acidic pH, some have high sugar content
  • Wine – acidic pH
  • Hot cocoa – high sugar content
  • Hot apple cider – very acidic
  • Coffee & tea – acidic

Habits:

The change in schedules can make it too easy to get out of our normal hygiene routines.  Staying in your PJ’s until noon makes it less likely that you will brush your teeth after breakfast, whereas most people remember to brush before heading out to work or school.

  • Skipping your morning routine in favor of a long, snacky breakfast in your PJ’s.
  • Falling asleep in front of the fire, then stumbling into bed without:
    • Brushing
    • Flossing
    • Wearing your nightguard or retainers
  • “Grazing” or snacking throughout the day as opposed to three solid meals

Nice:

Foods:

You could make your own list of nice foods with the process of elimination of anything on the naughty list.  Limiting your food intake to meals will help decrease your cavity risk also.  Here are things that are especially good for your teeth.

  • Cheese
  • Nuts
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Yogurt – with no added sugar, of course

Drinks:

With beverages, it is best not to sip slowly on anything but water.  The danger with drinks comes from the length of time you expose your teeth to the sugar and/or acid they contain.  So partake of your special drinks with a meal or drink them quickly.

Habits:

Not surprisingly, we want you to keep a consistent oral hygiene routine over the holidays.  Getting out of the habit over your Christmas vacation only makes it harder to return to the habit when you go back to work and school.

  • Mouthwash and brushing every morning after breakfast
  • Three solid meals – limit snacking in between meals
  • Drink only water between meals
  • Mouthwash, brushing and flossing every night before bedtime
  • Wear your prescribed nightguard or retainers consistently

Christmas Wishes

If Santa were your dentist, which list would you be on?  Naughty or nice?

From our Prosper Family Dentistry family to yours, we wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy (and healthy) New Year!

 

Dreaming of a White Christmas?

December 12, 2017

Instead of just dreaming, this year you can do something about it!  Did you know that whitening your teeth is the quickest and most conservative way to improve your smile?  Maximum results of take-home teeth whitening are usually seen within 14 days, so if you start now, you will have a bright, white smile just in time for Christmas.

Stains

The most common stains affecting teeth are external stains caused by the things we eat and drink or the use of tobacco products.  The bad news is that if you continue in those habits, the teeth will continue staining.  But we won’t tell you to give up your coffee or red wine.  The good news is that external stains are the easiest to whiten.

The Difference Between Polishing and Whitening

Polishing – External stains can be lightened a bit by a professional teeth cleaning where the teeth are polished by your dental hygienist.  They also may improve through the use of a whitening toothpaste and electric toothbrush.  Both of these techniques work by removing superficial stains from the surface of the teeth.  This is strictly a mechanical process.

Whitening – Teeth whitening changes the color of a tooth through a chemical process.  In teeth whitening, the peroxide compound in whitening gel infiltrates into the enamel of a tooth, causing a chemical reaction that lightens the natural shade of the tooth structure itself.

Types of Whitening

Teeth whitening can be divided into three categories.

  1. One-size-fits-all whitening products – All over-the-counter whitening products have a one-size-fits-all approach, like Crest Whitestrips. This is necessary because there is no dentist involved to give you a custom fit.  The whitening ingredient is a peroxide compound, similar to professional whitening gels, but at a lower concentration.  At Prosper Family Dentistry, we offer a professional approach to one-size-fits-all whitening products: Opalescence GO!  These trays fit almost any mouth and are the perfect solution to start whitening your teeth as soon as possible.  Because they are distributed by a dentist, they have a higher concentration of whitener than what is available over the counter.  No appointment is required.  Simply drop by our office today to pick up your GO! pack.
  2. Custom whitening trays with professional whitening gel – This is considered the gold standard for teeth whitening. A custom whitening tray is made by your dentist from a mold or 3D scan of your teeth.  These trays fit the teeth intimately and keep the whitening gel in its appropriate place for optimal results.  The trays last for many years, and additional whitening gel can be purchased for refills.  We offer three different concentrations of Opalescence whitening gel, so you can select which concentration best meets your needs and daily routine.
  3. BOOST! In-office whitening – For the quickest result, in-office whitening is the answer. BOOST! in-office whitening uses a very high concentration of whitening gel and must be supervised by a dentist.  This is a great option for someone with a time crunch, like that high school reunion that snuck up on you or your office Christmas party this weekend. In about an hour and a half, your teeth will become several shades lighter and brighter.

Over-the-Counter vs. Professional Whitening Products

The benefits of using whitening products from a dentist as opposed to over-the-counter whiteners are threefold.  The first reason to opt for a professional whitening gel is that Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara can guide you to the perfect concentration of gel for your specific whitening goals.  The second is that professional whitening gel comes in a wide range of concentrations, with many of them much stronger than what is available over-the-counter.  This means you will achieve better results more quickly.  The third reason professional custom trays are better is for maintenance of your white smile.

Maintenance of a White Smile

Remember that we promised not to make you give up your coffee and red wine?  If you continue the habits that stained your teeth in the first place, you will have to do some maintenance.  Once you have reached your whitening goal, which usually happens in the first two weeks, you will need to maintain your white smile by doing maintenance treatments.  The custom trays Prosper Family Dentistry makes for you are durable and will last for years.  When you notice that your white smile may be fading a bit, you can simply use your whitening gel in the custom trays for 2-3 treatments or until you notice the brightness you are aiming for.  Some people will require more frequent maintenance based on habits and level of staining.  Others will only require maintenance once or twice a year.  The great thing about custom tray professional whitening is its flexibility.  You can use it as often or as infrequently as you prefer.  If you find that one concentration of whitening gel isn’t your favorite, you can switch to a different one while still using your custom trays.

What are the Downsides of Whitening?

Nothing permanent!  There are some side effects of teeth whitening, including tooth sensitivity or gum irritation.  These will subside when you discontinue whitening.  If your teeth are extremely sensitive, tell Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara.  They will be able to guide you to the best concentration of whitening gel and even make adjustments to your trays to keep the gel from reaching particularly sensitive areas.

Are You Looking for a Whiter Smile?

Call Prosper Family Dentistry today at 972-347-1145 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara.  They will discuss your whitening options and help you choose the one that is right for you.

Give the Gift of a White Christmas!

Gift certificates are available for you to purchase by phone at 972-347-1145 or in our office at 201 N. Preston Road, Suite A in Prosper.  Any of our whitening gift certificates would make the perfect Christmas gift for your loved one who would like a brighter, whiter smile this year.

$500 for BOOST In-Office Whitening

$200 for Custom Tray Whitening

$60 for Opalescence GO! 10-pack Whitening

 

 

 

 

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Prosper Family Dentistry

201 N. Preston Road, Suite A
Prosper, TX 75078

Phone: 972-347-1145

Email:

pfdstaff@prosperfamilydentistry.com

 

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