How to Care for Your Dentures

If you’re missing your teeth, getting dentures can restore your smile and your confidence. Dentures are a popular choice among patients and are a relatively simple way to give those who have lost their teeth a reason to smile. But just like natural teeth, dentures require proper care. Your Boerne dentist is here to help guide you through the right way to care for your dentures. 

How to Properly Care for Dentures

Even though dentures are not natural teeth, that doesn’t mean they don’t still need a little TLC in order to keep them clean and fitting comfortably. 

  • Use Care When Handling. Dentures can be pretty fragile, so the first step to caring for them is to make sure you use care when handling them and cleaning them. Also, make sure to store your dentures in a safe place where they won’t easily get knocked on the floor. Being gentle with your dentures can reduce the risk of damage or the need for repairs. 
  • Rinse Them After Eating. Remove your dentures and thoroughly rinse them following every meal to remove any loose food particles. If leftover food is left lingering around it can contribute to bad breath and even gum disease
  • Brush Your Dentures & Your Mouth. It’s important to brush both your dentures and your mouth at least once daily to remove any bacteria buildup. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a denture cleaner to thoroughly cleanse your denture and remove any excess adhesive. As for your mouth, also use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub any natural teeth and your tongue.
  • Soak Your Dentures Every Night. In order to keep their shape and comfortably fit your mouth, dentures need to stay moist. After you remove your dentures and clean them at night, place them in a glass of water with a denture solution to soak. Your dentist in Boerne will be able to recommend a solution that’s best for you. 
  • Rinse Again in the Morning. You should thoroughly rinse your dentures before putting them back in your mouth after soaking, especially if you use a denture-soaking solution. While these solutions are good for denture care, they can lead to illness or burns if not rinsed off of a denture before it’s reinserted. 
  • See Your Dentist in Boerne. Seeing your dentist as often as recommended is key to keeping your dentures fitting well. Your dental team may also professionally clean your dentures for an ultra-thorough clean.  

Dentures are an investment in your smile, and you want to take proper care of them so they last a long time and the rest of your mouth stays healthy. If dentures aren’t cared for properly, plaque can build up and cause additional tooth loss, bad breath, and even gum disease. 

If you’re missing some teeth and think dentures may be right for you, call our dental office in Boerne to schedule a consultation. We’ll work with you to find the best tooth replacement option for you. 

Surprising Things About Spit

When we think of spit, we may automatically think about how gross it is, especially when someone spits in public. But what would you say if we told you that spit is actually something pretty incredible? Join your dentist in Boerne as we talk about some of the surprising facts about spit.  

We Produce A LOT of Spit

Throughout our lives, we will produce an average of 25,000 quarts of spit. That’s enough to fill a standard swimming pool! While that may seem like a ton of spit, it sure is handy when it comes to your oral and overall health. 

Spit & Oral Health

Believe it or not, spit is in our mouths for a reason or rather several reasons. First, spit plays an important role every time we eat. As we chew, our bodies produce more saliva, and it’s this saliva that helps us breakdown food to make it more digestible. But that’s not all. Saliva also helps rinse away any leftover food particles that may have been left behind long after you finish eating. This helps keep your teeth clean and bacteria-free. Spit serves yet another purpose — neutralizing acid. Acid can wear away the protective tooth enamel and leave teeth exposed to bacteria. But with saliva on our side to neutralize the acid, teeth are protected against decay. 

The Problem With Not Enough Saliva

When salivary glands don’t produce enough spit, the side effect is dry mouth, which is exactly what it sounds like. Dry mouth can leave your mouth feeling like a desert- no matter how much water you drink. While dry mouth can certainly be annoying, it’s also something you should talk to your Boerne dentist about. Dry mouth can be a serious problem that, if left untreated, could certainly increase the risk of bad breath, decay, and even gum disease

Spit Can Save a Life

The benefits of spit go beyond oral health alone and can be used to help those with blood cancers. Blood cancers are, unfortunately, common. Every three minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with blood cancer. But thanks to organizations like BeTheMatch.org, more and more people are being treated successfully. You see, bone marrow is one of the most common treatments of blood cancer, and it’s often hard to find a compatible match. But thanks to spit and a national registry, it’s becoming much easier. A simple swap of spit and entry into a database provides donor match organizations access to find the right bone marrow match for blood cancer patients, increasing the chance of survival. 

When it comes to spitting, it may still be gross. But that doesn’t mean the spit itself is necessarily gross, too. Spit can benefit us in many ways and protect our smiles against the dangers of bacteria and acid. It can also help save a life. 

The Oral Health & Diabetes Connection

When you start seeing a new dentist in Boerne, one of the first things you’ll probably have to do is fill out a medical history form. But why? In short, your dentist needs to know what may be affecting your overall health and, in turn, your oral health. Diabetes is one of those diseases that’s especially important for us to know about because it can increase the risk for certain oral health conditions such as gum disease. Often, oral health is an overlooked part of many diseases, including diabetes. So today, we want to share some of the most commonly asked questions we get about diabetes and how it’s connected to oral health. 

“What Does My Dentist Need to Know About My Diabetes?”

If you’re diabetic, you already know how important it is to share that information with your dentist in Boerne. But knowing your diagnosis may not be enough. Be sure to share things such as: 

  • Any changes in your medication or overall health
  • The results of some of your diabetes blood tests (the A1C or fasting blood glucose)
  • If you need antibiotics before and after dental treatment for uncontrolled diabetes

We always encourage our patients to share important medical information with us. After all, we’re here to help, and we truly love getting to know our patients. In fact, the more we know, the better we can care for your smile and keep you healthy. 

“How Does My Blood Sugar Affect My Oral Health?”

Maintaining blood glucose levels is an everyday part of any diabetic’s life. We understand that sometimes it can be a challenge, or even frustrating, and we know that you want to keep your numbers in check just as much as we do. But it’s also important for you to know that maintaining blood sugar can not only help you control diabetes, it can also reduce the risk of oral health problems associated with diabetes such as loose teeth or gum disease. Gum disease is particularly concerning for diabetics because it can cause blood sugar levels to rise and make managing diabetes more difficult. 

“Do I Need to Do Anything Differently to Take Care of My Smile?”

The short answer to this is no, you don’t need to do anything differently to take care of your smile, but you do need to maintain a good oral healthcare routine. Make sure you brush twice a day for two minutes each time and floss once a day. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles to gently clean your teeth. This can help avoid any gum damage that can happen from using stiff bristles or scrubbing too hard. It’s also important for everyone, especially diabetics, to visit our dental office in Boerne every six months. These dental cleanings and checkups help get teeth squeaky clean and allow our dental team to keep a close eye on your oral health so we can catch and treat any problems we may find early.  

We’re always here to make sure our patients are as healthy as possible, and that often means we need to be aware of any other health conditions you may have. Make sure to share your complete health history with your dentist and update them on any changes regularly. It can truly make a difference in your overall health. 

Have No Fear at Your Dentist This Year

Two things: (1) It’s hard to believe that we’re closing out 2019 already. What happened to the rest of this year? (2) How is it already time for ghosts, ghouls, goblins, and all things Halloween? 

How do you and your family welcome fall and closeout October? Do you take in some of the local festivities? Do you get together with friends, complete with crazy costumes and treats? Everyone loves to have a good time this time of year, and maybe even have a good scare. However, we hope that being scared has nothing to do with how you feel about seeing a dentist in Boerne

For some patients, there’s nothing they dread more than being in the dentist’s chair. We get it! It’s enough to make you feel like you’re stuck in a bad Halloween movie. Have you ever felt this way? Do you still think this way about seeing the dentist? Don’t worry; you’re 100 percent NOT alone!

Dental Anxiety Affects Millions

The Cleveland Clinic says between 9% and 15% of Americans say they avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety or fear. Does this hit close to home for you or someone in your family? As your appointment approaches, so does the feeling of anxiety or uneasiness. Maybe your heart races and your palms begin to sweat. While this sounds like the beginning of a spooky campfire story, we know it’s all too real for patients who are afraid of seeing the dentist.

Your Boerne dentist wants you to know you’re not alone in your struggle! So many other Americans (approximately 30-40 million) are nervous about seeing the dentist, too. Please understand that there’s no reason to feel this way, not with us. We’re here to make sure you’re at ease and comfortable every visit, every step of the way.

We’re Always Here to Help You Stay Healthy

When you avoid seeing the dentist or cancel cleanings out of fear, you’re going to put your smile and yourself at risk. Coming to see us, allowing us to have a look at your smile, and getting a thorough cleaning is way less stressful than sitting at home worrying. Trust us!

Putting off taking care of your teeth can leave you with undetected problems that can lead to more significant, more extensive health issues in the future, such as: 

– Periodontal or gum disease with red, bleeding gums

– Loosening or shifting in your teeth

– Teeth that fall out

– Receding gums 

– Noticeable lousy breath or dry mouth

You’re Backed By Cool Tools and Technology

There’s nothing to be nervous or scared about if you’ve got an appointment scheduled with us. You should even feel a little excited about coming to see us. We’re going to make sure your every minute with us is comfortable and stress-free. We’ve also got an incredibly talented and highly trained team equipped with the right tools and technology to help you feel at home. 

Like we’ve said, you’re not alone in your struggles with dental anxiety. We’ve helped so many patients like you with dental fears and anxieties move on and get the dental care that they deserve. Don’t live in fear this Halloween because of an upcoming appointment at our dental office in Boerne. Talk to us about how we can help you today!

5 Ways to Say “No Way!” to Sugar Cravings

This is the time of year when sugary sweets and candy seem to be lurking around every turn of the grocery or pharmacy aisles. There are so many ooey, gooey, colorful, delicious treats we want to eat. But as we all know, your dentist in Boerne will tell you to step away from the sweets because they’re bad for your teeth. Now, we’re not saying you can’t enjoy fall-flavored fun this month, just remember to brush your teeth too!

There are some super easy things you can do to avoid those cravings for candies and cakes. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ways you can help steer clear of sugar.

1) Stay Hydrated – Sometimes, when our bodies don’t get enough water, we crave things or become extra hungry, even “hangry.” If you find yourself daydreaming about Devil Dogs or Coffee Cakes, try drinking a full 8-ounce glass of good old water. If you want to make it tastier, try adding some fruit for an infusion that can dress up any beverage.

2) Find Fruit – Refined sugars are very bad for teeth of all ages and stages of life. Instead of having a candy bar, bite into a piece of fruit like bananas, apples, oranges, pears, and watermelon. Sure, fruits contain sugar too, but they’re better for you than sweets.

3) Get SleepYour Boerne dentist will tell you that when you’re not sleeping right, it can cause issues throughout your body. When you’re feeling tired or rundown, it’s easy to gravitate towards foods that are not-so-healthy and filled with sugar. Getting the right amount of rest should help ward off cravings and restore your clarity and the ability to make healthy diet choices.

4) Stop Stress – Just like when you’re a sleepless zombie, being crazy stressed is just as bad for your diet. Excess stress leads to cravings for things that we know aren’t good for our oral and overall health. Fighting these urges when you’re stressed and tired can be a big battle. Remember to relax and do your best to stay mindful and in the moment each day.

5) Eat Regularly – This ranks right up there with our first tip. If your body is out of water or food, then you’re basically out of fuel. Your body is going to take whatever it can get for some much-needed calories. Sometimes our bodies tend to go right for the sweets when we’re hungry instead of healthy options like fruits, veggies, proteins, etc.

The easiest way to avoid a sugar craving is to not be around it at all. We know, it’s not easy to do that this time of year. If you have a bite here and there, please remember to brush and floss. We don’t want sugar taking your smile from healthy to scary. Don’t forget to call our dental office in Boerne if you have any questions about your oral health! We’re always here for you and happy to help. 

Why a Healthy Mouth Means a Healthy Body

In this latest blog, we’re going to talk a little bit about the big connection between your oral and overall health. What’s going on inside your mouth is almost like a snapshot of what’s going on in the rest of your body. 

Let’s take a look at what clues your oral health can give your dentist in Boerne about your overall health. We’ll learn how problems with your mouth can negatively affect your whole body’s health and wellbeing.

It’s All About Bacteria

Most of them are entirely harmless, but at any given time, your mouth can host up to 500 different types of bacteria! When you miss out on regular brushing and flossing, you’re giving harmful bacteria a place to make a home. This can lead to tooth decay and infections in your gums known as periodontal disease. Because your mouth is also an entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts, infection and bacteria can cause issues and serious diseases.

According to the Mayo Clinic, recent studies are revealing new evidence that oral bacteria and inflammation due to gum disease are related to health issues such as: 

1) Diabetes – Research shows that folks who have diabetes tend to have a higher risk for red, swollen gums, and even tooth loss. Doctors and dentists believe diabetes has this effect on a person because it tends to reduce your body’s ability to resist infections.

2) Cardiovascular Disease – If you have gum disease that is more moderate to advanced, evidence now shows that there’s an increase in your risk for heart disease and stroke. Scientists have yet to make a direct correlation that one causes the other; however, gum disease shares similar risk factors to heart disease like smoking, bad eating habits, and diabetes.

3) Kidney Disease – If you’re continually experiencing bad breath or a lousy taste in your mouth, it could be your body’s way of telling you there’s trouble with your kidneys. When they’re not working the way they should be, your kidneys have difficulty breaking down proteins, and a by-product of this is bad breath or a funny taste. 

4) Oral Cancer – Did you know that oral cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer diagnosed each year across the United States? It can be challenging to diagnose, but your mouth will often have common indicators such as lumps, bumps, bleeding, sores, and more. Your Boerne dentist will always check your mouth for any abnormalities while also playing close attention to your neck, head, cheeks, and more.

5) Premature Birth – Premature births and babies with low birth weights have been linked to gum disease. Research shows that bacteria that upset your gums can target a fetus, leading to complications that cause premature birth or a lower than normal weight at birth. 

At our Boerne dental office, we’ll always stress the importance of taking care of your teeth so the rest of your body can stay healthy, too. We can’t wait to see what research uncovers as science and technology progresses each year. Always remember that giving your mouth the same attention you give the rest of your body is going to help ensure you’re able to live a long, happy life. Talk to us about scheduling your next dental visit today!

4 Steps to Take if Your Dental Filling Falls Out

One of the most common restorative treatments your dentist in Boerne uses is fillings. Whether they’re specially crafted for you out of an amalgam (metal) or composite material, we want them to stand the test of time. If your bite isn’t right, then there’s a good chance your filling or dental restoration could fail or even fall out. 

If you have a dental filling that’s fallen out, there’s no reason to panic. We’re going to walk you through what you need to do in just four easy steps. Take a deep breath and read on.

Step #1 – Remove and Replace

If your filling comes loose, you must get it out of your mouth ASAP. You don’t want to run the risk of swallowing it or choking on the material. It might not be a bad idea to keep your filling and bring it with you to your dental appointment. We will be able to determine if it can be cleaned and restored, or if you’ll need a whole new filling. 

Step #2 – Take Action

If your filling is loose and comes out, it’s also important that you see a dentist right away. But if you’re unable to get to the office, you can take some preventive tips to help preserve your smile health. An unfilled tooth is a welcoming environment for harmful bacteria to make a home and destroy your tooth. Be sure to brush gently and carefully. Rinse with water to make sure you’re removing any debris. (Pro Tip: Saltwater works wonders. One cup of warm water and just a teaspoon of salt will do the trick.)

Step #3 – Find Temporary Pain Relief

Your Boerne dentist would recommend that you take over-the-counter pain medication to help with any sensitivity or discomfort. Be wary and cautious of any temporary dental cement, as it can be messy and make your issue worse.

Step #4 – Avoid Certain Foods

Until you have a chance to see the dentist, it’s probably a good idea to avoid certain foods and drinks that could affect your damaged tooth now that the filling is gone. Stay away from hard or sticky foods that could get stuck in your tooth. Be careful with extremely hot or cold foods and drinks too, as your tooth will probably be a little sensitive. Keep your diet simple and soft until you see us!

If you have a filling that’s come loose, the best/first thing you need to do is call our Boerne dental office. The simple steps above are meant to be a temporary solution to your dental issues. One of the first steps we’ll need to take is a thorough diagnosis and state-of-the-art photos of your smile. We want to understand why your restoration or filling failed in the first place. We’ll take a look at your tooth, and if it hasn’t deteriorated, we should be able to replace your missing filling. We may need to do a little preparation of the tooth, before getting it filled for you again. Either way, we’ll make sure you’re comfortable and pleased with the results!

If you have questions about how fillings work or if there’s something we didn’t cover here today, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re always happy to be your dental partner and make sure your smile gets the very best, VIP treatment – no matter what your dental needs might be!

Vaping and Oral Health

Vaping seems to be almost everywhere nowadays — on TV commercials, print advertisements, and radio spots. Sometimes the ads even claim that vaping is a healthier, safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. But how much of that is true? At our dental office in Boerne, we looked into vaping and just how ‘safe’ this safer alternative is. Let’s see what we found. 

Whole Body Concerns

Vapes, or e-cigarettes, have been in the U.S. since 2007, but their popularity seems to have increased rapidly over the past few years. Because of this dramatic surge in popularity, science and research regarding these devices is a little behind. But recent studies show us that maybe vaping isn’t as safe as we may have thought. Vaping may be linked to an increased risk of pneumonia, rapid heart rate, congestive heart failure, and stroke. So while we may have once believed vaping was a safer alternative to smoking, that simply may not be the case. 

Oral Health Concerns

More research on how vaping affects oral health is needed, but more and more studies continue to find that there are certain risks involved, including: 

Dry Mouth 

Many vape liquids include the ingredient propylene glycol, which is known to cause dry mouth. Dry mouth, if not treated, can greatly increase the risk of decay, cavities, and gum disease. Not to mention, dry mouth can also cause some serious chronic bad breath, which can be a challenge to overcome. 

Inflamed Gums

A 2016 research study found a potential link between vaping and gum disease. To be more specific, vape juice caused an inflammatory response in the gum tissue that can put you at risk for gum disease. 

Cell Damage

Vaping may also destroy cells’ DNA and inhibit their ability to divide a grow. Basically, vaping can kill cells and cause bad breath, bone loss, tooth loss, and gum disease. 

Focus on Quitting

Even though some people may have started vaping to help them quit smoking, there’s conflicting research regarding its effectiveness.  For example, one study found that e-cigarettes helped current smokers reduce the number of cigarettes they smoked by about half, while another suggested that smokers who use e-cigs are 59% less likely to quit. Instead of trading one habit for another, try to focus on proven ways to break away from nicotine once and for all. Consider:  

  • Work on limiting the number of cigarettes you smoke a day, and decrease over time. 
  • Try quitting without the use of nicotine replacements — fair warning, this can be extremely difficult.
  • Find different ways people have quit. You never know what may work for you. The American Lung Association is a great resource for smokers who want to quit. 

Finding what works for you may take time, but don’t give up. Quitting greatly reduces your risk of health problems caused by smoking and vaping.

If you are a smoker or use e-cigarettes, make sure you always see your dentist in Boerne every six months to keep a proactive eye on your oral health and so that any problems such as oral cancer or gum disease can be caught early.   

Oral Health for Seniors

August 21st is Senior Citizens Day, and there’s no better way for our dental office in Boerne to celebrate than by sharing some oral health information for the favorite senior citizens we have in our lives and their families.  

The truth is, our oral health needs will vary as we celebrate more birthdays, and needs will also differ from person to person. That’s one reason we believe in treating each person with individualized, custom care. When it comes to the senior population, there are a few unique things to be aware of. 

  • Discolored TeethWhile anyone can experience discolored teeth, there’s usually an explanation. Maybe morning coffee is to blame, or perhaps smoking or red wine. But when it comes to seniors, discoloration may occur without any obvious explanation. Most commonly, tooth discoloration as we age is a typical sign that the white outer layer of our teeth (enamel) is wearing away and becoming thinner. When this happens, your teeth can become a little transparent and the inner workings of the tooth become more visible. As it turns out, the insides of teeth are not as white as the outsides, and the more we’re able to see them, the more dark or yellow teeth can appear. 
  • Dry MouthDry mouth is another condition that can happen to anyone, but it does tend to be more common in seniors. Many times, medication is to blame. There are tons of over-the-counter medications and prescription medications that list dry mouth as a side effect. When these medications are taken regularly, saliva production slows down and the mouth becomes dry… and there is nothing bacteria like better than a dry mouth. Without saliva on hand to rinse away bacteria and neutralize acid, teeth are at an increased risk for developing cavities. If these cavities aren’t treated, they could lead to the need for a root canal, cause tooth sensitivity, or even tooth loss. If you’re experiencing dry mouth, do not stop taking your medication as prescribed, but do talk to your dentist in Boerne
  • Tooth LossLet’s start by saying that there’s no guarantee that we’ll lose our teeth as we get older. There are plenty of people who keep their teeth for a lifetime, especially if they see their dentist regularly and practice good oral hygiene habits. However, tooth loss can be a real concern for many people. The best ways to reduce the risk of tooth loss is to avoid smoking or using tobacco, limiting alcohol intake, and seeing your dentist in Boerne every six months. These preventative dental appointments help identify problems early while they’re still often easily treatable and can help save your teeth. 
  • Gum DiseaseOne of the more serious concerns for seniors’ oral health is gum disease. In fact, research suggests a strong link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and stroke. Gum disease occurs when bacteria isn’t removed and it works its way under the gum line. Once this occurs, it becomes difficult to remove and can lead to an infection or advanced gum disease. If not treated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. The common signs of gum disease include red, bleeding, and inflamed gums. 

Unfortunately, there’s no way we can stop ourselves from getting older. But there are things we can do to help protect our teeth for life. Always brush twice a day and floss once a day, and get a professional dental cleaning and check-up at least twice a year. If you’re overdue for your dental appointment, we welcome you to call our Boerne dental office to schedule a visit with us today. 

All About Dental Implants

Even though our teeth are made up of one of the toughest materials in our bodies, the truth is, sometimes our natural teeth won’t last forever. Whether it’s due to trauma, gum disease, or decay, it’s not uncommon to have a tooth fall out or to have one removed. If this happens, there are many tooth replacement options available, but a favorite choice of your Boerne dentist is a dental implant. 

What is a Dental Implant

A dental implant, or even multiple implants, is a superior way to restore your smile and give you a permanent replacement for your tooth. They are usually preferred over a dental bridge or dentures because the implant itself essentially replaces the entire tooth’s structure, not simply the crown. This helps restore your mouth to full function, and oftentimes, you won’t even be able to tell you were ever missing a tooth. In short, dental implants create a natural feel that can last a lifetime. 

Benefits of a Dental Implant

We already know that a dental implant can give us back full functionality of our smiles, but there are many other upsides to this tooth replacement option such as: 

  • Improved appearance and speech. Since dental implants replace the tooth’s natural root system and the post is integrated into the bone, dental implants continue to provide stimulation to the bone. This can help reduce the look of wrinkles and lower your risk of bone loss in the jaw. And since an implant functions very much like a natural tooth, you’re able to speak clearly and do not have to deal with any annoying slippage that can often occur with dentures. 
  • Easier eating. One common complaint of denture wearers is that they can’t eat what they want when they want to. Dental implants eliminate that restriction and leaves people free to enjoy the foods they love the most. There is no worry of a denture slipping or food stuck getting under one. Overall, those with dental implants can eat without worry. 
  • Enhanced oral health. Another difference between a dental implant and its denture counterpart is that a dental implant is a permanent structure. This means there’s no need for overnight soaking or the extra cleaning that comes with a removable denture. You can care for a dental implant just as if it’s your natural tooth. 

What to Expect During an Implant Procedure

The first step in determining whether a dental implant is right for you is to schedule a consultation with your dentist in Boerne. This visit will allow your dental team to exam your specific situation and determine if an implant is the best tooth-replacement option. If it is, your team will review the treatment plan and schedule the procedure. The procedure itself is pretty easy and consists of a few parts: 

  • Place the post. Your dentist and your team will insert a titanium post into your jaw bone. While it may sound scary, the procedure itself is mild to moderately painful. 
  • Healing time. After the post is implanted, you will be fitted with a temporary crown while your bone integrates into the post, building you a super-strong foundation.
  • Add the abutment. Once the post is sturdy and healing time is complete, your dentist will custom make you a permanent crown that will be affixed to the post. 

Overall, getting a dental implant is an easy and straightforward treatment that can bring your smile back to life. 

If you’re missing a tooth or are at risk for losing teeth, give our Boerne dental office a call to schedule an appointment today. We’ll be happy to identify the best treatment option for you and your individual situation.