Do I Have Sensitive Teeth?

Any type of pain or discomfort in the mouth can be concerning, and it may leave you wondering if you have a serious dental problem or simply sensitive teeth. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two, and getting relief from the discomfort will depend on the cause. It’s important to see your dentist in Boerne as soon as possible if you’re experiencing any pain, especially if it’s new or comes on suddenly. If a problem is left alone, it can get worse. In the meantime, let’s take a look at how you can tell if you have sensitive teeth or perhaps a bigger problem. 

Signs of Sensitive Teeth

There are some telltale signs of tooth sensitivity, and most commonly they occur when eating or drinking something hot or cold. Think back to the last time you drank something hot or when you bit into a cold popsicle. Did you feel a zing of pain through your teeth? There’s a good chance you just experienced the most common sign of tooth sensitivity. However, there are other symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore, including: 

  • Quick bursts of pain when eating or drinking something sugary or acidic
  • Pain during brushing or flossing
  • Pain when biting down or applying pressure

Even though these symptoms are often common with tooth sensitivity, it’s important to remember that some of these symptoms can overlap with signs of other problems and you should always seek advice from your dentist in Boerne

What Causes Sensitive Teeth? 

Many things can cause sensitive teeth. Usually, tooth sensitivity is a result of either enamel erosion or gum recession, both of which can cause the insides of teeth, including the nerves, to become exposed. When this happens, every time something hits those nerves, you will experience that shooting pain. The main causes of enamel erosion and gum recession include: 

  • Brushing or flossing too hard
  • Eating foods high in sugar or acidity 
  • Teeth grinding
  • Poor dental hygiene

When is Sensitivity a Sign of Something Serious?

It can be hard to tell when tooth sensitivity is a sign of something serious, but if it’s left untreated, the pain will increase and the problem will get worse. Sensitivity can also be a sign of: 

This is why it’s so important to see your dentist sooner rather than later. 

How to Reduce Sensitivity

The good news is that there are treatments available, but which one is appropriate for you depends on your individual situation. Some treatment options include: 

  • Dental Restorations

Dental restorations such as fillings, crowns, inlays, or onlays may be the best way to relieve tooth sensitivity if you have decay, a failing previous restoration, or a broken or cracked tooth. 

  • Root Canal

There are times when a root canal may be the best option to relieve tooth sensitivity. This treatment will remove the roots and the nerves of the affected tooth, giving you instant relief. 

  • Other Options

Your dentist in Boerne may also recommend some changes to your oral hygiene habits. This can include changing your toothpaste, adding a desensitizing rinse, using a different toothbrush, and applying fluoride treatment at your appointments.

7 Healthy Habits for Stronger Teeth

Our teeth are essential to our health and well-being, but unfortunately, they can also be one of the most fragile parts of our bodies. Cavities, broken or missing teeth, and gum disease all weaken your teeth and can cause you serious problems down the road if they’re not taken care of properly. Thankfully, there are many steps you can take to strengthen your teeth so that they last a lifetime and stay healthy. These seven methods from your dentist in Boerne will help you have strong teeth that will last you a lifetime!

  • Brush & Floss

One of the most important and easiest things you can do to keep your teeth strong is to brush and floss them regularly. Your dentist in Boerne recommends brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day. This duo of brushing and flossing will help remove dangerous bacteria and plaque from not only the surfaces of the teeth but in between the teeth as well. If bacteria and plaque are allowed to build up on teeth, they will produce an acidic byproduct. This acid will wear down tooth enamel and can leave teeth at greater risk for decay

  • Don’t Forget Your Tongue

Our tongues have a ton of tiny nooks and crannies for bacteria to hide, and it’s important to remove these cavity-causing culprits. The best way to do that is to gently brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth. This can remove even more bacteria and can also make you less likely to experience bad breath.  

  • Reduce Sugar & Carbs

We all know that dentists don’t like sugar, but what’s that have to do with carbs? Well, the truth is, our bodies break down carbs into glucose and they can act a lot like sugar. So when you’re looking for smile-smart foods to eat or snacks in between meals, try to limit your intake of sugary treats or those high in carbohydrates. Too much sugar or too many carbs can feed plaque bacteria and increase acid production, again increasing the risk of weakening teeth.  

  • Treat Grinding

Many people grind their teeth in either times of stress or when they’re sleeping. Most of the time, they may not even realize they’re doing it. But teeth grinding can lead to a whole host of dental problems, including wear and tear of enamel. If you think you grind your teeth, talk with your dentist in Boerne about the best ways to stop grinding in order to protect your teeth. 

  • Don’t Ignore Reflux

Although reflux, indigestion, and heartburn are digestive problems, they can still affect your oral health. These conditions can cause stomach acid to enter the mouth which can damage enamel. If you have reflux or other digestive concerns, we recommend talking with your doctor about treatment options. 

  • Stay Hydrated

Many Americans don’t drink enough water, but we should all do our best to drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day to stay hydrated. Not only can being hydrated help you feel better overall, but it’s also beneficial for both your overall health and oral health. Drinking water helps neutralize acids, keep bad breath away, and wash away bacteria. 

  • Schedule Bi-Annual Dental Visits

Besides taking good care of your teeth through a great oral hygiene routine, eating a well-balanced diet, and drinking plenty of water, there’s one more thing you should do in order to protect your teeth — see your dentist in Boerne at least twice a year. Professional dental cleanings will help remove plaque and tartar buildup that could wear down enamel and exams can help catch any problems before they turn into complex concerns. 

If you do have weakened enamel, don’t fear. Your dentist can help you control erosion and talk with you about treatments and any additional steps you can take at home to keep erosion at bay. 

The Pros & Cons of Veneers

There are so many cosmetic dentistry options to help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted, and it can be hard to know which treatment will give you the best results. Perhaps one of the most popular and versatile forms of cosmetic dentistry is dental veneers. These thin pieces of porcelain can transform any smile and are often a go-to solution for your dentist in Boerne.

Understanding Veneers

Dental veneers are custom-made shells, usually made of porcelain or plastic, that can be placed over your existing teeth. They are custom-created to match your ideal shade of white and the perfect size and shape. The veneer is bonded onto your teeth in order to strengthen them or change their appearance. Veneers can also be used to close up gaps between teeth. Dental veneers may help improve self-confidence by giving you a smile you love.

Pros of Veneers

Veneers are known for their ability to transform a smile, and they can give people a straighter, whiter smile. And they’re often one of the most affordable ways to makeover a smile. Better yet, veneers don’t take long to do. Your dentist in Boerne can typically complete a veneer treatment in as little as two visits. Dental veneers also don’t require much preparation. While your dentist will need to remove a little bit of tooth enamel to make room for a veneer, it’s only a thin layer. Sometimes, veneers can be an alternative to crowns, which often require a little more preparation. 

Cons of Veneers

As with any type of dental or medical treatment, veneers may not be right for everyone and some people may experience some downsides including: 

  • Veneers are permanent.
  • They can make teeth a bit more sensitive to heat and cold.
  • While porcelain veneers are less susceptible to staining, composite veneers may stain.
  • Veneers aren’t a solution for failing teeth. Talk with your dentist about other options such as crowns. 

However, talking with your dentist in Boerne will help to better understand if any of these risks may apply to you. If so, don’t fret. There are plenty of alternative cosmetic dentistry options available. 

The Truth About Snap-On Veneers

Lately, there’s been an increase in what we can buy online, including snap-on veneers. These are a temporary fix and will not permanently alter your smile. They can also be uncomfortable and cause other problems. If the snap-on veneers don’t fit well they can cause gum irritation and gum recession. Additionally, if they’re worn for long periods of time they can actually start to shift your teeth.

If you’ve been wanting a brighter, whiter, straighter smile, consider talking with your dentist about all of the cosmetic dentistry options available to you. Avoid trying a DYI approach to anything dental, including veneers, orthodontics, and even whitening. It’s always best to talk to a professional first.

4 Reasons to Use Your Dental Benefits Before the End of the Year

If you have dental insurance, it’s important to remember that the benefits won’t last forever. Your plan may have an annual renewal date or it may expire if you don’t use it within a certain amount of time, so there are plenty of reasons to get moving and see your dentist in Boerne before time runs out! Here are 4 reasons why you should use your dental insurance before it expires.

  • Yearly Maximums Don’t Roll Over

In most cases, you’ll have a yearly maximum on how much insurance will pay for your dental expenses in a given year. But if you don’t go to the dentist and you don’t use this money before your policy restarts, it doesn’t rollover. You should always try to use any and all benefits your insurance plan provides with your dentist in Boerne

  • You’re Paying For It

If you’re paying for dental insurance through your employer, you will see deductions taken out of each paycheck. But if you don’t use the insurance, that money is wasted. Even if you don’t necessarily need services like cosmetic dentistry, you should still see your dentist twice a year for exams, x-rays, and cleanings. Talk with your dentist to see what your insurance will cover for these visits. 

  • Waiting Can Be Worse

Numerous dental issues start without ever showing a symptom. But that can quickly change. This is one reason why bi-annual visits to your dentist are so important. Your dentist can catch potential problems when they’re easy to fix and less costly. But if you don’t use your insurance benefits and don’t see the dentist regularly, dental problems can become more difficult to fix and potentially more expensive. After all, dental insurance doesn’t cover everything, so it’s better to use these benefits on preventing problems in the first place. 

  • Don’t Forget About Your FSA

If you have a Flexible Savings Account (FSA) through your employer that can be used on dental care, know that these benefits may also expire at the end of 2021. Again, this is a savings plan that you paid money into. Make sure you get the most out of your investment. 

Don’t wait until December to take full advantage of your dental benefits. With holiday schedules and the chaos that comes with them, your dentist in Boerne is sure to book up quickly. Schedule your appointment today! 

6 Common Dental Hygiene Mistakes

In order to have strong and healthy teeth and gums, it’s important to practice good dental hygiene habits regularly. However, it can be difficult to remember all of the things you should do (and shouldn’t do) every day to keep your mouth clean. To help you, let’s check out six of the most common dental hygiene mistakes your dentist in Boerne sees so you can help keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape!

  • Not Flossing Regularly

Many patients tend to only when they feel like it, such as right before a dental appointment, rather than at a regular schedule. While flossing can seem inconvenient to floss every single day, your dental health depends on it. Brushing alone will not get rid of plaque between teeth, which can lead to gingivitis and tooth decay over time. You should floss daily with either standard floss, a floss pick, or a water flosser. 

  • Brushing Too Often

Your dentist in Boerne recommends that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. So, if brushing two times is good, wouldn’t brushing more be even better? In fact, the opposite is true. Brushing your teeth too often can wear down tooth enamel, making it easier for cavities to form and teeth to become sensitive. Additionally, you shouldn’t brush your teeth immediately after eating sugary sweets or acidic foods. Instead, try rinsing your mouth out with water. 

  • Improper Brushing Technique

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as bad brushing. For example, if you scrub too hard you can damage enamel and irritate gums. This can lead to gum recession and tooth sensitivity as well as increase the likelihood of cavities. Instead, brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle and in gentle circles to get a thorough clean.

  • Using The Wrong Tools

There are tons of toothbrushes and flossing products to choose from, but how do you know what’s right for you? First, talk to your dentist in Boerne. However, many times, patients should use a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect tooth enamel while brushing. When it comes to flossing, the best floss is the floss that’s used daily, so find a product that makes flossing easier so you can stick to a routine. 

  • Brushing Before Flossing

The best way to get your teeth squeaky clean is to floss first and then brush. Otherwise, bacteria can remain in between your teeth which will only spread around your mouth after you’ve already brushed. Flossing first will ensure that none of these germs remain when you start brushing. Instead, all that bacteria is swept away by your floss and into the trash where it belongs!

  • Not Seeing Your Dentist in Boerne Regularly

Seeing your dentist twice a year is essential for not only keeping your teeth clean and healthy but also preventing issues before they can become serious. If you wait until you start having tooth pain or seeing things like decay or gums that are pulling away from your teeth, you’re putting yourself at risk for more invasive treatments. Schedule appointments with your dentist twice a year to keep your smile healthy and bright. 

Since dental hygiene plays such an important role in our overall health, it’s essential to make sure we’re doing everything right. Making small changes to your oral hygiene routine can make all the difference in having a strong, healthy smile.

Will My Teeth Fall Out If I Don’t Go To The Dentist?

The American Dental Association recommends that you go to the dentist at least twice a year, but the sad truth is, many people don’t. In fact, about 65% of Americans don’t get regular dental care. However, the truth is, seeing your dentist in Boerne at least twice a year can prevent some serious problems, including tooth loss. Here are five things that happen if you don’t go to the dentist.

  • Plaque Buildup

Even if you brush and floss your teeth every single day, there are just some things your daily oral hygiene routine can’t touch, such as tartar. You see, a sticky substance called plaque, which is made up of bacteria, collects around your teeth every day. If plaque isn’t thoroughly removed it will harden into tartar. This tartar needs to be removed from teeth regularly by a trained dental hygienist to keep it from causing problems like decay. 

  • Cavities

Cavities are perhaps the most common dental problem. While there are various causes of cavities, studies have shown that plaque build-up is one of the main reasons tooth decay happens in as many as 60% of adults by age 35. Without regular check-ups, small cavities can escalate quickly and cause even more problems. The best way to avoid cavities is to visit your Boerne dentist every six months for a check-up and professional cleaning. 

  • Bad Breath

More than one-third of people who don’t see their dentist every six months have bad breath. Why? Essentially, the bacteria that cause bad breath can hide in and grow on your tongue, in between your teeth, as well as in the pockets between your teeth and gums. While brushing and flossing help remove some of these bacteria, it’s still crucial to get professional cleanings twice a year. If these bacteria are left untreated, you may experience bad breath and they may cause even more problems. 

  • Gum Disease

Patients who don’t visit their dentist regularly are at greater risk of developing gum disease. Gum disease is a serious infection of the gum tissue. It starts as gingivitis, but if it’s not treated quickly, it can quickly turn into periodontal disease. Regular dental visits help catch gum disease in the early stages when it’s reversible and before it has a chance to put you at risk for other major health issues. In fact, gum disease can cause complications such as heart disease and diabetes.

  • Tooth Loss

Another side effect of gum disease is tooth loss, but advanced decay can also cause someone to lose their teeth. Preventive dental checkups and cleanings can help protect your oral health from advancing to this serious level and help you keep your teeth for life. 

We always encourage our patients to visit their dentist in Boerne twice a year for checkups and cleanings, as well as any other necessary procedures. These visits are important to maintaining good oral and overall health. Regular visits also ensure that small problems are caught and treated before they become big ones. If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental visit, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today. 

4 Ways to Take Care of Your Teeth as You Age

As we age, it’s important to take special care of our teeth and gums in order to maintain good oral health into old age. As we get older, there are some factors that come into play that make maintaining strong, healthy teeth more difficult than it was when we were younger. Here are 4 tips from your dentist in Boerne to take care of your teeth as you age so that you can keep them looking great well into the golden years.

Be Prepared to Combat Dry Mouth

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, occurs more frequently in seniors and can be caused by certain medications. Other causes include dehydration or hormonal changes that can occur with menopause. If untreated, dry mouth can lead to cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. While you should never stop taking the medication without discussing it with your doctor, there are some ways to relieve dry mouth – such as drinking plenty of water throughout the day, using special hydration rinses, and chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva flow. You should talk with your dentist in Boerne to find the best solution for you. 

Get Used to Seeing The Dentist More Often

While we love seeing all of our patients, we tend to see our senior patients more often, and for a good reason. As we age, our mouths change. Due to decreasing production of saliva and a higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease, seniors may need more frequent dental care than other adults. Getting into a dentist’s chair at least once every six months will help you avoid some serious oral health problems. Regular visits will also let your dentist in Boerne perform preventative treatments before problems ever occur. 

Don’t Stop Brushing

Brushing your teeth correctly is important for everyone at every age, but it’s absolutely critical when you’re over 50. Seniors should be brushing their teeth at least two times per day and ideally after every meal. A soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste containing fluoride are always best. Make sure to use just slight pressure as brushing too hard will cause unnecessary wear on your teeth and gums. Keep in mind that brushing properly can be hard for older people and can put them at risk for decay. Find a toothbrush that makes it easier in order to protect their teeth. 

And Don’t Forget the Floss

Like brushing, flossing everyday is essential for everyone, but it’s especially important for seniors. The older we get, the harder it is to brush teeth effectively. Flossing helps dislodge plaque that would otherwise stay on your teeth and cause cavities and gum disease. If you don’t floss at least once a day, you’re missing out on cleaning 35% of your tooth’s surfaces! Sometimes flossing can also become difficult as we age and lose dexterity. If this is the case, talk to your dentist about other flossing options that can be easier to use. 

According to many research studies, taking care of our teeth will only get more difficult as we age — that’s why it’s imperative that older adults take care of their oral health today. Senior citizens face many unique dental issues; while most don’t require immediate attention, ignoring them can have long-term consequences for your health. Schedule an appointment with your dentist today.

6 Surprising Foods High in Sugar

It’s common knowledge that high sugar diets are bad for your teeth, which is one reason why your dentist in Boerne recommends limiting your sugar intake daily. But what you might not know is that many of the foods and drinks that you enjoy may be secretly packed with sugar. In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the top 6 foods and drinks with the highest levels of sugar.

1) Soda

Soda is an excellent source of sugar. In fact, it’s even worse than chocolate bars because there’s less food value to balance out its calorie content. The phosphoric acid in sodas can destroy tooth enamel and make teeth more susceptible to decay and cavities. Excess consumption can also lead to diabetes due to elevated blood glucose levels. Pairing soda with other sweet or acidic drinks will increase your risk as well, so if you are serious about protecting your smile and achieving long-term oral health, avoid them altogether.

2) Fruit Juices

Fruit juices are commonly perceived as healthy options due to their bright colors and phytonutrients (natural chemicals in plants that have antioxidant properties). This is true, but many store-bought fruit juices also contain additives such as sweeteners or flavorings that boost sweetness levels. To avoid consuming excess sugar without even knowing it (especially if you do not typically drink other sweet beverages), consider drinking freshly squeezed or 100% pure fruit juice only occasionally.

3) Energy Drinks

Most people know that energy drinks can do more harm than good over time, especially when combined with alcohol. But your dentist in Boerne has even more concerns. A 2012 study by the Center for Science in Public Interest found that an 8-ounce serving of a popular energy drink contained 44 grams of sugar! 

4) Granola

Granola is another one of those foods that’s often marketed as healthy. However, granola contains plenty of natural sugars — one cup of homemade granola has on average 36 grams of sugar. What can be even more confusing is that store-bought varieties often contain added sugars, and can contain up to 61 total grams of sugar!  

5) Fruit Smoothies

Fruit smoothies can be made from fresh fruits, so they provide additional vitamins and minerals that may not be found in sodas or other sugary drinks. However, it is important to note that any drink containing more than 50 grams of sugar per serving should be consumed moderately because of its potential to cause dental decay and other oral health problems.  

6) Spaghetti Sauce

Perhaps one of the most surprising on our list, tomato-based products like spaghetti sauce, tomato soup, and ketchup tend to have more sugars than non-tomato items because of their fruit content. Spaghetti sauce for example contains 16g of sugar per 1/2 cup serving, which is a whopping 28% of the recommended daily value. 

There are many high-sugar products at your disposal, with levels of sugar you may not even know about. But any time you’re consuming something sugary, or that has a high sugar content on the nutritional label, you should watch out for its impact on your oral health — as well as other areas of your life, such as weight gain or diabetes. Rinsing your mouth with water after eating anything sugary can help, but as always, it’s best to enjoy sugary treats in moderation, and of course, see your dentist in Boerne twice a year

The Oral Health Benefits of Drinking Out of a Straw

In recent years, there’s been an environmental fight against the use of non-reusable plastic straws. These one-time use straws make up about 7% of plastic product waste in the U.S., so there is a need to talk about how much we actually need straws. Now, while your dentist in Boerne is in support of making small changes to help the environment, we also know that there are some great oral health benefits of drinking out of a straw. 

Use Reusable

Before we go any further, we want to encourage our patients and neighbors to find a friendly alternative to plastic straws. There are many reusable straws available nowadays and there are even some fit for travel. Find a few that you like and use them to save the planet and reap the oral health benefits. It’s a win-win!    

Straws & Teeth

Ok, now back to the teeth stuff. We know that you must be thinking, “How can a thin tube benefit my oral health?” Well, it comes down to how much liquid touches teeth using a straw versus sipping directly out of a cup. Drinking beverages through a straw can limit the amount of liquid that comes in contact with your teeth, and therefore, how much risk there is for damage. Choosing to go without a straw basically bathes your pearly whites in whatever it is you’re drinking. This means that your drink of choice is left lingering on your teeth’s surfaces long after your cup is empty, increasing the likelihood of developing some unwanted oral health side effects.

  • Stained Teeth

Many beverages contain coloring additives or are naturally colored. These drinks of choice can easily stain teeth and cause discoloration. To help avoid this, drink any colorful beverage with a straw. If your teeth aren’t as white as you’d like, whether because of dark drinks or not, talk to your dentist in Boerne about smile whitening options.  

  • Eroded Enamel

One of the worst things for teeth is acid. Acid can easily erode enamel and leave teeth exposed to the danger of additional acid and bacteria. This can result in increased tooth sensitivity and other concerns.  

  • Cavities 

Cavities can also result from a lack of enamel as well as from having too much sugary or acidic liquids come in contact with teeth. 

The Worst Drinks for Teeth

Not all drinks are bad for teeth, but there are some top contenders. These drinks should be enjoyed moderately and with a straw if at all possible. 

  • Soda
  • Sports Drinks
  • Fruit Punch
  • Juices
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Wine & Other Alcohol

It’s our responsibility to advise our patients and neighbors on everything they can do to help keep their smiles healthy. Drinking out of a straw is a simple change you can make to protect your teeth against decay, sensitivity, cavities, and other problems. Of course, it’s always important to brush and floss every day and see your dentist in Boerne every six months

How Long Does a Filling Last on a Tooth?

Your dentist in Boerne uses dental fillings to repair an area of tooth decay and keep any damage from progressing. This type of restoration is incredibly common, so common that over 90% of American adults have had a cavity, and we’re willing to bet that most of them were repaired with a filling. However, even though dental fillings are super-strong and durable, the truth is they simply don’t last forever. So just how long can you expect a filling to last? 

Well… It Depends

How long you can expect your filling to last depends on a few factors, such as what it’s made out of and how well you care for your teeth. For example, those who brush and floss regularly and see their dentist in Boerne twice a year will most likely have a longer run with fillings (and other types of restorations) than those who don’t. But, when it comes to the material used for a filling, it can get a bit more complicated.   

Silver Fillings

Silver, or amalgam, fillings were more commonly used a few years ago than they are now, but they may still have their place. These types of fillings are one of the most durable available and are expected to last around 10-15 years. But not everyone likes the way they look. Silver fillings are more visible than their composite counterparts and can create a discolored, darkened smile. 

There has also been an increase in concern regarding the level of mercury in the material used. If this is something that worries you, we encourage you to talk with a dentist in Boerne

Composite Fillings

Composite fillings, also known as tooth-colored or white fillings, are by far the most popular type of filling today. This is probably because they’re designed to match the color of neighboring teeth and blend into your smile. Many times, nobody even knows a filling is there! But like everything else, there is a small downside. Composite fillings, while still strong and durable, are estimated to last 7-10 years compared to silver fillings’ 10-15 years. 

How Do You Know When Your Filling Needs To Be Replaced? 

Since we now know that fillings don’t last forever, how will you know when one needs to be replaced? Many times, patients will experience increased pain or sensitivity in the area of a filling. Most fillings are worn down naturally by everyday habits such as chewing and speaking. But it’s also important that your dentist uses the right type of filling for your specific needs. Talk to your dentist in Boerne about your options so you can make the best choice for yourself.