5 Things You Can Do to Get a Smile You’ll Love

A little too crooked or a little too gapped… a smidge too yellow or a lot not right… there are plenty of reasons you may be unhappy with your smile. If you’re one of the many people who doesn’t like your smile, you’ve come to the right place. The wide range of cosmetic dentistry options at our dental office in Boerne can easily fix some of most common concerns people have about their smiles.

Brighten Your Look With Smile Whitening

The most common thing people dislike about their smiles is the color. The simplest way to get a brighter, whiter smile is through a professional smile whitening treatment. There are plenty of options available, from an in-office treatment to a take-home solution from your dentist, and even over-the-counter products. Make sure you choose a product that’s earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance and talk with your dentist before performing any whitening treatment.

Cover Up Imperfections With Dental Veneers
If you’re someone who is more concerned about chipped, crooked, or deeply discolored teeth, dental veneers may be a better solution for you. These thin pieces of ceramic are adhered to the front of the tooth surface to cover up any imperfection. They’re also custom shaped for each person and tooth to create an incredibly natural appearance.

Orthodontics

An overbite, underbite, or crooked teeth can absolutely cause someone to be unhappy with their smile. But thanks to the many orthodontic options available, a smile doesn’t need to stay that way. Whether it’s traditional braces, clear braces, or plastic aligners, orthodontic treatment is sure to shift a smile into a look you’ll love.

Consider a Smile Makeover for a Brand New Look

When there are several concerns about the way a smile looks, it may be an appropriate time to consider a smile makeover. During a smile makeover, your dentist takes a comprehensive look at all of your smile concerns and develops a custom treatment plan that combines a few cosmetic dentistry procedures. Working closely with a dentist you trust can truly transform your smile into one you’re proud of.

Brush & Floss Regularly

Most importantly, the best thing you can do to get a smile you love is to brush and floss everyday and maintain regular visits with your dentist in Boerne. A proper dental hygiene routine can go a long way in keeping your smile bright, white, and healthy.

You don’t need to settle for a smile that doesn’t make you happy. Give our Boerne dental office a call to set up a cosmetic dentistry consultation. We have solutions to fit every need and will be happy to work with you in creating a beautiful smile.

Drinking Wine: Good for the Heart, Bad for Teeth?

Most of us have heard that drinking red wine may have heart-healthy benefits. And while there’s still some debate on just how true that is, you may find it surprising that there may just be some oral health benefits to partaking in glass every now and then. Our dental office in Boerne explores these potential smile benefits as well as some not-so-good side effects in this week’s blog.

The Good

Studies conducted in several areas throughout the world have suggested a positive link between drinking red wine and a decrease in tooth decay. One of these studies published by the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry took bacteria rich biofilm from the mouths of several volunteers, which they then dipped into wine. What they found was that the wine was effective at getting rid of the bacteria. With less bacteria around to weaken enamel and cause decay, one could also assume a lower risk for cavities. However, it might not be all good news.

The Bad

In most of the studies surrounding the positive correlation between red wine and dental health the researchers removed the alcohol content prior to testing. This is important to note since we know alcohol tends to dry out the mouth. A dry mouth has the opposite effect of fighting off decay and actually supports a decay-friendly environment. Red wine also has a tendency to transform teeth from a bright white to a dull or discolored appearance. While that can usually be reversed through whitening or cosmetic dentistry from your dentist in Boerne, it’s still a negative in our book. Finally, the acidity of wine can wear down tooth enamel and leave teeth exposed to, you guessed it, decay.

The Final Verdict

We don’t really have a definite conclusion on whether the potential positives of red wine outweigh the negatives. Essentially, more research is needed for us to get on board with supporting the claim that red wine is a good way to fight decay. But in the meantime, we’re not here to tell anyone to stop enjoying their occasional glass of wine, of course. Just enjoy responsibly, keep an eye out for any tooth discoloration, and follow the tips below.

  • Alternate drinking wine with water. If you can, it wouldn’t hurt to rinse your mouth out with water occasionally, too.
  • Hold off on brushing immediately after drinking wine to keep the acid from being spread throughout your entire mouth and all over your teeth.

If you’re a red wine lover and happen to notice some tooth discoloration, call our Boerne dental office to schedule a professional whitening or cosmetic dentistry treatment to get your smile back to a vibrant white. Or if you’re just looking for a new place to call your dental home, we’re always welcoming new patients and would love to see you. Schedule a visit with us today!

How to Get Fresher Breath for All Those Mistletoe Moments

Nobody wants to struggle with the embarrassment of bad breath. But during this time of year it may seem like a bigger deal than normal. With all the close-talking at holiday parties and potential surprise moments under the mistletoe, bad breath can damper anyone’s good time. At our dental office in Boerne, we don’t want anyone to shy away from those kissable moments because of bad breath embarrassment, so we’re here to help!

Best Ways to Combat Bad Breath

  • Pass on the Coffee

We know, we know, coffee helps you function in the mornings and perhaps another cup at 2:00 pushes you through the day. But coffee doesn’t only give you a mean caffeine punch, it also leaves behind a less-than-desirable stench in your mouth.

  • Load up on the Water

Unlike coffee, water doesn’t leave behind an unpleasant odor. In fact, it doesn’t leave behind any smell. It’s really great for your oral health too. A well hydrated mouth keeps fighting bacteria and rinses away unwanted bacteria that can lead to decay.

  • Brush Well, Brush Often

One the most important things you can do to keep breath fresh is to brush twice a day, everyday. But it’s not enough to simply brush. It’s recommended that you brush for two minutes every time in gentle circles.

  • Don’t Forget the Tongue

Our tongues are full of tiny nooks and crannies where bad breath germs love to hide. To wash them away, we recommend gently scrubbing your tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper.

A Sign of a Bigger Problem

While you can try any and all of the tricks above to help combat bad breath, if you battle with it over a long period of time, you should call your dentist in Boerne. Bad breath may seem like simply a nuisance, but chronic bad breath may be a sign of other health concerns including:

  • Gum Disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Sinus Infection
  • Diabetes
  • Liver or Kidney Problems

Don’t let bad breath get in the way this holiday season. Call our Boerne dental office to schedule an appointment to get fresh breath and feel confident puckering up under the mistletoe.

Be Thankful for a Healthy Mouth

This Thanksgiving, we want to switch it up a bit and challenge all of our patients to think outside of the box when sharing their thanks with friends and family around the dinner table. Everyone gives thanks for friends, family, overall health, and perhaps love. And rightfully so. But at our dental office in Boerne we want you to give a few reasons to be thankful for a healthy mouth.

Dental Health & Overall Health Are Linked

We mentioned earlier that many people give thanks for their overall health during Thanksgiving praises of appreciation. But what’s often overlooked is the correlation between oral health and overall health. Poor oral health has been linked to several serious whole-body problems such as heart disease and diabetes. Some serious health problems also first show signs in the mouth. So it’s safe to say the healthier your mouth is, the more likely it is that you’re whole body is healthy, too.   

A Healthy Mouth Lets You Eat All The Food

Turkey, yams, peas, potatoes, pies for days — nearly every table in the country will be overloaded with all kinds of food on Thanksgiving Day. And in order to enjoy every bite of flavor, we need our teeth to be in tip top shape. Healthy teeth that are free of pain-causing cavities or other problems allow us to chew properly and properly digest our food.

Gives Confidence

When our smiles aren’t as white as we’d like or as healthy, they aren’t an accurate representation of who we are. If we aren’t proud of our smiles, we tend to shy away from cameras or laugh or smile with our mouths closed. This can negatively affect your entire mood. However, a bright, white, healthy smile can allow you to laugh and speak freely without worry or embarrassment. Having a brilliant grin boosts confidence and can certainly affect your mood in a positive way. If you aren’t totally happy with your smile, talk to your dentist in Boerne about cosmetic dentistry options that can help.

Keeps Breath Kissably Fresh

A healthy smile isn’t just a white smile. A truly healthy smile also keeps breath fresh day in and day out. The best way you can help keep your pearly whites white and your breath smelling good is to brush every morning and every night for at least two minutes, floss every day, and if you use mouthwash, use it sparingly. Many mouthwashes actually only temporarily mask bad breath and end up drying out the mouth, which can make bad breath even worse.
At our Boerne dental office, we’re always here to help get and keep our neighbors’ smiles healthy. If you’re in need of a dentist, we welcome you to give us a call.

5 Tips to Help You Avoid The Flu

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the months of October and November are when influenza activity begins to increase. And although flu season doesn’t tend to peak until December through February, getting ahead of the flu and preparing yourself and your family to avoid it is half of the battle. Our dental office in Boerne compiled the top tips to help you prevent the flu this year.

  • Keep Things Clean & Sanitized

One of the easiest ways to come down with a bug is to touch something that was recently touched by another person who was loaded with germs. Some germs that can make us really sick can live for a long time on surfaces. To protect yourself and your family make sure you clean and sanitize often. Consider areas that are touched a lot like door knobs, toys, toilets, and faucets.  

  • Wash Your Hands

This is the most common advice given by doctors and mothers alike. And with good reason. Washing your hands goes a long way in removing any germs we may have come in contact with throughout the day. Ideally you should use warm water and soap to clean in between each finger, all over the palms, and even under fingernails. If you won’t have access to a sink and soap, carry an alcohol-based sanitizer.

  • Don’t Touch Your Face

The CDC sites that a common way germs are transferred from one person to another is by first touching an infected surface then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. These body parts act as a direct route to the rest of your body, and if germs enter one of them, you’re almost guaranteed to get sick. Keep your hands away from your face.

  • Eat Well

Following a well balanced diet can keep your body performing optimally and in good germ fighting condition. Make sure you’re eating plenty of fruits and veggies and enough protein to keep you strong. In fact, research shows a diet with too little protein can lead to a weak immune system.  

  • Drink Well

Along with eating well, drinking enough fluids, particularly water, keeps your body working the way it’s intended to. A well-hydrated body keeps white blood cells healthy and ready to fight off germs. Plus, it will make your dentist in Boerne happy, too.
The team at our Boerne dental office hope you and your loved ones avoid the flu this season, but if you happen to come down with it we encourage you to use sugar-free medications to keep your mouth protected.

The Not So Scary Truth About Root Canals

So your dentist in Boerne told you that you need a root canal. And you’re a little bit scared because, let’s face it, a root canal doesn’t sound like much fun. After all, everything you’ve ever heard about root canals make them sound painful and scary. Root canals have had a bad reputation for years, but we’re here to set the record straight.

Root Canals Relieve Pain, Not Cause It

If you happen to need a root canal, chances are you’re suffering from some intense tooth pain, and the last thing you want is something that supposedly hurts even worse. However, the truth is, root canals stop the tooth pain and don’t contribute to it. A root canal is usually necessary if a tooth has severe decay or a deep infection, and the treatment itself removes the diseased part of the tooth, easing the pain.

How is a Root Canal Performed?

First and foremost, your root canal treatment will begin by numbing the area. It may take just a few minutes for the numbing agent to take effect, but once it kicks in, you shouldn’t feel anything. After you’re nice and numb, your dentist in Boerne will make a teeny, tiny hole in the infected tooth, allowing access to the inner tooth (known as the pulp chamber). This is where the root canals are located. Inside the root canals you’ll find pulp, nerves, and blood vessels. These inner workings of the tooth are removed, alleviating any feeling in that tooth. Your dental team will then thoroughly clean the area and seal the canals to keep anything from entering. Lastly, the tooth is capped with a dental crown restoration to further protect it.

Signs You May Need a Root Canal

One of the most obvious signs that may indicate the need for a root canal is tooth pain. But just because you have a toothache doesn’t automatically mean a root canal is the solution. Keep an eye out for other symptoms including:

  • Increased pain while chewing or with applied pressure
  • Sensitivity to heat or cold that doesn’t go away quickly
  • A small, raised bump on the gums near the tooth that hurts
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Gum swelling or pain  

If you notice any of these signs, we welcome you to call our dental office in Boerne to schedule an appointment. We’ll perform a thorough exam to find the cause of the problem. If you happen to need a root canal, we promise to recommend the best treatment possible so that you experience relief in no time.

Top 7 Braces-Friendly Halloween Treats

October isn’t only when we celebrate Halloween, it’s also National Orthodontic Month. With this in mind, the team at our dental office in Boerne thought it’d be a great time to combine the two and talk a bit about which Halloween treats are safe for those with braces. Don’t worry, if you do have braces, you still have plenty of yummy options to choose from.

Best Candy for Braces

When searching for safe candy options for braces, consider the texture of the sweets. Anything that’s super sticky, gooey, or hard is probably best to avoid. Instead, look for these top braces-friendly choices.

  • 3 Musketeers
  • Peanut Butter Cups
  • Peppermint Patties
  • Hershey’s Kisses
  • Milky Way
  • Crunch Bar/Krackel Bar
  • Pure Chocolate Bars

All of these delicious options are easy to bite and chew and don’t contain any ingredients that are hard enough to damage braces.

Worst Candy for Braces

At our Boerne dental office, we want all of our braces patients to have fun this Halloween and enjoy some treats. However, we also feel it’s important for them to be informed of what candy could potentially damage their brackets or wires so they also know what to avoid.

  • Hard Candy
  • Gum
  • Caramels
  • Jelly Beans
  • Nuts or anything containing nuts

Additionally, don’t attempt to eat any of the “safe foods” if they’ve been frozen. Freezing candy negates the soft texture that makes them safe for braces and biting into a rock hard candy bar can certainly cause some trouble.

When you’re out in the neighborhood gathering your treats and maybe showing off some tricks, politely pass on any candy that may cause damage to your braces and rather pick the pieces that are both delicious and safe.

Most importantly, be safe, have fun, and Happy Halloween from your Boerne dentist!  

Workplace Habits That Are Damaging Your Teeth

Most of us spend a lot of time at work each and every day answering emails, taking phone calls, attending meetings, organizing spreadsheets, and doing countless other responsibilities. In between, or perhaps during some of these activities, we may be engaging in other behaviors that have now become everyday habits. Some of which may be damaging your teeth. Join the team at our dental office in Boerne as we cover some of the most common workplace habits that are harmful to smiles.

Chewing on Pencils or Pens

Nibbling on the end of a pen or pencil is usually done subconsciously or when deep in thought or nervous, but it’s a habit that can wreck teeth. The tough texture of writing utensils can break or crack teeth which can be painful and will most certainly require restorative dental care. If you find yourself putting your pencil or pen to your mouth regularly, consider replacing it with an alternative like carrots or celery. Keeping a small bag of these healthy veggies handy can help satisfy your need to nibble on something.

All-Day Snacking

As we eat, the bacteria in our mouths break down the food particles left behind and then produce acid as a byproduct. This acid is what eats away at the protective tooth enamel and leads to decay. When we snack throughout the workday, it leaves teeth constantly exposed to this acid, especially if you don’t brush in between snack sessions, and increases the chance of cavities.

Using Teeth as Tools

Need to open a package that’s sealed a little too tight? Or maybe you need to send the package and need help ripping the tape to secure the box shut. Whatever you do, don’t use your teeth as tools. Using teeth to rip, tear, or hold objects can chip your teeth and wear away at enamel, leaving teeth exposed to decay.

Smoke Breaks

We know you probably know this already but it’s worth repeating. Smoking is detrimental to both your overall health and oral health. Smoking as well as using smokeless tobacco greatly increases the risk of oral cancer, gum disease, and even tooth loss. Instead of a smoke break, consider taking a quick walk, chew sugarless gum, and talk with your doctor to learn several techniques that can help you quit.

The team at our Boerne dental office encourages you to work on becoming aware of these habits and try your best to avoid them. Like any habit, some of these may be difficult to break. If you’re looking for help, or perhaps a new dentist in Boerne, we always welcome you to give us call.  

“Why Does My Tooth Hurt?”

There are plenty of reasons why a tooth may hurt. When this happens, the best thing you can do is to call your dentist in Boerne as soon as possible to determine the reason why and get treatment started quickly. However, there are a few ways you can try to narrow down the cause of your tooth pain at home. Check out some of the most common symptoms and potential explanations to the most common causes of tooth pain.

Symptom: Quick Bursts of Sensitivity to Hot or Cold Foods or Drinks

Possible Cause: There’s a good chance you may have a cavity. Treatment for this incredibly common dental problem is easy as long as you seek treatment quickly. If left untreated, a cavity can progress into an infection, also known as an abscess. If a cavity isn’t to blame, you may have some gum recession brought on by rough brushing or perhaps a loose dental restoration.

Symptom: Pain When Biting Down

Possible Cause: If your tooth pain is more commonly experienced when pressure is applied, you could again have a cavity, or perhaps even a cracked or broken tooth. The best course of action is to see your dentist as soon as you can to see if there’s any damage to the interior of the tooth, or the pulp. If there is, you may need a root canal to reverse the pain. But don’t worry, a root canal isn’t as scary or painful as you may have thought. In fact, the procedure actually makes the pain go away.

Symptom: Aching in the Jaw or Upper Teeth

Possible Cause: This type of jaw or tooth pain is typically a result of chronically clenching or grinding teeth (bruxism). The constant friction between teeth can wear away tooth enamel and leave your teeth feeling sensitive. What’s more common, however, is the jaw pain associated with grinding. Grinding may also contribute to severe headaches or sinus pain. Your Boerne dentist should be able to identify if grinding is a problem for you and recommend the appropriate treatment. Most of the time, a custom nightguard is the go-to solution.

Whatever the Cause, See Your Dentist

Any tooth pain is usually a sign of a problem, and even if you suspect nothing serious is going on, we recommend seeing your dentist to make sure. After all, it’s better to be cautious than to let tooth pain go and end up with a larger issue.

Looking for a caring dental team to help? Give our dental office in Boerne a call to schedule an appointment today. We’re always happy to help!

What You Need to Know About Probiotics & Your Oral Health

Probiotic use is typically associated with digestive health and even as a “good bacteria” replacement after a round of antibiotics. But can probiotics also be beneficial for oral health? At our dental office in Boerne, we’ve been hearing about some research that may show a positive correlation between certain probiotics and healthier mouths. In this blog, we take a closer look at those studies to see if there is in fact an oral health benefit to taking probiotics.

What Are Probiotics?

We know that probiotics have been heavily talked about in recent years, but what are they, exactly? Basically, probiotics are live microorganisms, usually bacteria, that help support the digestive system. The term bacteria has typically always meant something negative, something that makes us sick. The truth is, there is both bad and good bacteria. Probiotics fall under the category of good bacteria, or friendly bacteria.

Different Probiotics Treat Different Things

Different probiotics tend to help with different things. Most commonly when we talk about probiotics, we’re referring to those that help in digestion. These are the ones that are found in yogurt and other foods that contain “active cultures.” But the probiotics researched in relation to oral health are different.

These probiotics are often referred to as oral probiotics. This term is not necessarily used to describe probiotics that are taken orally, but rather those that have been researched to see if they have impact on oral health. Following several studies, research suggests that there may be a positive correlation between specific types of probiotics and reducing the risk of gum disease, plaque, and bad breath.

A Closer Look at Bifidobacterium & Lactobacillus

Easier to explain than to say, the probiotic strains of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are the ones mainly associated with probiotic research in relation to oral health. These strains are naturally found both in the bodies and mouths of mammals, including humans. During several research studies involving Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, there has been evidence of a correlation between an increase in the probiotics and healthier mouths. While none of the limited amount of research available conclusively identifies the link, there have been cases where Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus have helped in the treatment of periodontal disease and halitosis, and has seemed to reduce the risk of cavities.

Again, there is still more research to be done on the relationship between probiotics and oral health. Because of this, we don’t recommend starting yourself on a probiotics regimen before discussing it with your medical team, including your dentist in Boerne.