Dental Emergency? Try These Tips.

Emergencies of any kind can cause fear and discomfort. Dental emergencies are no different and can be particularly concerning. What exactly are you supposed to do if you experience a dental emergency such as a broken tooth, a knocked out tooth, or a painful toothache? The team at our Boerne dental office is here to give you some advice on how to handle some of the most common dental emergencies.

Top Dental Emergencies & Treatment Tips

It’s important to note that any dental emergency, including injuries to the mouth, teeth, or gums, should be treated by a dentist in Boerne as quickly as possible. But if you can’t get to the dentist right away, there are some things you can do to help minimize discomfort and protect your tooth.  

Chipped or Broken Tooth – Whether caused by a pesky popcorn kernel, sports injury, or grinding your teeth, a chipped or broken tooth may cause you to panic. Not to worry, there are many forms of cosmetic dentistry that can restore your tooth and smile. However, right after the injury happens, you may be in some pain or bleeding. The best thing to do is to rinse your mouth with warm water, apply gauze and a bit of pressure to help stop any bleeding, and use a cold compress to help reduce any swelling.

Knocked Out Tooth – Having a tooth knocked out can certainly be scary. If this happens, the first thing you should try to do is stay calm and remember the following tips:

  • Only touch the crown of the tooth. Do not touch the roots.
  • Try to replace the tooth into the socket.
  • Place the tooth in a glass of milk, store it in a cup of spit, or keep it safely under your tongue and get to a dentist. Your tooth has the best chance of survival if it’s returned to the socket within an hour.

Toothache – A toothache is usually the mouth’s way of telling us that something isn’t right, and it definitely shouldn’t be ignored. See your dentist as quickly as you can to increase the chance of easier and successful treatment. Prior to your appointment, you can ease the pain by using a cold compress or over-the-counter pain reliever.

We never want our patients to experience a dental emergency, but the truth is, they happen. If they do, we welcome you to call our dental office in Boerne. We’re here to help protect smiles and treat them if something happens. Call us today.

Dental X-Rays, Who Needs ‘Em? (You Do!)

If you see your dentist in Boerne regularly, then you’ve probably had a dental x-ray or two taken in your life. The reason we rely on x-rays so heavily is that they’re absolutely a crucial part of creating a custom treatment plan that’s going to address your dental issues and needs, the right way.

We know it may seem like they’re just any other x-ray and you might even wonder why you actually even need dental x-rays in the first place. The truth is, these images can save your smile and maybe even your life. Let’s learn more about what x-rays are and what they do for you.

Why Do We Need X-Rays?

Radiographs or x-rays are relied on heavily for preventive dentistry or to help fix issues such as cavities, decay, and breakage. Generally, dentists rely on 2D or 3D imaging to gain a better understanding of what’s going on inside your mouth, highlighting your jaw bone health and tooth structure that lies beneath your gums and enamel. It gives us the added ability to find out if something is going on inside your mouth or teeth that’s not 100 percent visible to the naked eye.

Are Dental X-Rays Going to Expose Me to Radiation?

Most of the x-rays used in dental offices across the country today give off a minimal amount of radiation. It’s important to note that you should always limit your exposure to x-rays and avoid repeated use as it can damage cells over time due to the small, continued radiation aftereffects.

Dental x-rays are certainly safer than ever thanks to advancements in dentistry over the years. Dentists now rely on using lower x-ray dosages, higher quality film, film holders, and well-designed, full-body aprons lined with lead. It’s important to note though that most of the modern dental x-ray technology that’s available today give off very little stray radiation.

How Do Dental X-Rays Work?

The process of obtaining a good dental x-ray image can occur a few ways. Usually, a dentist or a dental specialist will cover you with the iron apron for protection before putting a small plastic device in your mouth and asking you to bite down. Your bite is going to hold the x-ray film in place for accurate, immediate results.

In instances like this where we’re x-raying the inside of your mouth, it’s referred to as obtaining intraoral photos. There are also several extraoral x-rays that your Boerne dentist and orthodontists can use to help fix a smile, with extra meaning outside of your mouth. These images are useful in seeing your jaw bone and entire skull as a whole how it relates to your mouth and oral health.

If you’re experiencing a problem or if you feel like something isn’t right with your smile, please call our Boerne dental office. We may need to use one of these super cool x-ray techniques to help get you and your smile back into tip-top shape.

Your Smile Loves Calcium. Do You?

We all know the old advertising slogan – “Milk. It does a body good.” This is mainly in part because it’s rich in calcium, a nutrient that’s vital to helping your teeth and bones stay strong enough to last a lifetime. At our Boerne dental office, we always want you and your family to make the healthiest, best decisions to fit your lifestyle. Millions of Americans choose to follow diets that restrict or don’t include dairy, such as vegetarians or vegans. There are also millions of other Americans who are known as lactose intolerant and can’t do dairy either.

There are plenty of ways you can get calcium without strictly relying on cheese, yogurt, and milk. (Although, if you do enjoy them make sure they’re part of your regular diet to help boost your calcium intake.) Let’s take a look at how a diet rich in calcium affects your teeth and your bones.

Getting Calcium Without The Cow

There are a variety of health or personal reasons that some people choose to avoid dairy products. There’s no reason to worry, because there are plenty of delicious, nutritious foods out there that can supply your body’s demand for calcium.

Fortified products: Orange juice, waffles, tofu

Veggies, Nuts, and Beans: Leafy greens, almonds, soybeans, soy milk, spinach, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.

Teeth & Calcium: A Love Story

Your teeth, gums, and jaw bone are all affected by the amount of calcium you have in your daily diet. Your dentist in Boerne will tell you that calcium will help your teeth stay healthy and protected against cavities, decay, and tooth loss. It’s a match made in dental heaven.

FUN FACT: 99% of the calcium in your body is found in your teeth and bones. – Institute of Medicine

Your gums appreciate calcium too because it helps them stay healthy free from damaging bacteria and disease. Calcium also helps your muscles and blood vessels work more effectively.

Bones & Calcium: Another Love Story

Why should your Boerne dentist care so much about calcium and your bones? Well, obviously we want the best for your overall health, but in terms of your oral health, we know how important calcium is for your jaw bone. Your jaw bone serves as the anchor for your teeth, so you’ll want to keep it healthy for as long as possible to avoid tooth loss down the road. It’s also super important to remember that the other bones in your body also need calcium to help prevent damaging osteoporosis later in life.

Getting the right amount of calcium in your diet, no matter what your age, is very important to help keep your smile and your gums healthy. It’s really a benefit that your whole body will thank you for. We thank you for reading your blog. If you have questions or concerns about your smile, you know who to call. We’re always happy to help in any way we can!

Smile Whitening Options

Have you ever wished that your teeth were whiter? We understand. We all want a bright, white smile that we’re happy to show off to the world. But many things can cause tooth discoloration — from your daily cup of coffee to your nightcap glass of red wine, or delicious tomato sauce to yummy berries. What can you do to take your teeth from dull to white? Our dental office in Boerne is here to help.

Professional Tooth Whitening

If you’re looking for a fast, dramatic tooth whitening option, consider a professional smile whitening from your dentist in Boerne. A professional tooth whitening can transform your smile quickly and can even make your smile several shades whiter in just one treatment. While typically more expensive than over-the-counter whitening products, professional smile whitening can give you the immediate results you’re looking for.

Over-the-Counter Smile Whitening Products

There’s a certain appeal to over-the-counter smile whitening products. They’re often cheaper than a professional whitening, and they can brighten your teeth. However, results usually appear over time and are certainly not immediate. Additionally, there are some risks involved with over-the-counter whitening strips and trays. For example, if the solution stays on too long or it sits on your gums, it can lead to damage and increased sensitivity.

When Whitening Isn’t Enough

There are times when neither over-the-counter whitening nor professional whitening is enough to get you the look you want. In fact, there are some types of stains that don’t respond to the whitening solution and will never go away no matter how much you try. When this happens, the best way to whiten your smile is through dental veneers. Dental veneers are thin sheets of porcelain that are fixed to the surface of your teeth covering up any imperfections, including stains.

When deciding on the best way to whiten your smile, start by talking with your dentist in Boerne. They’ll be able to help you determine what kind of staining you have and if a whitening product will work for you before you invest.

If you’re looking to brighten and whiten your smile, call our dental office in Boerne to schedule an appointment. We’ll work with you to determine how white you want your teeth to be and then we’ll discuss the best option for you.

The Signs of Oral Cancer

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and at our dental office in Boerne, we know just how serious and scary oral cancer can be. To do our part to help raise awareness, we’re here to share facts, signs, and risk factors of oral cancer with our patients and neighbors.

Facts About Oral Cancer

  • More than 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year
  • Oral cancer kills more than 8,500 people annually
  • Nearly 80% of oral cancer diagnoses are in tobacco users
  • Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women
  • Patients who have had oral cancer once are up to 20 times more likely to develop another form of cancer

The Importance of a Fast Diagnosis

Oral cancer can be treated, however, treatment is much more successful when the disease is caught early. This is one reason why bi-annual visits to your dentist in Boerne are so important. You see, unlike other types of cancer, there are no official timing guidelines for screening for oral cancer like there is for, say, colon or breast cancer. Your regular dental visits essentially act as regular oral cancer screenings. These checkups allow your dental team to identify any potential signs of oral cancer early so that you can get treatment fast.

Oral Cancer Signs & Symptoms

One thing that can make oral cancer difficult to diagnose is that its signs and symptoms can disguise themselves as common oral health problems that don’t seem like a big deal. However, you’re better safe than sorry… so if you notice any of the signs below, call your dentist as soon as you can.

  • A sore or discoloration that doesn’t go away
  • A lump inside the mouth or neck
  • Pain while swallowing, chewing, or speaking
  • Changes in voice
  • Chronic bad breath

Risk Factors

Even though oral cancer can happen to anyone, there are some people who may be at increased risk including:

  • Those over 55
  • Current or former tobacco users
  • Heavy drinkers

Oral cancer is a very serious disease. Reduce your risk by changing any risky habits and commit to seeing your dentist every six months. Of course, if you suspect you’re at risk for oral cancer, or are concerned by any potential signs, we welcome you to call our Boerne dental office.

Do I Have Bruxism?

Bruxism is just a medical term for grinding or clenching your teeth, usually while you’re asleep. That’s what makes teeth grinding hazardous to your oral and overall health, because there’s a good chance you don’t even know you’re doing it! Our dental office in Boerne is here to help you learn more about bruxism and the damage it can do to your smile. We want to help you recognize the early warning signs of teeth grinding and help you protect your teeth from damage.

The American Sleep Association suggests as many as 10 percent of adults and 15 percent of children are affected by bruxism. Teeth grinding or clenching is more common when there’s a family history of the disorder, with rates soaring to as high as 50 percent. Both males and females are similarly affected by bruxism.

Are There Common Signs of Bruxism?

There’s a reason why your dentist in Boerne may be the first person to recognize signs that you grind your teeth, because that’s what’s damaged the most by bruxism. When most people grind their teeth, their canines and incisors come together with great force, damaging your enamel and the structure of your teeth. Other symptoms of bruxism include:

Jaw joint pain or discomfort

– Facial pain

– Headaches or migraines

– Jaw muscle contractions

– Broken restorations

– Tooth sensitivity

– Enamel loss

– Damaged gums

Why Do I Have Bruxism?

There are a few reasons our patients develop bruxism or teeth clenching. It’s most commonly caused by a combination of anxiety or stress. People who are agitated or stressed are more likely to grind the night away and not even be aware they’re doing it. In most cases of bruxism, a person isn’t even woken up by the sound of their teeth grinding together. Having a misaligned bite, side effects from medications, and some medical diseases can also cause bruxism.

Is there something not right about your smile? Are you concerned that you’re grinding your teeth? The best way to help yourself is to call our Boerne dental practice to schedule a consultation. We can give you a comprehensive, thorough exam, learn more about the symptoms you’ve been experiencing, monitor your bite, and get a more in-depth look using state-of-the-art x-rays. From there, we’ll be able to see what kind of shape your teeth are in, address the severity of your teeth grinding, and put together a personalized treatment plan for you. We want you and your smile to stay healthy and be pain-free!

Healthy Foods. Healthy Smile. Healthy Body. Healthy Life.

We always like to take a moment this time of year to dedicate a special blog to eating healthy in honor of National Nutrition Month. Ask anyone of our team members at our dental office in Boerne, and they’re going to tell you how important it is to make sure you’re only putting good foods into your body. This will help ensure that your smile (and the rest of you) stays healthy so that you can live a long, happy life.

How Do I Know What to Eat?

The first thing your dentist in Boerne is going to recommend is that you limit the amount of sugar, fats, and processed foods in your diet. Let’s take a look at some helpful, healthy replacements you can easily incorporate in both your personal diet and the foods you feed your family.

    1. Replace sugary sodas and sports drinks with: Water. It’s just that simple. Water is the best way for your mouth and your body to stay hydrated which is essential to your overall health. Think of water like a superhero when it comes to protecting your body. By drinking plenty of water every day, you’re going to wash away food and debris that can get stuck in your teeth, as well as stimulate your body to produce more saliva– which is your best defense against smile deterioration because it’s rich with minerals and proteins.

 

  1. Replace acidic foods with: Foods that are high in calcium and phosphorus. Both calcium and phosphorus aren’t going erode your teeth like foods that cause the formation of harmful acid in your mouth. These elements can help keep your enamel and gums going strong.
  • To get more calcium: Try cheese (aged, hard), plain yogurt, low-fat milk, fish, almonds, and tofu
  • To get more phosphorus: Try nuts, red meat, eggs, pumpkin seeds, and fish
  1. Replace unhealthy snacks with: Hard, crunchy foods that contain large amounts of water. Again, crunching and munching on these foods is going to signal your mouth to create more saliva, which is beneficial to keeping your smile free from cavity-causing bacteria. Crunchy foods can even act like a toothbrush, helping to remove excess plaque and unwanted food particles. Try raw celery, cucumbers, apples, and carrots to add an extra, healthy bite to your diet.

Do I Really Need to Avoid Sugar?

The simple answer is yes. We know it can be hard, especially when sugars are hidden everywhere. Carbohydrate-loaded foods, even though they’re not overtly overflowing with sugars, will break down into simple sugars in your body, and this is just as dangerous as eating sweets and drinking sugary beverages. Try to be more mindful of what the labels say when you’re shopping at the store for you and your family in order to reduce or even eliminate the number of carbs your family regularly intakes.

Our Boerne dental office knows hows challenging it can be to change your diet, especially when you’ve got a hungry, picky family to feed. If you find that you’re not eating as healthy as you should be, try taking small steps to get your diet back on track. You won’t regret making the change for your smile and yourself.

How To Prevent Bad Breath

Everyone has experienced a bout of bad breath at least once in their life. Whether it was caused by a particularly potent meal, your daily cup of morning coffee, or maybe something unknown, bad breath is something that goes beyond embarrassment. In fact, the team at our dental office in Boerne wants our patients to know that bad breath could be an early warning sign of serious gum disease and is not something to be ignored.

What Causes Bad Breath?

While there are any number of things that can cause bad breath, the short explanation is that bad breath is the result of high levels of bacteria in the mouth. When these bacteria are left alone, they begin to feed on plaque buildup and produce a stinky byproduct called hydrogen sulfide. This is what we smell when we get a whiff of bad breath.

Avoid Bad Breath

There are several preventive dentistry tips we have to help you avoid bad breath including:

  1. Brushing & Flossing. Brushing and flossing are about more than simply protecting teeth against cavities. Brushing twice and flossing once daily also eliminates bacteria that otherwise would be left to feed on plaque and give off the stinky hydrogen sulfide.
  2. Scrub the Tongue. When you brush, don’t forget to gently scrub the tongue before you finish up. The tongue is made up of tiny grooves where bacteria love to hide. Giving your tongue a quick brush will help wash them away and protect you from bad breath. Some people find brushing their tongue with a toothbrush too uncomfortable. If this is the case, try a tongue scraper.
  3. Drink Water. Our bodies love water. So do our mouths. Keeping your mouth properly hydrated encourages saliva production, which works to keep the mouth moist as well as aiding in rinsing away bacteria. However, if a mouth is too dry and dehydrated, the bad breath bacteria won’t be removed and the chance of bad breath increases.

Why Is Bad Breath Serious?

Bad breath may be caused by something that’s temporary and, if so, we wouldn’t be too concerned about it. However, bad breath that doesn’t go away could be a sign of a serious oral health problem called gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss and even affect the rest of the body. In fact, gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. The best way to treat gum disease is to seek treatment from your dentist in Boerne early when the disease can often be cured successfully.

Don’t let something that seems small like bad breath create a serious problem for your overall health. If you notice signs of chronic bad breath, schedule an appointment at our Boerne dental practice.

What Can You Do to Make a Toothache Go Away?

There’s nothing quite like the discomfort of a toothache, and yet, there’s actually an entire day dedicated to them. February 9th is recognized as National Toothache Day, and in honor of this strange holiday, our dental office in Boerne is sharing some of the best ways you can make an annoying and painful toothache go away.

Toothache Remedies

  • Floss. Something as simple as a piece of floss can be the difference between continuing to experience toothache pain and finally getting some relief. If you believe your aches and pains are coming from a piece of food that got stuck in between teeth or up into the gums, gently floss the area. Make sure to get up under the gum line and don’t use too much pressure, this can cause bleeding and increased pain.
  • Cold Compress. Using an ice pack or anything you have that’s cold will help make the swelling go down and release any pressure that may be on the nerves. However, don’t apply an ice pack or anything similar to it directly on your skin. Instead, wrap your cold pack in a cloth or t-shirt then apply it to the face for about 15 minutes. You can repeat this process throughout the day but make sure to take breaks in between icings.
  • Oral Anesthetic. If you’re looking for temporary relief through numbing, pick up an oral anesthetic at your local pharmacy. Apply the gel or liquid directly to the painful area and get immediately numb. Keep in mind, oral anesthetics are for short-term use only and are not a permanent solution.  
  • Salt Water. Rinsing your mouth out with a mixture of warm water and salt a few times daily may also reduce toothache pain. The drying nature of the salt will help pull away and dry out any fluid that may be putting pressure on the nerves and causing you pain. Just remember not to swallow.
  • Anti-inflammatory Medicine. If you’re experiencing a toothache, there’s a good chance that you also have some swelling. Anti-inflammatory medications can also help. Use whichever anti-inflammatory medication is best for you and follow the directions on the packaging. Never place a pill directly on the gums or tooth — this will only cause more pain and can lead to damage.

There are numerous things you can do to help ease the pain associated with a toothache, but all of these remedies are only temporary solutions. In order to completely make a toothache go away, we always recommend scheduling a visit with your dentist in Boerne as soon as you can for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

If you’re suffering from a toothache, we welcome you to call our Boerne dental office to schedule an appointment today.  

Do You Really Need to Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Many of us will develop our wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, at some point in our lives. Most commonly they start to show themselves in our teens but can make an appearance later in life… or perhaps never at all. However, these new molars can present a whole host of problems for us and are usually removed. But is this procedure really necessary? Let our dental office in Boerne help.

First, it’s important to know that more than 90% of Americans need to have their wisdom teeth removed. It’s an incredibly common procedure that’s relatively easy, and thanks to advancements in technology, fairly comfortable. But why is it so important to have wisdom teeth removed?

No More Space

The most common reason why wisdom teeth need to be removed is due to the lack of space in the mouth for four more teeth. Dental x-rays will be able to tell if this is the case pretty early in the development stages and wisdom teeth removal will be recommended. However, if this is not caught early, or if treatment is not completed, the teeth will begin to erupt, pushing the other teeth out of the way. This will cause overcrowding and crooked, overlapping teeth. There’s also the possibility that the teeth will get lodged under the gum line and in the jaw bone. This is known as impaction. Impacted wisdom teeth can be very painful and the procedure to remove them becomes more complicated. Lastly, impacted wisdom teeth can increase the chance for infection or an abscess.

Erupting The Wrong Way

Wisdom teeth tend to erupt just like any other teeth with the roots facing the jaw bone and the crown pointing toward the gum line. However, there are times when wisdom teeth can become crooked or start to erupt at an angle or sideways. If the happens wisdom teeth to be extracted before they have a chance to cause permanent damage to not only the other teeth but also to your bite.

Let’s Say Everything is Perfect

Perhaps you’re one of the lucky ones whose wisdom teeth came in nice and straight and had plenty of room. Your dentist in Boerne may still recommend that they be removed to prevent problems later. Since wisdom teeth are hard to take care of properly — brushing and flossing all the way back there can be very difficult — they do increase the risk of decay and even gum disease.

The best way to reduce the risk of your wisdom teeth causing you trouble is to monitor their development by visiting our Boerne dental office regularly and following through with any recommended treatment.