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.   

3 Commonly Asked Questions About Dentistry

Our dental office in Boerne is not only dedicated to providing compassionate, comfortable dentistry for our patients, we’re also committed to educating our community on the ins and outs of dental care. That’s why we love when our patients ask us questions related to their oral health. Even though we get asked tons of questions every day, we wanted to dedicate our latest blog to some of the more common ones…

How Often Do I Need to See a Dentist?

Most dentists will recommend that you have a checkup at least twice a year, sometimes more if you’re at increased risk of certain problems. These visits allow your dentist in Boerne to keep a close eye on your oral health and catch any potential concerns early. When dental problems, such as a cavity, are caught early, treatment is typically faster, easier, cheaper, and minimally painful. However, if you don’t maintain regular dental appointments what may have started as a small problem can quickly become serious and result in severe pain.

How Safe Are Dental X-Rays?

We understand that there may be some concerns surrounding the safety of dental x-rays, but thanks to advancements in dental technology, dental x-rays are incredibly safe and have an extremely low risk for any negative side effects. This is in part because dental x-rays use such minimal levels of radiation. Additionally, using protective measures such as a leaded apron lowers the risk even more. Not only are dental x-rays safe, but they’re also a crucial tool. The images produced from x-rays give your dental team the power to see what’s happening below the surface and into the tooth roots. This allows them to diagnose problems before there are even any signs of an issue.

How Often Should I Brush and Floss?

One of the best things you can do to help keep your mouth healthy is to brush and floss regularly. This means brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. But simply doing these things isn’t enough, you have to do them correctly. For example, don’t brush your teeth too hard or you can actually do more harm than good. Also, make sure you use fluoride toothpaste to help fight off decay. If traditional floss is difficult for you to use, consider floss picks or even a water flosser.  

From questions about preventive, routine care to more complex questions relating to cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, or restorative treatments, the team at our Boerne dental office is here to help. Call us today!  

How to Get Better Oral Health in 2019

As 2018 comes to an end and we’re starting to think about all of the good things waiting for us next year, it’s common to set resolutions in order to help make 2019 the best year ever. Our dental office in Boerne wants to remind our neighbors and patients that making resolutions for better oral health can be a great place to start. In this blog, we cover five ways you can help improve the health of your smile and your whole body in 2019…

  • Quit Smoking. One of the most common New Year’s resolutions made every year is to quit smoking. Smoking, or using any product containing nicotine, is a dangerous habit that’s highly addictive, which makes it really difficult to quit. But we know you can do it. Quitting smoking can reduce your risk for heart disease, cancer, and respiratory problems. It can also help protect your mouth from gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer. Work with your healthcare provider or find support tools online and make 2019 the year you kick the habit.    
  • Eat Healthier. Another common resolution is to eat healthier. Whether it’s for weight loss, to lower cholesterol, or simply to fuel your body with more nutrients, eating better can benefit your entire body, including your mouth. Fruits and veggies, for example, help to decrease inflammation levels and provide your body with tons of antioxidants. Foods in the fruit and vegetable family also protect your teeth and gums from plaque buildup and dangerous bacteria that can lead to decay.
  • Choose Water. Drinking the recommended eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day helps to keep your body functioning as it should. Water also effectively rinses away bacteria and neutralizes acid in the mouth that otherwise would eat away at tooth enamel. Choose to quench your thirst using water as opposed to soda or other sugar-packed drinks and keep yourself hydrated and healthy.
  • Improve the Look of Your Smile. Cosmetic dentistry isn’t only about appearance. The truth is, crooked teeth, missing teeth, and other aesthetic concerns can also affect the function and health of your mouth. From dental veneers to dental implants, to orthodontics and dental crowns, there are numerous cosmetic dentistry options available to help resolve any concern you may have. Talk with your dentist and find the best smile makeover treatment for you and your health.
  • Schedule an Appointment with Your Dentist in BoerneMaintaining regular appointments with your dentist can go a long way in keeping your smile (and whole body) healthy. Research suggests several links to oral health and whole-body problems such as heart disease. Seeing your dentist at least twice a year can help catch any problems, whether related directly to oral health or systemic health, early before they have a chance to cause real trouble.

As we near turning the page on a new calendar year, make resolutions to get your smile the healthiest it’s ever been. Start by calling our Boerne dental office and scheduling an appointment. We’re here to help you.

To Pull or Not to Pull: Is a Tooth Extraction Your Only Option?

Tooth pain is a pain like no other, and when you have it you’re willing to do just about anything to get rid of it. This includes perhaps not thinking twice when your dentist recommends extracting the tooth that’s causing you pain. But our dental office in Boerne wants you to know that you may have another option that will both get you out of pain and save your tooth.

Let’s Talk About Root Canals

When it comes to severe tooth pain, it’s usually caused by either dental trauma or deep, untreated decay. Many times the pain experienced can be relieved through a root canal instead of an extraction. Now, before we get too far into our discussion on root canals, we want to clear up the common misconception that root canals are incredibly painful and should be avoided. In fact, the opposite is true. Thanks to major advancements in dental technology, root canals are comfortable treatments that can get you out of pain almost immediately.

What is a Root Canal?

Essentially, a root canal is a dental treatment that involves removing infection from inside the pulp of a tooth. We understand that may sound scary, but the treatment is incredibly common and many patients report little to no pain. Your dentist in Boerne will start by thoroughly numbing the area. After the numbing agent takes effect, a tiny hole is made in the tooth and the infected material causing all your pain is removed. Your tooth may then be capped with a dental crown to keep it protected.

Root Canals Aren’t Always an Option

Preserving natural teeth is always the goal of your dental team. But the truth is, sometimes a tooth can’t be saved. If decay is left untreated for too long and seeps deep into the tooth, or if a break or chip goes under the gum line, the tooth may need to be extracted. If this is the case, the lost tooth should be replaced with a strong dental restoration to preserve look and function. Some common tooth replacement treatments are:

Maintaining regular dental appointments at our Boerne dental office can help you protect your smile and save your teeth from needing a root canal or an extraction. At these visits, decay can be caught and treated early before it has a chance to affect the roots and cause pain. Call to schedule an appointment today.