What To Do If You Crack A Tooth

Anyone can crack a tooth at any time and anywhere. If this happens, you should schedule a visit with your dentist in Boerne as soon as you can. But there are a few things you can do at home to help protect your tooth and relieve any pain that you may have. Keep in mind, these tips are only temporary and you still need to be seen by a dentist for proper treatment. 

At-Home Treatment

If you happen to crack a tooth at night or on a weekend when your dentist may not be readily available, try these tips for temporary help:

  • If you can, take over-the-counter pain medication. 
  • Use a dental anesthetic to help numb the area. 
  • Rinse with warm salt water a few times a day to remove bacteria.
  • Apply an ice pack to your cheek to reduce swelling. 

Signs of a Cracked Tooth

Sometimes you can crack a tooth and not even know it. But most often, a cracked tooth comes along with a few key signs, including the following from the American Association of Endodontists

  • Pain while chewing
  • Sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweets
  • Pain that comes and goes

Cracked Tooth Treatment

If you do crack a tooth, don’t worry. There are several different ways that your dentist in Boerne may use to fix it. 

Bonding – Bonding is a simple, painless way to repair a cracked tooth. Your dentist will fit the crack with a sticky resin, harden it using a special light, and restore your tooth. 

Dental Crowns – Another option to treat a cracked tooth is a dental crown. This is usually more appropriate for a larger crack. Your dentist in Boerne will create and place a custom crown over the affected tooth, protecting it from more damage. Each crown is designed to match the shape, color, and size of your other teeth so nobody will ever know it’s there. 

Root Canal – If a crack is deep enough to affect the inner tooth, you may need a root canal. A root canal may sound scary and painful, but the opposite is true. During a root canal, your dentist will remove any affected pulp which will relieve any pain you may have. A root canal can also protect you from developing an infection. 

Tooth Extraction – When a cracked tooth goes beyond repair and affects too much of the natural tooth structure, your dentist may recommend an extraction. However, many times, extracted teeth can be replaced with a dental implant or bridge so you don’t need to live with a missing tooth. 

It is possible to have a cracked tooth and not know it. However, the longer a cracked tooth goes undetected and untreated, the more it can lead to bigger problems. This is why it’s so important to see your dentist at least twice a year. These regular visits help identify any problems early while they’re easier to treat.

Comparing Dental Implants & Dentures

There are a number of things that can cause our teeth to fall out, including accidents, age, decay, and disease. In fact, tooth loss is incredibly common among American adults and affects more than 178 million of us, according to the American College of Prosthodontists. But if you’re one of the millions of Americans missing a tooth or even several teeth, your dentist in Boerne wants you to know that you don’t need to live without a full smile. There are tooth replacement options such as dental implants and dentures available that can help. 

What are Dentures?

Dentures are a tooth replacement treatment option that has been around for quite some time but has been improved upon as technology advanced. Dentures can either replace all of your natural teeth or even only a series of missing teeth (called a partial denture). They are removable, non-permanent prosthetics that are custom-created to fit in your mouth and appear like natural teeth. 

Pros of Dentures

There are several benefits of dentures, including: 

  • More affordable than dental implants
  • Can be good for those who just had their teeth removed and who want time for their mouth to heal before dental implant surgery
  • There’s no surgery involved
  • Dentures or partial dentures can be modified if more teeth are lost later in life

Cons of Dentures

As with anything, your dentist in Boerne also wants you to be aware that dentures can also come with a few cons such as: 

  • They may not look as natural as dental implants 
  • They have to be removed, cleaned, and stored properly every night
  • They require adhesive to stay in place which can get costly over time
  • They can slip while eating and talking which can be uncomfortable
  • They may not allow you to eat all the foods you want to eat such as corn, apples, or things with tiny seeds
  • They can increase the likelihood of gum disease if they aren’t cleaned properly or if food gets trapped 
  • They’re very delicate and can break easily and require a brand new prosthetic
  • Partials can weaken the teeth supporting it leading to additional problems

What are Dental Implants?

Like dentures, dental implants can also replace either one missing tooth or an entire mouth of missing teeth. But unlike dentures, dental implants are permanent, and instead of sitting on top of the jaw bone, dental implants are secured into the jaw bone. Dental implant treatment starts with a titanium post being placed into the jaw bone where it will act as your tooth root. As it heals, your bone will actually grow around the post, securely locking it into place. Afterward, an abutment is added to the post, and a brand new crown custom-created by your dentist in Boerne is placed on top. Now, if you’re missing more than one tooth, a few posts may be implanted into your bone then a full set of brand new teeth will be permanently secured to them, giving you a brand new look. 

Pros of Dental Implants

Dental implants can be the best and longest lasting tooth replacement for you and can also provide some of the following benefits.  

  • Dental implants tend to be more comfortable than dentures
  • You can eat what you want with dental implants
  • They don’t affect speech
  • They don’t require daily removal and reinsertion 
  • You can care for them just like your natural teeth
  • Dental implants can last for decades with proper care
  • They can reduce the risk of additional oral health problems

Cons of Dental Implants

Even though dental implants may appear to be all positive, there are a few cons as well. 

  • Dental implants are more expensive than dentures
  • They do require surgery
  • Not everyone is a candidate for implants 

If you’re tired of living your life with missing teeth, call your dentist in Boerne and schedule a consultation. Together, you can find the best way to replace your teeth and begin treatment so you can start smiling fully again. 

How to Care for Your Dentures

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

How to Properly Care for Dentures

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

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

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

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

4 Steps to Take if Your Dental Filling Falls Out

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

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

Step #1 – Remove and Replace

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

Step #2 – Take Action

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

Step #3 – Find Temporary Pain Relief

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

Step #4 – Avoid Certain Foods

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

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

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

Oral Health for Seniors

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

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

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

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

All About Dental Implants

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

What is a Dental Implant

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

Benefits of a Dental Implant

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

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

What to Expect During an Implant Procedure

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

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

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

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

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.