The Dentists at Houston Westchase

Use Them Or Lose Them

Dental Benefit Plans

Many people with dental benefits get them through their employers, though individual plans are also available. Remember, when you buy a plan you and your employer are paying some premium – upfront dollars – that are wasted if you don’t see your dentist

 

When You Need to Use Them By

Many insurance companies have a benefit deadline of December 31, and this means that any of your unused benefits don’t roll over into the New Year for most dental plans. Still, some plans may end at different times of the year, so check your plan document or ask your employer to be sure. 

 

Tips for Making the Most of Your Plan

The key with this type of coverage is to take advantage of any benefits before they expire for the year.

  • Prevention is better than cure both for your health as well as your pocketbook. Most plans typically pay 100% for preventive visits, so if you have not had one yet, this may be a good time to schedule one.
  • Start thinking about using your coverage early. During a dental appointment that’s over the summer or in the fall, talk to your dentist about what your dental needs are and what treatment you might need before the end of the year. (For example, a back-to-school appointment is a great time to bring this up.) Make any upcoming appointments early so you can take care of them before the holidays.
  • Once you’ve determined what your dental needs are, work with your dentist and benefits provider to figure out what is covered. Often, your dentist’s office will look into this information for you. You can also call your plan using the 800 telephone number on your identification card, or go to their website for information.

Don’t let your benefits go to waste. Call to make an appointment today 832-830-8226

Trick or Treat?

With Halloween comes ghosts, goblins, and goodies—and the sugar in those treats can play some unwanted tricks on your teeth if you’re not careful. 

Here’s why: The bacteria in your mouth are probably more excited to eat Halloween candy than you are. When the bacteria eat the sugar and leftover food in your mouth, a weak acid is produced. That acid is what can contribute to cavities. 

To help you sort through the trick-or-treat bag loot, we have a rundown of some common candies and their impact on your teeth:

Chocolate

Chocolate is probably your best bet, which is good because it’s also one of the most popular kinds of candy handed out on Halloween. Chocolate is one of the better candies, it washes off your teeth easier than other types of candy. Dark chocolate also has less sugar than milk chocolate.

Sticky and Gummy Candies

Be picky if it’s sticky. These are some of the worst candies for your teeth. This candy is harder to remove and may stay longer on your teeth.

Hard Candy

Hard candies are also ones to watch on Halloween. They can actually break your teeth if you’re not careful. 

Sour Candy

You might want to pass on things that make you pucker – sour candy can be very acidic. That acidity can weaken and damage the hard outer shell of your teeth, making your teeth more vulnerable to cavities.

Popcorn Balls

Have some floss handy if you’re enjoying one of these fall favorites. Kernels can get stuck in-between your teeth.

Everything in moderation!

Enjoy the fall festivities and schedule a visit with us for your routine check-up and cleaning. 832-830-8226

We don’t want you to end up with a jack-o-lantern smile!

 

Fluoride In Your Water?

For 70 years, people in the United States have benefited from drinking water with fluoride, leading to better dental health.

Drinking fluoridated water keeps teeth strong and reduces cavities (tooth decay) by about 25% in children and adults.

Oral health in the United States is much better today than it was many years ago. But cavities are still one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. Community water fluoridation is the most cost-effective way to deliver fluoride to people of all ages, education levels, and income levels who live in a community.

Most water has some fluoride, but usually not enough to prevent cavities. Community water systems can add the right amount of fluoride to the local drinking water to prevent cavities.

Schedule a visit to our office. Our doctors can discuss the benefits of fluoride at your next cleaning! 832-830-8226

How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

It’s easy to know when to replace worn out shoes or faded clothes. But how often should you change your toothbrush? It all depends on your usage, health, and preferences. Before you brush again, ask yourself whether it is time for a new toothbrush.

When to Get a New Toothbrush

Replace toothbrushes every 3 to 4 months. Consider getting a new toothbrush sooner if you have been sick, especially if the toothbrush is stored close to other toothbrushes. When in doubt, look at the bristles. If they are frayed, they won’t clean teeth as thoroughly. Because children often brush more rigorously than adults, they may need their toothbrushes replaced more often.

Types of Toothbrushes

There are two styles of toothbrushes to consider: manual and electric. Choose what feels comfortable and makes you want to brush your teeth regularly. A manual toothbrush is portable and ready to use every time you need it. It makes no noise, and you will have complete control over the pressure it puts on your teeth and gums.

An electric toothbrush requires charging. However, the rotating movement of the bristles makes it easier to clean between teeth and at the gum line. Many electric toothbrushes have built-in sensors to make sure you brush long enough and don’t press too hard.

Maintaining Your Toothbrush

No matter which type of toothbrush you use, keep it clean. The American Dental Association recommends rinsing the toothbrush under tap water after you brush to wash away lingering toothpaste and saliva. Then, store the toothbrush in a vertical position, with the bristles positioned so they can air dry.

Storing a toothbrush in a closed container can cause bacteria to build up, so it’s best to let the bristles of the toothbrush fully dry between each usage. If you’re traveling, consider using disposable toothbrushes during the trip.

How often should you change your toothbrush? Get into the habit of buying new toothbrushes for everyone in the family several times per year. How often you change your toothbrush depends on several factors, but it’s best to always have a new, fresh toothbrush waiting in the bathroom cabinet for each family member.

New toothbrushes are always provided with your cleaning at our office. Call to schedule an appointment today, 832-830-8226.

Your Gums. Your Body.

When your parents encouraged you to care for your teeth, they may not have realized that they were also helping you care for your gums and body.

Today we know the importance of periodontal (gum) care, and that gum disease can contribute to other health problems, including serious and lifethreatening ones.

Gum disease can advance without symptoms. Warning signs include:

  • red, swollen gums 
  • bleeding gums
  • bad breath

The mildest form of gum disease, gingivitis, is caused by poor oral hygiene, hormone fluctuations, certain medications, and even stress. If left untreated, it can advance to periodontitis, a chronic inflammation of the gums.

 

Periodontal disease has been linked to many other diseases, including cancers, heart and respiratory diseases, and diabetes. That’s why regular dental visits are essential.

Call our office to schedule checkups for your family!

 

Our goal is to catch and treat problems early – long before they become major health issues.

832-830-8226      [email protected]

The Benefits of Fluoride

What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural mineral found throughout the earth’s crust and widely distributed in nature.

How Does Fluoride Work?
Fluoride helps prevent cavities in two different ways:

  • Fluoride concentrates in the growing bones and developing teeth of children, helping to harden the enamel on baby and adult teeth before they emerge
  • Fluoride helps to harden the enamel on adult teeth that have already emerged

Fluoride works during the demineralization and remineralization processes that naturally occur in your mouth.

  • After you eat, your saliva contains acids that cause demineralization a dissolving of the calcium and phosphorous under the tooth’s surface
  • At other times when your saliva is less acidic it does just the opposite, replenishing the calcium and phosphorous that keep your teeth hard. This process is caused remineralization. When fluoride is present during remineralization, the minerals deposited are harder than they would otherwise be, helping to strengthen your teeth and prevent dissolution during the next demineralization phase

How do I Know if I’m Getting Enough Fluoride?

Brushing regularly with a fluoride toothpaste is considered sufficient for adults and children with healthy teeth at low risk of decay. Your dentist can tell you how much fluoride is right for your family, so be sure to ask for his or her advice. 

Call 832-830-8226 to schedule your appointment today!

 

Suns Out… Visit Your Dentist This Summer!

After you slather on the sunscreen, make an appointment to brush up on the preventive dental services that keep you, and your family, smiling all year.

Preventive care appointments are generally easy and quick, so squeezing them in between pool parties and backyard barbecues is a breeze.

3 PREVENTIVE CARE ITEMS TO SCHEDULE THIS SUMMER:

Cleaning

 All good dental care routines require regular trips to the dentist. These dental appointments remove plaque and tartar and check for cavities and gingivitis. If you don’t go to the dentist regularly, you could miss fixing problems before they are serious…and that can cost you.

X-Rays
The sun’s rays aren’t the only rays happening this summer. X-rays are an important part of your dental health; they help your dentist find cavities, wisdom teeth, bone loss, and jaw issues. X-rays show problems before symptoms start, which means they can be treated before the problem gets more serious.

Sealants
Dental sealants are a plastic coating that is painted onto permanent teeth, usually the molars, to protect teeth from cavities. Brushing doesn’t reach all of the grooves on back teeth, which is where most cavities in children form. Sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of molar decay by 80%, one of the many reasons to consider sealants for children.

Put the spotlight on smiles this summer by scheduling your dental preventive care and visiting The Dentists at Houston Westchase 832-830-8226

Do I Need A Night Guard?

Bruxism is also known as grinding and/or clenching of your teeth. It’s a very common condition that affects approximately 30 million to 40 million children and adults in the US.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, you may be experiencing bruxism:

  • Rhythmic contractions of the jaw muscles
  • A grinding sound at night
  • Jaw muscles that are tight or painful
  • Long-lasting pain in the face
  • Swelling (occasionally) on the side of your lower jaw caused by clenching

There are several ways to alleviate the effects of bruxism. One of the most common is a night guard. This appliance is made in a special laboratory from an impression of your mouth carefully taken by a dental professional. Typically the night guard is worn while you sleep.  Its main function is to prevent the surfaces of your teeth from grinding together, causing you to chip and crack your teeth and strain your jaw muscles. 

The most important thing to know about bruxism is that it can be treated with the help of a dentist. If you experience any of the signs of bruxism, give us a call at 832-830-8226. Our experienced Doctors and Staff will be happy to help!

Hexed By Halitosis

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can cause significant worry, embarrassment and anxiety

There are a number of potential causes for bad breath, but the vast majority come down to oral hygiene. 

After tooth decay and gum disease, bad breath is the third most common reason people seek dental care.

Lets take a look at some key points about bad breath:

  • Bad breath is estimated to affect 1 in 4 people globally
  • The most common cause of halitosis is bad oral hygiene
  • If particles of food are left in the mouth, their breakdown by bacteria produces sulfur compounds
  • There are a number of common causes of bad breath, including smoking, tooth decay and alcohol consumption
  • Keeping the mouth hydrated can reduce mouth odor
  • Rarer causes of bad breath include bowel obstruction, ketoacidosis and aspiration pneumonia
  • Crash diets can cause bad breath because of the build-up of ketones

The best method to reduce halitosis is regular brushing, flossing and hydration. Good oral hygiene ensures that cavities are avoided and reduces the likelihood of gum disease.

It is recommended that individuals visit the dentist for a check-up twice a year.

Your dentist may recommend a toothpaste that includes an antibacterial agent or an antibacterial mouthwash.

Alternatively, if gum disease is present, a professional gum treatment may be necessary to clear out the build-up of bacteria in pockets between the gums and teeth.

Do you think you might be “hexed by halitosis”?

Let our friendly Doctors help you find a solution, 832-830-8226.

 

Do You Have Yellow Teeth?

We can help!

Enamel protects your teeth from foreign substances. Its smooth glossy, and white properties combine to create beautiful smiles.

Unfortunately, our teeth can lose their bright shiny sheen and become dull, drab and discolored.

Our diet, lifestyle, and overall health have a huge impact on the way our smiles change over time.  Coffee, tea, tobacco, poor dental hygiene, and disease can all play a role in aging our smiles well beyond their years.

Keep your smile bright:

  • Brush twice daily for two minutes
  • Floss daily, especially before bed
  • Rinse with water after eating staining foods
  • Quit using tobacco products

Contact us today! Our friendly staff and talented doctors will give you some great teeth whitening options to regain your bright, beautiful smile!