The Dentists at Houston Westchase

Back To School!

Backpack? Check. Booster shots? Check. Teeth cleaning? Check!

 

Regular dental visits are important year-round, but a back-to-school checkup is key in fighting the most common chronic disease found in school-age children: cavities. In fact, dental disease causes children to miss more than 51 million school hours each year!

Prevention and early detection can help avoid pain, trouble eating, difficulty speaking and school absences.

 

Plan Ahead

Between cookouts, camping trips and everything else on your family’s summer bucket list, it’s easy for school to sneak up on you. Unfortunately, many parents may not think about making that appointment until August, which is a busy time in any dental office.

Give yourself enough time by making it a habit to call when your child gets her spring report card each year. If you want to avoid the rush to go back to school in August, then plan on getting appointments for the beginning of the summer.

Encourage Age-Appropriate Dental Habits at Home

The best kind of checkup is a cavity-free checkup. Moms and dads can help make this happen by encouraging kids to brush twice a day for two minutes and floss once a day.

Ages 6 and Under
At this age, your child might want to do all the brushing herself but doesn’t have the fine motor skills needed to do a thorough job. Let them start and jump in when needed. During this age, the mouth is changing so much that children who are 5 or 6 are often brushing their teeth in the way they were when they were 2 or 3. They’re not accommodating the new molars, and they’re not accommodating the fact that the mouth is growing.

Ages 7-12
By now, your child knows what to do, she just might not want to. Keep encouraging healthy brushing and flossing habits. Be aware of the fact that sometimes you have to take over a little bit more. By the time they’re teenagers, they’re starting to understand self-care, accountability for their actions and such.

Ages 12-18
This is a critical time for dental health. When you look at research for when caries appear in kids, it tends to be in young kids. But another bump-up time is teenage years and early adulthood. Part of this has to do with the fact that teenagers may have gone for many years and never had a cavity. They don’t necessarily take care of their teeth because they don’t see the consequence of not.

Don’t let your teen’s habits become out of sight, out of mind. The behaviors of the teenager are going to translate into the 20-year-old. We want to be able to support them and be respectful of them because they’re not kids anymore.

 

Timing Is Everything

Time of day can make or break your child’s appointment. It’s important for a child of any age who’s used to a nap to not schedule during naptime. If your child is always cranky after waking up, factor that in too. 

For older children, avoid cramming in a dentist appointment right after day camp or school. Not all kids have the energy to do that. If the child has already been exhausted or had a bad day or had tests, they just don’t have the stamina to make it through the appointment successfully.

Make One Child a Model

If you’ve scheduled back-to-back appointments for your children, there’s a simple way to decide who goes first: Choose the child who’s had the most positive experiences at the dentist. Every child is going to be a little bit different in their temperament about how they approach a visit. You generally want the ones first who are more successful because the others get to see how it goes. 

A Hungry Child Is Not a Happy Patient

Feed your child a light meal before the appointment. Hungry people are grouchy people. You want them to be comfortable. It’s also generally a good idea not to feed them in the waiting room before you see the dentist because there’s all that food in their mouth.

Eating light is also better for a child with a healthy gag reflex. Some children gag a lot. As they age and they get more control over swallowing, kids tend to gag less.

Bonus points if your child brushes before an appointment!

Leave Your Anxiety at the Door

If your heart races at the very thought of the dentist, your child can probably tell. Kids pick up on parents’ anxiety.

The younger your kids are, the more you need to be aware of how you’re communicating with them. For example, if your child asks about getting a cavity filled, don’t say, “It will only hurt for a little bit.” Instead, encourage your child to ask the dentist. With any child, you want them to be able to feel successful at accomplishing a good visit and link that positive feeling with the idea that their teeth are strong and healthy so they have that message going forward for the rest of their lives.

Keep Cool If Your Child Won’t Cooperate

If your child gets upset during her visit, the worst thing you can do is swoop them out of the chair and leave. The next visit is going to be harder. You still have to help them get through part of the visit.

First, assess why your child is acting out. Are they truly afraid, or are they trying to test the situation? One of the reasons I think a 4, 5 or 6-year-old gets upset is because they think they’re going to be asked to do something they can’t be successful at. They’re in an environment they feel they can’t control and that makes them upset, so we try to break it down into small steps.

Then, work as a team with your dentist to keep the visit going. Let the dentist lead the conversation. Jump in where you think it helps most, while still allowing the dentist and your child to build a good relationship. Give the dentist every opportunity to turn the visit around.

Take a Card (or Three) on Your Way Out

Accidents can happen whether your child is in sports camp, gym class or just walking down the street. In case of emergency, make sure your child’s teachers and coaches have all the medical contact information they need – including your dentist’s number. Grab business cards for your wallet, your child’s backpack, and your school’s files. Parents should be very aware of accidents and make sure that wherever they go that they bring the number of their dentist so that if a child has an accident, they can certainly call the office.

Wedding Season Is Here! Wedding Teeth Whitening Tips For A Bright Smile

Whitening for the Wedding
The dress isn’t the only thing that’s white at many weddings. Some couples whiten their teeth for sparkling smiles on the big day. If you were to whiten your teeth for a wedding, have a dentist do the whitening in an office, that way you can see results right away and not have to worry about placing whitening trays in your mouth every day.

Because whitening can make your teeth feel more sensitive, try whitening your teeth a month before the big day. Scheduled the appointment early to give your smiles time to adjust. That way, by your actual wedding day, your teeth aren’t too sensitive.

There are also some at-home options you can use, such as trays you can get from your dentist. You can also use whitening toothpaste or strips with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. That way, you know they are safe and effective. Ask your dentist which method is best for you, but above all, stay away from home remedies, which can actually do more harm than good.

Schedule a Dental Appointment Early On
Weddings mark such momentous days in our lives, and our smiles are a big part of them. The last thing you want to worry about is a toothache on your wedding day or on your honeymoon.
If you don’t see a dentist regularly, the time leading up to your wedding can be a great time to start. Schedule an appointment a few months out to avoid painful and possibly expensive problems around your wedding. Having regular dental visits can help reduce your chances of a dental emergency or the need for a procedure close to the wedding.

Wedding Day Must-Haves
If your bridesmaids are putting together an emergency kit, there’s one item we recommend bringing along. Have one of your bridesmaids carry floss and little compact mirror to make sure there’s nothing in your teeth and everything looks good.
Regular brushing and cleaning between your teeth should help your breath stay fresh, but feel free to also pack some sugarless gum with the ADA Seal of Acceptance if you need a breath boost during the day. Also, avoid food that can leave your breath not as fresh, like onions or garlic.

Commit to a Daily Dental Routine
Your wedding is just one small part of a long life with your partner. When it comes to your dental routine, don’t let it slide after tying the knot. Follow a healthy dental routine before the wedding and keep up a sweet daily ritual together. Have your own little routine in the morning where you brush and floss together.

Call or text our office to schedule an appointment and make sure your teeth are ready for your big day! 832 830-8226

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a common dental condition that affects one out of every two American adults aged 30 and over. It’s no small thing. In fact, it’s the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in the developed world. But it goes beyond teeth, periodontal disease has also been linked to Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, pancreatic cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and more!

If you find yourself wondering, “What are some periodontal disease symptoms?”, you might be surprised to learn you are experiencing a few of them yourself.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease, also called periodontitis, is the disease of the gum tissues that surround the teeth and the jawbone that anchors the teeth in place. It starts with bacteria in the mouth, and, if untreated, it can end with tooth loss.

Causes of Periodontal Disease

The main cause of periodontal disease is bacteria in plaque that is left untreated. The bacteria in our mouths bond with mucus and other particles to form plaque on teeth. The plaque that isn’t removed by brushing and flossing hardens and forms tartar.

To get rid of the bacteria, our immune systems release defense cells that cause areas around the teeth to become inflamed. As our gums swell, they pull away from the teeth creating little pockets that allow more bacteria to settle in.

Other factors that could lead to periodontal disease include:

  • Smoking/tobacco use
  • Hormonal changes (puberty, pregnancy, or menopause)
  • Certain illnesses
  • Genetics
  • Poor nutrition
  • Stress
  • Clenching or grinding teeth

Stages Of Periodontal Disease

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums without loss of bone.  It is a mild and reversible form of periodontitis, but not all gingivitis progresses to periodontitis. Plaque builds up on teeth and gums become inflamed, but teeth are still firmly planted in sockets. If left untreated, gum inflammation can lead to gum disease.

Periodontal disease is when the destruction has reached the underlying bone. The pockets created by gum inflammation deepen and more gum tissue and bone are affected. Eventually, due to loss of support, the teeth can become loose and fall out.

What Are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?

  • Gums that bleed easily while brushing and flossing.
  • Swollen or tender gums.
  • Gums that pull away from teeth.
  • Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down.
  • Deep pockets between teeth and gums.
  • Loose or shifting teeth.
  • Pus between your teeth and gums.
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth.
  • New spaces developing between your teeth.

When You Should See a Dentist

Periodontal disease can be painless; some people don’t even know they have it. A periodontal evaluation with x-rays is the best way to find and treat gum disease. If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist, or if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, see your dentist soon. Taking care of your periodontal disease now not only improves the health of your mouth but can also have a have a positive effect on your overall health.

Regular cleanings and check-ups combined with minimally invasive treatments will protect your teeth and gums from periodontal disease for years to come.

Your bleeding gums might be a sign of periodontal disease. Don’t wait to find out! Call 832 830-8226 to schedule an appointment.

When Do You Visit The Dentist?

Most of you probably visit the dentist every six months for your cleanings and exams. But cleanings and examinations are not the only time you should see the dentist. If you notice any of the following issues, be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon

as you can.

Dry Mouth
Saliva is our bodies natural cavity fighter, and if you suffer from dry mouth, you’re at an increased risk of developing cavities. If your mouth feels dry, be sure to contact your dentist to discuss what may be causing this issue.
Read the rest of this entry »

Halloween Candy & Your Teeth

Keep your smile healthy on Halloween & year-round

Time It Right
Eat Halloween candy (and other sugary foods) with meals or shortly after mealtime. Saliva production increases during meals. This helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and rinse away food particles.

Stay Away from Sweet Snacks
Snacking can increase your risk of cavities, and it’s double the trouble if you keep grabbing sugary treats from the candy bowl.

Choose Candy Carefully
Avoid hard candy and other sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time. Aside from how often you snack, the length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay. Unless it is a sugar-free product, candies that stay in the mouth for a long period of time subject teeth to an increased risk for tooth decay.

Avoid Sticky Situations
Sticky candies cling to your teeth. The stickier candies, like taffy and gummy bears, take longer to get washed away by saliva, increasing the risk for tooth decay.
Have a Plan
It’s tempting to keep that candy around, but your teeth will thank you if you limit your stash.

Drink More Water
Drinking fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. If you choose bottled water, look for kinds that are fluoridated.

Maintain a Healthy Diet
Your body is like a complex machine. The foods you choose as fuel and how often you “fill up” affect your general health and that of your teeth and gums.

Stay Away from Sugary Beverages
This includes soda, sports drinks and flavored waters. When teeth come in frequent contact with beverages that contain sugar, the risk of tooth decay is increased.

Chew Gum with the ADA Seal
Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals helps reduce tooth decay, because increased saliva flow helps wash out food and neutralize the acid produced by bacteria.

Brush Twice a Day
Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. Remember, replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth.

Clean Between Your Teeth
Floss your teeth once a day. Decay-causing bacteria get between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.

Visit Your Dentist
Regular visits to your dentist can help prevent problems from occurring and catch those that do occur early, when they are easy to “treat.”

Call 832 830-8226 to schedule a visit soon, Happy Halloween!

Why Choose Invisalign?

Did you know that when it comes to wearing metal braces, an overwhelming 92% of teens feel it would prevent them from fitting in with their peers? It’s no secret – metal braces are uncomfortable and embarrassing, and only add insult to injury for someone who is already uncomfortable with their smile.

Invisalign® is the most advanced clear aligner system in the world and has helped millions of patients feel more confident in their smile and more confident in themselves while allowing their natural smile to shine through treatment.

Invisalign® uses advanced technology to take high-precision digital impressions, which are sent to the Invisalign® lab to have your aligners created. We will provide you with a custom set of clear aligners designed just for you to gently and invisibly apply pressure and guide your teeth into the perfect position. Invisalign® can help improve the alignment of your teeth as well as your bite, and even allow for better oral health! Straight teeth are healthier teeth, after all, because the gums fit better around the teeth and they are easier to keep clean when teeth are properly aligned.

The benefits of
Invisalign® include:

  • Aligners are virtually invisible
  • Clear plastic is smooth & comfortable
  • No metal brackets & wires
  • Removable for easy cleaning & eating
  • Easy to wear & maintain

Straightening your teeth with Invisalign® can help you improve your smile, your confidence and your life! Take the first step toward a new you and schedule your Free Consultation today! 832 830-8226 [email protected]

Travel Tips for Dental Health

Vacation season is here! Here are 8 travel tips for your dental health before your big trip.

Make Time for a Checkup

Even when you’re dreaming about vacation, there’s no place like home–especially a dental home base. If you can, schedule your next regular visit before your trip. A thorough exam can spot any problems before they happen. You’ll have peace of mind, and your dentist will have the most up-to-date information on your teeth, including x-rays.

In Case of Emergency…

Have your dentist’s contact info handy in your cell phone or keep a business card in your wallet. If you think you need to talk to somebody, you probably do. In fact, more dental emergencies can be resolved over the phone than you might think (especially if you keep up regular visits).

In Case of Emergency Overseas…

If you are out of the country and absolutely in need of a dentist, get in touch with the local consulate or U.S. embassy. While talking to the concierge at the hotel is OK, ask the consulate and their employees for a recommendation. It’s an independent recommendation and not someone who may be driving business because of a contract or to a relative.

Forget Your Toothbrush?

Sunscreen? Check. Phone charger? Check. Toothbrush? Oops. If you find yourself temporarily without a toothbrush, you can rinse vigorously with water to wash away some of that cavity-causing bacteria. You could also put some toothpaste on a clean washcloth or your clean finger in a pinch. When you finally get to the nearest drugstore, look for a toothbrush with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. If there aren’t any Seal products, buy the softest brush you can find.

Proper Toothbrush Transport

Letting your toothbrush air dry is how you keep your toothbrush clean at home, but that’s not always possible on vacation. What’s a traveling toothbrush to do?  Keeping your toothbrush clean and out of contact with other things is more important than making sure it’s dry on vacation. A bag keeps your toothbrush separate from everything else in your luggage. When you get there, pop it open and let your brush air dry.

Pack an ADA-Accepted Pack of Gum

Chewing sugarless gum can help relieve ear pressure during a flight – and help keep cavities at bay on vacay. Research shows that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal can help prevent cavities. That’s because it gets saliva flowing, which helps wash away cavity-causing bacteria. Sugarless gum with the ADA Seal is guaranteed to do the trick.

When In Doubt, Brush with Bottled Water

If you are in a country where the water supply is compromised – or you’re on a wilderness adventure but aren’t sure how clean the stream is – always use bottled water to brush. Don’t use the local water to brush your teeth. What happens if you accidentally get local water on your toothbrush? Get a new one if you can. If that isn’t possible, rinse your brush well with bottled water to reduce the risk of getting sick.

Get Back on Track After Your Trip

If you let brushing and flossing slide – or indulged in too many sweets while away – don’t beat yourself up. Just get back on your normal routine of brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing when you get home.

 

 

Dental Tips for Summer

Summer is here, and your family’s schedule is topsy-turvy. That means getting your kids to eat right and maintain good oral hygiene can be a struggle. And with all this extra activity, there may even be a dental emergency or two. Here are a few oral health tips for summer that will help you protect the kids and their developing teeth from long-term damage and avoidable mishaps.

Keep Up That Oral Hygiene

Brushing twice a day and flossing daily is as important in the summer as it is in any other season. But with vacations, camp and lots of days spent at the pool, don’t be surprised if you frequently need to remind your kids to brush and floss.

Now is a great time to buy new toothbrushes to replace the old, worn out or “germy” ones. In fact, you should stock up on extra brushes, as well as travel-sized toothpaste and floss for those summer trips and days out.

Now’s the Time for Checkups

Parents tend to schedule dental checkups in August, right before class starts. But to prevent dental problems over summer, book the kids in right after school ends. This way, the kids will have a clean bill of dental health for summer. The last thing you want is a child suffering from a toothache while away on summer vacation.

Stock a Healthy Kitchen

Keep the summer from being an “acid attack” on your family’s teeth by investing in healthy snacks. It’s hard to limit snacking when the kids are home all day, but with the availability of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, you can stock the fridge with healthy options. Be sure to keep the fruits and veggies clean and ready to grab. You’ll feel better about snacking when the kids are reaching for blueberries and strawberries instead of candy and cookies. And swap out the sugary, acidic soft drinks with bottled water.

Prevent Dental Emergencies

It wouldn’t be summer without lots of swimming, bike riding, volleyball and other playground activities. And while these are great fun, they can unfortunately result in a dental injury. Parents can be prepared for the worst by following these tips:

  • Make sure your kids follow the “pool rules.” Many of the summer oral injuries dentists treat are due to a pool accident. Running on slippery pool decks, diving into shallow waters or bumping the pool ledge with their mouth causes many children to either chip or knock a tooth loose.
  • Know what to do yourself. Getting to the dentist right away is important, there are things you can do to help. Use warm water and cold packs first, to clean the area and reduce swelling, respectively. Use gauze to stop any bleeding. Place a lost permanent tooth back in the mouth, if possible. If not, use salt water or milk to keep it moist for the ride to the dentist.
  • Pack an emergency dental care kit to take along for vacation. Essentials for this kit are a handkerchief, gauze, a small container with a lid, ibuprofen and your dentist’s contact information.

Summer can really throw your routine for a loop. But by following these oral health tips for summer, your kids can start the school year with great oral hygiene.

Give us a call to schedule your summer visit 832 830-8226

What is dry mouth?

What is dry mouth?

Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is a condition that results from a decreased volume of saliva in the mouth. Xerostomia can make it difficult to speak, eat, and digest food and can lead to malnutrition. Extreme dry mouth and salivary gland dysfunction can produce significant anxiety, permanent mouth and throat disorders, and can impair a person’s quality of life.

Dry mouth affects about 10% of all people and tends to be more prevalent in women than men. Disorders of saliva production affect elderly people and those who are taking prescription and nonprescription medications most frequently.

What are the benefits of saliva?

Saliva is an essential part of a healthy mouth and is often taken for granted. The lubricating properties of saliva provide comfort and help protect the oral tissues against ulcers, sores, and other frictional movements that accompany normal eating and speaking. Saliva neutralizes acids and helps defend against tooth decay, and bacterial, viral, or fungal threats. Saliva helps digest food and helps teeth in remineralization. Saliva is also an essential contributor to a person’s ability to taste, as it acts as a solvent for the taste stimuli. When saliva volume is insufficient, all of these functions are impaired.

Treatment

SalivaMAX™ is a supersaturated calcium phosphate powder that when dissolved in water, creates a solution with a high concentration of electrolytes similar to that of natural saliva. SalivaMAX is an artificial saliva that is used to relieve acute and chronic symptoms of xerostomia. Supersaturated calcium phosphate rinses have been clinically proven to reduce the symptoms of xerostomia due to medications, dysfunction of the salivary glands, Sjögren’s syndrome, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment.

Side Effects
There have been no reported side effects of supersaturated calcium phosphate rinses. SalivaMAX does contain sodium; patients restricted to a low sodium diet should consult their physician before use.

How to Get SalivaMAX

SalivaMAX is available by prescription only. SalivaMAX is provided in single-use packets and is mixed with 1 oz. of water to create a supersaturated calcium phosphate rinse. Patients swish with SalivaMAX, and it may be administered several times per day, depending on the dry mouth severity.

Through our Patient Assistance Program, the out of pocket costs for SalivaMAX could be as low as $0 for those that qualify.

To receive SalivaMAX, call and schedule an appointment with our hygienist and Doctors 832 830-8226

Hydro Floss

The Hydro Floss® oral irrigator is the highest quality, most effective home treatment device of its kind. It cleans under the gum line and between the teeth to remove plaque and food debris and reduce the harmful bacteria that brushing and flossing leave behind. 

With recent reports linking oral health to life-threatening diseases such as heart and lung disease, stroke, and diabetes, it is vital to give more attention to ones home dental care. When combined with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to your dentist, the Hydro Floss® oral irrigator will help to improve oral health. Whether you have inflamed and bleeding gums, periodontal pockets, crown & bridge work, dental implants, veneers, or orthodontic appliances, the Hydro Floss® oral irrigator will be an added plus to your home dental care.

  • Uses magnetics to affect the water and inhibit the bacteria from adhering to the surface of the teeth.
  • Clinical studies show that the Hydro Floss® oral irrigator is 44% more effective than non-magnetic oral irrigators at reducing plaque and calculus.
  • Pulsating stream of 1,200 pulses per minute disrupts plaque biofilm and flushes food and bacteria from the surface of the teeth, between teeth and from hard to reach areas.
  • Maximum pressure at 60 psi, tested to be the safest and most effective on the gingival tissue.
  • A water stop button on the handle.
  • Adjustable pressure for comfort preference.
  • 800 ml reservoir, marked in ml to easily add mouthwash or medications.
  • Pack of 4 color-coded Jet Tips with holder.
  • Quality parts and components

We carry the Hydro Floss oral irrigator in our office. Call to reserve yours now, quantities are limited! 832-830-8226