The Dentists at Houston Westchase

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

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!