Procedural Spotlight: Teeth Whitening

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The phrase “you are what you eat” very much applies to the color of your teeth. Teeth are often stained unbeknownst to us; whether it’s a sip of coffee or wine, or eating darker textured foods. At some point, you may want to start considering whitening your teeth to retrieve that smile. The first thought is usually the cheapest: over-the-counter products. However, some of these over-the-counter products can cause more harm than good to your teeth and gums. Which is why you should consider Smile NB’s professional and safe procedure of Teeth Whitening.

Our Teeth Whitening procedure takes place over two appointment periods. We’ll first need an examination to see the extent of your teeth’s discoloration. Then an impression of your lower and upper jaw will be taken in order to design a custom-made mouth guard to hold our teeth bleaching product in place. Bleach splints will be provided for you to put inside the mouthguard. The wearing of the mouthguard only costs you 3-4 hours out of your day for a week or two. The results will begin showing efficiently – and without any changes to your teeth structure. You can even determine which portion of your jaw you wish to brighten.

While coming discoloration of the teeth can be caused by what we ingest, sometimes it can come from simply aging. That said, there are severe cases – caused by smoking or other unhealthy habits – in which our office will recommend a different treatment altogether in order to help gain a brilliant smile. For more information on our Teeth Whitening service, please visit our Services Page that includes a video on the procedure. Here at Smile New Braunfels, we believe in safe and professional procedures that can only benefit your dental health. If you have any questions regarding Teeth Whitening or simply wish to set up an appointment, give us a call at 830-629-8011.

Sleep Apnea Awareness

Do you have symptoms of loud snoring during the night? What about feeling drowsy even after you’ve gotten a full night of sleep? Sleep Apnea is a disorder in which a person’s breathing repeatedly starts and stops throughout the night. This can cause major problems for your heart and possibly even death. Some cases may not be extreme as others, but the disorder needs to be treated as soon as the symptoms are identified. Let’s discuss this underdiagnosed disorder that is affecting at least 22 million in the nation and what we can do for you here, at Smile NB.

The most common cases of Sleep Apnea are what are known as obstructive. This occurs when the tonsils, certain muscles around the uvula, and the side walls around the throat and tongue relax to the point where they narrow the airway and make it difficult to breathe during a night’s rest. As this occurs, the oxygen levels in your bloodstream will be lowered and, as this goes on, the heart will find it difficult to keep up with. So what can be done about this? The common method is to put patients on a CPAP machine. However, those machines have been found to be uncomfortable. An easier solution for this would be for us to design a custom mouthguard that will hold the lower jaw forward to ease up on the obstruction and make it more adequate for sleeping.

We’d just like to stress once again that Sleep Apnea is a seriously underdiagnosed disorder within the nation. We want you to come in as soon as possible if you find any issues that occur with your sleep patterns or even snoring. Let’s identify this problem early on so we can come up with the best treatment plan for you. Here at Smile New Braunfels, we believe in safe and professional procedures that improve your dental health. Give us a call to set up an appointment at 830-629-8011, and don’t forget to watch our video addressing Sleep Apnea.

Dos and Don'ts - After a Tooth Extraction

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An unfortunate catalyst for periodontal disease is decaying teeth. Some may be more advanced to the point where you may schedule an appointment to start discussing the tooth extraction procedure. While it may not necessarily have to come to the reality of losing a single tooth (as there are a vast amount of alternative options out there for decaying teeth), it is still important to bring up the “what if” subject as you’ll want to know what to do should it come to such a procedure. You’ll want to know the do’s and don’ts after a Tooth Extraction.

Tight after the tooth has been extracted, gauze will be placed on the extraction site to help form a blood clot so the healing process may begin. The gauze will need to be held there for approximately 30-45 minutes. Should the bleeding still persist after the recommended time period, what you should do is add a secondary gauze for another 30 minutes just to be sure the bleeding stops. The tricky part is not disturbing or disrupting the extraction area after the formation of the blood clot. It’s still important to continue your dental routine, however, two big things to avoid during this period is brushing around the extraction area or rinsing vigorously. Habits such as drinking or smoking should also be avoided – as well as sucking through straws up to 72 hours. Due to rising blood pressure, another “don’t” is vigorous exercising for at least 24 hours.

We’ll ask that your daily dental routine resumes after a day with the formed blood clot. Should you experience any pain or swelling, cold compresses as well as taking Tylenol as directed will help with the discomfort. Here at Smile New Braunfels, we believe in safe and professional procedures for your personal dental health. Should you have persistent discomfort after a procedure or would like to set up an appointment, give us a call at 830-629-8011.

What to Avoid After a Bridge or Crown Appointment

Teeth will age with us, and as we age, it’s possible that your teeth encounter some endeavors where they may have to be removed or the dental work that came before is simply wearing off. Bridges and Crowns are important for the rehabilitation of your teeth, post tooth loss or replacing those old fillings. The one thing these two procedures have in common is that first appointment: a mold is taken of your teeth and a temporary Bridge or Crown will be applied to the area of operation. Where things get tricky is when we send you home. Your mouth is anesthetized, there’s an odd pressure occurring on the area, and slightly distressing: there may be some sensitivity. Here’s what to avoid after that initial Bridge or Crown appointment.

Your diets and habits may be going through a slight change while the temporary appliances hold everything in place. The obvious is to be avoided (smoking) but we recommend that sticky substances be avoided too – such as gum. The main types of food you should avoid are the hard kinds. Leave the chips, any kinds of nuts, or frozen food in the fridge until after the full restoration is complete in the second appointment. Concerning brushing and flossing, it’s important to go back to a repeated tip: brush with as little pressure as you can; and when flossing around the temporary Bridge or Crown, be extra careful not to dislodge them.

Once the time comes for the follow-up, the restoration will be complete and following a few days to a week of recovery, everything may go back to normal. (See our blog on Post Cosmetic Operations for more information: Post-Procedure Recovery: What’s Next?) Please note, that the pressure and sensitivity are natural – and the pain may be taken care of via pain medication as instructed by our offices. However, if there’s continuous pain, an uneven bite, or should the temporary Bridge or Crown come out – we ask that you call our office immediately: 830-629-8011.

How to Brush: Tongue Bacteria

Seeing as brushing your teeth every day can seem a bit like a chore, you’ll want to believe that once you’ve scrubbed the inner, outer, and upper portions of your teeth that you’re finished. However, there’s a spot that many are missing when they attempt to satisfy their oral hygiene. You’re doing your mouth a huge disservice if you’re not brushing the bacteria off your tongue. It’s big and noticeable, but frequently gets skipped over in the average brushing routine.  Here’s why it’s important to brush your tongue.

Your mouth is FILLED with bacteria; in fact, a single mouth is said to host billions of bacteria. Now, your focus when brushing tends to be in, on, and around your teeth, but your tongue can nest 30-40% of the bacteria in your mouth. Going without brushing your tongue can cause serious issues for your oral hygiene, most notably, periodontal disease (most adults already live with some form of gingivitis). A simple way to prevent the disease is by scrubbing that tongue bacteria away. Leaving your tongue untouched could also lead to a layer of bacteria, food particles, and dead skin cells, referred to as biofilm, to reduce the efficacy of your taste buds. But the number one thing you should be concerned about not brushing your tongue: bad breath. You may think it’s in the teeth, but the bacteria on the tongue is the true culprit for causing the odor.

There you have it. These issues – periodontal disease, dulled taste buds, bad breath, and more – can all be resolved simply by scrubbing your tongue while you take care of your teeth. This is a growing problem that many are unaware they are facing. If you’re suffering from any oral hygiene issues at all, give us a call at 830-629-8011 for a consultation. Also, check out our Services Page if you’re in need of a treatment that’s done professionally and safely.

Post-Procedure Recovery: What's Next?

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You’ve officially decided you want to invest in procedures such as Bonding or Dental Implants. Smile New Braunfels walks you through the procedure that is normally a few days at most and once finished, you will officially be on your way to a new look. In order to make your recovery days as comfortable as possible, here are a few tips we recommend for at-home care.

Salt Water. After your procedure, you may experience mild jaw pain or swelling. However, these are a breeze to take care of. Simply stir one teaspoon of salt in warm water and rinse your mouth three times a day. The gums may experience pain for a few days, but simply performing this task will keep the pain at bay.

Mouth Guard. It’s easy to mess with your teeth by engaging them with your tongue and grinding other teeth against the procedure area.  This can cause pain and extend your healing time, but the solution is simple: let us know that you tend to touch or grind your teeth and we will create a custom mouth guard to prevent any interaction.

Foods. To maximize your recovery time, there are certain foods and beverages that you should avoid. Hard foods and substances such as peanut brittle, nuts, and ice should be kept away for several days while you adjust. Liquids that can easily stain the teeth, such as coffee, red wine, and tea should also be locked up tight. This also means no smoking.

Brushing & Flossing. We know it’s easy to forget about brushing and flossing, even after dental operations.  But regular oral care is imperative to keep your teeth clean and strong, as well as to help adapt your operated teeth to your jaw. Keep brushing and flossing as you get used to the feeling.

If you have any questions or concerns about your post-procedural recovery, do not hesitate to give our office a call at 830-629-8011.

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Floss

Regardless of the meals eaten throughout the day, many people often think that all they have to do to keep their teeth clean is to simply brush them. Brushing alone, however, only clears part of the plaque on your teeth. Flossing regularly is one of the most important steps you can take to keep your gums and teeth as healthy as possible. Here are the top 5 reasons you should start flossing.

The 40%. A tooth has five faces – the top, the two sides that face outward, and the sides that are in between each tooth. By brushing only the areas that are possible to see, you’re only ridding your mouth of about 60% of bacteria – and leaving a potentially dangerous 40% behind. Flossing will easily get rid of that awful hidden plaque.

Gum Disease. The more you continue to ignore flossing, the more risk you are putting towards your health. Gum Disease is the number 1 cause of tooth loss in adults – especially those over the age of 30, at which point most people have some form of gum disease. What’s all the more alarming is that Gum Disease can sneak up on you at anytime, as it frequently goes undetected in less painful cases. Start fighting back now.

The Bleeding Gums. Have you ever brushed your teeth and found your gums inflamed or mildly bleeding? It’s easy to lay the blame on your toothbrush or brushing habits, but more often than not, the answer is simple: you’re not flossing your teeth enough. It’s easy and common to neglect flossing – but by making it a habit, it can help prevent bleeding gums.

Other Diseases. Gum Disease can lead to all sorts of awful conditions. The neglected bacteria in-between your teeth can make its way into the bloodstream and could lead to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even cancer. So, by flossing, you’re not only doing your teeth a great service, but your overall health as well.

Stronger Teeth. This is probably one of the main reasons why you should floss your teeth. Your oral hygiene is a vital part of your image, and neglecting to floss can lead to tooth loss or painful cavities. Flossing can be your best friend when it comes to oral hygiene.  Instead of waiting to floss until after you brush (when it’s easy to skip because your teeth already feel minty fresh), try making it a habit to floss before you brush your teeth.

For safe and professional procedures concerning your teeth, check out our Services Page and give us a call at 830-629-8011 to schedule an appointment.

Invest In: Tooth Colored Restorations

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Suffering through external damage or cavities from gum disease can be a serious blow to your dental health and your personal image. While it’s very easy to disregard oral hygiene issues such as this and fall into the trap of “dealing with it,” we have a much safer option that can solve everything within a few appointment days. Tooth Colored Restorations help our patients much more in the long run – read on to see why. We believe in procedures that are safe and lasting. Here’s why you should invest in our Tooth Colored Fillings procedure.

The First Appointment. After a thorough evaluation utilizing digital x-ray images as well as a high magnification visual exam, we together determine if your older alloy or composite fillings need replacing.  We look for gaps around the edges, cracks, dark areas or unusual wear facets.  Not all old fillings are bad.  In fact, most are just fine.  I’ll use a close up camera to show you why I think something needs to be replaced.  I want you to fully understand everything.

The Second Appointment. We use topical numbing before any dental anesthetic.  I utilize a technique where I jiggle your cheek while placing the anesthetic very, very slowly.  I can almost promise you that you won’t even know I’m doing anything.  Once numb, we will remove the old filling making certain all the old material goes into our suction and not you.  We use a cavity detection dye on the tooth and under 10x magnification through my microscope.  I’ll know all the decay is out.  The scope allows me to see so much better than those little magnifying glasses.  It truly is a different world through the microscope.  

The tooth is then carefully conditioned to make the filling material bond to the tooth.  Then the composite is placed in tiny increments and each bit gets light cured (hardened) individually.  Once the tooth is full, we shape it, adjust the bite and polish it to a mirror glaze.

Advantages of Tooth Colored Restorations. Evolving from the medieval-like silver fillings, tooth colored restorations are both more natural in appearance and more comfortable. These restorations may also help to keep damaged teeth intact. The resin used in this restoration also contains fluoride that will help prevent tooth decay, leaving you with a stronger tooth.

We’d like to reiterate that this safe procedure is meant to last you many years. If you have fractured teeth or are experiencing any other issues with oral hygiene, make an appointment with Jim Peck, DDS by calling: 830-629-8011.