House of Smiles

Missing Teeth- More than Just a Gap in Your Smile

missing-teeth-more-than-justWhile it is true that the most obvious effect of missing teeth is a gap in your smile, missing teeth can cause other problems that you might not be immediately aware of. For example, did you know that for every missing tooth you have you lose 10 percent of your chewing ability? Read on to get a better idea of how a missing tooth can affect your life.

Surrounding Teeth
A missing tooth usually means more stress for the remaining teeth. In addition to that, if you are missing a tooth on the lower jaw, the opposing tooth on the top can grow longer to fill the gap in a process known as superuption or extrusion. This could lead to teeth tilting and move out of place by drifting into the space that was left by your missing tooth – a disaster for your beautiful smile!

Digestive Health
If you are missing teeth, you can’t enjoy all of the foods that you are used to eating – bad for your health and bad for your mood! Say goodbye to caramel apples, saltwater taffy, crunchy carrots and even gum. And because the variety in your diet is reduced when a tooth is missing, digestive problems are unfortunate yet common.

Decay and Hygiene Problems
The shifting of your teeth may cause new hygiene issues as it may be difficult to brush and floss like you normally would. This leaves your mouth more vulnerable to gum disease and tooth decay.

Facial Aesthetics
People with more than one missing tooth may also have issues with a collapsed bite which causes a loss of vertical dimension. This could make your face appear shorter, as the distance between the tip of your nose and your chin would decrease.

The good news is that you don’t have to suffer anymore! Dental implants can help you avoid all of the problems listed above and let you live your life normally again. It’s never too late for a dental implant, give us a call at Killeen Office Phone Number 254-680-4450 to find out about this life-changing procedure.

Study Reveals Tooth Enamel Structure Composition

study-reveals-enamelExciting news in the world of dentistry and endodontics!

A University of Sydney research team has produced detailed 3D maps of the composition of tooth enamel. While we have known for some time that enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and that its strength comes from a complex hierarchical structure that includes magnesium, carbonate and fluoride ions, this is the first in-depth and detailed look at what the composition of that structure is.

Findings of this Study

Two major findings are exciting the dental community. First, there is now direct evidence that an amorphous magnesium-rich calcium phosphate phase may determine (to some degree) how teeth are formed. Second, organic material was also found in the structure, suggesting that proteins occur in patterns throughout the enamel, not just in the interfaces as we used to think.

What does this mean for endodontists?

Tooth enamel is the first line of defense when it comes to teeth and their roots. Once the enamel is compromised, decay starts to take place and, if left untreated (as you know), the infection may spread to the tooth’s roots, landing you in one of our chairs for root canal therapy. That is why we, as endodontists, want your enamel to stay healthy and strong for as long as possible!

What does this mean for patients?

The impact of this could be great down the road. This type of detailed information will allow dentists and other scientists and researchers to better determine what is going on inside the enamel of your teeth before, during and after decay.

New Treatments?

Potentially…yes! New treatments and prevention strategies for dental health are always on being made, thanks to ground-breaking research and studies such as this.

If you are experiencing tooth pain, it may be that you are in need of root canal therapy. We can help! Call Killeen Office Phone Number 254-680-4450 for more information.

Taking care of your veneers

taking-care-of-your-veneersCongratulations! You’ve just received your brand new veneers. Your smile has never looked this good, and you probably want to make sure it stays that way! Good veneers can last a long, long time, but only if you take good care of them along the way.

Here are some tips to make your veneers last a decade and even more:

Treat Them Like Teeth
You can ensure that your veneers last a long time if you brush them with the same care that you would your original teeth. Brush twice and floss once daily for best results!

Regular Cleanings
It’s important that we continue to schedule appointments with you so that we can make sure your veneers are looking their best, and that they stay that way. The week after the veneers are placed is the most important visit, followed by your regular dental hygiene visits, during which we can keep an eye out for potential problems.

Try Not to Grind
Many people grind their teeth, but it’s important that you let us know if you have a history of doing so. Measures can be taken to avoid damage to your new veneers over time, such as a nighttime mouth guard to protect your new smile.

Avoid Damage
Biting down on hard food is dangerous for any teeth, and even more so for veneers. Avoid using your veneers to bite down on hard materials and foods. The less stress you put on them the better.

Staining
Veneers keep their shade beautifully over the years, but they are not immune from staining. Avoid the same foods and beverages that you do for your natural teeth such as coffee, tea, wine (and smoking)!

What is involved in the procedure?
First we evaluate your teeth using various kinds of imaging and impressions to ensure that veneers are a good choice for you. Next we create a mock-up so that you can see what your teeth will look like after the procedure, before you make your final decision. If you decide to proceed the first step is to remove a thin layer of enamel from the teeth and then make an impression from which we can build the veneers. The veneers are bonded to the teeth with dental cement and hardened using a special light. That’s where the procedure ends and your new smile begins.

If you are ready for a smile upgrade with veneers, give us a call at Killeen Office Phone Number 254-680-4450!

Timing Your Brushing!

timetobrush

When do you brush your teeth? It is recommended to brush your teeth twice a day – once in the morning and once at night. But in the end it’s really up to you to decide when brushing best fits into your schedule (as long as you make time to do it!)

Here are some interesting notes about how food, brushing and time affect your teeth to help you better “time” your brushings:

Brush to Remove Plaque

The goal of brushing your teeth is to remove plaque. Plaque bacteria along with the carbohydrates and sugars in your food create acid, which can lead to cavities and tooth decay. By removing the plaque, you can help minimize the amount of acid that is created and may avoid some types of decay. Because plaque builds up overnight while you are sleeping, we generally recommend that you brush first thing in the morning when you wake up to minimize the process of plaque bacteria feeding on sugars in your mouth.

But Don’t Brush Right After Eating

Plaque bacteria create acid almost immediately. Within seconds of bacteria’s exposure to sugars, the acidity of saliva changes from a neutral pH of 7 to an acidic pH of 4.5. This acidity leaves tooth enamel in a vulnerable state – not a good time to brush your teeth as the bristles may cause damage to the unprotected tooth. It takes about thirty minutes for saliva to return to a neutral, non-acidic pH so if you must brush after your meal, wait for at least a half an hour.

A Word on Acidic Foods/Drinks

Similarly to carbohydrate-rich foods, those that contain citric acid, like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, also weaken tooth enamel. By brushing soon after eating these foods, you may cause damage to your teeth. Furthermore, exposure to phosphoric acid, found in soft drinks, can also cause acid erosion, wearing away enamel from the tooth surface and causing permanent damage. The bottom line is that to keep acid erosion at bay, limit soda consumption and be mindful of sugary snack foods.

Regardless of the time of day you choose to brush, the best defense is a good offense! Grab your toothbrush, toothpaste and get ready to attack that plaque! Call House of Smiles on 254-680-4450 to discuss your oral health options or to add an exam and cleaning to your oral health routine!

Orange Juice and Toothpaste

orangejuicetoothpasteEverybody’s day starts a little differently, but we can agree brushing your teeth should always be a part of your morning routine!
Are you a before-breakfast brusher? If so, you know the dreaded orange-juice-and-toothpaste taste that can follow! Orange juice is bitter and cereal with milk tastes strange! It’s only temporary, but it can really put you off your breakfast!

Why does food taste so bad right after you brush your teeth?

The reason for this bad taste is sodium lauryl ether sulfate, known as SLES or SLS (sodium laureth sulfate), which makes toothpaste foamy and disperses it around the teeth. However, sodium laureth sulfate is not as helpful when it comes to the tongue. Although completely harmless, sodium laureth sulfate suppresses the taste bud receptors for sweetness, and amplifies the taste bud receptors for bitterness. This heightened sensitivity to bitterness and dulling of sweetness is what makes your breakfast taste so strange.

Your tongue is covered with taste-sensitive cells spotted with proteins. If a particle of food you have eaten hits one of these cells, it sends a message to your brain signaling which taste sensation it is; sweet, bitter, sour, salty or umami.

Sodium laureth sulfate is a “detergent” molecule, which disperse fat molecules. This works in soaps for your body, hair or dishes. However, SLS affects the membranes of our tongue cells, blocking our sweet taste buds and enhancing our bitter taste. This results in the unpleasant flavor you get drinking orange juice after the SLS in your toothpaste has dulled your taste buds!

It is only temporary, but if it bothers you, try purchasing a toothpaste made without sodium laureth sulfate (SLS). However, keep in mind that some of these natural toothpastes may also be made without fluoride. Fluoride is absolutely essential in strengthening tooth enamel and preventing cavities. If you have concerns about SLS or fluoride, call us on 254-680-4450 here at House of Smiles!

Dental Implant Success

implantsuccess

What do you use your teeth for? Eating, drinking, speaking, laughing, the list goes on! How are these affected when you have tooth loss? If you have missing teeth, you could be missing a lot! A very reliable and safe method for replacing teeth is dental implants.

Dental implants permanently attach prosthetic teeth to small posts or “roots” that are embedded in the jaw. These posts are made of titanium, and securely fuse to the jaw bone, this helps restore the full functionality of previously missing teeth.

Dental implants not only effectively and reliably replace missing teeth, but also help prevent the loss of jawbone density, restore the support of facial structures, and provide you with the support you need to effectively use your teeth.

The procedure for dental implants can be a quick and easy, and in some cases, can be done in a single day. Your implants become part of you, so they eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures. They also prevent the embarrassment of removing dentures at every snack or meal, as well as the need for denture adhesives.

Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain. Nearby teeth are not altered in order to support a dental implant, thus more of your own teeth are left intact, improving oral health in the long-term as well as your oral hygiene.

Dental implants are very durable, lasting several years, and if they are in good care, can last a lifetime.
Don’t miss out with missing teeth, get your smile back and feel better about yourself!

Here at House of Smiles we specialize in dental implants, so give us a call today on 254-680-4450 to discuss your future implant success!

Oral Health and Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting time when your body is going through many changes. You may be wondering how this will affect your teeth and gums. This blog is meant to answer your oral health questions and give you the information you need to help both you and your baby!

pregnancy and oral healthKeep Up Your Routine. It is important to keep up your brushing and flossing routine. You may be indulging your cravings for sweets, so make sure you brush regularly. It is important to continue regular check ups and cleanings. Let us know your stage of pregnancy when you make your appointment, as well as any changes in your medication or special advice you may have received from your doctor. If you have a high-risk pregnancy or other medical condition, we may recommend certain procedures be postponed.

Pregnancy Gingivitis. During pregnancy some women are prone to a mild form of gum disease, called gingivitis that causes gums to be red, tender, and sore. Keeping your teeth clean is important for the prevention of pregnancy gingivitis. We may recommend more frequent cleanings to help control any signs of the disorder, because if left untreated, it can lead to more serious gum disease.

X-ray Safety. If you suffer a dental emergency or need an assessment, dental X-rays are sometimes necessary. Don’t worry – you will be covered with a leaded apron that will protect you and your baby from any harmful exposure.

Food for You and Your Baby’s Teeth. While pregnant, many women tend to crave sweets or snack more, both of which can put you at higher risk of tooth decay. It is important to choose low-sugar snacks that contain the nutrients your body needs. Your baby’s teeth will begin to develop between the third and six months of your pregnancy. Eating foods rich in vitamins A, C, and D, as well as protein, calcium, and phosphorous will give both you and your baby what you need for good dental health.

Morning Sickness. If you have frequent vomiting or morning sickness, rinse with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water to stop stomach acid from attacking your teeth.

Being a mother is exciting, but it is a huge responsibility. Start your healthy dental routine now for the benefit of you and your baby!

 

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Dental Implants 101

Whether you are missing a tooth, or at risk of losing many, dental implants may be a great solution for you. Dental implants are an increasingly popular fix for missing or dying teeth, and have many benefits.

Dental Implants 101What is a Dental Implant?

Dental implants are high tech teeth. The root of your current tooth is removed, and replaced with a screw attached to a ‘cap’ that looks identical to a natural tooth. Many people report higher confidence and comfort after receiving their new tooth.

What’s so Great About Them?

The cool thing about implants is that if taken care of, they can last for life. Usually all that needs to be replaced, if anything, is the cap. The other great thing about implants is that they can’t die like natural teeth. You still have to clean and maintain them like your other teeth, but no roots are any longer at risk of causing that tooth to fail. In addition to that, many implants can last a lifetime!

What is the Surgical Process Like?

The process is done either all at once, or in steps. This depends on the recommendations for your particular case. The first step is to remove the root of your natural tooth, and place the implant in its place. If there is not enough bone to place the implant, we may encourage you to have bone grafting first. The gum is then stitched closed and allowed to heal. This can take five to six months. The next step is to reopen the gum and place an abutment on the implant, along with a temporary crown so you can heal while the permanent crown is made for you. You then return to get your permanent crown attached in a few weeks. In other cases, all of these steps can be done in a single visit, but it depends on your specific case.

If you have any questions, please call our office for more information, we would be glad to help!

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Going Green: Dark Green Vegetables and Dental Health

Everyone is going green, but did you know that “going green” can also benefit your oral health? Your pH levels inside your body can greatly affect your overall health. Too much acid in your system can make various parts of your body inflamed. This may include your gum tissues. Gingivitis (early gum disease) and periodontitis (advanced gum disease) are conditions of infection and inflammation. Aiming to consume a balanced diet with the goal of achieving an acidic-alkaline balance (balanced pH level) has been shown to reduce symptoms of many health conditions. One of the fastest and easiest ways to saturate your body with these nutrients is by consuming green fruits and vegetables. Some great green additions to your diet are spinach and green smoothies:

Go GreenSpinach & Dark Green Vegetables

Eating dark green veggies, like spinach, can have some great health benefits deeming it a “super food” among nutrition experts! The nutrients found in spinach are a powerful source of cancer-fighting properties, producing a substance that causes prostate cancer cells to self-destruct, and another compound that can prevent the formation of ovarian cancer cells. Spinach promotes cardiovascular health via properties that can lower blood pressure and prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Evidence shows that juicing dark green vegetables like spinach can improve your dental health, preventing gum disease and cavities!

Green Smoothies

Green smoothie can keep your gums, jawbone, and teeth healthier and stronger! The best part about drinking green smoothies is the taste. If you can get over the color, you will find how delicious a green smoothie can be. Spinach, cucumber, kale, lettuce, and zucchini can be blended with fruit to create a low-calorie, nutrient dense meal replacement that boosts your oral health. A great addition to your green smoothie is yogurt. Yogurt has been shown to strengthen teeth and prevent bad breath, as well as add a creamy consistency to your nutrient-dense smoothie.

If you have questions regarding your dental health, give House of Smiles a call at Killeen Office Phone Number 254-680-4450 today!

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High Quality H2O

Whether you’re drinking from a glass that is half-empty or half-full, drinking a glass of water is always beneficial to your health. Human beings are 60% water; so staying hydrated throughout the day is crucial for the hydration of tissue, the distribution of nutrients, and the removal of waste from your body. Not only is drinking water beneficial to your overall health, but your dental health as well!

Here are four reasons why water is the best beverage for your teeth:

High Quality H2O1. Water keeps your mouth clean.

Water cleans your mouth with every sip! As your drink, water washes away leftover food and any residual cavity-causing bacteria. Water also reduces the pH of your mouth by diluting the acids produced by bacteria that live in your mouth. Don’t forget to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes, but drinking water throughout the day will help keep your smile healthy and cavity-free.

2. Water strengthens your teeth.

Drinking water with fluoride, aka “nature’s cavity fighter”, is one of the easiest and most effective ways to fight cavities. While almost all water contains naturally-occurring fluoride, the community water systems that serve most American households adjust the level, usually by adding fluoride to achieve the right amount to reduce tooth decay. Health organizations, like the American Dental Association (ADA), say this is one of the major reasons most people no longer need the dentures that were so common before widespread fluoridation, and studies have shown that it is why dental costs are lower and oral health problems have declined in fluoridated communities!

3. Drinking water fights dry mouth.

Saliva is the human mouth’s first defense against cavities. Saliva helps wash away residual food and coats your teeth in calcium, phosphate, and fluoride. When your mouth doesn’t have enough saliva, you run the risk for tooth decay. When your mouth is feeling dry, drink a glass of water to quench your thirst, and strengthen your teeth!

4. Water is free of calories.

Drinking sugary beverages can create a cavity-prone environment within your mouth, and can lead to weight gain. Studies show that drinking water, eight 8-ounce glasses or 8×8, can help you lose weight.

If you have questions regarding water consumption or your overall dental health, don’t hesitate to call House of Smiles at Killeen Office Phone Number 254-680-4450 today!

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