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West Houston Dental
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Gum Grafts: Stick It to Receding Gums

Take a look at your gums. Do they look like they're receding or do they feel extra sensitive lately? If yes, it’s time to come in for a visit. Receding gums are a sign of two things: gum disease or overly aggressive brushing. Left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and even heart disease. For early stages of gum disease, we can use a non-surgical scaling and root planing (SRP) treatment to get your gums healthy again. Excessive gum recession, however, sometimes requires a surgical treatment called a gum graft.
 
Once your gums start to recede, brushing with a lighter hand will only be effective if there is still adequate gum tissue left to act as a barrier from disease and bone loss. But if your gums have receded to the extent that your tooth roots are exposed, you may need a gum graft. Exposed tooth roots can cause varying degrees of tooth sensitivity or make your teeth appear longer than normal. But more importantly, exposed tooth roots can leave your teeth vulnerable to bacteria and periodontal disease.
 
Gum grafts may also be used to correct a high frenum attachment. The frenum is the muscle between the upper or lower front teeth; if it pulls on the gum margin, recession could result. Orthodontic therapies can also stretch the gum line and cause the gums to recede. In all cases, gum grafts are an excellent way to protect the underlying bone and prevent the gums from receding further.
#WestHoustonDental #GumGrafts
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More Root Canals for Smokers?

Looking for another reason to quit? Recent studies at Boston University’s Goldman School of Dental Medicine reveal that your gender, how much you smoke and how long you’ve been smoking can significantly multiply your need for root canal treatment. To sum up the findings, men and women are distinctly different when it comes to dental health.
 
Men, it turns out, have the odds stacked against them when it comes to cavities, gum disease and oral cancer. Smoking puts men at twice the risk for developing these dental problems than women. Men who smoke also need more root canals.
 
"Our study has shown that men have almost twice the risk of having root canal treatments if they smoke cigarettes, compared to men who never smoke," said Elizabeth Krall Kaye, author of the Boston University study and professor in the department of health policy and health services.
 
So does that mean women are in the clear? Not really, says Kaye. Historically, women haven't smoked as long or as much per day as men but Kaye believes that the risk associated with smoking and root canals still applies.
 
Although it might seem obvious, why smoking makes men and women more susceptible to dental problems is still somewhat of a mystery. Kaye and her associates think the answers lie in what smoking does to your overall health: It affects your ability to ward off infection, increases inflammation and damages your circulation system.
 
The good news is you can greatly reduce your need for root canals by quitting cigarette smoking and staying smoke-free. In fact, if you stay smoke-free for at least nine years, your chances of needing a root canal treatment can drop as low as a non-smoker's.
#WHD #SMOKE-FREE #ROOTCANALS 
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Regular Checkups Can Save You Thousands
If you have dental problems like tooth decay, gum disease or even oral cancer, regular dental visits give your dentist a chance to catch it early on. That's key. Because the earlier your dentist diagnoses a problem the easier it is to treat. For example, if you have gum disease and let it go unchecked (and untreated) for too long, you may need extensive -- and expensive -- gum disease treatment.
 
Regular dental checkups allow you and your dentist to stay ahead of problems, which can translate into thousands saved.
 
A professional dental cleaning is also a must because it's the only way to effectively remove tartar (hardened plaque). Even if you brush and floss regularly, that’s not enough. Besides looking unsightly (tartar is a "stain magnet" and often has a brown or yellowish tint), tartar also contains cavity-causing bacteria. Preventing the need for a mouthful of fillings every year easily adds up to thousands saved in the long run.
 
Perhaps one of the most important reasons to invest in regular dental exams and cleanings is that it has a positive impact on your overall health. Recent studies have shown that there’s a link between periodontal disease and heart disease; when the former is present, the latter is twice as likely.
 
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, gum disease can have a domino effect on your health. The bacteria caused by periodontal disease can enter your bloodstream and attach to your heart's blood vessels, causing dangerous blood clots. Another scenario is that the plaque buildup caused by periodontal disease can cause the heart's blood vessels to swell.
 
In this way, regular checkups and cleanings are not only money-saving but life-saving. And that’s priceless.
#WHD #Checkup #Cleaning #Every6Months 
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The Impact of an Impacted Tooth

A tooth is considered impacted when it only partially grows through the gums. This can happen because another tooth blocks it, or it grows in crookedly. The third molar typically erupts from age 17 to 21 and is the last tooth to appear, which is why it’s the most likely tooth to become impacted – there’s usually no room left for it.
 
Although an impacted tooth does not always lead to pain or discomfort, the impaction can cause other problems. A partially erupted tooth can create an opening in the gum where food and other particles can accumulate, leading to gum infection. Impacted teeth can also develop tooth decay, and they can also push on adjacent teeth, causing all your teeth to shift.
 
For these reasons, it’s usually recommended to have wisdom teeth extracted before the age of 21. The younger you are the better (and faster) the surrounding tissue and bone will heal. That doesn’t mean you should ignore the symptoms if you’re over 21, though.
 
No matter what age you are, if an impacted tooth is causing you pain, soreness, sensitivity or inflammation, come in for a visit. Better to get treatment than unnecessarily endure pain and discomfort!
 
Persistent pain or an infection usually means the tooth will need to be removed. Sometimes this can be done right in the office. Otherwise, we can give you a referral to a recommended oral surgeon.

#dentalhealth   #dentalcare   #dental  
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Making Dental Visits Easy for Kids

With your help, dental visits can be a positive – even fun – experience for your kids. Our staff will spend a lot of time with your kids to help them feel comfortable and understand what they can expect. You can help us make their next visit a successful one by working with us to accomplish this goal!
 
Here’s what we suggest:
 
·        Use only positive words when answering your kids’ questions. Soft, easy, fun and play are good words to use.
 
·        Avoid using words like pain, hurt, needle and shot. These words make kids (and many adults) scared and anxious.
 
·        After treatment is completed, you can help continue the positive experience by praising your child and referring to the fun time they just had.
 
·        DON’T ask negative questions like: Did it hurt? Were you scared? Did you get a shot? These comments could make your child think that there was a reason to be afraid even though they were cooperative and had a good time. It might also make them afraid of future visits.
 
If your child receives any kind of anesthesia, assure them that their “tickly” or “sleepy” tongue will go away in no time. Most kids don’t mind the numbness, and some even think it’s fun – that’s a good thing.

#dentalcare   #dental   #dentalhealth  

6 Easy Ways to Prevent Cavities in Kids

Kids and cavities seem to go hand in hand. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 percent of children ages 2 through 5 have at least one dental cavity, compared to 24 percent a decade ago.
 
Although 4 percent may not seem like a lot, that increase represents thousands and thousands of children and cavities -- as well as a trend in the opposite direction of the last 40 years, when tooth decay was on a gradual decline.
 
So if you have children and cavities are a concern, here are six easy ways to reduce the risk:
 
1. Avoid giving your baby juice or formula at night. The sugar in juice and formula causes the bacteria in the mouth to produce the acids that cause baby bottle tooth decay. Use fluoridated water instead.
 
2. Choose low-fat foods from the basic food groups. Raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole-grain breads and low-fat dairy products are great for your child's overall health and their dental health!
 
3. If you must, give sweets only as a dessert. If your child must have sweets, limit it to dessert or following a main meal. Late-night snacking and frequent snacking are a major culprit of cavities in children.
 
4. Invest in a water filter. Instead of spending extra on bottled water, invest in a filter for your sink, or a filtered water pitcher. Fluoridated tap water is an excellent resource to help the battle between children and cavities.
 
5. Don't share cups or utensils. Cavities are contagious. So if you have them, you can pass them onto your child by sharing cups and utensils.
 
6. If you smoke, stop. The University of Rochester's Strong Children's Research Center has discovered a link between smoking, children and cavities. Results from a study show that children of parents who smoke are more likely to develop cavities.

#dentalcare   #dental   #dentalhealth   #dentalhealthtips  

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The end of year is approaching. Use your benefits today!

#dentalbenefits   #dentalhealthtips  
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Tips for Breaking Bad Oral Habits

Did you know that a lot of little things you do (or don't do) on a day-to-day basis affect your teeth's well-being and may fall under a list of bad oral habits? These include not brushing or flossing enough, eating too many sweets too often, or even using your teeth to open a bag of chips.
 
Bad oral habits die hard, but they can be stopped in their tracks by the following tips:
 
Floss at least once a day. It helps remove bits of food and dental plaque in places your toothbrush can't find, helping to keep your gums healthy.
 
Brush at least twice a day. If brushing is not an option, chew sugarless gum (make sure it's sugarless!) for 20 minutes after a meal or snack. This helps prevent tooth decay. 
 
Clean your tongue. Regularly cleaning your tongue with a toothbrush or a tongue scraper helps remove the bacteria that causes bad breath.
 
Replace your toothbrush regularly. Replacing your tooth brush ever 3-4 months is a good idea. Bristles in your toothbrush that are bent and broken don't do a good job cleaning your teeth.
 
Eat a balanced diet. Snacking on sweets without brushing increases the acid in your mouth… and the likelihood of tooth decay. Munch on vegetables and fruit instead.
 
Regular Dental Visits. Your dentist is trained to do damage control in your mouth before it's too late. You should visit the dentist regularly -- every six months.
 
Adding these to your list one at a time is a good start to kick those bad oral habits. By doing a little self-check on your daily dental care habits, you can be on your way to making sure your teeth, your mouth's health and your overall health are at their best.

#dentalhealthtips  

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