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At Home Dental Tools and How to Choose Them

If you’ve ever stood in front of the toothbrush and toothpaste selection at your favorite store, you know how confusing it can be to choose the right ones for you. Add onto that the choices in floss, mouthwash, mouth rinses, and water irrigation devices and the choices can be staggering. Selecting the correct dental tools for at home use is important. Ask your doctor for their recommendations and use the following information to help you choose the right tools.

Toothbrushes

Most doctors recommend using a soft bristle brush which is small enough to reach all areas of your mouth. Soft bristles are best because they remove plaque and debris from your teeth and gum line, but are gentle and won’t cause damage. A powered toothbrush is also an excellent choice and does a better job of cleaning your teeth and gums. You should replace your toothbrush ever three months, or as soon as it starts to show signs of wear and tear. Choose a soft nylon brush for your child. Begin as soon as their teeth start to emerge and choose a toothbrush that fits easily in their mouth.

Toothpaste

A toothpaste which contains fluoride will help strengthen and protect your teeth. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral which helps to remineralize your teeth and make them stronger. It is safe and effective for adults and children. You can find toothpastes with many different benefits. Whitening toothpaste and toothpaste for sensitive teeth are a few examples. When choosing a toothpaste for your child, look for one that tastes good and has fluoride. Ask your doctor which type of toothpaste is right for you and your family.

Mouthwashes and Mouth Rinses

A mouthwash and a mouth rise are two different products. Mouthwashes are antibacterial and help prevent plaque and freshen your breath. Mouth rinses coat your teeth with fluoride and help to strengthen them as well as freshen your breath. When choosing one for your child, be sure to choose an alcohol-free mouthwash or mouth rinse.

Floss

You should floss twice a day for healthy gums. Floss comes in many different coatings, sizes, flavors, and forms. You can also get floss in a holder to make it easier to use. Which type of floss is a personal preference. Choose a coated floss if uncoated irritates your gums. Children should floss once a day under parent’s supervision.

Water Irrigation Devices

Water irrigation devices are very effective for removing food between your teeth. Children, teens, and adults who wear braces or other orthodontic appliances find these devices handy for removing food and debris around and in the device as well as between the teeth and at the gum line. Water irrigation devices are also effective in reduction of gingivitis, bleeding gums, and plaque accumulation.
Of course, you should still keep up with your twice a year dental checkups to maintain optimal oral health, but knowing the best tools to use at home will give you an extra hedge or protection. If you have questions about the tools you need, call or contact Smith and Cole Dentistry today.

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Today’s Restorative Dentistry Options

Regular dental checkups and cleanings every six months will help keep your teeth and mouth healthy and looking great. But sometimes you need more care, and that is where restorative dentistry can help. Restorative dentistry is the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of oral diseases. This type of dentistry is used to treat chipped, decayed, discolored, cracked, and missing teeth. Restorative dentistry is also used to treat trauma or developmental defects. Your doctor has several options to treat you and restore your oral health and improve your smile. Your doctor will work with you to formulate a treatment plan to treat your condition.

Initial Visit

Before your doctor can formulate a treatment plan, the nature of your problem must be diagnosed. Your doctor uses mechanical, radiographic, and visual techniques to analyze your teeth’s surfaces. These techniques may include x-rays and digital images. Most restorative procedures can be performed with minimal sedation, but more complex treatments may require heavier sedation and the services of a specialist like a maxillofacial surgeon, prosthodontist, or endodontist. Simple restorative procedures may be done in just one visit, where more extensive procedures may require several visits. The main goal is to restore your teeth and gums with minimal discomfort and anxiety. At your initial visit the doctor will examine, diagnose, and decide which treatment option is best.

Treatment Options

Once your doctor has examined and diagnosed you they have a variety of treatment options. Here are some of the most common treatments used in restorative dentistry today.

  • Fillings – Fillings may be dental amalgam (traditional metal fillings), gold, composite resin, or porcelain. Composite and porcelain fillings can match the color and shape of your teeth which make them an excellent choice for restorations. Amalgam fillings are normally used for back teeth and molars since they can withstand the pressures of chewing although composite fillings can also be used in back teeth and molars.
  • Veneers – Veneers are very thin shells placed onto the surface of your teeth. They are used to repair cracked, chipped, uneven, or damaged teeth. Veneers can be fabricated to match your natural tooth color, or to improve it. Your doctor places the thin porcelain shells onto your teeth and then bonds them with cement or a special light. Veneers can last many years.
  • Crowns and Bridges – Crowns are used to restore chipped, cracked, and damaged teeth. They are also used in dental treatments such as root canals to protect the affected tooth. Most crowns are fabricated from porcelain or ceramic and once in place look just like your natural tooth.
    Bridges are used to replace one or more teeth. They consist of one or more crowns which are attached to adjacent teeth. Bridges are usually permanent, but some can be removed depending on your condition.
  • Implant – An implant replaces a damaged or diseased tooth. A titanium screw is placed in the jawbone and the replacement crown is then attached to the implant.
  • Inlay – An inlay is a cemented restoration which restores up to three surfaces of the tooth. They can be made of porcelain, ceramic, or gold.
  • Onlay – This dental restoration restores the chewing surfaces and sides of your teeth in the back of your mouth. Onlays are made of the same materials as inlays.
  • Bonding – Also known as composite bonding, this restoration is used to lengthen your front central teeth or reshape teeth.

These are just some of the restorative procedures your doctor can use to repair and improve your smile. If you have questions about which treatment is right for you, call or contact Smith and Cole Dentistry today.

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Pain Free Dentistry with Sedation

If a trip to the dentist’s office fills you with anxiety or dread, know that with today’s sedation dentistry technology you next trip can be pain and stress free. Sedation dentistry relaxes you while the doctor works on you and frees you from fear and anxiety.

Types of Sedation

There are three levels of sedation used; minimal, moderate, and deep anesthesia. Minimal sedation makes you relaxed, but you are still conscious and aware of what is going on. Moderate sedation puts you a bit deeper into sedation, but you’re still awake but more relaxed. Many people fall asleep under this type of sedation. Deep anesthesia is used for oral surgery. You are completely out and have no memory of the procedure.

At Smith and Cole Dentistry we use oral sedation. Before the doctor performs your procedure, you will be given a pill that will relax you. You are made comfortable with a warm blanket and when the medication take effect, the doctor will perform your procedure. Depending upon the level of sedation you may be completely awake but relaxed and able to leave the office on your own. Moderate and deep sedation require you to have someone drive you home a you may still be a bit groggy when you leave the office.

Are You a Good Candidate for Sedation Dentistry?

Almost everyone is a good candidate for sedation dentistry. Here are some examples of factors which make sedation a desirable choice for you.

  • Elevated level of fear and anxiety
  • Past traumatic dental experience
  • Strong gag reflex
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Limited time for treatment
  • Complex dental problems
  • You have a fear of needles and shots
  • You have an aversion to the smells, noises, and tastes associated with a dental visit
  • Embarrassment or fear about your teeth

If you are nervous or fearful of your next visit, call or contact Cole and Smith Dentistry and ask about sedation dentistry.

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Repair and Improve Your Smile with Lumineers

Everyone wants a bright shining smile, but yellow or discolored teeth, misaligned teeth, and chipped or broken teeth can mar your smile. Today’s dentistry practice has an answer to repair and improve your smile. Lumineers are thin porcelain shells placed over your teeth which look just like natural teeth. They are a cost effective and attractive way to have the smile of your dreams.

Restorative Dental Lumineers

Many times, your doctor will recommend Lumineers to help correct your smile. Your teeth may be misaligned, broken, cracked, or yellowed. While Lumineers will not cure the underlying problem since they are bonded to the surface of your teeth, they can give you an improved smile and increase your confidence. The secret to movie stars smiles? Many times, it is Lumineers.

Unlike traditional dental veneers, which take at least three visits to fit, Lumineers can be fitted and placed in just two visits. There is no need to take any enamel off your teeth as in traditional veneers. Since Lumineers don’t require the removal of any of your enamel, they are reversible. Lumineers are thin translucent porcelain shells which reflect light much in the same way as your natural teeth and last up to 20 years.

Getting Your New Smile

Getting your Lumineers usually takes just two visits. At the first visit the doctor will discuss your goals and take impressions of your teeth. The impressions are then sent to a dental lab where your new Lumineers are milled. Once they are delivered, you’ll come back and have them placed and bonded. Lumineers are generally placed on your front teeth and not your molars because they can’t withstand the grinding involved in chewing. Placement takes about an hour, and then you have a bright perfect smile which lasts for many years.

If you want a perfect smile which will last for many years, call or contact Smith and Cole Dentistry today and ask about Lumineers.

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Wisdom Teeth Myths and Facts

Your wisdom teeth (third molars) usually come in when you are in your late teens or early adulthood. Their name implies you have collected some “wisdom” by the time they come in. Not everyone’s wisdom teeth come in. Approximately 35 percent of Americans never develop wisdom teeth. Most people who have their wisdom teeth need them extracted. This is because they usually come in crowded against your other teeth, or become impacted in the gum. They may also become infected and need removal. So how much do you know about wisdom teeth? Here are some interesting myths versus facts.

Wisdom Teeth Must Always Be Extracted

One of the most common misconceptions is that all wisdom teeth must be removed. Today, dentists don’t automatically remove your wisdom teeth unless they become infected, impacted, or they are crowding the rest of your teeth.

Wisdom Teeth are Throwbacks of Evolution

While at one point we may have developed wisdom teeth to help us eat and speak. Wisdom teeth aren’t essential for eating and speaking today, and our ancestors may have had larger jaws promoting the development of wisdom teeth. Unfortunately, there is no scientific data to support this notion.

Wisdom Teeth Always Come In Crooked

Around 85 percent of people will need to have their wisdom teeth extracted. Generally, they come in one of five ways.

  • Correctly (vertical)
  • Crooked towards the front of your mouth (mesio-angular or mesial)
  • Crooked towards the back of your mouth (disto-angular or distal)
  • At a 90 degree angle on its side (horizontal)
  • Failing to break through the gums

If your wisdom teeth come in like the last four examples, they will need to be removed.

Extraction of Your Wisdom Teeth is Always Done Surgically

If your wisdom teeth are impacted, or have not broken through your gums, you may need oral surgery. But most wisdom teeth can be extracted under local anesthesia or with sedation. Today you doctor has new techniques and technology to make extraction easier and painless.

If you have questions about wisdom teeth, or you need an appointment because of pain, call or contact Smith and Cole Dentistry today.

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Snoring or Sleep Problems? A Sleep Device May Help You Get a Good Night Sleep

Snoring or Sleep Problems? A Sleep Device May Help You Get a Good Night Sleep

You’ve probably seen the humorous commercial asking if there is a moose in your bed. While snoring can be funny, it’s not funny if your sleep, or the sleep of your loved one, is being affected by snoring. Snoring is not only disruptive to sleep, but it can be a sign of a deeper problem such as sleep apnea.

Why Do I Snore?

If you or a loved one snore, you’re not alone. About 90 million American adults snore. Snoring is caused by the vibration of the soft palate and the uvula (the little piece that hangs down in the back of your throat). The flow of air from your nose or mouth cause these tissues to vibrate making you snore. Many times, this vibration is caused by an obstruction or narrowing in the airway. For example, people with obstructive sleep apnea have a blockage caused by the relaxation of the soft tissue in their throat which blocks the airway.

Oral Appliance Therapy

Your doctor has an easy solution to snoring, an oral appliance. An oral appliance is worn only when you are sleeping and is a custom fitted appliance which can improve your sleep and stop the snoring. It does this by holding your mouth in the correct position so that your airway remains open. It is also an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.

Your doctor will fit you for a custom oral appliance by taking physical and digital impressions of your teeth. These are then sent to the dental lab where your custom appliance is fabricated. Once your appliance is ready you will return to the office and the doctor will adjust the appliance for maximum comfort and effectiveness. You’ll also be shown how to clean and care for your new oral appliance. Your doctor may schedule a sleep study to verify your new oral appliance is a success.

Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy

One of the main benefits of oral appliance therapy is an increase in the quality of your life. When you get a good night’s sleep you are more rested, feel refreshed, and feel healthier. Some of the other benefits include the following:

  • Comfortable to wear
  • Easy to wear
  • Quiet
  • Portable
  • Easy to carry when traveling
  • Easy to clean and care for

    You don’t have to suffer from snoring and the disruption it causes. If you or your bed partner snores, call or contact Smith and Cole Dentistry today and ask about oral appliance therapy. You deserve a good night’s sleep.

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Laser Bacterial Reduction Helps Treat Periodontal Disease

Your mouth naturally contains bacteria. Bacteria in your mouth produces a substance known as plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance which leads to tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. If left untreated the plaque hardens and becomes tartar. Professional cleanings are the only way to remove plaque and tartar. Brushing and flossing alone are not enough to remove these substances from your teeth. One reason is the plaque and tartar gets under the gums where your toothbrush and floss can’t reach.

Planing and scaling are aggressive methods used to remove plaque and tartar. During this procedure, the doctor or hygienist gets under the gums and removes plaque and tartar and polishes your teeth. But sometimes this is not enough to treat advanced cases of periodontal disease. Today lasers are used to effectively treat periodontal disease by removing the bacteria and diseased gum tissue.

What is Laser Bacterial Reduction?

Laser bacterial reduction uses lasers passed between the gum and teeth to treat periodontal disease. The laser kills the bacteria and promotes healthy gum regrowth. The bacteria and affected gums are vaporized and new healthy gum tissue grows back. The lasers used are very safe and only treat a very small area at a time.

LANAP

One of the most common types of laser bacterial reduction is known as laser-assisted new attachment procedure (LANAP). It was developed by Robert H Gregg II and Delwin McCarthy and has been in use since 1994. LANAP is a procedure which gives the doctor a way not only to treat periodontal disease, but to promote healthy gum tissue regrowth. Since the laser only remove diseased tissue, it is a precision method to treat periodontal disease. By removing the diseased tissue, new healthy tissue is agitated and encouraged to reattach to the bone. LANAP is practically pain free and very safe.

After Care

After the laser bacterial reduction procedure your doctor will instruct you on caring for your teeth and gums. An anti-bacterial rinse may be prescribed. You may be on liquids only for 24 hours after the procedure. Light bleeding and slight swelling is normal, but if you develop a fever or have excessive bleeding or pain, be sure to contact the doctor. Avoid chewing on the side you received treatment for at least a week. Don’t be alarmed if your gums change colors, this is a normal part of the healing process.

Call or contact Smith and Cole Dentistry and ask about laser bacterial reduction. This proven and effective therapy can treat periodontal disease and return your gums to health.

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dental implants at smith and cole dentistry

Repair and Improve Your Smile with Dental Implants

dental implants at smith and cole dentistryDental implants are a way your doctor can replace missing teeth and repair damaged teeth. They are also used as abutments for complete or partial dentures. Our doctors work in tandem with our oral surgeon so that you can get your new implants right here in our office. This helps maintain the high level of care you’ve come to expect from Smith and Cole Dentistry in Austin. Your new implant will look and feel just like your natural teeth.

Placement of implants takes several months and several appointments. The reason for this is because after each step you will need time to heal. An implant is made up of three key elements: the cylinder or post which is implanted into your jaw (this cylinder replaces the root of your tooth), the post extension or abutment which is screwed or placed onto the post, and the crown which is placed onto the abutment. Together these elements create a strong and natural looking replacement for your tooth, and with proper care will last for many years.
Implant Placement

Placement of an implant takes several visits and you will need time to heal between each visit. At the first visit the oral surgeon will talk to you about your general health and any medication you are taking. He will examine your mouth and jaw and determine if you need a bone graft. If your jawbone is too thin or brittle it will not be able to support the implant. Bone from another part of your body (usually your thigh) is grafted onto your jawbone and left to ossify, or heal.

Once you have healed from the bone graft the oral surgeon will place the post into your jaw. It may take several months to heal from this procedure. The next step is to place the abutment. The abutment extends the post. In some cases, you may be able to receive the abutment the same day you receive the post.

At the next visit the oral surgeon will take molds of your teeth and jawbone so they can be sent to the lab for the fabrication of your new crown. He may place a temporary crown while you wait for your permeant crown. When the new crown arrives from the lab you will come in and the doctor will place it onto the abutment and you will have a brand-new tooth that feels and looks just like your natural teeth.

Caring for Your New Implant

You may have some tenderness and pain after the placement of your crown, but these symptoms should go away in a few days. If you experience a lot of pain or fever, be sure to contact the doctor. Care for your new implant just like you do your natural teeth. Brush, floss, and keep up on your regular checkups and your new implant will last for several years.

If you have a damaged or missing tooth, call or contact Smith and Cole Dentistry today and ask about dental implant options.

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Why Oral Cancer Screening is Important

During your regular oral exam your doctor will also be on alert for any signs of oral cancer. Oral cancer is a serious disease which kills more people than other cancers such as thyroid, cervical, and other forms of the disease. One of the reasons oral cancer is so deadly is not because it is hard to treat, but because many times it is not discovered until it has developed into the late stages of the disease. This is why oral cancer screening is so important. Here are some sobering facts about oral cancer:

  • Almost 50,000 people in America will be diagnosed with pharyngeal or oral cancer this year.
  • Oral cancer will kill over 9,500 per day which is roughly one person per hour, 25 hours a day.
  • Of those diagnosed just a bit more than half will survive over five years. This is because of the advanced stage oral cancer is diagnose.

Oral cancer is also so dangerous because many times there is no pain or obvious symptoms noticed by the patient. Your best defense against this disease is regular oral cancer screening done during regular dental exams.

Oral Cancer Screening

Screening for oral cancer takes only minutes. Your doctor will examine your gums, hard palette, and soft tissues of the mouth, look for any changes in tissue, and may take digital images. This includes the inside of your gums, tongue, and lips. Your doctor will also examine your neck and the symmetry of your face. Your doctor will also feel you neck for any swollen lymph nodes. Your doctor may do other procedures which are used for screening.

If any suspicious areas are found, your doctor may perform a biopsy. A biopsy is a sample of tissue which is then sent off to the lab for evaluation. A biopsy may be a simple swab sample, or you may need a surgical biopsy depending on where the area is and how far your doctor feels the disease may have advanced.

Don’t take chances with your health. If caught early, oral cancer has a high survival rate. Call and set up regular oral cancer screenings today.

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Is it Sleep Apnea or Just Snoring?

Many people snore, some snore more than others. But did you know snoring is a symptom of a very serious condition known as sleep apnea? Sleep apnea occurs because the soft palette in your throat relaxes while you sleep blocking off your airway. This is known as obstructive sleep apnea. Another type of sleep apnea is not as common and known as central sleep apnea occurs when the brain “forgets” to tell your body to breath during sleep. Sleep apnea is directly related to serious health issues such as high blood pressure and stroke, and if left treated even death.

Between 50 to 70 million in the United States suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea disrupts your natural sleep pattern leaving you feeling exhausted and tired in the morning. Since you stop breathing your body is not getting the oxygen it needs. This can occur several times a night causing your blood oxygen levels to drop to a dangerous level. You or your partner may notice you stop breathing or snore very loudly and often. Some of the other symptoms of sleep apnea include the following:

  • Waking up gasping for air
  • Rapid heartbeat upon waking
  • Feeling exhausted during the day
  • Falling asleep during the day
  • Entering REM sleep (the sleep stage in which you dream) as soon as you close your eyes
  • Waking up with a headache
  • Waking up with a dry mouth
  • Confusion
  • An inability to concentrate
  • Irritability

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms speak to your doctor. Treatment of sleep apnea is fairly simple and straightforward. Some patients use a CPAP or Bi-PAP machine to provide positive airflow during the night while others may find relief with a mouth guard or dental appliance.

A dental appliance is custom fabricated to pull your lower jaw out a bit to keep your airways open. Your dentist will take impressions of your teeth as well as digital images and send them to the lab. Once your appliance is finished you will return for a fitting and wear your appliance while you sleep. Many people find relief from sleep apnea using a dental appliance.

If you experience any symptoms related to sleep apnea talk to your dentist and doctor to formulate the best treatment for your case. Sleep apnea is a serious condition, but it is easily treated so you can stay healthy for many years.

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