1583 Common Street | New Braunfels, TX 78130 | (830) 629-1954

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10 Signs of When It is Time to Go See a Dentist

Many people put off coming in to see the dentist because of fear and anxiety. But today’s dental practices make coming into the office a pain free comfortable experience. Don’t put off seeing the dentist. Many times, small oral issues can be treated easily before they become expensive and painful. Here are some signs you need to make an appointment and see your dentist.

  1. You are in pain. Pain and swelling can mean many things. It is best to have your dentist exam you and determine what is causing your pain and treat it.
  2. Bleeding or puffy gums may be a sign of gingivitis. Gingivitis is a painful inflammation of the gums.
  3. You’ve had prior dental work. If you have had prior dental work, you need to keep up on your regular appointments to make sure everything is okay.
  4. You are having trouble eating. Difficulty eating or swallowing are not normal. Visit the dentist to determine the cause.
  5. You have a dry mouth. Dry mouth can be caused by medical conditions, certain medications, tobacco or alcohol abuse, and advanced age.
  6. If you use tobacco you need to be checked regularly for oral cancer. Oral cancer checkups are important if you smoke or chew tobacco.
  7. You have jaw pain. Jaw pain may be a symptom of temporomandibular disorder (TMJ). TMJ is a painful condition which affects the muscles that open and close the jaw.
  8. Your mouth has spots or sores which last longer than a week. Cold sores, canker sores, leukoplakia, and candidiasis are types of mouth sores and are caused by bacteria or fungus.
  9. You are pregnant. Pregnancy can make some dental issues worse.
  10. 10.It’s time for your regular checkup. You should visit Smith and Cole Dentistry every six months for a regular dental checkup. This lets him monitor your oral health and spot any changes.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms be sure to call or contact us today and make an appointment.

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Sensitive Teeth – Causes and Treatment Options

If you feel pain or sensitivity when you brush and floss or eat or drink hot or cold foods and beverages, you may have sensitive teeth. Sensitive teeth are a common condition which can affect anyone. Sensitive teeth can be caused by many things which include the following:

  • Fractured teeth
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Worn fillings
  • Exposed tooth root

Healthy teeth have a layer of enamel which protects the crowns of your teeth. Under the gum line this layer is known as cementum and protects the tooth root. The underlying layer is the dentin which is less dense than enamel. It also contains small microscopic tubules (small canals or hollow tubes). These tubules reach far into the tooth to where the blood vessels and nerves reside.

If the enamel and cementum is damaged or gets thin, the tubules allow cold, heat, sticky foods, and acidic foods to reach the nerves inside the tooth. Receding gums may also expose the dentin in your teeth causing sensitivity. A cracked or chipped tooth or cavity can also cause hypersensitivity.

Sensitive teeth can be treated. Your doctor may suggest the following treatments.

  • Desensitizing tooth paste helps block pain. It may take several applications and there are several over the counter products you can try. Your dentist can suggest the best one for you.
  • Fluoride may be applied to your teeth by your dentist to the areas which need to be strengthened. We may also prescribe an at home fluoride tray for application of fluoride.
  • Bonding or desensitizing treatment consists of a bonding resin applied to the sensitive root surfaces.
  • A surgical gum graft replaces lost gum tissue which exposes roots and reduces sensitivity.
  • A root canal may be needed if sensitive teeth are causing server pain and other treatments don’t help. The pulp of your teeth is removed, removing the nerves and blood vessels causing sensitivity.

Sensitive teeth can be painful, but there are treatments available. Call or contact us today if you suffer from sensitive teeth.

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Medical Conditions Which Affect Oral Health

The connection between oral health and overall health has been long known by doctors and dentists alike. Certain medical conditions have a direct effect on your oral health. Here are the top five medical conditions which affect oral health.

  • Acid reflux is a gastroesophageal reflux disease. It can erode your teeth because of the strong stomach acids coming up into your mouth. Your dentist may spot the symptoms during an exam. If you experience reflux, rinse your mouth out with water. Don’t brush them right away since they may still be soft from the acid. Prevent nighttime reflux by refraining from eating two to three hours before bed. Avoid food and beverages which may trigger reflux. These include acidic foods, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • Stomach ulcers may appear as sores in the lining of your small intestine or stomach. They are caused by the bacterium H. pylori which weakens the lining of your stomach. Although stomach ulcers don’t cause any oral health issues, certain medications used to treat them may turn your tongue black. Although shocking, the side effect goes away once you stop treatment.
  • Chronic kidney disease can make your breath smell fishy or like ammonia. As the disease progresses and the kidneys lose their ability to filter waste and toxins from the blood, your breath may smell like urine. Chronic kidney disease is a serious condition, and if left untreated can be fatal.
  • Diabetes doesn’t just affect your blood sugar. It is a widespread inflammatory disease which puts you at greater risk for gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, be sure and alert your dentist.
  • High blood pressure affects 25 percent of the American population. One of the side effects of certain blood pressure medications is gingival enlargement. This condition makes your gums swell and grow over your teeth.

These are just some of the medical conditions which can affect your oral health. When you go in for a checkup be sure to alert your dentist about any new conditions or medications you are taking. Together you can keep your oral and overall health up to par. Contact or call us today and schedule your next checkup to go over your health history and medication list.

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Bright White Teeth are Just a Visit Away

Everyone wants the best smile possible, and it is no secret a bright white smile boosts your confidence. While you can find whitening products at your favorite store, none of them offer you the results that a professional whitening treatment can give you. We offer two options to help you achieve a bright white smile; Zoom! ™ Whitening and Opalescence Home Whitening Method. Both treatment options give you safe and quick whitening of even the most stained or discolored teeth.

Why Choose a Professional Whitening System?

If you visit your favorite store you will see several products which promise white teeth. Brightening toothpastes, products you paint onto your teeth, and over the counter whitening systems claim to be safe and effective. But the truth is some of them are so caustic they can erode your precious enamel, while others just can’t whiten your teeth as well as a professional treatment.
The main concern your doctor has is the erosion of your enamel. Tooth enamel is the thin layer of protection your teeth have from cavities and decay. Once this layer is damaged your teeth are susceptible to the bacteria which causes cavities and decay. Over the counter products may also cause painful sensitivity. Only a professional service can protect your teeth and give you noticeable results.

Zoom! ™ Whitening

With the Zoom! ™ Whitening procedure your teeth may be six to ten shades lighter after your first treatment. First you are made comfortable and relaxed. Next a special protective covering is placed to protect your gums and other soft tissues. A thick gel is then applied to the front surfaces of your teeth and an advanced LED light is directed at your teeth. The doctor will monitor your progress and remove and replace the gel every 15 minutes for a total of three times. A fourth treatment may be needed to achieve the results desired. Once the whitening treatment is complete a finishing gel, Relief ACP, is applied to your teeth to reduce any potential sensitivity.
You will receive custom fabricated whitening trays for at home use. These are made from dental impressions and custom fabricated for you. Your doctor or clinician will also give you instruction about using the at home trays, and their storage and cleaning.

Opalescence Home Whitening Method

We also offer the Opalescence Home Whitening Method. This method is done completely in the comfort of your own home, and on your time schedule. Custom whitening trays are custom fabricated after dental impressions are taken. When your trays return from the lab you will return and try them on so the doctor can make sure they fit correctly. You will be given the Opalescence whitening gel and specific instructions on how to use the system. The gel comes in a variety of strengths and results are usually achieved in five to seven days of consistent use.
Don’t suffer from a lackluster smile. Contact or call us today and ask about your teeth whitening options.

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Perfect Your Smile with Invisalign

Did you know we have an Invisalign specialist? Our experienced Invisalign provider, Dr. Kristin Soileau works with you from the initial consultation to completion of treatment. Invisalign is a safe and pain free way to improve your smile and boost your confidence. The trays are clear and only you know when you are wearing them. You can remove them when you eat and perform your at home dental hygiene. This makes them easy to use and a confidential way to perfect your smile.

Am I a Good Candidate for Invisalign?

Just about everyone can use Invisalign to straighten their teeth. Invisalign can help both teenagers and adults have straighter teeth without invasive traditional braces. Since the trays are clear, there is no embarrassing wires or fixtures in your mouth. This makes Invisalign an attractive option for adults who don’t want the stigma of braces.

Getting Your Invisalign Trays

At your first consultation with Dr. Soileau she will discuss your goals and the treatment process. Digital images and x-rays will be taken so that your Invisalign trays provide you with a custom fit. Once your trays are ready and back from the lab, you’ll return and the doctor will check their fit and educate you on their proper use. As your teeth shift into place, you will return to the office every two weeks for your new trays and so the doctor can check your progress.

Wearing Invisalign

Invisalign is very easy to use. The trays are made from high impact transparent plastic which you wear over your teeth. You wear your trays at night and during the day. Remove them when you eat, and brush and floss your teeth. For treatment to be successful you will wear the trays from 20 to 22 hours per day, but since the trays are made from transparent plastic no one will know you are wearing them except for you. You will receive a cleaning kit for your trays, or you can use a soft brush and clean them with water. There are no food or beverage limitations with Invisalign so you don’t have to give up any of your favorite foods or drinks. Most people report wearing the trays is comfortable and an effortless way to get the perfect smile.
Gone are the days of suffering with pain and appliances in your mouth. Now you can have a perfect smile with no pain or fuss. Call or contact us today if you have any questions about Invisalign.

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What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is a common disease and studies show over half of American adults over 30 have some form of it. The name of the disease comes from “peri” which means around, and “dontal” which refers to the teeth. Periodontal disease is the infection of the gums, the cementum that covers the root, the alveolar bone, and the periodontal ligament structures of your mouth. If left untreated periodontal disease can cause the loss of teeth.

Early Stages

Periodontal disease begins as gingivitis and in the early stages affects only the gums. Bacteria in the mouth form a sticky substance known as plaque. This plaque forms not only on the surface of the teeth, but under the gum line. Your body tries to get rid of the plaque by releasing substances that attack the gums. This can lead to inflamed and bleeding gums – gingivitis. If the plaque is not removed it hardens and become tartar. This is a very hard substance and can only be removed by a professional cleaning.

Advanced Cases

Once the gums are affected the inflammation will spread to the other structures in your mouth, particularly under the gum line and into the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. Left untreated the bacteria form pockets of inflammation and infection which further attack the gums and teeth.  As the infection spreads the pockets get deeper and more damage is done. In very advanced cases periodontal disease can affect your jawbone and cause bone loss and loss of teeth.

Treatment of Periodontal Disease

The only way to treat periodontal disease is by visiting your dentist for treatment. He or she will remove the plaque and damaged tissues on the teeth and under the gum line. This can be done surgically or with a Lanap laser.

With a Lanap laser only the affected tissues are removed. No healthy tissue is removed and your healing time is much faster than with scalpel surgery. Each laser has seven settings which react to a specific type of tissue making the Lanap laser an effective tool in treating periodontal disease.

Don’t suffer any longer with inflamed or bleeding gums. Call or contact Smith and Cole dentistry today and ask about our innovative treatments for periodontal disease and get the smile you deserve.

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