Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Smoking and Oral Health

A few months ago, we discussed smoking and its relationship to adult periodontitis. Here we are going to answer a couple of questions regarding smoking and oral health. As always, please contact your doctor if you have any questions about smoking or your health.

Is smoking really that bad for me? 
Smoking tobacco products causes bad breath and usually stains your teeth. Once inhaled, the smoke particles can live inside your lungs, throat, and mouth for hours. Tobacco can cause a myriad of problems such as lung cancer, oral cancer, various gum diseases, and a more gradual healing process after dental procedures. Since the 1960's, over 20 million people in the United States alone have died due to smoking related illnesses and more than 10% of those lost their lives from being exposed to secondhand smoke.

What about cigarette substitutes? Aren't those safer?
Hookah, for example, has 100 times more tobacco than a normal cigarette making it an unsafe option. Flavored cigarettes have 500% more nicotine than most cigarettes. Even smoking tobacco from a pipe can lead to a higher risk of contracting cancers in the mouth, lungs, lips, colon, and even pancreas. The best smoking alternative is to simply stop.

How do I quit?
There are many resources for helping kick tobacco addiction. Visit to read about different strategies and support options.

Source: Mouth Healthy by the American Dental Association

Once again, if you have any questions regarding your oral health, please feel free to call us at one of our three convenient locations. We are here to provide a fun and stress-free dental experience for you and your family.

North location on Hymeadow Drive: (512) 250-5012 
Central location on Jollyville Road: (512) 346-8424 
South location on William Cannon Drive: (512) 445-5811

Friday, January 22, 2016

Fluoride and Its Benefits

What exactly is Fluoride? 
While most people don't consider fluoride in their everyday life, it has caused concern for some individuals. Even though this opinion is fairly rare, it is still good to brush up on what exactly fluoride is and some of its uses. To start, fluoride is an ion derived from the element fluorine. It is naturally found in water, usually in very small quantities.

Why Is Fluoride in My Water? 
Fluoride has been studied in conjunction with dentistry since the end of the 19th century. In 1900, fluoride was deemed as not only safe, as it was naturally found in water, food, and drinks, but even beneficial. By the mid-1940's, fluoride was added to the community water lines in an effort to protect enamel and improve global health.  

Is Fluoride Safe to Ingest? 
Cavities were once rampant in the United States before 1900 and caused concern for health care professionals and patients alike. According to the American Dental Association and numerous sources, fluoride, in small doses, is perfectly safe to consume. In general, there is about 0.7 ppm (Parts Per Million) of fluoride in the water supply. Fluoride is tasteless in this quantity and perfectly healthy.

What Does Fluoride Do to My Teeth? 
Thanks to fluoride, dental health has improved greatly by simply adding it into the community water lines. Cavities are far less common and this can be attributed to better habits that include fluoride such as brushing teeth and rinsing the mouth with water. It is also found in toothpaste and some types of mouth wash. Fluoride helps teeth fight off acidic bacteria that eat away at enamel by initiating remineralisation. Fluoride not only protects your teeth, but it promotes the growth and rebuilding of enamel to create better, stronger teeth. Helpful tip: children don't need as much fluoride as adults so it is best to limit their intake to about a pea-sized dab of toothpaste.

Source: American Dental Association.

Common Practices: 
In order to protect your enamel, it's best to avoid acidic foods and use fluoride in your every day dental routines by rinsing with water, using toothpaste with fluoride, and occasionally swishing with fluoride mouth wash. We also offer fluoride treatments in conjunction with routine cleanings, according to the Doctor's recommendations. If you feel that your enamel has been worn down or you have any questions concerning fluoride and the health of your teeth, feel free to call one of our three offices to schedule a consult. We are here to address any of your concerns and to provide you with a stress-free dental experience.

North location on Hymeadow Drive: (512) 250-5012 
Central location on Jollyville Road: (512) 346-8424 
South location on William Cannon Drive: (512) 445-5811

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

TMJ Disorders

Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, commonly called "TMJ," are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. We don't know for certain how many people have TMJ disorders, but some estimates suggest that over 10 million Americans are affected. The condition appears to be more common in women than men.

What is Temporomandibular Joint?

The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw, called the mandible, to the bone at the side of the head - the temporal bone. If you place your fingers just in front of your ears and open your mouth, you can feel the joints. Because these joints are flexible, the jaw can move smoothly up and down and side to side, enabling us to talk, chew and yawn. Muscles attached to and surrounding the jaw joint control its position and movement.

When we open our mouths, the rounded ends of the lower jaw, called condyles, glide along the joint socket of the temporal bone. The condyles slide back to their original position when we close our mouths. To keep this motion smooth, a soft disc lies between the condyle and the temporal bone. The disc absorbs shocks to the jaw joint from chewing and other movements.

The temporomandibular joint is different from the body's other joints. The combination of hinge and sliding motions makes this joint among the most complicated in the body. Also, the tissues that make up the temporomandibular joint differ from other load-bearing joints, like the knee or hip. Because of its complex movement and unique makeup, the jaw joint and its controlling muscles can pose a tremendous challenge to both patients and health care providers when problems arise.

What are TMJ Disorders?

Disorders of the jaw joint and chewing muscles - and how people respond to them - vary widely. Researchers generally agree that the conditions fall into three main categories:

  1. Myofascial pain, the most common temporomandibular disorder, involves discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function
  2. Internal derangement of the joint involves a displaced disc, dislocated jaw, or injury to the condyle.
  3. Arthritis refers to a group of degenerative/inflammatory joint disorders that can affect the temporomandibular joint.
A person may have one or more of these conditions at the same time. Some people have other health problems that co-exist with TMJ disorders, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep disturbances or fibromyalgia, a painful condition that affects muscles and other soft tissues throughout the body. 

People who have a rheumatic disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may develop TMJ disease as a secondary condition. Rheumatic disease refer to a large group of disorders that cause pain, inflammation, and stiffness to the joints, muscles, and bone. Both rheumatoid arthritis and some TMJ disorders involve inflammation of the tissues that line the joints. 

What are the Signs and Symptoms?

A variety of symptoms may be linked to TMJ disorders. Pain, particularly in the chewing muscles and/or jaw joint, is the most common symptom. Other likely symptoms include:
  • Radiating pain in the face, jaw, or neck
  • Jaw muscle stiffness
  • Limited movement or locking of the jaw
  • Painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth
  • A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together

Source:  National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

If You Think You Have a TMJ Disorder

After an initial consultation, if our surgeons determine that you suffer from TMJ, initial treatment will involve immediate muscle relief with the use of a pain reliever or anti-inflammatory. Other forms of stress management involve physical therapy or the use of a temporary plastic appliance known as a splint, that moves your jaw forward relieving pressure from your jaw. In some cases, surgery, such as arthoscopy and open joint repair, are required to produce optimal results. 

The main goal at our office is to assess your pain and provide you with treatment that will enable you to have a healthier, pain-free jaw. If you think you may suffer from TMJ, call our office to schedule a consultation today (512) 250-5012.