Archive for October, 2014

Common Misconceptions About Dental Health

Austin dentistMisconceptions surrounding dental health pose some of the greatest challenges to dentists and dental clinics. These professionals cannot keep all patients happy and healthy without patient support; they require help from the patients to optimize results in care. Educating patients to eliminate misconceptions goes a long way in establishing or improving overall dental health, which in turn has a positive impact on overall physical health.

Misconceptions regarding dental caries, more commonly known as cavities, leave many patients confused at dental checkups. Many believe that cavities are more common in children, which is far from true. Cavities can occur in any mouth with teeth, whether a child, adult, dog, or cat. Another misconception regarding cavities is their cause, with many believing that cavities come from sugar. While this is somewhat true, table sugar is not the only type of sugar consumed. Any carbohydrates consumed will breakdown into simpler sugars, and all of these can lead to increases in cavities, including carbohydrates from pasta and bread.

Despite the wide availability of dental floss, most dentists have patients that never touch the stuff! Patients complain about floss causing their gums to bleed, but in reality the gums bleed partly from not flossing. Bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal disease or inflammation in the gums. Patients that have sufficient brushing habits, brushing at least twice a day, and flossing at least once a day, experience far less gum irritation and bleeding than those that are less diligent with their at-home oral health habits. These brushing and flossing patients also tend to have easier checkups when visiting the dentist.

More serious misconceptions about dental health can lead to major health concerns. Periodontal disease, for example, if left untreated or if treated insufficiently, will progress and in advanced stages the bloodstream can carry the bacteria from the gums to the heart causing cardiovascular problems, among other potential risks. Likewise, non-dental illnesses and treatments can negatively affect teeth, bones, gums, and other aspects of oral health, leading to discoloration in teeth, weakened bone structure, bone loss, dry mouth, slow healing, or even tooth loss.

Discussing all health concerns with the dentist can improve treatment efforts for better dental and physical health. When patients treat dental health as important to overall health, and vice versa, the whole-body approach to treatment and preventive care is greatly improved. For more information about dental health, contact our skilled specialists at Balcones Family Dental today!

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Tooth Loss Can Have Far-Reaching Effects on Your Dental Health

dental implants north AustinThe loss of a tooth from damage or injury, dental caries (cavities), or for any other reason, leaves a space in the jaw that creates a vulnerable point for the other natural teeth. The roots of teeth help support the structure of the jaw as well as the other teeth, similar to the way the roots of trees extend through and support the earth. Depending on the location, replacing a missing or extracted tooth with a dental implant can have a profound impact on the ability to retain other natural teeth.

Depending on the cause of the missing tooth, other aspects of oral health may be affected if left untreated. The dentist can assess current overall health, with regard to oral health and individual self-care dental habits, then counsel patients for their specific needs. If the tooth loss is due to periodontal disease or severe dental caries, the disease or bacteria could spread beyond the loss of the tooth and affect overall periodontal health and adjacent teeth. Treating at the first signs of trouble will boost likelihood of full recovery from the problem. 

The loss of a tooth from damage or injury, dental caries (cavities), or for any other reason, leaves a space in the jaw that creates a vulnerable point for the other natural teeth.

Tooth loss due to injury or other damage may have caused additional trauma to the adjacent teeth, jawbone, facial nerves, or other tissues in the region. Establishing the cause of the damage or loss of the tooth can help the dentist better treat the individual case for the best success possible. If the tooth loss stems from a non-dental condition or medication that adversely affected the teeth, bones, or tissues, this also must be established to provide opportunity for the dentist to treat and/or counter the adverse effects.

Patients with good overall health and oral health, sufficient jawbone, and healthy gums, are typically good candidates for dental implants. The implant is surgically placed within the jaw then a dental crown is attached to provide the look, feel, and function of a natural tooth. The use of the implant helps to stabilize the remaining teeth, preserve jawbone by reducing the body’s natural tendency to erode jawbone over time, and provide support for the facial muscles and nerve structure to help maintain health. Options are available for those with bone or tissue loss, depending on circumstances.

For more information regarding dental implants, missing teeth, and overall dental health, contact our caring dental specialists at 512-200-7422 today!

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