Dental Health

Oral Hygiene

Why is Oral Hygiene So Important?

Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum disease (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good, daily tooth brushing and flossing techniques.

Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film that sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing, you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.

How To Brush

While brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth, position the brush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort.

When you are done cleaning the outside surfaces of all your teeth, follow the same directions while cleaning the inside of the back teeth.

To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically. Make several gentle back-and-forth strokes over each tooth. Don’t forget to gently brush the surrounding gum tissue.

Next you will clean the biting surfaces of your teeth by using short, gentle strokes. Change the position of the brush as often as necessary to reach and clean all surfaces. Try to watch yourself in the mirror to make sure you clean each surface. After you are done, rinse vigorously to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing. If you have any pain while brushing or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to call our office.

 

How To Floss

Periodontal disease usually appears between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is a very effective way to remove plaque from those surfaces. However, it is important to develop proper technique. The following instructions will help you, but remember it takes time and practice. Start with a piece of floss (we like the kind that is woven and preferably has fluoride embedded in it) about 18″ long. Lightly wrap most of the floss around the middle finger of one hand. Wrap the rest of the floss around the middle finger of the other hand. This middle finger trick is the primary thing we see people not do, and can make flossing so much easier because it allows the forefingers and thumbs to control the floss while the middle fingers act as anchors.

To clean the upper teeth, hold the floss tightly between the thumb and forefinger of each hand. Gently insert the floss tightly between the teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Do not force the floss or try to snap it in to place. Bring the floss to the gum line then curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth until you feel light resistance.
Move the floss up and down on the side of one tooth. Remember there are two tooth surfaces that need to be cleaned in each space. Continue to floss each side of all the upper teeth. Be careful not to cut the gum tissue between the teeth. As the floss becomes soiled, turn from one finger to the other to get a fresh section.

To clean between the bottom teeth, guide the floss using the forefinger of both hands. Do not forget the backside of the last tooth on both sides, upper and lower.

When you are done, rinse vigorously with water to remove plaque and food particles. Do not be alarmed if during the first week of flossing your gums bleed or are a little sore. If your gums hurt while flossing you could be doing it too hard or pinching the gum. As you floss daily and remove the plaque, your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop. The most important time
to floss is before bed. This gets rid of as many bacteria right before you spend a few hours slumbering and keeps them from doing damage.Remember “bacteria never sleep”.

Caring For Sensitive Teeth

Sometimes after dental treatment, teeth are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. This should not last long, provided your mouth is kept clean. If your mouth is not kept clean, the sensitivity will remain and could become more severe. If your teeth are especially sensitive, consult with our office. They may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse made especially for sensitive teeth.

 

Choosing Oral Hygiene Products

There are so many products on the market that it may become confusing, and choosing between all the products can be difficult. Here are some suggestions for choosing New Braunfels dental care
products that will work for most patients.

Automatic and high-tech electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective for the majority of patients. Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will rinse your mouth thoroughly, but will not remove plaque. You need to brush and floss in conjunction with the irrigator. We see excellent results with electric toothbrushes called Sonicare by Phillips. The latest version has a sterilizing chamber so you start off each brush with a clean brush-head. Some toothbrushes have a rubber tip on the handle; this is used to massage the gums after brushing. There are also tiny brushes (interproximal toothbrushes) that clean between your teeth. If these are used improperly you could injure the gums, so be sure discuss proper use of these brushes with Dr. Peck.

If used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses can reduce tooth decay as much as 40 percent. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age. Tartar control toothpastes will reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gum line so these products have not been proven to reduce the early stage of gum disease.

Anti-plaque rinses, approved by the American Dental Association, contain agents that may help bring early gum disease under control. Use these in conjunction with brushing and
flossing.

Professional Cleaning

Daily brushing and flossing will keep New Braunfels dental calculus (tartar) to a minimum, but a professional cleaning will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Your visit to our office is an important part of your program to prevent gum disease. Keep your teeth for your lifetime.

 

Nutrition

Good nutrition plays a large role in your New Braunfels dental health. Brushing and flossing help keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong. However, a balanced diet will help to boost your body’s immune system, leaving you less vulnerable to oral disease.

How often and what you eat have been found to affect your New Braunfels dental health. Eating starchy foods such as crackers, bread, cookies, and candy causes the bacteria in your mouth feed on it, they then produce acids, which attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes or more. Foods that stick to your teeth or are slow to dissolve give the acids more time to work on destroying tooth enamel.

Starchy foods:

  • Crackers
  • Breads
  • Cookies
  • Candy

Sticky/slow to dissolve foods:

  • Granola bars
  • Chewy fruit snacks
  • Dried fruit
  • Hard candy

Sticky and starchy foods create less acid when eaten as part of a meal. Saliva production increases at mealtime, rinsing away food particles,  and neutralizing harmful acids.

Foods such as nuts, cheese, onions, and some teas have been shown to slow growth of decay causing bacteria in the mouth.

New Braunfels Child Dentistry

What About Preventive Care?

New Braunfels children’s dentistry is not what we specialize in. We see a limited number of kids, but usually not until their teen years. Smaller kids are much better off in the care of a pediatric dentist. We will be glad to make a great recommendation for you. Tooth decay and children no longer have to go hand-in-hand. At our office, we are most concerned with all aspects of preventive care. We use the latest in sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. Sealants are space-age plastics that are bonded to the chewing surfaces of decay-prone back teeth. This is just one of the ways we will set the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health.

Cavity Prevention

Most of the time cavities are due to a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help. The longer it takes your child to chew their foods the longer the residue stays on their teeth, the greater the chances of getting cavities.

Every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment can destroy the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities.

Consistency of a person’s saliva also makes a difference. Thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. When a person eats diets high in carbohydrates and sugars, they tend to have thicker saliva that allows more acid-producing bacteria that can cause cavities.

 

Tips For Cavity Prevention

  • Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
  • Encourage brushing, flossing, and rinsing.
  • Watch what you drink (sodas, juices, juice boxes).
  • Avoid sticky foods.
  • Make treats part of meals.
  • Choose nutritious snacks.

 

The first baby teeth that come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth. You will notice this when your baby is about six to eight months old. Next to follow will be the four upper front teeth and the remainder of your baby’s teeth will appear periodically. They will usually appear in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about 2-1/2 years old.

At around 2-1/2 years old, your child should have all 20 teeth. Between the ages of five and six, the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth and some don’t. Don’t worry if some teeth are a few months early or late. All children are different.

Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth, but they are important to chewing, biting, speech, and appearance. For this reason it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.

Periodontal Maintenance

Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums, which gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. There are numerous diseases requiring different treatment approaches. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Daily brushing and flossing will prevent most periodontal conditions.

Why Is Oral Hygiene So Important?

Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases, (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected by periodontal disease at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.

Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque and can be accelerated by a number of different factors. Plaque is a colorless film that sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing, you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.

If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar).

Periodontal Disease

Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.

Preventing Gum Disease

The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.

Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Medication
  • Poor nutrition

New Braunfels Dental Specialties

What Is An Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon (OMS)?

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dentists specializing in surgery of the mouth, face, and jaws. After four years of dental school, surgeons receive four to seven years of hospital-based surgical and medical training, preparing them to do a wide range of procedures including all types of surgery of both the bones and soft tissues of the face, mouth, and neck.

What Is A Periodontist?

Periodontists are dentists who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease. They have had extensive training with two additional years of study after dental school. As specialists they devote their time, energy, and skill to helping patients care for their gums. A periodontist is one of the eight new braunfels dental specialists recognized by the American Dental Association.

Why Is Your New Braunfels Dentist Referring You To A Periodontist?

Dr. Peck would refer you to a periodontist if he has determined that your gums require special attention. Periodontists and dentists work together as a team to provide you with the highest level of care. They will combine their experience to recommend the best treatment available to you while keeping each other informed on your progress. By referring you to the specialist, Dr. Peck is showing a strong commitment to your new braunfels dental health.

What Is An Endodontist?

The endodontist examines, diagnoses, and treats diseases and destructive processes, including injuries and abnormalities of dental pulps and periapical tissues of the teeth.

Endodontists examine patients and interpret radiographs and pulp tests to determine pulp vitality and periapical tissue condition. They evaluate their findings and prescribe a method of treatment to prevent loss of teeth.

What Is A Prosthodontist?

The prosthodontist examines and diagnoses disabilities caused by loss of teeth and supporting structures. They formulate and execute treatment plans for the construction of corrective prostheses to restore proper function and aesthetics of the mouth, face, and jaw.

What Is A Pediatric Dentist?

A pediatric new braunfels dentist has at least two additional years of training beyond dental school. The additional training focuses on management and treatment of a child’s developing teeth, child behavior, physical growth and development, and the special needs of children’s dentistry. Although either type of dentist is capable of addressing your child’s oral health care needs, a pediatric new braunfels dentist, his or her staff, and even the office decor are all geared to care for children and to put them at ease. If your child has special needs, care from a pediatric dentist should be considered.

What Is An Orthodontist?

An orthodontist prevents and treats mouth, teeth, and jaw problems. Using braces, retainers, and other devices, an orthodontist helps straighten a person’s teeth and correct the way the jaws line up.

Orthodontists treat patients for many problems, including crowded or overlapping teeth or problems with jaw growth and tooth development. These tooth and jaw problems may be caused by tooth decay, accidents, or habits. These problems also can be genetic or inherited.

Home Instructions

After Cosmetic Reconstruction

Remember that it will take time to adjust to the feel of your new bite. When the bite is altered or the position of the teeth is changed it takes several days for the brain to recognize the new position of your teeth or their thickness. If you continue to detect any high spots or problems with your bite, call our office so we can schedule an adjustment appointment.

It is normal to experience some hot and cold sensitivity. The teeth require some time to heal after removal of tooth structure and will be sensitive in the meantime. Your gums may also be sore for a few days. Warm salt water rinses (one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) three times a day will reduce pain and swelling. A mild pain medication (one tablet of Tylenol or ibuprofen (Motrin) every three to four hours) should ease any residual discomfort.

Don’t be concerned if your speech is affected for the first few days. You’ll quickly adapt and be speaking normally. You may notice increased salivation. This is because your brain is responding to the new size and shape of your teeth. This should subside to normal in about a week.

Daily brushing and flossing are a must for your new braunfels dental work. Daily plaque removal is critical for the long-term success of your new teeth, as are regular cleaning appointments.

Any food that can crack, chip, or damage a natural tooth can do the same to your new teeth. Avoid hard foods and substances (such as beer nuts, peanut brittle, ice, fingernails, pencils, and/or sticky candies). Smoking will stain your new teeth. Minimize or avoid foods that stain such as coffee, red wine, tea, and berries.

If you engage in sports, or grind your teeth, let us know so we can make a custom mouth-guard.

Adjusting to the look and feel of your new smile will take time. If you have any problems or concerns, please let us know. We always welcome your questions.

 

After Crown & Bridge Appointments

Crowns and bridges usually take two or three appointments to complete. In the first visit, the teeth are prepared and molds of the mouth are taken. Temporary crowns or bridges are placed to protect the teeth while the custom restoration is being made. Since the teeth will be anesthetized, the tongue, lips, and roof of the mouth may be numb. Please refrain from eating and drinking hot beverages until the numbness has completely worn off.

Occasionally a temporary crown may come off. Call us if this happens and bring the temporary crown with you so we can re-cement it. It is very important for the temporary to stay in place, as it will prevent other teeth from moving and compromising the fit of your final restoration.

To keep a temporary crown in place, avoid eating sticky foods (gum), hard foods, and if possible, chew on the opposite side of your mouth. It is important to brush normally, but floss carefully and don’t pull up on the floss which may dislodge the temporary crown, but pull the floss out from the side of the temporary crown.

It is normal to experience some temperature and pressure sensitivity after each appointment. The sensitivity should subside a few weeks after the placement of the final restoration. Mild pain medications may also be used as directed by our office.

If your bite feels uneven, if you have persistent pain, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please call our office at 830-629-8011.

 

After Tooth Extraction

After tooth extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. That’s why we ask you to bite on a gauze pad for 30-45 minutes after the appointment. If the bleeding or oozing still persists, place another gauze pad over the wound and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times.

After the blood clot forms, it is important not to disturb or dislodge the clot as it aids in healing. Do not rinse vigorously, suck on straws, smoke, drink alcohol, or brush teeth next to the extraction site for 72 hours. These activities can dislodge or dissolve the clot and slow the healing process. Limit vigorous exercise for the first 24 hours as this will increase blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the extraction site.

After the tooth is extracted you may feel some pain and experience some swelling. An ice pack or an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. Take pain medications as prescribed. The swelling usually subsides after 48 hours.

Use pain medication as directed. Call our office if the medication doesn’t seem to be working. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if signs and symptoms of infection are gone. Drink lots of fluids and eat nutritious soft food on the day of the extraction. You can eat normally as soon as you are comfortable.

It is important to resume your normal new braunfels dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing and flossing your teeth at least once a day. This will speed healing and help keep your mouth fresh and clean.

After a few days you will feel fine and can resume your normal activities. If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling for two to three days, or a reaction to the medication, call our office immediately at 830-629-8011.

 

After Composite (White) Fillings

When an anesthetic has been used, your lips and tongue may be numb for several hours after the appointment. Avoid any chewing and hot beverages until the numbness has completely worn off. It is very easy to bite or burn your tongue or lips while you are numb.

It is normal to experience some hot, cold, and pressure sensitivity after your appointment. Injection sites may also be sore. Ibuprofen (Motrin), Tylenol or aspirin (one tablet every three to four hours as needed for pain) work well to alleviate the tenderness. If pressure sensitivity persists beyond a few days or if the sensitivity to hot or cold increases, contact our office.

You may chew with your composite fillings as soon as the anesthetic completely wears off. Composite fillings are fully set when you leave the office.

If your bite feels uneven, if you have persistent pain, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please call our office at 830-629-8011.

New Braunfels Child Dentistry

What About Preventive Care?

New Braunfels children’s dentistry is not what we specialize in. We see a limited number of kids, but usually not until their teen years. Smaller kids are much better off in the care of a pediatric dentist. We will be glad to make a great recommendation for you. Tooth decay and children no longer have to go hand-in-hand. At our office, we are most concerned with all aspects of preventive care. We use the latest in sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. Sealants are space-age plastics that are bonded to the chewing surfaces of decay-prone back teeth. This is just one of the ways we will set the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health.

Cavity Prevention

Most of the time cavities are due to a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help. The longer it takes your child to chew their foods the longer the residue stays on their teeth, the greater the chances of getting cavities.

Every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment can destroy the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities.

Consistency of a person’s saliva also makes a difference. Thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. When a person eats diets high in carbohydrates and sugars, they tend to have thicker saliva that allows more acid-producing bacteria that can cause cavities.

 

Tips For Cavity Prevention

  • Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
  • Encourage brushing, flossing, and rinsing.
  • Watch what you drink (sodas, juices, juice boxes).
  • Avoid sticky foods.
  • Make treats part of meals.
  • Choose nutritious snacks.

 

The first baby teeth that come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth. You will notice this when your baby is about six to eight months old. Next to follow will be the four upper front teeth and the remainder of your baby’s teeth will appear periodically. They will usually appear in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about 2-1/2 years old.

At around 2-1/2 years old, your child should have all 20 teeth. Between the ages of five and six, the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth and some don’t. Don’t worry if some teeth are a few months early or late. All children are different.

Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth, but they are important to chewing, biting, speech, and appearance. For this reason it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.