A beautiful smile starts with clean, white teeth. A bright smile is shown to have a strong impact on self-esteem and how others perceive you. Unfortunately, many people do not have the dental habits that help promote a brighter, whiter smile. There are also those whose teeth are not as naturally white as others, and will darken with age. Furthermore, certain foods (especially tea, red wine, and coffee) and the use of tobacco products can yellow and darken the teeth. Hutto Premier Dentistry offers different teeth whitening services in order to ensure that patients are comfortable with their image.
Before you have any teeth whitening procedures done, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. First, the color of your skin and make-up can affect the appearance of your teeth. Darker tones will make teeth look naturally brighter. If you have white teeth, the use of darker lipsticks and other cosmetics can enhance the appearance of your teeth and give the appearance of a brighter smile. Alternatively, the use of pale lipsticks and make-up can make your teeth appear darker.
The first step to helping you achieve a brighter, whiter smile is to obtain a thorough dental evaluation. This allows us diagnose and treat problems such as tooth decay and gum disease that may discolor teeth. Once a healthy mouth is achieved, the results of teeth whitening can be maximized. While there are various over-the-counter teeth whitening products available, these products achieve a modest improvement at most; to go beyond this takes professional treatment.
The most common type of professional teeth whitening is to use a custom-made bleaching tray. A bleaching solution is placed in the tray and then worn on your teeth at night. This type of bleaching may take up to 2-3 weeks to achieve the maximum result. Another type of teeth whitening used at Hutto Premier Dentistry is an in-office procedure. In-office whitening procedures are done in our office and typically take about an hour. This technique can produce a drastic improvement in just one hour. For some patients, both approaches are used to achieve the best result. A visit with Dr. McEntire or Dr. Marek of Hutto Premier Dentistry can help to determine the best approach for helping you obtain a whiter, brighter smile.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of dentists providing and the number of patients utilizing sedation dentistry. Also called “sleep dentistry”, sedation dentistry is a great service on many levels. There are three major types of sedation used in dental offices: nitrous oxide sedation, oral conscious sedation, and intravenous conscious sedation. Of those offering these services, the type of sedation provided by your dentist depends on his or her training and comfort level.
The most basic sedation technique is nitrous oxide sedation. Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas” was first discovered in the late 1700’s, paving the way for modern anesthesia. Its use in dentistry did not become widespread until the late 1800’s. Nitrous oxide is useful in reducing fear and anxiety. It also acts to decrease one’s perception of time, allowing a long appointment to feel much shorter for the patient. Nitrous oxide is particularly useful when treating children, allowing an apprehensive child to receive needed dental care. While helpful for adults with dental anxiety, nitrous oxide is considered the lowest level of sedation and may not provide the level of sedation desired by one with moderate to severe anxiety.
A second type of sedation is oral conscious sedation, or “pill-form sedation”. Oral sedation is practiced by many dentists and involves taking pills before or during your dental appointment. Oral sedation can be a nice way to relieve anxiety and allow a state of drowsiness during shorter appointments in patients with mild to moderate fear. For most dentists, this is the deepest type of sedation offered. Unfortunately, patients with high anxiety may not respond well to oral sedation.
A deeper type of sedation is Intra-Venous conscious sedation (IVCS). IVCS is provided by dentists who have attended a residency program following dental school to obtain additional training in sedation techniques. IVCS is the preferred method for patients with moderate to severe anxiety. It is also useful for very long procedures or high-stress dental procedures such as wisdom teeth removal or a root canal. Because of the educational requirements, not many dentists provide IVCS.
At Hutto Premier Dentistry multiple sedation options are available and conveniently located in Hutto. Following dental school, Dr. McEntire completed a residency at the UT Health Science Center Dental School and University Hospital in San Antonio, which had a large emphasis on sedation dentistry. Dr. McEntire provides several routes of sedation including nitrous oxide, oral sedation, IV conscious sedation, intra-muscular sedation, and intra-nasal sedation. If you find dental care stressful or simply would like to be more relaxed Dr. McEntire can help determine the most appropriate level of sedation to maximize your comfort.
There are many different types of dental emergencies that someone can face over their lifetime. If you are experiencing pain from your teeth, it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible. Most dental problems can be resolved more easily and for less cost when problems are addressed sooner than later. Below are the most common dental emergencies.
Toothaches are a common dental emergency. There are many things that can cause toothaches, ranging from something as simple as a cavity that needs to be filled to an infection of a tooth or the gums. If you are experiencing tooth pain, take over-the-counter pain medication, apply a cold pack to the area, and call your dentist.
Cracked or Broken Teeth
On occasion, an impact to the mouth or bad luck and circumstances can cause a tooth to crack or break completely. A cracked tooth can become a serious problem very quickly is not addressed. If you happen to crack or break a tooth, avoid chewing on the tooth and call your dentist as soon as possible.
A Tooth Falls Out
If you have a permanent tooth completely knocked out (avulsed), there is a chance the tooth can be saved with quick action. If a tooth is knocked out, rinse the tooth with cold water if it is dirty (do NOT scrub the tooth!), and if possible place the tooth back into the socket. If this is not possible, place the tooth in a glass of milk, and get to the dentist ASAP. If milk is not available, the best option is to wrap the tooth with gauze or tissue and place the wrapped tooth in your mouth, holding the tooth between your lower teeth and cheek. This will keep the tooth moist and is a much better option than placing the tooth in a glass of water. The period in which a knocked-out tooth can be replaced is extremely short, with the best chances being within the first hour. If your child happens to have a baby tooth knocked-out, there is no way it can be replaced. If your unsure whether it is a baby or permanent tooth, treat it as though is is permanent and see your dentist right away.
Losing a Filling
Fillings have a limited lifespan. If you lose a filling, contact a dentist immediately. If it is not possible to see the dentist immediately, you can purchase temporary filling material at most drug stores or grocery store; however, this is a only a short-term repair. You should avoid eating with an open cavity, as this can cause unnecessary pain and potential dental problems afterwards.
With any dental emergency, it is critical to see a dentist ASAP to avoid pain and other problems. At Hutto Premier Dentistry, we always welcome new patients and will work to see emergencies the same day if possible.
Despite the progress that has been made in the last 50 years, tooth decay, or cavities, is still a very common ailment in the United States. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease. While the formation of tooth decay involves MANY different factors, the foods we eat and our oral hygiene are the largest factors. In regards to our diets, there are foods that can cause cavities, as well as foods that can help prevent them.
Most people know that table sugar (sucrose) plays a significant role in the development of cavities. However, the bacteria that cause decay are able to process any carbohydrate eaten into acid and plaque that breakdown tooth structure and cause decay. So, while a pretzel may be a healthier option than a candy bar, the carbs in the pretzel can still lead to decay. Another concern regarding our diet is the acidity of certain foods we eat. Acidic foods, such as lemons, limes, oranges, and sodas, play a significant role in the formation of cavities by breaking down the enamel on our teeth. Avoiding sweet or acidic foods can lower the risk of cavities forming.
While there are foods that can cause cavities, there are foods that can help teeth maintain the protective enamel that prevents cavities. When you are planning your diet and nutrition, it is strongly recommended that you include foods that prevent cavities to offset any foods that cause them. There are many different foods that are good for the prevention of cavities, including calcium-rich foods, fruit, fiber-containing foods, vegetables, and whole grains. Fruit is an excellent alternative to chocolate candy bars and other sweets, but like with your regular sweets, you should make certain you clean your mouth out and brush your teeth, especially if your fruit-treat involves lemons and other extremely acidic foods.
Despite the best of intentions, it’s very difficult to completely avoid foods that lead to decay! This is why good oral hygiene and regular dental visits are important. At Hutto Premier Dentistry, Dr. McEntire and Dr. Marek recommend dental check-ups every six months. Because the average time of decay formation is six months, these regular visits will help ensure that if any cavities do begin they are caught at an early stage when fixing them is easier and less expensive. In regards to kids, or pediatric dentistry, Dr. McEntire and Dr. Marek recommend seeing kids for their first dental visit no later than 12 months old.
As school begins, protecting the teeth is important for any athlete, and athletic mouthguards are the best way to accomplish this. There are many types of mouthguards that are available on the market, but only dentists can provide custom-fitted athletic mouthguards that are designed specifically with you in mind. Unlike store-bought mouthguards, custom-made guards fit your teeth in comfortable and precise way, offering superior protection no matter what sport you play.
When you are selecting your athletic mouthguards, there are a few things that you will want to remember. First, some sports are more dangerous than others. Football, for example, has a high rate of injury to the mouth when mouthguards are not worn. When they are worn, this percentage drops below one percent. Alternatively, in sports like basketball, where athletic mouthguards are not always worn, approximately 35% of injuries are to the mouth or teeth. For this reason, dentists strongly recommend that athletic mouthguards be worn for any contact sport in order to prevent injury and costly tooth repairs.
When you are having your athletic mouthguard crafted, there are a few qualities that athletes are most interested in. Custom-made, properly fitting athletic mouthguards are comfortable to wear, tear resistant, do not interfere with breathing and speech, and maintain its shape, fit, and thickness when worn. For football players, it may also be important for the mouthguard to have a helmet strap.
There are two basic types of mouthguards. The first is stock mouthguards (or store bought). These are a very basic mouthguard that athletes can keep on hand should their custom-made, fitted mouthguards break or suffer damage through play. These come in limited sizes and shapes, and are often used as a temporary measure until a custom mouthguard can be fashioned. Unlike high-quality custom-made mouthguards, stock guards have a very limited lifespan and are often thrown away after as little as a week of use.
The second basic type of mouthgard is a custom-made mouthguards. These are the best type for any athlete. These are only made by dentists and require two simple appointments. They can be made in various colors, with or without helmet straps, and are very comfortable. As a general rule, custom-made mouthguards can last anywhere between one to two years of active use, depending on how much growth occurs in the athletes face and jaws. It is not uncommon for athletes to have several mouthguards made at one time in order to ensure they have a spare available if required.
When you are trying to determine which type is best for your needs, it is always best to consult your dentist. Dr. McEntire and Dr. Marek of Hutto Premier Dentistry can provide you with all of the information you need to make a knowledgeable decision on what type of athletic mouthguares is best for your needs.
I earned my Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the prestigious University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Dental School, graduating with dual Honors.