“Why Are My Teeth So Sensitive?”

sensitive

Do you experience shooting pain through your teeth when you drink something hot or bite into something cold? If so, you may be suffering from sensitive teeth. It’s a common problem for many people, but our dental office in Austin wants to help explain some possible reasons behind your sensitivity and how we can fix it.

Reason #1: Clenching & Grinding

Although tooth enamel is really strong stuff, it can be worn away by chronically scraping teeth together through clenching or grinding (also known as bruxism). When enamel erodes it leaves the middle part of the tooth exposed and sensitivity results. Tooth clenching and grinding can not only lead to sensitivity, but also other dental problems like cracked or chipped teeth which require restorative dentistry to repair.

Solution: Tooth clenching and grinding can be treated. Typically a custom-made bruxism mouthguard is recommended. These mouthguards keep your teeth from scraping together, protecting them from damage.

Reason #2: Brushing Too Hard

Although it seems to make sense that the harder you brush your teeth, the cleaner your mouth will be, that just isn’t the case. Using a side-to-side motion or scrubbing too vigorously will make enamel wear down more quickly than normal, increasing the risk of tooth sensitivity.

Solution: Revise your brushing technique. You should brush using small, gentle circles while holding your brush at a 45 degree angle. You may also want to make sure your brush has soft bristles for an even gentler clean.

Reason #3: Gum Disease

One of the common symptoms of gum disease is sensitivity. Why? Gum disease can cause the gums to recede, exposing the tooth roots. These roots contain nerves and if these nerves are unprotected, it can be very painful.  In addition to sensitivity, signs of gum disease can include red, swollen, and bleeding gums.

Solution: See your dentist in Austin as soon as you can. Gum disease is a serious concern that can not only cause tooth sensitivity, but also contributes to whole body problems like strokes and heart disease.  

If you have sensitive teeth, give our Austin dental office a call to schedule an appointment with us. We’ll work with you to determine the cause and discuss relief options.

Accepting new patients from Austin, Westlake, Cedar Park and beyond. 

Oral Piercings: Concerns & Care

piercings

If piercings are your thing, we aren’t here to judge. We believe everyone should be free to express themselves how they wish. However, when it comes to oral piercings, the team at our Austin dental office wants you to be aware of some of the concerns that go along with them.

The Concerns

If you’re thinking about getting your tongue, lip, or cheek pierced, make sure you know all of the risks involved with doing so in order to make an educated decision.

  • Infection. Since your mouth is always warm and moist, it’s the perfect place for bacteria to flourish. A piercing increases the chance that those bacteria will cause an infection. Once you create a hole in a place where bacteria already lives, it’s extremely common for infection to occur. These infections can be serious, even life threatening. If the infection makes the tongue swell, your airway can close, making it difficult to breathe.
  • Gum Disease. It’s more common for those with oral piercings to have gum disease than those without. Since there is essentially a foreign object in your mouth, the chance for gum damage is increased. Once the gums are damaged, bacteria can wiggle in there and lead to gum disease.
  • Tooth Damage. Many people with oral piercings play with them. A lot. Clanking the jewelry against teeth can cause them to chip or break, making dental treatment necessary. Clicking or accidentally biting the jewelry can also create tiny holes in the enamel, opening the root up to bacteria and decay. If this happens, you may need a filling or, if severe enough even a root canal.

The Care

To reduce your risk of infection, tooth damage, or gum disease, make sure to follow proper care of your oral piercing.

  • Clean the area thoroughly and often to help keep bacteria and infection away.
  • Rinse with water after eating to wash away food particles that can attract bacteria.
  • Avoid playing with it to minimize the chance of tooth damage.

If you’ve already had a part of your mouth pierced, keep an eye out for any signs of infection including swelling, redness, fever, chills, or shaking. If you notice any of the symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Our Austin dental office is here to help answer any questions or concerns you may have about getting an oral piercing. If you’re on the fence, call to schedule an appointment with us today.

Accepting patients from Austin, Westlake, Cedar Park and beyond. 

Top 5 Secrets Your Mouth Tells Your Austin Dentist

dentist knows

Regular visits to our Austin dental offices are crucial to maintaining a healthy, happy smile. We can catch problems early, we can talk about your smile goals and treatments to get you the ultimate grin, and it’s always nice to see you. But your visits can also tell us a whole lot about things you may haven’t even thought of, or secrets you might not want us to know.

You’re a Nail Biter

The teeth of nail biters usually display certain qualities that your dentist can identify. Teeth may have chips and cracks, front teeth appear flat and leveled, and there may even be symptoms of TMD (temporomandibular disorder). When a chronic nail biter wears away teeth, their bite may alter, causing jaw pain and other serious concerns.

You’re Suffering from an Eating Disorder

When a patient is battling bulimia, their dentist may be the first medical professional to suspect a problem based on how oral health is affected by the disease. Erosion, usually on the back side of the front couple teeth, is a typical sign of bulimia. When enamel is eroded away, teeth are at increased risk for developing cavities. If you have an eating disorder, we urge you to seek help as soon as possible. There are professionals who can find a treatment that works for you.

Your Bad Breath is Hiding Something Serious

Bad breath is embarrassing, but it can also be a sign of something serious — whether in the mouth or in the body. It’s important to note that different stenches could mean different things. For example, a fruity smell may be a sign of diabetes whereas a fishier smell could indicate liver or kidney failure. If breath is neither and rather just unpleasant, it may be a sign of gum disease, which may increase the risk for heart disease.

You Don’t Floss as Much as You Should

We see it all the time. A patient arrives for their appointment, sits in the chair, opens wide, and their hygienist is greeted with puffy, red gums. While this can be a sign of any number of things, it most commonly means the patient flossed right before their appointment, and really no other time before that since their last visit. We can’t tell you enough how important it is to floss every single day, not just when you’re coming to see us.

All of these secrets told by your mouth are serious and require prompt medical attention. If you identify with any of them, we encourage you to contact your dentist in Austin as soon as you can. If you’d like our help, or if you’re looking for a dentist, schedule an appointment at our Austin dental office today. We’ll perform an in-depth exam and get you started on a path towards optimal oral and overall health.

Accepting patients from Austin, Westlake, Cedar Park and beyond.

Suffer From Migraines? See Your Austin Dentist.

migraine

June is Migraine & Headache Awareness Month, and as anyone who has ever suffered a migraine can tell you, they aren’t fun. While it may seem weird to get a message about migraines from our Austin dental office, trust us, you’ve come to the right place.

What is a Migraine?

Similar to a headache in that there is throbbing head pain, migraines are usually more intense, more painful, and could be debilitating. Unlike most headaches, migraines usually affect only one side of the head and have additional symptoms including:

  • Nausea
  • Light or sound sensitivity
  • Pain behind an eye or ear
  • Temple pain

Sometimes people can sense a migraine coming on because they experience sensations anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes prior to actually feeling a migraine. This is known as ‘migraine with aura’ and some signs include:

  • Trouble focusing
  • Tingling/numbness in the hands or face
  • Seeing lights/flashing lights or obscure lines

How are Migraines and Dentistry Related?

When looking at the cause of migraines, much of the focus is on the head since that’s where the symptoms tend to show. However, some migraines may have an underlying dental cause.

Research suggests a possible correlation between a bad bite (malocclusion) and migraines. A bad bite results when the top teeth and the bottom teeth don’t line up in way that allows the jaw to completely relax. When the teeth don’t align, excessive pressure is put on the TMJ (temporomandibular joint), which is where your lower jaw attaches to your upper jaw, resulting in pain. The muscles that contribute to the anatomy of your jaw are also linked to your head, so when they’re stressed and painful, your head may also be stressed and painful, leading to a migraine.

You shouldn’t have to live with the pain of recurring migraines. If you’ve been suffering from persistent headaches or migraines and haven’t been able to find relief with other treatment, give our Austin dental office a call to schedule an appointment. We can evaluate your bite and overall oral health and recommend the best solution for you.

Accepting patients from Austin, Westlake, Cedar Park.

Sports Drinks and Their Effect on Teeth

drinking sports drink

Beverages designed to help replace nutrients lost during sports or exercise can help your body recover, but they can also cause irreversible damage to your teeth. At our Austin dental office, we’re in the business of protecting smiles, so we want all of our patients to know the harmful effects sports drinks can have on their pearly whites.

Surprise! It’s Not the Sugar.

Usually when we talk about foods and drinks that cause decay, we’re dissing the sugar content. And while it’s still completely true that sugary foods and drinks lead to oral health problems like cavities, when we talk about sports drinks, the thing we’re more concerned with is acid.

Many popular sports drinks are very acidic, and that’s a problem. The acid in these beverages damages the protective enamel. Any damage done to the enamel is always a concern because once enamel is gone, it’s gone, and teeth are left exposed to even more problematic elements like bacteria, sugar, and even more acid. This causes the problem to become worse since bacteria feed on sugar and then produce even more acid, snowballing the damage into a neverending cycle.  

The Damage

Besides increased risk for decay and cavities and the need for fillings, if problems are left untreated, more in depth treatment like root canals may be necessary. If acid is left to continually eat away at enamel, the tooth’s roots may become infected, and that can hurt. Treatment, however, isn’t as painful as you may think. Root canals actually relieve the pain, not cause it. More so, if a tooth has been treated several times, the need for a dental crown or onlay may be necessary to strengthen the tooth and prevent the need for repeated fillings.

It’s best to seek the opinion of a dentist in Austin if you notice any symptoms of possible decay including:

  • Sensitivity to heat, cold, or sweets
  • Discoloration
  • Toothaches
  • Pain when biting
  • Holes or pits on the tooth surface

Maintaining regular dental appointments at our dental office in Austin is the best way to catch any damage to the enamel early to decrease the need for more advanced treatment. Dental cleanings and exams at least twice a year are typically recommended, so make sure you’re keeping up with your dental checkups. If it’s been longer than six months since your last visit, call to schedule an appointment today.

Accepting patients from Austin, Westlake, and Cedar Park.

Asthma & Your Oral Health

asthma

Asthma affects nearly 24 million Americans and is a serious medical condition that, if not treated proactively, can lead to trouble breathing, wheezing, and sometimes, even death. But at our Austin dental office, we also know it may have a negative effect on oral health.

What the Research Says

There’s been a long-standing belief that those with asthma have an increased risk for oral health problems, including cavities. Since many asthma sufferers tend to also be mouth breathers, the chance for dry mouth is greater. And dry mouth is a concern for your Austin dentist. When saliva production decreases, its ability to properly rinse away germs and bacteria diminishes, and the likelihood of developing cavities goes up. Even if mouth breathing isn’t a factor, common asthma medications can also dry out the mouth and decrease saliva flow.

Cavities aren’t the only thing that has been linked with asthma. Asthma sufferers also have a higher chance of developing gum disease. According to a study conducted by the Journal of Periodontology, those surveyed who had gum disease were five times more likely to also have asthma. This is especially concerning because of the seriousness of gum disease. Gum disease has been linked to whole-body health issues such as heart disease, more respiratory problems in addition to asthma, and some cancers including kidney, pancreatic, and blood.

What Can You Do?

Whether the connection between asthma and cavities is true or not, there are some simple things you can do to ward off any negative side effects of asthma or asthma treatments.

  • Drink Water. A lot of water. Water helps stimulate saliva flow and keeps the mouth hydrated. The more moist the mouth, the more effective it is at keeping damaging decay-causing bacteria away.
  • Rinse with Water. After using an asthma treatment like an inhaler, rinse with water. Any drying ingredients in the medication won’t have the chance to linger in the mouth.
  • Tell Your Dentist. Your dentist should know if you have asthma, as well as any medication used to control it. You should also let your dental team know if you have any type of anxiety during your visits. They can help keep you comfortable, calm, and avoid a possible asthma attack.

As always, the best way to prevent cavities is to brush twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist regularly. We’re always accepting new patients at our Austin dental office, so if it’s time for your checkup, give us a call to schedule an appointment.

Accepting patients from Austin, Westlake, Cedar Park.

Understanding Oral Cancer

oral cancer

Oral cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States with about 35,000 cases diagnosed every year. Of those, about 8,000 will lose their lives to this life-threatening condition. At our Austin dental office, we want all of our patients to understand the deadly disease so they can work to avoid it or recognize when there is a problem.

Risk Factors

Knowing the risk factors and who is more likely to develop oral cancer is the first step in understanding whether you may be at increased risk.

  • Gender: Men are more likely to develop oral cancer than women. In fact, their risk is about double that of their female counterparts.
  • Age: On average, most people are diagnosed at 62, and the majority of oral cancer patients are over 55.
  • Sun Exposure: Instances of oral cancer is increased in those who spend a lot of time in the sun without sunscreen.
  • Tobacco Use: Nearly 80% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are smokers or use smokeless tobacco. Smoking often leads to throat or mouth cancer, and smokeless tobacco usually results in gum, cheek, or lip cancer.
  • Alcohol: Heavy drinking is associated with an increased risk of oral cancer. In fact, nearly 70% of all those diagnosed use alcohol often. And if you’re a drinker and smoker, your risk may be as high as 100%.

Even if you don’t fall into these risk categories, you can still develop oral cancer.

Signs & Symptoms

Being able to recognize a potential problem and getting it checked out quickly can increase survival rate. Early detection is key to beating the cancer, so if you notice any of the following symptoms, see your dentist in Austin as soon as possible.

  • A chronic sore that doesn’t go away
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • A lump on the cheek or tongue
  • Voice changes

Prevention

While we can’t change our gender or age, we can take steps to limit our exposure to the lifestyle risk factors. Besides that, maintaining regular checkups with your dentist is key to catching any problems early. If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist, give our Austin dental office a call to schedule an appointment today. It could save your life.

Accepting patients from Austin, Westlake,Cedar Park.

You’ve Got Questions About Canker Sores? We’ve Got Answers!

canker sore

Canker sores are a common problem that tend to come with a lot of questions. What causes them? Are they contagious? Can you cure them? Can you avoid them? Is a canker sore and cold sore the same thing? At our Austin dental office, we understand canker sores can be confusing, and uncomfortable, so we’d like to give you some answers to commonly asked questions.

What Exactly is a Canker Sore?

A canker sore is ulcer-like lesion that appears on the soft tissues of the mouth. And if you get one, you’ll know. Canker sores look like small, red, painful, raised circles. They may even have a white or gray middle. Canker sores affect the inside of the mouth and aren’t contagious. If you notice something similar on the lip or outside of the mouth, you probably have a cold sore, which is contagious, so get it looked at as soon as possible.

What Causes Canker Sores?

We wish we had a better answer to this, but we’ll fill you in on what we know. Canker sores have no absolute cause. However, there are some things that have a correlation with developing a canker sore.

  • High Stress or Lack of Rest
  • Acidic or Spicy Foods
  • Soft Tissue Injuries

Sometimes you may be able to determine what causes a canker sore to pop up. Other times, they appear seemingly out of nowhere. If you can identify what caused a canker sore to pop up, try your best to avoid it.

How do You Treat a Canker Sore?

Again, we wish we had better news for you. Unfortunately there is no cure for canker sores. You basically need to let them run their course, which is typically about a week or two. While you can’t make one go away, you can ease the discomfort and pain with an over-the-counter product designed to numb the area.

What if a Canker Sore Doesn’t Go Away?

Normally a canker sore will heal itself, but sometimes it needs help. If you notice any of the following symptoms, call your dentist in Austin.

  • It’s still there after three weeks
  • It spread or multiplied
  • It comes paired with a fever or severe pain

At our Austin dental office, we’ll be more than happy to answer any questions about canker sores or any other oral health concern you have. Give us a call today!

Now accepting patients from Austin, Westlake, and Cedar Park.

5 Habits that Harm Teeth

bad habits

Even if you brush and floss everyday, there are some common daily habits that put your teeth at increased risk for disease or damage. At our Austin dental office, we’re here to educate our patients on all the ways they can help keep their smiles in the best shape, so we’ve included a guide to the top five tooth-damaging habits we often see.

  • Ice, Ice, Baby! A great way to cause tiny cracks, or sometimes even large ones, is to crunch on hard, cold ice cubes. Although it’s made of water and there are no threats of sugar damage, their solid texture is hard on teeth. Fractures in teeth make room for bacteria to settle in and cause decay.
  • Lay Off The Snacks! Don’t worry, you don’t need to give up snacking completely. However, you should limit the number of times you snack throughout the day. The longer teeth are exposed to food and food particles, the more opportunity bacteria have to feed on sugars or starches. When bacteria feed, they produce acid. This acid may lead to decay and the need for dental restorations.
  • That’s Juicy! While packed with healthy nutrients, fruit juices are also packed with harmful sugar. As we know, sugar feeds bacteria in the mouth, erodes enamel, and increases risk of cavities. Try diluting juice with water and making sure your choice of juice has no added sugar.
  • Chew on This! Well, actually, don’t chew on it. What exactly do we mean by it? Pens, pencils, fingernails, or basically anything not designed to go in the mouth. Foreign objects that are hard in texture can cause teeth to chip, break, or crack. If you find yourself chewing on things as a habit, try a gum with Xylitol instead.
  • Up in Smoke! Tobacco, whether cigars, cigarettes, or smokeless, not only greatly increases the risk of oral cancer, it also leads to yellowed teeth. Often times staining caused by tobacco can’t be removed through traditional teeth whitening and cosmetic dentistry treatments are needed. What’s more, tobacco users have a greater chance for tooth loss.

Besides kicking the habits above, or at least limiting them, you’re helping keep your smile bright and healthy. But that alone isn’t enough. Visit your dentist in Austin at least twice a year in order to catch any problems early. Early detection is key to successful treatment of many oral health diseases and concerns.

If it’s time to get your smile in its best shape yet, give our Austin dental office a call. We’re always accepting new patients and would love to see you.

Serving patients from Austin, Westlake, and Cedar Park.

Celebrate World Oral Health Day with Your Austin Dentist

World Oral Health Day

Every year the World Dental Federation (FDI) sponsors World Oral Health Day to promote awareness on the effects a healthy mouth has on a healthy body. Everyone at our Austin dental office wants to do our part and share some of connections between your dental health and whole body health.

“Do We Really Need a Day Dedicated to Oral Health?”

In short, yes, we really do. Here’s why. 90% of the world’s population will be diagnosed with dental disease at least once in their lifetime. That’s a huge number and the main reason behind the World Oral Health Day. Many of the diseases that will affect most of us are preventable. But only if we spread the knowledge. By joining together and educating each other on the importance of dental health not only for the mouth’s sake, but for the whole body too, we can cut that number down.

It All Starts Here. Healthy Mouth. Healthy Body.

That’s this year’s theme for World Oral Health Day, and we couldn’t agree more. Dental health is just as important to an overall healthy body as eating right, working out, and avoiding dangerous habits like smoking. In fact, some whole-body diseases can be linked to oral health concerns. For example, research on patients with gum disease shows a probable link between it and heart disease, respiratory disease, some cancers, and diabetic issues.

Know the Signs

If you recognize any of these signs in your mouth, we encourage you to see your dentist in Austin as soon as possible.

  • Chronic bad breath
  • Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
  • Loose teeth
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when your mouth is closed

Take Action

Now is the time to take care of your smile, and your body. We welcome you to start right here at our dental office in Austin. Regular exams and professional cleanings are some of the most important parts of getting and maintaining a healthy mouth. They also allow us to find any problems early. And early detection means you get the care you need faster. Your mouth, and your body, will thank you.

Want to be more active in World Oral Health Day? Learn more and access great information right here.

Welcoming patients from Austin, Westlake, Cedar Park and beyond.

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