Common Myths Associated with Dental Veneers Exposed

Slight imperfections, misshapen teeth, teeth that are too small, discoloration—all of these are examples of dental situations that can possibly be corrected with veneers. Veneers are onlays that are uniquely customized and shaped to slip over the surface of a tooth to change its overall appearance. While veneers are a popular cosmetic dental treatment, many myths surround them.

Myth: Veneers do not last that long.

Dental veneers can actually last a really long time if the person who has them is attentive to oral hygiene and follows their dentist’s instructions about caring for their veneers. Veneers can last anywhere from 7 to 15 years if they are properly cared for. To get the longest life span from your veneers:

  • Get routine dental checkups and cleanings
  • Brush and floss your teeth and veneers daily
  • Stay away from hard candy
  • Don’t chew on hard objects, such as an ink pen
  • Don’t smoke or use smokeless tobacco

Myth: Veneers stain easily.

Veneers can be made out of composite resin, porcelain, or other materials. Some veneers are easier to stain than others. For example, porcelain veneers can be more prone to stains if you eat or drink a lot of deep-colored foods, such as berries or coffee. However, if you are vigilant about brushing and flossing and having routine oral hygiene visits, you will likely not have issues with your veneers getting stained or discolored.

Myth: Veneers do not protect your smile from further deterioration.

One of the reasons people like veneers is they can get them even if the teeth they have are starting to deteriorate. When a veneer is placed on a tooth, it is sealed in place with a bonding agent similar to what is used to do a dental filling. Therefore, once the veneer is in place, it can actually be a line of protection for teeth that are starting to break down.

Find Out More About Veneers at Southern Oaks Dental Care in Beaumont, TX

Overall, dental veneers can completely transform your smile, and they are a worthy investment. Reach out to us at Southern Oaks Dental Care for more information about veneers or to find out if you are a good candidate for treatment.

4 Tips to Combat Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety affects hundreds of thousands of Americans. There are many reasons why people might have dental anxiety. They may have fear of the unknown, fear of the motorized dental tools or simply be afraid of getting bad news from the dentists. Whatever the reason for your dental anxiety, it’s not healthy to let this anxiety prevent you from going to the dentist. Here are some ways to combat dental anxiety.

1. Talk to Friends and Family

People don’t often discuss their dental visits. Naturally, it’s not a topic that is very interesting at a dinner party. But talking to your friends and family about their own dental treatment experiences can help you feel less anxious about going to the dentist. You’ll hear firsthand what they had done, what it was like, and the outcome. This will probably make you feel more confident going into your next dentist appointment.

2. Go More Often

Another way to combat dental anxiety that is derived from a fear of the unknown is simply to go more often. For three months, visit your dentist once a month. Just go in for simple reasons, like a routine examination, a teeth whitening or to get dental sealants. The more you visit your dentist and get to know the staff and the office environment, the more comfortable you’ll start to feel about dental visits in general.

3. Try Some Remedies

If you feel that you need to relax before your dental visit, try some remedies that others have used. You can try meditating, having a glass of wine, or even try CBD, which is gaining in popularity. Of course, if you don’t feel good about having a glass of wine or trying CBD, you should choose an alternative relaxation remedy that aligns with your values and lifestyle.

4. Ask For Sedation Dentistry

You can always be upfront and honest with your dentist about your anxieties. Your dentist may offer you sedation dentistry. This is a calming agent that in no way impairs your ability to make decisions or be aware of your surroundings. It’s just a very mild relaxant that can help you combat dental anxiety.

Remember, it’s better to seek ways to combat dental anxiety than to avoid seeing the dentist at all. For more ideas about getting over dental anxiety, please contact us.

Recognizing Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the non-destructive form of periodontal disease; however, left untreated, gingivitis can progress to the more serious form of the disease, periodontitis. Periodontitis can lead to tooth loss. For this reason, recognizing and seeking treatment for gingivitis is crucial.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Gingivitis

Inflammation is probably the most noticeable sign of gingivitis; however, this swelling often leads to a variety of other symptoms.

The signs and symptoms of gingivitis include:

  • Soft gums that bleed while brushing and/or flossing.
  • Consistent bad breath.
  • Bright red gums.
  • Gums that are tender or painful when touched.
  • Purple-looking gums.
  • Gums that are pulling away from the teeth (i.e., receding).
  • Shiny gums.

What Causes Gingivitis?

Gingivitis frequently occurs due to the buildup of a sticky, bacteria-filled biofilm called plaque. This biofilm accumulates on, between and around the teeth, triggering an immune response, which results in inflammation of the gingival tissue (i.e., gingiva or gums).

What Creates the Plaque?

The plaque is created by colonizing bacteria. Unless removed through the use of proper oral hygiene techniques, the bacteria start binding to the plaque that has settled on the teeth. If the plaque is not removed adequately within 24 to 72 hours of its development, it hardens into tartar (i.e., calculus). Tartar can only be removed by a dental professional.

Treating Gingivitis

During a traditional cleaning, or with a more extensive cleaning process known as scaling, plaque and tartar are removed. Since certain dental problems can contribute to poor oral hygiene, your Southern Oaks Dentist may recommend procedures to fix damaged or crooked teeth. In addition, your dentist may want to address dental appliances that are not fitting correctly. Besides aggravating the gum tissue, these badly fitting dental appliances can make it difficult for you to remove plaque from the areas where they sit.

Gingivitis typically resolves after the individual visits the dentist for a cleaning, addresses any other issues that may have contributed to the development of gingivitis (e.g., damaged teeth, ill-fitting dental appliances, etc.) and begins practicing a better daily oral hygiene regimen. For example, brushing longer and more frequently (at least twice a day) with an electronic toothbrush, flossing regularly, and using an antiseptic mouthwash have all been effective solutions for gingivitis.

If you notice that your gums are red and puffy, and they bleed easily when you brush or floss, you need to make an appointment with a dentist at Southern Oaks Dental Care right away because you may have gingivitis.

3 Problems to Be Alert to with Your Smile as a Diabetic

In the United States alone, there are 29.1 million people who have been diagnosed with diabetes. Just as diabetes can affect your overall health, it can also affect the health of your mouth and smile. Check out this short list of problems with oral health every diabetic should know about so they can keep an eye on developing issues.

Gum Disease

Uncontrolled blood sugar levels have a detrimental effect on the circulatory system, which means diabetes can lead to poor blood flow to the gums. If these soft tissues are not getting fresh, oxygenated blood, they are more prone to breaking down. Gum diseases like gingivitis are typical among diabetic patients.

Dry Mouth

The exact reason why diabetes presents problems with dry mouth is unknown. However, it is a very common problem and one that can affect your overall oral health. Lack of saliva can be the root cause for multiple oral health conditions, including tooth decay.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Halitosis can come along with uncontrolled blood sugar levels, but it is not the state of your blood sugar that actually generates foul odors. Your breath may smell bad because there is a lack of saliva or because of gum disease. Oftentimes, treating the underlying condition will help deter problems with bad breath.

Tooth Decay

The lack of saliva and reduced blood flow to the gums can lead to problems with dental decay. If the teeth are not consistently washed with natural saliva because of problems with a dry mouth, it can make it easier for bacteria to grow on the enamel of the teeth. Brushing regularly and getting regular professional cleanings are important.

As a diabetic, you should discuss all of these concerns with your dentist. Make sure you get proper professional attention and make appointments regularly for checkups and cleanings. Your diagnosis means you have to be even more attentive to your oral health than the average person if you want to protect your smile. Reach out to us at Southern Oaks Dental Care for more information about how we can help you with your smile if you have diabetes.

Wishing You Had White Teeth? Here’s What You Should Know

If you’re like most people, you realize the value of a white, bright smile — and you may be feeling self-conscious because your smile isn’t as dazzling as you’d like it to be. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways available to those who’d like to have whiter teeth. Strategies range from natural, at-home methods that achieve some degree of success for those with mild discoloration and staining to in-office procedures performed by a skilled dentist designed for teeth with more serious, stubborn stains. Here’s what you need to know about having whiter teeth.

Limit Foods and Beverages That Can Stain Your Teeth

One of the most important things to do if your teeth are prone to staining is to avoid foods and beverages that are known to cause stains, such as coffee, black tea, blueberries, and red wine. However, if you’re like most people, you don’t want to give up your favorite things, so make sure you brush your teeth thoroughly after indulging in anything that could stain your teeth. You can also enjoy your favorite beverages by drinking them from a straw to prevent them from having any contact with your teeth.

You can also make a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to brush your teeth when you notice they’ve become slightly stained.

Consult With Your Dentist About Your Whitening Options

If simply limiting stain-causing food and beverage items isn’t enough, make an appointment with your dentist to discuss your whitening options. Chairside bleaching is the most common whitening procedure currently performed, but it’s not always the right choice for everyone, especially those whose teeth are deeply stained. Most modern dentists use laser technology to activate the hydrogen peroxide once the mixture is applied to the teeth.

If your teeth are only lightly stained, your dentist may recommend a whitening toothpaste instead. On the other hand, if your teeth are too deeply stained to benefit from in-office whitening procedures, your dentist may recommend having crowns put on.

Please don’t hesitate to call our office and schedule an appointment if you’d like to find out more about achieving the bright, white smile of your dreams.

Girl after teeth whitening

How to Make Your Professional Teeth Whitening Results Last

To prolong the results of your professional teeth whitening, you may need to make a few adjustments to your routine. Due to the variation of people’s lifestyles and body chemistry, it’s difficult to predict exactly how long your whitening will last. However, it is possible to delay your next session when you keep these tips in mind.

Focus on the Plaque

Plaque eventually leads to tartar, which can cause the discoloration and yellowing that cloud your mouth. It’s also the usual suspect for any number of dental disorders (e.g., cavities, etc.). Flossing, brushing, and regular dental cleanings can go a long way to keeping your teeth whiter for longer by keeping plaque at bay.

One easy action to try is rinsing your mouth out with water after you eat or drink. It’s impractical to expect you to brush after every meal, but it’s not asking too much to take a few swigs to stop plaque from adhering to the tooth.

Tip to Avoid Stains

You’ve likely already heard the old adage that coffee and wine will stain your teeth, but you may not want to cut these entirely out of your diet:

  • Straws: Straws may not be the most fashionable accessory, but they can keep your teeth whiter for longer. If you’re worried about the environmental impact of the plastic, try carrying a metal one around to limit your footprint. When you consider the effort you made to whiten your teeth, a straw in cola or grape juice can go a long way to protecting your investment.
  • Diet: Chocolate, soy sauce, and even ketchup can end up being poor dietary choices if you want to keep your teeth white. Eating is typically better for your teeth because the solids won’t stay in your mouth as long as the liquids will, but it’s still good to be cautious when you’re eating foods that are rich in color. If you’re not going to avoid them, just make sure you’re drinking water as you go.

If you want to learn more about better oral hygiene, Southern Oaks Dental Care is here to help you keep your teeth gleaming for longer than you ever thought possible!

dentist with patient

The Benefits of Fluoride

You may have heard of fluoride as beneficial for your teeth — or even had a fluoride treatment at a dental cleaning. But what is fluoride exactly? Where does it come from? And what does it actually do for your teeth?

Ahead, we’ll answer these questions and more.

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride actually comes from fluorine, a common element present in the crust of the earth. It can be found in many locations throughout nature, from rocks and soil to plants, water, and air. When combined with other specific elements, fluorine creates fluoride, a mineral that is known to fight cavities and strengthen tooth enamel.

dentist with patient

How Does Fluoride Work?

The enamel on the outer layers of your teeth is made up of phosphate and calcium, and believe it or not, it’s actually stronger than bone. Still, it can be broken down— namely by the particularly strong acids present in certain foods.

If you can go without eating these foods (like candy, bread and pasta, ice cream, chocolate, and other simple carbs), you may not have to deal with the accompanying acids. However, if you do eat these foods, natural bacteria in your mouth will inevitably feed off the carbs and create the acids that can break down tooth enamel. In the end, this can lead to tooth decay and cavities.

There’s good news, though.

If you have fluoride in your saliva (provided from fluoride-fortified water and other foods), it can come to your rescue. Together with the phosphate and calcium already present in your tooth enamel, fluoride will help your teeth create something called fluorapatite. This is amazing at fighting off acids, bacteria, tooth decay, and cavities.

When’s the Last Time You Had a Teeth Cleaning?

Whether or not you’re a good candidate for dental fluoride treatments yourself, remember to make sure you’re getting enough fluoride — either from fortified water or food or from your toothpaste and other dental hygiene products.

Additionally, dental professionals agree that everyone should have their teeth cleaned at least twice per year.

To make a regular appointment for a cleaning at Southern Oaks Dental Care, give us a call at (409) 835-6257 today. For online appointment requests, please go here.

woman with toothbrush

Tooth Enamel Loss

Everyday activities such as eating and drinking cause some degree of tooth enamel erosion at some point in nearly everyone’s lifetime. However, because tooth enamel is not comprised of living tissue, it doesn’t have the regenerative powers of certain other bodily elements such as skin — once your enamel is gone, it’s gone. Fortunately, strategies exist designed to help minimize tooth enamel erosion. They are:

Brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing regularly
Avoiding hard candy
Reducing sugary beverages
Drinking beverages through a straw to reduce exposure to tooth surfaces
Visiting your dentist for checkups and cleanings twice per year
Other causes of tooth enamel degradation include eating too many acidic foods, grinding your teeth at night, having dry mouth due to health conditions or specific medication side effects, and having acid reflux.

Signs of Tooth Enamel Loss

Those whose teeth experience higher than average sensitivity to hot and cold temperature extremes probably have developed a degree of tooth enamel loss. Other signs are teeth that have significantly yellowed or have otherwise become discolored, teeth that easily chip or fracture, and teeth that have a slightly translucent appearance. You may also notice rough edges and shiny spots on teeth that have lost some of their enamel.

Tooth enamel loss causes the internal tissues of the teeth to become vulnerable to damage by plaque and bacteria. Your dentist may recommend specific dental care products, such as enamel-protective toothpaste, to minimize this damage. These often work by neutralizing the bacteria and plaque present in the mouth to minimize the amount of damage they can do. Antibacterial mouthwashes also may be recommended.

woman with toothbrush

Dental Procedures That Can Help

Although the best defense against the erosion of tooth enamel is to practice good oral hygiene regularly to help reduce the chances of it happening in the first place, there are measures your dentist can take if tooth enamel erosion is severe enough so that it interferes with the patient’s quality of life. Bonding, a process in which a material called resin in applied over damaged or stained teeth, is among the most popular. For teeth that have experienced significant enamel loss, the dentist may recommend using veneers or crowns. All of these choices help prevent further damage by providing a barrier between the teeth and outside substances.

Please don’t hesitate to call us if you have questions or concerns regarding enamel loss or other dental health issues.

Benefits of Dental Implants

Most people want a beautiful smile, but for a number of reasons, it’s not always possible without a little help from cosmetic dentistry. If you’ve experienced dental health issues and aren’t currently achieving your optimal smile, dental implants may be the right solution for you.

Let’s take a look at some benefits of dental implants:

Improved Aesthetics

Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. If you’re missing a tooth or several teeth, dental implants can fill in the gaps and give you a full smile again. Our patients’ confidence and self-esteem often improve the moment they look in the mirror after their implants have been put into place.

Improved Speech

Missing or loose teeth can impair your speech. While you may have gotten used to impaired speech over time, it may actually be impeding your ability to communicate with people optimally. Dental implants remove the worry associated with poorly fitting dentures or missing teeth, enabling you to speak freely and confidently to anyone you come into contact with.

Enhanced Oral Health

Unlike some other cosmetic dentistry options, dental implants don’t require the removal or alteration of other teeth. This means the teeth surrounding your implant will be unaffected. Once your implant is put into place, you can go about brushing and flossing as you normally would.

Dental Implants diagram

Durability

Dental implants are designed to last for a very long time—sometimes, they even last an entire lifetime. They become a part of you, so you don’t have to worry about replacing or repairing them on a regular basis. You can simply consider your dental implants as your own teeth.

Convenience

With removable dentures, there’s a lot of upkeep (and often, discomfort) involved. With dental implants, you don’t have to worry about removing them, cleaning them, or caring for them (beyond standard brushing and flossing).

Prevention of Bone Loss

Empty spaces in your mouth after tooth loss can cause your jawbone to deteriorate. Because dental implants adhere to your bone structure, they replace lost teeth in a way that dentures can’t, enabling your jaw to sustain or stimulate bone growth.

Southern Oaks Dental Care is the cosmetic dentistry facility Beaumont, TX residents trust. If you’re ready to have the best smile possible, schedule an initial consultation with our team today!

woman with toothbrush

Ways to Keep Your Gums Healthy

Everyone wants to have a gleaming smile with white, even teeth. But not everyone realizes that the best way to keep your smile intact is to take the best possible care of your gums. Without a regular regimen of oral hygiene, you could eventually get periodontal disease and risk losing your teeth.

Here are some of the main ways to care for your gums properly.

Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day

Proper brushing loosens plaque that can build along the gum line. Make sure you are brushing gently, with a soft bristled brush. Vigorous brushing can cause your gums to recede, exposing even more of your tooth surface to plaque.

Floss Daily

Flossing removes particles from between the teeth, preventing not only tooth decay but also the development of tartar, a precursor of gum disease in many individuals.

Rinse out Your Mouth After Eating

While not an effective as brushing your teeth, rinsing your mouth with water after you eat something can flush out some of the bacteria and food particles that cause plaque

Use Mouthwash

Therapeutic mouthwash helps to prevent gum disease by eliminating some of the bacteria that causes plaque and tartar. How do you know if it’s therapeutic and not simply a cosmetic brand? Check for the ADA seal on the label.

Stop Smoking

There is an established link between smoking and periodontal disease. While smoking doesn’t cause gum disease outright, it suppresses the human immune system so that it’s more difficult for your body to fight against the bacteria that cause infections in the mouth. Smoking also makes it harder for your mouth to heal after an infection.

See Your Dentist Regularly

When you get your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year, the hygienist has a chance to remove plaque and scrape away tartar. They also can check the overall health of your gums and take necessary steps to prevent gum disease from developing.

At Southern Oaks Dental Care in Beaumont, Texas, we are committed to helping you prevent gum disease. Call us at (409) 835-6257 to schedule an appointment.