Category Archives: Dental

If You Have A Sweet Tooth….

. . . . remember, when you’re nice to your teeth, they’re nice to you 🙂

sweet tooth

This is a friendly reminder: Don’t dessert your teeth, take time to care for them every single day!

Do you need to pamper YOUR sweet teeth? Let us show you how. Call or email us:

(214) 522-3110               www.raodentistry.com

Photo courtesy of The Eco-Dentistry Association

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Dental, Wellness

10 Easy, Cost-Effective Fixes For Common Dental Problems

Cost of dental treatment

Do you freak out when you hear the words your dental treatment will cost you…….. ?

Before you down an entire bottle of Tums, take a deep breath and read on.

If you want to keep the cost of dental treatment from out-growing your budget, there’s no better way to do it than prevention. Do your due diligence, and unpleasant surprises will stay few and far between.

Still, life–and teeth–have a way of putting a kink in your plans, so here are 10 easy and cost-effective tools and fixes for most common dental ailments:

1. Warm salt water rinses

Most gum irritations–be they red, sensitive or puffy–come to heel when subjected to a regimen of warm salt water rinses. The salt draws the irritant (or infection) to the surface, where the body eliminates it, and also helps neutralize the acidic environment that fosters bacteria.

Cost: < $1

2. Floss

If you haven’t discovered the power of floss, you’re missing out on one of THE most effective dental tools. It keeps teeth clean, lowers risk of cavities, prevents gum disease, and a bonus: helps prevent bad breath. Its slightly-less-powerful-but-still-effective brethren include tooth picks, proxa brushes, Sonic floss (if you like gadgets), etc.

Cost: ~$2

3. Tongue cleaner

Is it me or do you smell something? Ahem.

Get this handy gadget if you want to part ways with bad breath. This nifty tool will help get the funk off your tongue and make friends with fresh breath.

Cost:~$2

4. Sensitivity tooth paste

Teeth and gums throwing temperature tantrums? Mild-but-constant sensitivity to cold foods and drinks can be soothed into submission with a desensitizing tooth paste in just a few days.

Cost: ~$2-$5 

5. Dental/orthodontic wax

Whether you’re in braces or have a chipped tooth and can’t get to the dentist right away, dental/orthodontic wax is easily gettable from any drugstore, preventing excessive gum irritation and keeping you comfortable.

Cost: ~$4

6. Orabase

Pizza burn? Hot coffee burn? Orabase is a handy topical numbing agent that can soothe minor burns in your mouth and get those gums and tissues to start healing.

Cost: ~$6

7. High flouride tooth paste

Darn those cavities! While there’s no substitute for good oral care at home and regular maintenance at your dentist’s, you can still aim a good power punch at cavities-to-be by using a prescription strength high flouride tooth paste. This is especially useful if you’re prone to getting cavities, but would rather not.

Cost: ~$15-$25 per tube

8. Electric toothbrush

Now, this one doesn’t qualify as “low-cost”….or does it?? Let’s see.

It cleans your mouth better, lowers risk of gum disease, helps prevent gums from receeding, picks up some of the slack if you don’t floss daily, and removes daily stains more effectively and thus keeps teeth fresher and brighter.

So yes, it’s a small chunk of change up front but saves you a ton of $$ over the long haul.

Cost: $100-175 (for a GOOD one)

9. Night guard

Bring out the cavalry, I’m getting on my soap box. Teeth grinding/clenching can chip, grind or break your teeth, cause jaw soreness or pain, and wear out your existing crowns and fillings faster. A night guard is a great non-invasive (i.e. no drill) solution. One guard, less dental work. Plus, many dental insurances cover it.

Cost: ~$300-$600

10. Regular dental check ups

Yes, this IS an easy and cost-effective fix. It costs less to keep up with check ups and annual x-rays to catch cavities when they’re small rather than waiting till they turn into toothaches, root canals and crowns… or worse, losing your teeth.

On the flip side, some NOT so effective fixes: aspirin (for pain), paint on whiteners, overuse of baking soda, whitening mouthwashes, antibiotics (which are often temporary fixes because they treat symptoms, not the problem).

Cost: a lot less than if you didn’t

Don’t want to pay high dental bills? Then form good habits, be consistent, get basic tools, and get regular dental check ups (i.e. good maintenance)…and your stay in the dentist’s chair will be short and sweet.

Need more? Or just need to get started? Call us, email us, or Facebook us:

(214) 522-3110   www.raodentistry.com    Facebook: Rao Dentistry

Image: Meawpong3405

2 Comments

Filed under Dental, Health, Teeth Whitening, Wellness

How To Prevent Your Teeth From Breaking

This has been a summer of hot temperatures, hail storms and the Olympics. prevent teeth from breaking

And broken teeth.

Is there an ice-chewing convention in town that I don’t know about?

Pretty much every week this summer, we’ve had folks break their teeth on “salad” or “oatmeal”, or my favorite, while “flossing” (ahem).

Okay, now I know not everyone is crunching on ice (or hard candy), but if there IS a community event of the sort, I’d appreciate some advance notice.

It goes without saying–but I’ll say it anyway–we’ll take take of you and your teeth as needed, but let me take this moment to harp on something, which is the concept of preventing such a tooth calamity.

If you know/suspect/have been told that you clench or grind your teeth, please consider getting a night guard. A custom guard from your dentist is the ideal choice, but if that’s over your budget, get one from a drugstore.

All that muscle action on your teeth can not only chip or break your teeth, but weaken the fillings and crowns you already have. Not to mention trigger jaw pain and headaches.

If you chew ice, consider quitting. Your teeth WILL eventually lose that battle. Trust me.

Switching to shaved ice is a tad better, but only a tad.

If you have a cavity you’re aware of, it will only get bigger (I have yet to hear of one that self-heals). It’s worth it to get it taken care of while it’s small, before it gets big enough to cause you pain or break your tooth (and your wallet).

Skipping x-rays, just this once? Well, okay, but know that without them we can’t see in between your teeth or what’s going on under your crowns and old fillings. You need to be comfortable with taking that risk more than your dentist.

Contrary to popular misconception, we don’t take pictures of your teeth for a secret dental Facebook society. We take them to gauge your oral health and diagnose more accurately.

Small problems caught early = easier to fix

A couple of things to keep in mind–if you’re a “cruncher”, i.e., a lover of nuts, granola, chips, etc., take it easy when you eat those things. An almond is just as tasty as 4 plopped in your mouth all together, and less risky.

See? Making a few small changes can keep you miles away from a dental emergency, a tooth ache or looking like a hillbilly.

I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.
~ George C. Lichtenberg

Don’t want to be a statistic? Ask us how to get prevention for your teeth into high gear:
(214) 522-3110                www.raodentistry.com
Image source: Phaitoon

7 Comments

Filed under Dental, Teeth Grinding

6 Signs You Have The Wrong Dental Insurance

wrong dental insuranceThe dental insurance offered to you at work is the product of an agreed affair between your employer and the insurance carrier.

After they’ve hit the (spread) sheets a few times, they mutually agree to offer a few plan options that you get to choose from.

Please note that your dentist is not involved here, since no one likes a third wheel.

Yet somehow dental insurance companies have managed to shove under the covers the fact that they have not increased the amount of coverage in 40+ years.

Suffice it to say, neither you nor I can expect any changes to that unfaithful move anytime soon. Well, not without a dirty fight anyways.

However, getting some is better than none for most people these days. At the very least, your basic visits are covered, and so are varying parts (note: part, not “all”) of most dental procedures such as fillings, crowns, dentures, etc.

Still, some glaring red flags can alert you that you may not have the “average” insurance, but one that is altogether wrong:

1. The plan is neither a PPO nor a DMO….but a NO-NO.

2. When you call them about your dental benefits, they don’t allow humans to answer the phones.

3. The fine print says they will pay on your claim only on the 4th Tuesday of every other month, but only if it’s raining.

4. The insurance company’s philosophy is that they prefer not to pay for prevention, and certainly not for major treatment. (Yeah, I’m still scratching my head on that one.)

5. The insurance company denies coverage due to a pre-existing condition: that you have teeth.

6. The insurance company prefers that you DON’T see a dentist.

The above points may be somewhat funny, but are somewhat true.

To avoid getting into a messy tangle, it pays to know the different plan options available, and also to note the fine print on the plan you choose, i.e., having a general idea of what’s covered and what’s not.

Being informed keeps you on top. This way, if you and your dentist have to go all the way to figure out why the insurance company isn’t paying, at least both of you will be on the same page.

But, should you discover that you indeed have the wrong dental insurance and desire good oral care, I encourage you to sack it and find a better one as soon as possible.

(214) 522-3110                    www.raodentistry.com

Image source: Grant Cochrane

4 Comments

Filed under Dental

Is It Possible To Like Going To The Dentist…Finally?

Clock saying 'time for change'It’s no breaking news that the idea of going to the dentist is an unpleasant event.

While few are comfortable enough to think nothing of it, most people associate a dental visit with emotions ranging from utter dread to mild anxiety, even at the thought of something as routine as a teeth cleaning.

Such emotions often stem from unpleasant experiences in the past, “horror” stories from others and let’s face it–the thought of something sharp or a loud drill in your mouth doesn’t paint the most appealing picture.

Of course I’m biased (occupational hazard), but after years of encountering such emotions, I’ve learned that changing minds and perceptions–to some degree, at least–is entirely possible, yes, even about the dentist.

Changing Your Mindset

Don’t you do it already? If you’ve ever quit smoking, tackled your taxes yourself or even started a new exercise routine, you’ve changed a habit, which essentially starts with changing your mindset.

How?

By ignoring past setbacks, expecting success, and taking the first step. Then the next, and then another.

What keeps you going is the focus on the end result, the “prize” of being smoke-free, signing off your tax forms and looking better in the mirror. And yes, even getting that sparkling, healthy smile.

Liking The Dentist

While the common perception of dentistry is not flattering, many dentists who don’t fit that mold at all.

For example, in our practice, where we have systems set up to make patients feel comfortable, where we listen to what patients are saying, and focus on comfort in spite of the anxiety we know to expect, it’s not uncommon (for us) to change the old perception.

So what exactly is our m.o.? To invite the kind of folks who

  • want and value great dental care,
  • get that we love to make each person feel special AND comfortable
  •  like to have fun doing it.

Each person on our team knows and believes in that. We have technology and tools, but all that stuff has one goal–to help you make your dental home with us for life.

Our hope is that you will perceive us the way we want: We want to make you feel good about dental care, and change a few minds along the way for those who don’t.

Are you ready…finally!….to like going to the dentist? Then call or email us for an appointment:

(214) 522-3110             www.raodentistry.com

Photo credit: Salvatore Vuono

6 Comments

Filed under Dental, Experience, Health, Smile, Smoking, Wellness

A Simple Guide To Understanding The Dental Specialties

If I ever wanted to learn a foreign language, French or Spanish would top my list.  pebble skipping on water

Some that would not make my list are Legalese, Techno-jargon, Pig Latin (does that still exist?) and Mumbo Jumbo….

I would need a translator!

And one that wouldn’t make your list is ‘Dental-ese’.

At times, when the dental treatment you need is more than what we can provide, we refer you over to the pros who can.

To help you better understand which dental specialist does what, here is a plain-English breakdown of the pro-list:

1. Endodontists

Oh, the nerve. I don’t mean to play favorites, but I will. Endodontists are root canal wizards. If you have a toothache that won’t go away, or an infection headed to funky town, this is where you need to go.

They test, they diagnose, they get you out of pain. A root canal is the last resort to save your natural tooth, and if it can be salvaged, they’re the ones who can help.

2. Periodontics

Masters of all things related to gums and bone, periodontists will pull you back if you’re teetering over the edge of periodontal disease. In addition, they’re pros at placing dental implants to replace missing teeth, as well as help identify and treat various gum ailments.

3. Pediatric Dentists

They see little people…aka kids. They are the go-to specialists for children who need to be sedated for treatment, are really young, or have special needs.

However, even kids who don’t need any of the above sometimes feel more comfortable in a pediatric dental setting–and who could blame them? Their offices are more colorful and fun than those for adults, and they know how to cater to their pint-sized patients.

4. Orthodontists

Brace yourself…..they will set you–and your teeth–straight. If you’ve had braces, no doubt you’ve  spent many an afternoon in an orthodontist’s office. Get checked early enough and they can check for any funkiness in your jaw growth or an off-kilter bite.

Make no mistake, though. They treat adults as well, those who perhaps didn’t get the chance to straighten their smile growing up.

5. Oral-Maxillofacial Surgeons

Now that’s a mouthful. Better known as “Oral Surgeons“, not only do they take wisdom teeth out and place dental implants, they also do fancy-schmancy stuff like sinus lifts, facial reconstructions after trauma and help those with birth defects such as cleft lip or palate.

6. Prosthodontists

Prosthodontists are like specialized general dentists. For complicated situations that involve full mouth reconstruction or perplexing bites or jaw issues, they are your best resource.

(The American Dental Association lists a few more specialties, but the above list includes those commonly seen for most dental issues.)

It’s always more comforting to understand (rather than guess) the different aspects of dental treatment, should you need it.

Hopefully the above guide served as a good translation of ‘Dental-ese’ to help better understand the major dental specialties.

Still have questions? Ask us in the comments. Or, call or email us:

(214) 522-3110          www.raodentistry.com

3 Comments

Filed under Children's dentistry, Dental, Dental Implants

7 Wise Reasons to Let Go of Your Wisdom Teeth

A wise man once said–

A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.      

In the 1800s, there was a man named Chuck, who certainly was no fool.

He had a theory that the human body retained several “left-over” organs that lost their use during the course of evolution.

Chuck, better known as Charles Darwin, knew what he was talking about.

In humans, the list includes the appendix (yawn), the tail bone (really?), male nipples (ahem) and wisdom teeth (a-ha!).

Despite little or no function in current times, these parts stubbornly insist on showing up, and have to be dealt with on occasion.

Since I have no formal authority on the first three, I can offer some enlightened expertise on wisdom teeth.

Here are a few reasons and conditions when it would be beneficial to let go of your ‘spare’ set:

1. Lack of function

You may start with 32, but 28 can do the job just fine. Now that our jaws are smaller compared to our ancestors, wisdom teeth don’t often help in chewing or other functions. This may be not be an urgent reason to get rid of them, but something to consider.

2. Poor alignment

Superman’s vision or dental x-rays (whichever is easier) can pinpoint the position of wisdom teeth. Often they come in at odd angles, sometimes even sideways, and make your otherwise spent-three-years-in-braces teeth shift and overlap.

Your once-straight smile may not stay that way after wisdom teeth start coming in.

3. Risk of damage to neighbors

If straight teeth are not a priority, note that poor alignment can also potentially damage neighboring teeth by trapping food debris or plaque.

4. Risk of infection

This is probably the most important reason to consider in your decision making.

Wisdom teeth, especially in the half-in/half-out position in your gums, are often prone to gum infection. Bacteria settle down and party like it’s 1999, which can cause swelling, jaw tightness and pain.  This infection can travel to other parts of your body, like your heart, making it quite dangerous.

5. Difficulty keeping clean

Despite my constant nagging recommendation, the percentage of those who floss is much smaller than those who don’t. Factor that in if you have a hard time reaching your back molars to brush, let alone floss way back there.

Wisdom teeth are thus more prone to dental decay, leading to cavities. Getting them treated can be challenging, if even possible.

6. Problems later in life

If your wisdom teeth were worry-free in your teens or 20’s, but start to bother you later on, a discussion is in order to decide if they’re worth treating or need to be removed altogether. The benefit of getting them out may outweigh the risk of holding on to them.

7. Early detection of problems

If your x-rays at an early age show without a doubt your wisdom teeth are going to present problems or damage adjacent teeth, it’s worth getting them removed earlier rather than later. One advantage is an easier recovery, since they haven’t finished growing and thus are easier to remove.

On the other hand, if your wisdom teeth are positioned comfortably, you’re not having any discomfort (nor are you at risk to) and you are diligent about your home care and regular check-ups with your dentist, you can keep your wise quartet for life.

And if losing your wisdom with your teeth worries you, just remember what another wise man said–

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.

Still have questions? Call or email us, or ask in the comments!

(214) 522-3110         www.raodentistry.com

1 Comment

Filed under Dental