Category Archives: Health

Getting Back to Gratitude

gratitude list for thanksgivingThursday is Thanksgiving….a day to devote to family, football, enough food to give our stretchy pants a real challenge….including lots and lots of pie.

And, of course, gratitude.

Most of us probably don’t take as much time as we should to reflect on everything we are grateful for. If you have, you’ll perhaps agree that it can be uplifting and humbling at the same time. And long, if we’re honest.

Since much of what we do around here has to do with taking care of oral health, I thought it would be a good place to highlight for the upcoming holidays, even though we need it all year round.

Here is a partial list of gratitude, for mouth, teeth and everything in and around, that lets us:

Eat

food to grow and nourish

Smile

be friendly or show respect

Drink

be it water or wine

Kiss

show love love love

Breathe

to live and to meditate

Bite

teeth to eat food

Taste

the “sense” to enjoy

Laugh

humor, happiness and joy

Speak

to communicate, connect and of course, say thanks

And speaking of, I am supremely grateful for the wonderful ladies I work with, and the wonderful patients we get to serve.

How about you? I want to know what you’re grateful for! No matter how (if) you celebrate Thanksgiving, it feels great to take a minute and reflect on what’s made your life better this year. Let me know in a comment below.

(214) 522-3110                www.raodentistry.com

Image: verybestbaking

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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

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Is Keeping Your Mouth Healthy Really That Important?

painting of two faces

No, not unless you want it to be.

Dentists can preach to you high and low, but it all comes down to what you want to believe, what’s important to you.

If you don’t want to, don’t get your teeth cleaned professionally.

If you don’t want to, don’t “fall” for the preventive stuff.

If you don’t want to, don’t get a cavity taken care of while it’s small (it’s only real when it hurts, right?)

As much as we encourage and educate, it’s still your call.

A sonic toothbrush is not nearly as exciting as a new pair of jeans, or a fancy haircut.

But neither is eating healthy, nor exercise.

No, not unless you want it to be.

Either way, the decision is yours. As long as you accept that, and own it, we can all be friends.

So what happens if your jeans don’t fit in a few weeks, or your tooth hurts?

Don’t worry–we’ll still take care of you (your teeth, that is), because that’s what we (love to) do.

It’s just that most times, we could’ve done it for a lot less (time/money/treatment), if you’d done it sooner, or done your home work.

Like I said, it’s your call.

If a healthy mouth is what you want, call or email us:

(214) 522-3110                 www.raodentistry.com

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Almost Famous: Sex And Oral Cancer

In the range of ‘popular’ cancers, the one that often flies under the radar is oral cancer.

But is it really a big deal? It seems to pale in comparison to the cancers of the breast, pancreas, cervix and the like. Well, until a celebrity brings it under the spotlight.

Famous or not, however, it is a force not to be messed with. No sireee.

Here’s why:

  1. More than 40,000 Americans will get it this year, and it is predicted only about half will survive it
  2. It usually spreads silently and painlessly….there may not be a red flag signalling for your attention
  3. Survivors have a 20% higher risk of developing a secondary cancer….after the initial occurrence
  4. More people under 40 are being diagnosed with it, and it used to affect mostly those over 40
  5. Historically, the main causes have been smoking, or smoking + alcohol (risk increases 15X). But there’s a new kid on the block–and growing fast via sexual transmission–HPV-16 (Human Papilloma Virus)

All in all, it may be the ‘underdog’ of cancers, but still a force to be reckoned with. The numbers, unfortunately, are on the rise, especially in women (rising from 1 in 7 to 1 in 3).

The scary thing is that because of its stealthy nature, it is often diagnosed after it’s spread to other parts of the body. And treatment for oral cancer is not an easy road either. I’m talking radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, and restorative procedures after that.

As in many health issues our nation faces today, lifestyle choices have a huge impact on the quality of our life. Modern science can do (and has done) a lot to improve it, but while we’re waiting for a magic pill to solve whatever ails us, there is the smarter alternative of taking charge of our own health.

Preventive measures for oral cancer include:

  • Early detection
  • Quitting smoking
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • A healthy diet, high in fruits and vegetables
  • Regular exercise
  • Safe sex (especially the young ones, since their rates are rising via HPV)

Last, but not least, every dental check up you come in for does include an oral cancer screening with us. We’re in that area more often than your physician, and thus more likely to spot something early on.

Any lumps or bumps are documented and you are informed. A follow up with us or a specialist is always discussed if anything out of the ordinary is suspected.

Till the number of those affected with oral cancer approach zero, smart lifestyle choices and early detection are your best bets in making sure that oral cancer does not grab center stage in your life.

(214) 522-3110          www.raodentistry.com

Image Source: photostock

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How To Use Your Head To Manage Headaches

Whether a migraine or the garden-variety kind, a headache can put quite a damper on your day.

Reaching for a pain killer in this situation may be well justified, but what about the next time?

Here is an increasingly novel (yet contrary to our main stream thinking) idea: how about tackling the problem at the source and reducing or eliminating it versus treating it afterwords?

Our country’s increasing drug dependence is convenient, but taking a “big picture” preventive approach to health usually leads to more effective, long-term results which cost less than a long list of medications.

Here are some ways to manage your headache by focusing on preventing the next attack:

1. Get plenty of sleep

Constant lack of sleep is going to catch up with you and lower not only your productivity, but also your peace of mind and frequency of headaches. This is simple to fix by changing up your daily routine to allow enough sleep at night.

Conditions such as insomnia and sleep apnea increase your headache risk as well, and may require a chat with your doctor.

2. Food triggers

Certain foods like chocolate, cheese and peanut butter can trigger migraines. Another trigger is hunger, as is not drinking enough water.

Know what your food triggers are and avoid them. Also, be sure to carry snacks with you so hunger doesn’t set one off, and drink plenty of water on a daily basis. Moderate amounts of caffeine can often help ease headaches after onset.

3. Quit/curb smoking

Smoking, or inhaling second-hand smoke, can trigger headaches. Yet another reason to add to the list to quit/curb smoking, or avoid areas of second-hand smoke.

4. Slim down

Need another reason to lose those extra pounds? Studies suggest links between obesity and more frequent and severe headaches. Time to get your work-out on.

5. Teeth clenching/grinding

Taking your stress out on your teeth? Teeth clenching and/or grinding put your facial muscles to hard work and can trigger headaches or even migraines.

A night guard provided by your dentist is a simple and conservative solution.

6. Relax

Know anyone without stress? I sure don’t. But letting it get out of control has many negative effects on your body, and headaches is just one of them.

Making time for rest and relaxation using techniques including yoga, meditation and deep breathing can ease an aching head and prevent future onsets.

Most of these don’t require anything more than an open mind and small (at least to start) modifications to your current lifestyle. But as in most cases, small changes can add up to huge rewards over time.

Next time you’re tempted to down a whole bottle of pills to ease your headache….please don’t! Use that moment to fuel your resolve to make some simple changes to reduce more headaches in the future.

Are you ready to try preventing future headaches?

(214) 522-3110            www.raodentistry.com

Image source: La Bioguia

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The Key Element Of Irresistable Personal Style

Think of all the things you do to look and feel good: woman applying lip gloss

You exercise to stay in shape

You eat well to stay healthy

Get your hair done, and use make up to turn it up a notch

The right clothes that flatter your shape (Hel-lo)

You style it up with the right scarf, spiffy tie or that haute handbag

Don’t forget the shoes! (I LOVE shoes ;))

But what about your smile?

You know it’s part of your look right? The one you use to show confidence, greet a friend, show respect. You pull it out when you’re happy, but stop using…..a split second before you burst into laughter.

The one you wouldn’t be complete without.

Honey, you can be the whole package, the cat’s meeeeowwww, the apple of someone’s eye

But when you smile….

You are your best YOU.

This Smile-O-Gram was brought to you by: www.raodentistry.com         (214) 522-3110

We remind you to smile for better health and happiness. If your smile needs to get back on your list, call or email us for an appointment today.

Image source: Stuart Miles

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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

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