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Halloween Candy can be SCARY for Teeth

Halloween teensIt won’t come as a shock to you that Halloween is typically not your Georgetown dentist’s favorite holiday. Yes, of course we love the dressing up and bobbing for apples, but we definitely aren’t crazy about all that candy and the impact it can have on your smile. While we know that tons of sweet treats will be available to you and your children all month long, we’d like to give you some advice to keep all that candy from harming your teeth.

1 – Go For the Chocolate

We know, it sounds weird, but if you have one type of treat to choose from in your trick or treat basket, choose chocolate. Why? Chocolate dissolves more easily and doesn’t hang around on your teeth like sticky or hard candies. That makes it less likely to cause decay.

2 – Avoid the Ooeys and the Gooeys

Sticky, chewy candies like toffees and caramels can cling to your teeth, allowing bacteria to thrive. They’ve also been know to pull out fillings and loosen other dental restorations from time to time, especially hard candies that you have to bite into. It’s better to pass on these.

3 – Consider a Healthier Alternative

If you’re hosting a Halloween party this year, consider having some non-candy alternatives on hand like small bags of pretzels, sliced up apples, or dippable veggies. You can even get creative with your snacks by finding easy recipes on Pinterest, or try these spooky treats from Delish.com

Finally, remember that a little candy goes a long way. If you or your children are going to indulge in sweet treats, try to dole them out in moderation or as rewards for getting things done around the house. This will keep your Georgetown dental team from having a fright when you come for your next dental cleaning!

Have a Spooktacular Halloween from your Trade Winds Dental team!

Do I Need a Dental Night Guard?

dental night guardDental night guards are usually recommended for patients who suffer from nighttime tooth grinding, also known as bruxism. According to the American Dental Association, bruxism affects around 10-15% Americans, so it’s a pretty common problem. While night guards are typically the treatment of choice for bruxism patients, our dental office in Georgetown would like to explain why, how they help, and options you may have.

Why is a Night Guard Used to Treat Bruxism?

Many people who grind their teeth do so during sleep when they are unaware of the problem. And since they’re unaware, they can’t do anything consciously to help correct it. This is when a night guard can help. Night guards are appliances that are fitted individually to each patient and designed to wear while sleeping. They help keep the patient from grinding their teeth together and limits jaw movement. If bruxism is left untreated, the chance of chipped, cracked, or broken teeth, and problems with TMJ/TMD are increased.

Types of Night Guards

There are two types of night guards that may first appear very similar, but are actually quite different. Night guards you can buy at any drugstore are usually cheaper and follow the boil-and-bite method of molding. While they can work to stop tooth grinding, they’re not always the best choice. Custom-made night guards created by a dentist are usually the better option. These professionally crafted night guards use precise molds of your teeth for a tight, proper, comfortable fit. Your dentist will also look at your jaw positioning during the fitting process to ensure your jaw is aligned properly. This may help avoid additional problems with your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) later on.  Custom night guards can also last up to 10 years as opposed to the over-the-counter night guards which may only last a few months before you need a new one.

Other Ways to Treat Tooth Grinding

Night guards are the most commonly recommended treatment method to combat tooth grinding, but just because it’s the most common doesn’t mean it’s the only option. Depending on the case, treatments may include orthodontics, stress reduction exercises, limiting caffeine intake, or considering an alternative medication that may include a stimulant.

Know the Signs of Bruxism

Your dentist in Georgetown may suspect bruxism before you do, but there are signs you should be aware of.

  • Flat or chipped teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Waking up with sore jaw muscles
  • Neck or facial pain
  • Headaches

Bruxism can be treated following a proper diagnosis from a dentist. There’s no need for you to live with pain or at risk for tooth damage and TMJ problems in the future. If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth at night, we encourage you to give our Georgetown dental office a call to schedule an appointment. We’ll evaluate your individual needs and recommend the best treatment option for you.

Back to School Brushing and Dental Care

teen football player with mouthguardIt’s back to school time! Signal the groaning of children and the celebration of parents everywhere!

Getting back into the routine of getting ready for school is vital, no matter if you’re a child, a teenager, or a college student.  Everyone has to jump out of bed and get ready to take on the day’s classes, exams, and after school activities. Be sure that each morning starts with a thorough brushing and flossing of your teeth. Not only will it remove plaque and that ‘morning mouth’ feeling, it will also help to wake you up! Besides, no one wants to go to class with morning breath.

Once classes have started, consider storing a travel toothbrush and a small box of dental floss (or floss picks) in a plastic bag inside your backpack. Because that bit of lettuce from your lunchtime salad doesn’t need to be a part of your smile all afternoon long. Or worse, that garlic smell that seems to linger on your breath from that yummy shrimp pasta. Taking a moment to brush and/or floss will keep you feeling fresh, and more confident, as you continue your busy day.

Many students have sports practice after school. Don’t forget your sports mouthguard! Your Georgetown dentist will tell you that more than 5 million teeth are knocked out every year, with up to 39% of them being from sports injuries. Of those, 80% of dental injuries involve the top front teeth. No matter what age you are, no one wants to deal with the pain (and cost!) of damaging your smile when it can so easily be prevented. Ask your Trade Winds Dental team about sports mouthguards so that you can be sure you have the proper type for your activity level.

Going back to school might not always make you want to smile. But with properly cared for teeth, and your Georgetown dental team here to support you, those confident pearly whites should take you to the head of the class.

Paying it Forward

illustration of concept Pay it ForwardHave you ever been zipping through the drive through to get your morning cup of coffee, already stressing about the meetings and tasks to complete that day, and as you pull up to the window, you receive the pleasant surprise that the person in front of you has paid for your coffee? A total stranger just chose to do a nice thing for you, and that positive feeling makes you smile and perhaps changes your entire outlook on the day. At Trade Winds Dental, we know all about this concept and call it by it’s more well known name….. Paying it Forward.

You may be thinking, what in the world would my Georgetown dental office know about paying it forward? You may be surprised to know that our team tries to perform random acts of kindness whenever possible. You might not know about it, because we aren’t looking for recognition or anything in return. That’s why we wanted to tell you how these little things in life can not only give you an incredible feeling of satisfaction, but also can create a ripple effect from one recipient to the next.

Take for example our toothbrush donation program. If you are replacing your toothbrush (as the ADA recommends every three months or so), bring the old one into our office for recycling. In addition to removing that plastic from landfills, we also take the time to donate $ 1 per toothbrush to Hope Alliance. It’s not something that we HAVE to do, it’s something small that we CAN do that makes a big impact.

Dr. Hennington and his staff also donate dentistry throughout the year to people in need right here in our community. For example, a local veteran on a reduced income who also takes care of his mother had put off dental work to the point where it affected his ability to chew properly. The team at the Georgetown dental office was more than happy to assist this man at no cost to him…. We simply asked him to pay it forward.

So the next time you’re in line to buy your coffee, or maybe having lunch at a diner, consider picking up the tab for a stranger. Or spending the day volunteering at a shelter instead of another Netflix binge day. Or simply helping your neighbor out and mowing the part of the lawn that you share. You never know, this simple act of Paying it Forward could result in something life changing.

Call our Georgetown dental office today to schedule your next appointment, or to ask for suggestions to perform your own random act of kindness.

Start This School Year with a Healthy Smile

back to school baby
As we all gear up to head back to school, loading up on folders, notebooks, pencils, and backpacks, the team at our dental office in Georgetown wants to send a friendly reminder to our patients and neighbors about the importance of getting your child (or yourself) to the dentist before school starts.

Dental Checkups Help with Overall Health, Too

While we encourage all of our patients to see us at least biannually, we also like to see them prior to starting a new school year. Visits to your dentist in Georgetown not only help keep smiles healthy, they also help keep whole bodies healthy. Poor dental health has been linked to:

In fact, the National Institutes of Health reported that 20-30% of children have chronic health conditions due to oral health. Regular dental exams and cleanings are key in catching any problems, or potential problems, early to avoid these serious diseases. It may also be recommended that your child receive protective sealants to aid against decay and cavities.

Keep Kids in School

It’s our goal to keep kids healthy and in school so they can learn, thrive, and get good grades. However, recent research has suggested that poor oral health has been linked to poor grades. According to the American Journal of Public Health Dentistry, children in elementary school missed 6 days of school on average each year. Of those 6 days, 2 of them were because of dental problems. As we all know, when kids aren’t attending class, they’re missing key elements of their education. What’s more, when they’re in pain due to a toothache brought on by a cavity, their ability to pay attention to lessons diminishes.

Hygiene at Home

Back to school dental visits are a great preventive step to ensure your child is starting the school year off healthy. But a good hygiene routine at home is equally important. Make sure your child is brushing every morning (after breakfast!) and every night for two minutes each time. Also, don’t forget to have them floss once a day.

Following a proper hygiene routine and maintaining appointments with our Georgetown dental office can keep you and your child smiling and in good health all the way through to summer break.

If you’re looking for a Georgetown dentist, schedule an appointment today!

Top 10 Habits That Ruin Teeth

woman opening bottle with teethAt our dental office in Georgetown, we like to focus on preventive dental care to ensure the health of our neighbors. This usually means seeing us for regular dental visits at least every six months and following a proper hygiene routine at home. But there are other things you may be doing on a daily basis that are harming your smile and you don’t even know it. In this week’s blog, we’d like to cover the top 10 most common habits that ruin teeth.

Brushing Too HardYour dentist in Georgetown recommends brushing your teeth twice a day using small, gentle circles. If you vigorously scrub away at teeth, you can damage gum tissue and cause it to recede, making teeth super sensitive.

Crunching Ice Cubes – Ice cubes are hard and aren’t meant for crunching. Their tough texture can cause you to break teeth, damage dental restorations, or create tiny chips in the enamel where bacteria can thrive.

Eating LemonsThese bright yellow fruits are packed with acid, and when the acid comes in contact with teeth, it can easily erode enamel.

Biting NailsThe angle your jaw adjusts to while nail biting can cause problems with your jaw, also known as TMJ or TMD. Nail biting may also result in chipped teeth.

Using Teeth as ToolsYour teeth are meant for chewing, not opening packets or holding things. When they are used in this manner, cracked teeth are incredibly common.

Playing Sports without a MouthguardPlaying any sport without a mouthguard isn’t only potential dangerous for your smile, it’s also dangerous for your brain. Mouthguards protect teeth from elbows, hockey pucks, or baseballs and can help minimize the risk of concussions.

Drinking SodaSoft drinks are usually packed with sugar, and as we all know, sugar is terrible for teeth. When sugar is in a liquid format as in soda, it can be even more damaging since it’s being exposed to the entire mouth, usually over a long period of time.

Chewing on PencilsJust like you should use your teeth as tools, you also shouldn’t hold or chew on your writing utensils. Pencils and pens alike are hard and can damage teeth pretty easily.

Smoking or Using TobaccoNot only is tobacco use bad for overall health, it’s also detrimental for oral health. Smoking or chewing tobacco can discolor teeth and has been linked to gum disease and oral cancer.

Clenching or Grinding TeethWhether you clench or grind out of stress or while you sleep, you’re essentially banging your teeth together over and over again. Habitually clenching or grinding can result in broken teeth or jaw problems(TMJ).

If you found yourself identifying with any of the habits above, we would encourage you to work on breaking them. In the meantime, if you happen to damage your teeth, whether from a bad habit or any other reason, we’ll be happy to get you back to smiling. Give our Georgetown dental office a call to schedule an appointment.

Yoga For Mental Health? YES!

young woman in yoga poseMost of our Georgetown dental office patients are aware that both Dr. and Mrs. Hennington are professional yoga instructors. Xenia is actually a Kundalini Yoga Teacher Trainer,  teaching Kundalini yoga classes at Yoga Yoga in Austin, and Dr. David volunteers his time teaching yoga to Safe Alliance employees. Both understand the physical and spiritual benefits of yoga, from physical flexibility to meditation and spiritual growth. But did you know that there are specific mental health benefits from practicing yoga?

You may be thinking to yourself, how could laying on a mat in a weird pose help my mind? It all comes down to way your body physically reacts to the specific body postures and alignments of yoga. As you pose and breathe deeply, your body lowers your brain’s response to threat and stress, turning OFF adrenaline and causing sodium to leave your body’s cells. This immediately relaxes your brain, your heart, and your muscles, as well as oxygenating your blood to reduce your heart rate. Studies by the American Psychological Association have discovered that relaxing through yoga can reduce depression, symptoms of schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders. One study was performed on adult caregivers taking care of loved ones with Alzheimer’s and dementia. They found that performing yoga for 12 minutes a day over an 8 week period reduced their stress and increased levels of life satisfaction.

Think about how you feel during a relaxing weekend or after a really great night of sleep. That state of calm and balance that makes you just sit back and smile? Those same biological reactions can be achieved through the relaxation of gentle yoga poses.

The staff at Trade Winds Dental knows that yoga has a variety of benefits, from elongating muscles to helping spinal nerves, to even aiding in digestion. But your Georgetown dentist also wants you to know that a sun salutation can do more than strengthen your body… it can also help to strengthen your mind.

If you’re curious about yoga and it’s benefits, please feel free to ask questions during your next dental appointment. And until then….. Namaste… Sat Nam.

I Haven’t Seen The Dentist in Years. Now What?

anxious woman in dental chairAt our dental office in Georgetown, we generally advise patients to see the dentist regularly, about every six months, to help maintain excellent oral and overall health. However, sometimes things happen in our lives and we just forget to keep up with appointments or schedule a checkup. We see and treat many patients who have not been able to see the dentist for many years because of many different reasons, but we’re always happy to welcome them!

Why Patients Don’t See The Dentist

These are common, valid reasons people tend to avoid the dentist – for a few months to a few years.

  • A bad experience at the dentist in the past makes you nervous
  • You’re afraid to find out what is wrong or what repairs you may need
  • You’re feeling embarrassed because it’s been awhile since your last visit
  • You just simply don’t have time to make it to an appointment or cleaning

Let’s Get Your Smile Back on Track

Your dentist in Georgetown is here to help! You don’t have to feel embarrassed or nervous about coming to the office. Thanks to so many advancements in dentistry and a wealth of state-of-the-art technology, going to the dentist is a whole new experience compared to even just a few years ago. If you have an issue that needs to be addressed, we will talk about your options. You’ll never feel pressured to proceed with any treatment you don’t feel comfortable having. We definitely understand how busy your life can be. That’s why we’ve made it easy to schedule an appointment. From the moment you walk in the door, we will make sure you’re comfortable and that you feel at home. We owe it to you and your smile!

What Will Happen At The Office

When you come to see us, we will be there to help you every step of the way. First, we will make sure we have all of the necessary paperwork on file. We can also work with your previous dentist to obtain any past records or x-rays you may have on file there. If you’ve moved or that office is no longer open, it’s no big deal! We will get you set up and comfortable at the office for a thorough exam (including a new set of state-of-the-art x-rays) to get a better understanding of what’s happening with your teeth. Our team will also take a look at your gums too! This way we know if you need extra special care and treatment for gum disease. We will take the time to get to know you and your needs.

Our Georgetown dental office is your new home for comprehensive dental care that you can trust. Our team is educated and excited to work with you to get your smile back in the best shape possible, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve sat in the dental chair!

The Power of Purple Food

purple foodsPut Some Purple Power on Your Plate!

Purple is calming, uplifting, spiritual, and creative, and is the color of the crown chakra, the chakra linked to the brain, the nervous system, and the representation of pure thought. It gives you both the stimulation of red and the calm of blue. In feng shui, purple can be used in any direction to boost creativity, success, wealth, and love. But the power of purple doesn’t just stop with its mystical and psychological effects. Purple is also one of the best colors to EAT!

Which Purple Foods to Choose

When the team at Trade Winds Dental talks about eating purple, we clearly aren’t talking about grape lollipops or mixed-berry taffy. We mean the real thing – grapes, blueberries, plums, eggplant, and carrots.

But carrots are orange, you say? Orange carrots are a fairly new thing. Up until the 17th century, all carrots were purple! Purple carrots are gaining popularity again and can often be found at the local farmers market. You can also try purple cabbage, purple potatoes, and more exotic additions like acai berries.

How Purple Foods Boost Health

According to one of our favorite holistic food blogs, theholisticingredient.com, purple foods are super high in antioxidants, which fight free radicals and oxidants and can:

  • Reduce the risk of high blood pressure
  • Help to prevent obesity and diabetes
  • Lower the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases and cognitive declines
  • Reduce inflammation and therefore chronic disease
  • Assist in preventing urinary tract infections, fight ulcers, reduce liver damage and prevent other diseases contracted from cell damage

Purple foods also contain the age fighter resveratrol and can keep your arteries and blood clean, keep you looking younger and feeling stronger longer than you thought possible.

Eat the Rainbow

So while eating green is still one of the best things you can do for your body, don’t forget to add some of the mysterious and delicious beauty of purple to your everyday plate. Your body will thank you…and your family will too!

Please feel free to give our Georgetown dental office a call to ask us about tips and tricks for getting more purple in your diet. We don’t just offer eco-dentistry, we offer tips for better living everyday. 

Different Types of Dental X-Rays

male dentist examines dental x-rayWe get asked a lot of questions at our dental office in Georgetown, and we don’t mind answering them one bit! We believe that the more our patients know, the healthier their smiles will be. One of our more frequent requests is for more information on dental x-rays – why we use them, different types, and especially their safety.

The 3 Most Common Types of Dental X-Rays

There are several different types of x-rays that your dentist in Georgetown may use to look at various parts of the mouth’s anatomy. Each type is used for a different reason and can show different problems. Let’s take a look at each one.

  • Bitewing X-rays. These x-rays are helpful in catching cavities early on as they allow the dentist to see places in between teeth that are not visible to the naked eye. Bitewing x-rays can also help identify variations in bone density caused by gum disease as well as help catch any excessive wear in restorations like fillings.
  • Periapical X-rays. Along with bitewings, periapical x-rays are quite common. The images obtained through this type of x-ray show the entire tooth — from the top of the crown to the tip of the roots. This allows your dentist to examine each tooth’s individual structure and bone level. Periapical x-rays can also help catch cysts and abscesses.  
  • Panoramic X-rays. Panoramic x-rays show the entire set of teeth, both top and bottom and from left to right, in one photo. They can also display the jaw joints as well as the upper sinuses. These photos can help determine if wisdom teeth are impacted and can even help diagnose a tumor.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Safety is our top priority with everything we do, including x-rays. Advancements in technology have reduced exposure to the already low amount of radiation emitted by dental x-rays. Additional preventive measures, such as the use of lead vests, are also taken to help limit the exposure even farther. We try to follow the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principle which basically says that dental professionals should limit x-rays to only when necessary in order to achieve proper diagnosis and aid in successful treatment.  

How often you should get dental x-rays taken depends on a variety of factors. The team at our Georgetown dental office will take a look at your oral health and any history of dental problems to determine how often you should have x-rays taken. If there’s been a history of cavities or a higher risk of decay, x-rays twice a year may be appropriate.