Halloween – Candy, Costumes, and More!

All Hallows’ Eve, more commonly known as Halloween, is a yearly event celebrated on October 31, and one that is anticipated by the young and young at heart all over the world. Some scholars claim that Halloween originated from Celtic festivals that honored the dead or that celebrated the harvest, while others doubt that there’s any connection at all to Samhain (a Gaelic harvest festival.) Regardless of its origin, our team at the dental office of Dr. David Hennington hope that Halloween is fun and enjoyed by all of our awesome patients!

Trick or Treat?

In North America, Halloween is predominantly celebrated by children who dress up in costumes, which range from scary to cute, who then go around the neighborhood knocking on doors asking “trick or treat”, and they are given candy in return. Trick-or-treating is a time honored tradition, and though many parents groan at the pounds and pounds of candy collected by youngsters and fear for the health of their teeth, there are a few things you can do to help their teeth stay in great shape until the candy is gone:

  • Limit the amount of candy they can consume each day
  • Have them brush their teeth after eating candy
  • Avoid hard, chewy candies as they can stick in hard to brush places
  • Keep candy out of sight to reduce temptation
  • Don’t buy candy too far in advance to limit pre-Halloween consumption
  • Help or encourage your children to floss

Halloween Fun

Halloween isn’t just about gorging on candy; there are other events associated with this festive day including carving jack-o’-lanterns, painting pumpkins, decorating sugar cookies, bobbing for apples, going to haunted houses, or just curling up on the couch with a bowl full of popcorn and watching some classic, scary movies.

Halloween Around the World

Some countries, like Australia, frown upon Halloween, claiming it is an American event and not based in Australian culture, while others like Italy have embraced the fun and celebrate much as Canadians and Americans do. Mexicans have been celebrating this fun day since around 1960, and it marks the beginning of the Day of the Dead festival. Some countries in Europe have come late to the party, but since the 1990s, countries like Sweden, Norway, and Germany have started celebrating Halloween as well, and finding children in costumes or having ghosts hanging in windows has become commonplace.

Halloween is about fun; stepping outside our normal lives and donning a costume or gathering with friends to knock on doors and ask for candy is as much a part of our culture as hot dogs and barbecue on Labor Day. Have a safe and happy Halloween from the team at Trade Winds Dental!

Common Emergency Care Visits: Toothaches or Abscesses

Dental problems do not always wait for normal office hours. Broken fillings or damaged teeth are common reasons for emergency treatment. Toothaches and abscesses can also require prompt attention. Trade Winds Dental can provide you with the information and treatment you need to prevent the problem from becoming worse. Emergency dental care is only a phone call away, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Abscess

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, an abscess is a bacterial infection. An abscess will normally cause pain and swelling around the affected tooth and gum area. Antibiotics are not always necessary, but you should seek treatment quickly. Left untreated, an infection can spread and cause serious complications.

Toothache

There are many reasons that you may develop a sudden toothache. The cause of the pain may be a particle of food lodged between your tooth and gum line. One of the first steps you can take is to rinse your mouth with warm water. You may also try gently flossing the area to dislodge the particle. Do not continue flossing if bleeding occurs.

Toothaches can occur from a carie — a cavity in the tooth — or from a fracture. Sensitivity to heat or cold may also cause tooth pain. You should make an appointment to ensure that a minor problem does not become serious. We may recommend acetaminophen or another pain reliever to reduce the pain before your visit.

Additional tips and treatments:

  • If you have fractured a tooth, rinse the area with warm water to keep the surfaces clean. Apply a cold compress to the outside of your facial area to reduce swelling.
  • A tooth that has been knocked out should be kept moist, in a clean container, until you can receive treatment.
  • Do not apply aspirin directly on a damaged tooth or gum area as it can cause tissue irritation.
  • If you suspect that your jaw has been broken, go to an emergency room immediately.
  • If you have bitten or damaged your lips or tongue, rinse your mouth well with warm water. If bleeding continues, call us or seek other medical attention immediately.

Our team is ready to assist you when you have an emergency dental need. When you call, please provide us with as much information as possible so we can offer recommendations that will assist you until your appointment. Do not delay; emergency treatment is available and immediate treatment is the best course of action.

My gums are shrinking!

Have you ever looked in the mirror and noticed that your teeth looked longer? Does it seem like your gums are shrinking? This condition is called recession—many adults have it. Let’s look at some of the causes and what you can do about it.

During your routine exams at Trade Winds Dental, the dental hygienist takes measurements to check for periodontal disease. Dental professionals take recession measurements to see how much attached gingiva is present. This is the kind of tissue that is most resilient to infection.

The more recession, the less attached gingiva. The less attached gingiva, the less bone support. The less bone support, the higher your chances of tooth loss. It is quite a domino effect.

Don’t lose hope. The effect can be halted once you know the cause of your recession.

Do you ever wake up with your jaw clenched, and/or a headache that originates just above your ears? Clenching or grinding your teeth can cause recession. When there is added stress on a tooth, it flexes at the gum line.

Over time this causes microscopic breaks in the enamel and then a notch appears. The gum line is forced to move away from its original position. If this is something you see in your mouth, we can discuss the possibility of an occlusal guard at your next visit.

How do you brush your teeth? Do you brush in a straight line or circles? What kind of bristles do you use? Are the bristles on your toothbrush frayed?

When you brush in a circle, you are sweeping all along the gum line, removing the plaque from most angles. When you brush in a straight line, you may often miss the concave portion of the gums. This leaves plaque behind and leads to gingivitis. Whenever gingivitis occurs, the body attacks supporting structures like bone while trying to get rid of the infection. This is periodontal disease, which can cause recession.

Recession may also result from an irritant on the gums, such as a bar from a partial denture or orthodontic appliance (braces).

Gums do not “grow back.” The most common treatment for advanced recession is a tissue graft. There are many different kinds of tissue grafts.

Other factors can cause recession. If you think recession is happening in your mouth, schedule an appointment with Dr. David Hennington to discuss your options, so you can make the appropriate treatment choice.

Women’s Medications and Dry Mouth

Women using medication to treat a variety of medical conditions are often unaware of the potential side effects. One common side effect of medications such as blood pressure medication, birth control pills, antidepressants, and cancer treatments is dry mouth. The technical term for dry mouth is xerostomia.

Xerostomia can lead to undesirable effects in the oral cavity including periodontal disease and a high rate of decay. Many women who have not had a cavity in years will return for their routine exam and suddenly be plagued with a multitude of cavities around crowns and at the gum line, or have active periodontal disease. The only thing that the patient may have changed in the past six months is starting a new medication.

Saliva washes away bacteria and cleans the oral cavity, and when saliva flow is diminished harmful bacteria can flourish in the mouth leading to decay and gum disease. Many medications can reduce the flow of saliva without the patient realizing the side effect. Birth control pills can also lead to a higher risk of inflammation and bleeding gums. Patients undergoing cancer treatments, especially radiation to the head and neck region, are at a greatly heightened risk of oral complications due to the possibility of damage to the saliva glands.

There are many over the counter saliva substitutes and products to temporarily increase saliva production and help manage xerostomia. One great option for a woman with severe dry mouth or high decay rate is home fluoride treatments. These work in a number of ways, including custom fluoride trays that are worn for a short period of time daily at home, a prescription strength fluoride toothpaste, or an over the counter fluoride rinse. If you have more questions on fluoride treatments, make sure to ask Dr. David Hennington, your dental specialist, at your next visit to our office.

The benefits of many of the medications on the market outweigh the risks associated with xerostomia, however, with regular exams you can manage the risk and prevent many oral consequences of medications.

Some words about Invisalign® Treatment from Dr. David Hennington!

For most patients, especially adults, simply the thought of undergoing orthodontic treatment can be reason enough to avoid achieving a picture perfect smile. Even though the boosts in health, appearance, and confidence that come along with a brilliantly straight smile can be trumped by the consideration of traditional metal braces. The discomfort, hassle, and appearance of braces have kept more than one patient from receiving the smile he or she needs and deserves!

At Trade Winds Dental, my team and I understand this perfectly, and the last thing we want is for you to avoid a beneficial treatment because you may not know all of your options. That’s why we are proud to offer a fantastic solution to traditional metal braces that is both comfortable and provides incredible results!

The Invisalign® system of clear aligners has helped over 1 million patients just like you achieve their best smiles all while avoiding the metal and wires of traditional orthodontics! One of the most outstanding and rewarding aspects of treatment with Invisalign is that it straightens your teeth on your schedule.

Check out the advantages of straightening your teeth with Invisalign’s system of clear aligners:

    They can be removed! So, eating, drinking, brushing and flossing are as comfortable as they’ve always been! The ease of home care allows you to maintain optimal dental health and better avoid gum disease and tooth decay.
    They are clear! There is no unsightly metal or wires, so you’ll be enjoying virtually invisible teeth straightening!
    They are more comfortable! Unlike conventional braces, clear aligners are made of smooth, clear plastic instead of sharp metal that can irritate your mouth!
    They are convenient! Your office visits while in treatment are only every 4-6 weeks! This frees up your schedule so that you can be out doing the things you want to be doing!
    They are effective! Invisalign’s clear aligners treat a wide variety of cases, including spacing, crowding, crossbites, and underbite!
    They are time-efficient! Often, treatment with Invisalign takes a shorter amount of time than conventional orthodontic treatment!

All of these important benefits make Invisalign a perfect option for many of my patients, but don’t just take my word for it! Below is a review from our patient, Edward, who recently completed his Invisalign treatment:

“I have recently completed the Invisalign program to correct a lifelong condition of very poorly aligned teeth that eventually caused my bite alignment to deteriorate to the point where my teeth were being destroyed. The Invisalign program was professionally administered by Trade Winds Dental and the results were as advertised. My teeth are now straighter than I really thought possible and the Invisalign program has given me the benefits that I sought as I entered the program without the negative aspect of metal braces. I would recommend that to anyone could enter this program using Trade Winds Dental with a high degree of confidence for success.”

And here are some before and after photos of Edward’s treatment!

before

after

If you’d like to get started on the road to your best smile, give us a call to schedule your Invisalign consultation! My team and I look forward to helping you look and feel better with Invisalign!

-Dr. David Hennington and the TWD Team

Year-End Insurance Reminder

Dr. David Hennington, as well as our team at Trade Winds Dental, would like to give those patients with flex spend, health savings, or insurance benefits a friendly end of the year reminder that it’s high time to schedule your dental visits so you optimize your benefit.

Now is the time to reserve your appointment with us. Space is limited and we tend to get busy around the holidays, so don’t wait to give us a call at our convenient Georgetown, TX office!