End the Year with Your Brightest Smile

family Isn’t it amazing how fast time flies? It seems like only yesterday we were decorating our Georgetown dental office for summer, and here we are wrapping up December! You may have heard our reminders to use your dental benefits before the end of the year. If you’ve already scheduled your appointments for one more cleaning or perhaps a teeth whitening treatment, we can’t wait to see you to get you polished up before all those holiday parties.

If you haven’t scheduled, or you’ve simply run out of time with your busy social calendar, don’t fret! You can start the new year off right with January appointments to get your smile in tip-top shape! While you’re starting your new diet, why not start an Invisalign treatment to finally correct that crooked smile that has been bothering you for so long? Invisalign clear aligners will gradually (and discreetly) move your teeth into proper alignment in as little as nine months! That means that by next Christmas, you could be showing off a brand new smile to friends and family!

The end of the year is also a time for us to be thankful for all the positive things in our lives. We’re thankful for oral cancer screenings and early detection saving the lives of patients. We’re also thankful for advances in technology that allow us to perform dental treatments that are both convenient for our patients AND environmentally friendly. And we’re most thankful for YOU, our patients! We truly do love helping people achieve their healthiest smile, while increasing their self confidence to boot!

So if you’ve managed to squeeze in an end of the year appointment, we can’t wait to see you and hear about your holiday plans. And if you haven’t… give us a call now to set up an appointment for the start of the new year. Our Georgetown dental office will be ready to get started on the most important New Year’s Resolution of all — taking better care of yourself!

From all of us at Trade Winds Dental – Happy Holidays!

Acid Reflux & Dental Health

man wonderingEven though acid reflux is a condition that originates in the stomach, it can affect other areas of the body, including the mouth. The truth is, people who suffer from acid reflux can be at greater risk for oral health concerns than those who don’t. Our dental office in Georgetown is here to help anyone dealing with acid reflux understand how it can negatively affect dental health and what you can do to reduce your risk.  

How Acid Reflux Affects the Mouth

A natural and important part of proper digestion includes the production of stomach acids. These acids help break down food so the body can digest what we eat. But these acids don’t always stay in the stomach. They can creep up the throat and into the mouth. Normally saliva in the mouth helps neutralize the acid and wash it away before it has a chance to cause damage. But when someone has acid reflux, which may also be referred to as GERD, stomach acids make their way up into mouth repeatedly. This leaves the mouth and teeth exposed to the acid. It’s this consistent exposure to the acid that causes damage to teeth.

Acid Leads to Tooth Damage

Acid is one of the worst things for teeth as it eats away at the protective enamel and leaves teeth at increased risk for decay, cavities, and other problems. As this erosion occurs and teeth are damaged, the need for dental treatment such as fillings, a root canal, or a dental crown may be required to help restore the tooth’s structure. Some signs that your teeth may have some level of acid erosion include:

  • Increased sensitivity
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Painful abscess

Reduce Your Risk

Many times acid reflux can be treated or the symptoms can be minimized through the use of a doctor-recommended medication. Additionally, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of damage caused by acid reflux including:

  • Chewing sugar-free gum to help promote saliva production to rinse away acid
  • Using a fluoride toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth to strengthen enamel
  • Quitting smoking and drinking alcohol to reduce acid reflux episodes
  • Seeing your dentist in Georgetown every six months to catch any problems early.

If you suffer from acid reflux and are worried about your dental health, we welcome you to call our Georgetown dental office to schedule an appointment today. We will take a close look at your overall oral health and talk with you about the best way to protect your teeth against the dangers of acid reflux.

Stressed Yet?

woman feels holiday stressIf you’ve walked into any type of retail store lately, you’ve noticed that the holidays are in full swing. No matter what your background or which specific holidays you’ll be celebrating, this can be the most stressful time of year for a lot of people. All the family gatherings, potential arguments about politics and sports, meals to prepare, gifts to purchase… it can all add up to major physical symptoms of stress, along with mental fatigue. At our Georgetown dental office, we’d like to try and help in anyway that we can.

The Jawbone’s Connected to the…. Headaches?

Do you find yourself clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth? Are you waking up with a headache and clicking sounds when you chew? Or, even worse, locking up when you’re eating lunch? These are all symptoms of TMJ – your temporomandibular joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull are telling you that they’re overworked! These symptoms can happen at any time, but are much more frequent during periods of stress.

TMJ can lead to damage to your teeth from the grinding, muscular spasms in the face and jaw, and loss of sleep for many people. Call us to talk about your symptoms and we’ll see if a simple nightguard is all you need to stop the pain.

The Pressure to Be Beautiful

Family gatherings can cause a tremendous amount of stress because we all have family members who will immediately notice our physical flaws. There’s still time to see us for a cosmetic dentistry consultation to whiten dull, yellow teeth, fill in a chip or a gap with bonding, or even get a same-day crown to restore your smile… and your confidence… to it’s fullest potential.

No Judging. We Promise

Maybe you are completely missing one or more teeth, be it from an accident, injury, or even years of neglect. Maybe you’d love to get it fixed, but that means coming into the dentist and being stressed out about what the dental team is going to say about your oral health. Don’t worry, this is a No-Judgement Zone. It doesn’t matter how you got into the situation, we’re here to help restore your smile so that you can live healthier and happier. Dental implants are a permanent option for a missing tooth, and implants can also be use to permanently anchor dentures as an alternative to traditional dentures that can slip or fit improperly. Think of it as the ultimate gift to yourself!

Relax… with Sedation Dentistry

Maybe the holidays aren’t that stressful for you. Maybe you suffer from dental anxiety all year long, making your cleaning appointment before the holidays seem like a bigger moment of dread than getting coal in your stocking. It’s ok – dental anxiety is a very real thing that affects millions of people, and your Georgetown dental office is here to help. We offer oral conscious sedation as well as inhalation sedation to help you feel more comfortable and stress-free during your procedure.

We truly hope that with the whirlwind of activities over the next two months, you find the time to breathe, relax, and enjoy the tiny moments of bliss, like the first snowfall or the smell of freshly baked gingerbread. Our Georgetown dental office is here to help you reduce your stress, so call us today and let’s talk about how we can make you smile more this holiday season.

These Treats Are Worse for Teeth Than Candy

girl with jack-o-lanternWhen it comes to candy-filled holidays like Halloween, we usually caution our patients to enjoy sweet snacks and candy in moderation. And with good reason. It should come as no surprise that sugar is one of those things that concerns the team at our dental office in Georgetown. After all, sugar is a dentist’s worst nightmare, right? Maybe not. It turns out that there are some snacks out there that can be worse for your smile than sugar-packed candies.

What’s the Big Deal About Sugar Anyway?

Before we dive into some of the surprising snacks that are scarier to oral health than candy, it’s important to take a look at why sugar is such a concern. When we eat foods or drink beverages with high sugar content we essentially feed the bacteria that live in our mouths. This bacteria then releases an acid as a byproduct of their feasting. The acid is what contributes to decay and cavities as it wears away the protective tooth enamel, leaving teeth exposed to bacteria and more acid.

Other Spooky Snacks

While candy will always be one of those things that your dentist in Georgetown will encourage you to eat in moderation, there are other snacks that are also a concern.

Citrus & Dried Fruits

These are surprising treats that can be dangerous for your grin but usually fall under the healthy category. It is fruit, after all. But certain fruits are highly acidic, and as we know, acid is bad for teeth. Citrus fruits such as grapefruit will quite literally eat away tooth enamel and leave teeth at risk. Dried fruit is also a healthy snack that’s not so great for your smile. These super sticky fruits can get stuck on teeth and are loaded with sugar. The longer the sugar is left around, the more the bacteria will eat it, and more acid is produced.

Crackers & Chips

Chips and crackers are perhaps more surprising that fruits as cavity-causing treats. Even though these foods aren’t sweet and don’t typically contain a lot of sugar, if any, they can still be a threat to oral health. Blame it on the high starch content. These starches affect your body similarly to the way sugar does. This is due to their high glycemic index. Foods with a high glycemic index will increase blood glucose and will feed bacteria in the mouth, just like sugar. The result is more food for the bacteria, more acidic byproduct, and more risk for cavities.

Do Your Part to Limit Your Risk of Decay

We’re not here to tell you to completely avoid candy this Halloween, or to quit eating certain fruits, chips, and crackers forever. Like anything, these things can be enjoyed in moderation. But our Georgetown dental office does encourage you to also drink plenty of water when snacking on foods that are known to increase the risk of decay. Most of all, have a happy and safe Halloween!

Let’s Talk Tech

medical technologyWe don’t normally toot our own horn when it comes to technology. But in talking with several new patients who came from practices that seemed archaic (their word) by comparison, we thought we might take a moment to share how our Georgetown dental office stays on the leading edge of technology, both for your comfort and convenience, and also to help the environment.

No Goopy Impressions

Most of us have not so fond memories of having to get a dental impression made – that weird goopy stuff on the tray that you have to keep ever so still in your mouth and try not to gag on? And if you move? OH, big trouble – that means you need to do it all over again to get the impression correct.

That scenario is a thing of the past in our office. We use an intraoral digital scanner to create full color, 3D impressions of your teeth using a tool that looks a bit like a big pen. It takes over 3,000 images per second for the most accurate imagery possible, which means we can get the exact specifications of your mouth and teeth (even the color!) before we create a restoration.

Same Day Crowns

Speaking of restorations, we use CAD/CAM technology to mill porcelain crowns right here in our office, which means you can fix a broken tooth with a new crown in one single visit. That sure beats having to wait for a lab to send something back that might not be correct, taking up time and affecting your confidence!

Safe Removal of Amalgam

You’ll hear us talk a lot about both the health and environmental hazards of amalgam (metal) fillings. A lot of practices remove metal fillings and allow those little bits of toxic metal to go right down the sink into the water supply. Not us! We use an amalgam separator to keep every minute particle of amalgam from getting into the wastewater supply and sewer system.

And Yes, We’ve Got Lasers

No, we’re not playing laser-tag in the office…. although that does sound like a lot of fun. Your Georgetown dentist uses a tool that combines laser technology and the power of water to perform a number of dental procedures without anesthetics or drills. It’s super precise, so it means removing less amounts of healthy tooth when fixing a cavity, and the continuous spray of water keeps the tooth hydrated, which reduces heat and possible pain.

We strive to keep on the very cutting edge of technology at our Georgetown dental office so that our patients can receive the safest, most precise  and efficient treatments possible, while still holding to our ideals of protecting Mother Earth. Do you have questions about our tech? Ask us to show you how our tools work during your next appointment!

How to Stop a Toothache

woman with toothacheNobody ever wants to experience the pain and discomfort of a toothache. But the truth is, toothaches can happen to anyone, and they can come without warning. While the best way to treat a toothache is to see your dentist in Georgetown as quickly as you can, there are some things you can do before your appointment to help ease the pain.

5 Ways to Ease a Toothache

Toothache pain can come with a lot of discomfort. But this pain doesn’t necessarily stay only in the affected tooth. You can get a headache, your gums may pulse, and your entire mouth can feel the effects. Try these tips to help.

  • Salt Water RinseGently swish a solution of warm water and salt around your mouth a few times a day. This will help dry out fluid in the affected area and ease pressure on the nerves. Just make sure not to swallow the concoction.
  • IceJust like any other injury, ice can help reduce inflammation and pressure on the nerves. Put an ice pack or a cold compress on the side of your face where the pain is coming from. Don’t put anything cold directly onto your skin. Use a cloth as a barrier.
  • Anti-inflammatoriesOver-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications may also ease toothache pain. Read the label on the bottle to determine how much should take. Remember, swallow the medication and do not apply it directly to the gums or tooth.
  • FlossIf a piece of food stuck between two teeth may be causing the pain it’s ok to take a piece of floss and gently try to wiggle it out. The keyword here is gently. Too much pressure or roughly flossing can cause damage and more pain.
  • AnestheticMany pharmacies and grocery stores carry over-the-counter oral anesthetics for tooth pain relief. They will temporary numb your mouth so you can get a little relief. However, these gels or liquids are not meant to be a permanent solution.

What Causes Toothaches Anyway?

There’s no one thing that can cause a toothache. Many things ranging from decay, cavities, or a dental injury may be to blame. While usually caused something minor which is easily treated at our Georgetown dental office, there are times when a toothache may be a sign of gum disease, infection, or chronic tooth grinding. Whatever is causing your toothache, it’s best to get it checked as soon as you can to avoid the need for in-depth treatment.

What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk

Although toothaches can happen to anyone at any time, there are certain precautions you can take to reduce your risk of getting one. First, make sure to keep up with your dental appointments every six months. These dental cleanings and exams can catch potential problems before they have a chance to turn into an unwanted toothache. Second, practice good oral hygiene habits of brushing and flossing every day to remove food particles, bacteria, and plaque from teeth that could otherwise cause decay.

You don’t need to continue to suffer from toothache pain, and often times they’re easily treated. Try these at-home remedies and schedule an appointment at our dental office in Georgetown as soon as you can. We’re always happy to help.

Those Funny Fall Feelings

autumn baby

September is the month of football, pumpkins, and crisp apples on a Saturday morning. It’s also the beginning of one of the most stressful times of the year for a lot of people. Have you ever noticed that the change in the daylight, the shortening of the days, and the impending worries of the holidays can make people….well… downright cranky? At our Georgetown dental office, we’ve got a few suggestions for keeping your spirits high as the temperatures start to drop.

Take a second for YOURSELF

Science has proved that levels of testosterone in both men and women increase in the fall. They think it may be ancient mating instincts – just like how animals ‘rut’ in the fall. If you’re looking to make a great first impression on a prospective mate, ask us about teeth whitening and other cosmetic dentistry options to make your smile bright and confident. We can help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted quickly and easily in our Georgetown dental office.

Eat Some Pumpkin

Pumpkins are actually a super-food that we always recommend for our patients. They’re full of fiber, which helps stimulate saliva and protect your teeth against decay. They’re also full of zinc, which is often added to toothpastes to help prevent plaque buildup.

BUT… Watch the Sugar

Now when we say for you to go out and eat some pumpkin, we mean healthy options like pumpkin seeds, a smoothie, or a freshly baked pumpkin pay (maybe baked by your new sweetie!). What we do not recommend are those sugary Pumpkin Spice Latte drinks available at commercial coffeeshops — they’re LOADED with sugar and empty calories that could lead to cavities.

Let Us Help You Plan Ahead

Like we said, fall can be stressful with your kids sports schedules, school events, and the inevitability of all those holiday events on the horizon. BREATHE. It’ll be ok… let’s look at your calendar now and plan out your hygiene appointments for the family for the remainder of the year, as well as making sure you’re using your insurance benefits to the fullest before the end of 2018. We can easily plan appointments several weeks or even months out for you, and adjust them if needed as those dates approach.

We hope that these tips can help to keep the stresses of the Autumnal Equinox at bay so that you can spend more time enjoying the beauty of the changing of the leaves, the fog on a fall morning, and the bounties of nature at the farmers market. Call our Georgetown dental office today and we’ll get you scheduled with no stress.

How to Deal with Losing a Filling

woman embarrassedDental fillings are an incredibly common type of dental restoration used to treat cavities and decay. In fact, nearly 91% of Americans between 20 and 64 have at least one dental filling. While dental fillings are strong and can last for many, many years, there are still some things that can cause a dental filling to become loose or fall out. Here’s what to do if that happens.

Don’t Wait, Call

Before you do anything else you should call your dentist in Georgetown. Many times our dental office will be able to see you the same day or the next day. At the appointment, you can expect to have a thorough exam of the area so your dental team can assess the damage. This allows us the opportunity to determine the best way to fix it.

What to Expect

Sometimes your dentist may recommend replacing the filling with another one. This is typically what happens if the filling was small and the damage didn’t really affect the tooth. Other times a filling just won’t get the job done and a dental crown may be recommended. Dental crowns cap the entire tooth and provide greater protection.  

Do Your Part

If you lose a filling there are important steps you should take in order to protect your tooth and ease any discomfort.

  • Clean the area. When a filling falls out, your tooth is left with a small hole that food and bacteria can get wedged into. If left there, it could lead to more damage. Rinse with salt water or gently brush the area after eating.
  • Reduce the pain. Using pain reliever can help minimize any sensitivity and increase comfort. There are also temporary fillers available at many pharmacies. Look for one that contains zinc oxide and place it in the gap, but only temporarily.

Avoid the Problem in the First Place

While very common, there are ways you can avoid losing a filling… including choosing your snacks wisely. Many lost or loose fillings are the result of sticky foods or hidden popcorn kernels, so be sure to eat these in moderation and use caution. Tooth grinding or clenching is also a common cause of lost fillings. Make sure to use a nightguard if you grind your teeth in your sleep to protect both your dental restorations as well as your jaw health. Lastly, seeing your Georgetown dentist every six months can help catch any loose fillings before they have a chance to fall out when you least expect it.
We’re always welcoming new patients at our dental office in Georgetown and are here to help with any dental concern. If you’ve lost a filling or suspect you may need one, we welcome you to give us a call to schedule an appointment today.

Ways to Enjoy Those Last Moments of Summer

kids swimmingIt’s August, and that means that we’re spending our free time thinking about back to school supplies, the beginning of football season, and all the pumpkin spice-ness that will come with the start of the Autumn season. What you may not have thought about are things like getting your kids sports mouthguards for fall sports, getting them their back to school checkups and cleanings, and capturing those last precious moments of summertime fun. Your dentist in Georgetown wants to help with your to-do list, so let’s check these boxes one by one…

Sports Mouthguards? CHECK.

We’ve previously shared some scary statistics with you about mouth injuries, like the fact that 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, or what sport you play, no one wants to deal with the pain (and cost!) of damaging your smile when it can be prevented. Just ask your Georgetown dentist about a custom sports mouthguard at your child’s next appointment. And speaking of which….

Cleanings for the Kids? CHECK.

Whether your kids are in elementary school or off at college, setting up their appointments for checkups and cleanings is easy. We offer convenient hours including super early appointments to fit into your (and your child’s) busy schedules.

Enjoying the last moments of summer? Big Time CHECK.

There’s still one more Movie In the Park to enjoy at the soccer fields on August 17th, Music on the Square on Friday nights, and of course, our three Georgetown area Farmers Markets will continue to be full of the bounty of the seasons for healthy vegetables and fruits to add to your end of summer feasts.

So go ahead, catch those fireflies in a jar, take one more dip in the pool, and eat another blue ice pop – just be sure to brush your teeth after that last one. And of course, call your Georgetown dental office to quickly and easily take care of the first two items on your to-do list, so you can spend more time concentrating on those last precious moments of summer.

Don’t forget, we’re always accepting new patients, so tell your friends and family about your favorite dental office.

A Closer Look at Sugary Snacks

yogurtMost of us know that sugar is bad for teeth. So it should come as no surprise that our dental office in Georgetown encourages our patients to limit their sugar intake in order to keep teeth healthy and decay-free. But sometimes it’s not so easy know just how much sugar is in the foods we eat. We’re here to help take a closer look…

How Much Sugar is Recommended?

Before we dive into some foods that are high in sugar we should talk about how much sugar we typically need every day. While sugar intake limits vary person to person, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the following maximum of added sugars daily:

  • Men – 150 calories per day (or 9 teaspoons)
  • Women – 100 calories per day (or 6 teaspoons)

A Quick Note on Added Sugars

There two types of sugars found in food — natural sugars and added sugars. Natural sugars occur naturally in foods and added sugars are, well, added in. While both can negatively affect teeth, added sugars are worse for oral health and overall health.

Sugar-Packed Snacks

As we look at some snacks that are high in sugar, there may be some that surprise you. Remember, you don’t need to avoid these snacks entirely, but try to limit your intake of added sugars and do all you can to follow a well-balanced diet. To try to put the sugar content into better perspective, we’ll be using teaspoons for reference.

Yogurt

Yogurt is usually considered good for you, but certain types can contain loads of sugar. Varieties that have added fruit or flavors are particularly guilty. Some may even top out at more than 6.5 teaspoons of sugar in only a 6 ounce cup.

Granola Bars

Here’s another snack that normally finds its way onto the healthy list. Granola bars can be a quick and easy snack, but there can also be a lot of sugar hiding in these handheld treats. In fact, some may have nearly 3 teaspoons of it.

Soda

This one should come as no surprise. Certain types of soda can have as much as 11 teaspoons in a 12 ounce can!

Candy

Another pretty common sugary snack comes in the form of candy. And while different types of candy pack a different sugar punch, most of them contain at least 7 teaspoons and some have as much as 17 teaspoons!

When it comes to nutrition and snacking smart, read the labels on food carefully and pay attention to serving size to truly know how much sugar (and other stuff) you’ll be putting into your body. If it helps you to picture sugar content by the teaspoon, keep in mind that 4.2 grams is equal to 1 teaspoon.

As always, when it comes to keeping your smile healthy and your teeth in tip-top shape, make sure you brush them twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist in Georgetown biannually.

We’re always accepting new patients at our Georgetown dental office and welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today.