Have You Used Your Dental Benefits?

smiling girl with puppyThe end of the year is fast approaching. Before you know it, we’ll be making resolutions and writing 2018 on our paperwork. Take a moment and think – have you made the most of your dental insurance benefits this year? It’s time for an end-of-the-year benefits check!

The staff at our Georgetown dental office is here to help you maximize your dental benefits to be sure that you’ve received the treatments you need or want within the calendar benefit year. This includes your regular hygiene appointments every six months and taking care of any cavities that may have appeared during that time. But have you thought about other options, such as:

  • Cosmetic Dentistry like dental bonding to fix chipped or discolored teeth
  • Restorative Dentistry like dental implants to replace a missing tooth
  • Or even Invisalign clear aligners to straighten your teeth comfortably and quickly. In fact, if you start Invisalign therapy now, you may have the straight teeth you’ve always wanted before Christmas of 2018.

Don’t forget that your Georgetown dentist is also here to help with nightguards to help you stop grinding your teeth at night, especially at this time of year when life tends to get a bit more…shall we say…. stressful?!

Your Trade Winds Dental team is here to help you achieve and keep that healthy, happy smile that we love to see every time you walk in our door. So if you have a concern or a dental need, it’s not too late! Call our office today to discuss your end-of-the-year benefits status with our staff and also to answer any questions you may have about our services.

Chocolate’s Surprising Dental Health Benefits

woman eats chocolate

When it comes to talking about food choices that are good for your teeth, your dentist in Georgetown has some not-so-surprising go to selections such as veggies, cheeses, and dairy products packed with calcium. But it may surprise you to hear that our dental office in Georgetown is also a fan of chocolate.

Fight Cavities, Eat Chocolate!

Recent research conducted on the oral health effects of chocolate have caused dental professionals across the world to take a closer look at the sweet treat. It probably comes as no surprise that dentists typically shy away from sugar-packed snacks such as chocolate. But several studies have shown a positive benefit between consuming dark chocolate and lower amounts of decay.

It’s Not Magic, It’s Science!

It may seem like magic that something so delicious may actually have a host of health benefits, but there’s a solid scientific explanation behind why dark chocolate is actually good for teeth. To better understand the science behind the benefits, we need to take a closer look at what makes up our favorite dark chocolate snacks.

The Good Stuff

The compounds found in dark chocolate, or more specifically the cocoa bean husk, have antibacterial and plaque-fighting properties. One of the main components of dark chocolate, CBH, may even find its way into over-the-counter dental products in the future thanks to the positive research on its beneficial effects. Studies surrounding CBH support the idea that this ingredient may be better at fighting decay than fluoride treatments. But don’t go and pass up the fluoride just yet. More research is needed to truly determine the entire host of CBH benefits.

How Does It Work?

Usually when we eat foods with a lot of sugar content, we leave our teeth exposed to the dangers of the sugars. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars and produce acid as a byproduct. This acid eats away at protective enamel and leaves teeth susceptible to cavities. However, the compounds in dark chocolate counteract the high sugar content and the damaging effects that go along with it by releasing their antibacterial properties and fighting off plaque.  

Not Just Any Chocolate Will Do

Keep in mind that these studies look at the benefits of dark chocolate. Milk chocolate as well as white chocolate have a higher sugar content, and eating too much of either may contribute to higher rates of decay.

Following a well-balanced diet can do wonders in helping you keep your mouth healthy and cavity free. Add in a few dark chocolate indulgences, brush and floss regularly, and maintain hygiene appointments at our Georgetown dental office for the best preventive approach to good oral health.

The Great American Smokeout

great American smokeoutThe mission of the American Cancer Society is to eliminate cancer as a widespread health problem through research, service, and education. One of their larger events of the year, the Great American Smokeout, occurs on the third Thursday in November. This annual event strives to encourage all tobacco users to designate a quit date and work towards a smoke-free life. The mission at our dental office in Georgetown is to help our neighbors live a healthy, happy life, and not using tobacco is directly related to us fulfilling that mission. So this November, we’re going to highlight a few benefits of quitting as well as a few tips to help.

Smoking & Oral Health

Most people are aware of the various health issues that go along with smoking. And those are absolutely serious. But your dentist in Georgetown focuses more on the many oral health problems that tend to accompany years of tobacco use. Some of these concerns include:

  • Dry mouth and, in turn, decay
  • Yellowing teeth and bad breath
  • Slowed healing time after dental treatment

Tips to Quit

Quitting smoking isn’t easy, and sometimes people try several times before they stop once and for all. And that’s ok. Whether this is your first try or your twentieth, we believe in you and want to help by providing a few of the best tips we’ve found to help you quit.

  • Gather a support system by recruiting friends and family to help you manage cravings. Having a solid support team is one of the key ingredients to a successful quit plan.
  • List out your reasons for quitting and refer back to them whenever you feel yourself start to slip. Reminding yourself of the money you’ll save or the health you’ll get back can snap you out of a potential fallback.
  • Be aware of your triggers and work to either avoid them or change your habits surrounding them.
  • Keep healthy options handy to keep your hands and mouth busy. Chew sugar-free gum or snack on crunchy carrots to help satisfy your cravings.

If you’re looking for help to finally quit smoking, or perhaps you’re ready to get your mouth healthy after quitting, we welcome you to call our Georgetown dental office to schedule an appointment. Even it’s been awhile since you’ve been to the dentist or you’ve been a smoker for years, you don’t need to worry about a lecture with us. We believe that supporting you through your journey is much more helpful to getting you healthy.

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.

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!

All About Oral Cancer

oral cancer risk

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and our dental office in Georgetown thought we should dedicate a blog this month to help educate our patients and community on the prevalence of oral cancer in America, what increases someone’s likelihood of developing the disease, and how to spot signs of oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Statistics

Like any other cancer, oral cancer is a complicated disease that takes the lives of many individuals. While scientists continue researching cures and treatments are always improving, the data surrounding the oral cancer epidemic is still scary.

  • According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, nearly 50,000 Americans will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2017.
  • Of those, only a little over half are expected to live longer than 5 years.
  • This year alone, oral cancer will kill one person every hour of every day.
  • Across the globe, an estimated 450,000 oral cancer diagnoses are made each year.

Oral Cancer Risks

While anyone can develop oral cancer, there are several factors that increase the likelihood of diagnosis. Of these, there are few we can control and others we can’t.

  • The top risk factor is tobacco use. An estimated 80% of oral cancer patients are, or have been, tobacco users.
  • As we get older, our risk of oral cancer increases. The majority of oral cancer patients are over the age of 55.
  • Gender can also play a role. Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women.
  • Drinking alcohol heavily also increases your risk.   

Oral Cancer Symptoms

  • Pain while swallowing, chewing, or speaking
  • Changes in voice
  • A sore or discoloration that doesn’t go away after two weeks
  • A lump inside the mouth or neck
  • Chronic bad breath

Signs of oral cancer can be similar to other non-serious oral health issues. If you notice any of the symptoms above, we strongly encourage you to call your dentist in Georgetown as soon as you can. Early detection of oral cancer greatly increases the chance for successful treatment. This is also one reason why you should see your dentist at least every six months.

At our Georgetown dental office, we care about keeping our neighbors healthy. If there are any questions we can answer, or if you’re looking for advice on oral cancer treatment, give us a call.

How Raw Foods can Play a Part in Healing

raw foodsEverybody has to eat. But sometimes, life gets moving way too fast and we just grab what we can here and there – sometimes even eating fast or junk food. When we eat without thinking, we are not only consuming unhealthy fats, preservatives, and artificial ingredients, we are missing out on all kinds of healing benefits food can offer.

One of those benefits comes from enzymes. Enzymes are not only crucial for good digestion, they also help our body properly use nutrients, assist with our bodies functions such as cell regeneration, and elimination of toxins. In fact, without enzymes, we wouldn’t be able to eat, swallow, digest our food, or breathe. Enzymes are life! And raw, living fruits and vegetables are full of these necessary enzymes.

The problem is, when food is heated the enzymes are destroyed or damaged. We recommend juicing in order to get an efficient, super dose of essential enzymes in their perfect state. Here are a few other ways to fit raw foods into your busy life:

  • Carry an apple, some raw carrots, or other non-perishable raw snack with you whenever you leave the house.
  • Raw nuts and seeds make another portable, enzyme-rich food for on the go.
  • Top your soup, salad, or sandwich with a handful of tasty sprouts – pea sprouts are especially delicious!
  • All kinds of things your family already loves are raw: Think fresh salsa, guacamole, fresh fruit salads.
  • Try topping celery with raw nut butter and raisins. It is great tasting and gives you an extra boost of protein.
  • Keep plenty of easy-to-grab raw foods in the house. If it is easier to find and more available than other snacks, your family will likely reach for the raw snacks. Try preparing carrot coins, celery sticks, apple wedges, and raw nut mixes ahead of time for easy snacking during the week.
  • Start browsing raw recipes online. You will see that preparing raw meals can actually save you time.

Here’s a great recipe from the Rawritarian that anyone can start with. It tastes like dessert so even your kids will love eating raw, plus prep time is only five minutes!

Raw Chocolate Avocado Pudding

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium avocado (ripe and at peak of perfection please!)
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons raw cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup water + 1/8 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

  1. Throw these raw chocolate avocado pudding ingredients into a high-speed blender. Start blending on slow and then crank up the blending speed to high.
  2. Blend this sucker until puddingy and gooooood! You might need to start and stop this a few times to get it to blend properly because the dates will require more blending than pudding recipes that don’t contain dates. If you have a good blender (AKA Vitamix or Blendtec) then you should be able to get this super smooth.
  3. You may need to add a tiny bit of extra water to facilitate blending. But if doing so only add TINY bits at a time! Try not to add extra water or it’ll end up watering it down and changing the consistency.

If you’d like to learn more about how nutrition affects your health and how eating the right things can actually help you heal, talk to Dr. Hennington at your next dental visit. The Trade Winds Dental team in Georgetown is here for more than your teeth – we are here for your total health!

Antioxidant-Infused Oral Care

perioscienceHelping Saliva Work as Your Mouth’s Best Friend

You may not think much about spit… unless you see your kid doing it! But did you know that spit is there to keep your mouth healthy? It is true! Saliva is your mouth’s natural defense system. It acts as a natural antioxidant.  So why are we telling you this?

Historically, dentists have focused on controlling the growth of bacteria in your mouth. But that might not be quite enough. As part of our work to offer our patients excellent dentistry while remaining natural and earth friendly, Trade Winds Dental is offering a brand-new approach to oral care – PerioScience antioxidant-infused products.

The Benefits of Antioxidants in Dentistry

Cavities continue to be a problem for both adults and children in the United States. We have discovered a way to up our cavity-fighting game – with antioxidants. PerioScience products counter oxidation, reduce inflammation, and work in tandem with our hygiene protocol to help your mouth feel better and be healthier than ever before. Their products are:

  • Natural. They contain powerful antioxidants, phloretin and ferulic, along with polyphenols from Green Tea plus herbs and essential oils are uniquely formulated to promote a healthy oral environment, fresh breath, and naturally moist oral tissues. They contain no alcohol, no fluoride, no sodium lauryl sulfate, and no artificial sweeteners or preservatives.
  • Hydrating. PerioScience hydrating products are formulated with proven moisturizers and a special selection of targeted ingredients that work together to promote moist-feeling oral tissues, healthy teeth, and fresh breath while creating a pH environment that is hostile to damage causing bacteria.
  • Gentle. PerioScience sensitivity products address tooth sensitivity to heat and cold with a potassium nitrate toothpaste. Sensitive products will freshen breath and soothe the mouth.

And they all promote healing and boost your own saliva’s healing power!

Can I Trust PerioScience?

We always carefully vet any products we offer in our office for reliability, effectiveness, and sustainability. That’s why we trust PerioScience products.

You may have heard of using antioxidants to control inflammation caused by UV light. Well, the scientist who conducted research on that topic for more than a decade now leads the PerioScience research laboratory. They conduct research and testing in major universities – a way to remain unbiased and be subjected to their rigorous standards of investigation – and their research studies on topical antioxidants have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

To learn more or to find out if PerioScience products can benefit you – and your spit – give our Georgetown dental office a call. We’d love to tell you more about all of the innovative ways we keep Texas healthier, greener, and smiling from ear to ear.