More About Dental X- Rays

Dental X-ray scans allow dentists to get a clear view of interior of teeth and gums. It helps them in detecting the extent of damage caused to the tooth, enabling them to plan the treatment accordingly. Dental X-rays are completely safe for children and adults as they have very low levels of radiation.

Types Of Dental X-Rays

There are 3 main types of dental X-rays that are performed based on the age, current oral health, symptoms and history of patient’s tooth decay:

  • Digital X-rays: These X-rays are very safe and convenient. The level of radiation required in digital X-rays is significantly lower as compared to that of traditional X-rays. Diagnosis achieved through digital X-rays is considered to be accurate and highly consistent due to different viewing angles it allows.
  • Panoramic X-rays: Panoramic X-rays show the entire mouth in a single image. The X-rays are taken from outside your mouth. They are ideal for planning orthodontic treatment and for evaluating growth and development of teeth. With the help of panoramic X-rays it becomes easier to detect a variety of problems associated with teeth such as abscess, tumors, jaw disorders, bone irregularities, un-erupted teeth, changes in the root-canal, etc.
  • Intra-oral Camera: These cameras are used in cases where the dentist wants close-up images of the teeth. They were first used in 1989 and are now an intrinsic part of dental care and treatment. The camera produces high quality close-up of the problem areas thus facilitating best treatment option for the condition.

How Often Should The X-Rays Be Taken?

The frequency of these X-rays will depend on the patient’s oral health. New patients are often recommended to get a full series of X-rays. As dental visits progress and oral problems decline, the frequency of X-rays also reduces.

Benefits Of Dental X-Rays

  • Help detect diseases and damage that cannot be detected during regular dental exam.
  • They are completely safe due to less exposure to radiation.
  • No discomfort is experienced when taking the X-ray.
  • Easy to use and efficient.
  • Larger image of specific areas can be taken by zooming in.
  • Covered by most dental insurance plans. This makes it easier to get the highest quality of dental care.
  • Helps the patient in making more informed decision about dental care required.
  • Helpful in detecting the development of wisdom tooth and planning its extraction.
  • Preventing future complications.

Schedule an appointment with the dentists at Enamel Dentistry. For more information, visit us at either of our clinics at 2717 S Lamar Blvd #1086 Austin, TX 78704 ((512) 717-5315) or at 1606 E Parmer Ln. Suite #125 Austin, TX 78753 ((512) 572-0215)

Tooth Plaque: Causes, Prevention, Treatment

A sticky colorless biofilm on the teeth caused by bacteria in the mouth is referred to as plaque. Ignoring plaque however leads to the formation of tartar which increases the risk of cavities and gum disease. In extreme cases bacteria from plaque spreads further to other organs like lungs and heart.

What Causes Plaque?

When bacteria in the mouth starts collecting at the gum line and spreads to surface of teeth, plaque starts developing. It is considered normal until bacteria combines with sugary and starchy foods such as soft drinks, milk, cakes, candy, chocolates, etc. and produce acids. The acids eat away your tooth’s enamel eventually leading to tooth decay. If this is not taken care of immediately, it progresses to pulp of the tooth which may lead to the development of abscess inside the tooth.

Treatment Of Plaque
Dental plaque requires immediate attention and a professional dental cleaning session will be required. Scaling and root planning are procedures meant for the removal of dental plaque and tartar. These procedures remove the byproducts of bacteria, prevent tartar from building up and smooth out the root surfaces of teeth.

Prevention Of Plaque

  • The best way to prevent plaque is to get rid of it as soon as it forms. Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day makes teeth stronger and prevents cavities.
  • Limit the consumption of sugary foods to prevent bacteria from spreading.
  • Use round-tip soft bristle brushes and swap them for new ones after every 2 to 3 months.
  • Try to stimulate the production of saliva as it helps to rinse bacteria off your teeth. For this you can rinse after every meal or chew a piece of sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after eating food.
  • Regular dental visits are also necessary to prevent plaque and tartar from forming and spreading. During dental visits, the tartar is scraped away and your teeth are thoroughly examined for cavities or gum disease. Ask your dentist if you can use sealants for an added layer of protection. Dental experts recommend visiting a dentist every 6 to 12 months.
  • After brushing, use an antibacterial mouthwash to get rid any bacterial residue.
  • Eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet for healthy and strong teeth. Increase the intake of colorful crunchy veggies and fruits. Cucumbers, apples, carrots, turnips, celery etc. are examples of teeth-friendly fruits and veggies. They help remove food particles from in between the teeth and neutralize the acids that cause plaque. Limit the number of snacks you take and try to opt for healthy snacks when you crave something.

For more information, contact Enamel Dentistry at (512) 717-5315.

Keeping Up With Dental Health For Children With Special Needs

Often dental care of a child with special needs is easily over-looked due to other medical issues. However, it is important to note that kids with special needs are twice more likely to have dental problems than other kids. So, it is very important to pay special attention to their dental health care. Following are some tips on how to keep up with the dental health of kids with special needs:

  • Oral Health: Children with special needs e.g. those with down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other genetic conditions tend to have oral problems such as malformed teeth, extra teeth, congenitally missing teeth, flat teeth due to habitual grinding etc. Such problems make them prone to tooth decay and gum disease. So paying attention to dental care early on will help keep things from getting worse.
  • Dental Concerns: Being regular with dental visits of children with special needs can be immensely helpful in managing certain dental concerns that they are prone to. Some of these are GERD (Gastro- Esophageal Reflux Disease), holding food in the mouth, bruxism, bad breath, dry mouth, delay of first teeth etc.
  • Nutrition: To maintain good oral health of a child with special needs, care should be taken to serve them with nutritious meals that have less sugar and starch. This will help their teeth develop properly and even reduce the chances of tooth decay. Make sure that you keep an assortment of healthy snacks in the house.
  • Home Care: A good home care routine goes a long way in ensuring healthy teeth and gums. Ideally it should start during infancy by wiping the gums with a wet soft cloth/ finger brush. After the teeth erupt, one should use a soft toothbrush for brushing and also encourage flossing daily.
  • Looking For A Dentist: It is recommended to make the first dental visit before your child turns one. Parents of children with special needs should strictly adhere to this. General and pediatric dentists are good enough for kids with special needs provided the dental team members have some experience in dealing with such kids. If you are not sure, you can call your local dental society for suggestions.
  • Accessibility: The dental clinic you intend to take your child to should offer some special services for children with special needs such as wheelchairs, dental chairs with movable armrests, provision for late arrivals or cancellation, an orientation session, etc.

Schedule an appointment with the dentists at Enamel Dentistry. For more information, visit 2717 S Lamar Blvd #1086 Austin, TX 78704 or call (512) 717-5315.

What To Do After A Root Canal Treatment

A root canal treatment is the perfect solution for nerve damage to a tooth due to infection or decay. It lets you keep your natural tooth and bypass the need for an artificial one. Root Canal treatment keeps the teeth functional and prevent further damage, provided some caution and care is exercised post the treatment. Following is a list of some things that should be done after a root canal treatment:

  • Take Your Prescriptions Seriously: Your dentist will prescribe some antibiotics after your root canal treatment. These are to be taken religiously to prevent further infection in the tooth that has been treated.
  • Observe Levels Of Pain: After a root canal treatment, you should keep assessing the levels of pain you experience to gauge whether you are heading in the right direction for recovery or not. Ideally, short bursts of pain will be experienced for a short duration after the root canal treatment. This is normal and can be treated with over-the-counter medications prescribed by your dentist. However, if the pain persists for a longer duration, contact your dentist immediately to investigate the reason behind it.
  • Good Oral Hygiene: Maintaining good oral hygiene practices is probably one of the most important thing to do after a root canal treatment. It is extremely important to keep the area of the tooth that has undergone a root canal treatment very clean by brushing and flossing regularly.
  • Avoid Pressure On The Tooth: After a root canal treatment, a tooth tends to be very fragile and tender. Pressure on tooth in the form of chewing and grinding should be avoided at all costs for the first few days post-treatment. Use a night guard to keep the teeth apart.
  • Take Care Of Your Diet: Right after your root canal treatment, take extra caution to avoid hard or crunchy food. In fact, completely avoid chewing on the side of the root canal for a while or as prescribed by your dentist. At the same time, take care not to consume food and liquids that are either too hot or cold as they can irritate your otherwise sensitive tooth.
  • Get A Crown Fixed: It is highly recommended to get a crown fixed over the tooth after a root canal. The reason for this is that a crown acts as a support for the tooth and keeps it more intact. Crowns also keep further complications at bay and improve functionality of the tooth.
  • Regular Dental Visits: Do not skip on your visits to the dentist as and when scheduled as these visits are essential after a root canal. Regular cleanings and examinations by your dentist will prevent problems associated with your teeth in future.

For effective dental treatment, visit Enamel Dentistry at 2717 S Lamar Blvd #1086 Austin, TX 78704 or call (512) 717-5315.

Tips To Prevent Childhood Cavities

Establishing a proper dental care routine early-on in your child’s life is the best way of keeping childhood cavities and other dental problems at bay. Cavities in children could lead to tooth loss, speech problems, crooked teeth, pain, tooth decay etc.

Childhood cavities are 100 percent preventable provided the following tips are followed religiously.

1. Visiting A Dentist Regularly
The best time to commence dental check-ups after their first birthday. Starting early makes a huge difference in preventing cavities. The dentist will help in providing guidance related to your child’s fluoride requirements and dental care. Sealants might be recommended on your child’s molars to protect the enamel and keep germs and food particles out of the little crevices where they tend to accumulate.

2. No Bedtime Bottles
Giving your child a bedtime bottle might be a comforting ritual, but it’s guaranteed to cause cavities. The sugar from the milk left around the teeth is the perfect recipe for cavity formation, infections and pain. If your child can’t do without a bottle, you can swap the milk with plain water to provide the same comforting feeling sans the risk of cavity formation.

3. Establishing Cleaning Routines
Even infants need a cleaning routine. Their gums should be cleaned with a clean damp cloth. Older kids should get into the habit of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. This will help in preventing the formation of oral bacteria. In addition to brushing and flossing, encourage your child to rinse out food particles left in the mouth after each meal.

4. Diet Check
Your child’s diet plays a major role in preventing childhood cavities. Limit the consumption of sugary snacks and drinks such as sodas and high sugar juices, sticky foods like honey and caramel etc. Incorporate nutrient dense foods in your child’s diet as this will make it easier for the tissues in the mouth to resist infection. Also, wisely choose foods like fruits, breads, cereals etc. by checking out their sugar content. Avoid the consumption of starchy foods like crackers and potato chips.

5. Set An Example
Children look up to adults in their lives when it comes to developing good habits. If your child sees you adopting good dental habits, there are higher chances he/she will do the same. Make brushing time something they look forward to by doing it together in a fun way.

6. Dairy Products And Nuts
Add more dairy products and nuts to your child’s diet. Cheese, yoghurt and nuts neutralize acids in the mouth thus protecting their teeth from damage. They are also rich in casein, a substance that keeps the enamel strong and re-mineralizes teeth.

For more information, contact Enamel Dentistry at (512) 717-5315.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Root Canals

A Root Canal, also known as RCT is something most of us have so many queries about. The following is a list of some frequently asked questions that will help anyone planning to get a root canal some helpful and correct information.

Question 1: What Is A Root Canal And What Purpose Does It Solve?

As the name suggests, a Root Canal procedure treats infection deep in the root of the teeth. RCT is normally required when there is extreme inflammation or infection in the tooth (that has reached nerve) caused by tooth decay, defective crowns etc. So during a root canal, the inside of the tooth is cleaned and disinfected carefully to get rid of any inflamed or infected pulp. After this procedure, inside of the tooth is filled and sealed with gutta-percha (a rubber like material). Thereafter the tooth is crowned and filled for protection.

Question 2: What Happens After The Root Canal?

After a root canal procedure, your tooth will be sensitive for a few days but there will be no acute pain. You will be given painkillers to help relieve your pain. The restored tooth will be as good as the natural one and will last just as long without any complications and special care.

Question 3: Is A Root Canal Painful?

Before the root canal procedure starts, your tooth and its surrounding area will be anaesthetized to numb it. After that a small hole will be made down into the canal and the diseased pulp tissues shall be removed with the help of tiny instruments. The whole procedure is not very painful. A root canal relieves you of pain instead of causing pain. Also, advanced treatment options are available nowadays which ensure a pain-free experience.

Question 4: Should I Be Concerned About X-Rays?

If your endodontist uses digital radiography, there is nothing to be concerned about. Digital radiography is an advanced method of taking x-rays by which radiation levels are up to 90 percent lower than x-rays taken by conventional machines generally used for dental purposes.

Question 5: Is It Expensive?

The cost of a root canal session varies from dentist to dentist. It is advisable to get it done as soon as the problem is detected to avoid extractions and bridges in future.

Question 6: Who Will Perform The Root Canal?

An endodontist with specialized training in endodontic treatment will be the best choice.

Thus, proper dental care ensures that repeated infections do not arise later in life. Keep your teeth free of decay by brushing and flossing daily. Eat a diet low in sugar and stay away from acidic beverages. For more information, contact Enamel Dentistry at (512) 717-5315.

Oral Hygiene For Kids

The best way to protect your child’s teeth from tooth decay and gum disease is to emphasize on oral hygiene. Good oral health helps kids enjoy their food better, have clear speech and beautiful smiles. The best time to start focusing on your child’s dental hygiene is from the moment the first tooth erupts i.e. 6 to 9 months of age.

The following are some important guidelines to help your child maintain oral hygiene.

1. Brushing And Flossing

A good dental hygiene regimen comprises of brushing and flossing daily. Brushing should be done with proper technique. Teach your child how to brush gently. Encourage your child to brush all the surfaces of teeth i.e. inner as well as outer. Even the tongue should be cleaned using a tongue cleaner to get rid of bacteria. Brushing twice a day with an accepted fluoride toothpaste is highly recommended. Also, flossing between the teeth and beneath the gum line prevents formation of tartar.

2. Dental Visit

The American Dental Association recommends the first dental visit to be no later than a child’s first birthday. Frequent visits to the dentist will keep your child’s teeth plaque free. This will ensure that cavities are treated immediately before they grow into a bigger problem. In addition to this, the dentist will keep a tab on your child’s tooth development and spot orthodontic problems early. They might also recommend sealants to prevent the formation of cavities.

3. Fluoride

Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps to strengthen the tooth’s enamel and prevent tooth decay. Check out with your local water district to see how much fluoride is contained in the water you drink. Your dentist can recommend fluoride toothpaste depending on age of the child.

4. A Balanced Diet

A balanced diet aids the process of maintaining oral hygiene. Good oral health sans a good diet defeats the purpose. Your child’s diet should include calcium, phosphorous and other natural minerals. Discourage frequent snacking specially on foods like cookies, candies, soft drinks, potato chips etc. The combination of these foods with plaque on teeth creates acids, which attack the tooth enamel causing cavities.

5. Add An Element Of Fun

To make oral hygiene less of a chore and more of a fun activity, try adopting the following tips:

• Use a fun toothbrush with your child’s favourite cartoon character.
• Use brightly coloured sand timers to encourage your child to brush for the right amount of time.
• Use flavoured anti-cavity fluoride toothpastes.
• Show your child a fun video on dental hygiene.
• Create a reward system e.g. awarding cute stickers for brushing twice a day.

6. Be A Good Role Model

As parents and caretakers, we are our children’s role models. If we adopt good oral hygiene, our children are bond to follow the suite. So practice what you preach and it will be easier for your kids to keep up with their oral health.

To schedule an appointment with the dentists at Enamel Dentistry, visit 2717 S Lamar Blvd #1086 Austin, TX 78704 or call at (512) 717-5315.

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