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Information and resources to help you maintain a healthy smile

  • July 26, 2021

    Getting to the Root—of a Root Canal

    The words "root canal" used to make people a little nervous, but that's no longer true. Thanks to advancements in endodontic techniques and in anesthesia, a root canal is a safe and virtually painless process. Most patients who experience root canal therapy say it is a lot like other dental procedures. Most patients also find they can return to work or other normal activities the same day. 

    What is a root canal?

    A root canal is a procedure to save a natural tooth that has been damaged or infected.Structure of a tooth

    After a root canal, the tooth will look, feel, and function normally. The root canal restores the healthy tooth, avoiding the need for extraction.

    Why might the dentist suggest a root canal?

    Beneath the outer enamel of each tooth is another hard layer called dentin. These layers protect the tooth's pulp—soft tissue containing the blood vessels and nerves inside the tooth. If the tooth is chipped or has complications from a previous filling (especially a large one), or if the pulp has become infected or inflamed, that tooth is going to start hurting. 

    An affected tooth may be extremely sensitive to hot and cold. Eating may become difficult since biting or chewing with the affected tooth will be painful. An infected tooth will cause tenderness and/or swelling in the gums. And of course, because oral health is a key factor in overall health, an infected tooth can decrease your overall health and wellness. 

    A cracked or broken tooth can be unsightly and may make you self-conscious about your appearance. Also, cracks and breaks are likely to lead to additional tooth damage. 

    One option for solving these painful problems might be to extract the tooth. But extraction can be much more painful and leaves a gap that can cause other teeth to shift. Most of the time, saving and restoring the natural tooth is a better option. 

    What happens during root canal therapy?

    Your dentist will carefully examine your teeth to determine the severity of the problem and the best treatment option. 

    If a root canal is needed, the dentist will administer anesthesia so you remain comfortable during the procedure. Then the dentist will drill into the affected tooth, removing any old fillings along with the affected pulp. The root canal area will be cleaned and may be treated with antibiotics before it is filled with a special material. 

    If the tooth structure is damaged or weak, your dentist may recommend a crown to preserve the tooth. 

    What happens after a root canal?

    Most people find that their experience after a root canal is similar to what they feel after other dental procedures. You may experience some mild soreness for a couple days, and your dentist may prescribe a brief round of antibiotics to avoid any further problems with infection. You can return to your normal activities almost immediately.

    But the best and most important outcome is that you will have restored health to a previously unhealthy tooth!

    We're here to help!

    If you have a cracked or broken tooth, or if you are experiencing symptoms like sensitivity to hot or cold, pain when chewing, or tenderness and swelling in your gums, it is important that you call us right away. Untreated infection will continue to worsen, making treatment more difficult. 

    Our dentists will provide you with complete information about your options and make their recommendations for the best treatment plan to keep your smile healthy and happy!

    Call us at 903-218-4044 or email us to schedule an appointment. We treat you like family!


     

  • June 15, 2021

    Why Dental Cleanings Are So Important

    A healthy body starts with a healthy mouth.

    The American Dental Association says, "The mouth is a window into the health of the body." Research shows that periodontitis (gum disease) contributes to health issues like cardiovascular disease, stroke, pneumonia, and even pregnancy complications.

    Your teeth are covered with a sticky substance called plaque. Plaque contains bacteria. When you eat (especially when you eat sugary foods or snacks), those bacteria release acids that can weaken and eventually break down tooth enamel and cause cavities. Daily brushing and flossing help to control plaque, but it's very difficult to remove all plaque, especially between the teeth.

    Plaque that remains can harden into tartar, making it even more difficult to keep your teeth clean. Tartar may collect above the gum line, causing bleeding and swollen gums. These are symptoms of gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, which can destroy bone and lead to tooth loss. 

    The Good NewsWhy 6 month dental cleanings are so important

    You can avoid all that! 

    Oral health is a partnership between you and your dentist. Your part is to brush well at least twice a day and floss daily. Your dentist may recommend using an anti-bacterial mouthwash. Your part also includes seeing your dentist every 6 months for a dental cleaning. 

    Dental cleaning—what to expect

    We know that some people are nervous about seeing the dentist, so we try to make sure you feel happy and comfortable every time you visit our office. Knowing what to expect helps you feel more relaxed about visiting the dentist, so let's talk about what happens during a dental cleaning. 

    A cleaning visit usually lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. One of our highly-qualified, friendly hygienists will start by checking your teeth, using a small mirror to see all sides of the teeth. This helps her know what to focus on during your cleaning. 

    The hygienist then scrapes away any plaque or tartar on your teeth, using a small tool called a scaler. You may feel a slight scraping sensation as she removes plaque from the surface of the teeth, between the teeth, and around the gum line. 

    Next, the hygienist polishes your teeth. The polish comes in some fun flavors and may feel a bit gritty. But don't worry; you'll be able to rinse frequently.

    Finally, the hygienist will floss to make sure any remaining bits of polish or plaque are removed. 

    Look in the mirror!Friendly, highly-qualified dental hygienists

    You'll love the beautiful, bright shine and the clean, fresh feeling of your newly-cleaned teeth! And even better, you'll know that you've taken an important step to care for your oral health and your overall physical health! 

    Are you due for a 6-month checkup?

    Call us today at 903-218-4044, and let's take good care of your smile!


     

  • May 13, 2021

    A Brighter, Whiter Smile

    What does your smile do for you? 

    The answer might surprise you!

    • Smiling is good for your health! Smiling releases neuropeptides and neurotransmitters that reduce stress and lower your heart rate and blood pressure (Psychology Today).
    • Smiling makes you look younger (WebMD).
    • Smiling makes you seem more likable (National Library of Medicine).
    • A good laugh stimulates your heart and lungs by increasing oxygen intake and can even improve your immune system (Mayo Clinic).

    In fact, studies have found that people who smile—even when they don't feel like it—are less stressed, happier, and more likely to succeed in relationships and personal encounters (including job interviews). A confident smile is an important key to success in many areas of life!A confident smile is a key to success!

    So what keeps you from smiling?

    Many people hide their smile because they are self-conscious about stained or yellowed teeth. As we age, tooth enamel may become thinner, exposing more color from the yellowish dentin beneath. And many common foods can stain teeth: berries, curries, tomato-based dishes, colas, coffee and tea, red wine, and soy sauce among others. Smoking, illness, and medications can also cause staining or yellowing. 

    If yellowed or stained teeth are keeping YOU from smiling, we can help!

    Our dentists can help you decide on a safe, effective method to whiten your teeth and regain your self-confidence. In-office teeth whitening is a safe, effective procedure that usually requires just one visit. You'll walk out feeling wonderful about your beautiful smile!

    If you prefer home whitening, we have products available that are safe and effective. 

    Either way, you'll love your new smile—and you'll be even happier as you experience the results of smiling a lot more often!

    Call us today, and start smiling!


     

  • April 12, 2021

    April--Oral Cancer Awareness Month

    Nobody wants to hear that word.

    Cancer. 

    It's a scary word, full of unknowns. But the truth is that many cancers can be treated successfully—especially if they are diagnosed and treated early. 

    That's why every dental exam at J. de Graffenried Dentistry includes an oral cancer screening. We want to do everything we can to make sure you stay healthy. 

    April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

    Early diagnosis is the most important factor in successful treatment, so this is a good time to help you protect your health by becoming aware of some basic facts. Knowledge is Power.  

    Early symptoms of oral cancer

    • Swollen areas, lumps, or crusty areas inside or around the mouth
    • Patchy white, red, or speckled areas in the mouth
    • Bleeding inside or around the mouth or sores that do not heal
    • Sore throat that does not heal
    • Feelings of pain, tenderness or numbness in or around the mouth

    If you experience any of these warning signs, don't wait! An oral cancer screening is quick and painless and could save your life!

    Risk factors for oral cancer

    1. Tobacco. People who smoke cigarettes, pipes, or cigars are 6 times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers. People who use chewing tobacco, dip, or snuff are 50 times more likely to develop oral cancer. 
    2. Excessive use of alcohol.
    3. Family history of cancer. 
    4. Over-exposure to sun.

    Making healthy choices about these risk factors can help you lessen your risk of developing oral cancer. 

    Your healthy lifestyle along with good oral hygiene—including regular dental check-ups with oral cancer screening—is the best way to protect your health. 

    But if you experience any symptoms that could be signs of oral cancer, don't wait. Contact us right away so we can help care for your health. 

    Phone: 903-218-4044     Email: Email

     


     

  • March 23, 2021

    Do You Need a Dental Crown?

    Everybody needs a little royal treatment sometimes—and your teeth are no exception. 

    Your teeth work hard every day, and they don't ask much in return. Just a couple of daily brushings, flossings, and maybe mouthwash. Two visits a year to the dentist. If you add up all the hours they work, your teeth are a pretty good investment! 

    But if a tooth chips, breaks, or becomes severely decayed, it may be telling you it needs a little royal treatment: a dental crown. 

    People who haven't had a crown often have a lot of questions, so here are the answers to some of the most common ones. 

    What is a dental crown? 

    Before and after a dental crown

    A crown is a cap your dentist places over a damaged or decayed tooth, over an implant, or uses to help support a bridge. Crowns are also sometimes used for children who have severely damaged or decayed teeth. 

    What are crowns made of? 

    Crowns can be made of several materials including porcelain, acrylic, resin, and metal alloys. Temporary crowns are usually made of stainless steel. For permanent crowns, many people choose a material that matches the color of their other teeth so that the crown is completely unnoticeable. 

    What is the process for getting a crown?

    Crowns usually require two dental visits. At your first visit, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing all decay along with the outer surface of the tooth so the crown will fit over it. Then the dentist will get an exact impression of your tooth so the crown can be made to the exact fit of your tooth. A temporary crown will be placed over the tooth to protect it until the permanent crown is ready. 

    At your second visit, the dentist will remove the temporary crown. Once the dentist verifies that the permanent crown is the correct color and fit, it will be cemented in place. 

    How do I care for a crown? 

    You're likely to forget you even have a crown! Just continue to practice good oral hygiene to protect the tooth and the area around the crown from bacteria and decay.

    On rare occasions, a crown may cause some discomfort or become loose. If that happens, just give us a call, and we'll gladly take care of it.  

    A crown restores a tooth to just-like-new. Learn more about dental crowns here

    You'll be much more comfortable—and much more confident—when that broken or damaged tooth is restored. If you think a dental crown could help your smile, give us a call. Our dentists will be happy to give you more information so you can make a healthy decision for your teeth. After all, you deserve to feel like royalty!

     


     

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Member - Texas Dental Association