Understanding Tooth Decay

Tooth decay happens whenever your tooth enamel (the hard outer part of your teeth) is damaged. This is something that anyone can be inflicted with because plaque (a sticky film of bacteria) is constantly forming on your teeth. Whenever you eat or drink sugary food, the plaque will produce acid that will then attack your tooth enamel.

Factors That Predispose People to Tooth Decay

There are some very important factors that will predispose someone to tooth decay. Of course, a large part of this does have to do with how well formed your teeth are and whether they have strong enamel. If you have deep crevices, this gives the disease room in which to grow. Also, if your mouth is too acidic (PH should be between 6.2 and 7.4), this can be a problem.

You will also find that there are some things that you have control over, such as:

  1. Proper brushing and flossing are vital. It’s also important to understand that brushing too often can be problematic as well.
  2. You need to eat well because too much soda, candy or citrus fruit can do great harm.
  3. It’s important not to have a really dry mouth, which is typically caused by things such as stress, medication, illness or old age. If your mouth is too dry, you’re more prone to develop tooth decay.

While these things aren’t necessarily listed in the order of importance, they definitely all play an important role in whether or not you’ll actually be predisposed to tooth decay. Hopefully this will provide you with some important information about this oral health disease so that you can take measures to prevent it. If you already have it, then it’s equally as important to seek dental treatment right away for it.

Infographic Explaining Tooth Decay

Tooth Decay Index
Source: BestMedicalDegrees.com

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When is Toothache Not Toothache?

A toothache is a problem that most of us will experience at some point. A toothache is sometimes referred to as dentalgia, odontalgia or odotongenic pain. It is important to note there are both dental and non-dental causes of toothache. Following is an explanation of the possible causes of toothache.

Dental Toothache Causes

women-with-a-toothacheMore often than not, toothaches are an indication of a dental problem. Cavities are one of the most common causes of a toothache. A cavity can expose the dentin, which is the substance that is found underneath the enamel. When the dentin is exposed, it becomes more sensitive to cold, heat or any other stimuli. Dental abscess is another condition that can cause a toothache. Abscess develops when the tooth develops an infection. This infection can cause the tissue surrounding the tooth to become swollen and inflamed. Dental abscess should be treated as soon as possible because the infection can spread to other parts of the body, which can be dangerous.

Non-Dental Toothache Causes

While most toothaches are caused by a dental problems, a toothache may sometimes be caused by a non-dental problem. As strange as it may sound, a toothache may be caused by a heart problem. Certain heart problems can cause pain in other parts of the body, such as the jaw and tooth. In many cases, if a person has a toothache that is caused by a heart problem, the pain may worsen with physical exertion. Sinus problems, salivary gland dysfunction and nerve damage are some of the other things that can cause a toothache.

There are several causes of a toothache. The causes are not always dental-related, but you should see a dentist if you have been experiencing a toothache. If the problem is tooth-related, then your dentist will be able to correct it. You will most likely be referred to another healthcare provider if the problem is not tooth-related.

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What You Need To Know About Laughing Gas

laughingOne of the common remarks that a person makes to an individual who simply cannot stop laughing is that he must have taken some laughing gas. Laughing gas is the more common term for the chemical called nitrous oxide. Its most common purpose is in the medical and dental settings as an anaesthetic or analgesic.

What is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide is a gas described as colorless and odorless and non-flammable at room temperature. It is also described as having a slightly sweet taste. It was first discovered by the English scientist and clergyman Joseph Priestly. He first came up with this gas by heating both ammonium nitrate and iron fillings together. The gas that came out was then allowed to pass through water to take away all impurities. It was the work of Humphry Davy years later that led to the discovery of its physiological properties. In one experiment, he administered the gas to visitors and observed that it made them feel euphoric and happy within seconds of inhaling.

The most common uses of nitrous oxide are in the field of surgery and dentistry because of its anaesthetic and analgesic effects. In addition to this, it is also commonly used in the field of motor racing because it effectively increases the power output of engines. In the late 1700s to 1800s laughing gas was also a popular choice among young adults. They used to hold laughing gas demonstrations which was a widely popular source of enjoyment and recreation.

How Does Nitrous Oxide Work?

Nitrous oxide, when used in its pure form, can only be used for short periods of time. When mixed with oxygen however, it becomes safe for long-term use. Laughing gas is actually a mixture of 70% oxygen and 30% nitrous oxide. When used in dental or surgical procedures, it is given to the patient through a tube that is attached to a nasal hood. When the patient is ready it is attached to his nose then he or she simply has to slowly and calmly breath through it. The patient will almost automatically start to feel the early stages of sedation. He will first feel a tingling sensation in the arms and legs leading to a feeling of well-being or euphoria. At the deepest level of sedation the patient will start to feel sleepy and will have difficult speaking or keeping his eyes open.

Are You a Good Candidate for Laughing Gas?

If you are about to undergo a medical procedure that will require heavy sedation you might want to consider the administration of laughing gas. The best thing to do however, is to consult your physician or dentist first if you would be a good candidate for it. Most medical experts would agree that if you have trouble breathing through your nose because of some medical condition then using nitrous oxide for sedation would not be a good idea. Hardly anyone is ever allergic to this gas so it is completely safe to use. Following the advice of your doctor, it is safe to use if you are suffering from conditions like epilepsy, liver and heart disease as well as diabetes.

Laughing gas is a very popular form of sedation.

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Mysterious Dental Questions Answered

After years of visits to the dentist, one might suddenly wonder: why does a dentist perform certain tests? How are they pertinent to the job of cleaning and checking my teeth? Perhaps some tasks have a greater importance than ensuring cleanliness or even saving your teeth from permanent damage due to plaque and gum disease. Find out the answers to some of your dental questions.

Why Do Dentists Take Your Blood Pressure?

blood-pressureHigh blood pressure is one of several signs that someone could suffer from a heart problem, even if he or she is unaware. While your dentist or hygienist is in the middle of a complex procedure, he or she does not want to cause you any stress, especially if you have high blood pressure. For some patients, dental treatment is often associated with anxiety or fear of needles, tooth sensitivity, or other. Anyone who is anxious could consider asking for a dental sedation to be provided when making an appointment. Taking a patient’s blood pressure could also clarify something a dentist suspects after checking the client’s mouth. Certain oral conditions, such as periodontitis, offer a warning that the patient’s heart health could be at risk.

Why Do Dentists Look Under Your Tongue?

Under tongueUnder the tongue is a good place for bumps and lumps to hide. Dentists, however, are eager to chase them down and take a good look. Some of those lumps are simple injuries caused by food. A few, however, are tumors. Mouth cancer is easy to spot with regular visits to the dentist, and even easier to get rid of if caught early. It is not usually checked for by your doctor, whom you probably visit as seldom as possible. Thousands of Americans suffer from mouth cancer annually, so don’t forget to get regular dental exams.

Why Do They Wax Dental Floss?

waxed-flossFloss comes in several formats, including waxed and un-waxed. Dentists typically do not advocate one over the other, but waxed floss is better for people whose teeth are very close together. If you are unsure of which floss to get, think about the last time you used un-waxed floss. If it broke mid-floss, waxed products are better for you. They will do a better job, be more comfortable to use, and consequently prevent you from giving up the routine entirely.

Why Do You Need Dental Fillings?

dental-fillingDental fillings are required when a cavity has dug into a tooth and must be drilled out. To protect the drilled spot, one or several materials are used to fill the gap. If you avoid this step and let the cavity get worse, other teeth might also become decayed and require treatment. Other reasons you might need a filling include wear on the teeth. If you grind your teeth down, your dentist might recommend having the procedure.

Dental Questions Answered

Some answers to dental questions are simple. They are based on the client’s comfort and preference, not clinical trials or opinions. Other answers might have come as a surprise. Checking your blood pressure might not be routine at your family dentist, but maybe you should ask. A shocking number of people experience oral cancer in Texas, over 2,000 just a few years ago and similar numbers for several years before that. Many of those affected individuals might have been non-smokers and light drinkers. The importance of visiting a dentist regularly is more than a tooth-issue. Dental check-ups save lives.

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Tooth Enamel Explained: What It Is And How To Protect It From Decay

Being confident about your smile is one of the things that helps you feel good both inside and out. A person’s smile is what draws other people to him therefore it is highly important for each individual to take great care of their teeth. If you are looking for an easy way to maintain your pearly whites, you should remember that brushing your teeth regularly is not enough. This post will show you everything that you need to know about taking care of your teeth especially that certain part called the tooth enamel.

What is tooth enamel and what does it do?

toothTooth enamel is the semi-translucent thin outer covering of the tooth. It is known as the hardest and the most highly mineralized tissue in the human body. In fact, it is even harder than the human bone. It covers the outer layer of each tooth and is the most visible part of the tooth. The main purpose of the enamel is to prevent tooth decay and to protect your teeth from daily use such as chewing, biting, grinding and crunching. This is why it is of utmost importance to know how to take care of it properly.

What causes tooth enamel erosion?

When you chew your food you are also putting your teeth at risk because you expose it to certain acids and substances that are harmful to your teeth. Foods that contain starch or have very high sugar content are the most damaging to your teeth and they pose as a threat to the enamel. The following are some of the factors that causes tooth enamel erosion:

  • Drinking too much soda or soft drinks is harmful because soda contains high levels of phosphoric and citric acids
  • Excessive drinking of fruit juices is also harmful because they contain acids that are even more erosive than battery acid
  • Having improper nutrition that results in a diet involving high sugar and starches
  • Taking of medications such as aspirin and antihistamines
  • Environmental factors such as stress, wear and tear, friction and corrosion
  • Poor eating habits that lead to bulimia. Binge eating and vomiting is a source of acid that causes severe erosion to the enamel as well as cavities.

How can you prevent tooth enamel erosion?

Once your enamel is destroyed the body cannot make anymore to replace it. This is one of those few parts of the body that does not contain any living cell therefore it cannot regenerate. How do you make sure that you are taking good care of your teeth? First, you will need to change your eating habits. Drinking soda, fruit juices and eating sugary foods are fine as long as you do not do it in excess. Second, make sure that you observe proper oral hygiene habits. Regular brushing of your teeth and regular flossing help keep your teeth enamel strong.

Having a great smile is not at all that difficult to achieve. You just have to take care of the enamel, which is the part of your tooth that protects it from tooth decay. Engaging in healthy eating habits, getting regular dental exams, and proper oral hygiene are two ways in which you can ensure that you will always have that dazzling, pearly white smile.

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History of Dental Tools and Dental Practices

Have you ever wondered who and when the first dental chair was invented or who and when the first dental drill was invented? Was there dentistry in 7000BC? What kinds of dental myths were there (hint: tooth worms)? Dentistry, and its instruments, has made tremendous leaps and bounds in the past 100 years. Today, you can get clear braces when just a few years back only uncomfortable metal braces were the only option. In this article we will take a look at the advancements in dentistry and the evolution of dental tools.

Dental Inventions

dental-chairSince we teased the dental chair and dental drill in the opening paragraph, let’s start things off with those two dental tools. The very first dental drill was a foot driven instrument devised by John Greenwood in 1790. Like your first cell phone, it was very different than the high-tech drills we have today. It was essentially a modified version of his mom’s foot treadle spinning wheel. The next leap in technology for the dental drill came in 1957, but John Borden, who devised a high-speed contra angle hand piece that produced 30k RPMs.

As for the dental chair, Josiah Flagg an American dentist invented that in 1790. As you will note, both the drill and dental chair were invented in the same year. As with the drill, the chair evolved to a reclining chair in 1832 by inventor James Snell that improved on an already good first design seeing as the original chair came with a headrest and a chair for instruments.

Dental Myth – Tooth Worms

teeth-wormsIn 5000 BC, the Sumerians concluded that tooth worms caused tooth decay. This idea came about as a result of observing the holes that would result of the tooth rotting away, for which they concluded must be tooth worms. The idea of tooth worms has been found in writings of many cultures, including: Egyptian, Greek philosophers, ancient Indian, and Chinese cultures.

While the idea of tooth worms may seem absurd today, there are still many dental myths that people believe in to this day. For example, many people still believe that teeth bleaching weaken your teeth. Bleaching products are generally harmless if used according to the directions and not used too frequently.

Dentistry in the United States

The first dentist in the U.S. was William Dinly in 1630 who came over from the Plymouth Colony. Some believe that “dentists” early blacksmiths were the first true dentists, with their primitive tooth pulling. However, there is no mention of tooth extraction equipment until 1734 when an ad appeared in a New York journal for one.

Today’s Dentistry

We live in an age where dental instruments and dental practices are as good as they have ever been. Dentists today are more educated and utilize the most advanced technology for everything from dental crowns to teeth straightening. Walk into any grocery store and you will be greeted by literally hundreds of options for toothpaste, floss, and toothbrushes. We even have electric toothbrushes and water pics. There really is no excuse not to have that perfect smile you always desired.

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Help! I Have Tooth Sensitivity

Sensitive teeth can make drinking your morning coffee or eating an ice cream cone a distressing experience. Having sensitive teeth makes it hard to enjoy warm weather treats, but you don’t have to limit yourself to drinking out of a straw. There are many things that can cause your enamel to wear down and make your teeth extra sensitive. Harsh chemicals as well as physical damage may cause tooth sensitivity.

Options for Tooth Sensitivity

There are numerous changes you can make, but reversing tooth sensitivity isn’t always a quick fix. As we age, tooth sensitivity develops for a variety of reasons, some more serious than others. One possible trigger: You recently changed to a brand new toothpaste or mouthwash or started using bleaching strips or another whitening product.

tooth sensitivityIt’s always wise to minimize your consumption of acidic drinks like coffee and soda as well as other acidic foods, like tomatoes, citrus fruits, and juices. The acid in all of these wears away at tooth enamel and makes sensitivity worse. And although it may seem counter-intuitive, don’t brush within 30 minutes of drinking your morning java–that’s as soon as the acid level in your mouth may be the maximum and tooth enamel is most prone to damage, so brushing can do more damage than good. To help minimize too exposure to these acidic drinks, you can use a straw with all juices, sodas, and other acidic drinks. This helps keep the acid from landing directly on your teeth.

If none of that does the trick, contact us to determine if tooth sensitivity is caused by an inherent problem (such as worn tooth enamel) or if something else such as grinding your teeth when you sleep, a cracked tooth, a cavity, or an open root. All of these have to get treated by a professional dentist.

Next Steps

Teeth sensitivity is caused by dentin exposure. Dentin is the soft tissue beneath your tooth enamel — the hard, outer layer of your own tooth. Typically, tooth enamel protects dentin. Worn enamel can leave dentin vulnerable and trip moderate to severe pain. Regular dental exams will not only remove the plaque and bacteria that bring about gum disease, but your dentist will have the ability to help you determine the best treatment choice for you and your tooth sensitivity.

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Lumineers vs. Porcelain Veneers

There are many reasons people choose Lumineers or porcelain veneers every day for cosmetic dentistry. Some may have some dental issues that need to be corrected. Others may simply want to restore their smiles to a previous state. In either case, is it better to choose Lumineers or porcelain veneers? In order to answer this question, it is necessary to know a little about each option. Each choice has its own benefits as well as some disadvantages, but a comparison may also show that porcelain veneers just may be the better option for you.

What Are Lumineers?

Lumineers involve a process in which the teeth are corrected without having to shave away or drill down the teeth. The veneer is placed over the teeth without the painful process of numbing the mouth and drilling in order to accommodate the veneer. Rather, Lumineers are bonded to the teeth as they are. There is no need to remove sensitive teeth structures and the veneers use a curing light to set them in place. Furthermore, these veneers can be set in place with only two visits to the dentist.


What Are Porcelain Veneers?

As with Lumineers, porcelain veneers are used to fix teeth that are discolored, broken, chipped, worn down, misaligned or have gaps. However, this process tends to take at least three trips to the dentist: first to diagnose and plan treatment, second to prepare the teeth, and third to bond the veneers. The first trip involves an examination to make sure the patient is a good candidate, and if so, to get an impression of the teeth for the lab. On the second trip, a very small part of the tooth enamel surface is removed. Last, the dentist will test the veneers and trim them to size before permanently bonding them to the teeth.

Veneers Austin

Lumineers or Porcelain Veneers?

Knowing how Lumineers and porcelain veneers are bonded may be a good way to help determine which process is the best option. While the Lumineers process may seem ideal, it may not be the best solution for some patients. However, porcelain veneers are thicker and are permanently bonded to the teeth so they cannot be removed like Lumineers can. It really is as simple as choosing the right procedure for the right case.

While both the Lumineers brand and porcelain veneers have their benefits, porcelain veneers may be a better long term solution.
At Silver Screen Dental, we are experienced in working with both Lumineers patients and porcelain veneers patients. If you would like to improve your smile, why not give Dr. Booth a call at 512-345-8800 to get a free consultation to determine if Lumineers or porcelain veneers are the best solution for your teeth.

Posted in: Cosmetic Dentistry

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Best Austin Orthodontist

Typically when someone is looking for the best orthodontist in Austin, they are looking for for the best braces/teeth straightening/Invisalign experience.

At Silver Screen Dental, we have a before and after Invisalign gallery so you can see exactly how we go about correcting any kind of teeth straightening issue you may have. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Austin Orthodontics

When you think of orthodontics, do you picture metal braces, colorful wires, and neon rubber bands? While this method of teeth straightening may still be commonly used with children, there are better alternatives.

One of the latest innovations in orthodontics is Invisalign technology. This revolutionary process delivers straight, perfectly aligned teeth associated with traditional orthodontics in an attractive, convenient format. If the thought of committing to metal braces for a period of a few years does not appeal to you, Invisalign might be an ideal solution for you.

Instead of metal braces, you could be using clear plastic trays to realign your teeth. The trays are usually switched at two-week intervals, meaning that you start seeing change quickly. It’s a system that uses incremental change to create a desirable smile, in sharp contrast to the sudden (and often painful) adjustments made with metal braces. The trays are completely removable, so you can take them out any time you need: for eating, drinking, or even just important occasions. Invisalign will never hold you back from the lifestyle you desire. With each new tray change, you are one step closer to the smile you desire.

orthodontist Austin

The Latest Advancements in Orthodontics

If you’re searching for an Austin orthodontist, take a closer look at the newest technology from Invisalign and check for a provider who is certified. Dr. Booth is “Premier Provider” of Invisalign which is a rank that only the top dentists are able to achieve. So when you are looking for the best Austin Orthodontist, look no further than a “Premier Provider.” With this endorsement, you can trust that your teeth will be given the best, most comprehensive treatment available and a smile you’ll love.

When you start the Invisalign treatment, Dr. Booth will make an impression of your teeth. This initial impression will be scanned and digitally converted to 3-D format. Expert technicians then create the entire set of trays by digitally “moving” your teeth into their perfectly aligned positions step by step. Once you’ve received and starting wearing your first trays, the entire process typically takes about a year (cases may vary) which is much less time than traditional braces.

Dr. Booth is a true Invisalign expert, and you can trust that your results will be all that you hoped for and more. In addition, with Silver Screen Dental’s extensive dentistry offerings, you won’t have to visit both a dentist and an orthodontist. From orthodontics to bleaching to regular cleanings and dental health check-ups, you can get the dream smile you’ve always hoped for—all in one Austin location.

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Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Dental X-RaysTwo of the biggest fears when visiting the dentist are pain and radiation from dental X-rays. While sedation dentistry options have quelled many concerns over pain from dental procedures, radiation worries still tend to creep up from time to time. This post will discuss the some of the misconceptions about radiation from dental X-rays.

How Safe are Dental X-rays?

Very safe. Dental X-rays require very little exposure to radiation and the regularity for which they are needed is so infrequent that the risk associated with them is very, very small. How often X-rays are performed is determined by your individual risk factors for decay and gum disease. Even in extreme cases, you still won’t be exposed to as much radiation as people who live in high altitudes and experience natural radiation on a regular basis.

The Biggest Risk

The biggest risk surrounding dental X-rays is not getting them as they are needed to help determine hidden tooth decay and gum problems. The risk to these types of problems going undetected is much greater than the miniscule effects of an X-ray. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that over 75% of adults in the United States have gum disease in some form, but only 60% are even aware that they have a problem.

Equipment Matters

At Silver Screen Dental we use that latest technology when it comes to our equipment. This enables us to have some of the lowest radiation X-ray equipment available. Technological advances have improved X-ray equipment tremendously over the years. With high-speed film and digital X-rays being used, a patient today will receive up to 80% less radiation exposure than older generation equipment.

Anyone who wants to ensure that they are as safe as possible when getting dental X-rays should make sure that the machines used are as advanced as possible.

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