Recognizing Gum Disease

Knowing the signs and symptoms of gum disease (aka periodontal disease) is very important because as this disease progresses it can increase the likelihood that an individual will develop some serious health issues.

What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?

As gum disease progresses, the symptoms change. Each stage of the disease has its own telltale signs and symptoms.

Here is a comprehensive list of the signs and symptoms associated with gum disease:

  • A receding gumline.
  • Gingival tissue that bleeds with brushing and flossing.
  • Inflamed gums.
  • Consistent bad breath.
  • Unstable teeth.
  • Mouth sores.
  • A change in bite alignment.
  • A metallic taste in the mouth.

Recognizing the Stages of Gum Disease

The four stages of gum disease are:

  1. Gingivitis – At this early stage of the disease, the gums are inflamed, irritated, and likely bleeding while brushing and flossing. At this stage, dentists usually recommend a more thorough oral hygiene routine and additional cleanings with the hygienist.
  2. Early Periodontitis This stage is more severe because the gum disease has been allowed to progress. Now, in order to remove the excess plaque and calculus (i.e., tartar) that has accumulated beneath the gum line, the individual must undergo a treatment referred to as planing and root scaling. Following this treatment, as long as the patient practices good oral hygiene techniques every day and has biannual cleanings, his or her gum tissue can recover.
  3. Periodontitis This stage of gum disease can result in irreversible damage. During this stage, the disease begins spreading to the bone. Any damage caused at this stage is permanent.
  4. Advanced Periodontitis At this fourth stage, the bone continues sustaining damage, and the teeth have become unstable, which means they may begin moving around, eventually falling out. Treatment for advanced periodontitis may include the extraction of teeth.

Gum Disease Can Negatively Affect Other Parts of the Body

When bacteria develop beneath the gum line, white blood cells flood the area and begin attacking the infected gum tissue. If there is a break in the tissue, bacteria can enter the bloodstream. Once it enters the bloodstream, bacteria can cause a severe infection, heart issues, and/or lung issues.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of gum disease, consider scheduling an appointment with Dr. J. Seale at Rayburn General Dentistry.

To schedule a consultation please call 409-698-8800. Rayburn General Dentistry is located at 3303 Recreational Road 255 West in Brookeland, Texas.


How Often Should I Replace My Oral Hygiene Supplies?

Brushing and flossing your teeth are important parts of a good oral health routine. Something that is equally important is maintaining the instruments you use for oral hygiene. This includes cleaning and replacing these items regularly.

How Frequently Should I Change My Electric Toothbrush Head or My Manual Toothbrush?

Dental professionals recommend that you change the head of an electric toothbrush or your traditional toothbrush every three or four months. You should change them sooner if you notice that the bristles have become frayed. There is ample research indicating that once the head of an electric toothbrush or a traditional toothbrush starts to wear down, it loses its effectiveness at removing plaque. Replacing your toothbrush in a timely manner ensures that it is effective.

Does Mouthwash Go Bad?

It is generally accepted that mouthwash is effective for two years after the date it is manufactured. Depending on the ingredients used, some mouthwash brands may last longer. A good indication that you should change your mouthwash is checking the expiration date. The manufacturer has invested time in research and development to determine how long the product will remain effective and safe. Using a mouthwash that is past its expiration date will have no positive effect on your oral health. It will not fight gum disease, it will not prevent plaque buildup, and it will not protect you from bad breath. Worst case scenario, there is a minimal risk that using expired mouthwash is harmful.

How Frequently Should a Dental Guard Be Replaced?

It is recommended that you visit your dentist every six months and bring your dental guard with you. Dental guards lose effectiveness when they lose their thickness. There is less material to absorb the shock caused by your teeth, so you will have reduced protection from injury. If your dental guard is under warranty, you should take it to the dentist and have it replaced as soon as possible or before the warranty runs out. If your mouthguard is deformed or frayed, you should have it replaced. Some people get into the bad habit of chewing on a dental guard when they are not wearing it. This reduces its ability to protect your teeth.


Oral hygiene can be improved when you remember to change your supplies on a regular basis. For more information, talk to your dentist.


Why Is Professional Teeth Cleaning So Important?

It is recommended that you get your teeth cleaned twice a year at the dentist. While many people do follow these guidelines set forth by the ADA, many people also do not understand why teeth cleaning is so important and disregard making their appointments. Here is a look at some of the ways have your teeth cleaned can be one of the most important things for the health of your smile.

1. Professional cleaning gets the stuff you don’t see.

You can be really vigilant about brushing and flossing, but there are some types of plaque and stains that you can miss with even vigilant oral hygiene practices. The professional cleaning is important because it can remove these stubborn areas of debris that you may not necessarily see.

2. Cleaning can help prevent gum disease.

Gum disease can put your smile at risk, and most people are more at risk than what they know. When the dental hygienist does a thorough cleaning, they get the debris and bacteria that lie just below the gum line, which is where problems with gum disease often start.

3. Professional teeth cleaning appointments help thwart issues with tooth discoloration.

When residue is allowed to sit idle on the enamel of a tooth for a long period because it is not removed with regular brushing, it can start to break down the enamel and lead to serious discoloration. Over time, this can leave your smile discolored or yellowed. Professional cleaning helps to thwart these issues.

4. Cleaning helps detect early signs of other dental problems.

When the hygienist or dentist is performing a cleaning, they get an up-close look at any issues that may be starting to develop. Whether it is a small spot of decay, a loose filling, or something else, these things are easily spotted during the visit. Having your teeth cleaned means you are getting a thorough assessment of your teeth in the process.

Reach Out to a Dentist in Brookeland, TX for a Cleaning Appointment

Even though it may seem like the least important aspect of your dental care, your cleaning appointments are critically important. Reach out to us at Rayburn General Dentistry in Brookeland, TX to schedule your cleaning today.

Why Do I Have Chronic Bad Breath?

Bad breath is a common and easily treatable condition that can arise from several different factors. It might have been something as simple as having eaten something specific or a symptom of some serious oral or medical problem. Covered below are several common causes of bad breath.

Lacking Oral Hygiene

Failure to regularly clean the teeth and mouth leads to bacterial growth from lingering food particles. Even the erratic surfaces of the tongue and tonsils can trap food and bacteria.

Pungent Foods

Anything containing onion, garlic or certain spices can cause odoriferous food particles to hit the bloodstream and then the lungs, escaping with its smelly potency through a person’s exhalation.


The intense flavor of coffee and its salivation-limiting chemistry means that a person gives odor-causing bacteria more time to do their work after a cup of coffee. Alcohol also slows down the body’s ability to generate anti-bacterial saliva.

High-Sugar Diets

Bacteria eat sugar, meaning a high-sugar diet gives them plenty of time to turn the sweet stuff entering a mouth into foul stuff leaving that mouth.

High-Protein/Low-Carb Diets

A lack of carbs leads to a tweaked metabolism with bad breath as one possible consequence. Conversely, food rich in protein can be difficult to digest, leading to a buildup of sulfurous gasses that can reach up and escape the mouth as bad breath. One can avoid both of these problems with a balanced diet that features vegetables and herbs.


Tobacco products lead to bad breath and other oral problems.If you smoke, chew tobacco or even vape, you may find that chronic bad breath develops.

Digestive Issues

Bad digestion, constipation, and disorders of the bowels can all lead to bad breath. Odors generated from frequent bouts of acid reflux can also permeate up through the esophagus and out the mouth.

Dry Mouth

Much like people who frequently imbibe alcohol or coffee, people with dry mouths, whether through a medical condition or as a side effect of prescription medications, have a hard time keeping bacteria from going to town on their mouths and producing bad breath.


This covers the most common causes of bad breath. By being mindful of one’s diet and practicing good oral hygiene, most people can get rid of their unpleasant mouth odor. For the people who find even those actions insufficient, it may be a good idea to see a dentist for an oral checkup.


Sedation Dentistry 101: Frequent Questions Explained

For most people, stepping into the dental office, having a seat in the treatment chair, and receiving treatment is just the norm. However, dental treatment can be much harder and more intimidating for some patients. Sedation dentistry can be a saving grace. Here are a few things you may want to know about sedation dentistry.

Q. What are the different kinds of sedation dentistry?

In general, there are three different types of sedation dentistry:

  • Sedation using a prescription oral sedative
  • Sedation using inhalable nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
  • Sedation using general anesthesia (put to sleep)

Q. Who is the best candidate for sedation dentistry?

The best candidates for sedation dentistry are people who have unreasonable anxiety about dental treatment or have certain medical conditions that can make conscious treatment risky. For example, someone who has Parkinson’s may be a good candidate for sedation dentistry or a child with developmental disabilities may be a good candidate.

Q. Are there risks involved with sedation dentistry?

With any form of anesthesia, whether it is general anesthesia or something as simple as an oral sedative, can come along with certain risks for the patient. The dentist will discuss any risks there may be with sedation before you opt for the treatment so you can decide if the risks are worth it to you. It should be noted that it is quite rare for people to have an adverse reaction or experience during sedation dentistry.

Q. Will dental insurance cover sedation dentistry?

Some forms of dental insurance will cover sedation if it is deemed as medically necessary. A preauthorization may have to be completed by the dentist to explain why sedation is a necessity and not an option. The majority of providers will only pay a percentage of the costs, however. Therefore, it is best to find out how much you will be expected to pay in advance so you can make arrangements for payment.

Find Out More About Sedation Dentistry in Brookeland, TX

For people who have problems with conscious dental treatment, sedation dentistry can change their lives for the better and protect their oral health for the long term. Reach out to us at Rayburn General Dentistry for more information about sedation dentistry in Brookeland, TX.


Why Do My Teeth Feel Loose?

You may remember what it was like to experience a loose tooth as a child, and you may even remember the nervous excitement that came along with those milestones. But when you discover a wobbly tooth as an adult, it can be scary. Even though adult or permanent teeth do usually feel pretty firm in their place, there can be reasons behind a tooth that feels loose. Here’s a look at what you need to know.

You may have undiagnosed gum disease.

Gum disease is actually one of the number one reasons behind teeth that feel loose, but the possibility of this condition tends to be neglected by the average person. Gingivitis is especially noteworthy for causing loose teeth because it can cause healthy gum tissue to dry out and pull away from the base of the teeth. Left untreated, gum disease can pose a major risk to your entire smile.

You could have changes in bone structure due to disease.

You can see your teeth, which are technically a lot like bone. However, what you do not see is the bone structure beneath the gums. If you have certain illnesses or diseases, it can cause changes in the bone structure under the gum line, and this can lead to the loosening of some of your teeth. Osteoporosis, for example, can cause the bones to deteriorate; they become more porous and more brittle, which can make the teeth loose due to lacking support.

You may be experiencing changes due to pregnancy.

Women often experience changes in their teeth when they are pregnant. Hormonal and other bodily changes can cause the structures that support the teeth to change to some degree, and this can cause one or more of your teeth to feel loose. Nevertheless, it is still best to have the dentist take a look to make sure there is nothing more serious going on.

Talk to the Dentist in Brookeland, TX About Loose Teeth

Any time you have a loose tooth that you have just discovered, it is best to talk to a dentist to find out what is causing the problem. If you need to schedule an appointment to see a dentist in Brookeland, TX, reach out to us at Rayburn General Dentistry for advice.

Highlight Your Spring with a More Confident Smile

You may be less than happy about your smile now, but achieving a smile you can be proud of is on your list of priorities for spring. At Rayburn General Dentistry, we offer a full lineup of services to help you achieve a healthier smile that you can be confident about showing off in the sunshine. Take a look at some of the things we can do to help fix those imperfections with your teeth that hinder your happiness.

Teeth Whitening

If you have a few stains on your teeth or they are a bit duller or yellowed than you prefer, an at-home bleaching kit from us may help. Our professional whitening trays are custom made to fit the shape of your teeth and used along with professional-grade agents to ensure you achieve reliable results.

Dental Implants

If you have lost some or all of your teeth, it can change how you speak and how you interact with the world around you. We offer both single-tooth dental implants and full restorations with implants for patients who are good candidates. Dental implants are considered the long-term solution for missing teeth; these fixtures can last a lifetime with proper care.

Crowns and Bridges

Crowns and bridges are an excellent option to restore a smile that is not in its best condition. Crowns can be placed on top of teeth that have been chipped, broken, or damaged to restore their appearance and match the rest of your teeth. Bridges are anchored to healthy teeth to restore gaps in your smile if you have had to undergo an extraction. For example, if you are missing a front tooth, a bridge can be created to anchor the two teeth on both sides and contains a prosthetic tooth to close the gap and restore your smile.

Contact Us to Get Your Spring Started with a Smile in Brookeland, TX

With a new season making its way into the new year, there is no better time to make sure you have a reason to smile more. Reach out to us at Rayburn General Dentistry in Brookeland, TX to find out more about the services we have to offer.


3 Dental Health Concerns for Senior Patients

Older adults tend to have more health concerns to be mindful of as they age, and it is no different with their oral health. If you are an older adult who is over the age of 65, there can be specific dental and oral health concerns to monitor with the help of your dentist. Take a look at some of the most common dental health concerns for senior patients.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is more prevalent among older adults for a few reasons. Older adults can have gum cells that regenerate slower, which can lead to a natural breakdown of the gums. Some older adults can also be more prone to infections of the mouth that can lead to gum disease.

Root Decay

Root decay is what happens when the root of a tooth starts to deteriorate even though the part of the tooth above the gum line is in good condition. Older adults who have issues with bone loss can have problems with root decay. In some cases, the decay can be helped with root canal therapy, but it is not uncommon for these teeth to have to be removed.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can come along with aging, but the exact reasons can vary by patient. Some older adults will see a slowdown in saliva production due to changes in the endocrine system that affects hormone levels. Some seniors will have issues with dry mouth due to other health issues, such as diabetes. Unfortunately, dry mouth can lead to risks of decay. Therefore, it is best to have your dentist and your doctor help resolve the issue through proper treatment.

Tooth Darkening

Tooth darkening is caused by a breakdown of the materials inside the tooth. The teeth are actually somewhat transparent in the outer layers, which means when the interior starts to break down, it can cause the tooth to look darker all the way throughout. The dentist may be able to offer treatments with traditional root canals or fillings that can help negate these darkening issues.

Talk to Us for Geriatric Dental Care

At Rayburn General Dentistry, we treat patients of all ages who have all kinds of oral health concerns. If you need to schedule an appointment, reach out to us for information.


3 Reasons Your Old Toothbrush Is No Good

Maybe you are partial to your old toothbrush because you can’t find another one like it, or perhaps, buying a new toothbrush is just one of those things you tend to disregard because you think it’s not all that important. In any situation, hanging onto an old toothbrush could be doing you more harm than good.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that you replace your toothbrush about every three to four months, but most people are lucky if they replace their toothbrush a few times a year. Take a look at some of the common reasons that an old toothbrush of yours really should be replaced.

It can be harboring dangerous bacteria.

You may keep your mouth clean by your standards, but your mouth is home to all kinds of bacteria and pathogens. When you use your toothbrush, all those germs and pathogens naturally transfer from your mouth to the bristles of the brush. Cleaning your toothbrush is always important, but it is still possible for germs and bacteria to bury themselves within the bristles.

It can be too broken down to thoroughly clean your teeth.

Some people like to hand onto their toothbrush because it has reached a point where the bristles are softer and gentler on their gums. As much as this sounds like a logical thing, it actually is not a good idea. If the toothbrush bristles have become frayed and broken down, chances are, it is not doing a good job of sloughing away plaque and bacteria when you brush. You can buy soft-bristled toothbrushes, and buying one of these every few months is far better than hanging on to a toothbrush that is broken down.

It can be bad for your gums.

A toothbrush that you’ve had for a long time can actually be hard on your gums. Most of the bacteria that can get into your bloodstream when you brush your teeth will make an entrance through the soft tissues of your mouth. If broken bristles manage to puncture your gums, you are making way for bacteria to slip right through.

Talk to Rayburn General Dentistry for More Information

Do yourself and your oral health a favor and kick that old toothbrush to the curb. Reach out to us at Rayburn General Dentistry for help with finding the best toothbrushes for your oral health.


Why Dentists Recommend Fluoride

Have you noticed that every time you visit the dentist they are always asking if you are using fluoride? If you have children, the pediatrician may even ask you if you live in a town where the water is fluoridated. It seems that all health professionals are interested in whether or not you use fluoride in your home, but especially dentists. So why do dentists recommend fluoride?

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is an additive that was discovered many years ago to have restorative properties. Cities and towns across the United States pay to have fluoride added to the drinking water to help protect its residents from tooth decay. If you have town water on your property, chances are that you have fluoride in your water. If your water comes from a well, you’ll need to make sure you get fluoride from other sources.

Fluoride in Dental Products

Because fluoride has been shown to have significant dental health benefits, it’s often added to dental products like toothpaste and oral rinses. This is done to help ensure that even those without fluoridated drinking water get enough fluoride to protect their dental health. To make sure that you’re using dental products with fluoride, look for products that have the American Dental Association (ADA) logo on the label. The ADA endorses the use of fluoride so if you confine your dental brands to these labels, you should be fine.

Why Dentists Recommend Fluoride

The main reason why dentists recommend fluoride is that it is endorsed by the American Dental Association. This governing body has the resources to ensure that the benefits of fluoride outweigh any cons. Basically, if the ADA recommends fluoride, dentists will, too. The second reason that dentists recommend fluoride is that it works. If you ever look at the teeth of people who live in countries where fluoride is not used, it will become very obvious to you that fluoride makes a huge difference. Since dentists only want the very best for your teeth and gums, it stands to reason that they would recommend fluoride.

If you are worried that your family may not be getting enough fluoride, contact your town officials and ask if fluoride is added to the drinking water. A simple phone call is all it takes.