Why do Dentists Check Tooth Pockets?

When you hear the term “tooth pocket,” you probably have no idea what this means. Actually, it’s an opening that occurs in the space between your gums and teeth. However, the bad news is that no pocket is supposed to be there. Instead, your gums should be close and firmly against your teeth. Should tooth pockets form, this signals trouble inside your mouth. Now that you’re wondering why your dentist in Brookeland, TX checks tooth pockets, here are some common reasons and how the problem gets resolved.

Indication of Gum Disease

When your dentist finds tooth pockets, these are clear indicators that gum disease is present and has gone unchecked for quite awhile. When a pocket forms, this means gum disease has progressed from gingivitis to periodontitis, meaning the base of your teeth and the gum tissue are being affected.

How Tooth Pockets Form

As gum tissue gets infected with bacteria, the gums and tooth enamel begin to break down. The bacteria then goes to work hollowing out a space between your gums and teeth, resulting in the infamous tooth pocket.

Why Pockets are a Problem

When you have a tooth pocket, you’ve got a serious problem that requires dental expertise as soon as possible. Since the root or base of your tooth is no longer protected by gum tissue, an infection can target the root of your tooth. In many cases, this will lead to the tooth being destroyed and either falling out on its own or being extracted by your dentist.

Severe Cases

When you visit your dentist for a regular checkup, they will check for tooth pockets that could look like trouble. Actually, most everyone has tooth pockets, but they are generally very small and rarely develop into major problems. But in severe cases, your dentist may need to clean your teeth, scrape away plaque, and remove infected gum tissue. If it’s too bad, periodontal surgery will be needed to work on the base or root of your tooth, which will be followed by treatment with antibiotics while your gums heal.

Needless to say, gum disease needs to be taken seriously from the early stages. To ensure any tooth pockets you may have don’t get out of control, make sure you have regular checkups with your Brookeland, TX dentist.

Be Happy and Cavity-Free – Getting Children Serious About Tooth Decay

Children are more prone to decay than adults, and several reasons are behind this fact. More than 42 percent of kids between 2 and 11 have problems with decay in their teeth. As a parent, it is your job to help lower those numbers and keep your child happy and cavity-free. Here are a few ways you can encourage your child to be more vigilant about their oral health.

Invest in Child-Friendly Oral Hygiene Products

Getting kids to brush and floss at home is a huge part of helping them thwart problems with decay. Luckily, you have access to a long list of child-friendly products that can make the routine something kids can get excited about, such as:

  • Fun flossers outfitted with colorful characters or color-changing abilities
  • Musical toothbrushes that play a song until it is time to stop brushing
  • Yummy flavored toothpaste and mouthwash
  • Mouthwash that highlights spots on the teeth that need to be brushed the most

Make Oral Health a Big Deal for Everyone in the Household

Try treating your oral health and dental hygiene habits as something the family can do together. Maybe brushing your teeth together at night can become something fun, and almost like family time together. Perhaps trips to the dentist for a checkup can be a full-on outing with a special treat for everyone afterward.

Treat Formal Dental Care as Something Special

It may be true that no one necessarily likes going to see the dentist. However, children are little sponges that absorb the energies around them and reflect similar attitudes. Even if you are not too keen on going to the dentist, do your best to treat this form of care as something special. Keep a chipper attitude about your own treatments and the treatments your child may need. For example, if you normally dread getting your teeth cleaned, only say positive things about the trip when your kids are around. Maybe you could say you’re going to visit the dentist to get your smile to sparkle. When it is time for your child to have their teeth cleaned, they can reflect that same attitude about the experience.

Keep Kids Smiling with the Help of a Good Brookeland Dentist

So much of who we are and what we look like is wrapped up in our smiles, and our children make us smile a lot. Be sure to keep them smiling as well with the proper dental care. Reach out to us at Rayburn Family Dentistry in Brookeland, TX to schedule an appointment.

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.

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.


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.

How Regular Dental Checkups Help Keep You Healthy

If you’re like many people, going to the dentist isn’t among your favorite activities — and consequently, you may only see a dentist when you experience an oral health condition that causes you so much discomfort or even pain that you can no longer ignore it. However, the vast majority of dental issues can be circumvented or delayed by taking preventive measures, including scheduling regular appointments with a dentist. Most people should see their dentist every six months.

Your Dentist Will Perform Regular Cleanings

Even if you’re meticulous about brushing and flossing your teeth as a part of your at-home oral hygiene routine, you won’t be able to remove all the plaque and tartar buildup that occurs over a period of time. This buildup is what causes tooth decay and gum disease. Regular professional teeth cleanings ensure that plaque and tartar buildup is kept to an absolute minimum. As an added bonus, having your teeth cleaned on a regular basis will help keep your smile white and bright.

Your Dentist Will Devise a Customized Care Plan for You

One of the most significant advantages of having a regular dentist is that you’ll receive customized care designed to meet your individual needs and preferences. Your regular dentist will know your medical history as well as your dental history and will, therefore, be able to screen for conditions that you may be vulnerable to be developing and to implement preventive treatments designed to prevent them or slow down their progress. Regular dental checkups also make it possible to catch conditions such as gingivitis at their onset instead of after they’ve progressed to the point where the prognosis isn’t as good.

Your Dentist Will Screen You for Oral Cancer

Regular dental checkups are your first line of defense against oral cancer. Your dentist will perform a thorough examination to detect possible signs of oral cancer and will refer to a specialist if further investigation is warranted. 

Please feel free to contact us to schedule an appointment for a dental checkup or for more information on how having regular dental checkups can have a positive impact on your overall health.

woman smiling with flowers

Tooth Enamel Loss – What Is It and Why It Matters

The enamel is the hard, outer layer of your teeth. It helps to provide the best protection for your teeth over time. Even as the hardest substance in the body, it can break down over time, especially if poor oral hygiene occurs.

Why Does Tooth Enamel Loss Occur?

Over time, it naturally weakens. However, for most Americans, this happens too soon. Enamel erosion is likely happening if you have stained teeth or any type of sensitivity to heat or cold substances. There’s no way to regrow enamel, which is why it is so important to protect it.

It often happens as a result of eating foods that are high in sugar, carbohydrates, and acids. Sugary foods break down and feed bacteria in the mouth. Acids, like citrus fruits and apples, cause damage to the enamel directly. You may also develop it if you grind your teeth, suffer from chronic acid reflux, or have low levels of saliva production.

woman smiling with flowers

How Do You Minimize Tooth Enamel Loss, Then?

There’s no way to improve the amount of enamel you have. To help minimize further loss, then, there are several simple things you can do. First, start by eating a healthy diet that’s rich in vitamins and minerals. This helps to boost your immune system, helping to control the level of bacteria in your mouth.

You also need to ensure you are getting preventative dental care. This means brushing your teeth twice a day, using a mouth rinse, and flossing. It’s also necessary to have your teeth cleaned at least one time every six months. This can help to remove plaque buildup on the teeth, which is one of the key causes of enamel breakdown. Also, be sure to drink water with fluoride in it and choose a toothpaste with it. Fluoride helps to strengthen the existing enamel.

Protect Your Teeth with Routine Dental Appointments

Enamel loss isn’t uncommon, but it can lead to early tooth decay and tooth loss. The best way to prevent this is through routine checkups with your dentist. Schedule an appointment with Rayburn General Dentistry today. Call us at 409-698-8800.


man at dentist

The Benefits of Fluoride

A big part of your dental cleaning and prevention program involves the use of fluoride. It’s a word everyone recognizes, but some people may not know the many benefits of fluoride. Let’s look at some frequently asked questions.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a natural mineral that’s found in many foods and water, explains WebMD. It’s important for your teeth because the outer layer, called enamel, is the hardest and most highly mineralized substance in your body.

Why is enamel important?

Enamel helps to protect your teeth from decay, so preventing erosion or weakening is very important. Enamel protects the sensitive inner layers of your teeth from hot or cold foods and drinks. It also acts as a strong barrier that safeguards the inner layers of your teeth from the effects of acids and plaque.

How do acids and plaque harm teeth?

Acids formed from the bacteria in plaque and sugars in your mouth attack the enamel layer of your teeth, in a process called demineralization. When too much of this occurs, your teeth are susceptible to tooth decay, or cavities.

So how does fluoride help this?

When you eat foods and drink water that contain minerals such as fluoride, phosphate, and calcium, they are man at dentistredeposited onto the enamel layer of your teeth. This is called remineralization. This process helps to repair the enamel layer and prevent tooth decay.

Not only does fluoride help to prevent tooth decay by making your teeth more resistant to the acids found in plaque and sugars, but it also reverses early decay. It helps to speed up the remineralization process in both children and adults.

Why is fluoride important for children?

As soon as your child has a tooth, your pediatrician may recommend fluoride varnish treatments two to four times a year to help prevent tooth decay. It’s important to expose infants and children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years to fluoride because this is when their primary and permanent teeth come in.

What are good sources of fluoride?

Topical fluoride can be directly applied to the teeth through over-the-counter fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses.

It’s also found in most community water supplies. Approximately 62% of the U.S. population served by public water supplies has access to adequate levels of fluoride in their water, and 43 of the 50 largest U.S. cities have water fluoridation systems, reports WebMD.

The American Dental Association notes “Community water fluoridation is so effective at preventing tooth decay that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named it one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.”

You can find out how much fluoride is in your community tap water by asking your family dentist or contacting your local water supplier or health department.

Your dentist can also apply a fluoride varnish to your teeth after a cleaning to strengthen them and make them more resistant to cavities.


Causes of Tooth Pain

Tooth pain ranges from a dull, throbbing ache to quick, sharp stabs of agony. There is no one main cause of tooth pain, but the most common reasons are listed below. Because tooth pain rarely goes away on its own, those who experience it should see their dental care professional as soon as possible to determine the cause and get some relief.

Physical Trauma

One of the most common causes of tooth pain is physical trauma, particularly for those who play sports, but they can also occur as a result of vehicular accidents, fights, or other situations where physical trauma occurs. It sometimes takes several hours to several days for the toothache to begin, however, so patients don’t always connect it to the injury.

When teeth become cracked, chipped, or fractured as a result of injury, patients may experience sharp, stabbing pain, especially when chewing or biting and noticeable sensitivity to heat and cold.


Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is another primary cause of tooth pain. This occurs as a result of plaque buildup on tooth enamel that causes it to erode to the extent that a cavity is formed. Although the cavities themselves are painless, the decay eventually reaches the middle layer of the tooth if cavities are allowed to go untreated.

If the decay is allowed to continue unchecked and extend deep into the interior of the tooth, a condition known as pulpitis results, which causes most patients a considerable amount of pain and can cause an infection commonly known as a dental abscess. Some cases of pulpitis are reversible, while others require that the affected tooth or teeth be removed and replaced with prosthetics.

Gum Disease

One of the first indications of the onset of gum disease is tooth pain and sensitivity accompanied by bleeding gums. This condition is known as gingivitis, and the good news is that when it’s almost always reversible when it’s caught in the early stages.

Although these are among the most common causes of tooth pain, they are far from the only causes. Only your dental care professional can determine the exact cause and prescribe an effective course of treatment. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like more information on maintaining a healthy, attractive, and pain-free smile.