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.

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.

 

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.

 

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.

5 Easy-Peasy Ways to Help Your Child Feel at Ease at the Dentist

Ensuring a healthy child is all about getting regular checkups, and even their smile needs periodic attention. However, children can be a little apprehensive about dental treatment just like they can be afraid of other forms of medical treatment. Take a look at a few ways you can help your child feel more at ease when they visit a dentist for treatment.

1. Keep Your Apprehension In Check

Children will reflect your own personal feelings, especially if you are apprehensive or worried about their visit to the dentist. Do what you can to mask your concerns so your child does not sense your nervousness.

2. Choose Dentistry Treatment Terms Wisely

Your child will likely ask a lot of questions about the dentist and what will happen when they visit. Be careful about how you describe certain procedures. Children can be fearful of anything they don’t understand. For example, instead of telling your child the dentist may use a drill to fix a cavity, simply say the dentist will remove the cavity ad fix it.

3. Play Pretend Dentist at Home

Set up a mock dental treatment area at home and play pretend dentist at home. You can use simple plastic toys or tools to “clean” your child’s teeth and allow them to do the same to you. This pretend play can help ease your child’s apprehension about what will take place when the real treatment day arrives.

4. Keep Wait Times to a Minimum

Try not to arrive too early for your child’s dentist appointment. If they see someone coming out of treatment that looks bothered, they can assume the worst and grow even more afraid.

5. Discuss Your Child’s Apprehension with the Dentist

Never forget that your dentist can do a lot to help ease a fearful child during treatment. Talk to them openly about your child’s fears when you make an appointment. The dentist will make arrangements to ensure your child gets through the appointment with as little to fear as possible.

Childhood dental care is critical, and having a child afraid of the dentist can make it hard. Reach out to us at Rayburn General Dentistry if you need advice about helping a fearful child get the proper dental care.

 

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.