Patient suffering from TMD at River Run Family Dentistry

We use our jaws extensively throughout the day for eating, talking, and smiling. We usually do not stop to think about how vital jaws are in everyday life until problems start to arise. At River Run Family Dentistry we want to ensure that our patients are able to keep their jaws healthy and fully functioning.

TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder is a condition that affects over 10 million Americans. It affects one’s ability to properly maneuver their jaw as normal due to the inflammation or misaligning of the joint itself. The symptoms of this can include locked jaws, pain when opening and closing the mouth, and a clicking sound as the jaws move.

The Temporomandibular Joint

What allows the jaws to function and where problems arise if compromised is the temporomandibular joint. This joint is what connects the jaw to the skull and allows you to open and close your mouth by sliding akin to a door or moving your fingers. Essentially, TMD is a form of arthritis that affects the jaw.


TMD and TMJ are used interchangeably to describe the same symptom, but TMD refers to the disorder itself while TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint. If you see either of these to describe the condition, they effectively mean the same thing even if TMD is the technically correct term.

How Do People End Up With TMD?

There are multiple ways one can have TMD. It can be self-inflicted if the person has bruxism – the act of grinding teeth together on a frequent basis. TMD can also be considered an injury if it results from a blow to the jaw. And finally, someone can simply be born with the condition. Whatever the case may be, it is important to get it looked at as untreated TMD can lead to the condition becoming even worse as time goes on. This isn’t always the case, but it is better to be safe just in case.

TMD Treatment

If it is a mild case of TMD, the condition can be monitored at home with jaw exercises and avoiding actions that can put a strain on the jaws such as teeth grinding or chewing on ice cubes. Even so, it is important to visit us if you are experiencing the symptoms of TMD. For dealing with mild TMD, mouth guards for nighttime and/or prescribed medication to soothe anxiety and prevent inflammation to prevent the condition from developing further and relieve pain.

For a permanent cure to TMD, and for patients who have a severe case. Surgical procedures can help relieve TMD and normalize their jaw functionality.

Who To See For TMD

At River Run Family Dentistry we have worked with many patients suffering from various levels of TMD and take it just as seriously as any other oral health problem. If you wish to speak to us about TMD symptoms, you can call our office at 830-387-3040 to ask any questions or schedule an appointment. Taking the first steps to help with TMD will lead to a better quality-of-life in your day to day tasks. We are looking forward to working with you!

Patient receiving periodontal maintenance at River Run Family Dentistry

Periodontal disease is a severe form of gum disease that derives from gingivitis – the first step of gum disease. Unlike gingivitis, periodontal disease cannot be reversed, instead, it needs to be maintained and treated because it can end up becoming dangerous for other parts of the body if the infection spreads to the jaw for instance.

Patients who have periodontal disease may experience symptoms such as red or swollen gums, receding gums, loose teeth, and persistent bad breath. The gums can also develop abscess which are pockets of pus that are sensitive to touch. At River Run Family Dentistry we are experienced in working with patients who suffer from periodontal disease–this is what you can expect when seeing us for periodontal maintenance scaling.

Periodontal Maintenance Scaling

Periodontal maintenance involves both cleaning and monitoring a patient suffering from periodontitis. We remove built-up plaque and tartar that as accumulated both below and above the gumline–key areas where bacteria attack the gums. Plaque and tartar that has built up the entire length of the tooth up until where the root and bone meet is taken care of with rough patches being smoothed out to help prevent bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves – causing more damage. Pockets that have formed are also cleaned out. These pockets are critical areas where plaque and tartar form.

This procedure is required up to 4 times a year compared to the traditional twice a year for a typical check-up. Periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss if not taken care of.

What You Can Do In Between Visits

It is crucial to manage periodontal disease at home by practicing brushing and flossing habits every day. Brushing twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste will go a long way in cleaning out built-up plaque. Flossing is especially important at this time and should be done once a day. We also recommend rinsing throughout the day. You can either use a saltwater mixture or your favorite ADA accepted mouthwash. The goal is to rinse out bacteria throughout the day.

Following these oral hygiene habits will slow down the build-up of plaque and tartar that accumulates in the formed gum pockets and deep between teeth. Because the damages of periodontitis are irreversible, it is critical to prevent any further damages that can cause even bigger problems such as tooth decay and tooth loss. We may also prescribe antibiotics to manage bacteria levels.

It is also important to not skip periodontal maintenance appointments when scheduled. You can do a lot at home to help prevent further damage, but periodontitis is a serious condition that requires the right tools and experience to manage.

Contact Us If You Need Help

If you are experiencing the signs of gum disease mentioned at the beginning. Don’t hesitate to seek treatment. At River Run Family Dentistry we are here to treat oral health problems and help you maintain a healthy mouth. You can call our office at 830-387-3040 if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with us. We are looking forward to seeing and helping you soon!

Patient receiving periodontal care at River Run Family Dentistry

Gum disease, in general, is an unfortunate condition for anyone to endure. The first stage of gum disease is referred to as gingivitis and it serves as a warning for the later stages of this oral condition. Symptoms of gingivitis include swollen gums, loose teeth, and bad breath. It is typically able to be reversed at home with proper oral hygiene habits.

If gingivitis progresses, it can eventually turn into periodontal disease which requires professional care to treat. At River Run Family Dentistry, we are committed to helping our patients overcome oral health. Here is what you can expect when getting treated for periodontitis. 

Treating Periodontal Disease

Unlike gingivitis, the effects of periodontitis cannot be reversed. Instead, the damage is halted. When you come in, our goal is thoroughly clean the plaque and calculus that has built up under the gumline. In addition to this, we will also perform a root planing procedure which involves smoothing out the rough patches on the roots – this is to get rid of bacteria that lodged in the uneven surfaces. 

In short, getting rid of the bacteria that are actively destroying the gum tissue is the most important step in periodontal disease treatment. This may require multiple visits to fully complete this part of the treating process. If the condition has progressed to severe levels, then surgery procedures such as flap surgery may need to be required to fix damages. 

Finally, will prescribe medication and/or mouthwash with antibiotic properties. This will help control bacteria and effectively prevent the condition from developing further.

Preventing Gum Disease

The best way to prevent periodontal disease is by practicing daily brushing and flossing habits. Following the ADA recommended method for brushing will ensure that you will get rid of built-up plaque and prevent developing oral health problems such as cavities and gum disease.

We strongly recommend using a soft-bristle toothbrush that fits in your hand comfortably. Next, grab your favorite ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. Brush for 2 minutes, gently moving the brush back and forth while making sure to get the insides of your teeth – you can do this by holding the handle outward and letting your teeth sit between the bristles. 

Rinsing is something you can choose to do or not do. Letting the fluoride from the toothpaste continue sticking to your teeth is beneficial, but on the flip side, rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash helps eliminate excess bacteria left behind. There is no clear-cut answer on which is the better method.

One thing we can say for certain is that you should floss once a day. Gum disease typically develops due to plaque getting trapped in between the teeth–a toothbrush alone will not effectively remove this.

Talking to Us About Treatment

We are here for your oral care needs at River Run Family Dentistry. If you believe that you are suffering from gum disease of any kind, do not hesitate to give our office a call at 830-387-3040 and describe your symptoms. We will book an appointment for you to ensure you get the help you need.

Woman receiving an oral cancer screening at River Run Family Dentistry

Oral cancer affects over 50,000 Americans a year, making it a severe condition that is relatively common. There are a multitude of reasons why someone might develop oral cancer – one of the more common ways is due to smoking. People who do smoke are putting themselves 3 – 5 times more at risk for oral cancer than non-smokers, therefore we, and (hopefully) every other dental office, strongly discourages this habit.

When you come in for an appointment, we will ask you certain questions to determine if we should do an oral cancer screening. Questions such as “how often do you smoke?” and “ what are your drinking habits like?” are what you can expect. It is important to be honest with us so that we can care for your oral health accurately and effectively – at River Run Family Dentistry we are here to help, not judge!

What to Expect During An Oral Cancer Screening

An oral cancer screening involves checking for notable signs of the condition. Even if you actively have not developed it yet, there are signs that point towards the development of it happening. We are going to look for sores, lumps, and red/white patches inside the mouth. We will also ask you additional questions such as if you have had any difficulty swallowing or any lingering pain in the mouth.

To make it easier to spot signs of oral cancer, we will use a blue dye to help us locate tissue with compromised cells. In addition to this, we may shine a special light that makes compromised tissue appear white. Oral cancer screenings are highly effective in spotting the condition, the earlier it is caught, the better the chance of a smooth treatment.

How Oral Cancer Is Treated

There’s are multiple ways of action to help treat oral cancer. These methods range from surgical procedures, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and targeted drug therapy. Depending on the circumstances, it may be a multi-step process using multiple of these methods.

Preventing Oral Cancer

If you feel that you are at risk of developing oral cancer, it is incredibly important to take the steps required to ensure that this does not happen to you. If you are a smoker or drink heavily, getting the help you need to quit is hard at first, but it gets better. We work with patients going through the same thing and we do our best to set everyone on the right path for both their oral health and physical health – because what can happen to your mouth can also affect your overall health. 

Practicing positive brushing and flossing habits on a daily basis also helps significantly in preventing oral health problems such as oral cancer. Following the standard brushing twice a day and flossing once a day rule will go a long way in ensuring you have a lifetime of a healthy mouth!

At River Run Family Dentistry, we are highly committed to making each patient feel at home when they walk in. If you would like to schedule an appointment with us, you can call our office at 830-387-3040. We hope to see you soon! 

Child with a sports mouthguard from River Run Family Dentistry

Physical activity is good for the body, especially when it is as intensive as sports. Playing sports challenges both the mind and body, but unfortunately, it can endanger your teeth. It is a common occurrence for a tooth to get knocked out or fractured during a game/event which is why sports mouth guards are highly encouraged or required to be worn. At River Run Family Dentistry we want the best for our patients and staying protected can save you from both complications and expenses.

How Does A Mouth Guard Work?

A mouth guard is like armor for your teeth in the sense that it protects them from both outside impact and the bottom and upper teeth clashing together. They will essentially take the impact that would have otherwise gone to your teeth – and mouth can definitely take a bigger hit than your teeth can.

They slip on your top teeth and that’s all there is to it essentially–they may be simple, but they are highly effective in what they do. If you are currently playing a sport that involves a loose ball and/or contact, it is important to always wear a mouth guard when playing. Here are a few reasons why you might want to think about it.

Reasons To Wear A Mouth Guard

There are many players that dislike wearing a mouth guard because they feel it is a distraction, the first thing we can say in response to this is that it is crucial to get a custom-made mouth guard. Buying over-the-counter mouth guards will not cater to your specific size and shape of your mouth, this leads to people feeling discomfort and looseness as they are wearing them. When you get a custom mouth guard, it is molded to your shape which results in a snug but comfortable fit.

We will admit that the upfront cost of getting a custom-made mouth guard isn’t what would be called “cheap” but consider this–it is an investment to prevent injuries that can result in costly repairs or replacements. Looking at it as “unofficial insurance” for your teeth might make it more enticing. 

Dental injuries can happen in a blink of an eye and nobody is prepared for when it will happen. One second you are focused on your game and next you suddenly have broken/missing teeth due to an airborne hockey puck. This is why it is a good idea to always be mindful of this and come into a risky sport with adequate protection even if that protection might seem redundant at first. If you heavily play sports or do risky activities, then that is even more of a reason to invest in a custom-fitted mouth guard!

Talk To Us About Getting A Custom Mouth Guard

If you are interested in getting a mouth guard for you or your kids, we are more than happy to help! At River Run Family Dentistry we want everyone to have a mouth that is both healthy and protected. When you come in, we will create a mold of your teeth – this is the custom part of the guard and what enables it to fit perfectly to your teeth. We will work with you to ensure that you are satisfied with the finished product to ensure you leave both happy and protected in your next sporting event! You can call 830-387-3040 to get in contact with our office.

Dentist giving a patient a night mouthguard at River Run Family Dentistry

To get a good night’s sleep and protect their teeth, many people rely on mouth guards at night to help with mild bruxism and sleep apnea. Mouth guards are not just for sports; they are an effective tool for those struggling to get a comfortable good night’s rest and they may be something to consider if you are having night-time troubles.

How does a mouthguard enable certain people to sleep better? And how does it protect your teeth? We will be going over what nighttime mouthguards are used for and how they are effective. We at River Run Family Dentistry want to ensure that each patient gets the assistance that they need.

What Night Mouthguards Are For

As mentioned above, there are two common uses for a nighttime mouthguard, one is to help with sleep apnea, and the other is for bruxism. We will be quickly going over what these two conditions are to give you a better understanding of how a mouthguard can help people with these conditions.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that is detrimental to a good night’s rest. It’s a condition that comes with snoring and waking up in the middle of the night, multiple times a night, without the user realizing this is happening. This happens due to the airways to the lungs collapsing to the point not enough air is able to get through, this leads to not only snoring, but it triggers the brain into an awake state due to it not receiving enough oxygen. 

What a mouthguard can do for mild cases of sleep apnea is push the lower jaw forward to open this airway – effectively solving the issue. For many people, this has changed their lives for the better without needing a costly surgical procedure. We highly recommend looking into a custom-made mouth guard if you suspect you are struggling with sleep apnea.


Bruxism is the act of grinding and clenching teeth out of muscle memory/habit. Having bruxism does not specifically refer to nighttime teeth grinding, but it is what a mouth guard is able to help with.

Grinding your teeth can lead to problems down the road such as TMJ/TMD disorder or loosened/ fractured teeth. It isn’t too uncommon for some individuals to grind their teeth specifically at night, but for the most part control it during the day. A mouth guard is a great solution in this scenario.

However, those who frequently grind their teeth throughout the day may need to seek additional treatment or find out what makes them want to grind and clench their teeth often. For many individuals, daytime grinding comes down to stress, which is why it is important to narrow down the cause and see what steps to take from there. 

Like with sleep apnea, we recommend a custom-made mouth guard, this will prevent it from popping out of place while you are sleeping – a misaligned mouth guard can be harmful to your teeth and thus it is a better idea to play it safe! At River Run Family Dentistry we want to help with your oral health needs, you can call our office at 830-387-3040 to ask any questions or schedule an appointment with us.  

Woman receiving laser dentistry at River Run Family Dentistry

When it comes to treating patients, a wide range of tools are used. But perhaps one of the most versatile tools at hand today is laser dentistry. 

Laser dentistry is used to treat a wide array of conditions. It can shape and remove tissue, kill bacteria, and “drill” teeth. There is a lot to explore when it comes to this method of dentistry and we will be covering some of the thing’s laser dentistry is used for and how it can be beneficial over traditional methods. At River Run Family Dentistry we want to provide what patients feel comfortable with.

What Is Laser Dentistry and What Benefits Does It Bring?

Laser dentistry involves a powerfully focused beam of light that is capable of altering aspects of the mouth. These lasers are so efficient that they are capable of both cutting tissue and drilling teeth and there are benefits of using them over conventional methods of achieving the same results.

Hard Lasers

Hard lasers are used for tooth related procedures and they can reshape, cut, and drill teeth. Many patients are more comfortable with this method over using a drill and in some cases, it causes less pain thus anesthesia is sometimes not used.

Another benefit of using hard lasers over drills or other conventional tools is that it can kill bacteria as the laser is doing its work – making it excellent for prepping a tooth before it is filled.

Soft Lasers

Soft lasers are used for tissue and gum related procedures such as reshaping and cutting tissue. These are excellent against gum disease such as periodontitis because, like hard lasers, soft lasers can swiftly kill bacteria. Typically, patients experience virtually no pain during or after a soft laser procedure because blood vessels and nerve endings get sealed as the laser goes to work. 


When it comes to getting teeth professionally whitened, lasers make the process achieve highly effective results while being an overall quicker method than without the laser. A bleaching substance is applied to the teeth the same with a conventional whitening procedure, but the laser is used to heat up this substance which makes the bleached effect both stronger and more quickly achieved.


There are a few caveats and concerns when it comes to laser dentistry. Not all procedures can be done with these lasers, for example, teeth that have already been filled with amalgam metal cannot be treated with lasers.

Another caveat with lasers is that it requires a professional who is experienced in this type of treatment. Using the wrong wavelength can end up damaging both tissue and teeth. 

Do You Need an Appointment?

At River Run Family Dentistry we are committed to providing the best oral care whether we are working with laser dentistry or other means. Whether you need a cavity treated, teeth whitened, or are struggling with a toothache – we will ensure you get what you need. You can call 830-387-3040 to schedule an appointment with us or ask any questions. We hope to hear from you and see you soon!

A woman smiling after receiving inlays and onlays from River Run Family Dentistry

Fillings are the number one and most common way to treat the vast majority of cavities. But they can’t effectively help with some of the larger cavities–so, what happens then? When a cavity becomes large enough to where traditional fillings cannot keep the structural integrity of the tooth, an inlay is instead used. At River Run Family Dentistry we provide both inlays and onlays and carefully consider the needs of the patient to accurately determine what is the best course of action. We will be going over what both an inlay and only are and how they can restore teeth to make them functional again.


An inlay is similar to a filling – in theory, it serves a similar purpose, and many times they are made out of the same materials. But they serve slightly different situations and the way the overall procedure works is different.

With traditional fillings, the cavity is filled with a material that bonds to the tooth. The procedure is relatively simple, and it is the most common method of tooth restoration due to how frequent cavities are.

Inlays are a little bit different, while they serve a similar purpose of filling a cavity, they are reserved for large cavities where a simple filling would not be ideal. After the dentist drills and removes the delay from the tooth, they will take an impression of the empty space. This gets sent to a lab where the inlay is made with the requested material. When the inlay comes back to the office, it is fitted in the tooth – effectively restoring its function or looks if composite resin or porcelain is used as the material.


Not to be confused with a crown, onlays are like an extended version of inlays. Instead of sitting flush with the tooth like an inlay, and completely covering the tooth like a crown. An onlay covers the cusp of the tooth. 

An only is used to restore tooth damage that has reached almost the entire top surface. In theory, a crown can be used for this purpose, and in many cases, it is due to it being common for insurance to not cover an onlay. Insurance companies oftentimes cover a crown due to how frequently they are used so it is not too common for patients to receive an onlay. They are both sufficient for a damaged tooth on this level.

Talk to Us About Tooth Reconstruction

If you are suffering from cavities or damage from decay or injury, we are here to help at River Run Family Dentistry. It is important to get compromised teeth treated so that the tooth becomes functional again and that the problem does not become bigger than it already. Both inlays and onlays are for dental health problems that are a step above the average cavity – making it critical to take action if you feel like either will help you. You can call our number at 830-387-3040 to ask any questions or schedule an appointment. We want to make you feel at home if you choose to come in.


Complete and partial dentures from River Run Family Dentistry

Teeth are an important part of our daily lives. A lot of foods require teeth to chew properly and most words can only be pronounced using your front teeth. When this functionality is gone, it creates a huge shift in daily life which is why many turn to dentures.

Dentures are a highly popular and effective way to restore a smile that has been lost. Over 40 million Americans use dentures in fact, and they are one of the most obtainable ways to replace teeth that are missing.  At River Run Family Dentistry we work with many patients who are in need of dentures.

There are two types of dentures – complete and partials. We will be going over the differences and similarities to help you decide on one that works best for your current needs.


Dentures are a set of artificial teeth that are designed to fully replace lost natural teeth. Typically, they are made from acrylic resin, but they can also be made from other materials such as porcelain, nylon, or even metal. They are a cost-effective way for someone to receive a full set of teeth compared to all-on-4 dentures, which require a complex surgical procedure and are fixated permanently in the mouth.

Partial Dentures

Rather than replacing a complete set of teeth, partial dentures are for replacing a small number of teeth. The false teeth are attached to a piece of metal that is inserted into the mouth. These are an excellent option when replacing missing teeth – restoring both functionality and appearance. And like full dentures, they are a more economical option over more expensive alternatives.

Caring For Dentures

Whether you have partial or full dentures, caring for them is just as important as caring for natural teeth. Dentures should be taken out and washed every night in an anti-bacterial denture cleaner and a soft-bristle toothbrush. It is also a good idea to avoid sticky foods as much as possible to prevent damage – plus, it will make it easier on you when cleaning before bed.

Ideally, cleaning dentures twice a day is best, especially if you are consuming foods that tend to leave behind particles. Bacteria are able to cling to dentures just like natural teeth and they can still cause gum disease if proper oral care isn’t followed.

Dentures vs Implants

If you are in need of teeth replacement, you might have looked into implants and weighed them with dentures to figure out which one works best for you. The elephant in the room is the up-front cost difference which is worlds apart due to the surgical procedure involved with implants. Many people find dentures affordable and convenient enough to just stick with them. However, implants replicate the feel and functionality of natural teeth better since they are surgically attached and connected to the jawbone. This means they are sturdy and you won’t have to remove them every night because they cannot be removed. Ultimately, the best choice is the one you are most comfortable with making.

If you would like to talk to us about dentures, have any questions, or want to schedule an appointment, you can call 830-387-3040. At River Run Family Dentistry we are dedicated to providing excellent oral care in a welcoming environment that makes you feel at home.

Smiling child receiving dental care from River Run Family Dentistry

Caring for your child’s teeth and teaching them positive oral health habits will set them up for a healthy mouth in the future. At River Run Family Dentistry, we are serious about providing kids with expert oral care and ensure they have the best experience possible during their visit

Dentistry Tips for Children

Dental care for kids starts as early as when their teeth start to develop. Much like adults and older kids, babies need to have their teeth brushed and flossed on a daily basis to prevent oral health problems from occurring while they are still so young. Before their teeth develop (oftentimes at 6 months) you can use damp gauze to clean their mouths to get rid of any build-up.

In addition to this – and we know how picky kids can be – ensuring that your child has a healthy diet that benefits both their teeth and body will go a long way in helping them achieve a lifetime of good health overall. Including lots of veggies in their diet and allowing them to develop a taste for healthier options will go a long way towards a healthier mouth overall.

Starting positive habits early is crucial as it is common for older kids, teens, and adults to end up developing poor dental hygiene habits that can result in oral health problems later in life. We see patients both young and old with varying degrees of dental health which is why we are passionate about setting children on the right path. As young as 12 months old it is recommended that children come in for a check-up every 6 months. This is to ensure that everything is fine with their oral health. 

Our Services

It is admittedly common for cavities to occur in children, which is why we offer preventative services to help. The back of the mouth is where 4 out 5 children end up developing cavities – we are able to place a sealant in these areas to greatly reduce the risk of problems developing. 

We also offer cosmetic and restorative services along with surgical procedures – and we realize that can be a difficult situation for fearful children. We want every patient – child or adult, to feel at home when they visit. Even so, It is relatively common for children to be fearful or anxious when visiting the dentist which is why we provide sedation to ensure the child can feel at ease while we provide the best oral care that we can provide. In most cases, nitrous oxide is excellent for inducing calmness and the feeling of being at ease. For especially fearful children, IV sedation induces a deep sleep with little to no memories of the visit. Both methods are completely safe, and we offer these for adults who too can feel anxious about visits to the dentist.

Regular visits to the dentist while children are young still can help them feel comfortable with their visit. It is not uncommon for adults to choose to avoid the dentist for years out of fear due to limited experience of dental appointments. The best way to show that dentist visits are nothing to be afraid of is through experience.

River Run Family Dentistry is here to help your child have the best smile possible. If you would like to book an appointment with us, you can call 830-387-3040.