Patient getting a filling at River Run Family DentistryCavities are one of the most common dental problems and they are something we work with almost every day. Over 90% of adults in the US has had a cavity in their life–bringing to light on just how easy it can be for them to develop if you are not careful about your oral hygiene! Here at River Run Family Dentistry we encourage all of our patients to take the best care they can of their teeth.

An open cavity poses risk to the user. The risk of that area becoming infected and/or painful. In addition to this, the longer you leave a cavity untreated, the bigger it will grow, and the more opportunities bacteria have to make things significantly worse than what they already are. Luckily, there is an efficient, effective solution for treating cavities called dental fillings. You have likely heard about fillings before, perhaps you know somebody who has had dental fillings installed. We will be going over exactly what fillings are and how they are effective at treating cavities.

What Are Dental Fillings?

Dental fillings are usually made of composite resin, but they can also come in other types of materials such as silver amalgam and porcelain. Your choice of material affects the longevity of the filling, for example, composite resin can last upwards up 7 years while silver amalgam can last 15 years. There is something for everyone when it comes to choosing your material.

It is also worth mentioning that composite resin is also used for tooth bonding to treat a chipped tooth. The material matches the color of teeth and so it is excellent for aesthetic purposes.

Why Fillings Are Important

When a tooth developed a cavity, it is essentially hollowed out – compromising the structural integrity of it. A tooth with a cavity can lead to it easily being chipped while chewing on food. And having such a compact exposed area poses a risk of infection due to bacteria being able to collect in such a small place. It may be easy to blow off a cavity at first, but the serious oral health problems it can bring down the road are no joke. 

The larger the cavity is, the less functional the tooth is. It is common for users to experience high sensitivity to hot and cold foods with a cavity that is in a “high traffic” area of the mouth. This is an effective way to tell if you might have a cavity without seeing it, if you have a cavity that is at the back of the mouth, you are unlikely to see it unless you specifically look for it. It is good to be mindful if something feels off with a tooth.

Talk to Us About Getting Fillings

If you suspect that you have a cavity or would like to get a tooth bonded. Don’t hesitate to call us at 830-387-3040. We are here to give you the best oral care in an environment that was warm and welcoming at River Run Family Dentistry. We hope to see you soon–and remember–treating dental problems as early as possible prevents them from spiraling into severe conditions that involve more extreme measures of treatment.

Preventative dentistry is about more than just visiting your dentist twice yearly for an exam and thorough cleaning. In fact, the majority of your preventative care is done at-home as a part of your normal hygienic routine. Many residents use manual toothbrushes to remove debris and plaque from their teeth. However, electric brushes have become widely popular in recent years, leaving some to wonder whether one type is better than the other.

Did you know…

the American Dental Association does not lean toward one type of brush over the other? It does, however, acknowledge that people with upper body mobility restrictions may better benefit from an electric toothbrush instead of a manual brush. Regardless of which type you decide is right for you, the ADA recommends that all brushes be soft-bristled so as to avoid abrasions that can lead to decay and receding gum lines.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which toothbrush should I be using?

You can effectively brush your teeth with either a manual toothbrush or an electric one. However, the rapid movements of motorized versions may be more effective at removing plaque from the teeth and gum line. If you have questions about which toothbrush is best for you, speak with your dentist about it at your next visit. He or she may recommend an electric brush with an oscillating head or a brush that includes a timer to let you know how long to brush.

What types of results should I be getting from by toothbrush?

Regardless of whether you choose an electric brush or a manual brush, it should be easy for you to maneuver in your mouth and behind your back teeth. If the head is too big, it may not be effectively removing plaque from your teeth.

My electric toothbrush was expensive. Do I need to change it as often as a manual brush?

Yes. Your toothbrush should be replaced at least once every three to four months or whenever you notice fraying. However, most electric toothbrushes come with interchangeable heads. In other words, you won’t need to replace the entire device – only the brush itself.

Flossing is an important part of an oral hygiene routine, but research suggests that fewer than half of Americans do so daily. Flossing is simple and only takes an extra couple of minutes per day. Developing a healthy habit of flossing can prevent tooth decay and gum disease, and it may allow you to keep more of your natural teeth as you age. So what is the most effective means of flossing?

  1. Pull the floss taught and slide it between two teeth.
  2. Pull against the side of one tooth, creating a “C-shape” and sliding upwards to remove plaque build-up.
  3. Pull against the opposite tooth edge using the same technique.
  4. Repeat this process for each tooth until all inner surfaces have been flossed.
  5. Don’t forget to floss the backs of your molars!

Need some extra tips?

The American Dental Association recommends using a strand of floss approximately 18 inches in length. It is important to only use clean floss as you move between the teeth. One of the easiest ways of doing this is by looping each end of the floss around your fingers and beginning to floss with the area closest to one end. If you have never flossed, be sure to ask your dentist for a quick in-person tutorial at your next check-up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I be flossing?

Yes. The ADA recommends that everyone floss in order to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Even if you have restorations, such as crowns or veneers, good oral hygiene is essential for prolonging their use and maintaining your oral health.

What types of results should I get from flossing?

You may not experience immediate results from flossing, but over time, your habit will pay off. Flossing can prevent tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss – all of which can be highly inconvenient and expensive to treat. A piece of floss that costs just pennies could save you thousands of dollars later on.

Is there anything else I should be doing in addition to flossing?

Yes. In addition to flossing, you should be adopting proper brushing techniques and visiting your dentist at least twice per year for examinations and professional dental cleanings.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that has been shown to help strengthen teeth in children and also prevent decay in people of all ages. Topical fluoride, in particular is helpful for promoting oral health. The American Dental Association has publicly endorsed the use of fluoride for the prevention of dental caries, as has the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association.

Did you know…

that you might be drinking fluoride every day without knowing it? Many communities add fluoride to the public water supply in an effort to promote better dental health. You can find out if there is fluoride in your tap water by contacting your local water utility. Keep in mind that if your primary source of drinking water is bottled, you may not be getting fluoride. You can contact your bottle water company or manufacturer to find out if fluoride is in your water. If not, speak with your dentist about getting professional fluoride treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need fluoride treatments?

You may need fluoride treatments if your drinking water is not fluoridated or if you are experiencing certain symptoms, such as receding gums. Fluoride treatments can also provide oral support and prevent decay if you wear orthodontic braces or are taking medications that cause dry mouth.

What should I expect during fluoride treatments?

Fluoride treatments are painless and can be administered in your dentist’s office at your twice-yearly check-ups and cleanings. Your dentist will distribute fluoridated gel, foam or varnish into a tray and place it over your teeth. The treatment takes only a few minutes and is only required between one and four times per year.

Is there anything I can do to supplement my fluoride treatments?

Yes. The ADA recommends supplementing your fluoridated drinking water or fluoride treatments with a fluoridated toothpaste.

If you are undergoing a dental procedure or operation, you will be given a set of post-operative instructions to abide by in the hours, days, and weeks after your treatment. Following these instructions is essential to preventing infections in surgical sites, protecting restorations, and minimizing the possibility of experiencing complications. Post-operative instructions vary from procedure to procedure, but you are still sure to have some questions regarding care. Your [city] dentist will be available to answer those questions and respond to any concerns you may have.

Try to anticipate some of the questions you may have about your post-operative care and ask them prior to your treatment.

Some of the most common post-op questions include:

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I talk with my dentist about the questions I have regarding my post-operative care?

Yes. Your post-operative care is contingent on you understanding everything about the recovery process and your responsibilities in caring for your surgical site.

What should I expect when I speak with my dentist?

Your dentist should allocate enough time in your consultation and pre-operative exam to listen to your concerns and answer any questions you may have. You should also be provided a phone number that you can call following your procedure to discuss any questions that may come up at that time.

Is there anything I can do to make the process easier?

Yes. Begin thinking of any questions you may have about your post-operative care, and begin writing them down. You’ll be ready to ask all of your questions when the opportunity arises without missing any important details.

New Braunfels, TX

Diagram of the dental implant procedure available at River Run Family Dentistry

When it comes to replacing missing teeth, you have multiple options available to you such as dentures and bridges. But the one many would consider is closer to the experience of having natural teeth are implants. These are a permanent option that aims to mimic the structural integrity of naturally growing teeth and are rising in popularity. But are they right for you? At River Run Family Dentistry we want to help each patient make the best choices for their oral health.

 

What Are Dental Implants?

As mentioned above, dental implants aim to be the closest to having natural teeth. This means that dental implants involve the jawbone. Titanium “rods” are placed inside the jawbone with the attachment points appearing above the gums. What allows implants to mimic teeth is the fact the bone will essentially bond with these rods — allowing them to function like natural roots. The prosthetic teeth made of porcelain are then attached to the abutment points of the implants. This procedure requires two visits, one for placing the implants in the jawbone, and one for attaching the teeth.

 

The Different Types of Implants

Implants are versatile in that they can either replace a single tooth or an entire set of teeth — or anything in between. We will go over the three main types of dental implants.

Implant-Supported Bridges

Bridges are usually used to replace multiple teeth in a row, they require a support point — usually one on each side unless you are using cantilever bridges. The traditional method involves wearing down the enamel of two teeth on each side and placing a supporting crown on top of this abutment tooth. Implant-supported bridges essentially replace using natural teeth for support with implants

Single-Tooth Implants

As the name implies, single-tooth implants are designed to replace one tooth. They work similarly to other types of implants, but instead only one implant and one prosthetic tooth are used. 

Implant-retained Denture

These are meant to be an alternative to dentures and are considered the best way to give someone their full smile back if they are a good candidate. An entire row of prosthetic teeth is placed both on the top and bottom. 

It is worth noting that due to the complexity of both surgically installing implants and custom designing the teeth themselves, they are a costly option compared to other forms of teeth replacement. However, implants can last a lifetime and are the closest to having the original teeth you were naturally accustomed to. Some would consider that the cost starts to become closer to dentures if the implants are taken good care of over a period of decades.

 

Talk to Us About Tooth Replacement Options

If you are currently unhappy with your smile and would like to take the next steps towards a mouth that is both fully functional and visually appealing, we would love to help! At River Run Family Dentistry we are dedicated to helping each patient both retain and achieve the smile they are seeking. You can call our office at 830-387-3040 to ask any questions or schedule an appointment to go over your possible options. Your road to a better quality-of-life can start here!

 

 

Diagram of a root canal from River Run Family DentistryMillions of people per year get treatment for an infected tooth via a root canal. This is an effective procedure that has saved many from excruciating tooth decay and has allowed them to keep a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted. The tooth effectively can function just as well as the other teeth in your mouth and with good care – it can last a lifetime. We will be going over what a root canal procedure entails and if it is right for you. At River Run Family Dentistry we want to ensure you get the care you need to have a healthy oral health life.

What Is A Root Canal?

A root canal is a procedure that also goes by the name of endodontic treatment and it is one of the most common dental procedures as touch on above. At the center of a tooth, there is a layer called the pulp. This is a tissue that contains nerves and blood vessels and it is the main reason why tooth decay can become painful. If an infection has spread to this layer of the tooth is considered a severe dental problem and often times, a dental emergency. Large cavities are another reason why someone would be prescribed a root canal.

When the pulp starts causing problems for the user, this is when it has to be removed. But it can’t just simply be removed and have that be the end of it – it needs to be replaced and then sealed. This is exactly what the procedure entails. The infected pulp is removed and in its place is a rubbery substance that goes by the name of gutta-percha. Finally, the tooth is sealed using filling and/or topped with a dental crown

Is This Procedure Painful?

Modern dentistry goes through great lengths to avoid causing patients any type of unnecessary pain. Anesthesia is used to ensure the patient receiving a root canal does not feel what is happening. It is worth noting that you might experience some discomfort for a few days after the procedure is done. And for a few hours after the root canal is finished, you will experience numbness – it is advised not to eat during this period of time.

How Do I know That I need A Root Canal?

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, pain when eating, or a toothache that lingers, these are signs that the pulp of the tooth has been compromised. In addition to this, if you have fractured or chipped a tooth, this could also lead to root canal treatment depending on how severe the damage is. Oftentimes for chipped teeth, a bonding agent is used if the damage is not affecting the nerves.

It is important to contact us if you feel discomfort with your teeth in general, even if it seems minor at first. A problem that seems small at first can develop into severe dental problems that may call for a tooth extraction which is costly to replace. At River Run Family Dentistry we are committed to providing you with the best oral care, if you have any questions or would like to book an appointment, call 830-387-3040. We are looking forward to seeing you!

A bite guard is a dental appliance custom-fit to a patient’s teeth. Bite guards serve varying purposes and are often recommended for use in patients of all ages. It is important that bite guards be professionally fit, rather than purchased over the counter, as this ensures maximum comfort and protection during wear. Professional dental guards are usually prepared in a dental lab using an oral impression taken in a dentist’s office. These guards are created uniquely to each patient to prevent discomfort, slippage or inadequate protection. There are many reasons why a dentist would prescribe a mouth guard to a patient. They include:

Did you know?

Caring for a dental bite guard is simple. You’ll need to rinse it before and after every usage using a soft-bristled toothbrush, toothpaste and cold water. From time to time, cleanse it with cold water and a mild soap. When not in use, store your mouth guard in a hard, ventilated container and keep it away from hot temperatures that could cause your guard to warp.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a bite guard?

You absolutely need to be fit for a custom bite guard if you participate in sports or activities that put your oral health at risk. These guidelines also apply to children, who often play sports like football or participate in activities like martial arts, which can cause tooth-related injuries. You may also need a bite guard if your dentist diagnosis you with bruxism, or tooth-grinding. Over time, grinding or clenching the teeth can lead to wear and irreversible damage. Sleeping with a bite guard can protect the teeth from these unwanted side effects.

What should I expect when being fit for a dental bite guard?

Being fit for a bite guard is simple. You’ll visit your dentist, who will take an impression of your teeth and send it off to a dental laboratory. The lab will carefully construct a durable and comfortable new bite guard that you can pick up at your dentist’s office in just days.

Will I need to return to my dentist after getting my new bite guard?

Yes. Although custom bite guards are made of durable materials and designed to last through many uses, they do need to be replaced from time to time. Keep an eye on your bite guard, checking it frequently for wear. Also, bring it with you to your normal dental cleanings and check-ups for a professional inspection. Be sure to tell your dentist if your bite guard no longer offers an optimal fit or if it has become uncomfortable to wear.

Dental sealants are clear coatings applied to the surfaces of a child’s molars to prevent the development of tooth decay. They work by preventing food and plaque from resting in the grooves and crevices of molars – an area especially susceptible to cavities. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, nearly 1 in 3 U.S. children ages 6 to 12 currently have sealants on their teeth.

Did you know…

that sealants can last as long as 5 to 10 years pediatric dental patients? Depending on a child’s oral development and risk factors for tooth decay, sealants may be applied to the teeth as young as age 6. It is at this time that the first molars typically appear. Additional molars erupt at approximately age 12. If possible, sealants should be applied to a child’s teeth immediately after any molar has appeared to reduce the risk of early decay.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will dental sealants affect the feel or appearance of my child’s teeth?

Sealants bond directly to the teeth, where they harden to a clear or tooth-colored coat. This makes them virtually undetectable to others. Though it is normal to feel new sealants with the tongue, most children quickly adapt to their presence.

What will my child experience when getting sealants?

The process of getting sealants is fast and painless. The tooth is cleaned before the dentist paints the sealant onto the enamel. The sealant will immediately harden, acting as a barrier between bacteria and the chewing surface of the teeth. In most cases, sealants will last several years before needing to be reapplied. However, regular visits to the dentist will be necessary to monitor the condition of the sealants and examine their effectiveness.

Will sealants prevent all cavities?

While sealants are extremely effective for preventing tooth decay in children, they do not replace other forms of preventative oral health care. Children should still brush and floss each day using a fluoridated toothpaste. Regular dental exams and a balanced diet low in sugar are also essential for good long-term oral health.

Digital X-Ray machine at River Run Family Dentistry

X-rays are an important aspect of the medical world. They show both doctors and patients what is going on in their bodies and it allows for accurate treatment if something is not right. This is not the only area where x rays are highly beneficial, however.

In the dental world, x rays are also used for this very purpose. There are a lot of things we can determine when viewing an x-ray such as if you have cavities or an impacted wisdom tooth. At River Run Family Dentistry we take all the steps to ensure we can effectively take care of your oral health.

There are two popular ways to take X-ray photos. One is film radiography and the other is digital radiography. We will be focusing on the latter and discussing how this newer form of x-ray photography benefits both you and dental care in general.

What Is Digital Radiography?

As mentioned above, digital radiography is a newer method of taking x-ray images. It is easy to akin it to taking pictures with your smartphone while film radiography is like taking a photo on an analog camera. And like the analog camera, film radiography has been around for many years and it is still used to this day. But dentist offices all over the country have gone digital, including us.

Digital radiography is an incredibly efficient way to take x-ray photos. As soon as the picture is taken, it is immediately available to be viewed – unlike conventional machines. It also emits 70% less radiation than film x-ray machines. Granted, these older machines are safe for patients who are getting pictures taken once or twice a year with the exception of women who are pregnant – but it is worth mentioning since it is one of the biggest key points.

In addition to this, we are able to spot things easier since the images appear larger, and when it comes to x-rays, we need to be able to view even the tiniest of details to ensure proper action is taken. 

What It is Like to Have A Digital X-Ray Photo Taken

A common x-ray procedure is what is known as a bitewing. We will have you bite down on a piece of paper while the picture is being taken. This is used to quickly check for cavities – now made even quicker with digital radiography equipment. This is usually done before we begin examining the inside of your mouth–allowing us to proceed appropriately if we find something wrong. 

We may also do a panoramic photo procedure; this is commonly used for detecting wisdom teeth and how they are growing out. It is important for us to get to take care of impacted wisdom teeth to avoid it from causing problems to your molars and other teeth. If you suspect that you might have wisdom teeth growing out, let us know before/during your appointment so that we can take a look at it. 

We are here to help with your oral health at River Run Family Dentistry. Our team wants to make you feel at home with us during your visit and we would love to have you come by for an appointment. Simply call 830-387-3040 if you have any questions or would like to book an appointment with us.

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