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Adult Orthodontics

Even if you’ve always suffered with crooked teeth or a crowded jaw, techniques for correcting those problems in adults have come a long way since you were a kid. Braces and new developments like Invisalign are less obtrusive and adults are now more willing to wear them. Houston’s leading dentists at Summit can successfully correct those problems so you don’t have to spend the rest of your life suffering.  Crowding and jaw problems are common and adult orthodontics can help using similar techniques and appliances in adults as in children. Newly developed or old spaces can also be treated, and the position of teeth can also be adjusted.  However, if you suffer from periodontal disease, or tooth decay, those problems will have to be addressed first before any orthodontic treatment can begin. Any broken teeth must be repaired and in adults the jaw has stopped growing and this can prove problematic in adult orthodontics. You’ve suffered long enough with these problems, call us today to schedule a check up! [Read more…]

What gum can you safely chew?

Sugar free gum is the only gum approved by the American Dental Association (ADA), and while most of us think about it like having a piece of candy, those approved have actually been shown to protect the teeth. Chewing gum will produce more saliva which can indeed protect your teeth, but it certainly doesn’t replace brushing and flossing. The gum earns the seal of approval from the ADA by proving scientifically that it can reduce plaque acids, promote tooth re-mineralization, reduce cavities and/or gingivitis.
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It may be time to think about dental sealants for your child now that summer is here. Sealants are plastic covers than are put on the molars and premolars in the back of the mouth, protecting them from decay. These teeth are particularly vulnerable to decay because of the shape, so extra protection is sometimes needed.  Once the first permanent back teeth have appeared, around age 6, sealants might be applied by one of our dentists. Even before this, if your child has deep depressions or grooves in their teeth which could hold bacteria, we might recommend sealants on the baby teeth. Deep groves in adult teeth might also prompt your dentist to apply sealants as an adult.
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How to clean your retainer

A retainer is a custom-made device that is used to keep teeth in place before or after a realigning of the teeth through surgery or dental braces. You or your child may get a retainer as part of your orthodontic treatment at Summit, so it’s important to know how to take care of it properly.
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Dry mouth

As triple-digit temperatures settle into Houston, dry mouth is a common problem. Drinking more water will cure it for most of us, but some of us have to work a little harder to get the saliva going again.  Saliva moistens and cleanses our mouth and helps fight infection and cavities. There are many conditions which require medication in which dry mouth is a side effect such as; depression, cold, asthma, epilepsy, hypertension, obesity and Parkinson’s Disease. Dry mouth is also a symptom of HIV/AIDS, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and stroke. Some cancer treatments can damage the salivary glands which will reduce the amount of saliva. It can also be a result of nerve damage to the head or neck area. If you smoke or chew tobacco, you might also not have as much saliva as someone who doesn’t have these habits. Be sure to let your Summit dentist know if you’re taking any medications that might affect your saliva production. [Read more…]

Eating disorders and oral health

Eating disorders are an all too common reality in our lives today. As well as the obvious complications linked with all kinds of eating disorders, the oral health of the patient can also quickly diminish. As an anorexic, starvation will deprive the body of nutrients and vitamins it needs to function. In some severe cases, osteoporosis may develop which could lead to weakening jaw bones and tooth loss. Bulimics, who operate in a cycle of binge eating and vomiting, could also experience tooth loss, cavities and discoloration from the stomach acids in vomit that pass through the mouth.  Our dentists at Summit might be the first to notice a problem through the patient oral hygiene and those problem can indeed be fixed at any one of our six conveniently located Houston offices. But it cannot fix the cause of the eating disorder, and patients should seek additional help. [Read more…]

Rising at the right time

When the lights go out and the world is fast asleep, bacteria in your mouth gets busy. That’s why we often wake up with that icky “morning breath” taste. Make sure you use a mouthwash suitable for your needs every night as well as every morning, as part of your oral health care routine to minimize the damage.   During the night our mouths become dry, which is a good environment for plaque and bacteria to multiply. Using an antiseptic rinse before bed will kill off those germs so they can’t breed. Brushing and flossing will only take you so far in the fight for clean, healthy teeth, and a good mouthwash can help reach those hard-to-get-to areas. You should rinse for 30 seconds and always spit it out.   Call us today if you need help with choosing a mouthwash. [Read more…]

Why does my mouthwash burn?

Many people are turned off by using a mouthwash due to the burning sensation that can often follow rinsing. This is because of the alcohol and other active ingredients they contain. If the burning sensation becomes too much and becomes so painful you stop doing it, come into your nearest Summit location to find out which mouthwash might be best for you.  Ingredients in mouthwashes called isomers, like menthol and eucalyptol, can irritate the skin but they also kill germs by dissolving them into your teeth, tongue and gums. This could be the burning sensation you feel when rinsing your mouth.  Additionally, make sure you’re rinsing with the correct kind of mouthwash, either a fluoride rinse or an antiseptic mouthwash. A fluoride mouthwash, such as ACT, strengthens enamel, stops small cavities from progressing and can be used as an antiseptic. An antiseptic mouthwash , like Listerine, will decrease plaque and oral bacteria. Our dentists will happy to help you decide which one is best for you – call us today! [Read more…]

Beyond plaque…tarter

Tarter is plaque that has hardened to your teeth, often along the gum line causing brown and yellow stains to form. Tarter build up requires a professional cleaning so contact your local Summit office to schedule one.  Tarter could be a more serious problem for you if you drink a lot of coffee, tea or smoke. Tarter is more porous and absorbs stains more easily. Tarter is also stickier so it gives plaque more surface area to stick to and grow, which will lead to more serious problem such as gum disease and cavities. To remove the tarter, one of our highly trained dentists will perform scaling on your teeth, using special instruments to remove it from your teeth and along the gum line.  Talk to us today about the best tarter prevention toothpastes for you. [Read more…]