4201 Brown Trail #104 Colleyville, TX 76034

November 30, 2016

Oral Health During the Holiday Season

Filed under: Oral Health — Tags: , , , , , , , — Dr. Halpert @ 3:27 pm

It’s no secret that this time of year brings lots of sweet and sugary treats. It’s never easy staying healthy during the holidays since edible temptations seem to pop out at every turn. Being on top of your oral health during the holiday season helps to ensure your teeth and gums will be in tiptop shape come 2017. Take a look below at some of our tips for a healthy and happy smile in the new year.

Limit the amount of sugary snacks you eat

An excessive amount of sugar is the number one way to wreck your teeth over the coming months. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar, creating acid. This acid can eat away at tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay and cavities. The more your expose your teeth to sugar, the higher the risk that your will face dental problems in the future.

Oral Health During the Holiday Season

Oral Health During the Holiday Season

Know what type of sugar is best

Although no sugary snack is good in excess, certain type of candy and sugar are better to ingest than others. Hard and sticky candies, such as taffy and caramel, can be worse for teeth than other treats such as cake and cookies. Chewing on hard candies can lead to chipped or cracked teeth, which are painful and pricey to treat. Letting the candy dissolve naturally in your mouth is a better option than crushing it with your teeth. Sticky candies and substances cling to teeth even after they are ingested, encouraging tooth decay. In addition, thick candies like taffy and caramel can even rip out fillings.

Cracking nuts with your teeth is a no-no

Limiting the amount of sweet treats for you and your entire family is important, but not the only way to make certain teeth and gums stay strong.

Snacking on nuts is a great and healthy alternative to candy, but cracking nuts with your teeth can be just as harmful. Attempting to shell nuts with your pearly whites can lead to serious tooth and gum damage or even cracked teeth. Shelling nuts before snacking on them is your best bet to keep from an emergency dental office visit. 

Never attempt to open packaging or bottles with your teeth

You may be excited to rip into that gift from your great aunt, but your teeth are not the right tools for the task. Gripping a bottle cap or package with your teeth can crack them and possibly require a root canal or crown fro repair. Reach for scissors or a bottle opener instead of using your teeth to opening packaging.

Brush, brush, brush!

The most obvious, but also most important, tip to keeping your smile healthy this holiday season is brushing your teeth. Brushing teeth in the morning and at night, as well as after eating sugary treats, will help combat the damage this time of year can do to your oral health.

If you have any questions about how to keep your smile healthy this season, don’t hesitate to give our office a call. We’re happy to help!

November 14, 2016

Transform Your Smile with Dental Implants

Filed under: Oral Health — Tags: , , , , — Dr. Halpert @ 3:53 pm

Do you ever hide your smile because of missing or damaged teeth? Losing or breaking a tooth can wreak havoc on your smile, and in turn, your self esteem. More than 35 million Americans are missing teeth in one or both jaws. If you are one of them, you may be able to transform your smile with dental implants.

What exactly are dental implants?

Dental implants are metal posts, usually made of titanium, that act as substitute for a tooth’s natural root. Implants are placed into the jawbone, and fuses with the natural bone, becoming a sturdy foundation for a replacement tooth. A false tooth is then screwed into the implant. Implants can be used in conjunction with a bridge or denture containing multiple teeth, or it can simply be a replacement for a single tooth. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, 3 million Americans have implants, and that number is growing by an average of 500 thousand per year.

What is involved in the process of getting a dental implant?

Placing and completing a dental implant takes time. First, a consultation will take place. The staff at our office will take note of the current state of your smiling and we will tailor a treatment plan specific to your needs. After a plan of action is determined, the implants will be made, and placed into your jaw, a process that usually takes an hour or two depending on the scale of work. Once the implants are placed, the jaw must be allowed to heal. The healing process can take as long as six months. It is important that the jaw has time to heal, and fuse with the implant to ensure they will last for many years to come. While the implant is healing, a temporary tooth can be placed on top in order for you to eat and speak normally. When the jawbone is healed, the permanent tooth with be placed on the implant and can immediately function as a normal tooth.

Transform Your Smile with Dental Implants

Transform Your Smile with Dental Implants

It may take some time to get used to new dental implants. Some people may feel slight discomfort or a variation in their chewing or speech. The majority of the time, these changes are temporary and will correct themselves in a couple days to weeks. If problems persist, you should make an appointment to allow us to determine if there is a larger underlying factor.

How should I care for my implant?

Dental implants can be cared for in the same way as normal teeth. It’s important to brush implants twice a day, as well as floss in between them daily. The number one reason implants fail is because of poor hygiene. To ensure your implants are being cared for correctly, regular dental visits and cleanings are necessary.

If you have questions about dental implants, or want to set up a consultation, call our office today. We will be happy to help determine if dental implants are right for you and your smile.

 

 

October 31, 2016

Smoking and Your Oral Health

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Halpert @ 8:31 am

Smoking and your oral health go hand in hand. We all know smoking is bad for your overall health. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Each year, about 443,000 people die prematurely due to smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoking negatively impacts all aspect of your body, and if you are a smoker it is never too late to quit. Oftentimes, a smoker’s teeth and mouth can sometimes suffer the most from their habit.

How Does Smoking Affect my Oral Health?
Smoking impacts your mouth and oral health in both visible, and non-visible ways. Smoking decreases both the blood flow to your gums and the amount of saliva that flows through your mouth. Without proper blood flow, vital nutrients cannot reach your gums, resulting in gum disease, bone loss and tooth loss. Saliva helps clean your teeth and the absence of it can cause tooth decay. Smoking also causes teeth to become discolored with yellow and brown stains from the nicotine found in cigarettes. In addition, smoking causes you to have bad breath and a decrease in your sense of taste.

smoking and your oral health

smoking and your oral health

The most severe results of smoking is oral cancer Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer, accounting to nearly fiver percent of all cases, and more than 8,000 deaths every year. Throat cancer is also aided by smoking.

What About Cigars? Are They Safe to Smoke?
Cigars contain the same harmful carcinogenic compounds as cigarettes and are therefore, no more safe to smoke. Cigar smoking increases your risk for oral, lung, larynx, and esophageal cancers.

Are Smokeless Tobacco and E-Cigarettes Safe?
In short, no. Smokeless tobacco increases your risk for developing gum disease and gum recession. Smokeless tobacco users are also four to six times more likely to develop oral cancer from chewing tobacco. The area of your mouth where you physically place chewing tobacco is 50 times more likely to be a site of oral cancer.

E-cigarettes are all the rage right now, and are touted as a safe alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes still have nicotine in them, and nicotine inhalation can make you more susceptible to bacteria buildup I your mouth, as well as tooth decay and dry mouth.

Most of s have been told since childhood that smoking is bad for your health. Quitting, no matter at what age, will improve your health and increase your longevity. Quitting smoking will also help stop the process of tooth decay and other oral issues. A beautiful and healthy smile is something that allows us to feel confident. Smoking erodes that confidence and causes other oral health issues to take center stage.

September 26, 2016

TMJ Disorders and Dysfunctions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Halpert @ 8:33 am

Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, or TMJ Disorders, are a group of ailments that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. The Temporomandibular joint, more commonly called the TMJ, acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. When this joint is affected by different TMJ disorders it can cause varying levels of pain and discomfort.

TMJ Disorders

TMJ Disorders

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, over 10 millions Americans suffer from TMJ disorders. In fact, women actually account for 90% of all TMJ disorder sufferers.  Scientist have been looking for connections between TMJ symptoms and female hormones to find the answer to why women suffer from the disorder more often than men.

What Causes A TMJ Disorder?

While the actual cause of TMJ disorders are unknown, the most obvious cause is trauma to the joint socket and muscles that are used for chewing and speaking. Examples of trauma could be an accident, teeth grinding, or jaw clenching.

What are the symptoms of TMJ Disorders?

The most obvious sign of a TMJ disorder is a popping sound and pain when you open and close your mouth. TMJ disorders might also manifest themselves as headaches, ringing in the ears, dizziness, or muscle spasms.

One of the most serious and painful signs of a TMJ disorder is lockjaw. Lockjaw occurs when a person has trouble opening and closing their jaw, and oftentimes have immense pain while doing so.

Can TMJ Disorders Be Treated?

Since a definite cause of TMJ disorder has yet to be determined they can be difficult to treat. Your dentist can prescibe medicine for pain, as well as help come up with solitonScientists do believe the disorders can be avoided by reducing stress, eating well, and exercising.

If you have experienced or have questions about TMJ disorders, be sure to ask our office staff about treatment options.

September 19, 2016

A Disturbing Trend in Dental Health

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Halpert @ 7:52 pm

Over the last several years, a disturbing trend in dental health has emerged. I do not know if it ties in with the economic struggles our country is going through, but quite honestly, it predated the stock market crash of a few years ago.

For many years, I have been asked to render second opinions for patients and their recommended treatment plans. I have seen a significant number of what I would describe as very aggressive treatment plans. Treatment plans that involve recommendations for the patient to have a significant number of teeth treated with crowns. I do a good number of cosmetic makeover type cases, but many of the treatment plans I see are extremely aggressive and costly. Routinely I see treatment plans for 20 or more teeth to have veneers/crowns, when tooth whitening and some bonding are all that is needed for a greatly improved smile. Make no mistake, I have done these types of large extreme makeover type cases but only when appropriate. Most of those patients know very well that they have multiple teeth with old bonded fillings, mismatched crowns, worn teeth, etc. It is cases with minor to moderate cosmetic flaws involving a couple of teeth where it is inappropriate to crown or veneer the entire mouth.

Disturbing Trend in Dental Health

Disturbing Trend in Dental Health

This aggressive treatment planning is not just seen in cosmetic cases, but also in patients seeking regular dental care. Unfortunately, I have seen these circumstances in both adults and children.

When I give a second opinion, I ask the patient not to tell me anything about the treatment that has already been recommended. I talk with the patient about their wants and desires for their oral health, and then I perform my own detailed exam and formulate my own treatment plan for them. The patient and I discuss my findings and the options for any concerns found, as well as what treatment options may be needed to help to restore them to oral health. The patient will then show me their previous treatment plan, and we discuss the differences, if any, between the two plans. Many times there can be honest difference of opinions by dentists about what treatment may be needed. One dentist may recommend a crown for a tooth while the other recommends a filling. Both options can be very legitimate and both may be appropriate. It depends on both the experience of the dentist, and the patient’s desires.

Below are two recent cases I want to highlight:

Case #1. The patient was given a treatment plan with fees for over $22,000 for just the upper teeth. Multiple teeth were planned for crowns that had never had a filling done on them in the past. The patient had no gum disease, tooth wear from grinding, or jaw joint problems, and their only complaint was a front tooth that had been broken for the last 30 years. The patient had no sensitivity on the broken tooth, and about one third of the edge of the tooth was gone. The other treatment plan called for crowning the four front teeth to “fix” the one broken tooth. We accomplished the case, which consisted of replacing some older silver fillings with composite ones, placing one crown and bonding the front tooth. The bonded front tooth matched perfectly. The final cost was $2,400 and the case turned out wonderfully.

Case #2. This case involved a patient whose previous dentist of 30 years had retired. They had a cleaning and exam performed by the new dentist. The patient came to see me for a second opinion for the dental treatment recommended by the new dentist. They brought the same x-rays taken by the other office, and I performed a complete exam. The patient had 5 small silver fillings that were in good condition and one very well fitting crown. I recommended that no treatment was needed – just regular cleanings and exams. The patient informed me that the new dentist had recommended $16,000 of dentistry that needed to be done. Quite frankly, I was speechless.

I love dentistry. I love that I can help people in some small way to make their lives a little bit better. I value the trust that you have placed in me as your dentist. My pledge to you as a patient is that I will treat you the very same way that I would a member of my own family. I know that sounds trite, but I am very serious when I say it. I am comfortable with what I have told my patients and have no problem with them getting a second opinion. Quality and appropriate dentistry can last for years, and I strongly believe in a conservative philosophy of care. Conservative does not mean having no treatment – just appropriate treatment. No restoration done on a tooth will last forever. It will need to be retreated in the future. Over treatment of dental issues can set up a patient for additional treatment and expenses in the future.

A couple of thoughts in closing

One of the most common similarities with the offices I have seen dole out this gross over treatment is the full color advertisements in the area magazines. While not true in all cases, these offices have had most of the patients that I have seen with these inappropriate treatment plans. Another common thing I see with these patients is that they have been to offices where everything is done in the one place. I am well trained and have spent countless hours keeping up with the latest information in dentistry. I have earned advanced degrees in both cosmetic and general dentistry and have completed many complicated restorative case involving most, if not all, of the teeth in a patient’s mouth. I have performed detailed cosmetic cases on patients that have come to me to restore the smiles, and I am a voracious reader of multiple dental journals. That being said, we are very fortunate in NE Tarrant County to have many very fine dental specialists. I willingly refer patients to these specialists because I feel that they can provide better treatment for the patient than I could in a given situation. This is not a knock on my own abilities, but I cannot do everything as well as a specialist in a given situation, and I will always choose to what is in the patient’s best interest. Offices that keep everything “in house” generally have lesser quality of treatment, and in my experience, tend to over treat. The corporate dental clinics are the best example of these “do everything in house” offices. I have experienced many patients that have been over treated in these clinics and have had to retreat these cases at additional expense to these patients.

Dentistry is a great profession. There are many dedicated dentists that put a patient’s wellbeing above all else. There just happens to be a segment in the profession that does not have a patient’s best interest at heart. I wanted to voice these concerns as they have started to bother me. I believe the best kind of dental care is where the doctor puts the patient’s best interests first.

September 12, 2016

Tiny Teeth: Your Child’s Oral Health

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Halpert @ 8:05 am

Did you know that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children? In the United States alone, tooth decay affects 25 percent of children ages six to 11 years old. You are one of the biggest factors in your child’s oral health, and it is imperative that children of all ages receive oral health care.

What is Tooth Decay?
First, lets answer the question ‘what exactly is tooth decay?’. Tooth decay is the destruction of the hard, outer layer of your teeth, called enamel. Children, and even infants, can be affected by varying levels of tooth decay. It is important to be aware of and help prevent childhood tooth decay. The care of teeth at a young age can set the stage for oral health for the rest of a child’s life. Tooth decay is an easily preventable problem, and it can negatively affect your child’s overall health, self-esteem, social development, and quality of life.

What Causes Tooth Decay?
The main cause of tooth decay is excessive consumption of sugary drinks and snacks. It is important you as a parent limit your child’s sugar intake in order to help prevent prolonged exposure to of sugary liquids to the teeth. If your child drinks for a sippy cup for long periods of time, fill the cup with only water. Soft drinks and sugary fruit juices can do more harm than good. It is also important to disallow a child from taking their sippy cup or bottle to bed. Be very aware of foods that will stick between a child’s teeth, and keep your children from consuming large amounts. It’s no secret that children and adults alike love sweets, but limiting their intake will prevent future tooth problems.

When Should My Child See the Dentist?  

Your Child's Oral Health

Your Child’s Oral Health


The ideal time for a first visit to the dentist, is six months after your child’s first tooth erupts or by their first birthday. Early visits will not only be an advantage to your child’s oral health, but will also familiarize them with the dental office and reduce anxiety and stress for future visits.

How Can I Protect My Child’s Oral Health?
As a parent, you are responsible for maintaining you child’s oral hygiene until they are old enough to take responsibility for themselves. Below are some of the ways you can ensure your child’s teeth and gums stay in tip top shape.

  • Clean your infant’s gums with a clean damp cloth after feedings
  • Bes sure to monitor the excessive sucking of pacifiers, fingers and thumbs to avoid teeth misalignment
  • If you buy bottled water, make sure it is fluoridated to help aid in making your child’s tooth structure more resistant to decay. Tap and fountain water both have fluoride present in them so encouraging your child to drink these is a better option than bottled water.
  • Once your children’s teeth start to come in, brush them with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and water. Toothpaste is not typically used until after a child’s second birthday, but you can talk to dentist if you wish to begin using toothpaste sooner.
  • Once your child is old enough to brush their teeth on their own, encourage them to do so.
  • Lead by example to show your child the proper ways to brush and care for their teeth.

If you have any questions or want more information about caring for your child’s teeth, please feel free to ask anyone in our office.

August 29, 2016

Mouthguards: A Vital Piece of Sports Uniform

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Halpert @ 8:30 am
mouthguards

mouthguards

With the school year starting back up, so do sports, and subsequently, sports injuries. Sports dentistry devotes itself to the prevention and treatment of injuries sustained in athletic competition. These injuries can involve not only the teeth and mouth, but believe it or not, injuries to the brain, which is manifested as a concussion. The most important preventive tool we have is a well-made mouthguard.

There are several different types of mouthguards available. The most common is the “boil and bite” mouthguards found in a variety of stores.   These can work well if made properly and worn in a sport where the player’s face is protected by a facemask. The biggest problem with these types of mouthguards is that they can easily be fabricated incorrectly. Biting too hard into the softened material allowing it to become very thin is the most common problem. Ever wonder how a boxer can be hit square on the chin and gets “knocked out”? One of the most important functions of a well-made mouthguard is the prevention of concussive injuries to the brain. When a blow is received to the chin, the lower jaw is driven up into the base of the skull. This results in the brain being subjected to a large amount of force, which literally causes the brain to be “bounced around” inside the skull. The result is a concussion. The more we learn about concussions today, the more we know how important it is too prevent and treat them correctly. Even a single concussion can have life long consequences. There is even one particular brand of mouthguard marketed under the name of Brain-Pad. The best mouthguards are ones manufactured using molds of the player’s mouths. These are well fitting and are made thicker to provide much better protection to the teeth and brain. These can be customized with team colors and logos. They are much more comfortable and players can typically speak well when they are being worn.

In my 27 years of practice, the worst sports injuries I have treated have involved the sports of basketball, baseball and soccer. Very few involve football and hockey because of the use of facemasks. Basketball is by far the sport with the most injuries to the teeth. The game by nature is played with a player’s elbows up around shoulder level, which results in a number of blows to another player’s mouth. Unfortunately, these injuries are usually much worse than a chipped tooth. Many times the teeth involved are broken off at gum level or knocked out completely. Root canals and crowns are very common results of these injuries.

Mouthguards may also be used to improve athletic performance. There is research from Under Armour that supports the theory stating that by positioning the jaws in a certain way using a specially constructed mouthguard, a measurable increase in a player’s athletic ability may be noted.

As co-team dentist for the NBA Dallas Mavericks, we provide all of the players with custom fitted mouthguards, and you have probably seen several of the players wearing them during games. If you have questions, or need assistance with getting a mouthguard made properly, don’t hesitate to contact our office.

 

August 15, 2016

Is Red Wine Good For Your Teeth?

Filed under: Oral Health — Dr. Halpert @ 8:24 am

I often get asked the question ‘is red wine good for your teeth?’. Red wine does have a number of health benefits. It aids in lowering cholesterol, and getting plenty of antioxidants into the body. But can red wine really be beneficial to your pearly whites? Believe it or not the answer is yes, sipping on red wine can be good for your teeth.is red wine good for your teeth?

Research suggests red wine slows down the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Cavities, gum disease and tooth loss are caused by the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth. By lessening the growth of harmful bacteria, red wine can actually lower your chances of getting cavities and other harmful mouth ailments.

How exactly does red wine kill bacteria? Red wine contains antimicrobial elements that kill hard to penetrate ‘biofilms’. Red wine contains antimicrobial elements that kill hard to penetrate ‘biofilms’. Biofilms are a thin, slimy layer of bacterial that adheres to the surface of teeth. They contain communities of disease-causing bacteria that turn into plaque, and then produce acid, breaking down the enamel in teeth. This breakdown of enamel is associated with both cavities and gum disease.

While that glass of red wine you pour to help promote your heart health may also be helping fight off tooth decay, it can have the effect of making teeth appear red in color. Be smart about your wine consumption and subsequent tooth care. Brushing your teeth after your glass of wine with dinner ensures your pearly whites don’t take on an unwanted red tint, and helps brush away the sugar that is inevitably found in all wine.

Ensuring you are seeing your dentist twice a year for cleaning also helps to prevent any harmful effects from any food or drink you consume. Call our office today to schedule your bi-annual cleaning.

June 14, 2014

Oral Health: Electric Toothbrush Benefits

Filed under: Oral Health — Tags: , , , — Dr. Halpert @ 8:45 pm

Manual toothbrushing doesn’t remove as much plaque as you might expect. Electric toothbrush benefits are numerous, and when compared to traditional toothbrushing, quite surprising.

Toothbrushing is the number one way to reduce plaque and keep oral health on par, but the type of toothbrush you use can be more important than the actual act of brushing your teeth. Studies show that manual toothbrushing removes less than 50 percent of plaque that has formed on teeth. This fact remains true despite the numerous toothbrush designs and configurations that all claim to get your teeth cleaner than the rest.

What if I brush my teeth harder with my manual toothbrush? Aggressive brushing is not synonymous with effective plaque removal, and can actually end up hurting gums. Electric toothbrushes remedy aggressive brushing by moving in a way that gently and effective rids the mouth of plaque build-up. Electric toothbrushes are also run on a timer, so you can get an effective two minute brushing.

Electric toothbrushes can be found at your local pharmacy store. An electric toothbrush head needs to be changed out with the same frequency as a normal toothbrush is changed, every 4 – 6 months.