4201 Brown Trail #104 Colleyville, TX 76034

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.