Dental Instrument Sterilization Methods

dental treatment room

There are many different types of dental instrument sterilization methods. At Rigby Advanced Dental, we care about patient safety so we make sure to disinfect all of our dental tools and equipment using state-of-the-art dental sterilization technology.

Before sterilization, dental professionals soak instruments in water or a disinfectant to keep anything from drying on them. They also apply a rust inhibitor to prevent rusting of the instruments.

Here the various types of sterilization methods used throughout the years:


In 1879, Charles Chamberland came up with the autoclave, which is one of the most common sterilizers used to this day. It looks like a heavy microwave, and it sterilizes by heating moist air up to temperatures from 250°F to 273°F. The chemicals and heat can slightly wear down the materials, which afterwards have to dry.

Dry Heat

With this method, the air is drier so the process takes hours. The materials are placed in an oven-like object where the temperature rises to 320°F. The materials remain there for one to two hours. Because it isn’t wet, this process doesn’t wear down instruments.

SuperHeated Steam

This method is the same as the dry heat method but there is nearly no humidity and the temperature is 180°F. This process takes 30 minutes to complete.

Rapid Heat Transfer

This method sterilizes at about 375°F for 6 to 20 minutes and circulates heated air throughout the unit. At the end of the cycle, the instruments are dry.

Unsaturated Chemical Vapor Sterilizer

Here the temperature stays at 270°F for 20 minutes, and instruments dry quickly after the cycle.

There are many ways to sterilize instruments. Most differ in time and heat, but the end result is the same, immaculate instruments. Contact us if you have any questions about the sterilization methods we use. We’ll clean your teeth as thoroughly as we do our equipment!

Muscles in the Mouth, Explained

cat opening mouth wide

Every day we eat, drink, and spend a few minutes thinking about our teeth as we brush and floss. It’s not often, though, that we spend much time thinking about the muscles in our mouth that allow us to chew, swallow, and speak. The muscles surrounding the mouth are complex and hard at work and understanding them will give you a new appreciation for what they do for you every day:

Mastication Muscles

On the outside of your mouth, there are many facial muscles that form the cheeks and lips, and that assist in speech and facial expression. The orbicularis oris is the major muscle that immediately surrounds the mouth itself. Four major muscles are the ones responsible for mastication (chewing): the masseter, temporalis, medial pterygoid, and lateral pterygoid muscles move your jaw up and down, assisting in chewing, grinding, and speaking.

  • The masseter muscle is the main muscle used for chewing. It is the strongest muscle in the entire body, with the ability to close your jaws with anywhere from 55 to 200 lbs. of pressure.
  • The temporalis muscle originates above your temple and connects to the jaw. It assists in the side-to-side movement during chewing, closing the mouth, and grinding movements.
  • The pterygoid muscles are underneath the masseter and assist in chewing movements. It is responsible for opening the jaw, clenching, moving side-to-side and rotating, and projecting the lower jaw.

Tongue Muscle

Inside your mouth, your tongue is not only the most obvious muscle, it is also an extremely flexible one that actually consists of eight interwoven muscles covered in receptors which you know as taste buds. Your tongue helps to move food towards your teeth and eventually back towards your throat as well as playing a crucial role in speech. The tongue is rooted at the back of the mouth and contains blood vessels, nerve bundles, and glands that secrete fluids found in saliva.

Throat Muscles

There are over 50 pairs of muscles that are responsible for helping you to properly swallow your food. Your tongue pushes the food to the back of your mouth towards your pharynx and then your throat engages in that muscle contraction we all know as swallowing. During swallowing, your larynx muscle contracts tightly to halt breathing and allow food to pass safely into the esophagus and towards the stomach. Then you take another bite and the process starts all over again!

The complex way our bones, teeth, and muscles work together to deliver food to our stomachs and to enable human speech is not only fascinating, but it also shows the importance of taking care of your oral health. Strong teeth and healthy gums are an important part of helping your body to function well, and Rigby Advanced Dental offers comprehensive and gentle care for all of your dental needs. Dr. Rigby is a certified prosthodontist, specializing in the restoration and replacement of teeth, and has the expertise to provide you with a happy, healthy smile. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Why Chewing Too Much Gum Can Be Bad for Your Health

rows of gumball machines

Are you one of the millions of Americans who enjoy chewing gum? Chewing gum has become a common habit for a number of reasons, including stress reduction, to helping quit smoking, reducing food cravings, and just plain enjoyment.

Unfortunately, this seemingly harmless habit can a have a number of negative side effects on your health and can even damage your health.

Here are four gum-related side effects:

Gum Chewing Can Cause Tooth Damage

Chewing gum can expose your teeth to high levels of tooth decay-promoting sugar. Sugar-free gum is not much better for your teeth, but for a different reason. While all gums contain flavorings, sugar-free gum often contains higher concentrations of acidic flavorings and preservations, which can cause dental erosion. Dental erosion is a slow loss of calcium from your teeth, which, if allowed to continue long enough, can cause teeth to essentially dissolve. Worse, since sugarless gum, particularly those containing cavity-fighting xylitol, is perceived as being ‘healthier’, people also tend to chew more of it which exacerbates the potential for tooth erosion.

Gum Chewing Releases Mercury from Fillings

Some dental filling material can contain mercury. Although a toxic neurotoxin in pure form and in certain quantities, mercury is generally considered safe for dental use in fillings and poses no serious health risk when properly used. However, chewing gum can react with mercury amalgam, causing mercury fumes to be released when you chew gum. Although not considered a serious health risk, it is one more reason to avoid excessive gum chewing if you have fillings.

Gum Chewing Can Cause Gastrointestinal Issues

Chewing falsely signals to your body that you are eating, which causes the release of excess stomach acid along with enzymes and other acids used to digest food. This can cause a number of digestive issues in addition to bloating. In addition, artificial sweeteners used in sugar-free gum, such as sorbitol and mannitol, can cause diarrhea in otherwise healthy people.

Chewing Gum Can Cause Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

Excessive gum chewing can cause or worsen a painful jaw disorder called TMD, a chronic, painful disorder in the temporomandibular or jaw joint. TMD symptoms include a popping or clicking when chewing or talking; headaches; pain in the jaw, face, ears, neck, or temple; and trouble speaking, moving your jaw, or opening your mouth.

If you are a frequent gum chewer who may be showing signs of any of the above symptoms of gum over-indulgence, we can help. At Rigby Advanced Dental, your smile is our specialty. Our dedicated team is dedicated to improving our patients’ lives one smile at a time by providing exceptional service.

From routine cleaning and preventive care to full-mouth restorations, Dr. Brent Rigby can provide a comprehensive range of compassionate, professional dental services for every member of your family. Contact us today for an appointment!

How to Floss Properly

young woman demonstrating how to floss

Flossing daily is an essential part of good dental hygiene and it helps prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath by cleaning the teeth and gums where brushing can’t reach. It’s important to know how to use the proper flossing technique to clean the teeth efficiently and without injuring the gums. Here is everything you need to know about how to floss correctly.

Floss Daily

The American Dental Association recommends flossing once a day. It doesn’t matter if it’s before or after brushing, as long as you do it. You may want to save your flossing ritual for the evening to get your mouth clean before bedtime; but if you find yourself too tired at the end of the day, flossing in the morning is better than not flossing at all.

Use Enough of the Right Kind

Single filament floss looks like a skinny single thread and is stronger, thinner, and better able to get into smaller spaces. Multi-filament floss has many nylon fibers bonded together and is less expensive, but also more prone to breakage and snags on dental work like braces. Whichever kind you prefer, use about 18-24 inches of floss wound around your middle fingers and work with about an inch at a time, using a clean piece between each tooth.

Use the Right Technique

Very gently ease the floss in between your teeth, but don’t let it forcefully snap down into your gums or it can damage the soft tissue. Move the floss up and down around the curve of the tooth, and be sure to get all the way down into your gum line where the most bacteria hide. Remember to get the backs of your rear molars as plenty of particles can get trapped back there as well. When you are done, follow up with a rinse of plain water or a good mouthwash to clear away all of the old bits of food you’ve dislodged.

Talk to Your Dentist

If you haven’t had a regular flossing routine before, your gums may bleed a little at first, and they may feel sore afterwards. This can deter some people from flossing, but it is completely normal. It just means your gums are sensitive from having the decay that’s been sitting there removed. It gets better every time you floss and should subside within a week, but if you are concerned, it’s a good time to schedule an appointment with your dentist and let us know.

If you lack the dexterity to use regular floss or simply want to find an efficient alternative, there are a few options to make sure your teeth are still getting the cleaning they need. Portable floss picks are great for travel or when you are away from your medicine cabinet; floss threaders can help you get the floss between your teeth, especially if you have braces; electric flossers are easy and efficient; and water flossers are gentle and a great option for kids or people with gum sensitivity.

Rigby Advanced Dental offers comprehensive dental care and our staff is happy to assist you in establishing an oral care routine that is right for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Procedure Options For Full Mouth Restorations


Oral health suffers when one or multiple systems of the mouth cease to function properly. Many patients suffer from dental problems requiring extensive treatment. Associated issues include missing teeth, teeth worn down from grinding, teeth with large fillings, and cracked or broken teeth. Sometimes, if the problem or problems are bad enough, full mouth restoration is required. 

Full mouth restoration refers to rebuilding and/or replacing of teeth within a patient’s mouth. It’s a process of using esthetics and restorative dentistry to improve oral health, mouth function, and appearance.  

Surgery, of any kind, can be a bit overwhelming. Understanding available treatment doesn’t have to be complicated and we’re here to help. Let’s discuss various procedure options for full mouth restorations


Metal, porcelain fused to metal, or ceramic crowns cover or “cap” teeth to restore their function and appearance. Crowns, typically, are for teeth that:

  • Have large fillings
  • Had a previous root canal
  • Are fractured
  • Are worn from grinding
  • Are misshapen
  • Are discolored


When a tooth is missing, a fixed bridge technique is very often used. First, teeth on either side of the space left by the missing tooth are prepared to receive a crown. Next, the false tooth is fixed to the crowns. Finally, the complete bridge is cemented to the prepared teeth. The bridge is then permanent. 


Porcelain veneers help the shape or color of teeth. Typically, veneers are used with teeth that are mainly intact, but perhaps misshapen or discolored. Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that are etched and then bonded to a tooth’s enamel. 

Dental implants

Sometimes, when teeth are missing, doctors recommend dental implants. These are metal cylinders made of titanium surgically implanted in the jawbone to cover gaps left by the missing tooth. These implants replace the roots of missing teeth and assist single crowns, large bridges, and dentures. 

We hope you found this information helpful. To discuss your individual oral health, contact us today for an appointment



Dental Care for College Kids: Tips for Parents


If your child is heading off to UT Austin for college, one thing you don’t want to have to worry about is their dental needs. While your child is becoming an adult, you still might want to encourage them to continue taking their oral health seriously. Here are four things parents of kids going away to college at UT can do to facilitate continued dental care.

1. Discuss Lifestyle Choices

While your child might be experimenting with their newfound freedom in college, the last thing you want is to for their oral health to suffer. Be sure to talk with your child about the dangers of smoking and drinking, and relate this back to their smile. They might not realize that new lifestyle choices could affect their oral health as well.

2. Dental-Related Care Packages

As your child settles in at UT, they will most likely welcome care packages from home. Be sure to throw in a few dental-related items, such as on-the-go flossers and replacement toothbrushes. Don’t worry about going overboard – they can share these with their dorm-mates as well.

3. Sourcing Local Dentists

While your child might be able to fit in a visit to the dentist when they are home on break, it might also help to have a dentist they can visit near the UT campus. This is a good appointment to set up right away on behalf of your child in the Austin area. In case your child has a dental emergency down the line, they will have a local dentist they can visit. Our comprehensive dental office handles routine appointments, emergencies, cleanings, restorative care, and everything in-between. If you would like to set up an appointment for your college student, call our office today!

4. Double Checking Travel Insurance

If your child will be going abroad or will be away from UT for a semester, make sure to check their travel insurance and see what will be covered when it comes to dental needs. This can help you rest easy if there are any emergencies while away from campus and abroad.

Sending off your child to college is a milestone to celebrate and you should be proud of your UT student. While you might want to give your child the space to grow and learn on their own in college, some help along the way when it comes to dental care for college kids will foster good habits through adulthood.

Preventive care is so important at this age, so if you have any questions about cleanings or scheduling appointments for check-ups, call Rigby Advanced Dental!

Ways to Remember to Go To Your Next Dental Exam

Short of the dental assistant personally giving you a ride to the dentist’s office, what can you do to make regular dental exams, well, unforgettable? Here are 5 ways to remember to go to your next dental exam.

  1. Make the appointment ahead while you wait. Before you start scrolling through Pinterest in the lobby, schedule your next 6-month checkup with the receptionist, and put it in your phone’s calendar then and there. Enable an event alert for the day before, too.
  2. Time it with other events that are 6 months apart. When it is time to change to Daylight Saving Time or Standard Time, use it as a reminder to go to your dentist. You could try timing it with holidays like Independence Day and Christmastime or Easter and Halloween. Some kids will probably need an appointment right after Halloween anyway!
  3. Write it down! Get the appointment process started by phone or our convenient online scheduling request. When our staff responds, put the appointment on a calendar that you see every day–the one on your desk at work, the family calendar in the kitchen,–somewhere so you are not surprised.
  4. Ask someone to call and remind you. Ask someone who calls and talks often to remind you about your next dental exam. Your mother, best friend, or gym buddy will be happy to help you keep up with good health habits.

Find a way that works best for you, and start by scheduling an appointment with Rigby Advanced Dental Care today!

10 Fun Ways to Make Sure You’re Brushing Long Enough

Fun Ways to Brush teeth

A brief introduction…

Dental professionals and the ADA recommend that you brush your teeth for 2-3 minutes and that should prove to be sufficient for a thorough cleaning (don’t forget to floss and rinse as well). The list below is comprised of ten different ways to ensure you’re meeting that time requirement.

1.) Put on your favorite song…

Most songs range from 2:30-3:00 minutes. Put on your favorite jam and brush until the song is finished. This is the perfect way to start your day and have a successful teeth-brushing session.

2.) Mentally segment up your teeth into 4 quadrants…

Brush your teeth in 4 quadrants: upper-right, upper-left, bottom-right, bottom-left. If you brush each for 30 seconds, you’ll have completed the minimum required time to have a thorough brushing session.

3.) Brush each tooth for 5 seconds…

Most adults have 32 teeth. Therefore, if you brush each tooth for 5 seconds, you’ll brush your teeth for a total of 160 seconds, which amounts to 2.66 minutes. This is right where you want to be in terms of time.

4.) Set a timer…

Yes, this may sound as though your grandmother recommended this method to you, but, grandmas know best. If you simply cannot stick to a fun/quirky method in order to brush your teeth for the recommended time, then it may best to implement a more straight-forward method. Setting a timer will most certainly ensure that your teeth are properly brushed and your not ave to waste any extra time attempting to figure out which playlist to choose off of your smart phone.

5.) Walk around…

This method may take some preemptive planning, but it’s effective. What you’ll first do is walk around your apartment or house in a set path that lasts 2-3 minutes, and then you’ll replicate that walking pattern every time your brush your teeth.This method not only provides the necessary time you’ll need in order to brush your teeth properly, but it will also provide a nice but of exercise to help your blood start flowing in the early morning hours to assist you in waking up and feeling refreshed.

6.) Make it a competition…

If you live with your significant other or a friendly roommate, you can make it a competition of sorts when you brush your teeth to see who can stick to the planned 2-3 minute time interval and whoever is the most consistent wins not only a bet, but a fresh and healthy smile as well!

7.) 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi…

There’s a reason why this method is taught to so many people at a young age, it works! If you don’;t have a timer or any sort of method on hand to help you reach eh 2-3 minute mark, good ol’ “1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi…” is a surefire way to have an accurate depiction of how much time it takes to reach that goal.

8.) Television…

If you have a television on in the background, the average commercial break is right around 2-2.5 minutes. This is the perfect method if you are watching the morning news and want it to coincide with your teeth brushing routine.

9.) Hum a tune…

If you’re camping, without power, or just would prefer to perform the task mentally; start humming one of your favorite songs that you know is 2-3 minutes and you’ll successfully complete your brushing routine without utilizing modern technology and you’ll simultaneously be improving your memory recall function.

10.) Brush until your teeth feel clean…

Once you make it a habit of brushing at least 2-3 minutes, you’ll recognize the feeling that occurs when your teeth are clean. Upon practicing this method on daily basis, you’ll be able to instantly tell when your teeth are clean and not require any tricks or additional methods to ensure you’ve properly brushed your teeth.

Your Child’s Dentist Visit: A Helpful Preparation Guide


Baby teeth are just as important as adult, or primary teeth. For this reason, taking your child to visit the dentist is an important part of giving them a strong foundation as far as their oral health is concerned. The ADA recommends your child’s first dentist visit to be by their first birthday. While many children at this age aren’t bothered by early exams, as children get into their toddler years, visiting the dentist may be a little more challenging. To make sure your child has a productive dental exam, use the tips that follow: 

  • Conversation: Talk with your child about their upcoming visit. An easy way to introduce the exam is by reading books about visiting the dentist. As you read these, discuss the topic with your child. 
  • Listen: Through your conversations, listen to any fears your child may have. Encourage him or her to share them and do your best to ease their worries. 
  • Pretend: Play “dentist” with your child. Use props that mimic the ones the dentist will use. Show your child how he or she will have their teeth cleaned with a toothbrush. Also, use a flashlight and cups for helping with the “exam”. After that, encourage your child to give their stuffed animals a checkup. 
  • Role Model: Make sure your children witness you taking care of your teeth by brushing and flossing on a regular basis. And, if you aren’t a big fan of dental exams, don’t share this information with your children. A recent study showed that a child’s dental anxiety is typically passed down from their parent. 
  • Timing: When you schedule your child’s exam, plan it for a time where he or she is in good spirits.

In conclusion, there are several steps you can take to prepare your child for their appointment with the dentist. By doing what you can to get him or her ready, they will be more cooperative and have a positive view of dental appointments. 

Do I Need a Fluoride Treatment?

Cavities are caused by acid-producing bacteria that congregate around the teeth and gums, forming a sticky, colorless film known as plaque. If you don’t practice good, daily oral hygiene (flossing, brushing, and occasional mouth rinses) then your teeth will become increasingly vulnerable to cavities. In addition to at-home care, dental visits are crucial to keeping your teeth healthy.


Professional Fluoride Treatment

If you have a high to moderate risk of developing cavities, then a professional fluoride treatment may help. Cavities and even gum disease can run in families, and you may be more susceptible than most. Professional fluoride treatment will only take a few minutes, but it will help remineralize your teeth and protect them against acid-producing bacteria. Following treatment, you will probably be advised to not eat or drink for at least thirty minutes, just to allow the teeth to fully absorb the fluoride to repair the microscopic cavity-prone areas.

How Often Do I Need Fluoride Treatments?

Depending on the status of your teeth and gums, you may be recommended to get professional fluoride treatments every 3, 6, or 12 months. Additionally, Dr. Rigby may suggest additional preventive measures including over-the-counter or prescription fluoride mouthwashes. If you’re concerned about developing cavities or other dental problems, then fluoride treatments can help you protect your teeth from future dental problems.

What Are The Risk Factors for Developing Cavities?

Some of the most common risk factors for developing cavities include:

  • poor oral hygiene
  • eating disorders
  • active cavities
  • lack of regular professional dental care
  • high levels of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth
  • orthodontic treatment combined with poor oral hygiene
  • drug or alcohol abuse

Not every dental office will offer professional fluoride treatment, but here at Rigby Advanced Dental, you can get fluoride treatment along with your regular cleaning or check-up. Call us today to schedule an appointment to remineralize your teeth and protect against cavities!