How Does Dehydration Affect Oral Health?

young man drinking a big bottle of water to stay hydrated

Dehydration can cause a number of unpleasant side effects, as early as 72 hours after not having enough fluid. It does more than just cause dry skin and dizziness. Dehydration can also affect your oral health. Rigby Advanced Dental, serving Austin, TX, and the general vicinity, wants to take some time to educate our patients about an issue that can wreak havoc on your mouth.

Increased Risk for Decay

Whether you have dry mouth from over exercising, not drinking enough, or a medication, your mouth may lack the saliva necessary to prevent decay. Saliva acts as a cleaning solvent for your teeth. It washes away bacteria and debris. When you don’t have an adequate amount of saliva, that bacteria remains in your mouth. The bacteria will feed on the sugar you consume, and in return, will release an acidic waste product that causes your teeth to decay.

Elevated Risk for Gum Disease

Your risk for gum disease rises when you’re dehydrated. Not only is saliva not available to wash away the bacteria that causes gum disease, it also doesn’t adequately remove food particles from in between your teeth. Therefore, the bacteria around and under your gums have food to thrive on when your saliva doesn’t wash it away.

Greater Chance of Bad Breath

Even if you don’t have decay or gum disease, you can still have bacteria in your mouth. The waste product that the bacteria excretes has an unpleasant odor. Different bacteria produce different odors from their waste. Food particles can also remain that break down and exude a foul scent.

Weaker Enamel

Your saliva delivers fluoride, calcium, and phosphate – three minerals that your enamel needs to remain hard. Specifically, these minerals are necessary for the remineralization process, the process your teeth undergo whenever you lose a normal amount of tooth enamel.

Dehydration can have a negative impact on your oral health. By staying hydrated daily, you can reduce your risk of these problems happening. Get the oral care you need to further improve your oral health by scheduling an appointment with Rigby Advanced Dental, serving Austin, TX, and the nearby area, by calling 512-992-2822.

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Who Should Get an Oral Cancer Screening?

woman receiving an oral cancer screening

A preventative dental examination doesn’t just screen for potential dental issues. Oral cancer screenings are a common component of dental examinations, too. With one person dying every hour from oral cancer, screenings can quite literally save lives. But are they necessary for all patients?

What Causes Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer can develop due to a variety of factors, but common causes are excessive smoking, tobacco and alcohol consumption, and poor dental hygiene. You are more at risk of developing oral cancer if you’ve had it before or if you’ve had excessive sun exposure too.

What Is an Oral Cancer Screening?

An oral cancer screening is a very simple process. First, your dentist will examine your mouth and tongue, checking for any abnormal lumps and bumps. They will then do a scan of your face, neck, and lips for the same reason. They might also feel your lymph nodes for added precaution. If your dentist detects any abnormalities, they will let you know if you require further testing.

Don’t be afraid to have an oral cancer screening! If you maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle and diligently maintain your oral health, you’re doing the best that you can to keep your oral and overall health in great shape. Early detection of oral cancer also ensures a higher possible survival rate, so it’s important to get a screening at least once a year to make sure that your health is right on track.

How to Prevent Oral Cancer

Maintaining good oral hygiene and health and avoiding acidic foods and beverages is the best way to prevent oral cancer. Brush and floss twice a day, and see your dentist twice a year for exams and cleanings. If you have a more advanced oral health issue, it’s important to also visit your dentist to find a solution for it as soon as possible. Avoiding or quitting smoking is another surefire way to prevent oral cancer.

Rigby Advanced Dental Is Here for You!

At Rigby Advanced Dental, we’re equipped to assist with any and all dental concerns. We look forward to seeing you at our Austin, Texas dental office! Contact us for more information and be sure to have a look at our affordable financing and payment plans.

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What Are Implant Supported Dentures?

senior couple sitting on a bench hug and smile after learning about implant supported dentures

If you’re looking for a tooth restoration solution, there are a number of different options you’ll want to consider. Today on the blog, we’re zeroing in on just one: implant-supported dentures. Keep reading for the basics of this fantastic tooth replacement solution, and let us help you decide if this is the solution for your smile.

What Is a Dental Implant?

In order to understand how implant-supported dentures work, we will first need to introduce you to the magic behind this restorative solution: the dental implant. Quickly becoming the most popular tooth replacement option, a dental implant is a screw-like piece of titanium metal that is surgically inserted into the jaw, replacing the tooth root. The plant provides an incredibly sturdy base for your false tooth. So sturdy, in fact, that it can be used to support dentures!

What Are Implant-Supported Dentures

Implant-supported dentures are a great way to keep your dentures secure in your mouth so you don’t have to worry about removing them, or having them fall out of your mouth–which can happen with an improper fit! With implant-supported dentures, we’ll strategically place several implants throughout the mouth that will serve to permanently anchor your dentures. As a result, your beautiful, custom dentures will be comfortable and stable, so you can smile with confidence and ease!

Restorative Dentistry in Austin, Texas

As we said, when it comes to tooth restoration, you’ve got options! Whether you’re thinking dentures, implants, or something else, there’s no need to make the decision all on your own. Here at Rigby Advanced Dental, our mission is to advise all our patients as to what is the best solution for their smile. If you are considering a restorative procedure, now is the time for a consultation. Give us a call or visit our website to get set up with yours.

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When to See a Dentist During an Emergency

If you experience a dental emergency you are almost always better off seeing a dentist instead of visiting a hospital emergency room. Why? For one thing, hospitals are not equipped to handle dental emergencies. Unless you experience some other trauma as well that requires immediate medical attention, save your money and head straight to Rigby Advanced Dental. Here’s a list of some of the things that are considered dental emergencies that we can take care of for you in our Austin, TX office.

1. Knocked-Out Tooth

This type of tooth damage requires immediate action. First you should try and retrieve the knocked out tooth. Pick it up carefully by the crown and thoroughly rinse it clean. Reinsert it into the tooth socket if at all possible. Gently bite down on a piece of gauze to hold it in place. Give us a call and head to our office as soon as possible. If reinserting the tooth is not feasible, then transport the tooth to our office in a container of milk.

2. Broken Tooth

Locate the fragments of broken tooth, rinse them off with water and bring them to the office in a container of milk. Contact us immediately and come right in.

3. Cracked Tooth

Depending on the circumstance, a cracked tooth may or may not require same day care. Call our office and we’ll give you instructions. We’ll see you promptly but in the meantime, rinse your mouth periodically with ½ c. warm water and ½ t. salt to keep the area clean and ward off infection.

4. Toothache

Tooth pain might require emergency treatment depending on the severity and duration. Always contact our office right away for guidance. Infection is probably the cause of your pain if you have an abscess (a bump or pocket filled with pus) or if you have a fever. We’ll want to see you right away so the infection doesn’t get out of hand and create a more serious problem. Other potential culprits are wisdom teeth or discomfort caused by something lodged between your teeth. Try gently flossing the sensitive area and rinse with warm saltwater. Whatever the cause of your tooth pain we’ll want to get you into the office promptly to clear up the pain and identify its source.

5. Bleeding Gums

This is often a sign of periodontal disease. It usually does not require immediate attention but it’s hard to self-diagnose so call and talk to our office. We’ll want to see you soon because gum disease is much easier to treat if it’s caught in the early stages.

6. Lost Filling, Broken Crown or Damaged Denture

Lost or damaged fillings or restorations are definitely inconvenient but usually the health of a tooth is not at risk. Call us and we’ll see you promptly so we can alleviate your discomfort and avoid the chance of further decay or infection. Dr. Mike Shalaby and Dr. Mark Shalaby are both experienced at restoring smiles and offer many options to repair damage caused by dental emergencies.

Emergency Dental Care at Rigby Advanced Dental

Prevention can keep some dental emergencies at bay. Regular dental checkups and good personal oral habits go a long way to preventing situations that require emergency care. Another thing we recommend are custom athletic mouthguards since the main cause of tooth damage for everyone is sports related. Don’t wait to take care of an urgent dental concern. Our Bee Cave, TX office remains open to handle dental emergencies and issues that require prompt attention. We are taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of disease. Calls to our number (512)992-2822 are answered promptly.

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How Do I Keep My Teeth Healthy?

Cartoon family standing around a large tooth and toothbrush on a blue background

Good oral hygiene habits can lead to a lifetime of healthy teeth — and it’s never too late to start! This year, consider building some tooth-healthy practices into your routine. They’ll benefit your teeth, your smile, and even your overall health!

Am I Brushing My Teeth the Right Way?

We’ll start with the basics: you should brush your teeth twice daily, for two minutes each time. If you’re one of the many patients who attempt to brush your teeth vigorously in order to complete the process more quickly, we have bad news: vigorous brushing can damage your enamel, irritate your gums, and doesn’t get your teeth any cleaner! Instead, opt for gentle brushing in a circular motion throughout each quadrant of your mouth. Your teeth and gums will thank you. If you want help tracking the time you’re brushing your teeth or if you’re sick of your conventional toothbrush, most electric toothbrushes have timers that help you ensure you’re brushing for the right amount of time.

Is Flossing Really That Important?

If you regularly skimp on flossing, you should know that brushing only cleans 60 percent of your teeth. Flossing can clean those hard-to-reach places that your toothbrush misses. Flossing cleans away food particles and other debris that can act as magnets for bad bacteria. It is also beneficial for your gum health. You should floss once daily, but you can do it either before or after you brush.

How Can I Supplement My Daily Routine?

Regular brushing and flossing are the building blocks of a healthy oral hygiene routine. However, there are many ways to supplement or tailor your habits. Dealing with tooth sensitivity? Consider adding a mouthwash with fluoride, since fluoride can strengthen tooth enamel and ease sensitivity. Dealing with bad breath? Don’t forget about brushing your tongue, or consider making modifications to your diet that may help. And don’t forget preventative visits every six months for a professional cleaning and exam. Drs. Mark and Mike Shalaby and the rest of the team at Rigby Advanced Dental in Austin, Texas are always happy to suggest ways you can preserve the health of your pearly whites. To ask us any questions or to schedule your next appointment, call us today!

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What Are the Side Effects of Sedation Dentistry?

Young woman in dental chair with blue mask over mouth and nose

Dental anxiety is common and can get in the way of feeling comfortable and at ease during your dental appointment. That’s why we offer a variety of sedation options. The type of sedation you’ll receive depends on your anxiety level and what procedure you’re having. The side effects are usually minor, and many patients feel that they are worth the added comfort. If you’re unsure whether you’d like to receive sedation at your appointment and want to know what the side effects will be, here is all the information you need.

Common Types Of Dental Sedation & Their Side Effects

1. Nitrous Oxide

Also known as “laughing gas,” this drug is administered through a face mask that dispenses vapor. The effects are immediate and wear off quickly. A feeling of elation and relaxation will occur. The side effects of nitrous oxide are minimal, which is why this is the version most used in pediatric dentistry. Nitrous oxide does not cause grogginess. Patients can drive themselves home and resume normal activity after the appointment.

2. Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral sedation refers to a pill that will be taken before your dental appointment. It relaxes the nerves and helps calm anxiety. There will be some grogginess, so it’s recommended that you have someone drive you to and from your appointment. Possible side effects may include dizziness, nausea, headache, and dry mouth. All symptoms should resolve within a day of use.

3. IV Sedation

Intravenous sedation means that you’ll receive an IV treatment to help calm nerves. This is for more advanced cases of dental anxiety or pain sensitivity. It may cause sleepiness, so you’ll need help getting to and from the dentist. Side effects include grogginess, dizziness, and possibly pain or bruising at the injection site. All of these should resolve within a couple of days.

4. Sleep Sedation

For those who experience a great deal of dental anxiety and sensitivity, sleep sedation is available. You’ll be given general anesthesia, which will put you completely to sleep for your procedure. You won’t remember the appointment and it will pass quickly. Because this is the deepest form of sedation, it will take longer to wear off. You will be monitored following the procedure and discharged after the sedation effects wear off.

Your Comfort & Safety Are Important to Us!

Call us at Rigby Advanced Dental and let us know if you have any questions about sedation options for your next dental procedure. We are happy to help you prepare both mentally and physically for your upcoming appointment. We hope to see you soon.

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Bad Habits for Your Teeth

Even if you’re daily brushing, flossing, and eating well, you may be doing damage to your teeth with other oral habits that you don’t even realize are harmful. We’ve compiled a list of bad habits that can lead to long-term and irreversible damage to teeth. Read on to see if there’s something you need to work on!

Closeup of a woman holding and smoking a cigarette outside

1. Smoking & Using Tobacco Products

Using tobacco products and smoking are harmful for your entire body, including your teeth and mouth. They stain your teeth, lead to bad breath, and can cause oral cancer. If you use tobacco products, we advise you to consider stopping as soon as possible. But you don’t have to do it alone–help is available.

Closeup of a pencil with an end that has been chewed on

2. Chewing on Items That Aren’t Food

You may be chewing on non-food items without even realizing it! When nervous or stressed, we sometimes chew pencils, pens, our nails, and other items that can lead to chipped teeth. If you’re a nervous person who needs something to chew on, switch to sugar-free gum. It’s been shown to actually improve the health of your teeth!

A woman holds a cup of coffee with lots of sugar and milk in it

3. Drinking Sugar

Bad oral bacteria feed upon your dietary sugar and produce acidic byproducts that lead to tooth decay and cavities. But even if you’re not eating candy or sweets, you may be getting excessive amounts of sugar in your daily beverages. Do you add sugar to your coffee or tea? Do you drink sodas or juice on a regular basis? Are your favorite cocktails filled with simple syrup? Ask for “skinny” versions of your favorite cocktails to cut down on sugar. And whenever possible, switch to water, sparkling water (that isn’t citrus flavored), or milk instead of sugary beverages.

Aerial view of a basketball on a gray and orange basketball court

4. Forgoing Mouthguards While Playing Sports

Forgetting a mouthguard when playing contact sports can easily lead to a chipped or knocked-out tooth due to injury. Be sure to wear an athletic mouthguard whenever engaging in physical activity that could involve colliding with other players, getting hit in the face with equipment, or falling to the ground. At your next appointment, we can fit you with custom athletic mouthguard for optimal protection!

Brunette woman grinding her teeth as she sleeps

5. Grinding Teeth

Chronic grinding and clenching of teeth, called bruxism, is a common problem caused by stress. While sleeping, many patients grind their teeth without even knowing it. This can lead to headaches, jaw pain and temporomandibular joint dysfunction, chipped teeth, broken teeth, and worn enamel that increases your risk of sensitivity and decay. Let us fit you for a nightguard to protect your teeth as you sleep. You’ll not only have healthier teeth–you’ll sleep better too!

Closeup of a toothbrush with blue and green bristles with a smear of blue toothpaste

6. Brushing Too Hard

It might surprise you to learn that many people brush their teeth too hard. This can cause receding gums, weakened enamel, and sensitive teeth. Use a soft-bristled brush and brush gently in small circular motions for two minutes.

Need Help Kicking These Habits to the Curb?

If you’re guilty of any of these bad habits, do your best to adjust. We would be happy to help you improve your oral health habits so you can have a healthier smile! Contact us today for assistance.

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Tap Water vs. Bottled Water

Closeup of a stream of running tap water from a silver faucet against a white wall

Get ready for an epic showdown: bottled water vs. tap water. In the red corner, we have bottled water weighing in at 1.04 pounds. In the blue corner, we have tap water at roughly 8 ounces plus the weight of your cup. The stakes are high because our patients want to know which is better for their teeth!

Is It a Fair Fight?

Bottled water vs. tap water will never be a fair fight, because most tap water contains a secret weapon: fluoride. Fluoride, a natural mineral, was added to the public water supply in many communities during the 20th century in an effort to fight cavities and limit tooth decay.

Fluoride for the Win

Fluoride is the real MVP that you want in your corner. It strengthens your tooth enamel through a process called remineralization. During remineralization, fortifying minerals such as fluoride, phosphate, and calcium are deposited on the crystalline mineral structure of your enamel. This is a winning move because strengthened enamel makes for a strong and healthy mouth. Enamel that is thin and weak exposes the nerves inside your inner tooth to potential irritation from pressure, temperature, and bacteria. Nerve irritation causes sensitive teeth and exposure to bacteria leads to pain, tooth decay, cavities, bad breath, and infection!

All Bottled Up

Consider this: water is not the only thing that your plastic water bottle could contain. Certain types of plastic slowly give off toxins and chemicals, which you then ingest each time you take a sip! This plastic then could be recycled, but often it gets dumped in a landfill or litters our beaches and oceans, posing a threat to wildlife. If you opt for bottled water, do your research and choose a plastic that does not give off any toxins, and do your best to recycle the bottle after consumption.

Ask Us All Your Dental-Related Questions!

Next time you reach for a refreshing glass of tap water, congratulate yourself not only for staying hydrated, but also for taking steps to protect your teeth and the environment. To schedule your next appointment or to ask our team any questions about how to strengthen your teeth, contact our office today.

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5 Tips to Impress Your Dentist at Your Next Checkup

Blonde woman smiles brightly with great oral health while wearing a pink shirt in front of a white picket fence

Are you afraid to go to the dentist because you haven’t been taking great care of your teeth? First, we want you to know we are here to help you have outstanding oral health, no matter the current condition of your oral health. So when you come in for a cleaning, we’ll check for decay and gum disease and get your teeth feeling fresh and clean once again. We will also advise you on ways to improve your oral care practices so your teeth and gums can be healthy and strong for a lifetime. In this post, we will share five simple tips to follow before your next visit that will make a huge difference in your at-home oral hygiene routine!

1. Drink Water

Staying hydrated is critical for the health of your body and mouth. Water combats dry mouth and tooth decay by washing away leftover food particles and allowing for the production of saliva. Saliva is 99% water and 1% substances that aid in fighting oral bacteria and digesting food. Moreover, drinking water with fluoride is one of the easiest ways to prevent cavities, as it helps remineralize, or rebuild, weakened enamel.

2. Brush Your Teeth & Your Tongue

Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoridated toothpaste. The only way to fully and effectively clean your teeth at home is by gently brushing for the full two minutes, so be sure to not rush through your morning and evening brush session even if you’re running late or are tired. If you find this difficult, set a timer on your phone. These days, most electric toothbrushes will time 120 seconds automatically. Additionally, remember to brush your tongue each time you brush your teeth. This will help keep your tongue clean of bacteria that leads to bad breath and halitosis. At your appointment, ask our team to provide additional tips to improve your brushing technique!

3. Floss Daily

Flossing to clean in between your teeth and below your gum line helps prevent plaque buildup, cavities, and bad breath. Unfortunately, many people skip this important step in their daily dental hygiene. We understand flossing can sometimes be a pain, especially if you have irritated and inflamed gums that bleed. But the good news is, the more you do it, the easier it gets and the less likely your gums will bleed.

4. Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Studies have shown that chewing sugar-free gum after meals for at least 20 minutes helps to clean teeth. Chewing produces more saliva, which is the mouth’s natural rinse. Sugar-free gum also works to dislodge food particles from in between teeth.

5. Use a Nightguard to Combat Bruxism

If you clench and/or grind your teeth at night, you should be using a nightguard. We can get you fitted for a custom and comfortable guard to protect your teeth from damage and to help you sleep better.

A Healthy Mouth Contributes to a Healthy Body

Follow these simple tips to enjoy a healthier mouth and to blow us away at your next visit! No matter the condition of your mouth now, these steps can lead you toward fresher breath, stronger teeth, and greater self-confidence. Contact us to schedule your next checkup at Rigby Advanced Dental.

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What Percentage of People Have Cavities?

Blonde man with facial hair wears a plaid jacket and looks anxiously to the side thinking about cavities
It’s likely that you or someone you know has had a cavity. In fact, you may be surprised to learn just how many people get cavities. But before we dive into the statistics, let’s learn a little more about what cavities are and how you get them.

What Are Cavities?

A cavity is tooth decay, which occurs when your tooth’s enamel, the protective outer layer of your teeth, is destroyed. The way this happens is that your oral bacteria eat the sugar in the foods and drinks you consume and produce an acid byproduct that dissolves the minerals in your teeth. Cavities often form in between your teeth, along the gum line, near dental fillings, and in the pits and grooves in the teeth at the back of your mouth. If cavities are not treated, the decay can spread to neighboring teeth and into your tooth’s pulp, a bundle of nerves and blood vessels. At this point, you will require root canal therapy to preserve your tooth. But decayed and infected teeth that are too late to save will need to be extracted to protect your oral health.

How Are Cavities Diagnosed?

You may not realize you have a cavity because you don’t have any feeling in your enamel and therefore can’t tell when it’s decaying. However, severe tooth decay exposes the underlying dentin, which contains tiny tubes that connect to your tooth’s inner nerves, at which point you will feel pain and sensitivity. But because it’s so hard to detect cavities on your own, it’s important to get a dental exam every six months so we can check for cavities in your mouth. The way we do this is by looking at your dental X-rays and probing your teeth to look for any pits or any spots that feel too soft because the enamel has begun to dissolve.

What Percentage of People Have Cavities?

In a 2016 study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that over 90% of adults in the United States have had a cavity. They also reported that 1 in 4 adults have cavities that are untreated. You should visit us at Rigby Advanced Dental every six months to confirm whether or not your mouth is cavity-free! We will also clean your teeth of a sticky film of accumulated bacteria called plaque, and tartar, which is hardened plaque.

How Can I Prevent Cavities?

If you don’t want to be in the 25% of adults with untreated cavities, maintain a healthy diet high in fibrous fruits and vegetables and low in carbohydrates and sugars, brush your teeth twice a day using a fluoridated toothpaste for two minutes each time, floss at least once a day, and get a checkup and cleaning every six months at Rigby Advanced Dental. Contact us today to schedule your biannual appointment!