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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When Did Removal of Wisdom Teeth Begin?

Blonde teenage girl that needs her wisdom teeth removed smiles with her eyes closed while in the woods

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that erupt behind the two sets of molars, typically in a person’s late teens or early twenties. These teeth often are misaligned or impacted (stuck below the gumline) and require removal to prevent potential dental health problems, such as overcrowding, decay, gum disease, infection, and damage to neighboring teeth. For these reasons, surgical removal or extraction of wisdom teeth is common and routine. But has it always been that way?

Why Wisdom Teeth Removal Was Previously Unpopular

Prior to the introduction of Novocaine in 1902, wisdom teeth were probably rarely, if ever, removed as a preventive measure. Patients who experienced problems or infection with their wisdom teeth either had to live with the pain or endure the agonizing procedure of getting them dug out without sedation and anesthesia. This would have been an intimidating procedure for anyone due to the extreme pain, but it was made worse that it was difficult to find a qualified doctor. Moreover, they lacked the perks of modern surgical dentistry many of us take for granted, such as specialized tools, proper lighting, magnification, and antibiotics. Unfortunately, many people likely died from wisdom tooth infections. But by the 1950s, the advent of antibiotics dramatically reduced infection-related deaths.

The Need for Wisdom Teeth By Early Humans

Considering how much trouble wisdom teeth often cause, it’s reasonable to wonder we even have them in the first place! One theory is that our early ancestors wore out their teeth by early adulthood and needed a third set of molars for continued function. Early humans ate a diet of hard-to-chew foods like roots and raw meat. Though there is evidence of “chew sticks” being used anciently to clean teeth, a lack of oral hygiene inevitably would have led to decayed and missing teeth. So an extra pair that emerged later in life would have come in handy!

The Evolution of Smaller Jaws

Human jaws eventually grew smaller as society transitioned to a more agriculturally-based food supply of softer, cooked foods and the need for extra teeth declined. Some people never develop wisdom teeth, others only have one or two, and many of us have all four! And most patients just don’t have enough room for any number of these third molars, thus they commonly need to be removed.

Do You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?

If you still have any or all of your wisdom teeth, don’t wait until they become problematic to have them examined. Here at Rigby Advanced Dental, we can not only determine whether you’d benefit from having your wisdom teeth removed, but we can perform the procedure in-house so you don’t need to be referred out. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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Fun Dental-Related Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Lineup of holiday stockings hanging from a brown mantle near a Christmas tree

‘Tis the season for snow, Santa, and lots of sweets. In this blog post, we’ll list some tooth-friendly stocking stuffers and gifts to ring in the New Year that your family will love–especially if they’ve been sneaking the occasional sugar cookie.

1. Travel-Sized Basics

Have an avid traveler in the family? It’s always great to have items like mini tubes of toothpaste or travel toothbrush covers on hand for that upcoming vacation. Hit up your pharmacy’s travel-size section and load up on these essential–and adorable–mini oral hygiene products.

2. Kid-Friendly Themed Products

Delight your child with a toothbrush or tube of toothpaste featuring their favorite movie or cartoon character. While dental care might seem like a chore to the little ones, a Star Wars or Crayola themed toothbrush can make brushing something to look forward to.

3. Novelty Dental Products

Have a little fun with a silly dental-themed product that’ll make your recipient giggle. There are plenty of novelty items and gag gifts out there with a toothy theme, such as bacon-flavored toothpaste, tooth-shaped succulent planters, and denture-shaped ice cube trays. These gifts are just for fun, but they also pair well with a fresh, new toothbrush.

4. Doggie Dental Chews

Does your furry friend have a stocking? Fill it up with tasty dental chew treats that’ll give your pet’s teeth a good clean. We recommend brushing your pet’s teeth every day and supplementing with a dental treat, but be sure to look for a chew clinically proven to break up plaque and tartar to ensure optimal oral health.

5. Skip the Candy

It’s tempting to pack your family’s stockings full of holiday-themed candy. But don’t do it! While the occasional sugary indulgence during the holidays is okay, moderation is key. Plus, classic holiday candies like peppermints and candy canes are hard and can be dangerous to the teeth. Stick with minty sugar-free gum–without the sugar, decay’s not a concern, and the act of chewing gum actually helps clean the teeth. And you still get that refreshing mint flavor. Or, there are plenty of fruity flavors for your loved ones with an insatiable sweet tooth. However, if you really want to get someone candy, stick with dark chocolate.

See You in 2019!

When the stockings have been unstuffed and the gifts unwrapped, it’s time to make your New Year’s resolutions. Here’s an easy one: to keep up with your dental health routine every day and come see us for your biannual cleaning and exam before the first half of the year is up. We look forward to helping you have a smile that is merry and bright all year long! Contact us today to schedule your next appointment.

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How Long Are Dental Implants Supposed to Last?

Blonde middle-aged woman wearing a black jacket, gray cowl neck sweater, and orange hat smiles with dental implants on a fall day
If you have, or are in need of a dental implant, that implant may well be with you for life! Read on to discover how long dental implants last and how to maximize their durability.

What Is a Dental Implant?

If you have missing or damaged teeth, dental implants are a fantastic solution that will leave your mouth feeling and looking as good as new. An implant is a biocompatible titanium post that Dr. Rigby will surgically insert into your jaw. Once it fuses into your jaw, it will serve to anchor the replacement tooth, called the restoration. This restoration will look and feel just like a natural tooth, blending right in with its neighbors. Dental implants are a preferred tooth-replacement solution of many patients for a number of reasons. They eliminate the need for adhesives, won’t negatively impact your chewing or speech, and feel completely comfortable.

How to Properly Care for Implants

Dental implants are a wonderful alternative to other solutions, like dentures or bridges, not only because they offer increased comfort and stability, but because they are reliable and long-lasting. Implants should be able to stick around at least 25 years, and with proper care that implant can last you a lifetime. They can’t get decay or cavities like your natural teeth, but they can still become compromised by unhealthy gums. Hence, the success of an implant hinges on daily brushing and flossing and biannual checkups. Other tips to help you maintain your implant include eating a nutritious diet, drinking plenty of water, limiting your consumption of sugar, and avoiding tobacco use.

We Can Restore Your Smile!

If you’re missing a tooth or even multiple teeth, we’re here to help. Dr. Rigby and the team here at Rigby Advanced Dental can install an implant that you can rely on for years to come. Moreover, we will make sure that you understand how to keep your implant here for the long run. Contact us today to set up a consultation.

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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!

Quip Toothbrush: An Honest Review by a Dentist

White Quip toothbrush next to a potted plant and a rolled up gray towel

In today’s world of passing fads and trends, it’s always a pleasant surprise to find a product that can withstand the test of time and live up to the hype. As a dental healthcare provider, I’ve heard about a lot of crazes from my patients, such as brushing with lemon juice and baking soda or activated charcoal. When I first heard of Quip, I was a little skeptical. But when I heard more and more good things from my patients, I had to try it out for myself. Here is what I found.

Lightweight Design

The slim, lightweight design feels like a traditional toothbrush, which is a nice change from the usual electric toothbrushes. While those are excellent for getting a thorough clean, some patients find the design to be chunky and brushing awkward. One thing I love to tell my patients is to make the brushing experience as effortless as possible. That way, there’s as little resistance as possible and you’re less likely to skip out on your routine oral regimen. The design is also great because it’s easily transportable. When I go on a trip, it’s easy to bring along.

Internal Timer & Gentle Vibrations

Another great feature I found useful to the brushing experience was the internal timer that notifies me when I’ve brushed for exactly two minutes. If you’re not aware of the rule, let me refresh your memory. The recommended oral healthcare routine is to brush twice a day for two minutes each time and to floss at least once a day. This timer allows you to make sure that two minutes is really two minutes, and not just an unreliable guesstimate. Something that interested me about Quip was that the bristles vibrate, instead of rotating like traditional electric toothbrushes. The vibrations still help break up plaque but are easier on the teeth and gums. Several of my patients reported less sore gums while using Quip.

4 white Quip toothbrushes with bronze and gray accents

Replacement Brush Head Subscription

As a dentist and an avid brushing enthusiast, one of my favorite aspects about this toothbrush is the automation feature. To ensure that you replace the brush head on a regular basis, you can subscribe to get a new brush head every three months. My patients often look like a kid with their hand caught in the candy jar when I ask them how regularly they replace their toothbrush or brush head. Despite my warnings that bacteria love to live on your toothbrush and that’s why it must be replaced, some of my patients just don’t feel motivated or can’t remember. One guy even told me that he would like to change his traditional electric toothbrush out, but it was too expensive for him. Quip solves both of these problems with their subscription plan that sends you a new brush head for a price that can fit most of, if not all, my patients’ budgets.

A 5-Star Product

I love to recommend this product to all my patients. It’s not only efficient but effective, which means it saves money by cutting down on expensive treatments that are caused by bad brushing habits or unnecessary exposure to bacteria from an old toothbrush. All my dentist and hygienist friends use Quip (myself included!). I’m more than happy to say that this product really puts its money where its mouth is. It’s easy to endorse a product when it delivers real results and takes care of my patients’ teeth and gums. Thanks, Quip!

Have Questions? We Have Answers!

To ask our team questions about this great product, to learn more tips to improve your at-home oral hygiene routine, or to schedule your next cleaning and checkup, contact Rigby Advanced Dental today.

19th Century Dental Milestones

In the 1800s, dental technology started to take a turn for the better. Here is a timeline of some of the most notable dental events of the 19th century that helped shape the advancement of modern dental treatment and technology:

19th Century Dental Timeline

1801 — Richard C. Skinner wrote the first dental book, Treatise on the Human Teeth, to be published in the United States.

5 ascending stacks of silver coins, what dental fillings were made of in the 19th century

1816 — Auguste Taveau invented the first dental fillings. These fillings were made from silver coins and mercury.
1825 — Samuel Stockton began the commercial manufacturing of porcelain teeth. His company was called White Dental Manufacturing Company. They established and dominated the dental market during the 19th century.
1832 — James Snell invented the first reclining chair.
1839 — Charles Goodyear discovered vulcanized rubber. This led to denture bases becoming more affordable. They were previously made out of gold.

A red and yellow apple sits atop a small stack of old books against a chalkboard

1840 — Thomas Morton was the first to demonstrate the use of anesthesia for dental surgery. Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris founded the world’s first dental school, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery and established the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree.
1864 — Sanford C. Barnum developed the rubber dam. This helped isolate the tooth from the oral cavity.
1870s —Larger cavities began being filled with baked porcelain inlays. James Beall Morrison patented the first mechanical dental drill. Unfortunately, it was extremely slow and a filling would take hours to complete.
1890s — Willoughby Miller is the first to describe the microbial basis of dental cavities in his book Micro-Organisms of the Human Mouth. This raised awareness for cavity prevention and helped oral care companies begin their marketing for at-home oral health products.

Black and white panoramic dental X-ray showing the teeth of an adult

1896 — Edmund Kells adapted Wilhelm Roentgen’s X-ray for dental needs, and Washington Wentworth Sheffield invented the first toothpaste tube.

Our Modern-Day Technology

Because of these individuals, and those during the last 100 years, we have seen even greater advancements in at-home dental hygiene, in-office dental procedures and treatments, and dental technology. We are grateful for those who came before us that introduced their inventions and advocated for improvements in the field of dentistry! Come check out our high-quality dental care and advanced technology at our comfortable practice, Rigby Advanced Dental, in The Offices at The Hill Country Galleria. Contact us to schedule your next checkup and cleaning.

Does Toothpaste Ever Expire?

Partially squeeze collapsible blue tube of toothpaste with a white corrugated cap

Most people don’t put too much thought into their toothpaste. For something that we use orally every day, perhaps we should! Toothpaste, like many other odd things, does indeed expire. So, let us tell you why:

Fluoride Potency

The expiration date on most toothpastes is mainly due to it’s active ingredient, fluoride. Fluoride is important to our oral health because it helps with remineralization of the enamel that protects our teeth from cavities. Studies show that fluoride loses its anti-cavity efficacy over time. Toothpaste needs at least 1000 ppm of soluble fluoride to have an anti-cavity effect. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) any toothpaste that has fluoride must have an expiration date to have the official ADA Seal of Approval. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also requires that all food and medicine have an expiration date to ensure quality and safety. Using expired toothpaste past its expiration date is not known to be harmful, but it isn’t as beneficial. If you plan on stocking up on some discounted toothpaste, be sure to check for the expiration date on the bottom of the package.

Uses for Expired Toothpaste

If you do have some expired toothpaste laying around, you can still put it to good use! Below are twelve alternative ways you can utilize your expired toothpaste.

1. Remove gum from your hair.
2. Deodorize baby bottles and containers.
3. Clean your clothes iron.
4. Polish your (diamond) wedding ring.
5. Remove crayon marks.
6. Lift small carpet stains.
7. Shine the chrome in your bathroom and kitchen.
8. Remove scuffs from shoes.
9. Get rid of tough clothing stains.
10. Clear and brighten car headlights.
11. Clean your sneakers.
12. Prevent foggy mirrors in the bathroom.

Is Your Mouth Cavity-Free?

The next time you brush your teeth, take a look at the expiration date. You might need a new tube! If you’ve been using expired toothpaste, it may be a good idea to come see Dr. Rigby to make sure you don’t have any new cavities. Contact our team at Rigby Advanced Dental to schedule your appointment today!

4 Healthier Alternatives to Sugar

A jar overflowing with sticky caramel, brownies, ice cream, and candy next to a pink and white bag of sticky popcorn
Ever heard the phrase “sugar rots your teeth” from your parents or your dentist growing up? Well, they weren’t wrong! Although people tend to focus on how sugar can cause weight gain, diabetes, and other ailments, did you know that it can negatively affect your oral health, too? Don’t worry, though, we have four great sugar alternatives that allow you to indulge your sweet tooth without destroying your teeth!

How Sugar Affects Your Teeth

When you eat sugary foods like candy or drink sugary beverages like soda and don’t properly wash away the sugary residue with enough saliva, water, and proper oral care, bacteria on your teeth feed on that sugar and release acid, which in turn dissolves your tooth enamel. Once the enamel is worn down, your teeth are vulnerable to cavities and decay, which can result in tooth loss down the line. So sugar itself isn’t necessarily bad for teeth, but it can be responsible for health-altering damage. Avoid hard candies, sticky sweets (including dried fruit!), pastries, soda, and alcohol if you don’t want to expose your teeth to sugar.

4 Sugar Alternatives to Consider

1. Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugarless carbohydrate that looks like sugar and is sweet like sugar but isn’t considered an artificial sweetener because it is derived naturally and doesn’t raise your blood sugar levels. You will find it in gum, mints, mouthwashes, and even toothpastes because it can actually curb decay-causing bacteria and is completely safe for your teeth.

2. Honey

Honey boasts a ton of health benefits and won’t cause big spikes in your blood sugar, is antimicrobial, and even has electrolytes. However, it’s not necessarily “better” for your teeth, so do be sure to use it sparingly and wash your mouth thoroughly with water after consuming it.

3. Stevia

Derived from the leaves of the stevia plant, this sweetener is all-natural and also prevents swings in your blood sugar levels. It tastes pretty good, too, so you won’t even miss out on sugar.

4. Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is a yummy alternative to sugar and is really easy to bake with, since you can use equal amounts of it as you would regular white sugar.

Healthy Foods That Promote Strong Teeth

Nuts, dairy products (such as cheese and yogurt), apples, celery, carrots, and leafy green vegetables are just a few of the delicious and nutritious foods that support good oral health.

Healthy Diet + Preventive Care

Remember that no matter your diet, daily brushing and flossing is the best way to keep plaque and bacteria off of your teeth and reduce the risk of developing cavities. Visit our office twice a year to make sure your teeth and gums are in great shape, too. From cleanings to restorative procedures, let us help you have the smile of your dreams at Rigby Advanced Dental. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!