It’s no secret that West Lake Hills dentist Dr. Bell and his team are known for their use of the latest state-of-the-art technology to provide complete and accurate diagnoses of dental conditions, as well as patient comfort and safety, but many Austinites don’t know exactly what Dr. Bell’s arsenal of high-technology dental tools includes or the various benefits they bring to patients.
One of the many technologically advanced dentistry tools Dr. Bell has in his Austin office is the DEKA CO2 laser that makes it possible in many cases to perform dental implants without the use of a scalpel, which is the typical procedure. The CO2 laser by DEKA is the same laser dermatologists use, but the it has been specially modified for soft tissue in the mouth. In dentistry, the use of the laser allows very small incisions with minimal trauma, no bleeding, and shorter procedure time. Patients report much greater comfort levels as well as faster healing with the use of the laser.
The CO2 laser can also be used for biopsies, with benefits to the patient including no sutures or post-surgery antibiotics needed, faster healing time and no scarring.
“The CO2 laser is an amazing technological advancement for performing dental surgery and dental implants. The CO2 laser decontaminates the surgical area and creates an optimal environment for healing. This provides a great advantage to our patients,” says Dr. Bell.
In addition, there are no restrictions for the CO2 laser in cases of conditions including pregnancy, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, transplants, pacemakers, or any cardiovascular disease.
One of Dr. Bell’s patients, David Schuette, can testify to the dramatic difference between getting dental implants the old way and having the implants with the CO2 laser.
Dr. Bell’s patient David says: “I had the first implant one week with regular incisions, and a second implant two weeks later with the laser. The first implant was more painful, the area was swollen for several days, and in general had a bigger impact on my body.”
According to DEKA, the manufacturer of the $57,000 laser, the CO2 laser is the best choice for performing dental surgery on soft tissue. The laser energy makes it possible to cut and vaporize the soft tissues without any bleeding, rendering it extremely valid for surgery in highly vascularized areas, such as the oral mucosa, palate, and tongue.
With the development of microprocessors, the energy pulse of the CO2 lasers can be “super pulsed,” which gives the tissue recovery time to dissipate the laser energy. This allows a major improvement in working speed and efficiency on soft tissue, with minimal thermal damage to the treated tissues.
The result? Faster healing and more comfortable outcomes. Learn more about Dr. Bell’s other state-of-the-art dental technological devises, visit https://mbelldds.com/about-us/dental-technology/.
One of the healthiest drinks anyone can have is tea. This is especially true if you don’t add anything to it, like sugar. Tea has many good properties to it, most of which can directly improve your oral health simply by adding it into your daily diet. If you want to increase the levels of your oral health, tea may be the one small change you need to make to really increase how healthy your mouth really is.
All types of tea are known to help increase your oral health, but green tea is the most beneficial. Studies have shown that drinking green tea helps to reduce how many cavities you get. Tea protects against gum disease, showing signs that it can help reverse the effects of gum disease, too. Plus, tea helps to eradicate bad breath.
If you are replacing sugary or acidic drinks with the tea, you get even more benefits. Both sugar and acid do a lot of damage to your teeth. That is why it is so important to drink unsweetened tea. That way, you get all of the benefits without the detrimental effects. Let the tea replace everything you drink if you want, other than water. Even if you just drink one cup of tea per day, it still provides your mouth with the benefits that will help improve your oral health.
Talk with your dentist if you are considering changing all of your drinks to tea. They may suggest a specific type of tea that will do the most good for you specifically. Ask them what type of things to be on the lookout for as your mouth starts to improve from your change of beverage, then smile because you are doing a great thing for your mouth.
If you have any questions or please contact us today.
Tongue scraping isn’t something everyone has heard of. In fact, even brushing one’s tongue is not common practice for everyone. If you want to keep your mouth as healthy as possible, it is important you keep tongue scraping as a regular part of your oral hygiene routine.
This can help improve your oral health, plus it has benefits that can be applied to other parts of your life.
There are many benefits that come along with tongue scraping. The first is that you remove the bacteria and tartar that tends to coat the tongue. This means it is not sitting in your mouth as a breeding ground for bad breath. Plus, once your tongue is clean, you will be able to taste your food more fully than you may have been able to do in quite some time.
When that film is off of your tongue, it also means that it is not going down into your stomach when you eat or swallow. That can cause you to struggle with proper digestion. One of the lesser known benefits of tongue scraping is that it can also give you an immunity boost. By not having film coating your tongue, it can more efficiently fight off any germs that make their way into your mouth.
Tongue scraping may not be as popular as it should be, but it is gaining ground. If you want to get the most out of your daily oral health routine, make sure that tongue scraping becomes part of it. It only takes a few seconds, but it can make a significant impact on how healthy your mouth and body are. Ask your dentist what he or she thinks about it, and chances are, they will agree with these benefits!
If you have any questions please contact us today.
Planning a wedding involves taking care of several details. Even minor details, such as the linens on your tables, or the font on the place cards, matters. One small detail that often goes overlooked (because you don’t often think about it in terms of your wedding), is the condition of your smile. If you have a spring wedding, here’s how to create the perfect smile that will leave you with photos you are proud to show off.
If you haven’t been to your dentist in a while, now is the time. Your dentist will be able to give you a thorough cleaning as well as a comprehensive exam. During the exam, you can discuss any concerns about your teeth and mouth that you may have. Your dentist will take note of any cavities or issues (such as chips or cracks) and make suggestions about how to best deal with them. The earlier you can take care of oral problems, the better your smile will be on the day of your wedding.
Brushing and flossing your teeth at home is essential to your oral health, and can greatly help to improve the appearance of your mouth. A regular regimen of brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily is recommended. Brushing helps to eliminate plaque, bacteria, food particles and surface stains. Flossing takes care of the hard to reach spaces between your teeth. These tasks help to keep bacteria at bay, lowering your risk for tooth decay and gum disease, both of which can affect the appearance of your teeth and gums.
Discolored teeth, even just minor discoloration, can lead to a lack of confidence, and therefore affect not just the appearance of your smile but how you smile as well. Teeth whitening is a great way to get back a brilliant bright white smile. You can choose from over the counter whitening products or speak with your dentist about professional whitening for the best results. And after your whitening, be sure to take measures to maintain your smile.
Don’t forget about your smile in the planning of your wedding. If you aren’t already, start a regular oral hygiene routine and schedule an appointment with your dentist. And don’t forget to ask about whitening products. By taking care of your mouth now, you will be sure to have a dazzling smile when the big day arrives. If you have any questions, or if you would like to learn more, please contact us today.
If you have a few crooked teeth in your mouth, is it making it harder for you to keep your oral health up? Not everyone is aware of just how much trouble can come with having crooked teeth. Braces and trays that straighten your teeth are not purely for esthetics. They are meant to help you straighten your teeth so that your entire mouth can be clean and healthy. If you have crooked teeth, you may be missing out on this advantage.
Straight teeth are much easier to clean. They let you get into all of the gaps and let you brush all of the surfaces of your teeth. When you have crooked teeth, sometimes there are overlaps on your teeth. These can be nearly impossible to get, and keep, clean. This can expose the rest of your mouth to decay, and it can cause cavities to spread. It can also lead to problems like gum disease because you cannot get to the gums easily in those overlaps.
Part of keeping your oral health in tip-top shape is making sure that you are getting each part of your mouth clean. This means brushing all tooth surfaces, and flossing wherever the toothbrush cannot get to, like between your teeth. You also need to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth, plus the insides of your cheeks. When this is done, you need to rinse with mouthwash. By having straightened teeth, you can accomplish this and have great oral health. Without straight teeth, this task becomes far more difficult.
For options on what you can do to prevent problems if you have any crooked teeth, ask your dentist. Tell them what you are worried about, and get their advice on how to correct the problem. If you have any questions, or if you would like to learn more, please contact us today.
GETTING YOUR WISDOM TEETH REMOVED is such a common procedure these days that it’s almost a rite of passage among teenagers. But why do some of us have to get them out anyway, and why do we even have them in the first place? In today’s blog post we’re going to answer these and a few other common wisdom teeth questions!
The most widely accepted theory about wisdom teeth’s origins goes back to our early human ancestors. Because they had a very different diet–mainly roots, raw meat and fibrous plants–they needed extra molars to grind up tough food. These days, we eat much softer foods. We also have smaller jaws that don’t fit in those third molars quite as well.
While some people never get their wisdom teeth, they’ll show up for most of us between the ages of 17 and 21. Unfortunately, they don’t always come in the way they should, which is why a lot of us have to get them removed.
If your dentist recommends getting your wisdom teeth taken out, it could be for one of the following reasons:
Some dental work may require wisdom teeth removal as well. However, if your wisdom teeth come in correctly and you are able to clean them properly, you will most likely not need to have them removed. And that means that you’ll have some extra molars in your mouth to chew with—awesome!
To facilitate healing after wisdom teeth removal, make sure you get plenty of rest. Drink lots of water and avoid alcoholic, caffeinated and hot beverages for the first 24 to 48 hours. And of course, everyone’s favorite part of the healing process, eat soft foods such as ice cream, yogurt, and applesauce for the first day. You can add in broth-based soups one to two days after the procedure, but stay away from hard or chewy foods for one to two weeks.
We treat wisdom teeth removal on a case-by-case basis. We will monitor them closely as they come in and together, we will make the best decision for your smile! And remember, having your third molars come in may cause some discomfort, but if it causes pain, come and see us immediately.
Do you have any more questions about wisdom teeth? We’d love to answer them! Comment below or on our Facebook page to let us know!
VISITING YOUR DENTIST every six months is an important part of maintaining your oral health. Not only does it keep your smile clean, but it can help you keep an eye on your overall health too!
For some, it may have been a while since your last visit or you or a loved one may be apprehensive about visiting the dentist. Knowing what to expect can help relieve much of this anxiety, so today we want to explain the basics of what happens during your bi-annual cleaning and how you can prepare for your next appointment!
Discussing your family history may not be the first thing you think of when scheduling your dental appointment, but being familiar with your family’s medical history allows us to better care for your oral and overall health.
Like many other conditions such as heart disease and certain forms of cancer, periodontal disease has strong genetic ties that can run in your family. Knowing your family’s medical history can help your dentist keep an eye out for oral health issues such as gum disease or other conditions which present symptoms in the mouth, such as diabetes.
Aside from gathering any relevant personal or family medical information, be sure to to review your dental insurance benefits as you prepare for your appointment. Knowing your level of coverage will help you understand what costs will be associated with your care. If you have any questions about using your dental insurance in our practice or if you would like information about paying for care without insurance, give us a call!
Although this varies from patient to patient based on their individual needs, a dental check-up generally consists of a professional cleaning, a comprehensive dental examination, and potentially X-rays.
How frequently you need dental X-rays relies largely on your medical and dental history, your age, and your current oral health. New-patient examinations often include X-rays as well.
If required, dental X-rays are generally taken at the beginning of your dental appointment. Dental X-rays allow us to detect and diagnose tooth decay between teeth, on hard-to-reach surfaces, and under existing dental work. X-rays can even be helpful in identifying dental and orthodontic issues that exist beneath the gum line.
Once it’s time for your cleaning, your dentist or hygienist uses a small metal instrument known as a scaler to scrape off tartar above and below the gum line and in between teeth. Next, they polish your teeth using a polishing tool and a lightly abrasive paste to deep clean your pearly whites and remove any tartar left behind after the previous step. Last but not least, they’ll finish your cleaning with a thorough flossing.
After your teeth are clean, your dentist will perform a comprehensive oral examination to ensure your oral health is in tip-top shape. They will:
Based on your exam, we’ll discuss any necessary treatment recommendations and offer helpful tips on how to improve your oral hygiene before your next appointment.
Check out the video below for more information on the importance of regular dental exams!
Whether your next appointment is in 6 months or even sooner, we’re looking forward to seeing your smile! Be sure to maintain a good oral hygiene routine and follow any additional instructions provided by your dentist before your next visit. If you have any questions about what to expect from a visit in our office, let us know!
A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE is the best prevention for illness and chronic disease. It can also be just as effective as any medicine a doctor could prescribe. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, or simply live more healthily, the good choices you’re making not only do wonders for your body and overall health, but they also have a beneficial impact on your smile!
Oral health depends on more than how many times a day you brush your teeth, it also depends on your diet! As you choose healthier foods for your body, you are also choosing better foods for your teeth.
If you’re trading chips and fruit snacks in for healthier snacks like cheese, veggies and nuts, you’ve made the right choice! A diet low in sugar and processed foods can help you trim your waistline, fend off illness and prevent cavities.
Check out the video below to learn more about where added sugar could be hiding in your diet!
Perhaps before you made your goal to live a more healthy lifestyle, you would reach for your favorite soda rather than water at mealtime. Did you know that one in four Americans get at least 200 calories a day from sugary drinks like soda? Not only can frequent soda consumption lead to weight gain, it also contributes to tooth decay!
Eliminating soda from your diet, or at least consuming it in moderation, is a good way to cut back on calories and cavities. And now that you’re starting to drink more water, you’re probably realizing how good it makes you feel, especially since it is calorie-free!
By maintaining a healthy weight, you are protecting yourself from health conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, to name a few. As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, these diseases often go hand in hand with periodontal, or gum disease. In fact, 91 percent of patients with heart disease and 22 percent of those with diabetes have gum disease.
So keep up the good work! Regular exercise does wonders for your body’s health and your smile reaps the benefits too!
It is widely known that almost nothing tastes good after you brush your teeth. So we recommend that you let good oral hygiene help you stem cravings!
If you’re experiencing a craving and want to avoid it, brush your teeth! Or even pop a piece of sugar-free gum into your mouth. Not only will this help your craving pass, but you’ll be less inclined to eat after making your mouth minty fresh! Added bonus? Your pearly whites stay squeaky clean. Oh and did we mention that two minutes of brushing burns around 5 calories? It’s not much, but it’s something!
Do you have any other questions about your dental health or a topic you’d like us to write about? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page. We look forward to hearing from you!
IT IS NOT UNCOMMON for your teeth to lose their luster over time, which is why so many people are interested in whitening them!
Teeth becoming yellow over time is as normal as graying hair–it is a natural part of the aging process. As we get older, our tooth enamel begins to thin due to everyday wear and tear. This causes the layer beneath our enamel, called the dentin, to show more, giving our teeth a more yellow appearance.
There are other factors that can cause teeth to yellow other than aging however, such as:
If you want to prevent your teeth from yellowing as best you can, we suggest you change some of your lifestyle habits. If you use tobacco in any form, quit. Consume acidic food and drink in moderation and monitor your intake of beverages that can stain your teeth such as wine, coffee, tea, soda, etc. And as always, brush up on your oral hygiene habits and make sure you’re getting frequent cleanings!
There are two types of stains that you can have on your teeth. Surface, or “extrinsic” stains, caused by smoking and diet occur on the surface of the enamel. “Intrinsic” stains are deeper, and happen inside the tooth.
You can remove surface stains on your teeth by using a whitening toothpaste. These kinds of toothpastes usually contain special abrasives that gently polish the teeth as well certain chemicals that can help break down stains. These toothpastes can be tough on tooth enamel, so make sure to always read labels when using them–some should only be used temporarily.
Intrinsic stains can’t be helped by whitening toothpastes. To get that brighter smile, you’ll need to actually change the color of your teeth. You can do this using a bleaching agent. The bleaching agents most products use are hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These chemicals break stains into smaller pieces, making their color less concentrated and leaving your teeth much whiter! Some of the most common ways to bleach your teeth are whitening strips and gels, tray-based tooth whiteners and in-office whitening services supervised by a dentist.
At our practice, we offer in-office whitening that will get you the white smile you’ve been dreaming of in half the time or less than other whitening options. We will also carefully monitor the whole process to ensure its safety and efficacy.
Or, if you’re looking to use a tray-based whitening system, we can customize your mouthpiece to exactly fit your teeth! This will protect the soft tissues of your mouth, especially your gums, as well as ensure maximum contact between your teeth and the whitening solution.
Either way, we’d love to see you, whether that’s for a cleaning, checkup, or whitening treatment!
OUR SMARTPHONES are never farther than an arm’s length away and help us do everything from track our calendars to track our calories. Today, we want to show you the wonders they can do for our daily hygiene routines with the help of these apps!
We may only see you twice a year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a “dental expert” by your side every day. The Dental Expert app acts as a patient’s guide to understanding different dental procedures. This app includes frequently asked questions answered by actual dentists. It also has sections discussing myths vs. facts and things that can improve your smile.
Brushing for two minutes, twice a day is an important part of your oral hygiene routine. It can sometimes be hard to keep track of the time, so why not get some help from your favorite songs with Brush DJ!
Brush DJ is a free app that will play 2 minutes of music from your music library. It also has a visual display guiding you on where to brush and for how long. Brush DJ also lets you set reminders to change your toothbrush, floss and go to regular dental appointments.
Getting your child excited about brushing their teeth can sometimes take a bit of creativity. Luckily, Chomper Chums® has you covered. Chomper Chums is a dental hygiene focused app designed to help parents teach children proper brushing techniques while keeping them engaged and entertained.
Children earn rewards within the app for brushing their teeth which they then use to buy food or drinks for their virtual Chomper Chums pet. Don’t worry though, this is a free app and no actual money is used to buy their virtual pals’ treats! The app encourages children to choose healthy food for their on-screen friends as well, so they learn about healthy eating choices in addition to building better oral hygiene habits.
BracesHelp is an iPhone app for people who have or are considering getting braces. This app has helpful tips, videos and pictures on how to care for braces. It also has information on what to do if you are having trouble with your braces. If used in conjunction with tips you receive during your regular orthodontic appointments, you will have all of the help you need on your smile-makeover journey.
Or, do you know of other great dental apps for your smartphone or tablet? Comment and share below! And if you decide to try out one of the apps above, let us know how you like it!
We love giving our patients the resources to not only better educate them about their oral health and hygiene, but to make it fun! If you have any questions about these apps or other dental health topics, please feel free to reach out on social media or give us a call!