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Carbs and Cavities

October 14th, 2020

The Good News

Carbohydrates are one of the body’s essential macronutrients (along with protein and fat). We use carbs to convert the food we eat into energy. How does this work? It’s a sophisticated process:

  • Carbs break down into sugars as we digest them
  • Sugars are absorbed into our bloodstream
  • The pancreas releases insulin when blood sugar levels rise
  • Insulin enables sugars to move from our blood to our cells
  • Cells throughout the body use this sugar for energy.

Without the necessary amount of carbohydrates, our bodies lose a vital source of energy. So, why are carbs a dental concern?

The Bad News

Some foods immediately begin breaking down into sugars in the mouth. Sugars are a favorite food source for the oral bacteria that form plaque. They use this sugar to produce the acids that weaken our enamel and lead to cavities. And the more often we eat these foods, and the longer they remain in the mouth, the more damage our enamel suffers.

But there’s a silver lining! We can be healthier physically and get a jump on preventing damage from sugary treats by becoming more discriminating in our choice of carbs and timing our indulgences wisely.

Good Carb/Bad Carb

Unprocessed, complex carbohydrates are found in foods like whole-grain breads and cereals, legumes, and vegetables. They contain the vitamins, minerals, and fibers which are lost when foods are refined. They are composed of larger, more complex molecules, and so they break down gradually for sustained energy.

Some simple carbohydrates break down into sugars more quickly, but also offer important vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Fruits and dairy products, for example, are an important part of a balanced diet.

But some carbs are not pulling their nutritional weight. Refined sugars (think candies, desserts, and sodas) and refined starches (white bread and rice, potato chips, pastries) break down quickly into sugar in the mouth. Worse, many of these foods tend to stick around. Sticky sugars and sticky starches cling to our enamel and hide between the teeth and in the crevices of our molars. Not only do these treats provide a sugary feast for acid-producing bacteria, they take their time doing it!

So, What to Do?

If you have a diet filled with healthy carbs (whole grains, fruit and vegetables, legumes, dairy products), you’re already on the right track. Kudos! But does this mean no desserts? Ever?

No! We all need a cookie sometimes. But you can decrease the chance of enamel damage by interrupting the carbs to cavities cycle.

First, if you are indulging in a rich dessert or some salty chips, better to do it as part of a meal. When you eat a full meal, your body produces more saliva. Saliva not only helps wash away food particles, it also helps neutralize the acids that damage enamel.

Secondly, if you eat simple carbs and sugars all day, your mouth and teeth are being treated to acids all day. If you are going for a snack, there are many great options that don’t use refined sugars and starches. Think fruit smoothies (with a big dollop of vegetables) or whole-grain crackers with hard cheese instead of a can of soda and a bag of pretzels.

Carbs aren’t really bad, they’re just misunderstood. Talk to Drs. Sheena Allen, Murat Ayik, and Mark Margolin at your next checkup at our Dallas,TX office for ideas for the best carbohydrate choices for healthy metabolisms and healthy smiles!

Fall’s in the Air? Think Fall Dental Care

October 7th, 2020

Whether you already miss the sun’s bright rays, or can’t wait for some cool, crisp weather and colorful leaves, summer is making way for fall. And the change of seasons might mean it’s time for some adjustments to your dental care routine.

Fall’s in the Air, and You Can Feel It

You might enjoy the brisk weather and the cool autumn breezes, but you’d enjoy fall much more without the tooth sensitivity that cold weather can bring. Sensitivity can be the sign of a cracked tooth, gum disease, or even something as simple as too-energetic brushing. If you’re experiencing sensitivity outdoors or with hot and cold foods, don’t give up your nature walks and hot cider! Give Drs. Sheena Allen, Murat Ayik, and Mark Margolin a call, and we’ll get to the root of your problem.

Fall Sports

The baseball mitts, surfboards, and water skis have been retired for the year, but that won’t stop you from enjoying exercise and team sports. And while you’re keeping your body healthy, remember to keep your teeth and jaws healthy as well. A mouth guard is an essential piece of equipment for any autumn contact sport like football or soccer, and is also a good idea for biking, skateboarding, and other physical activities where a fall or a collision is a possibility.

Fall Feasts

‘Tis the season for sugary Halloween treats, bountiful Thanksgiving desserts, and those over-the-top holiday lattes. By all means, celebrate the season. And celebrate your dental health (and your overall health) as well by enjoying these treats in moderation.

Why not take this opportunity to explore some of autumn’s more nutritious seasonal offerings? Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, and apples are part of a fall harvest of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and other nutrients that help keep our teeth and gums their healthiest. (And if the pumpkins and apples make their way into pies, no one will complain.)

Fall Semester

Many schools require a dental exam before the start of the academic year. If you haven’t made an appointment for your child, now’s the time to do it! And don’t forget a professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar. Nothing starts a school year off better than entering the classroom with a bright, healthy smile.

And don’t forget to call our Dallas,TX office for your own regular checkup if it’s that time of year. Spring, summer, winter, fall—it’s always the right season for taking care of your dental health!

Same-Day Implant-Supported Dentures in Dallas

October 5th, 2020

On today's blog let's explore if the All-on-4 procedure is the right option for you.

Same-Day Implant-Supported Dentures in Dallas
The All-on-4 procedure is often called “teeth in a day” and is a way to attach a prosthesis to dental implants. Dr. Allen and Dr. Margolin use the All-on-4 system to replace traditional dentures, which can be uncomfortable, inconvenient, and poorly fitted. It is a clinically proven, FDA-accepted treatment option for replacing missing or non-functional teeth.

Unlike other approaches that may use six, eight, or even more implants per arch, and often involve bone grafting, Dallas Dental Arts uses this proven technique that requires only four specially placed implants, usually without bone grafts or other ancillary surgical procedures, which means lower costs and reduced healing time. And the success rate of All-on-4 is superior to more traditional approaches.

The All-on-4 procedure includes the removal of all remaining teeth, bone recontouring, and implant placement. The surgery is then immediately followed with the attachment of a temporary prosthesis to the dental implants. The best part is that you will leave our office with teeth the same day as the surgery.

You can expect to be on a soft diet for two weeks followed by a reintroduction of harder foods with time. Healing with this procedure happens rather quickly if you are healthy. Four months after the initial surgery, we will remove the temporary prosthesis, verify the implants for integration, and attach your permanent prosthesis.

Like your natural teeth, your All-on-4 implant dentures need to be maintained by a dental professional. The prosthesis should be removed yearly, cleaned, and inspected by a member of the Dallas Dental Arts team.

Why All-on-4 at Dallas Dental Arts?

Dallas Dental Arts is a leader in delivering the life-changing All-on-4 procedure for patients throughout the Dallas area. The major benefit of the All-on-4 procedure is how quickly dentures can be replaced with permanent implants and fixed, non-removable, new replacement teeth.

All-on-4 implant dentures can be completed from beginning to end from the convenience of our Dallas dental office. Dallas Dental Arts offers a surgical/prosthetic team with Dr. Margolin (periodontist) and Dr. Allen (prosthodontist). Dr. Allen is not only a prosthodontist but also a trained lab technician, so your prosthesis will be made onsite in our dental laboratory under the supervision of an expert. In addition, the All-on-4 technique can now be used in collaboration with Anatomize 3D-planning software, also available at Dallas Dental Arts.

Is All-on-4 right for you?

The ideal All-on-4 patient should be able to tolerate lengthy dental surgeries for this procedure. Healthy individuals tolerate this procedure best and will have the best outcomes. Individuals with compromised immune systems, smokers, diabetics, and those with autoimmune issues, are slower to heal and need to be evaluated at our Dallas dental office prior to committing to this procedure. During your evaluation at our Dallas office, we will talk with you about realistic expectations and long-term goals, so you can feel confident choosing the dental treatment that meets your needs.

To learn more about All-on-4 implant-supported dentures, contact us today!

The Truth about TMJ

September 30th, 2020

TMJ is the quick way of referring to your Temporomandibular Joint. Pardon the pun, but that’s quite a mouthful! What is this joint, what does it do, and, if your Drs. Sheena Allen, Murat Ayik, and Mark Margolin and our team have told you that you have a TMJ disorder, what can we do to help?

The Temporomandibular Joint

Your two temporomandibular joints are amazing works of anatomical design. These are the joints where the temporal bone in the skull meets the mandible bone of the jaw, and allow our mouths to open and close, move back and forth, and slide from side to side. Muscle, bone, and cartilage work together to provide easy movement and to cushion the joint. But sometimes, the joint doesn’t work as smoothly as it should, and this can lead to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMD.

When Should You Suspect You Have TMD?

You might have TMD if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Painful chewing
  • Pain around your TMJ, or in your face or neck
  • Earaches
  • Changes in your bite
  • Jaws that are limited in movement or lock open or shut
  • Clicking, popping or grating noises when you open and shut your jaw

There are many conditions linked to TMD. If you grind your teeth at night, have arthritis in the jaw, have suffered an injury or infection in the area, or have problems with your bite, for example, you might be more likely to have TMJ problems. If you suspect you have TMD, or suffer from any of the symptoms listed above for an extended period, give us a call.

Treating TMD

During your visit to our Dallas,TX office, we will check your medical history, and examine your head and neck. We can take an X-ray or scan if needed for further examination of the joint. Because there is no real scientific agreement yet about the best way to treat TMJ disorders, a conservative treatment plan is often best. If you do show signs of TMD, we might first suggest relaxation techniques, over-the-counter pain relievers, or the use of ice packs or moist heat compresses. A change to a softer diet can help, and you should stop chewing gum and making any exaggerated jaw movements.

If these self-care practices aren’t effective, we might suggest a nightguard. This appliance is a comfortable and flexible mouthguard custom fitted for you, and will bring relief from teeth grinding when worn at night. If this treatment is not effective, talk to us about other options.

Luckily, most cases of TMD are temporary and don’t become worse over time. But any persistent discomfort is a good reason to visit us. Whether you have TMD, or any other problem causing you pain in the head or jaw, we want to help.

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