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The key to dental success - The Galveston County Daily News : Hitchcock Santa Fe

December 22, 2014

The key to dental success

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Posted: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 12:00 am

Dentistry is all about prevention. I spend my entire life trying to prevent dental disease, and we can do that but not without the patients help.

Everybody knows about brushing your teeth, or at least they should. Each year we go to local area schools to teach school children the Rule of Two’s. Simply stated the Rule of Two’s is you brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes and you go to see your dentist twice a year. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes is a great defense against cavities and gum disease. The fluoride is like vitamins for your teeth that makes them harder, stronger if you will, preventing cavities. The mechanical action of the brush removes food debris and plaque build up from the teeth. Brushing, when combined with flossing is the best prevention for gum disease.

Coming to the dentist twice a year is very important to preventing oral problems. In our office, we have two full time hygienist, Amber Loynes and Mandi Pell. Both have been with our office for 9 years. Mandi previously was part time, but now is at our office full time to better serve our patients. We offer hygiene hours from 8-5 on Mondays and Wednesdays, till 7pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays and every other Friday in an effort to accommodate our patents busy schedules. Often you can call today and be seen today. You will not find that at many private practices! Both our hygienist are instrumental in helping patients prevent dental disease. They perform routine cleanings, take any necessary x-rays, provide scaling and root planing, periodontal maintenance and help teach patients how to take care of their mouths. We cannot say enough good things about the hygiene department at Hitchcock Dental!

At Hitchcock Dental even our front desk is dedicated to preventing dental disease. We have a recall system in our office in order to help patients keep track of when they need their teeth cleaned. We make every effort to appoint you for your 6 month recall appointment before you leave the office. If you do not know your schedule 6 months ahead (who does anyway) Mrs. Cindy will send you a post card to remind you to call and set up an appointment. If that doesn’t work then Mrs. Bobbie will likely give you a call and try to set something up. So, if after all that, you do not end up with an appointment it just might be the person in the mirror’s fault.

Dentistry has more to offer in terms of prevention than cavities and gum disease.

We help prevent broken teeth and a bad night’s sleep. Clenching and grinding affects most people at some point during their lifetime. Typical symptoms include sore and tired face muscles, jaw joints and teeth. People often grind their teeth at night so symptoms are often worse first thing in the morning. People will wear their teeth completely flat from grinding them back and forth. Trauma from clenching and grinding breaks fillings, teeth, and can even cause a tooth to die. Several times a year we have to perform a root canal on a tooth that was a result of trauma from clenching and grinding. The preventative measure for clenching and grinding your teeth is a custom made occlusal guard. There are multiple types of occlusal guards from multiple materials that have different strengths, but the idea is that patients grind on the occlusal guard and spare the teeth. We have a saying at Hitchcock Dental, “Save the teeth, Grind the guard.”

People most often think of braces as a fix for cosmetic things, and no doubt straightening the teeth can make your smile dazzle! Often times crooked teeth or a bad bite can do harm to the teeth. I have seen crooked teeth contribute to clenching and grinding, cause tooth fracture and gum disease. As we age the teeth tend to get more crowded. This crowding often makes it near impossible for patients to clean their teeth. That’s when periodontal disease sets in! By straightening the teeth we can correct bite and alignment problems thus preventing tooth and gum problems. In our office we offer 6 Months Smile to our patients as a means to fix crooked teeth and prevent other oral problems.

Even dental implants are preventative! Often times the demise of a mouth is missing back teeth. As a person starts missing the back teeth they start chewing with their front teeth and they put more pressure on the front teeth. The front teeth are not designed to handle this type of stress and they too begin to break down. Dental implants offer the only way that we can put back support in the mouth. Furthermore, when a tooth is lost the body no longer has a need to maintain the bone that was holding the tooth in, so the bone is resorbed or lost by the body. By placing a dental implant in the bone where a missing tooth came from you give the body a reason to keep the bone thus you preserve the bone. We can use the dental implant to replace the root and crown of a missing tooth and help keep the bone around to prevent other teeth from damage and wear. We are able to place many dental implants in our office. Anyone that can tolerate an extraction of a tooth can tolerate having a dental implant placed. By offering this service to our patients we see a higher number of patients getting dental implants and those patients are benefiting by having healthier mouths. It’s a win, win situation for the patient and dentist.

Dentistry is all about prevention. It does however require that you make an appointment to see your dentist. One thing we cannot do is take care of your teeth over the internet or through a hand held device. You have to come in and sit in a chair. By the way we have some comfortable ones!

If you would like to meet me or my dental team, feel free to call our come by Hitchcock Dental at 8022 Hwy 6 in Hitchcock Texas, 409-9860-6018. Or if you want you can visit us on the web at www.hitchcockdental.com.