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Halloween: Candy, costumes, and more!

October 27th, 2021

All Hallows' Eve, more commonly known as Halloween, is a yearly event celebrated on October 31, and one that is anticipated by the young and young at heart all over the world. Some scholars claim that Halloween originated from Celtic festivals that honored the dead or that celebrated the harvest, while others doubt that there's any connection at all to Samhain (a Gaelic harvest festival.) Regardless of its origin, our team at the oral surgery office of Dr. Mazock, Dr. Salazar, and Dr. Coleman hopes that Halloween is fun and enjoyed by all of our awesome patients!

Trick or treat?

In North America, Halloween is predominantly celebrated by children who dress up in costumes, which range from scary to cute, who then go around the neighborhood knocking on doors asking "trick or treat", and they are given candy in return. Trick-or-treating is a time honored tradition, and though many parents groan at the pounds and pounds of candy collected by youngsters and fear for the health of their teeth, there are a few things you can do to help their teeth stay in great shape until the candy is gone:

  • Limit the amount of candy they can consume each day
  • Have them brush their teeth after eating candy
  • Avoid hard, chewy candies as they can stick in hard to brush places
  • Keep candy out of sight to reduce temptation
  • Don't buy candy too far in advance to limit pre-Halloween consumption
  • Help or encourage your children to floss

Halloween Fun

Halloween isn't just about gorging on candy; there are other events associated with this festive day including carving jack-o'-lanterns, painting pumpkins, decorating sugar cookies, bobbing for apples, going to haunted houses, or just curling up on the couch with a bowl full of popcorn and watching some classic, scary movies.

Halloween Around the World

Some countries, like Australia, frown upon Halloween, claiming it is an American event and not based in Australian culture, while others like Italy have embraced the fun and celebrate much as Canadians and Americans do. Mexicans have been celebrating this fun day since around 1960, and it marks the beginning of the Day of the Dead festival. Some countries in Europe have come late to the party, but since the 1990s, countries like Sweden, Norway, and Germany have started celebrating Halloween as well, and finding children in costumes or having ghosts hanging in windows has become commonplace.

Halloween is about fun; stepping outside our normal lives and donning a costume or gathering with friends to knock on doors and ask for candy is as much a part of our culture as hot dogs and barbecue on Labor Day. Have a safe and happy Halloween from the team at San Antonio Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates, P.A.!

Signs That You Might Need a Tooth Extraction

October 20th, 2021

Our bodies give us clues, sometimes, when there is something going on that requires a visit to a dental professional. Tender gums can be a sign that you’re at risk for gingivitis. Temporary sensitivity to heat and cold can indicate a cavity. Morning headaches can mean you’re grinding your teeth in your sleep.

And sometimes, there are more urgent warning signs. You should see Dr. Mazock, Dr. Salazar, and Dr. Coleman immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe or continuous tooth pain
  • Painful, swollen, or inflamed gums, or a sore on the gums near the root that looks like a pimple
  • Pain or stiffness in the jaw, or swelling in the face and cheek
  • Pressure-induced pain when biting down or chewing

The common denominator here is clear: significant or lasting pain is a symptom that you should never ignore. Pain in any of these areas could be caused by a tooth that is badly damaged or cracked, an abscessed tooth, pulp damage or infection, problems caused by an impacted wisdom tooth, or periodontal disease that has spread to tissue and bone.

Does severe pain always mean you will need an extraction?  No. Even in the case of serious injury or infection, your dentist, orthodontist, periodontist, or endodontist will do their best to save your tooth. After all, these professionals are in the business of saving teeth.

So if pain is a strong indication, but not always a conclusive one, what is the number one sign that you might need a tooth extraction?

  • Your dentist, orthodontist, periodontist, or endodontist recommends it.

After all, dentists are in the business of saving teeth, and have devoted years to studying the very best techniques to do so. If your dental professional tells you that a compromised tooth requires extraction, you need to take that recommendation seriously—not just to relieve your pain, but to prevent damage to nearby teeth, gums, and bone.

And sometimes, although there might be no uncomfortable warning signs, your dentist or orthodontist might advise extraction. Impacted wisdom teeth, even if you don’t see or feel them yet, could damage nearby teeth as they erupt. Your orthodontic treatment might require a tooth extraction because of serious overcrowding. Rarely, you might even have an extra (“supernumerary”) tooth that is blocking your permanent teeth from erupting.

If you need a tooth extraction for any reason, but especially when a tooth is seriously damaged or impacted, your dentist or orthodontist will often recommend that you see an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Why?

  • Education and Training—Oral surgeons have advanced surgical training. They study at a hospital-based residency program for an additional four to six years. Here they train with medical residents in treating the hard and soft tissues of the face, mouth, and jaw.
  • Experience—Because oral surgeons are surgical specialists, they regularly perform extraction procedures of all kinds.
  • Complications—If your case should prove to be more difficult than a simple extraction—if, for example, the tooth’s roots lie close to a nerve—your oral surgeon has the knowledge and training to treat your specific circumstances.
  • Anesthesia—Oral surgeons are experts in all forms of anesthesia, so whether you opt for a local anesthetic or would prefer sedation dentistry, you will be able to select the anesthesia you feel will provide the most comfortable experience.

If, sometimes, your body lets you know that a tooth needs attention, take that warning seriously! And, if your dental professional has recommended a tooth extraction, making an appointment at our San Antonio or Castroville office with Dr. Mazock, Dr. Salazar, and Dr. Coleman is a good idea—every time.

October is National Dental Hygiene Month: A simple oral health routine for your busy lifestyle

October 6th, 2021

Adults are no strangers to feeling like there is never enough time in the day to get everything done. Your alarm clock rings and within minutes you ping pong around trying to spread peanut butter on sandwiches, answer your cell phone, remove the dog hair from your clothes, and make sure your child has completed his or her science fair project. Brushing your teeth can easily fall to the wayside. That is why our office promotes a simple, daily oral health regimen that you can easily incorporate into your busy lifestyle.

The American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA), in partnership with the Wrigley Jr. Company, is celebrating National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM) during October. The ADHA encourages people to "Brush. Floss. Rinse. Chew...Keep it Clean, Keep it Healthy!" and offers some great tips for a quick and effective home oral health routine, below:

Oral Health Routine at Home

  • Brushing your teeth twice daily is the most important thing you can do to diminish the accumulation of plaque and the potential for other oral problems such as cavities and gingivitis.
  • Flossing once daily removes plaque and food from beneath the gums and between teeth that brushing alone cannot remove. Tooth decay and gum disease often begin in these areas.
  • Rinsing your mouth with an antibacterial, non-alcohol based mouthwash kills plaque and gingivitis germs that brushing and flossing do not catch. We recommend using a mouthwash with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
  • Chewing sugar-free gum helps produce saliva, which battles cavities. The gum also neutralizes plaque, strengthens enamel, and removes remaining food. It is especially important to chew gum after eating or drinking.

It's easy to put the toothbrush down in order to take care of matters you feel are more urgent, but remember, a good oral health routine at home is the best way to prevent periodontal disease. "Periodontal disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. An estimated 75 percent of Americans reportedly have some form of periodontal disease," said the ADHA. Periodontal disease also is linked to more serious illnesses such as diabetes and stroke.

Also, remember to keep regular visits with our office. Dr. Mazock, Dr. Salazar, and Dr. Coleman can help you learn more about proper care for your teeth and gums.

Thirsty? We Have Some Ideas on Tap

September 29th, 2021

No, we don’t mean the latest foamy offering from your favorite microbrewery. When you’re thirsty, one of the best options available is literally at your fingertips—tap water, straight from your faucet. It might not be the most adventurous choice, but drinking a tall glass of fresh tap water is refreshing in so many healthy ways.

Physical Health

Water conveniently available at home is much more than a convenience. We need to keep hydrated, because our bodies are made to run on water. To name just a few of its benefits, water provides nutrients to organs and cells, eliminates waste, regulates our temperature, and protects our joints and delicate tissues. Dr. Mazock, Dr. Salazar, and Dr. Coleman and our San Antonio or Castroville team will tell you all about the importance of proper hydration when it comes to your mouth, gums, and teeth, but here are a few highlights:

  • We need to be hydrated to produce enough saliva. Saliva, which is more than 90% water, helps prevent cavities and protect enamel by both washing away bacteria and balancing acids in the mouth which can cause decay.
  • Tooth enamel is so strong because it’s made of calcium and phosphate. These minerals are leached from our enamel by both bacteria-produced acids and dietary acids. Saliva also contains calcium and phosphate, and, with fluoride, restores these minerals in our enamel, leaving teeth stronger and less likely to develop cavities.
  • As a bonus, a quick rinse with water when you can’t brush after eating is a great way to remove food particles left behand—especially healthy when you’ve had sugary or acidic foods.

Ecological Health

If you want to reduce waste, one of the easiest ways to do so is to use tap water instead of bottled water.

  • Bottled water has a carbon footprint. It takes energy (and additional water) to create plastic and glass bottles, to label them, and to transport them. Water piped into your home from local sources? No bottles, labels, or long road trips necessary.
  • Water bottles should be recycled. Unfortunately, many cities don’t offer, or have stopped offering, recycling. Plastic and glass empties end up in landfills, littering our neighborhoods, or in our waters.

Budget Health

Getting your daily hydration from bottles can add up quickly.

  • Bottled water can cost hundreds of times as much as tap water. While local water prices vary, the average gallon of tap water costs less than a penny. No matter what kind of sale your local store is offering, bottled water will never be the bargain tap water is.
  • When you buy many small bottles instead of a few larger ones, or choose more expensive “designer” water, your costs can mount up even more.
  • When you need to bring water with you for work, sports, or other activities, consider filling a reusable bottle with water from home.

Dental Health

Getting the recommended amount of fluoride in your diet is one of the single best things you can do for your dental health. Fortunately, many communities make this easy for us by providing fluoridated drinking water.

  • Fluoride works with the calcium and phosphate in your saliva to create stronger enamel, so cavities can’t form as easily when your teeth are exposed to plaque and food particles.
  • Fluoride helps strengthen your child’s permanent teeth as they develop, and helps prevent cavities in both baby teeth and permanent teeth as children grow.
  • If your community doesn’t offer fluoridated water, ask Dr. Mazock, Dr. Salazar, and Dr. Coleman for the best way to get the fluoride you need to protect your teeth.

For the good of your body, your planet, your wallet, and last, but most certainly not least, the health of your teeth and gums, consider a glass of water. So many benefits—and you have them all on tap!

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