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The Link Between Dental Hygiene and Your Overall Health

May 5th, 2021

When patients of San Antonio Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates, P.A. hear any mention of oral or dental hygiene, they probably think of brushing and flossing their teeth. Although these are extremely important, the term dental hygiene encompasses much more than that. Your mouth’s health, including your teeth, has an important impact on your overall physical health. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research published the surgeon general's first ever report on dental health. It is called A National Call to Action to Promote Oral Health. In that report, the Surgeon General states that the 1948 World Health Organization expanded its earlier definition of health to "a complete state of physical, mental, and social well-being, and not just the absence of infirmity."

The Importance of Oral Health to Total Overall Health

One of the most important themes that the dental health report stressed is that you cannot be healthy without oral health. It went on to explain that oral health and general health are inextricably linked, and therefore can't be seen as two separate things. Because oral health is so critical to overall health, it should be included in all community health programs. For individuals, this means that it is just as important to take care of your mouth, your teeth, and your overall oral health as it is to take care of the rest of your body. The two most prevalent dental diseases are caries (cavities), also known as tooth decay, and periodontal (gum) disease.

Ways that Oral Health Impacts Overall Health

One important way in which good oral health contributes to better overall health is seen in the findings of several studies in which the blood sugar levels of diabetic patients were significantly lowered when their periodontal (or gum disease) was successfully treated. Your mouth has roughly 500 different species of bacteria. Many are harmless, and some are even good bacteria that help maintain the balance of your intestinal flora. Harmful bacteria can infect your gums, causing gingivitis. Your body's immune system may try to fight off the alien invaders, but they attack your gums, causing inflammation and bleeding when you brush.

Now that you know how important good dental hygiene is, be sure to see to get your teeth cleaned every six months, have regular dental checkups, brush and floss your teeth at least twice daily, and replace your toothbrush at least every couple of months. Call us to schedule your next appointment at our convenient San Antonio or Castroville location.

Oral Surgeon vs. General Dentist: What's the difference?

April 28th, 2021

Patients have a variety of options in dental providers, and it can be tricky to know which type of dental professional is best for your current needs. Understanding the differences between general dentists and oral surgeons, like Dr. Mazock, Dr. Salazar, and Dr. Coleman, can help you make an informed choice for dental care.

Education

Both general dentists and oral surgeons must complete dental school after receiving a bachelor’s degree. In dental school, which typically takes four years of full-time study, students take coursework in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, and oral surgery. Dental students also complete clinical practicum experiences, gaining hands-on training in how to diagnose and treat dental problems.

After completing dental school and earning the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree, a general dentist must complete a licensure exam to practice in a particular area. In contrast, oral surgeons (often called oral and maxillofacial surgeons) complete a four to six year surgical residency. The residency program must be accepted by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, ensuring that each resident receives the training in oral pathology, anesthesia, oral surgery, and other areas needed to competently practice. Following the surgical residency, a person completes a board certification examination.

Scope of Clinical Practice

General dentists serve as primary care providers for dental medicine. At the general dentist’s office, you will receive teeth cleaning, X-rays, and a comprehensive screening for dental problems. General dentists most often provide gum care, dental fillings, root canals, veneers, bridges, and crowns. They also make recommendations for how to prevent common dental problems. Although a general dentist may perform simple tooth extractions, more complex surgeries may be outside of the scope of a general dentist’s competence.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons receive specialized training to treat a variety of conditions affecting the face, mouth, and jaw. Patients are typically referred to an oral surgeon when a problem is beyond the scope of a general dentist’s expertise. Oral surgeons perform simple and complex tooth extractions, including wisdom tooth extraction. They also provide care to accident victims who need reconstructive dental surgery. Oral surgeons may also perform soft tissue biopsies, tumor removal, jaw realignment surgery, soft tissue repair, or positioning of implants.

It can be difficult to determine what dental professional best fits your needs. Contact our San Antonio or Castroville office to determine if an oral surgeon can best meet your needs.

Make Every Day Earth Day

April 21st, 2021

Earth Day began in 1970 as an event to raise awareness of our environment. What began as a single day in April is now recognized around the world to bring attention and education to global environmental issues. Conserving our natural resources, reducing water and air pollution, and developing green technologies are all ways in which we can improve the environment around us.

Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse

One of the easiest ways to participate in Earth Day is by simply reducing the amount of refuse that ends up in landfills. Many communities have recycling programs for paper, plastic, and metal refuse. By keeping recyclable items out of landfills, we reduce the need for new disposal space and the amount of energy needed for burning refuse. Recycling products also helps conserve the resources that are used in making new products.

You can save money by reducing your consumption of many everyday products. Single disposable water bottles can be recycled but they are costly. By using filtered faucet water, you can conserve your financial resources. Disposable paper towels can also be wasteful. Consider reusable cleaning rags for the majority of your chores.

Reusing items saves both the environment and your finances. A large number of products can be re-purposed to create a new item. Old furniture can be remade into a new piece. Old clothing can be used for craft items. If you are not able to find ways to reuse your old items, donate them to a charity. Remember to continue your positive environmental steps on a daily basis.

Other things you can do to improve the environment

Everyone, young or old, can find ways to participate in improving the environment. Some ideas include:

  • Planting trees
  • Picking up litter
  • Reducing energy consumption
  • Walking, bicycling, or carpooling to work or school
  • Disposing of hazardous waste properly
  • Using rain barrels to conserve water for plants

Earth Day is designed to appreciate and celebrate the health of the earth. Keeping the earth healthy is important, but keeping your mouth healthy is important, too. Healthy teeth and gums contribute to your overall health and well-being, so remember to call our team at San Antonio Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates, P.A. to schedule an appointment. Have a happy and healthy Earth Day, from Dr. Mazock, Dr. Salazar, and Dr. Coleman!

Do I Need Corrective Jaw Surgery?

April 14th, 2021

Our jawbones seem like fairly uncomplicated mechanisms—an open-and-shut situation, as it were. But in reality, the interactions of bone, muscle, ligaments, teeth—all the many parts making up this vital area—are very complex. Bones need to fit together properly; the joint that connects the jawbones needs to function smoothly; teeth and jaw need to be in alignment.

And because the jaw is a complex mechanism, there are a number of different problems that can arise if everything isn’t meshing perfectly. Things we should take for granted—eating normally, sleeping well, breathing freely, feeling healthy and self-confident—can become challenging.

If you suffer from jaw problems, whether major or minor, it’s worth looking into corrective jaw surgery. Which jaw-related conditions can benefit? Among them:

  • Problems with biting and swallowing
  • Orthodontic problems that can’t be treated with orthodontics alone, such as open bite or underbite
  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
  • Accidents or injuries
  • Birth defects
  • Receding or protruding jaw
  • Breathing difficulties

If you have trouble eating, problems with sleeping, speech difficulties, or any other problems caused by jaw structure or jaw misalignment, or if you have orthodontic issues that can’t be resolved with braces alone, or if jaw pain affects your daily life, it’s well worth an examination by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Oral surgeons like Dr. Mazock, Dr. Salazar, and Dr. Coleman are specialists in both diagnosing jaw problems and correcting them.

Because the conditions that can benefit from corrective jaw surgery are so wide-ranging, surgical and non-surgical treatments are varied and specialized as well. This is why working with an oral surgeon is so important.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are experts in all forms of jaw surgery. They have four to six years of additional medical training in a hospital-based residency program. They have trained with medical residents in general surgery, anesthesiology, plastic surgery, internal medicine, and other specialties concentrating on treating the jaw, mouth, and face. They are experts in advanced oral and facial surgeries.

Oral surgeons restore the jaw’s function. And this functionality, in turn, can restore your health, your appearance, and your quality of life. If you, together with your doctor, your dentist, or your orthodontist, believe you might be helped with corrective jaw surgery, make an appointment at our San Antonio or Castroville office—it’s an open-and-shut decision!

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