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Aging and Oral Health

January 13th, 2021

As you age, it becomes even more important to take good care of your teeth and dental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one-fourth of adults age 65 and older have no remaining teeth. What's more, nearly one-third of older adults have untreated tooth decay.

Oral health, regardless of age, is crucial to overall good health. Ideally, we all want to keep your natural teeth, but whether you're caring for natural teeth or dentures, advancing age may put older adults at risk for a number of oral health problems, including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Diminished sense of taste
  • Root decay
  • Gum disease
  • Uneven jawbone caused by tooth loss
  • Denture-induced tissue inflammation
  • Overgrowth of fungus in the mouth
  • Attrition (loss of teeth structure by mechanical forces)
  • Oral cancer

These conditions may not be diagnosed until it is too late. If you want to feel good, stay healthy, and look great throughout life, you might be surprised what a difference a healthy mouth makes.

Here are some tips for maintaining and improving your oral health as you become older:

  • Brush twice a day with a toothbrush with soft bristles. You may also benefit from using an electric toothbrush.
  • Clean between your teeth once a day with floss or another interdental cleaner.
  • If you wear full or partial dentures, remember to clean them on a daily basis. Take your dentures out of your mouth for at least four hours every day. It’s best to remove them at night.
  • Drink tap water. Since most contains fluoride, it helps prevent tooth decay no matter how old you are.
  • Quit smoking. Besides putting you at greater risk for lung and other cancers, smoking increases problems with gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
  • Visit San Antonio Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates, P.A. regularly for a complete dental checkup.

If you have any questions about keeping up with your oral hygiene at home, please give us a call!

Comparing Dentists and Oral Surgeons

January 6th, 2021

What is a dentist?

Dentistry has been around for hundreds and possibly thousands of years. Tools and depictions of procedures using those tools have been discovered among many different early civilizations throughout history. The field of dentistry became solidly mainstream in the 1800s when “dentists” organized their practice as a primary professional activity, rather than as one of an array of services.

Modern dentists require a medical license that is awarded after completion of a number of years of rigorous schooling. These medical professionals are taught to address the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums, though some obtain additional licenses that focus on more specific areas of oral health.

General dentistry is usually sought for cleaning and mending of slightly damaged teeth, while providing advice on future prevention of decay and other problems. As society has seen a dramatic shift in the cosmetic direction, many dental professionals have trained to offer whitening procedures as well.

Where does an oral surgeon come in?

Patients are often referred to an oral-maxillofacial surgeon if a procedure exceeds the abilities of a general dentist. While dentists are often capable of handling simple extractions, teeth that have become severely impacted usually require someone with greater expertise. In many cases, the patient will be put under sedation for the duration of the more complex procedure, and may require several days for sufficient healing.

In addition to more difficult extractions, oral surgeons commonly handle:

  • Implant surgery
  • Reconstructive surgery on the jaw or face to resolve problems with speech and proper function
  • Corrective surgery of the jaw to improve structure and alignment
  • Grafting of the bone or soft tissues in order to resolve defects and injuries
  • Repair of birth defects that have affected the face or jaw

Which medical professional should you see?

Teeth are extremely important and should be treated with care. As the surface of a tooth wears down, more sensitive tissues can become exposed, and in cases where decay is allowed to continue, even the nerve can be affected.

When it comes to identifying which of these practitioners you should see, a consultation is almost always necessary if you have special concerns. Seeing Dr. Mazock, Dr. Salazar, and Dr. Coleman on a regular basis is highly recommended, but many clients fail to do so until they begin to experience pain or discomfort. If you are diligent in receiving routine care, though, you are more likely to prevent problems that will require the services of an oral surgeon, and will probably be happier with your smile in general.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation

December 16th, 2020

Some patients may require nitrous oxide to remove pain or anxiety during dental treatments. If you desire any form of dental treatment at our San Antonio or Castroville office, Dr. Mazock, Dr. Salazar, and Dr. Coleman may administer nitrous oxide for its anesthetic/analgesic properties.

Commonly known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a gaseous sedative that’s inhaled through a mask over the nose. It was first used in the mid 1800s when practitioners didn’t know they should mix oxygen with the nitrous oxide, which wasn’t healthy alone.

These days, nitrous oxide is administered with at least a 30% oxygen mix, which makes it safe for any dental care.

Some of the effects you may experience while you’re sedated include:

  • Lightheadedness, and tingling in the arms and legs, followed by a warm or comforting sensation
  • A euphoric feeling or a sensation that you are floating
  • Inability to keep your eyes open, so it feels as if you’re asleep

The percentage of nitrous oxide can be easily adjusted if necessary. Let Dr. Mazock, Dr. Salazar, and Dr. Coleman know right away if you feel uncomfortable or sick. The effects wear off quickly after you begin to breathe regular air following your treatment.

If you still have concerns about nitrous oxide, feel free to call our office about it. Our staff can go over other options for sedation and select the best one for you.

How to Choose the Best Mouthwash

December 9th, 2020

As we all know, or should by now, the key to maintaining great oral health is keeping up with a daily plan of flossing, brushing, and using mouthwash. These three practices in combination will help you avoid tooth decay and keep bacterial infections at bay.

At San Antonio Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates, P.A., we’ve noticed that it’s usually not the toothbrush or floss that people have trouble picking, but the mouthwash.

Depending on the ingredients, different mouthwashes will have different effects on your oral health. Here are some ideas to take under consideration when you’re trying to decide which type of mouthwash will best fit your needs.

  • If gum health is your concern, antiseptic mouthwashes are designed to reduce bacteria near the gum line.
  • If you drink a lot of bottled water, you may want to consider a fluoride rinse to make sure your teeth develop the level of strength they need.
  • Generally, any mouthwash will combat bad breath, but some are especially designed to do so.
  • Opt for products that are ADA approved, to ensure you aren’t exposing your teeth to harmful chemicals.
  • If you experience an uncomfortable, burning sensation when you use a wash, stop it and try another!

Still have questions about mouthwash? Feel free to ask Dr. Mazock, Dr. Salazar, and Dr. Coleman during your next visit to our San Antonio or Castroville office! We’re always happy to answer your questions. Happy rinsing!

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