NEW ADDRESS STARTING AUGUST 29, 2016  

12335 HYMEADOW DRIVE     SUITE 200     Austin, TX 78750    

Make an Appointment Today 512-250-2424

Other Services

Periodontal Care   Custom Nightguard   Whitening   Internal Bleaching
Root Canal Therapy   Extraction   Bone Grafting

Periodontal Care

The regular care of your gums and bone is essential to your oral health and total body health. At Pecan Park Family Dentistry, our goal is to help you maintain a healthy mouth for your entire life! Healthy gums look pink and are firm and tight around the teeth. When flossing, they do not bleed or hurt.

Your mouth is loaded with millions of bacteria that are capable of severe damage to your gums and bone, ultimately leading to gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Listen to Dr. Craft explain about flossing in more detail!

How does gingivitis form?

Gingivitis is a fancy word for infection of the gums. When the teeth are not cleaned properly by regular brushing and flossing, bacteria-filled plaque resides between the teeth and under the gums. Your body is smart and knows these bacteria are harmful, so it decides to mount a fight against them. The body’s immune system makes its fancy, bacteria-killing weapons, and the blood delivers them to your gums. This is the reason the gums bleed when flossing and brushing – there is extra blood in the gums, and they are INFECTED. If the teeth are flossed and brushed regularly, the excessive amounts of bacteria around the teeth are eliminated. The body reverses the immune system response, the blood is no longer needed as a carrier, and the gums become healthy again.

In most people, gingivitis that is not reversed progresses into periodontal disease. Periodontal produces irreversible damage to the gums and bone and ultimately leads to the loosening of teeth.

What is periodontal disease?

The gums are attached to the teeth and underlying bone by ligament fibers. Periodontal disease develops when gingivitis is so severe and chronic that these ligaments are destroyed, thus allowing the bacteria to move deeper under the gums. At this point, the infecting bacteria finds the bone that supports the teeth. When the bacteria have access to this bone, they begin to destroy the bone. Once the bone is gone, it will never come back on its own. Most of the time, the infection is present at such a low level, that the patient doesn’t even know this is happening! Its only when the bone loss is at a severe level that the patient recognizes that something is wrong.

What can be done? I don’t want Periodontal Disease!

The first step for combating gum disease is to do a thorough cleaning of all the teeth. It is vital that all bacteria-filled buildup is removed and that nothing is left behind. To achieve success, a deep cleaning is required. You may have heard this called “scaling and root planing”.

Scaling and root planing is cleaning that is done with local anesthetic, or numbing. Because the buildup is often deep under the gums and infection is present, the cleaning will not be comfortable unless the gums are numb. This type of deep cleaning is not always needed for the entire mouth. Sometimes only a few teeth are in need of a little extra attention.

After a deep cleaning, it is essential that home care is top notch. Without daily brushing and flossing, the buildup will return and the disease will continue to progress. Sometimes a deep cleaning is not enough. When enough bone is destroyed, procedures such as antibiotic therapy, osseous surgery, and bone grafting are essential for stabilizing or reversing the periodontal disease. To top it all off, studies are not showing proof of a direct link between periodontal disease and other conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, respiratory disease, and cancer.

It is crucial that the supporting structures of your teeth, the gums and bone, stay healthy! Check out Dr. Craft’s thorough explanation of periodontal disease and start flossing today! (Link to “Why should I floss” video)

Custom Nightguard

Do you grind or clench your teeth?

Do you often wake up in the morning with a dull headache or sore jaw? Do you sometimes catch yourself clenching your teeth? Until you experience pain or have a dental checkup, you might not be aware that you have a condition called “bruxism”, or a habit of grinding or clenching the teeth. Many people do not realize the grinding is occurring because it happens at night. The grinding or clenching can be silent or quite audible. Those individuals that have a silent habit do not become aware of it until a dentist notices areas of wear on the teeth.

Unfortunately grinding and clenching the teeth can result in pain, soreness, and discomfort, and the habit tends to be more severe and frequent during times of stress. Headaches, earaches, and toothaches are common manifestations of bruxism, and damage to the temporomandibular joints (the jaw joints) can also result. Pressure from grinding and clenching commonly causes cracks of fractures in the teeth.

Does this sound like you? The most common treatment for bruxism is a custom nightguard. The guard serves to relax the jaw muscles and reduce or eliminate the grinding and clenching. It also protects the teeth from all of the permanent damage that bruxism can cause, like cracks, fractures, broken restorations, and enamel loss.

To have a nightguard made, impressions or molds are taking of the upper and lower teeth. The guard is made at a dental laboratory and is custom fit to your teeth. A nightguard brings much-needed relief to people that grind and clench. Do not hesitate to call our office for an appointment if you would like to talk to Dr. Craft about bruxism. We are happy to help!

Whitening

Enamel is made up of microscopic tubes that get “clogged” over time with stain-causing food and drinks. Whitening products use Hydrogen Peroxide or Carbamide Peroxide as the active ingredient. They clean out these tubes through a process called oxidation, which essentially dissolves and removes the stain.

What are my options?

1 – In-Office Whitening: This method uses 30-38% hydrogen peroxide alone or with a light or heat. The results are immediate; however, patients experience the most post-treatment sensitivity and gum irritation with this method. In-office whitening is best for Tetracycline staining.

2 – At-Home Whitening: This method uses 10-22% carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide in custom-fit plastic trays. These trays are to be worn for 30-60 minutes each day for 10-14 days. The end result is the same as In-Office whitening, and patients typically experience less sensitivity.

3 – OTC Whitening: These products (i.e. Crest Whitestrips) typically use 10% carbamide peroxide in one-size-fits-all (or nobody) strips that are applied to teeth for about 14 days. Patients should not use these products without first having a dental checkup to diagnose any cavities or gum disease.

4 – Whitening Toothpastes: This method uses abrasives to remove only surface stain and does not penetrate the enamel tubes. Whitening toothpaste is “grittier” than regular toothpaste.

Internal Bleaching – What’s that?

Trauma is a likely cause for a nerve in a tooth to die over time. This results in the tooth slowly discoloring and becoming darker than the others.

Treating this tooth with a root canal will stop the darkening process but does not reverse it. An excellent option for whitening this tooth is called internal bleaching. After the root canal is completed, a bleaching agent is placed inside the tooth for usually one week, and the tooth becomes whiter. This process is repeated until the desired results are achieved.

Root Canal Therapy

What is a root canal?

A root canal procedure must be done on a tooth when the nerve has begun to die or is dead. Decay, trauma, and gum disease are all possible causes. A dying nerve HURTS! To stop the pain, the dying nerve must be removed from the tooth – This is what a root canal accomplishes.

Here are the basic steps of a root canal:

Step 1 – The nerve is accessed by drilling a hole in the center of the tooth.

Step 2 – Some teeth have multiple roots, each of which contain a branch of the tooth’s nerve. All roots are cleaned and disinfected with special
instruments that can extend the entire length of the root. The tooth is rinsed with special disinfecting medicines to kill all bacteria.

Step 3 – Once the tooth is cleaned, the space where the nerve was must be filled and sealed. A warm, rubber-like material, called gutta
percha, is placed into each nerve canal, thus completing the root canal procedure.

Step 4 – After the roots are filled, it is VERY IMPORTANT to make the tooth strong again for chewing. This is accomplished with a crown.
Without a crown, the tooth is at great risk for fracturing or getting reinfected.

Extraction

Teeth that are no longer welcome in the mouth are extracted for one of several reasons:

1 – A cavity is so large that the tooth cannot be fixed.

2 – A tooth is fractured severely and cannot be fixed.

3 – The supporting structures around the tooth (gums and bone) have been destroyed because of periodontal disease causing the tooth to become loose.

4 – There are too many teeth in the mouth and not enough space. In this situation, orthodontists will often ask for one or several teeth to be removed to create space for resolving crowding and making teeth straight.

When a patient is told that a tooth needs to be extracted, the reaction is often one of apprehension and uneasiness. Rest assured that Dr. Craft puts patients at ease and explains everything!

Bone Grafting/Socket Preservation

After a tooth is extracted, the bone that supported this tooth immediately begins to collapse and go away. After the initial collapse, the bone loss continues at a slow and steady rate. If a patient desires to replace the tooth with an implant, at some point, there is enough bone loss that it can no longer support the implant post. Fortunately, dentists have a solution for this! Bone grafting procedures allow for the addition of bone to the area where an implant is desired. This procedure is typically accomplished by adding bone graft, which resembles a coarse white powder, to the implant site. When the graft stabilizes, the implant post is ready to be placed.

A Socket Preservation is a type of bone grafting procedure that can be done the same day that the tooth is extracted. This procedure is done to help prevent or slow down the bone loss that occurs after extraction. The same bone grafting material is placed into the tooth socket that the tooth formerly occupied. The graft dramatically prevents or slows the collapse and loss of supporting bone. For patients that want an implant but do not want to have the implant placed immediately after the tooth extraction, this procedure is a must. It allows for the delay of the implant procedure and significantly decreases the chance that more extensive bone grafting will needed.

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