The Importance of Pediatric Dental Care

As the most chronic childhood problem (up to age 17), tooth decay and cavities are five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever, as reported by the Consumer Guide To Dentistry. Given the severity of oral health ailments, every parent needs to understand the importance of pediatric dental care, as it is the foundation to good oral health for the future.

Perhaps it’s best to discuss the pediatric dental needs of children at the onset of the first tooth, which typically erupts between 6-24 months of age. Early care begins at home with an awareness of teething symptoms and how to help your child by massaging their gums, allowing them to chew on a teething ring, a chilled washcloth, or by rubbing an ADA approved dental teething ointment. Once the first tooth makes its appearance, it must be cleaned, especially following a bottle-feeding or meal. Once babies have a few teeth, parents may use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to gently brush teeth. Keep in mind—pediatric dentists recommend that children visit a dentist by their first birthday, even if they do not have their first tooth.

As children develop coordination and interest in oral care, they may begin to brush their own teeth. While this is good practice, it’s important for parents to supervise brushing. During this time, dentists might suggest placing sealants on the child’s teeth to protect them from decay. When used in accordance with regular fluoride treatments, dental sealants protect baby teeth from developing cavities. Contrary to what some believe, the health of baby teeth is critical to the health of permanent teeth.

From ages 6-12, it’s likely that children will have both baby teeth and permanent teeth in their mouth. In turn, as the jaw and facial bone structures develop, dentists may suggest consulting with an orthodontist to determine if early intervention is necessary to correct or avoid malocclusion (bite concerns).

As an esteemed dentist in Cypress, Dr. Patrick Vuong is committed to providing a unique dental experience for all patients, especially children. With an emphasis on preventative dentistry, Dr. Vuong values early pediatric care as the cornerstone to developing good oral care habits for life. Need special accommodations for your child? The team at Smile Avenue Family Dentistry is ready to assist you. Call today!

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Valplast Dentures: Strength, Flexibility, and Comfort?

For many years, the word denture and the word comfort would never be associated together in a positive way. Yet, more and more dentists are prescribing the innovative Valplast Flexible Partial Dentures because their unique design demonstrates strength, flexibility, and comfort—yes, comfort! Surprising to some, Valplast is not a new material. Rather, it is the result of numerous experiments of the late 1940’s by two brothers seeking a partial denture polymer that would fulfill the primary requirements of retention, stability, and support, while providing some aesthetic benefit. Today, Valplast Flexible Partials are a highly regarded method for replacing missing teeth, and are well suited for a variety of conditions.

While the future continues to move in the direction of metal-free restorations, patients report that Valplast feels natural, when compared to fixed dentures. Thus, it is comfortable to wear, and the flexible material allows for natural functioning, movement, eating and speaking. In turn, it provides support for the entire ridge of the upper mouth, instead of fixed points. This has resulted in less need for denture relines and repairs. Lastly, the flexibility of Valplast Partials allows for adjustability, so that each patient can ensure a perfect fit.

Aside from the comfort and flexibility of Valplast, it is fabricated in 5 natural shades, and has become an effective biocompatible replacement for acrylic partials when patients experience irritation. Yet, the versatility of Valplast continues as it is used for cosmetic gum veneers, dental appliances, implant retained overdentures, and full dentures for patients with complex cases.

For patients with allergies to acrylic materials or with a mouth shape that does not comply with a rigid denture restoration, the thermoplastic nylon material of Valplast Partials is an exciting and naturally appealing option.

The Confidence And Assurance You Need To Smile Again

Perhaps you think that your teeth are too small or too short, or maybe you are looking for a natural and flexible solution to replace your missing teeth. At Smile Avenue Family Dentistry, we believe that Valplast Partial Dentures can give you the confidence and assurance you need to smile again. To set up your consultation, call today!

Posted on Behalf of Smile Avenue Family Dentistry

Why Is Teeth Whitening So Popular?

While brushing, flossing, and a commitment to regular dental checkups is essential for maintaining a great smile, many patients continue to feel as though their smile is lacking a bit of sparkle. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, when asked about the one thing that they’d like to change concerning their smile, the majority of individuals said that they wanted whiter teeth. This is further supported by the fact that nearly 90% of patients requested teeth whitening over other cosmetic services, as reported by the American Association of Orthodontics. Even so, why is teeth whitening so popular?

  • Without question, whiter teeth helps individuals smile with confidence, and this is perhaps the number one reason why it continues to gain popularity.
  • Teeth Whitening is quick and painless. This is of great appeal for those that desire an immediate result, as well as individuals that have dental anxiety. In fact, many dental practices offer special amenities for those receiving teeth whitening such as watching television or listening to music.
  • When compared to countless other cosmetic treatments, teeth whitening is inexpensive, with long-term results.

How Do Teeth Become Dull And Stained?

It’s easy to see why teeth whitening continue to gain momentum for those desiring a whiter, brighter smile. Yet, how do teeth become dull and stained in the first place?

Consider the outer layer of the tooth called the enamel. Did you know? The color of natural teeth is generated by the reflection of light off of the tooth’s enamel, coupled with the color of the underlying dentin of the tooth. Because the thickness of an individual’s enamel is determined genetically, thin enamel shows more of the color of the dentin beneath. In turn, the texture of a patient’s enamel also plays a role in how white teeth appear.

In addition to genetic factors, pores in the tooth’s enamel absorb colors from foods and beverages that come in contact with teeth each day. Thus, darker colors are held in the pores, resulting in staining of the tooth. Specifically, tea, coffee, sodas, and red wine contribute to stains on teeth. Other factors include tobacco use (including smoking), inconsistent oral care, and aging.

Advanced Teeth Whitening in Cypress

Are you ready to smile with confidence? Dr. Vuong and the team at Smile Avenue Family Dentistry are happy to offer the advanced teeth whitening system called ZOOM! to patients in Cypress. Call us today!

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The Promises of Sedation Dentistry

If you are one of the many individuals across the United States that experience anxiety about visiting the dentist, you are not alone. Whether you have a low pain threshold, sensitive teeth, or if previous examinations have left a bad taste in your mouth, it’s important to consider the many advancements in dentistry that are paving the way for you to receive simple and straightforward dental care. Perhaps the greatest of these is Sedation Dentistry. Sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry,” sedation dentistry is safe and effective for all ages, and uses medication to help patients relax. For patients that need dental care, but are afraid to visit the dentist, sedation dentistry promises an easy, smooth, and positive dental visit.

To better understand how sedation dentistry can streamline dental treatment, it’s wise to learn about the types of sedation dentistry available.

Levels of Sedation Dentistry

While “sedation dentistry” and “sleep dentistry” are used interchangeably, patients are not asleep during most levels of sedation. For instance, for those with mild anxiety, dentists often administer nitrous oxide through a mask placed over the patient’s nose. This minimal level of sedation is sometimes called “laughing gas,” because it is known to cause individuals to giggle as they relax. This type of sedation wears off quickly after treatment, and patients may drive themselves home.

The next level of sedation is similar to the effects of Valium, and is given to patients orally, in pill form. Thus, patients are responsible for taking the medication one hour prior to their visit. Dentists may prescribe a larger dose depending on the patient’s level of apprehension and the dental treatment provided. It’s important to understand that oral sedation can cause drowsiness, and patients are wise to arrange for a family member or friend to drive them home.

For patients with extreme dental phobia or those receiving longer, more invasive dental treatments, IV sedation dentistry is a form of “conscious sedation” that is administered through an IV and monitored throughout the procedure. Though patients remain awake and can respond to instructions during treatment, they often find that they have no memory of the procedure.

Helping Patients Achieve Better Oral Health

Without question, sedation dentistry has helped patients achieve better oral health with the promise of a stress-free visit. This is why Dr. Patrick Vuong of Smile Avenue Family Dentistry makes it his priority to provide patients in Cypress with the advancements of sedation dentistry, so that they can receive the dental care that they deserve.

Is it time for your dental checkup? You can feel at ease at Smile Avenue Family Dentistry. Call today.

Posted on behalf of Smile Avenue Family Dentistry

Can Dentists Detect Disease?

Believe it or not, an examination of the mouth, head, and neck contain information relating to over 120 diseases. Advancements in dentistry as well as continued research in the link between oral and overall health, supports this finding, as the mouth is believed to hold important clues about what’s going on in the body. Yet, what does this mean? Can Dentists detect disease?

When it comes to medical check-ups and dental checkups, it’s no secret that many patients place a higher priority on scheduling medical appointments. In response, dental professionals have devoted ample time to patient education in an effort to encourage patients not to skip or forego their dental examinations. This is because many medical problems manifest in and around the mouth.

Take a look at the following oral health concerns that are related to medical issues:

  • Fiery, red tongue (linked to Anemia and Diabetes)
  • Inflammation (linked to Anemia, Diabetes, Anorexia, Heart Disease, Liver Disease)
  • Dry Mouth (linked to Diabetes, Kidney or Renal Failure)
  • Mouth Sores (linked to immune deficiencies and Cancer)
  • Tooth Erosion (linked to Anorexia, Bulimia, Diabetes)
  • Tooth Sensitivity (linked to Anorexia and Bulimia)
  • Mouth Ulcers (linked to Kidney Failure, Cancer)
  • Jaw Pain (linked to Heart Disease)

Do you experience any of the above-mentioned oral concerns? With a growing awareness of these connections, it is too risky to skip dental appointments.

We’ll Help You Make Informed Decisions About Your Health

Smile Avenue Family Dentistry welcomes you and your family to our practice, where we hope to be your trusted dentist in Cypress. When it comes to connecting oral and overall health, we’ll help you gather all of the information you need to make informed decisions about your health. If it’s been some time since you’ve visited the dentist, or you have a family history of Diabetes, Heart Disease, or Cancer, please do not wait. Visit Smile Avenue Family Dentistry today.

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Mouth Cancer

While mouth cancer can affect anyone, it is mostly associated with age and gender. Even so, an overwhelming percentage (91%) of mouth cancers are strongly linked to lifestyle. This means that many cases can be prevented. To learn more about the risk factors connected to mouth cancer, continue reading below.

Tobacco (Smoking)

Containing thousands of chemicals in each cigarette, smoking makes individuals three times more likely to develop mouth cancers, and seven times more likely to develop throat cancer. The act of smoking essentially transforms saliva into a dangerous cocktail of bacteria that damages cells in the mouth. At the same time, the body’s ability to fight infection is impaired due to a lack of blood flow to the mouth (also a result of smoking).

Also a probable cause of mouth cancer is second hand smoke. Specifically, those who have been exposed to second hand smoke for 15 years of more are twice as likely to develop mouth cancer.

Alcohol

While alcohol, in moderation, doesn’t pose any serious threat to the onset of mouth cancer, if it is done in excess or if it is paired with smoking, it becomes dangerous. In fact, it’s reported that excessive alcohol consumption can account for up to one third of all cases of mouth cancer.

HPV (Human Papillomavirus)

While the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is relatively common and most cases go away on their own, there are persistent HPV infections that can cause severe problems including abnormal tissue growth and genital warts (both can lead to cancer). It’s important to know that safe sex practices will greatly reduce one’s risk of developing HPV.

Food

Surprisingly to some, nearly half of all cases of mouth cancer are tied to poor diet. The following foods are said to reduce one’s risk of mouth cancer: fruit, vegetables, vitamin C supplements, Calcium supplements, caffeinated coffee, and green tea.

Your Trusted Dentist In Cypress

Smile Avenue Family Dentistry welcomes you and your family to our practice, where we hope to be your trusted dentist in Cypress. When it comes to mouth cancer, we understand the importance of providing you with all of the information you need regarding your dental health, so that you can live a happy, healthy life. If it’s been awhile since you’ve visited a dentist, call us today. With comprehensive and conscientious care, you’ll feel at ease at Smile Avenue Family Dentistry.

Posted on behalf of Smile Avenue Family Dentistry

Periodontal (Gum) Disease: Causes And Connections

With more than 3 million cases reported each year, Periodontal (Gum) Disease ranges from mild inflammation of the gum tissues to a serious infection that spreads to the jawbone. Because the effects of gum disease on oral health can be devastating, resulting in tooth loss, ongoing research suggests that there’s a strong connection between gum disease and overall health. To better understand, continue reading below.

Beginning as a buildup of plaque along the gum line, Periodontal (Gum) Disease progresses quickly as bacteria interact with acids from foods and beverages. This is why dentists emphasize the importance of daily oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits. For plaque that is not removed effectively, it can harden into tartar, which accelerates tooth decay and is difficult to remove. Without question, good oral care, as well as a commitment to regular dental examinations is the greatest defense against the effects of gum disease. Even so, dentists urge patients to consider the important connections between oral health and overall health. Researchers believe that the following health concerns are connected to Periodontal (Gum) Disease:

Heart Disease: When it comes to linking periodontal (gum) disease to heart disease, there’s one culprit in mind—Inflammation. Increased inflammation from infection in the mouth extends beyond the gum line, increasing the risk of clogged arteries in the heart.

Premature Birth: While the link between periodontal disease and premature birth involves a series of complex interactions within the body, inflamed tissues and bacteria in the mouth that reach the bloodstream are believed to target the fetus of pregnant women. The result is preterm labor or low birth weight.

Diabetes: Going both ways, periodontal disease makes it difficult for those with diabetes to control blood sugar levels. This is because periodontal disease causes blood sugar to increase. In a similar way, for those with uncontrolled glucose levels, they are more at risk for developing periodontal disease.

Respiratory Disease: When harmful bacteria from the diseased tissues of the mouth reach the bloodstream, infection can ensue within the lungs. This creates a concern for the development of pneumonia.

Comprehensive Dentistry For Better Oral and Overall Health

Providing comprehensive dentistry for better oral and overall health, Smile Avenue Family Dentistry welcomes you to our practice today. We believe that oral health will directly impact your overall health. That’s why we encourage you to call us today if you’ve missed your last dental appointment. Your mouth provides invaluable insight about your health, and we want you to enjoy a healthy and happy life, for years to come.

Posted on behalf of Smile Avenue Family Dentistry

Restorative Dentistry: Diagnosis, Prevention, and Treatment

Designed to take place every six months, dental checkups are important to provide patients with comprehensive cleanings, x-rays, and other educational information regarding their teeth. Yet, this is also an important visit to determine if additional dental work is needed. As an umbrella term that involves the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of oral infections and diseases, restorative dentistry incorporates a variety of procedures and materials to restore function and beauty to teeth.

Even the most consistent and disciplined patient may need additional treatment to correct or strengthen teeth during their lifetime. Whether it’s a filling, veneers, a crown or bridge, a partial, inlays or onlays, or dental bonding, both dental professionals and patients benefit from a growing number of materials and methods for restoring teeth.

Using porcelain, dental amalgam, composite resin, or even gold, fillings are designed to restore the surface of teeth. Generally placed on teeth in the back of the mouth, dental amalgam remains a popular filling material. Yet, many dentists and patients prefer using composite, or tooth-colored resins because they restore teeth with an aesthetic appeal.

Similar to composite fillings, dental veneers are comprised of porcelain or composite resin, and are bonded to upper or lower front teeth. When patients suffer a broken or chipped tooth, veneers are an excellent way of reshaping teeth. In turn, they are beautiful and natural looking.

Also widely used to restore the look, feel, and function of teeth are crowns and bridges. When teeth have been severely damaged, a crown is designed to encase the entire tooth. Crowns are versatile, and can be made of gold, porcelain, or ceramic material. Bridges, on the other hand, are a prosthetic used to replace one or more teeth. Crowns are commonly placed on either side of the bridge to serve as an anchor for adjacent teeth to attach to.

While Restorative Dentistry brings strength and function back to teeth, individuals must remember that gum disease and tooth decay are always a threat. Thus, consistent oral care must continue.

The team at Smile Avenue Family Dentistry welcomes your family to our practice today. You’ll enjoy a unique experience where more efficient and quieter dental instruments are used, as well as a variety of relaxing amenities for families and children. When it comes to your oral health, we are committed to helping you understand the best and most appropriate restorative dental treatments for you. You deserve to feel confident about your smile! Call today.

Posted on behalf of Smile Avenue Family Dentistry

Repairing Damaged Teeth

While teeth are remarkably strong, there are many ways that they can become damaged. For instance, biting down on something hard, including chewing ice can cause teeth to chip. Trauma from a car accident or sports injury can certainly cause damage. In turn, cavities can weaken teeth, causing them to fracture or break. Whatever the case, advancements in dentistry provide many options for repairing damaged teeth.

Contrary to what many assume, pain from a broken or cracked tooth may be mild. In fact, it may come and go. Even so, it’s important to let your dentist know right away if you notice that your tooth is damaged. It may save you from an emergency trip later. Here are some dental treatments used to repair damaged teeth:

Dental Composite Bonding

To repair chipped, cracked, or broken teeth, Dental Composite Bonding involves placing putty on the tooth (after it is roughened and conditioned). An ultraviolet light is used to harden the putty. Next, it is shaped and polished to match the shape and color of the patient’s natural teeth. Bonding can last up to 10 years.

Veneers

Veneers are a realistic and cosmetically pleasing option for covering one or more teeth. Patients can choose how their veneer(s) will look, and with good oral care, they can last up to 30 years.

Crowns

Many people experience pain while chewing after their teeth have been damaged. This is usually due to severe chipping or fracture. Thus, a Crown, or “cap,” is a widely used restorative treatment that covers and protects teeth. For a more natural look, crowns can be tooth-colored or porcelain.

Root Canals

Sometimes, a crack in a patient’s tooth extends to the root, or pulp. In this case, the best treatment is often a Root Canal. Though this procedure has a bad reputation for being painful, patients should feel no pain or discomfort when they visit a skilled dentist.

During the Root Canal treatment, the decayed portion of the tooth is removed, as well as the nerve. It is then sealed to prevent further infection.

Dental Implants

When damage to teeth is severe, reaching below the gum-line, the tooth will most likely need to be removed. While this may be concerning, patients should know that Dental Implants are a wonderful option for replacing missing teeth. Essentially, the implant will become the tooth’s new root, resting securely in the jawbone.

Compassionate Care

At Smile Avenue Family Dentistry, your oral health is important to us. If you are concerned about your teeth, or if you suspect that they are broken or chipped, please call us today. You’ll feel at ease with the compassionate care at Smile Avenue Family Dentistry.

Posted on behalf of Smile Avenue Family Dentistry

Invisalign: The Clear Alternative

While traditional metal braces remain a popular choice for achieving a straighter smile, this conventional method is less than attractive, especially for teens and adults that are seeking a less noticeable way to undergo orthodontic treatment. That’s why many are going with the clear alternative—Invisalign. Using clear aligner trays, Invisalign straightens teeth by gently shifting them into place over time. Yet, their greatest appeal is that they do so in a comfortable, hassle-free way. While Invisalign may not be suitable for every patient, the following are five reasons why patients, if given the choice, will choose Invisalign every time.

Appearance

Invisalign clear braces are virtually unnoticeable. In fact, those wearing the clear aligner trays can essentially keep their orthodontic treatment a secret. This is particularly important for teens that have less than consistent oral care, are athletes, or for adult professionals that do not want the unsightly look of metal in their mouth. Invisalign makes it easy to keep teeth clean, and never interferes with daily activities or lifestyle. When it comes to appearance, they are decidedly more attractive than traditional braces.

Comfortable

Patients wearing Invisalign aligner trays enjoy the benefit of being able to remove them when necessary. For instance, they can be removed while eating or drinking, helping patients avoid the embarrassment of having food stuck between wires and metal brackets. Thus, Invisalign affords patients a comfortable alternative that makes treatment easy.

Oral Care Is Easy

For those wearing metal braces, the importance of oral care and hygiene are paramount. Yet, for those wearing removable, clear aligner trays, oral health is easy to maintain. The aligner trays are simply removed while brushing and flossing. In turn, patients do not have to worry about the sharp edges and wires that may puncture their gums and cheeks. Invisalign trays are soft, flexible, and smooth.

Length Of Treatment

Generally, patients may expect a treatment time of up to 5 years with traditional metal braces, sometimes including two phases. Yet, treatment with Invisalign usually takes 1-2 years, which is a distinct advantage.

Predictability

Treatment using Invisalign requires a treatment-planning phase, where the end results are computerized. Thus, patients know how long treatment will take, as well as what to expect. Many are comforted by the “lack of surprises” when receiving treatment with Invisalign.

While only a dental professional can determine if you are a good candidate for Invisalign, the advantages are quite clear. That’s why Smile Avenue Family Dentistry invites you to call us today to learn more about the appealing alternative of Invisalign. A customized treatment begins here, where our skilled team will assess your smile and determine the best option for you. No matter what stage of life you’re in—we’re sure to help you put your best smile forward.

Posted on behalf of Smile Avenue Family Dentistry