Category Archives: Cosmetic Dentistry

Senior Oral Health Care

Senior Oral Health Care

Proper oral care can keep you smiling well into retirement. Brushing at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristle brush are important. Flossing helps save your teeth by removing plaque between teeth and below the gum line that your toothbrush can’t reach.

  • What problems should I watch for?
  • Why should I be concerned about gum disease?
  • What if it is too difficult to brush?
  • What are the signs of oral cancer?


What problems should I watch for?

Gingivitis is caused by the bacteria found in plaque that attacks the gums. Symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen gums and possible bleeding when you brush. If you have any of these symptoms, see Dr. Griffin at once. Gingivitis can lead to a more serious form of gum disease if problems persist.

Why should I be concerned about gum disease?

Three out of four adults over age 35 are affected by some sort of gum (periodontal)disease. In gum disease, the infection may become severe. Your gums begin to recede, pulling back from the teeth. In the worst cases, bacteria form pockets between the teeth and gums, weakening the bone. This can lead to tooth loss if untreated, especially in patients with osteoporosis. If regular oral care is too difficult, Dr. Griffin can provide alternatives to aid in flossing and prescribe medication to keep the infection from getting worse.

What if it is too difficult to brush?

If you have arthritis, you may find it difficult to brush and floss. Ask us for ways to overcome this problem. Certain dental products are designed to make dental care less painful for arthritis sufferers. Try using a battery operated toothbrush with a large handle. These toothbrushes can help by doing some of the work for you.

What are the signs of oral cancer?

Oral cancer most often occurs in people over 40 years of age. See Dr. Griffin immediately if you notice any red or white patches on your gums or tongue, sores that fail to heal within two weeks, or an unusual hard spot on the side of your tongue. Oral cancer is often difficult to detect in its early stages, when it can be cured easily. Dr. Griffin will perform a head and neck exam to screen for signs of cancer.

Three out of four adults over age 35 are affected by some sort of gum (periodontal) disease.

If you have any questions about senior dental care or any other dental issues, please feel free to give us a call here in Carrollton, TX at 972-242-2155.  Or, simply use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form on this page.

(Information gathered from the Academy of General Dentistry)

March Madness: Basketball Can Take a Toll on Teeth

March Madness: Basketball Can Take a Toll on Teeth

March Madness March Madness is upon us! 2017 marks the 79th annual NCAA Playoff Basketball tournament. March Madness is a phenomenon that grips our country from the second week of March through the first week of April. March Madness is the moniker that is given to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments. These tournaments determine the National Champions of college basketball.

When it comes to March Madness, there will be Cinderella stories that will live on in the hearts of fans, players and coaches for years to come. There will be upsets, like SMU losing to underdog USC in the first round of the tournament, or you losing in your office pool bracket the very first day. But, there is one upset a basketball player doesn’t want, and that is a dental injury.

As any basketball player or fan can tell you, the game has grown more physical and contact-heavy. Basketball players are five times more likely to sustain injuries to the mouth and face than football players, so it’s especially important to provide mouth protection on the hardwood. Mouthguards should be a routine part of a basketball player’s protective gear.

Whether you’re player yourself or the parent of a budding NCAA player, there are several options for mouthguard protection.

Types of Mouthguards

Stock mouthguards. These type of mouth guards are preformed, inexpensive and can be found at most sporting goods stores. They cannot be custom fit, so they are bulky and make talking and breathing difficult. Dentists typically don’t recommend them because of their limited protection.

Boil and bite mouthguards. Available at most sporting goods stores, these offer a slightly better fit than a stock mouth guard, but they can still bulky and uncomfortable. They can be softened in boiling water and then placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth using finger and tongue pressure.

Custom-fit mouthguards. When it comes to injury prevention, a custom-fit mouthguard is your best option. This type of mouthguard is made by taking an impression of your teeth, by your dentist, and sending the models to a dental lab to fabricate the mouthguard. It offers the best protection, fit and comfort level because it is specifically made for your one-of-a-kind teeth and bite.

 

Don’t let a dental injury get you sidelined. Protect your teeth this spring during March Madness by calling Paul A. Griffin, DDS, PA, at 972-242-2155, and see what we can to do to help you play a smarter game of basketball. You can also use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of his page.

How Does Dental Insurance Work?

How Does Dental Insurance Work?Insurance

How does dental insurance work? It doesn’t. Just kidding. Dental insurance does work, it just doesn’t work the same way as health insurance, which most people assume it does. When most people think about health insurance, they think first about covering costs of treatment for serious medical conditions or accidents. But, dental insurance is a completely different animal.

“Dental insurance” is not really insurance, it’s more like a benefit. Most dental plans are chosen and by employers to save you some money on your dental care, but it does not relate at all to your personal dental needs or “catastrophic” dental needs.

That being said let’s look at a little history of dental insurance.

Dental insurance was first introduced in 1954 and gained popularity in the 60’s. By the 70’s, many employers offered dental insurance plans. These plans typically covered 100% of preventive care, 80% of minor dental work, or basic dental work, such as fillings and simple extractions, and 50% of major work such as crowns and bridges.

The annual maximum annual coverage of dental plans in the 70’s was $1000. Back then, $1,000 bought a lot of dental care. Today, the average cap on dental plans is…wait for it… $1,000. Um what? Yep, you read that right — most plans still offer $1,000, some plans offer $1500, and the rare plan offers more, but the average is still $1000. So in over 40 years, dental maximums have not gone up. Based on the Consumer Price Index, $1000 in 1970 would now be around $6258. Yes, you read that right. What you could have bought in 1970 for $1000 would cost you over $6000 today.

Let’s take a look at how most dental insurance plans work these days.

First, you have a deductible, which is typically $25 or $50. This is applied and paid by you when you have your first appointment for dental treatment like a filling or crown. Most plans do not apply this deductible toward your exams and cleanings, therefore no money is due from you during these types of appointments, unless your plan does not cover certain procedures such as fluoride for adults.

Then, you have your reimbursement levels, or the percentages of what your dental plan will cover. Most plans are typically grouped into three categories:

  • Type 1 (Preventative/Diagnostic) 100% coverage – exams, x-rays and cleanings, fluoride and sealants for kids up to a certain age.
  • Type 2 (Basic restorative) 80% coverage – fillings, root canals, extractions, periodontal procedures.
  • Type 3 (Major restorative) 50% coverage – crowns, dentures, bridge work.

The coinsurance would be the percentage of the covered dental expense you pay, after the deductible has been met. So, if your plan covers 80% of a procedure your coinsurance would be 20%.

Next, is the annual maximum benefit. Most plans have a maximum of $1000.00 – $1500.00. Once you have reached that maximum, dental insurance will not pay for any more treatment that may be needed for the year. Which leaves you paying out of pocket.

Looks pretty straight forward doesn’t it? But hold on, many plans have exceptions especially with dental insurance. Here are some possible exceptions that dental plans may have:

WAITING PERIODS: Woops! You have to wait 6 months from your effective date on the group dental plan for Type 2 services to be covered!

MISSING TOOTH CLAUSE: If the tooth was missing prior to your effective date with the group plan, too bad. They are not going to pay to replace it with a bridge or implant.

FREQUENCYS: The group plan allows certain services at certain intervals. Cleanings every 6 month plus 1 day.  (I’m not kidding, have your cleaning 1 day too soon and you insurance won’t cover it.) Full sets of x-rays are usually limited to every 3-5 years. That means if you switch dentists you want to have those x-rays sent over before you arrive.

And finally,

DOWNGRADES: Most plans have “downgrades”, meaning the insurance may approve a procedure, but pay for a less expensive procedure (Example: You have a tooth colored filling on a back tooth. Your insurance pays what it would pay for silver, leaving you with the difference in cost).

So, that’s basically how dental insurance works. As you can see it can be easy and confusing at the same time, and, not a whole lot hasn’t really changed with dental plans in over 40 years!

 

If you have any questions about your dental insurance please feel free to call us here at 972-242-2155. Or you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” link at the top of this page.

 

Kovanaze Is Here!

Kovanaze Is Here!

Kovanaze, the much anticipated, “needleless” local anesthetic, for the use on upper front teeth, is now on the market, and Dr. Griffin is now offering it as an alternative to traditional injections for the upper front teeth and palate. Kovanaze

Kovanaze is the first product of its kind that allows for dental anesthesia to be administered through the nose without the use of a needle.

Kovanaze contains a vasoconstrictor and local anesthetic combination (oxymetazoline hydrochloride and tetracaine hydrochloride) which is administered intranasally. It is indicated for regional anesthesia when performing restorative procedures on the upper, front 8, teeth in adults and children who weigh 88 lbs. or more, though the company plans to investigate its use with children, as well as for other procedures.

So, if you’ve been putting off dental work you need because you’d rather stay away from needles, it’s time to stop worrying. Call us today to schedule your next appointment, at 972-242-2155. Or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.

 

Improve Your Smile

Improve Your SmileSmile

A bright and beautiful smile can give your confidence a boost. Dr. Griffin can perform a variety of  cosmetic procedures to help you improve the look of your smile. Learn more about the cosmetic dentistry procedures that you dentist provides today!

  • What is cosmetic dentistry?
  • What are some common cosmetic procedures?
  • Which procedure is right for me?

What is cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry refers to any dental work that improves the appearance of the teeth, gums, or bite.

What are some common cosmetic procedures?

Common cosmetic procedures include whitening, bonding, crowns, veneers, and contouring and reshaping.

  Whitening
Whitening, also called bleaching, is a chemical procedure used to make teeth whiter. Some people have their teeth bleached to remove stains, while others simply  want a brighter smile. Dr. Griffin may perform bleaching in the office or provide  you with an at-home bleaching kit to be used under his supervision.

  Bonding
Bonding is the process of using a composite resin to fill the gaps between teeth or to whiten them. Bonding may also be used to correct chipped teeth or minor decay. The bonding procedure may be completed in a single office visit, and the results often last for several years, although some bonding resins are more susceptible to staining or chipping than other restoration materials.

  Crowns
Crowns are placed over a tooth to create a normal appearance. Crowns can be used to restore fractured, misshapen, or discolored teeth, or those with significant structure loss. Crowns have a longer life expectancy than other cosmetic restorations, but they are also more expensive and time-consuming to place, requiring more than one office visit. Crowns are generally used in cases in which other cosmetic procedures would not be as effective.

  Veneers
Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain placed over the front of the teeth to change their shape or color. In addition to improving teeth with uneven surfaces, veneers can be used to correct chipped, discolored, oddly shaped, unevenly spaced or crooked teeth. Placement of veneers requires more than one office visit. They are more expensive than bonding restorations but they have better color stability and longer life expectancy.

  Contouring and reshaping
Often combined with bonding, contouring and reshaping procedures are used to correct crooked, chipped, irregularly shaped, or overlapping teeth. Contouring and reshaping procedures can alter the teeth’s length, shape, or position; contouring can also be used to improve bite. Contouring and reshaping procedures may be completed in a single visit and are ideal for patients with normal, healthy teeth who want subtle changes to their smiles.

Which procedure is right for me?

The condition of your teeth and your desired results will determine which cosmetic procedures are best for you. Dr. Griffin can answer your questions and make recommendations on how to best improve your smile.

For more information about cosmetic dentistry procedures please do not hesitate to call, we here at Paul Griffin, DDS are happy to help!  You can call us at 972-242-2155 or simply use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form on this page.

(Information gathered from the Academy of General Dentistry)

Dental Injuries

Dental Injuriesdental injuries

If you regularly participate in sports you are at a higher risk for dental injuries. With 13-39% of dental injuries being sports-related, there is a significant risk of a dental injury occurring when taking to the field or the court. It’s important to understand the types of injuries that could happen and what to do if such injury occurs.

The most common sports injuries are avulsed (knocked-out) teeth, luxated (displaced) teeth, and fractured (broken) teeth. While most dental injuries can be avoided by taking some simple precautions, such as wearing a mouth guard, accidents do happen, and it is important to know what actions to take when they do.

Avulsed (knock-out) Teeth

Immediately call our office for an emergency appointment. Handle the tooth by the crown, not the root. Touching the root (the part of the tooth below the gum) can damage cells necessary for bone re-attachment. Gently rinse the tooth in water to remove dirt. Do not scrub. Place the clean tooth in your mouth between the cheek and gum to keep it moist. It is important not to let the tooth dry out. If it is not possible to store the tooth in the mouth of the injured person, wrap the tooth in a clean cloth or gauze and immerse in milk or saline solution.

Luxated (displaced) Teeth

If a tooth becomes luxated, or displaced, try to reposition the tooth back to its normal alignment using light pressure, but do not force the tooth. Apply gentle pressure to keep the tooth in position until you can be seen. In addition, call our office as soon as possible for an appointment. The tooth might have to be splinted in place next to the two healthy teeth on each side of it.

Fractured (broken) Teeth

For a fractured tooth, rinse the mouth out and use an ice pack to reduce swelling, and take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for any pain. Minor fractures, such as a chip, can be repaired with a filling or bonding. Moderate fractures, without pulp damage, are likely to require a full coverage crown. However, if pulp damage does occur the tooth will need endodontic (root canal) treatment. On the other hand, severely fractured teeth, like those fractured at the gumline or with root fracture, are often difficult to repair and require extraction.

Can I somehow prepare for dental injury emergencies?

Yes, by packing an emergency dental care kit including:

  • Dentist’s phone numbers (office and emergency number)
  • Saline solution
  • Handkerchief
  • Gauze
  • Small container with lid
  • Ibuprofen (Not aspirin. Aspirin is an anti-coagulant, which may cause excessive bleeding in a dental emergency.)

Getting to a dentist within 30 minutes can make the difference between saving and losing a tooth.

If you have any questions regarding dental injuries or if you have a dental emergency please feel free to contact Dr. Griffin at 972-242-2155. Or, simply use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form on this page.

End of the Year Dental Benefits: Use It or Lose It!

Use It or Lose It! Your End of the Year Dental Benefits

Benefits

The weather is finally getting cooler in Texas, which means the holidays, and the New Year, are right around the corner. This also means you only have a couple of months left to get the most out of your yearly dental benefits and maximums. Visiting the dentist may not be on your holiday to-do list, but it is key to maintaining optimal oral health. With the busy holidays – and all of those treats and sweets you look forward to – now is the perfect time to prepare and protect your pearly whites so you can enjoy the holiday season coming up.

Don’t Let Your Money Go to Waste

Most dental insurance plans provide a certain dollar amount of benefits each year, the annual maximum. While some plans run on a fiscal year, most run on a calendar year, January 1st – December 31st. If your plan is on a calendar year, and you haven’t been in to see Dr. Griffin this year, you could have unused benefits that will go to waste when the clock strikes midnight on December 31. If this amount is not used your insurance starts over and sets a new maximum for the upcoming year, and most dental plans do not let you rollover unused maximums to the next year. So, essentially, you use it or lose it!

Early November is a good time to get your dental appointments in because you can get your dental care out-of-the-way before the busy holiday season really begins. And, if you have been thinking about whitening or other cosmetic procedures, remember the holidays are all about photos and lasting memories, so it’s a great time to give your smile a boost. And, getting your teeth looked at now can help you avoid potential, unwanted, dental emergencies over the holidays, which are already stressful enough!

Beat the end of year rush and get in early! Contact us at, 972-242- 2155, to book your dental appointment. Or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.  

We’re ready to help you smile healthier & happier in 2015!

The Truth About DIY Teeth Whitening

The Truth About DIY Teeth Whitening

DIY Teeth WhiteningIf you spend any time on Pinterest or Facebook, or if you subscribe to any do-it-yourself blogs, you have probably seen the numerous pins and posts of DIY teeth whitening recipes. Often accompanied by amazing before-and-after pictures, these homemade whitening formulas promise amazing results using everyday products you might find around the house. Sounds great, right? But these simple recipes for whiter teeth may not be all they’re cracked up to be.

Before you jump head first (or teeth first) into these DIY whitening recipes, take a moment to learn the facts and the risks involved.

Baking soda

The Claim:

Baking soda is a mild abrasive. When mixed with water, it releases free radicals, which break down the stain molecules on the surface of the tooth’s enamel. You can then brush the debris off with a toothbrush.

The Truth:

The abrasive nature of baking soda may eventually wear down your enamel if used too frequently. Unlike most toothpaste, it doesn’t contain fluoride to prevent decay, so you definitely shouldn’t use it as a substitute.

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)

The Claim:

Hydrogen peroxide penetrates enamel and causes an oxidation reaction, breaking apart the molecules staining your teeth, thus whitening your teeth.

The Truth:

Hydrogen peroxide will whiten teeth if it is kept on the surface of the tooth long enough and frequently enough, but too much exposure can result in tooth sensitivity and cause irritation of the gums and other oral tissue. Also, if swallowed, even in small amounts, it can cause stomach irritation and vomiting. In larger amounts, it’s poisonous and may require a trip to the emergency room.

Activated charcoal

The Claim:

If you’ve ever taken charcoal tablets for an upset stomach, you know that activated charcoal is very absorbent. The same logic is offered when it comes to tooth whitening: the charcoal is said to absorb the tannins staining your teeth, drawing them out of your enamel when you brush the black stuff away.

The Truth:

Abrasion is the major concern. Although there’s little research on charcoal used alone, a Malaysian study found that villagers who brushed their teeth with a charcoal and salt mixture had “distinct forms of abrasion cavity.”

Lemons

The Claim:

The acid in lemons leaches minerals from your teeth, making them appear whiter. When mixed with baking soda as a paste it is supposed to make your teeth make sparkling white.

The Truth:

You’ll wash away your enamel right along with those stains. Lemons are VERY acidic and can dissolve your enamel causing permanent damage. In fact, a 2007 study found lemon juice to be more harmful to your teeth than orange and grapefruit juice.

Strawberries

The Claim:

The malic acid in strawberries acts as an astringent to remove surface discoloration on your teeth.

The Truth:

Strawberries actually contain 5 kinds of acids — and acids are harmful to teeth.  It doesn’t take long for acids to erode dental enamel and cause sensitivity and decay. A 2014 study found that a mixture of strawberries and baking soda reduced tooth hardness by as much as 10%. That’s a high price to pay, especially since another study found that the strategy didn’t even whiten teeth. Leave the strawberries for your cakes and ice cream.

Oil pulling

The Claim:

Swishing for 20 minutes with a spoonful of coconut oil is all the rage. Not only is it recommended to rid your body of toxins, the oil is supposed to remove stains from teeth.

The Truth:

The Ayurvedic practice of swishing oil in your mouth may not be bad for you, but there’s little evidence that it actually whitens teeth. The practice itself is pretty safe and not likely to cause harm, but hard evidence of the benefits and risks is hard to come by. As for cleaner teeth, the truth is that extensive rinsing is always going to help loosen plaque, whether you’re doing it with water or coconut oil.

Apple cider vinegar

The Claim:

The acidic content of the vinegar is said to dissolve stains, leaving your teeth whiter after multiple rinses.

The Truth:

Once again we’re talking about acids. Since apple cider vinegar is so acidic, using it on your teeth can weaken tooth enamel and increase the risk of decay, cavities and sensitivity. Also, people who consume large amounts of apple cider vinegar, for other so called health benefits, sometimes report irritation, burns or swelling of the oral tissues.

Turmeric

The Claim:

No one knows for sure, but some bloggers swear by it. Some point to the antibacterial properties of the spice, while others describe its abrasive properties.

The Truth:

No long-term risks have been established on the use of turmeric on your teeth, and the only studies in favor of using turmeric suggest it fights the bacterium Streptococcus mutans, which is the bacteria that causes tooth decay — not the stains on your teeth. Before you jump on board, prepare yourself for a very yellow toothbrush and potentially yellower teeth, due to the staining properties of turmeric and the porousness of teeth.

Everybody should be aware of the risks they are putting themselves at before trying to whiten their teeth at home. The only safe and guaranteed way to get sparkly white teeth are professional whitening methods, approved by the American Dental Association.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

If a brighter, more youthful looking smile is important to you or if you have extensive staining, your best bet is to talk to Dr. Griffin about professional teeth whitening. Depending on your goals, in-office power whitening or custom fitted take-home whitening trays might be right for you. Both of these methods are safe and can brighten your teeth by up to 9 shades. So, call us today at (972) 242-2155. You can also use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of the page.

Anesthetic Nasal Spray: No More Needles?

The very thought of going to the dentist sends chills up the spine for many people. One common reason for dental anxiety is the fear of needles. People who have an extreme phobia of needles, and shots, often avoid getting dental work done because the most used method for numbing the mouth involves an injection with a needle, but a new inhalable anesthetic may offer new hope to those who are avoiding the dentist.

No more needles

St. Renatus LLC, a privately held company based in Fort Collins, Colorado, announced that it received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval on June 29, 2016, for a new dental anesthetic nasal spray that has been in development for over ten years. Kovanaze, anesthetic nasal spray, is the first product that allows for dental anesthesia to be administered through the nose and without the use of a needle.

Kovanaze contains a vasoconstrictor and local anesthetic combination (oxymetazoline hydrochloride and tetracaine hydrochloride) which is administered intranasally. It is indicated for regional anesthesia when performing restorative procedures on the upper, front 8, teeth in adults and children who weigh 88 lbs. or more, though the company plans to investigate its use with children, as well as for other procedures.

Kovanaze is not quite on the market yet but the company is planning a launch soon.

So, if you’ve been putting off dental work you need because you’d rather stay away from needles, it’s time to stop worrying. As soon as Kovanaze is available to purchase, Dr. Paul Griffin will be using it!

Visiting the dentist doesn’t have to be an ordeal; at least if you choose Paul A. Griffin, DDS, PA. If you have any questions or need to schedule your next appointment, please call us at 972-242-2155. Or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.

WebMD Considers “15 Myths and Facts” About Dental Caries

WebMD Considers “15 Myths and Facts” About Dental CariesMyths & Facts

WebMD (6/23, Brown) provides a list of “15 myths and facts,” about dental caries, featuring quotes from American Dental Association spokesperson Dr. Kimberly Harms throughout. For example, the list states that it is a myth that sugar is the only cause of dental caries. Dr. Kimberly Harms states, “The truth is, acid produced by bacteria in your mouth is the cause of cavities.” Another myth is that children have more dental caries than adults. As a result of fluoride in tap water, “we’ve actually cut decay in school-aged children by half in the last 20 years,” Dr. Harms says. On the flip side, more senior citizens are getting dental caries because of medication that reduces saliva, she says. WebMD also states that the following are myths: aspirin on a tooth will alleviate a toothache; all fillings will eventually need replacing; people will know if they have a cavity; bruxism causes dental caries; gaps in teeth lead to dental caries; dental sensitivity means there is decay; dental caries are the cause of root canals; and dental caries aren’t possible in baby teeth. In addition, the article states it’s true that acid causes dental decay; once treated, the decay stops; dental caries are more likely to appear between teeth; dental chips and cracks can lead to decay; and proper dental hygiene helps prevent decay.

 

If you have any questions about dental caries and what causes them, or if you need to schedule your next appointment with Dr. Griffin, please call us, at 972-242-2155.