My Blog

Posts for: November, 2011

By JW Haltom DDS, Inc. Family Dentistry
November 27, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures

“Smile, and the world smiles with you,” the old saying goes. For people who are afraid to smile because they don't like how their smile looks, the twenty-first century offers a myriad of solutions. Smiling shows your teeth in their various shapes, colors, and sizes, your gums and gum line, your tooth alignment, spacing, and bite all in relation to the rest of your face. Any of these can now be improved.

Through the knowledge, skills, and combined experience of our dental team, it is now possible to make teeth whiter, brighter, and more evenly aligned, to alter tooth shape and size, and to make the teeth and gum line more proportionally balanced. Here are some options for cosmetic dentistry:

  • Polish. Remove unwanted stains on outside tooth surfaces by having your teeth polished.
  • Teeth Whitening. If teeth are stained or have just lost their luster, whitening is a safe and effective way to lighten a smile.
  • Porcelain veneers. Applying a thin layer of dental porcelain restorative material to replace stained or damaged tooth enamel can truly change a smile.
  • Porcelain crowns. If teeth are damaged by decay or trauma, porcelain crowns can replace the parts of the teeth that show above the gum line.
  • Orthodontics. For teeth that are not in their correct and functional position, a variety of orthodontic techniques can be used including traditional braces, clear aligners and more—to improve crooked teeth or a malaligned bite.
  • Dental implants. Nothing ruins a smile more than missing teeth. Entire teeth can be replaced, including the roots and the crowns, using dental implants. These are exact replicas of the natural teeth and can be made to match their neighbors exactly.

To learn more about all types of cosmetic dentistry, read “Cosmetic Dentistry, a Time for Change.” Or if you prefer, you can contact us to discuss your questions or to schedule an appointment.


By JW Haltom DDS, Inc. Family Dentistry
November 20, 2011
Category: Oral Health

If you asked a room full of parents about their opinions on thumb sucking and pacifiers, the odds are good that you would get a wide variety of opinions. The truth is that this habit is a perfectly normal behavior in babies and young children; however, it is something that parents and caregivers should monitor. This is why we want to share a few basic myths and facts to set the record straight.

So how early does thumb sucking start?
It is interesting to note that thumb sucking for some babies actually starts before birth. This fact is proven quite often when expectant mothers “see” their unborn child sucking fingers or a thumb during a routine mid to later term sonogram. Sucking for babies is absolutely normal; it provides them with a sense of security. It is also a way they test, make contact and learn about their world.

At what age should a parent be concerned if their child still sucks a pacifier, finger or a thumb?
Recent studies have shown that if a sucking habit continues after the age of two, there may be some long-term changes in the mouth that have can have a negative impact on jaw development and/or with the upper front teeth. (It can cause these upper front teeth to become “bucked” or protrude forward towards the lips.) The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents and caregivers encourage children to cease this habit by about age three.

Do children ever stop this habit on their own?
Absolutely! If left alone, many children will naturally stop sucking their fingers or thumb between the ages of two and four. The main points to remember are that sucking habits are totally natural and should stop on their own. You should not make it a problem unnecessarily. If, however, your child is getting older and still seems dependant upon this habit, feel free to contact us today to schedule an appointment for your child or to discuss your specific questions about pacifiers and finger or thumb sucking. You can also learn more about this topic by continuing to read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Thumb Sucking in Children.”


By JW Haltom DDS, Inc. Family Dentistry
November 13, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: oral health   oral hygiene   x-rays   tooth decay  

Yes, dental x-rays are a safe and vital tool we use for measuring and monitoring your oral health. We feel it is imperative to ensure that our patients have the facts — especially when it comes to their oral healthcare. This is why we want to respond to this important question about the safety of dental x-rays.

We want you to know what they are, how they are used, what makes them a safe and effective tool, and why they are so important to dentistry and your health. X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation, in fact, just like natural daylight, except they have a much shorter wavelength. And because they are a form of ionizing radiation, they can easily penetrate bodily tissues without causing any harm when used properly. The reasons we use them are obvious; they help us literally see what is unseen. For example, they enable us to see bone structure and roots of teeth among other things, and are commonly used for diagnosing tooth decay. Furthermore, today's x-ray machines and other image capturing techniques are so sophisticated and sensitive that the amount of radiation required for diagnosis is almost nothing when compared to what you get from the background radiation present in everyday living. In fact, the average single digital periapical (“peri” – around; “apical” – root end of a tooth) film is equal to 1/10 the amount of everyday natural environmental exposure. These facts make it clear that dental x-rays are completely safe and, thus, are nothing you need to be concerned about.

Learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “X-ray Frequency And Safety.” If you need to schedule an appointment, contact us today.


By JW Haltom DDS, Inc. Family Dentistry
November 06, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: oral health   root canal  

Test yourself on your knowledge of this dental procedure.

  1. A root canal is
    1. A canal shaped structure in the root of your tooth
    2. A blood vessel carrying blood from your gum to your tooth
    3. An instrument used by your dentist in performing dental surgery
  2. Which of these are symptoms of root canal infection?
    1. Sharp, acute and intense pain, which is difficult to pinpoint
    2. Sharp pain when biting down on your tooth or on food
    3. Lingering pain after eating hot or cold foods
    4. Dull ache and pressure
    5. Tenderness (accompanied by swelling) in the nearby gums
    6. All the above
  3. If you don't feel any pain you do not have a root canal infection.
    1. True
    2. False
  4. Root canal treatment is a very painful experience.
    1. True
    2. False
  5. Root canal treatment is called endodontic therapy. What does this word mean?
    1. Bringing the end of your problems
    2. Inside your tooth
    3. Fighting gum disease
  6. You need root canal treatment if
    1. The inside or pulp of your tooth becomes inflamed or infected
    2. Your tooth needs to be gently moved in order to correct your bite
    3. Acid erosion is damaging your tooth
  7. During root canal treatment the canals in your teeth are cleaned out and sealed off.
    1. True
    2. False
  8. Who is qualified to perform root canal treatment?
    1. General dentists
    2. Endodontists
    3. Both of the above
Answers
  1. a. A root canal is a canal shaped space within the root of a tooth that holds the tooth's pulp — which contains the tooth's nerves and blood vessels.
  2. f. — all of the above
  3. False. It is possible to have an infection that has stopped hurting but is still present and causing damage.
  4. False. Root canal treatment doesn't cause pain, it relieves it.
  5. b. The word comes from roots meaning “inside” and “tooth.”
  6. a.
  7. True. A small opening is made in the chewing surface of your tooth to gain access to the pulp. Dead and dying tissue is removed and the pulp is cleaned and disinfected. The canals are shaped and then sealed with filling materials to prevent future infection.
  8. c. All general dentists have received training in endodontic treatment and can perform most endodontic procedures. They often refer people needing complicated root canal treatment to endodontists, who have had specialized training in endodontic diagnosis and treatment.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about root canal treatment. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Common Concerns about Root Canal Treatment.”