New Braunfels Dentists, PLLC.

Dr. Robert A. Heinrich

Occlusal guards and why you need one!

Many people have heard of occlusal guards yet are not sure what one really is.  An occlusal night guard is an appliance made of thermoplastic acrylic material.  It softens when placed in warm water and hardens in room temperature. It fits on either the upper teeth or lower teeth.  This appliance is designed to stop the wear on the chewing surfaces of your teeth.  This wear can lead to serious problems down the road.  Though most people wear them only at night some people wear them all day!  Many of us, especially when stressed, clench or grind our teeth. One may experience symptoms such as, jaw, neck, ear or face pain, headaches, awaking at night to jaw discomfort, as well as increased tooth sensitivity.  Some stores do offer similar do it yourself appliances.  Although these homemade appliances can reduce tooth wear, the quality, longevity and custom fit the dentist provides is not the same.   Poor fitting appliances can actually sometimes cause symptoms to worsen.  Call us today for a consultation to see if you are one of the many needing this appliance.

Your dental cleanings: Prophylaxis (regular cleaning) VS. Periodontal maintenance (deeper cleanings)

A prophylaxis is for someone that has completely health gum tissue with no evidence of bone loss.  Periodontal maintenance is for someone who has either bone loss or deep pockets (caused by bacteria) around their teeth or both.  Periodontal maintenance is for a patient with gum disease (periodontitis).  The signs of gum disease are not always easy to see and can be painless.  Once you have periodontal maintenance, you cannot go back to a regular cleaning as the damage to your gum tissue and bone loss has already taken place and you need to maintain the periodontal health usually every 3 to 4 months instead of your typical 6 months.  Failure to do so can result in worsening of your periodontal status thus potentially leading to further bone loss, gum recession and tooth loss.

Why do I have to floss?


Flossing…We all don’t love it, but our teeth love it.  The physical contact of the floss between the teeth allows you to remove plaque that the tooth brush bristles cannot reach.  With the removal of this plaque you avoid cavities on the contacts (between the teeth) as well as strengthen your gums (flossing before brushing allows clean surfaces for fluoride to reach from your toothpaste).  When we are infrequent with flossing, it can cause our gums to bleed that then leads to gingivitis or periodontitis.  There are many tools we can suggest besides just string floss to help make flossing easier to get into the routine.  Ask your dental hygienist for more information.

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