Resolve to have a healthier smile this year

A New Year is just around the corner and with it often come resolutions for better, healthier decisions in the year to come. While we can’t help when it comes to losing those extra holiday pounds, the Just Wright Dental team can help you get and keep a healthy, beautiful smile.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the busyness of the holidays, but with the hustle and bustle behind us, it’s the perfect time to schedule the professional dental cleaning you’ve been putting off. During that visit, we will evaluate your teeth and gums for any problems and gently clean and polish your teeth to remove the plaque and tarter that can’t be removed with a traditional tooth brush.

If problem areas are found, we’ll provide you with a detailed explanation of the issue as well as options to correct the problem and estimated cost. In many cases, we can take care of your treatment on the same day, and with our in-office savings plan and third-party financing options, we make every effort to ensure patients can afford the treatment they need.

Once your smile has been checked-out, there are a few things you can do at home to maintain a healthy mouth all year long. 

Brushing for two minutes at least twice a day and flossing is the best thing patients can do to help keep their teeth in the best shape possible. A traditional toothbrush is good; however, we recommend a sonic toothbrush, which we offer to patients at cost in our office. These electric toothbrushes vibrate at 30,000 to 40,000 brush strokes per minute for a superior clean. Regardless of if patients choose a traditional or sonic toothbrush, it’s important to change the brushes when they begin to wear out, which for most patients is about every two to three months.

For patients who don’t like traditional flossing, we also offer oral irrigators, or water picks. This device uses a hand-held tool to force a pressurized stream of water between teeth to help remove food and debris.

In addition to good oral home care, being mindful of what you eat and drink is also important to the look and health of your teeth. Tea, coffee and wine can stain and dull the brightness of a smile, while sodas and lots of sugary snacks can erode tooth enamel and cause cavities.

If you want the best smile of your life this year, call our office today and let us help you!

Dr. Justin Wright is a general dentist in Corsicana with an affinity for implant dentistry and bow fishing. When he’s not regaling his patients of his outdoor exploits, he’s spending time with his wife Jenni and their two young sons, Cooper and Cy. To learn more about his practice or how he and his team can help you or your family keep your smiles healthy, call 903-225-2330 or visit www.justwrightdental.com

Cancer Care and Oral Health

Cancer afflicts more than 1.6 million people every year, along with loved ones who share the journey.  Fortunately, successful treatment modalities continue to emerge and more people than ever are winning the battle.  But often the powerful medications used to target cancer cells also deliver challenging side effects.  And while radiation techniques have become more precise in recent years, patients sometimes find themselves dealing with residual damage from their treatment.

Chemotherapy medications destroy cancer cells, but the fragile tissues of the mouth may also suffer from the exposure. Even though a particular cancer may be far from the head and neck region, a patient may find their treatment affecting the mouth.  Chemotherapy agents can result in ulcers developing in the mucosal lining of the oral cavity and throat.  If you’ve ever had a mouth or cold sore, you know just how miserable these raw areas become.

If you or someone you know experiences mouth pain during chemotherapy, options for comfort care exist.  While a product like Oragel can be applied to mouth sores, it’s often ineffective if multiple areas break down.  We may be able to prescribe a mouth rinse formulated to soothe and coat painful lesions.  Designed as a swish and spit formula, a simple prescription could help make life a little easier during treatment.

Comfort and Protection

Radiation therapy doesn’t typically alter the mouth.  But if it’s targeted around the head and neck region, the negative effects can be dramatic.  The saliva glands constantly pump out fluid that coats the mouth, protects the teeth, and aids in digestion.  Radiation that includes these vital glands can leave permanent scarring that reduces or eliminates saliva output for years to come. While there’s no easy solution to radiation-induced salivary output, cancer patients deserve every option to improve their quality of life. 

Dry mouth, known as xerostomia, leaves the mouth parched and uncomfortable. In addition, saliva plays a protective role against tooth decay. We help patients struggling with xerostomia find ways to increase their comfort while decreasing their risk of major dental problems.  Specialty rinses, toothpastes, Xyli-melt lozenges, and other strategies can make a significant difference for cancer patients affected by xerostomia.

Some chemotherapy drugs create a small but serious risk of jawbone damage, known as osteonecrosis (ONJ).  This condition is most likely to develop if a tooth requires removal, a dental infection develops, or gum disease is present.  The best way to guard against this potential side effect is to have a dental evaluation prior to starting any chemotherapy treatment. Discussing oral health with an oncologist and dentist prior to treatment can help eliminate unnecessary complications.

Standing With You

Facing cancer involves many challenges, but our team is here to help you manage your oral health before, during, and after your therapy.  Healthy teeth will add to the richness of the years beyond your treatment, so together we can develop short and long-term strategies for optimal wellness. Please feel free to discuss any concerns or questions you may have, and encourage your loved ones to maintain their oral health through their cancer care.

The Stages of Tooth Decay Treatment

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When it comes to treating and restoring your smile, your care can entail a number of different things, depending on your exact circumstances. For instance, treating tooth decay in one patient may require a different approach than tooth decay treatment in another patient. Today, we examine the different stages of tooth decay development, and how your dentist can save your tooth by addressing the condition with appropriate treatment.

Enamel erosion

As a progressive issue, tooth decay develops long before tooth damage is apparent, and begins with the erosion of your tooth enamel. The strong, protective layer surrounding your teeth is comprised almost entirely of mineral crystals (calcium and phosphate, mostly). Before tooth decay and cavities can form, bacteria must penetrate this protective layer, which they accomplish by producing acids to deplete your teeth’s minerals. At your regular dental checkup and cleaning, your dentist can spot signs of enamel erosion and implement an appropriate course of treatment. For instance, improving dental hygiene practices may be able to reverse the erosion process before your enamel is irrevocably damaged.

Dentin decay

Once bacterial acid compromises your enamel, bacteria can soon infiltrate the main structure of your tooth, called dentin. As the infection eats away at this structure, small holes (called cavities) can form that cause severe sensitivity to temperature changes, sweet foods and beverages, and pressure. Typically, infected dentin is treated by removing the decayed structure and replacing it with a manmade dental filling. The restoration, usually made from white composite resin, is designed to fortify your weakened tooth structure and seal off the interior of your tooth from further bacterial infection. The resin is also dyed to closely mimic your tooth’s natural color and is often called a tooth-colored filling.

Infected pulp

Unfortunately, tooth decay is frequently allowed to progress and penetrate the interior chamber of your tooth. Known as the pulp, this innermost chamber houses your tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. When these tissues are infected, your tooth’s existence may be in danger. To save your tooth and stop the infection from spreading to surrounding tissues, your dentist may recommend root canal therapy, which involves extracting the infected tissues, thoroughly cleaning your tooth’s interior, and sealing the roots to prevent further infection. In extreme cases, however, your dentist may need to extract the tooth to save the rest of your oral health.

Treat Tooth Decay at Any Stage

When tooth decay is present, it’s important to treat it no matter what stage it’s in, though the earlier the better. To learn more, schedule a consultation with your dentist by calling Just Wright Dental in Corsicana, TX, today by calling (903) 225-2221. We also proudly welcome patients from Waxahachie, Mildred, Eureka, Ennis, Fairfield, Teague, Blooming Grove, Dawson, Hubbard, Hillsboro, Mexia, Groesbeck, Kerens, Malakoff, Rice, Centerville, Buffalo, and Athens.

The Connection Between Bruxism and TMJ Disorder

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Try for a moment to recall an instance in which you were angry, upset, stressed, or otherwise aggravated. Do you remember grinding your teeth? Do your jaws tighten now at the memory of whatever upset you then? Occasionally clenching your jaw is natural, especially in times of increased negative emotion. However, when it becomes a habit, bruxism can damage your teeth and lead to a host of other dental woes, including damaged or misaligned jaw joints. Today, we explore the mechanisms of bruxism and how bruxism is intertwined with TMJ disorder, or TMD.

The Cycle of Bite Problems

Habitual teeth-grinding frequently occurs at night when the patient is unaware and unable to prevent it, though it may occur during the daytime, as well. The excessive pressure and friction can strip your teeth of their enamel, and in severe cases, can wear down the structure of your teeth. Changing the landscape of your bite can throw it out of alignment, and malocclusion often results in the need for corrective orthodontic treatment. The stress of constant tension can also damage your temporomandibular joints (TMJs), leading to the TMD. When your jaw’s joints are damaged or misaligned, your jaw can spasm and cause your teeth to grind together.

Relieving Bruxism and TMJ Disorder

While you may not always be aware of your teeth-grinding together, maintaining a strict schedule of dental exams and cleanings can allow your dentist to thoroughly inspect your mouth for signs of telltale damage. If you suffer from chronic headaches or pain in your neck, face, ears, shoulders, and/or jaws, you may need to treatment for TMJ disorder to help defeat your bruxism. Your dentist may also recommend a sleep guard, similar to a sports mouthguard, which you can wear at night to prevent your teeth from raking across each other.

Learn More About Bruxism and TMJ Disorder

When left untreated, bruxism and TMJ disorder can lead to a cycle that causes severe damage to your teeth and oral structures. To learn more, schedule a consultation with your dentist by calling Just Wright Dental in Corsicana, TX, today by calling (903) 225-2221. We also proudly welcome patients from Waxahachie, Mildred, Eureka, Ennis, Fairfield, Teague, Blooming Grove, Dawson, Hubbard, Hillsboro, Mexia, Groesbeck, Kerens, Malakoff, Rice, Centerville, Buffalo, and Athens.

What if Teeth-Whitening Can’t Brighten My Smile?

When teeth stains mar your smile’s appearance, the cosmetic treatment of choice is often professional teeth-whitening. However, for certain types of stains, as well as other kinds of tooth blemishes, teeth-whitening may not work to brighten your smile. The good news is that you don’t have to wait for teeth-whitening fail before choosing another treatment. Instead, your dentist will first perform a comprehensive examination to determine the nature of your teeth stains, and whether or not professional teeth-whitening is the best option.

What Teeth-Whitening Does

Professional teeth-whitening involves a safe but highly potent chemical application that carefully breaks up and removes stains from the surfaces of your teeth. For most common teeth stains, the procedure is a convenient and successful way to touch-up your smile. Yet, some stains develop underneath your teeth’s semi-translucent surfaces, and therefore, chemical teeth-whitening may not suffice to erase them. For more stubborn, internal tooth discoloration, your dentist can recommend a more effective solution, such as tooth bonding or porcelain veneers.

More Effective Alternatives

Internal, or intrinsic, tooth discoloration can result from a number of issues, such as internal tooth damage, a developing cavity, or certain types of medication. When one or two teeth experience stubborn discoloration, your dentist may be able to improve their appearances with tooth bonding. If you have several teeth that are discolored, then porcelain veneers may be a better option, as they can address more teeth than bonding with minimal alterations to your tooth structure.

Ask About Alternatives to Teeth-Whitening

Teeth-whitening is a common and highly effective cosmetic treatment, but when your smile needs more than whitening treatment, we can help you improve your smile with a more involved cosmetic treatment. To learn more, schedule a consultation with your dentist by calling Just Wright Dental in Corsicana, TX, today by calling (903) 225-2221. We also proudly welcome patients from Waxahachie, Mildred, Eureka, Ennis, Fairfield, Teague, Blooming Grove, Dawson, Hubbard, Hillsboro, Mexia, Groesbeck, Kerens, Malakoff, Rice, Centerville, Buffalo, and Athens.

Testing for TMJ at Home

Your temporomandibular joints (TMJs) connect your lower your jaw to your skull and may often sit incorrectly. When they do, your jaw must work extra hard to keep your mouth straight as you bite, chew, and speak. The extra work can fatigue your jaw’s muscles and TMJs, resulting in discomfort in your ears, face, head, shoulders, neck, and jaws. Because these symptoms are shared by many other maladies, as well, TMJ disorder is often misdiagnosed, or not diagnosed at all. To help determine if your chronic aches and pains are TMJ related, we explain a few ways you can test your likelihood of TMJ disorder at home, before you schedule a dental visit.

TMJ-Related Aches and Pains

Though TMJ-associated discomfort can be misleading, there are a few telltale signs that indicate the improper alignment and function of your jaw. If you notice the following symptoms, then you may need personalized dental treatment;

  • Jaw popping and clicking—As joints, your TMJs are designed to move around smoothly within its socket. If the joints are misaligned, you may notice that your jaw pops and clicks as you open and close your mouth. Sometimes, the disturbance may be no more than an annoyance, but in some cases, the popping can be severe enough to hurt whenever your mouth operates.
  • A crooked jaw—Jaw misalignment is not typically visible to the casual observer, but that does not mean it is undetectable, even if popping and clicking isn’t present. Try standing in front of a mirror and watching as you slowly opening then closing your mouth from a restful position. If your jaw moves to the side as it opens and closes, it is likely misaligned and the extra movement could be overtaxing your jaw muscles and joints.
  • Bruxism—Occasionally grinding your teeth is a natural response to stressful situations. Habitually grinding your teeth, however, is a condition known as bruxism, and is often accompanied by TMJ disorder. The additional stress of continuous grinding and clenching can damage your jaw and lead to sometimes-debilitating discomfort, not to mention excessive wear and damage to your teeth.

Let Your Dentist Test for TMJ Disorder

To find out if you have TMJ disorder and require appropriate treatment, then schedule a consultation with your dentist by calling Just Wright Dental in Corsicana, TX, today by calling (903) 225-2221. We also proudly welcome patients from Waxahachie, Mildred, Eureka, Ennis, Fairfield, Teague, Blooming Grove, Dawson, Hubbard, Hillsboro, Mexia, Groesbeck, Kerens, Malakoff, Rice, Centerville, Buffalo, and Athens.

Why Preventive Dentistry Matters

You should feel good about defeating a dental disease, especially before it causes significant damage. However, you could feel even better about having a strong, healthy, and disease-free smile for life with proper care and effective preventive measures. As part of our dedication to your lifelong dental health, we explain why regular preventive dentistry matters to your smile’s lifelong health and integrity, and how it can help you avoid more extensive dental treatment.

What Preventive Dentistry Means

There are a number of issues that threaten your oral health. If any of them are allowed to develop, then appropriate treatment will have to be custom-prescribed according to the nature and severity of the condition. On the other hand, most oral health issues originate from the same source—excessive oral bacteria. Controlling mouth germs and the dental plaque they form is one of the cornerstones of effective dental prevention, so be sure to brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, every day. At your regular dental checkups and cleanings, we can ensure that all residual plaque, and its more stubborn form tartar, is removed from your teeth and gum line. Your dentist can also check for early signs of disease and prescribe treatment to prevent the issue from causing excessive damage.

Why Prevention Is the Best Medicine

Although prevention is fairly simple and straightforward in theory, a single glitch in your routine is all that's needed for dental diseases to grab a foothold on your smile. For instance, if your toothbrush misses a small spot of plaque, it can harden into tartar, which is impervious to your toothbrush and floss. From this sticky, protective biofilm, oral bacteria have a better opportunity to cause tooth decay and gum disease, which can destroy your smile and the foundation that supports it. In severe cases, such conditions could lead to tooth loss or more.

Schedule a Preventive Dental Appointment Today

To schedule a consultation, call Just Wright Dental in Corsicana, TX, today by calling (903) 225-2221. We also proudly welcome patients from Waxahachie, Mildred, Eureka, Ennis, Fairfield, Teague, Blooming Grove, Dawson, Hubbard, Hillsboro, Mexia, Groesbeck, Kerens, Malakoff, Rice, Centerville, Buffalo, and Athens.

A Brief Look at Today’s Dental Bridges

Effective dental care focuses largely on preventing dental health issues like tooth decay and gum disease from developing and irreversibly damaging your smile. Unfortunately, professional dentistry often entails replacing one or more teeth that are lost or can no longer function due to extensive damage or disease. A dental bridge replaces a lost tooth, or several lost teeth in a row, to restore your ability to bite, chew, and enunciate words properly, as well as smile with confidence again. In fact, today’s dental bridges are custom-designed to address every patient’s unique needs, including implant-supported bridges that rest on surgically inserted prosthetic teeth roots.

How a Traditional Dental Bridge Works

Traditionally, a dental bridge consists of the appropriate number of replacement teeth bordered on either side by lifelike porcelain dental crowns. The crowns are bonded to the remaining healthy teeth adjacent to the gap (called abutment teeth), holding the bridge in place. In most cases, the dental crowns and replacement teeth that comprise a bridge are crafted out of innovative dental porcelain. The semi-translucent material is layered to mimic tooth enamel's light reflecting properties, and tinted to the exact shade and color of your healthy teeth. If you've lost several teeth in non-adjacent spaces, then your dentist may recommend a partial denture, which fits around remaining teeth to fill in the scattered gaps in a patient's smile.

Dental Bridges Supported by Implants

In the art of replacing lost teeth, nature is the best teacher. Healthy teeth are supported by roots that extend underneath gum tissue and into the upper and lower jawbone (maxilla and mandible, respectively). The embedded roots allow teeth to effectively absorb repeated bite pressure, and when stimulated, the roots facilitate a healthy blood flow to the jaw. As prosthetic teeth roots, dental implants are surgically inserted into your jawbone, with connective posts protruding above the gum line to connect the appropriate dental appliance. While modern dental bridges replace the visible parts of teeth (crowns), dental implants provide lifelike support for your dental bridge for improved stability, function, and comfort.

Ask Your Dentist Which Bridge is Right for You

Whether you need a traditional bridge or wish for the more comprehensive benefits of a dental implant-supported restoration, speak with your dentist about your options. To schedule a consultation, call Just Wright Dental in Corsicana, TX, today by calling (903) 225-2221. We also proudly welcome patients from Waxahachie, Mildred, Eureka, Ennis, Fairfield, Teague, Blooming Grove, Dawson, Hubbard, Hillsboro, Mexia, Groesbeck, Kerens, Malakoff, Rice, Centerville, Buffalo, and Athens.